July 23, 2015

Magic Origins in Standard

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Welcome to Jace week here at Perilous Research, DailyMTG's exclusive Magic Online column. Magic Origins Prerelease events are live right now on Magic Online, and it's only a matter of days before we're able to get our hands on some decklists that take advantage of the newest set. Today, in preparation for the upcoming Standard season, we'll be discussing some of the cards from Magic Origins that are already making a big impact on Standard.


It's Jace week, so the first card we'll be talking about is Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. The newest Jace is one of the most interesting and potentially powerful cards in Magic Origins. As a two-mana looter, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy is already tremendous in a format where we have access to cards like Treasure Cruise, Dig Through Time, and Murderous Cut. The card makes less consistent strategies' draws cleaner while also providing a backbreaking end game if left unchecked. What kind of decks will Jace, Vryn's Prodigy find a home in?

Kevin McLeskey—Jeskai Tokens—Top 8 StarCityGames.com Standard Open Chicago

The first deck we've seen take full advantage of Jace, Vryn's Prodigy is Jeskai Tokens. The deck hadn't been performing very well prior to the release of Magic Origins, but Jace does a very nice job of bringing this deck to the next level. By adding a two-mana looter to the deck, Treasure Cruise becomes a lot more powerful; not only will Treasure Cruise usually cost a lot less mana, but the lands we draw with Treasure Cruise may be traded in for more relevant cards because we're exiling our graveyard and resetting the timer on our Jace flip.

Jeskai Tokens was always very reliant on sticking a copy of Jeskai Ascendancy, which it would use to trade in all lands in excess of three, four, five, or six. This interaction means that the deck will, when things are going according to plan, have a much higher density of spells than the opponent. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy gives the deck redundancy in that capacity by giving it another avenue to trade lands for spells. Once Jace, Vryn's Prodigy flips, the deck can trade in the -3 ability for another Treasure Cruise or more token production—and it usually forces the opponent to either spend a card or a lackluster attack to deal with the planeswalker before it represents another recast spell from the yard. In postboarded games, this deck can take advantage of Jace's ultimate alongside Sphinx's Tutelage to deck opponents who are planning to win the long game. It's clear that Jace, Vryn's Prodigy is very powerful, and the card will continue to do great things while it's alongside the delve mechanic.


Green Devotion decks splashing red for Dragonlord Atarka have been very popular and successful over the last few months, but the deck has always had some serious issues against decks with a lot of removal, board sweepers, and counter spells. Now, Gaea's Revenge gives the Red-Green Devotion strategy the extra push it needed to compete with the control decks in postboarded games. Let's take a look at a deck that takes full advantage of Gaea's Revenge in the new Standard!

Tuan Nguyen—Green Red Devotion—1st Place StarCityGames.com Standard Open Chicago

Green Devotion's strength against the field has been augmented a great deal by the inclusion of Gaea's Revenge. The once-feared Esper Dragons matchup is now very beatable. Some players are also taking advantage of Nissa, Vastwood Seer to further augment their ability in those matchups by not being as susceptible to board sweepers killing mana creatures. The one major issue for Gaea's Revenge is that it's sometimes difficult to cast it when all the mana creatures are being dealt with via Crux of Fate.


Languish is a powerful board sweeping effect that conveniently leaves Siege Rhino and Tasigur, the Golden Fang untouched. The card allows Abzan players that have recently been forced to go smaller with cards like Fleecemane Lion to play a bigger game once more. Let's take a look at an Abzan Control deck that takes full advantage of Languish.

Bruce Edelman—Abzan Control—Top 8 StarCityGames.com Standard Open Chicago

Abzan Control decks were once a dominant force in Standard. As the format sped up over the last couple of months, these decks were forced to play cards like Fleecemane Lion to stay on pace with the rest of the format. Languish gives the deck a new plan, allowing Abzan Control players to safely clear the board without killing Siege Rhino or Tasigur, the Golden Fang. Abzan players have a lot of wiggle room with their sideboards these days, and Dromoka's Command has never been better during its time in Standard. In postboarded games, this version of the deck can rebrand itself as a midrange strategy.


Few of us expected much from Hangarback Walker, but the card seems to have opened the door for some exciting new strategies in Standard. White-Blue Control decks have been a fringe strategy for the last few months, but the deck seems like it's capable of locking up the game in a more decisive fashion than any other control strategy available in the current Standard. Let's take a look at what Hangarback Walker has made possible.

Jeff Hoogland—White-Blue Artifact Control—Top 8 StarCityGames.com Standard Open Chicago

This is easily the most exciting deck we've seen with cards from Magic Origins. Thopter Spy Network allows the deck to create a steady stream of threats and maintain card advantage, while End Hostilities and counter spells help buy some time. Hangarback Walker is essential to the deck's success, providing a big win condition and usually making a bump in the road for the opponent. When the pilot of this deck is able to untap with Hangarback Walker, they can assume a "draw, go" role wherein they'll simply play countermagic and card draw while repeatedly activating the Walker. This deck takes advantage of a lot of what Magic Origins has to offer.


I was really excited for the opportunity to preview this card. Foundry of the Consuls is a tremendous boon to monocolored decks. The card will become significantly more popular in those types of decks once it's not competing with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Last weekend, a few players included some number of Foundry of the Consuls in their decks and experienced a great deal of success. Going forward, we can expect the number of this card being played to increase as players begin to understand how powerful it is. Let's take a look at some decks that took advantage of Foundry of the Consuls last weekend!

Jordan Haukereid—White Devotion—Top 16 StarCityGames.com Standard Open Chicago

Shane Campbell—Big Red—Top 16 StarCityGames.com Standard Open Chicago

There are a lot of reasons to play multicolored decks right now, but Foundry of the Consuls gives us a pretty good reason to make our deck more consistent. This card does a lot, and it has a lot of fun interactions with cards like Pia and Kiran Nalaar—a card that seems particularly well positioned against the current Standard metagame—and others. White Devotion is better than ever, with Archangel of Tithes providing one of the most aggressively costed effects/bodies we've seen in recent years. We can expect white strategies with Knight of the White Orchid and Archangel of Tithes to be tested by a lot of major teams leading up to the Pro Tour.


In the coming week, we'll start to see what Magic Origins has to offer on a global scale as the cards are unleashed in the world of Magic Online. It's already clear that Magic Origins is going to make some big waves in Standard, and we won't even begin to scratch the surface of what strategies are available until Pro Tour Magic Origins at the end of the month. Stay tuned to Perilous Research and the rest of the columns here on DailyMTG to keep your finger on the pulse of Magic as Origins's implications are fully realized!

Knowledge is power!



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