With Hour of Devastation releasing this Friday, I’m excited to jump into the new Standard format in my upcoming preparation for the RPTQ. Let’s take a look at some cards I’m looking forward to playing with.

Abrade

Abrade stands out as the most Standard-applicable card. Abrade deals with almost every creature in the format, aside from Bristling Hydra and Selfless Spirit with the only relevant four-toughness creatures being Archangel Avacyn and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. It doesn’t deal with buffed creatures from the B/G Constrictor deck, but destroys any artifact. The “pick one” clause alone makes it an easy fit in any deck playing red. U/R Control and Temur Energy seem like the most applicable decks for this card.

Hour of Devastation

This card has been generating quite the buzz and for a good reason. Hour of Devastation gives a lot of reach to decks such as U/R Control and R/G Ramp strategies, which are now able to catch up and reset board states thanks to this card. U/R Control has a history of being unable to deal with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar once it’s resolved, but now it has a new tool at its disposal. I definitely want to see this card in a ramp shell like this:

2-4 Hour of Devastation

4 Hour of Promise

4 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

4 Abrade

Which leads me to my next card…

Hour of Promise

Green-based ramp decks are back! Well they never really left

Although there aren’t a ton of viable cards to ramp into besides Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Hour of Promise does everything a ramp strategy wants it to – it puts any lands you want into play tapped, such as Lumbering Falls, Sanctum of Ugin, and Shrine of the Forsaken Gods, but if you control three deserts after you cast it, you also get a pair of Zombie tokens too. The zombies will probably just be on chump blocking duty, but what makes this card great is that it can provide you blockers when you need it or allow you to ramp quickly into an Ulamog (or both!).

Endless Sands

This is one of the more overlooked cards of the set but I wanted to give it some time in the spotlight after a recent 5-0 from a deck that played a copy of it on MTGO.

B/R Midrange by michai on MtGO

Creatures (9)
2 Glorybringer
3 Goblin Dark-Dwellers
2 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

Non-Creature Spells (25)
3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 Liliana, Death’s Majesty
2 Liliana, the Last Hope
4 Doomfall
2 Live Fast
2 Never // Return
3 Abrade
4 Fatal Push
1 Hour of Glory
3 Magma Spray

Lands (26)
4 Aether Hub
4 Canyon Slough
1 Endless Sands
2 Evolving Wilds
4 Foreboding Ruins
4 Mountain
3 Smoldering Marsh
4 Swamp

Sideboard (15)
1 Bontu’s Last Reckoning
2 Chandra’s Defeat
3 Dreamstealer
2 Hour of Devastation
1 Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
2 Painful Truths
3 Scarab Feast

B/R Control decks aren’t anything new, they’ve popped up in Standard at various points in the past but have never put up consistent results. What I like about this deck is that it just has an answer to everything. Abrade definitely gives this deck the reach of killing Winding Constrictor on turn 2 as well as Shatter-ing a Heart of Kiran, and cards like Hour of Glory and Doomfall can kill Gideons and rip apart U/R Control opponents’ hands.

 

Endless Sands has an interesting interaction with Gonti, Lord of Luxury and Goblin Dark-Dwellers, trading a land to flashback an additional spell or steal another card. Kudos to Michai for including this 1-of in this deck. It’s definitely a cool way to pull ahead and make the most out of every resource possible.

I also like the one copy of Bontu’s Last Reckoning in the sideboard, even though I’m skeptical how good that card is right now.

Three mana wrath with a drawback is definitely playable and probably a good Standard card, but can you take a turn off from casting your spells if your opponent follows up after you cast it with a powerful planeswalker? Taking a turn off in this Standard format seems counterproductive and I’d be wary of when I’d want to bring this card in. Standard is dominated by a variety of not just creatures, but powerful artifacts and planeswalkers. I’m on the fence about whether this card is playable at this point in time.

The Defeat Cycle

All of the Five Defeats seem relevant to Standard, save for Nissa’s Defeat which is far less powerful than the other four effects.

Gideon’s Defeat deals with:

     

Chandra’s Defeat deals with:

 

Jace’s Defeat deals with:

Every card in U/R Control (save for Abrade and Harnessed Lightning…)

Liliana’s Defeat deals with:

Every creature or Liliana in Mono-Black Zombies, except for Metallic Mimic.

I’m not sure how many sideboard slots you want for these cards, Gideon’s Defeat feels like at least a three or four of in the W/U Monument sideboard for the mirror match – the same goes for Liliana’s Defeat in Mono-Black Zombies. Chandra’s Defeat and Jace’s Defeat seem more niche, with Jace’s Defeat being only relevant for the U/R and U/W control deck sideboards.

I’m excited to see what new decks come from Standard, I definitely am going to test out the UBR deck. It’s unfortunate that this PPTQ season is Modern, there won’t be many Standard events I’ll be playing in for the rest of the summer except for the RPTQ, so I have to make that one count.

What Hour of Devastation cards are you most excited to play with this Friday?

Cheers,

Roman

Want an in-depth look at another deck that I think could be on the rise with Hour of Devastation? You can read my tournament report with Bant Delirium here, where I go over my Invitational Classic top 8 run.

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