The Hottest New Deck in Standard that you're Not Playing!

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Step up your MTG game with the latest standout deck in Standard format that's flying under the radar. Learn about its playstyle, key cards, and strategies.

Welcome Magic lovers!

With the post-holiday lull taking hold, and no new spoilers or big news to cover this week, we take a look at the competitive side of Magic: the Gathering, as the current Standard Regional Championship Qualifier Season has officially begun.

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Introduction to Current Standard Trends

Despite there being no major Standard events happening aside from a couple of Magic Online Challenges, things have continued to evolve, with established decks getting new tweaks and even some completely new lists being debuted! While the 5-color Atraxa Ramp decks continue to be the format boogeyman that everyone needs to have a plan to beat, there have been several previously unseen archetypes that have been popping up in the top 8’s of the most recent Magic Online Challenges. From the remodeling of decks like Bant Toxic and Dimir Tempo, to new lists like the Esper Monastery Mentor deck and Azorius Artifact Control, there is a ton of innovation and experimentation happening right now in the format. Let’s dive in and take a look at one of the hottest new decks making waves in the Standard metagame as the Regional Championship Season kicks into overdrive!

Spotlight on a New Contender: A 4-Color Legends Deck

Of all the new decks putting up results, this one is something truly spicy. From the mind of cftsoc3, the Magic Online grinder who pioneered innovative lists like the Jeskai Hinata deck that dominated the previous era of Standard, or the Ratadrabik Soul-blade deck that briefly posted solid results just last year, comes a twenty-nine-land monster, based around Slogurk, the Overslime and the channel lands from Kamigawa Neon Dynasty. This list just took 2nd place in the most recent 104-player Magic Online Challenge 64, and boy is there is a lot going on in this deck, so let’s break it down one piece at a time.

The Slogurk Engine and Its Synergies

While ostensibly a 4-color legends deck, we don’t see any Raffine, the Scheming Seer show up here. The engine purring under the hood relies on getting Slogurk into play in order to start channeling Otawara, Soaring City, Takenuma, Abandoned Mire, Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance and Boseiju, Who Endures, which all pump up Slogurk as they are channeled, in addition to acting as spells. Once the legendary ooze gets three counters, he can bounce himself at instant speed to not only avoid a removal spell, but to also put all those channel lands back into your hand in order to redeploy again at a moment’s notice. This gives the deck a tremendous amount of play and flexibility since, between the various effects the channel lands provide when discarded, it’s simple to find the right tool for any sticky situation one may find themselves in with the deck, all at instant speed. This also allows this deck to get away with playing the aforementioned twenty-nine-lands, as over half of them act as spells, from the channel lands to Plaza of Heroes protecting your key pieces later in the game. Considering every creature in the deck is legendary, it also means channeling the lands often costs only one or two mana at most, making it very easy to channel several in one turn, or on the opponent’s end step.

Rona, Herald of Invasion and Relic of Legends: A Synergistic Pair

While the synergy with Slogurk and the channel lands is nothing new, it’s the way the other pieces of the deck fit together with each other and integrate with the Slogurk engine that really elevate this list to something truly magnificent. Rona, Herald of Invasion not only helps dig through the deck to find whatever one may need, but with Relic of Legends in play, one can tap the Rona with the Relic to generate one mana of any color, then play a legend to untap Rona and do it again. Remember, every creature in this deck is a legend, which means not only does Rona untap whenever you play a creature, but every new creature you play can then subsequently tap to generate a mana with the Relic in play, since it’s the Relic which taps the creature, circumventing the creature’s ‘summoning sickness’. This lets one chain creature spells while untapping Rona each time to generate more and more mana to either keep playing or digging for more creatures. Remember, every land you discard with Rona also pumps Slogurk if it’s in play, while any card you discard will also trigger new addition to the deck, Inti, Seneschal of the Sun.

The Impact of Inti, Seneschal of the Sun

Speaking of which, things start to get really silly when new standout Lost Caverns of Ixalan legend, Inti, Seneschal of the Sun, gets thrown into the mix. Not only is Inti’s ability going to trigger every time you channel a land or discard to Rona, but because of the way Inti is worded, you can even do it on your opponent’s turn and still get to untap and play the cards exiled from Inti until your next end step! Between Inti and Rona, it becomes a trivial matter to draw a pile of cards while putting eight or ten counters on a trampling Slogurk in one turn to swing in for lethal damage out of nowhere. It’s no surprise that this deck is playing the full four copies of these crucial two-drop creatures, as its not hard to keep the gas flowing if they’re in play, despite the list running a staggering twenty-nine lands.

The Deck's Supporting Cast

While Slogurk, Rona, Inti and Relic form the core of the deck, there are many other legends one could use to fill out the list, and indeed, we see some of the best Standard has to offer also make their way in. Titania, Voice of Gaea shows up here primarily as a way to combat the aggressive decks, as she gains life when a land goes into the graveyard from anywhere, allowing the pilot to channel lands, discard them with Rona or even mill them with Takenuma or Jace, the Perfected Mind, who also shows up as a singleton in the main deck. This life gain is crucial, as the deck plays almost zero interaction in game one, with only three Go for the Throat and one Cut Down to stave off the assault from the tempo and aggressive decks. After looking at the list, one may ask why its not playing an Argoth, Sanctum of Nature, to go along with the Titanias, but the answer is really quite simple: it’s just not necessary. Coming in tapped and only making one color of mana is a real drawback in this deck, and activating later to make a bear is quite underwhelming, as the deck almost always has better ways to be spending its resources. Even the meld ability only creates an arbitrarily large body that dies to the most commonly played removal, while not generating any value. The deck simply doesn’t need it.

