As an exercise in fully exploring a new set, I’m taking a stab at making a series of Standard decks this week using and taking into account new options from Alara Reborn. For the first deck of the week, I’m going to pitch a white-red-green aggro build that I’m perhaps not-so-cleverly calling “Decade of Aggression” (from here). In this build, I’m using thirteen Alara Reborn cards in the main and four more in the sideboard, which is a pretty chunky contribution from this new set.
Click through to the extended entry for deck list and commentary.
Decade of Aggression
|4× Birds of Paradise|
|4× Noble Hierarch|
|4× Woolly Thoctar|
|3× Kitchen Finks|
|4× Bloodbraid Elf|
|4× Spellbreaker Behemoth|
|3× Uril, the Miststalker|
|2× Mage Slayer|
|2× Naya Charm|
|4× Ajani Vengeant|
|4× Karplusan Forest|
|2× Jungle Shrine|
|2× Treetop Village|
|3× Fire-Lit Thicket|
|2× Wooded Bastion|
|2× Celestial Purge|
|4× Qasali Pridemage|
|4× Lapse of Certainty|
|4× Shield of the Oversoul|
The core concept behind this deck list is a Hollywood-style fatty deck, with eight acceleration creatures leading into high-efficiency drops. Let’s look at it piece by piece:
The one drops
Taking a cue from the Hollywood (e.g. Van Lunen, Lachman, Mowshowitz, Sadin) fatty decks, I’m running eight “birds,” with four of them being actual Birds, and the other four being the ever excellent Noble Hierarch. I’ve had great luck swapping out Llanowar Elves for Hierarchs in dedicated Elves builds lately. In this non-Elf-keyworded context, Hierarch is a natural option (and hey, it makes the fatties fatter).
There are fifteen definitive fatties in this deck. Three are utility creatures – the Cloudthreshers may not be an objective “best” choice, but they’re there to sweep Faeries and Spirits. Twelve are straight-up fatties, with the four Thoctars being the most vanilla of the bunch as three-mana 5/4s. The Spellbreakers are clearly good for their own uncounterability; I don’t expect to be dropping additional 5/x critters using that ability. Finally, we have four copies of Uril, who benefits from semi-Shroud, which is handy given the contents of the deck and the sideboard.
Although I’m not as excited as many are by the Cascade keyword, I’ve included four Bloodbraids in this deck because they’re a good fit here. It’s a 3/2 haste for 4 mana, which is just okay, but it has the benefit of having a decent chance of grabbing a Slayer, Thoctar, Finks, or Hierarch, all of which are handy (it can also pull down a Birds, which isn’t quite so good, but so it goes).
The semi-eponymous card for this deck, Mage Slayer appears as two copies. At first, I thought this wasn’t as good a fit as Loxodon Warhammer, and that still may be true, but I would want to give this a try. While the Warhammer lets your attacking fatty trample on through, Slayer has the nice effect of laying on the creature’s full damage no matter what the opponent shoves in its way, and effectively imparting double strike in the absence of blockers. It’s also neat that Bloodbraid can pull it down via Cascade.
The remaining seven spells are just solid beatings in a deck that’s already running out giant creatures. Ajani Vengeant is kind of a gimme in the deck’s colors, and is pleasingly orthogonal to the other threat axis of the deck, effectively acting to keep the opponent honest once the game goes to sideboarded play.
I’ve leaned heavily on painlands here, with the goal of getting the correct colors early on, with an emphasis on green to power out a turn one Bird of Hierarch. Mana bases require the most actual testing to validate, so keep the provisional and untested nature of this mana base in mind (I haven’t even goldfished it).
This sideboard assumes a metagame of Faeries, Tokens, Five-Color Control, and other Fatty Aggro decks like this one. We have four Pridemages to take out Bitterblossoms and any similar problems (mostly Bitterblossom, really). For the fatty mirror, we have four Shields to give us the bigger, better guy (note how unpleasant a Shielded Uril becomes!). Against Five-Color Control, we have Lapse of Certainty to keep our fatties in play and unmolested a turn longer for the kill. Finally, we have two Purges for opposing Ajanis and other unpleasantness, and one bonus Thresher for Faeries and Tokens.
Overall, I’m quite excited about this build, minimally tested as it is. It looks like it’ll be a lot of fun to play, and could potentially power right through a lot of opposition in the current metagame.