Week 1 of Rivals of Ixalan Standard is in the books, and the format looks very promising! Standard in Ixalan was crying out for diversity, and this format seems like it will have exactly that. The Top 8 Standard decks featured 7 unique archetypes, and the Top 16 contained 11 unique archetypes. Today I’ll be running through some of the most unique and unexpected Standard decklists that came out of Dallas this weekend, and giving my opinion on where they’ll end up going forward. Let’s jump in!

Temur Monsters by William Ho at SCG Dallas – 6th

Creatures (26)
1 Bristling Hydra
1 Rhonas the Indomitable
4 Glorybringer
4 Jadelight Ranger
4 Rekindling Phoenix
4 Servant of the Conduit
4 Thrashing Brontodon
4 Voltaic Brawler

Non-Creature Spells (10)
3 Harnessed Lightning
3 Magma Spray
4 Abrade

Lands (24)
1 Mountain
3 Forest
4 Sheltered Thicket
4 Spirebluff Canal
4 Aether Hub
4 Botanical Sanctum
4 Rootbound Crag

Sideboard (15)
1 River’s Rebuke
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Struggle / Survive
2 Spell Pierce
4 Negate
3 Chandra’s Defeat
1 Lifecrafter’s Bestiary

This deck’s game plan is pretty simple: play beefy creatures ahead of curve and hit the opponent hard! This archetype as a whole (but specifically the R/G version) is being championed by Brennan DeCandio, and many players picked up on it this weekend and had good results. This specific version branches out into blue to facilitate the sideboard copies of Negate and Spell Pierce, as well as a singleton River’s Rebuke.

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I’m a big fan of this style of deck, and I’ll likely be picking it up in the coming weeks on MtGO to give it a whirl. Despite looking like a deck without a ton of complicated interactions, utilizing resources properly is really important in this deck, and because of that I would expect this deck to have game against aggressive decks, other midrange decks, and control decks. If you can use your resources perfectly in this deck (a hard ask, make no mistake), you’re likely considered the favorite in any game you play. Expect to see this deck as a major player in the coming weeks.

Merfolk by Jim Forgus at SCG Dallas – 9th

Creatures (34)
4 Metallic Mimic
4 Deeproot Elite
4 Jungleborn Pioneer
4 Kumena’s Speaker
4 Merfolk Mistbinder
4 Mist-Cloaked Herald
2 Seafloor Oracle
4 Silvergill Adept
4 Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca

Non-Creature Spells (4)
2 Essence Scatter
2 Unsummon

Lands (22)
4 Forest
7 Island
4 Botanical Sanctum
3 Hashep Oasis
4 Unclaimed Territory

Sideboard (15)
2 Deathgorge Scavenger
2 Tempest Caller
2 Admiral’s Order
1 Essence Scatter
1 Life Goes On
3 Naturalize
4 Negate

Despite not taking home a trophy this weekend, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention Merfolk in some capacity, especially because it put 2 separate copies in the top 16 of the Open. This list finished 9th and is very close to what we assumed this archetype would look like. It has excellent creatures at 1 mana, 2 mana, and 3 mana, with a very limited selection of non-creature spells.

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The only cards I could potentially see being cut from this list are Jungleborn Pioneer and Seafloor Oracle. However, they’re the best options we’ve been given for their respective slots, so I think we’ll likely see them remain.

B/R Midrange by Jason Cornell at SCG Dallas – 21st

Creatures (14)
4 Gifted Aetherborn
4 Glorybringer
4 Rekindling Phoenix
2 Tetzimoc, Primal Death

Non-Creature Spells (21)
4 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
4 Treasure Map
4 Abrade
3 Fatal Push
3 Vraska’s Contempt
3 Sweltering Suns

Lands (25)
5 Mountain
6 Swamp
4 Canyon Slough
4 Dragonskull Summit
4 Evolving Wilds
1 Field of Ruin
1 Scavenger Grounds

Sideboard (15)
4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
2 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
1 Arguel’s Blood Fast
1 Angrath, the Flame-Chained
4 Duress
1 Hour of Devastation
2 Lost Legacy

Midrange seems like it might just be the name of the game in Standard, with several different archetypes making their presence known this weekend. One such deck that certainly intrigued me is B/R Midrange. I’m always a proponent of sacrificing the smallest bits of power for consistency, and that’s what this deck does. This deck is looking to trade off removal spells for early creatures and present card advantageous threats to the board that let it go over the top of just about every deck in the format. Gifted Aetherborn is a bit of a concession to the aggressive decks that are certainly a big chunk of this format, but has good applications against other decks as well, while Sweltering Suns is the dream response to an aggro opponent flooding the board.