On the other hand, Glissa, Sunslayer provides an efficiently-costed, must-answer threat that does an especially good job of pressuring the 5-color ramp deck which leans heavily on Leyline Binding to manage its opponent’s board of creatures, as any hit from a Glissa can destroy a Leyline, releasing one of your other potent threats from prison. In addition, because Glissa is nigh-impossible to kill in combat, this leaves only removal spells as feasible ways to interact with her. However, with four Plaza of Heroes to protect her, this deck can sometimes simply ride a Glissa to victory as your opponents keep sacrificing creatures each turn to block her while they desperately hope for an opening to interact.

Ertai Resurrected is another key legend here, as it provides a way to counter a sweeper like Sunfall, which can devastate a creature-based strategy like this one. Ertai really is one of the lynchpins of the deck, enabling many of the trickier lines of play, as its flash ability means it can be recurred at instant speed by channeling a Takenuma, then cast to stymie the opponent’s plans. It can also instantly be tapped for mana using Relic of Legends, allowing one to get around the ward cost on Raffine, Scheming Seer if that’s the Ertai target, for example. By recurring Ertai with Takenuma, then looping it with Slogurk in the mid-to-late game, one can effectively put a soft lock on ones opponents, ensuring they will never resolve another game-winning spell. Giving them additional cards from the Ertai triggers won’t matter, since they won’t be able to resolve anything that they draw through your Ertai/Takenuma/Slogurk loop. Costing four mana does hurt Ertai a bit against the more aggressive and tempo-based decks, and it does require some setup to lock up the game, so playing just two copies seems correct.

Flex Slots and Tailoring the Deck

The last few one-off additions are the flex slots in the deck, which can be tweaked depending on what one expects to face. Ashnod, Flesh Mechanist is a cheap legend that can trade off with an opponent’s creature early, or can be used to create a stream of 3/3 zombies to finish things in the late game, while the powerstone tokens that she is capable of producing can be used to channel lands, activate the abilities of the other legendary creatures, crack food tokens, etc. Another option for this slot could also be Vohar, Vodalian Desecrator as an additional way to loot and also buy back your Cut Downs and Go for the Throats later.

The Goose Mother is another powerful one-of that can generate a ton of food to help shore up ones life total against aggressive decks, while also being a dragon-sized, evasive threat in the mid-to-late game, as the deck can generate an arbitrarily large amount of mana easily with Relic of Legends and a couple creatures. Its evasion means it carries Inti +1/+1 counters quite well, and in slower, grindy games where preserving your life total doesn’t matter as much, it can also draw a pile of cards from the food it produced.

Ludevic, Necrogenius contributes to the self-mill plan with his enter-the-battlefield and attack triggers, while often being used as Slogurk number five, since it flips into the legendary ooze with +1/+1 counters already built in. It can also be used to become any of the other powerful legends in the deck at a moment’s notice, depending on what the situation calls for.

The single Jace, the Perfected Mind is the last flex slot, and while it is almost certainly a nod to beating the 5-color Atraxa ramp decks in game one, it also has solid synergy with the rest of the deck in other matchups, as milling oneself to fuel Slogurk or bring things back with Takenuma is desirable. Its also fairly easy to get 20+ cards in the graveyard via Rona, the channel lands, and natural game churn, which suddenly makes Jace a very potent draw engine.

The Sideboard Strategy

In the sideboard, we see many additional ways to combat the low-to-the-ground aggressive decks running around in the third Titania, Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, two more Cut Down and a couple of Gix's Command, which is an excellent sweeper against the Dimir tempo, Red Deck Wins and white-based toxic decks. Judging by how many sideboard slots are dedicated to beating the fast, tempo-based decks in the format, its clear that this deck struggles the most against those archetypes. Two more Jace, the Perfected Mind come in against the late-game decks like 5-color ramp and any control decks one may come across, as well as a couple copies of Pilfer and Duress. The 30th land shows up in the sideboard as one additional copy of Boseiju, Who Endures, which is a nice additional Disenchant effect that synergizes perfectly with the rest of the deck.

Conclusion: A High Skill Ceiling Deck

A very complex deck to pilot well, with a ridiculous amount of activated and triggered abilities to track and plan ones game around, winning consistently requires practice and patience to familiarize oneself with all the various loops and branching lines of play that are available on every single turn. Will this deck prove to be a contender in the new Standard metagame, or will the complexity and plethora of moving pieces be too much for most players? Only time will tell.

Hi, I'm Damien! I'm a Canadian television and voice actor turned streamer! I've been playing Magic: the Gathering since the early 1990's when the game first released, and was heavily involved in competitive Magic for many years.
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