I’ve been playing and thinking about Standard a lot since the start of the Standard PTQ season and the mostly-Standard PPTQ season. Most of my battling has been with Jeskai Tokens, since I really enjoy Treasure Cruise and Jeskai Ascendancy and how broken they are.
While I haven’t made any significant changes to the maindeck since Yuuya debuted it at the World Championship, I feel like some adjustments could be made to facilitate a better post-sideboard control game-plan. That starts with cutting Goblin Rabblemaster, which feels like the weakest card a lot of the time in this new metagame.
Jeskai Tokens – Christian Calcano
I originally spotted this decklist from a Super IQ top eight, and it seems that Calcano made some slight tweaks and crushed his own IQ with it. This deck has embraced Yuuya’s post-sideboard configuration by moving Elspeth and a few board sweepers to the maindeck in place of the usual creatures.
To combat the recent influx of Sultai Whip decks, I’ve started playing Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker, in the sideboard as a threat that doesn’t die to Murderous Cut or Sultai Charm. It moves the deck away from caring about Doomwake Giant and Drown in Sorrow, so I think Calcano’s list is also taking Jeskai Tokens in the direction it needs to go.
‘Tis the Spoiler Season
Speaking of dragons… Fate Reforged spoilers have officially begun! With the release mere weeks away, that means it’s time to start thinking about how each new card might fit in the current Standard format.
The card that has caught my eye already (besides Ugin, of course) is Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury.
If we’re talking about Standard-legal cards, comparisons to Stormbreath Dragon and Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker, arise as competition for the five-drop slot in a red deck. Kolaghan has an immediate advantage over Stormbreath by having that crucial fifth point of toughness, meaning he doesn’t die to Stoke the Flames. The nice thing about Kolaghan is that his triggered ability works well with other dragons like Stormbreath and Sarkhan. And since both Kolaghan and Sarkhan are legendary, you would naturally want to split the number that you play so as not to draw too many copies.
What if we put this dragon duo in a tokens shell to take advantage of the battle cry ability?
Brimaz, King of Oreskos, puts extra strain on the manabase, but he works so well with Stoke the Flames, Butcher of the Horde, and Kolaghan, not to mention the post-sideboard plan of bringing in Anger of the Gods and more planeswalkers. While opposing decks may bring in Drown in Sorrow against you for game two, this deck can easily side out the Seekers and Outbursts and morph into a more controlling role. Kolaghan then shifts from being a battle cry effect to more of a Vindicate for enemy planeswalkers when dashed into play. And dash returning Kolaghan back to your hand means that he won’t be dying to End Hostilities, Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, or other sorcery-speed removal.
The best part about Kolaghan is that there are four more dragons to look forward to in this cycle. If they end up being around the same power level, look for ways that they could break Standard.
This was a great year of Magic for me personally-probably my best year yet. I got to visit Wizards of the Coast’s Headquarters on a fully-paid trip for the Super Sunday Series Championship, cashed a Grand Prix for the first time and earned my first pro point, and top-16’d an SCG Invitational. I really tried to expand my horizons as a player, make better deck choices for tournaments, and put in more hours of practice. I met a lot of really awesome people, too. I’m happy with how the year went, but I also feel like I fell short in a lot of ways. The bar has been raised for 2015, and I’m dashing into January feeling hungry to win.