Brewing in Amonkhet Standard

Posted in How to Build on May 1, 2017

By Quinn Murphy

Quinn has been fascinated with Magic ever since Revised Edition. When he is not spending time with his lovely wife and amazing son, he's constantly brewing decks for, playing, and writing about Magic.

Amonkhet is here, and with it comes a great set of brewing opportunities! This new set does a great job of both introducing new mechanics and synergizing with the sets already in Standard. Let's take a quick tour through the new concepts and possibilities that we can explore in the set, laying out some decklists and deck concepts on the way.

Discard Is King

With Amonkhet, discard is a full-power mechanic. We've hit a critical threshold of discard outlets and payoffs (cycle triggers, madness, and embalm) that allow any intrepid brewer to build a range of discard-centric decklists.

Many of the cards that trigger off cycling also trigger off regular discarding, so a Drake Haven will trigger off a cycled Renewed Faith and discard from a Lightning Axe. Embalm cards love being discarded, and obviously madness cards love it, too!

Last but not least, there are now many cards in Standard that react to you having one or fewer cards in hand, rewarding you for winning the race to zero cards in hand.


Cycling Payouts

Discard Payouts (madness and embalm)

"Heckbent" (one or fewer cards in hand)

Zvi Mowshowitz posted a deck a while ago that I feel displayed the power of discard in Amonkhet with "Empty Hand of the Gods," a red-green list that uses embalm, madness, discard, and "heckbent" cards all in concert:

Empty Hand of the Gods

Download Arena Decklist

Discard synergies are spread across all the colors, so don't think you need to just be red and green to take advantage of them.

It's a Bird! It's a Plane!

. . . It's a flying Metalwork Colossus!
. . . It's a flying Metalwork Colossus!

Fling is a classic Magic spell with many applications. By turning a creature into a source of direct damage, Fling widens a deck's threat range. The ability to skip combat for damage or get an "extra" combat phase worth of damage is huge when using creatures of moderate to large size.

Fling works particularly well when you can generate powerful creatures for cheap, or when you can pump up a cheap creature to get enough power for the kill. With Fling, once you have sufficient power, you don't even have to worry about your opponent's blocks!

Fling even has a buddy:

While the Manticore is more expensive and not instant speed, it also gives you a 4/3 body for your troubles, and can be embalmed for 5R, making it a reusable source of Fling-like hijinks.

Any creature with 4 power or more is a solid Fling target, but the top targets to get through the battlefield are:

Each creature is easy to pay for and pump before flinging it across the wall.

The Colossus is particularly brutal because it can pull itself back for a repeat performance. Sanctum of Ugin lets the Colossus bring friends for even more pain.

Ravenous Intruder and Electrostatic Pummeler consume artifacts and energy respectively to become cost-effective catapult fodder.

Fling is not so useful in a deck with many smaller creatures, but any deck with many large creatures will want at least one or two copies if they can squeeze it in.

Countless Worshippers (The Return of Tokens)

Gods like to be worshipped.

But what do they need for proper worship?

First, they need followers.

I mean a lot of followers.

Probably some priests to keep things organized and tidy.

Of course, you will need some rituals and practices.

And of course, you need an altar.

Token decks don't need too much to find a home, and when you still have the mana engine of Cryptolith Rite with its new buddy Harvest Season and one of the best swarm/token deck payoff cards in Throne of the God-Pharaoh, I think it's worth revisiting this archetype. Once you get your initial tokens, Anointed Procession and Second Harvest explode your token count. Harvest Season gets you even more mana to pump into a Duskwatch Recruiter or maybe an obscenely large Pull from Tomorrow. You can swing in with the tokens or find any means you need to tap them to let Throne of the God-Pharaoh do its work.

Tokens seem to have some very strong synergies in Amonkhet, with the Throne being one of the best finishers we've seen for such a deck in a long time.

Brewing for the Gods

These are just a few of the cool themes and synergies that Amonkhet brings to Standard. Have fun exploring them and all the other great new strategies at a Friday Night Magic near you!

Latest How to Build Articles


January 27, 2020

Gavin Verhey's No Longer Secret (Lair) Year of the Rat Commander Deck by, Gavin Verhey

Gavin Verhey got his hands on Secret Lair's Year of the Rat drop and immediately began plotting on how to infest his Commander games with the cute vermin. And now a look at @GavinVerhey...

Learn More


August 23, 2019

Personalizing Commander 2019: Primal Genesis by, Cassie LaBelle

As a fan of Magic's story and flavor, there are few products I look forward to more than the yearly Commander decks. Unlike normal sets, which highlight a single Plane and time, the Comma...

Learn More



How to Build Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All