Standard with Journey into Nyx

Posted in Top Decks on April 24, 2014

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Welcome back to Perilous Research! We're just a few days away from the Journey into Nyx Prerelease. Prereleases are excellent opportunities to meet other players in our local area. We might learn about new and exciting interactions or be given a chance to share our own discoveries with others. Most importantly, the Prerelease is a chance to be among the very first players to play with Journey into Nyx. Today, we'll be taking a break from dissecting Magic Online metagames to discuss the potential impact Journey into Nyx will have on the Standard metagame.

Athreos, God of Passage | Art by Ryan Barger

We can expect aggressive white strategies to experience a resurgence. Godsend; Tethmos High Priest; Deicide; Banishing Light; Dictate of Heliod; Athreos, God of Passage; and Iroas, God of Victory are all strong cards that will undoubtedly revive the fallen archetype. Let's take a look at what some of the new White Weenie decks might look like.

Untitled DecJacob Van Lunen's Fast White Weenie

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Jacob Van Lunen's Midrange White Weenie

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Jacob Van Lunen's Red-White Weenie

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Jacob Van Lunen's White-Black Weenie

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This white-black list has a lot of interesting stuff going on. Cartel Aristocrat in conjunction with Xathrid Necromancer and Athreos, God of Passage can do some pretty exciting things. That being said, this list is very rough and it seems like it might be trying to play too many angles. Hit the forums and share the decklists you've made that use Athreos, God of Passage!

Blue Devotion seems to have fallen off the radar coming into Journey into Nyx. A lot of players are assuming that the White Weenie decks having access to both Banisher Priest and Banishing Light will make Master of Waves a lot worse. They're right, but Master of Waves gets quite a bit better if we play Hall of Triumph in the sideboard of our Blue Devotion decks.

The most exciting thing for the Blue Devotion strategy is Hypnotic Siren. Judge's Familiar and Cloudfin Raptor have long been the targets of ridicule. It seems odd that such weak cards could make the cut in one of Standard's best archetypes. Hypnotic Siren serves as a tremendous replacement. We still get our Flying Men out of the deal, but in the later stages of the game where top decking a Judge's Familiar or Cloudfin Raptor would be disastrous, top decking Hypnotic Siren gives us a Control Magic effect that actually pumps the creature we're stealing and gives it evasion. I expect Hypnotic Siren to be universally adopted by Blue Devotion strategies in the coming weeks.

Let's take a look at what Blue Devotion decks might look like with Journey into Nyx.

Jacob Van Lunen's Blue Devotion

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Aggressive Black strategies have also been enjoying some degree of success in the last few months. These decks will be very happy to pick up another 2-power, one-mana creature in Gnarled Scarhide. The deck was already one of the most dangerous aggressive entities in Standard, but the addition of another one-mana threat is exactly what the deck needed.

Let's take a look at what the Black Devotion deck might look like after Journey into Nyx.

Jacob Van Lunen's Suicide Black

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Gavin Verhey already discussed Battlefield Thaumaturge at length, here, but it's important that we recognize how strong the card can be if the format oscillates away from Supreme Verdict.

Here's a potential Battlefield Thaumaturge Heroic list for Standard:

Jacob Van Lunen's Heroic!

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Esper Control and White-Blue Control decks will still be major forces in the Standard metagame. The addition of Banishing Light to Standard means that Jace, Architect of Thought won't be as strong against the aggressive decks as he once was. To combat this, we may see the control strategies adopting a more creature-centric early game. I expect most control main decks to remain similar to their pre-Journey into Nyx configuration, but we can fully expect Nyx-Fleece Ram to make a sideboard appearance and drastically improve the deck's chances against the most aggressive strategies (or burn) that have likely sideboarded out their removal.

Here's what we can expect the Esper main deck to look like after Journey into Nyx:

Jacob Van Lunen's Esper Control

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Black Devotion is still one of the stronger decks in Standard. Extinguish all Hope is likely going to make the deck much more potent in post-sideboarded matches against the decks that are playing more than twenty creatures. Lifebane Zombie will become better, as the new white Gods are very strong.

Here's what we can expect to see out of the main deck from Black Devotion decks after Journey into Nyx:

Jacob Van Lunen's Black Devotion

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Burn strategies will have trouble in Standard after Journey into Nyx. We can expect Nyx-Fleece Ram to be a big sideboard card, and the Burn strategy may have to wait for it to fall off the radar before it can swoop in, win a tournament, and force everyone to play their Nyx-Fleece Ram again.

We've only begun to scratch the surface of possibilities for Standard with Journey into Nyx. Be sure to join me next week as I continue to explore the new Standard format. In the meantime, don't miss your opportunity to be one of the first to play with Journey into Nyx by attending your local Prerelease. These events have limited space, but most stores accept early registration. Get in touch with your local gaming spot for more information.

I'll be attending the midnight Prerelease at Gamer's Edge in Kearny, New Jersey. Feel free to stop by and introduce yourself.

Knowledge is power!

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