August 11, 2015

Standard Hardened Scales

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Many pro players chose to bring Hangarback Walker to Pro Tour Magic Origins, but it was mostly played alongside Ensoul Artifacts or Thopter Spy Networks. Ken Yukihiro also brought Hangarback Walker to the Pro Tour, but he had a much different approach with his deck. Instead of playing a pile of artifacts, Yukihiro played a deck with a +1/+1 counter theme.

Hardened Scales is a Khans of Tarkir rare that many players just tossed aside as they were building Standard decks this year. While this card can be very strong in the right deck, there weren't really enough ways to exploit in in Standard when this card was released. Magic Origins provided us with a few new creatures that go very well in a Hardened Scales deck. The aforementioned Hangarback Walker is the most obvious new inclusion, but Managorger Hydra also works incredibly well with Hardened Scales. It starts out as a 1/1 for three mana, but with a Scales in play, every spell cast gives this guy a permanent +2/+2. If this is cast on turn three, it will very quickly grow out of burn or Bile Blight range.

Honored Hierarch is another card from Magic Origins that has great synergy with Hardened Scales. It's capable of becoming a 3/3 on turn two, and can attack and accelerate your mana due to vigilance.

There are a lot of fun and synergistic things going on in this deck. We have Abzan Falconer to give your team flying, Avatar of the Resolute as a two-mana giant, and Dromoka's Command—which can do, well, anything. Every card in the deck either protects your team or gives +1/+1 counters.

One card that seems missing from the deck is Inspiring Call. It seems like a great way to protect your creatures while refilling your hand in the process. It looks like Yukuhiro chose to play Ajani, Mentor of Heroes as a card advantage engine, but the versatility of Inspiring Call makes it worth considering.

Ken Yukuhiro's Hardened Scales



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