With new Standard only a few weeks away, I’m looking at the possibilities of what strategies will be powerful with the addition of Amonkhet to the format.
This is one of the more exciting Amonkhet spoilers in my opinion. Who doesn’t love drawing cards? What’s great about Drake Haven is that it’s very flexible. You have control over when you want to create Drake tokens, when you want to chump your opponent’s attackers, pressure their planeswalkers, or get them to play into your Fumigate you’ve been sandbagging. Although on the surface Drake Haven appears a little slow, with an initial investment of three mana, the card has many possibilities.
U/W Drake Haven by Roman Fusco
4 Curator of Mysteries
Non-Creature Spells (30)
4 Drake Haven
4 Cast Out
2 Hieroglyphic Illumination
2 Declaration in Stone
2 Renewed Faith
2 Pull from Tomorrow
2 Forsake the Worldly
2 Blessed Alliance
1 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
Now this is just a rough draft of a potential Drake Haven strategy with no sideboard, but let’s talk about some of the card choices.
Since a deck like this is full of cyclers, Curator of Mysteries is in itself a cycler and also a 4/4 for 4 that can win games on its own. Four toughness, however, doesn’t match up well against some of the cards in the format such as Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Glorybringer, but a 4/4 for 4 that cycles for one mana, that also has a scry ability tacked on to it isn’t a bad deal.
A sweeper effect combined with Drake Haven seems questionable, but Drake Haven games aren’t going to end by turn 5. If you’re playing a Drake Haven deck, the games are going to go quite longer, and Fumigate is a great answer to falling behind. Untapping with Drake Haven in play incentivizes your opponent to play their creatures and put pressure on the board, but with Fumigate you can stop an opponent in their tracks if they try to get ahead this way.
The rest of the cards in the deck are either counter spells or cycling effects. I’m not sure if the deck has enough threats however. Drake Haven and Curator of Mysteries are good starting points, but I’m curious if this deck would benefit from a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar or Linvala, the Preserver. Jace, Unraveler of Secrets acts as a placeholder for this spot. I’m not sure what other threat you’d want in this deck, but planeswalkers are always a good place to start.
Potential Sideboard Options
While U/W Drake Haven has a lot of tools at its disposal, I think one weakness of the deck is that it can have slow starts against aggressive decks. If your opponent curves out a 1-drop into Glory-Bound Initiate into Gideon of the Trials, it may be hard to mitigate all the damage you’re taking when you don’t have time to create enough Drake tokens to block. Luckily, the option of including Fumigate mainboard, as well as Blessed Alliance and Forsake the Worldly gives you reach against aggressive strategies and Heart of Kiran.
I think U/W Drake Haven’s midrange and control matchups will be interesting, since the games go a lot longer. There’s one card that I think gives a real edge in this matchup…
Oh Sphinx’s Revelation, you’ve been missed. Ok, this card isn’t actually as good as Revelation, but it can pull you ahead when you’re behind on resources in grindy control or midrange matchups. You can even leave a mana open to make a Drake token! That being said, Dispel seems like at least an obvious 2-of or 4-of in the sideboard, paired with multiple copies of Negate. I do like Angel of Sanctions as another threat that can deal with opposing planeswalkers or Drake Haven, so that’s another very possible inclusion.
Other Deckbuilding Options
I wonder how viable three-color versions of Drake Haven are, especially Esper. Fetid Pools is basically free already, but the black gives you the option of Fatal Push as a cheap removal spell. You could change the build of the deck entirely and build around cards such as Shadow of the Grave and Faith of the Devoted, but that’s taking the deck in a different route.
Drake Haven has got me very excited and I think it will likely be a powerful contender in Amonkhet Standard. What are your thoughts? What new strategies do you think will emerge at the Pro Tour? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for more ideas for what to play at the beginning of Amonkhet Standard? This article from Riccardo Monico has you covered, as he discusses the pros and cons of certain strategies in unexplored formats.
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