Standard Rotation Proof Decks - Pt.1

Arena Standard Standard 
By: MTG_Joe - 25 Jul 2019
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The first announcements of our fall set Throne of Eldraine are upon us, which means Standard rotation is eminent. Upon release of the new fall set expected to drop October 4, 2019, Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria and M19 will no longer be Standard legal. This means that format staples like Teferi, Hero of Dominariaimage, Nexus of Fateimage, Goblin Chainwhirlerimage, and many more cards bid their farewell.


Until this release we are in somewhat of a lull in Standard where historically we've seen lower participation rates and less innovation due to unwillingness to invest in physical cards so close to rotation. While we have seen some new decks with the release of M20 in Vampires and Scapeshift variants, there still is the hesitation investing in cards with such a short shelf life. This is only further exemplified on Arena, where the economy relies on Wild Cards that once crafted are single time uses. Despite the announcement of the Historic format, the feedback of a lot of newer players on Arena, or just the "Free-to-Play" crowd, are hesitant to commit their hard-earned Wild Cards.


One question or theme that has come up a lot on the Arena subreddit, particularly the weekly New-Comer thread has been the concept of Rotation Proof decks. I thought this would be an interesting exercise to see what kind of decks we could theorycraft and test out using only the non-rotating sets of Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, War of the Spark and Core Set 2020. 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. It also provides us with a thought exercise in seeing what constraints certain decks may have with the departure of certain less flashy cards like Cast Downimage as a 2 drop removal spell.

Rotation Proof - BW Lifegain Midrange

Main 60 cards (17 distinct)
Planeswalker (7)
$4.95€4.1512.99
$1.51€1.120.12
$11.99€8.213.95
Creature (12)
$0.25€0.100.02
$0.26€0.160.04
$0.45€0.110.01
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (17)
$0.31€0.190.02
$0.94€0.520.30
$0.25€0.120.01
$0.19€0.050.01
$0.60€0.440.11
$2.50€1.140.03
Land (24)
$1.19€1.080.06
$8.99€7.390.69
$0.48€0.150.03
$0.20€0.080.04
$0.25€0.090.03
Side 15 cards (6 distinct)
$0.27€0.120.04
$0.37€0.220.04
$0.20€0.060.04
$0.49€0.210.01
$0.32€0.180.02
$17.22€11.301.39

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

Our MTGA Assistant extension enables you to compare any deck on the site with your collection by opening it from within the extension. Use the search engine or browse with the built in Deck Hub link. Use in the primary browser window, the Collection compare does not work in new tabs opened in the Overwolf browser.

- ENTER THE BATTLEFIELD PREPARED -

With the MTGA Assistant extension you can compare this decklist to your collection and easily see if you are missing any cards. Browsing any AetherHub deck from within the extension will enable this tab to show you summary like below. More information can be found at mtgaassistant.net.

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Example of summary:

Missing Maindeck
1 3
2 3
2 4
1 3
Missing Sideboard
2 3
Missing Rare cards:8

Gameplay for BW Lifegain

This first deck is a midrange-control list that looks to use life as a resource. We have a number of Planeswalkers that can gain us life such as Kaya, Orzhov Usurperimage and Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlordimage along with creatures and spells like Basilica Bell-Hauntimage and Oath of Kayaimage. With gaining all this life, we have payoff cards in the form of Ajani's Pridemateimage which can grow massive if left unchecked as well as Dawn of Hopeimage which can be used as a card draw engine. Finally we have Dreadhorde Invasionimage which can create a stream of tokens with that extra life, while if they get large enough gain lifelink as well. One card that was asked about was the exclusion of Bloodthirsty Aerialistimage. My rationale was two fold; 1) 3 drop slot was pretty crowed 2) wanted to treat pridemate like a Tarmogoyfimage 2 drop that I could then drop powerful control options from CMC 3 onwards.


After playing some games, I felt the growing Ajani's Pridemate and/or Bloodthirsty Aerialist if you wanted to play it, didn't work out that great. Current standard has a number of reoccurring lifegain effects at 1 CMC like Ajani's Welcomeimage or Leonin Vanguardimage which we lose out on post rotation. This ensures that you can get the lifegain trigger as soon as the turn you drop those creatures. In this deck, often times Pridemate just was killed on spot, while Healer's Hawk was a chump block + gain 1 life. Ajani, Strength of the Prideimage also felt really underwhelming. There were many turns where it could have been cast, but was basically a do nothing based on the board state.


What did feel strong was the core of Sorin, Kaya and Bell-Haunt in conjunction with the powerful enchantments in the deck. I think the deck evolves more effectively into a Orzhov Control deck like the mock up below. Orzhov gives us access to the only non-conditional 4 mana sweeper in Kaya's Wrathimage. Liliana, Dreadhorde Generalimage 's passive ability also triggers when any of our tokens generated by our enchantment die, drawing us extra cards. Finally, having a density of Planeswalker also turns on Mobilized Districtimage as a creature land that can survive board wipes and pressure our opponent.

