AlbyMTG

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AlbyMTG last won the day on May 24

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About AlbyMTG

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  • Birthday 05/16/1999

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  1. I recently played in my first modern PPTQ. I’ve only been playing the modern format for about four months, so my expectations for a great placement in this tournament were quite low. I put in a lot of work to learn the format over the course of four months though, so I felt more prepared than most people would be with this lack of experience. A positive record at the event felt like a good goal to set for myself. I’d love to have this event as my first top eight finish at a PPTQ, but a positive record felt like a much more realistic goal for this point in time. I put together a deck that had winning potential and I knew how to play the deck well. I decided to play 7 Seas Merfolk. For those of you who are interested in the deck, I made a deck tech video on YouTube to accompany this article. You can check out that deck tech video here: https://youtu.be/Juc4Ah6lf_M Round 1: Esper Death’s Shadow I started out my day by playing against a friend of mine. He decided to play Esper Death’s Shadow for the tournament because the Esper version of the deck is quite strong against the Grixis version. His deck is also favored over mine. He has a lot of removal for my creatures and hand disruption to take most of my cards away. The only things that Inquisition of Kozilek can’t take from me is Master of Waves and my lands. My only hope to win the game was to use my Sea’s Claims and Spreading Seas to take him off of black and white mana. In game one, my opening hand had two copies of Sea’s Claim and a copy of Spreading Seas. After my opponent played Inquisition of Kozilek on turn one and then played a Thoughtseize on turn two, I was only able to slightly disrupt his mana base. Things started to look up for me after this though. I kept playing creatures and my opponent kept killing them, but I was hitting my land drops and he wasn’t. He was stuck on two lands and one of them had a Sea’s Claim on it. His other land was a Godless Shrine though, so he still had access to all three of his colors. I eventually drew into a copy of Spreading Seas to turn my opponent’s Godless Shrine into an Island. I was going to steal this game if my opponent missed their land drop for two more turns. The card I drew off Spreading Seas was a Master of Waves. Next turn, I could play the Master of Waves and then swing in for lethal on the following turn with my elemental tokens. My opponent missed their land drop again and played an Inquisition of Kozilek. Earlier on, I told you that there was only one nonland card that my opponent couldn’t hit with an Inquisition of Kozilek. That card was Master of Waves. My opponent passed the turn back to me and I played the Master of Waves and got three elemental tokens. If my opponent missed their land drop here, I won. My opponent drew the land. He drew a Flooded Strand, cracked the Flooded Strand, found a Godless Shrine, and then played Fatal Push to kill my Master of Waves. I didn’t know it during the game, but he told me afterwards that a fetch land was his only out. He had Tasigurs and Gurmag Anglers in hand and his only removal was the Fatal Push. If he couldn’t trigger revolt on the Fatal Push, then his one blocker isn’t enough to keep him alive. After this happens, I draw lands and Aether Vials for the next few turns and my opponent plays a Tasigur and a Gurmag Angler to finish the game. After sideboarding, my opening hand had two copies of Relic of Progenitus and some good creatures. My opponent was also on a mulligan to five. I led off with a Relic of Progenitus and he proceeded to take my second copy by casting a Thoughtseize as his turn one play. Over the next few turns, he just kept answering every creature that I played. Eventually, we reach the most crucial part of this game and of this entire match. I had a decision to make and it was either going to help win me the game or cause me to lose the game. I played a Master of Waves and my opponent had the Path to Exile for it. He now has no cards in hand, three shock lands in play, four cards in his graveyard, and he is at six life. I made him exile one card from his graveyard by tapping my Relic of Progenitus. This makes it so that the only cards that can beat me here are Tasigur and Death’s Shadow. If I don’t exile the card from his graveyard before his main phase, then it also adds Gurmag Angler to the list of cards that could get him back into the game. My mistake was that I chose not to crack my Relic of Progenitus to exile all the cards in our graveyards. When I was playing, I had myself convinced that cracking it now just to remove the chance of a Tasigur wasn’t a strong enough reason to crack it. My opponent was in top-deck mode and I liked the chances of him drawing anything other than Tasigur. My opponent drew the Tasigur. I instantly knew it was a misplay to not crack the Relic of Progenitus as soon as I saw Tasigur hit the table. The numbers were on my side for him to not draw it, but I could have just cracked the Relic of Progenitus just to be safe. My opponent started getting back into the game with the help of Tasigur and a large Death’s Shadow that he drew next turn. In the end, I lost. I didn’t go down without putting myself in a reasonable position to win the game though. I had to play to my outs. I had four draws to find any two lords or a combination of Merrow Reejerey plus any other merfolk to win the game, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Match Result: 0-2, Overall Record: 0-1 Round 2: Abzan In round two I played against another one of my friends. The matchup is generally in my favor to begin