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Rotation Proof Decks - Pt. 2

Arena Standard Standard 
By: MTG_Joe - 02 Aug 2019
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Back with part 2 of my look at some “Rotation Proof” deck shells, seeing which cards or themes could potentially have an impact post rotation. To preface, I am not claiming the below decks will be tier 1 in the new Fall Standard, as we are still expecting a big shakeup from the new set which will account for about 20% of the card pool. What I am looking to do is offer up some decks that people can feel safe crafting in some variant at the present moment without having to worry about the cards becoming obsolete in the next few months. This also provides us with a thought exercise in seeing what constraints certain decks may have with the departure of less flashy cards like Cast Downimage as a 2 drop removal spell. Finally, we can see which current decks have little to no shakeup after rotation, or decks that will not be a thing come the Fall (looking happily at you Nexus).

Rotation Proof - Simic Nissa Ramp

Main 60 cards (16 distinct)
Creature (24)
$3.10€2.33
$30.00€21.16
$0.39€0.17
$6.27€5.46
$0.19€0.07
$2.98€1.25
$1.19€0.71
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (5)
$1.08€0.55
$1.16€1.05
Land (24)
$17.95€14.46
$2.25€1.82
$0.12€0.08
$0.14€0.07
Planeswalker (7)
$5.31€3.70
$1.43€1.02
$4.36€3.47
Side 15 cards (6 distinct)
$7.10€6.05
$3.60€2.86
$0.25€0.14
$0.15€0.07
$6.05€3.17
$4.49€3.77

Simulating MTG Arena Best of 1 starting hand
(Simplified, true algorithm in MTGA not revealed by Wizards yet)

Simic Ramp Gameplay

This first deck is building around Nissa, Who Shakes the Worldimage generating huge amounts of mana. Simic or Bant ramp variants have seen a number of variations in the current standard format, with the deck only really losing Llanowar Elvesimage in the main. Gameplay of the deck consists of getting down early ramp to ideally cast a turn 3 Nissa, then refill our hand with a big Hydroid Krasisimage. Leyline of Abundanceimage serves dual purpose in the deck; allowing even faster early ramp and a late game mana sink to make our dorks larger. Although the deck loses Entrancing Melodyimage as a mind control effect, it retains Mass Manipulationimage which can really swing games. I liked having a couple copies of Tamiyo, Collector of Talesimage to help dig for relevant cards or get multiple casts of key cards like Mass Manipulation.

I wanted to test out a couple utility cards in the deck, hence why some of the numbers are odd. Voracious Hydraimage has the flexibility to be both removal or worse case just a massive beater. Vivien, Arkbow Rangerimage was mainly in for the reoccurring fight effect, with the upside of putting counters on our smaller creatures. Overall, I was disappointed with her and would cut her as our big threats already have trample. Finally Cavalier of Thornsimage is a nice top end ramp effect that can return a card upon it dying. Going forward I would go – 1x Voracious Hydra, -1x Vivien, +1 Leyline of Abundance, +1 Cavalier of Thorns.

Out of the 8 decks I’ve played, this deck felt the most powerful. An early unchecked Nissa just wins games, while Hydroid Krasis gives us long game value. The largest Krasis I got off was 19/19, but it is not unreasonable to be able to go larger. Further options for the deck include adding in white for Teferi, Time Ravelerimage along with some more hard removal such as Prison Realmimage or a sweeper in Time Wipeimage.

Rotation Proof - Dimir Control

Main 60 cards (18 distinct)
Creature (9)
$0.23€0.12
$7.10€6.05
$3.59€2.73
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (20)
$1.13€0.52
$1.01€0.70
$0.15€0.07
$0.89€0.66
$0.34€0.17
$1.10€0.79
$0.24€0.11
$3.10€1.15
Land (24)
$0.15€0.07
$12.74€10.75
$0.12€0.08
$0.15€0.05
Planeswalker (7)
$4.49€3.77
$2.65€2.39
$14.48€11.82
Side 15 cards (7 distinct)
$2.25€2.52
$0.35€0.17
$1.84€1.10
$0.25€0.14
$0.15€0.07
$0.34€0.15
$1.16€0.82

Simulating MTG Arena Best of 1 starting hand
(Simplified, true algorithm in MTGA not revealed by Wizards yet)

Gameplay for Dimir Control

One of the most requested Guilds to build off the Arena Subreddit cross-post was Dimir Control. We have seen Dimir be the base colors for many 3 color control builds thanks to solid mana and the ability to destroy troublesome permanents like enchantments and artifacts. With the rotation of the checklands (ex. Glacial Fortressimage), the smoother mana of Dimir may become more appealing. For this build, I have opted to go more tap-out control, not playing any mainboard counterspells. A signature Dimir card in Thought Erasureimage helps disrupt our opponent's early turns along with Narset, Parter of Veilsimage to turn off opponent’s card draw. Removal package consists of ways to deal with early threats with Disfigureimage + tyrant’s scorn, while Ob Nixilis’s Cruelty and Enter the god Eternals cleans up the bigger threats.

In terms of closing out the game, the deck packs a mix of God-Eternal Kefnetimage and Cavalier of Galesimage. Both are large flyers, which upon death get shuffled back into our library. This means that we have resilient threats that can be used defensively early, yet large enough to close out the game when needed in a few turns. Both also provide us card advantage either upon entering the battlefield or at our upkeep. My favorite thing to do with the deck is while Kefnet is out, we get to copy Drawn from Dreamsimage for 2 UU mana, effectively creating a replica Dig Through Timeimage.

