The Brothers’ War is out in the world on Friday, and all eyes are turning to Standard ahead of the new Regional Championship format. We are going to bring you more Standard content as a result, and today we are highlighting some updated decks now that the latest cards are here.
Esper has been one of the main players since the start of this last Standard rotation. The deck was the most played deck at the World Championship this year, and for good reason. It sports a powerful curve that looks to put your opponent on the back foot right away. While Grixis has been the more dominant of the midrange decks in more recent weeks, that might all change with this one, new card.
Misery’s Shadow is a two-drop from The Brothers’ War that is making waves in Pioneer, and I would expect Standard to see it, too. While it looks like a fairly innocent card, it actually has massive potential in this deck.
The Esper deck’s main goal is to go two drop into Raffine every game. This gives players a dominant board position and starts filtering their draws based on what their opponent is doing.
Doing this on the play is even more important, as your opponent often won’t have anything they can realistically do to stop you. This lets you push the advantage.
Misery’s shadow not only adds to your two drop count and makes this line more likely, but it is a great mana sink. Often in Standard, the player who uses their mana the most efficiently will win.
Sometimes, in the mid game, you just have some extra mana laying around. Having a body that can grow to force bad blocks from the opponent is often much stronger in Standard than in any other format.
Shadow also has one other strong line of text: it exiles opposing creatures when they die. Most players will think of this as a bonus for formats like Standard, and they are not wrong. But when a card you’re already interested in playing randomly does things like shut off your opponent’s Ao, the Dawn Sky in the mirror, you’re suddenly getting huge percentage points for very little cost.
Mono Red Aggro
Mono red hasn’t seen much play this year since midrange decks have dominated the metagame. Players have had to turn to decks like mono blue if they wanted to avoid the midrange wars and not sacrifice win rate.
However, the classic staple has returned with the new set. Monastery Swiftspear is the second best one drop red creature ever. The current standard metagame doesn’t have as many burn spells to help really get this card out of control, but it’s still a very big upgrade over Reinforced Ronin, which was fine as filler until a better card could come along.
I won’t lie to you, though. Early reports from the Standard format say that agro is still dead. But as standard solidifies around a few decks, it’s important to remember that aggro often either over or under performs in the first few days. That’s because building Standard aggro decks that aren’t broken involves having to find the right threats to line up against the answers your opponents are presenting.
So, if you are an aggro enjoyer, I think we could see a spot open up for mono red in the format — or possibly a blue/red aggro deck. You could also see decks like mono green jump back up thanks to many decent offerings in this set.
However, the next deck is more inline with being aggressive and getting the job done.
This deck is one of the Standard decks that consistently over preforms when I play with or against it.
While the deck looks closer to a Commander deck then a Standard one, its power can’t be undersold. Since the deck is primarily a Bant deck splashing for Jodah and a few other cards, the mana is much better than it looks at first glance.
Jodah’s primary ability to present a huge battlefield is huge here, and while the second on-cast ability isn’t super great in this deck, it’s not really needed. Giving every creature in the deck +3/+3 is often more than enough to pressure the opponent to death.
So what did this deck get from The Brothers’ War? Hajar, Loyal Bodyguard.
This card is tailor made for this deck, as it offers not only a great stat line for your aggressive deck but also built in protection from most wraths and the ability to push more damage.
Now, if you have Jodah, the sacrifice damage effect will be the same. But in games you don’t, it’s incredibly helpful — especially when you consider you can cast this pre-combat and just shove, forcing your opponent into some terrible blocks.
While it’s a tad hard to cast on turn two, its effect is so strong that it’s totally fine to be a turn four or five play (especially when combined with cards like Thalia).
There are more legendary cards than Hajar in the new set, however only time will tell whether any of them are worth including. However, this deck is underexplored and got a huge upgrade in this set.
The Brothers’ War is just getting started, and the format is going to have a lot of room to explore and grow the upper limits of the format. But if I missed any sweet new tech for older decks, be sure to let me know on Twitter!
Mason Clark is a grinder in every corner of the game who has played at the pro level and on the SCG Tour with Team Nova. Whether he’s competing in Standard, Historic or Modern, Mason plays with one goal in mind: to be a better player than he was the day before. Check out his podcast, Constructed Criticism, and catch his streams on Twitch.