Arcane Melee in Standard

Posted in Feature on June 6, 2012

By Trick Jarrett

Patrick "Trick" Jarrett oversees web content and social media for Magic, and acts as the publisher of and Magic content on the web. He's an ardent Commander player and lover of the game he's played since Ice Age.

Grand Prix Anaheim was our second chance to see the Innistrad block on display, and although miracles won the Pro Tour, the Grand Prix metagame was still quite broad. On, Steve Guillerm explores his deck for the event and then discusses the process for converting from Block to Standard. Here is an excerpt of his article, and the new Standard deck.

Whenever you're looking to port a deck, it's important to take a look at what the deck's actually trying to do, and what parts are actually necessary. Let's take a look at the deck's game plan:

Step 1: Don't die. By way of spot removal and sweepers, maintain a positive life total. Note that not every deck actually has this as part of the game plan. Control decks often operate with a motto of, "If I'm not losing, I'm winning." Aggro decks often prevent death by virtue of another motto: "If they're dead, they can't kill me!"

Step 2: Use draw spells and card selection to find combo pieces. Forbidden Alchemy and Think Twice do the heavy lifting, digging deep through the deck to find what we need for later.

Step 2a: Fill the graveyard for later. This is more incidental than part of the plan.

Step 3: Resolve Arcane Melee. While we can certainly win without Arcane Melee, it is really, really hard. The core of this deck is the interaction between Mystic Retrieval and Runic Repetition. Assuming Runic Repetition hand, Mystic Retrieval in the graveyard, and a resolved Arcane Melee, we can execute the following loop:

R: Mystic Retrieval returning (something)
U: Runic Repetition returning Mystic Retrieval
1U: Mystic Retrieval returning Runic Repetition

That's a Regrowth (well, Call to Mind) with buyback for . Establishing this game state quickly becomes a lock when you've got a few removal spells in hand. Without Arcane Melee? The loop costs , and so you're spending all your mana each turn for a single Regrowth.

Steve Guillerm's Arcane Melee

Download Arena Decklist

Latest Feature Articles


September 17, 2021

The Returning Legends of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt by, Doug Beyer, Ari Zirulnik, and Grace Fong

A return to Innistrad means the return of some of our favorite characters! In case you missed it, make sure to check out the new legends of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt from yesterday's artic...

Learn More


September 16, 2021

The New Legends of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt by, Ari Zirulnik and Grace Fong

Harvesttide is wild this year! Tons of new faces showed up to the party—let's do some introductions. Adeline, Resplendent Cathar Adeline is an excellent tactician and an unyielding fo...

Learn More



Feature Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All