The deck does miss flexible answers like Vraska’s Contempt, which were live in almost all matchups, while having the added benefit of life gain. If aggro is very prevalent, Sorin's Thirstimage can serve as a replacement for Moment of Cravingimage.

Rotation Proof - Mono Red Cavalcade

Main 60 cards (12 distinct)
Creature (19)
$3.48€3.33
$0.25€0.10
$0.15€0.06
$0.24€0.10
$0.17€0.06
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (17)
$1.49€1.17
$3.04€2.25
$0.71€0.29
$0.98€0.13
$0.15€0.06
Land (20)
$0.15€0.05
Planeswalker (4)
$6.21€5.38
Side 15 cards (6 distinct)
$0.51€0.33
$1.49€1.17
$0.50€0.33
$0.15€0.05
$1.24€1.12
$0.40€0.16

Simulating MTG Arena Best of 1 starting hand
(Simplified, true algorithm in MTGA not revealed by Wizards yet)

Gameplay for MonoR Cavalcade

With this deck, we are exploring a mono color deck that has seen some amount of play in the current format. The deck is built around exploiting Cavalcade of Calamityimage, where we utilize a variety of 1 power creatures to get extra damage in. Chandra’s Spitfire has the interesting interaction where any triggers from cavalcade resolve prior to combat damage so spitfire gets +3/+0 for each instance.

Legion Warbossimage and Chandra, Acolyte of Flameimage serve as a token generation engine to keep a steady supply of attackers going. The deck can also easily trigger spectacle to take advantage of the reduced casting cost of Light Up the Stageimage and Skewer the Criticsimage.

After playing some games with the deck, it did feel a bit like a glass cannon. I found the deck itself would either kill on turn 4-5 or fizzle out. I think the deck would benefit from having 3-4 Experimental Frenzyimage to keep up with more of the midrange/grindy decks. Overall the deck is fairly budget friendly with only 13 Rares between the main and side boards, however it does feel much less powerful than current mono red.

Rotation Proof Rakdos Sacrifice

Main 60 cards (17 distinct)
Creature (26)
$2.24€1.61
$0.50€0.40
$1.29€1.14
$0.17€0.07
$3.20€2.19
$0.25€0.10
$0.99€0.54
$7.76€5.28
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (6)
$0.17€0.08
$0.50€0.30
$0.20€0.08
Land (23)
$0.15€0.07
$0.15€0.04
$11.95€9.57
$0.15€0.04
Planeswalker (5)
$14.48€11.82
$6.21€5.38
Side 15 cards (6 distinct)
$0.15€0.06
$0.51€0.33
$0.34€0.15
$0.50€0.33
$1.24€1.12
$0.40€0.16

Simulating MTG Arena Best of 1 starting hand
(Simplified, true algorithm in MTGA not revealed by Wizards yet)

Gameplay for Rakdos Aristocrats

Rakdos Sacrifice or better known as Aristocrats looks to benefit from sacrificing our creatures for value. This is another deck that has a few variants that have seen some level of success as a more aggressive option. Priest of the Forgotten Gods is the main engine of the deck, forcing the opponent to sacrifice a creature, lose life, while drawing us a card and netting 2 black mana. Priest also synergizes incredibly well with Chandra, Acolyte of Flameimage which creates 2 creatures each turn that can be sacrificed to Priest. This nets us further advantage if we have Mayhem Devilimage out which let’s us ping any target for damage.

Dreadhorde Butcherimage and Knight of Ebon Legion can provide really aggressive draws that punish the opponent's slower/clunkier draws. God-Eternal Bontuimage, Rix Maadi Revelerimage, Liliana, Dreadhorde Generalimage and Theatre of horrors all serve as various forms of card advantage for the deck to help grind against midrange mirrors.

This is another deck similar to Simic ramp that doesn’t lose that many key cards come rotation. The most notable cards rotating are Fanatical Firebrandimage as an early aggro threat that has upside of sacrificing and Dragonskull Summitimage which is a key, enter the battlefield untapped land.

Rotation Proof Izzet Phoenix

Main 60 cards (17 distinct)
Creature (12)
$0.15€0.08
$0.30€0.18
$9.89€9.82
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (22)
$0.25€0.10
$0.90€0.52
$0.19€0.08
$0.51€0.33
$5.70€4.85
$0.18€0.07
$0.15€0.06
Land (21)
$12.94€10.38
$11.95€9.57
$2.00€1.85
$0.12€0.08
$0.15€0.05
Planeswalker (5)
$1.16€0.82
$6.21€5.38
Side 15 cards (6 distinct)
$1.35€1.15
$0.25€0.14
$0.25€0.13
$0.50€0.33
$24.98€0.00
$0.73€0.58

Simulating MTG Arena Best of 1 starting hand
(Simplified, true algorithm in MTGA not revealed by Wizards yet)

Gameplay for Izzet Phoenix

The final deck, Izzet Phoenix, is one that was quite requested from the Part 1 Article. This deck was a bit harder to work through as a number of key pieces to the deck are rotating out, without a comparable alternative existing.