Rotation Proof - Orzhov Control

Main 60 cards (20 distinct)
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (23)
$1.99€1.130.23
$0.24€0.120.04
$0.94€0.520.30
$0.25€0.120.01
$0.19€0.050.01
$0.60€0.440.11
$1.03€1.040.30
$2.50€1.140.03
$0.31€0.190.02
Planeswalker (9)
$0.35€0.170.01
$1.51€1.120.12
$4.95€4.1512.99
$17.22€11.301.39
$3.29€1.592.97
Creature (4)
$0.25€0.100.02
Land (24)
$8.99€7.390.69
$0.49€0.170.02
$1.19€1.080.06
$0.25€0.090.03
$0.48€0.150.03
Side 15 cards (6 distinct)
$0.50€0.200.52
$0.27€0.120.04
$0.37€0.220.04
$0.20€0.060.04
$0.32€0.180.02
$0.49€0.210.01

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

Compare deck to your MTGA collection

Our MTGA Assistant extension enables you to compare any deck on the site with your collection by opening it from within the extension. Use the search engine or browse with the built in Deck Hub link. Use in the primary browser window, the Collection compare does not work in new tabs opened in the Overwolf browser.

- ENTER THE BATTLEFIELD PREPARED -

With the MTGA Assistant extension you can compare this decklist to your collection and easily see if you are missing any cards. Browsing any AetherHub deck from within the extension will enable this tab to show you summary like below. More information can be found at mtgaassistant.net.

Learn more

Example of summary:

Missing Maindeck
1 3
2 3
2 4
1 3
Missing Sideboard
2 3
Missing Rare cards:8

 

Next up is a Golgari Undergrowth Graveyard focused deck

Rotation Proof - Golgari Graveyard

Main 60 cards (15 distinct)
Creature (27)
$0.17€0.050.04
$0.63€0.490.08
$0.75€0.280.01
$0.39€0.270.01
$0.24€0.080.01
$0.25€0.080.01
$0.25€0.120.01
$0.25€0.110.01
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (7)
$0.38€0.140.04
$13.99€10.176.87
Planeswalker (2)
$3.49€2.660.92
Land (24)
$0.95€0.650.17
$12.49€7.090.48
$0.48€0.150.03
$0.47€0.080.03
Side 15 cards (7 distinct)
$0.74€0.502.55
$0.49€0.230.02
$0.15€0.050.01
$0.37€0.200.03
$0.37€0.220.04
$0.50€0.210.01
$7.74€3.740.53

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

Compare deck to your MTGA collection

Our MTGA Assistant extension enables you to compare any deck on the site with your collection by opening it from within the extension. Use the search engine or browse with the built in Deck Hub link. Use in the primary browser window, the Collection compare does not work in new tabs opened in the Overwolf browser.

- ENTER THE BATTLEFIELD PREPARED -

With the MTGA Assistant extension you can compare this decklist to your collection and easily see if you are missing any cards. Browsing any AetherHub deck from within the extension will enable this tab to show you summary like below. More information can be found at mtgaassistant.net.

Learn more

Example of summary:

Missing Maindeck
1 3
2 3
2 4
1 3
Missing Sideboard
2 3
Missing Rare cards:8

Gameplay for Golgari Graveyard

This deck is focused around putting creatures into our graveyard with cards like Glowspore Shamanimage and Gorging Vultureimage. The main payoff cards for this strategy are Molderhulkimage which often times can be a 6/6 for 2 mana and Lotleth Giantimage to throw damage at the opponent. Blood for Bonesimage is a way we can cheat out an early Lotleth Giantimage as well as return a relevant creature back to our hand.


After playing some games, I think going up to a 3rd Midnight Reaperimage to increase the card draw in the deck and swapping 1 Lotleth Giantimage for an Izoni, Thousand-Eyedimage. Izoni can allow us to swarm the board to either create a bunch of chump blockers or alpha strike our opponent.

Rotation Proof Gruul Midrange

Main 60 cards (16 distinct)
Creature (24)
$0.75€0.280.01
$4.50€2.210.98
$1.71€1.000.34
$0.74€0.502.55
$1.50€1.240.13
$1.30€0.960.16
$0.25€0.130.02
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (7)
$0.20€0.070.04
$0.26€0.140.02
$0.25€0.120.01
Planeswalker (5)
$1.34€0.760.09
$11.32€9.577.18
Land (24)
$0.18€0.060.02
$8.99€7.302.63
$0.31€0.100.03
$0.47€0.080.03
Side 15 cards (6 distinct)
$0.25€0.090.02
$0.37€0.200.03
$0.39€0.200.04
$1.83€0.700.02
$0.50€0.260.01
$6.00€3.581.38