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Now where do this weekend’s results leave this deck? My guess is… in really good shape! Mardu Vehicles and Ramunap…err….Mono Red both put up good results, and Vraska’s Contempt certainly seems to be rising in stock. Keep an eye out for this deck in the next few weeks.

W/U Bogles by Jim Davis at SCG Classic – 3rd

Creatures (19)
4 Adanto Vanguard
4 Adorned Pouncer
3 Sacred Cat
4 Skymarcher Aspirant
4 Sram, Senior Edificer

Non-Creature Spells (21)
3 Baffling End
4 Cartouche of Knowledge
4 Cartouche of Solidarity
4 Curious Obsession
1 Trial of Solidarity
2 Sheltering Light
3 Legion’s Landing

Lands (20)
4 Island
7 Plains
4 Glacial Fortress
3 Irrigated Farmland
2 Shefet Dunes

Sideboard (15)
2 Authority of the Consuls
1 Baffling End
1 Squire’s Devotion
1 Dive Down
4 Negate
2 Slash of Talons
2 Spell Pierce
2 Fragmentize

This deck is underpowered the surface, but it’s been on some peoples’ radar for a while, especially because Jim Davis has been pushing it recently. The combination of cheap creatures plus cheap enchantments and card advantage means the engine in this deck can dominate board states without breaking a sweat. Adanto Vanguard is incredibly difficult to kill (and to block), with Curious Obsession really pushing this deck into playability.

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Outside of Jim Davis, I’ve hardly seen players have success with the deck, but that could certainly change going forward, so I’ll be watching Sram and Co.

What’s Blue and Red and Flies All Over? by Trevor Hunt at SCG Classic – 10th

Creatures (23)
4 Glorybringer
4 Maverick Thopterist
4 Siren Stormtamer
4 Warkite Marauder
4 Whirler Virtuoso

Non-Creature Spells (13)
3 Hope of Ghirapur
3 Aethersphere Harvester
4 Favorable Winds
4 Lightning Strike
2 Shock

Lands (24)
8 Island
8 Mountain
2 Ipnu Rivulet
2 Spire of Industry
4 Spirebluff Canal

Sideboard (15)
1 Nimble Obstructionist
4 Abrade
4 Negate
2 Shock
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Scavenger Grounds

Now this is out of the box! Favorable Winds as a whole is an incredibly mediocre card for several reasons, but permanent pump effects have been incredibly powerful many times in the past. Because of that, I, and many others, toyed around with Flyers decks when Ixalan was released, but Trevor Hunt may have figured it out here with this U/R Flyers deck! Many of these cards are good enough on their own, like Glorybringer, Maverick Thopterist, and Whirler Virtuoso, and the newly released Warkite Marauder fits perfectly here.

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I am skeptical, however, of this deck’s ability to compete with well-tuned decks. It’s possible that this deck was just excellent against untuned and somewhat untested decks that we frequently find in Week Ones of Standard. Going forward, I think this deck might be pushed out of the format a little bit by decks that can simply put more power on the board, such as Mono Red and Mardu Vehicles. However, I could definitely be wrong about that if this deck is more powerful and flexible than I give it credit for. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Well, those are the Standard decks that I was most surprised to see from SCG Dallas this weekend. Standard seems to be in a really good place right now, and I’m really excited to play with a bunch of these decks and watch the format unfold over the next several weeks!

Until next time,


Want to hear more about this past weekend’s Open and the new tech everyone is talking about? Check out this article by Riccardo Monico in which he goes over the top decks of the event.

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