with, but the addition copies of Sea’s Claim help to tip the matchup even more into my favor. Game one was nothing too special. Things went according to plan. My opponent ended the game with more Islands in play than I did. In game two, I kept a sketchy hand that had an Island, an Aether Vial, a Relic of Progenitus, and a Cursecatcher. My opponent started with a tapped Shambling Vent and passed the turn. I didn’t draw another land, but I did play out my Aether Vial on turn one. On my opponent’s turn, he cracked a fetch land and played a 1/2 Tarmogoyf. I miss my land drop again, but I play out my Relic of Progenitus. On my opponent’s turn, he attacks with his Tarmogoyf. I use Aether Vial to flash in my Cursecatcher, block his Tarmogoyf, and then make him exile a card from his graveyard to turn his Tarmogoyf into a 0/1. It always feels good when you make a play like this that your opponent either didn’t see or was just completely unexpecting. My opponent cast a Fatal Push on my Cursecatcher to save his Tarmogoyf. After more mana problems and some unfortunate draws, my opponent’s Tarmogoyf took over the game and quickly killed me with the help of a Grim Flayer. In game three, we played a pretty fair game. He drew his sideboard cards like Flaying Tendrils and Engineered Explosives and I drew my sideboard cards like Tidebinder Mage and Relic of Progenitus. Things were going well for both sides. My opponent eventually came out ahead on board. He had a 5/6 Tarmogoyf and a delirious Grim Flayer in play and I had a Cursecatcher in play with an empty hand. I then proceeded to have one of the luckiest turns I’ve ever had. First, I played Spreading Seas to take him off every color of mana expect Green. Then, I drew a Relic of Progenitus off the Spreading Seas to make his Tarmogoyf and Grim Flayer small again. Finally, I drew a Master of Waves off the Relic of Progenitus to make my board prominent again. It was an absurd series of draws and it led me to victory. Match Result: 2-1, Overall Record: 1-1 Round 3: Burn I felt like there was going to be a lot of Burn players at the PPTQ, but there ended up only being two. Merfolk vs Burn is usually a tossup. It depends on how fast the starts from both players are. However, I felt like I may be favored going into the match. The seas effects can be very good against Burn due to the low land count that most burn decks have. Unfortunately for me, in game one, my opponent had three lands in his opening hand, but I only had two ways to turn his lands into Islands. I eventually ended up drawing into a third seas effect, but my opponent already had the fourth land to continue casting spells that only required one red mana. It was a close game, but in the end my opponent drew his fifth land so that he could begin casting copies of Lightning Helix and Boros Charm to finish me off. As we were sideboarding, my opponent jokingly said something about “never being so happy to flood out with his burn deck.” After losing game one, I put in some good sideboard cards like Tidebinder Mage, Dispel, and Unified Will and then game two was underway. I was putting on the pressure early and trying to end the game before my opponent could end it. On turn 4, I made the decision to play a Master of Waves to set myself up for a kill in two more turns. I chose to do this instead of holding up mana to play a copy of Unified Will. I felt like setting myself up to win the game as soon as possible was the best thing to do and because Master of Waves has protection from red, there is no way for him to deal with it. This play felt great to me, but ended up costing me the game. Since I was tapped out and couldn’t cast my Unified Will, my opponent took the time to cast an Ensnaring Bridge. That sealed up the game for him and I was back down to a negative overall record. Match Result: 0-2, Overall Record: 1-2 Round 4: Green White Death and Taxes In round four, I played against a very favorable matchup. Both of us are creature decks with little interaction, but my creatures make all my other creatures bigger. Also, if I can give my opponent an Island, then it is basically game over. Despite my opponent being able to start things off with a turn one Aether Vial, it was no match for the assembly of creatures that I was able to produce. The game ended when I played a Master of Waves on one turn and then followed it up with another Master of Waves on the next turn. Game two was a very interesting game. I was still extremely favored to win the game after sideboarding, but my deck wanted to do everything that it could to make me lose. First, my opening hand had no lands in it. Then, my mulligan to six also had no lands in it. Once again, I’m sure you can take a guess at how many lands my mulligan to five contained. I finally kept on my mulligan to four. It was an Island, a Sea’s Claim, a Harbinger of Tides, and a Gut Shot. Somehow, this awful hand managed to put up a fight. I got to scry an Aether Vial to the top and it felt like I was actually playing a game of Magic despite being on a mulligan to four. I ended up drawing some lords and I was able to use Gut Shot on a Flickerwisp to keep myself in the game for a bit. In the end, my opponent had more creatures and my mulligan to four was no match was for his three copies of Collected Company. I felt like I was still in a great position though despite coming off a loss. The matchup is still heavily in my favor. It also helped that my opponent was nice enough to return the favor from game two. My opponent was the one on a mulligan to four this game. I managed to put up a fight with my mulligan to four, but my opponent was unable to do the same. I started out the game by playing Cursecatcher on turn one, Lord of Atlantis on turn two, and Merrow Reejerey on turn three. My opponent quickly decided to concede the match after I cast a Gut Shot on his Noble Hierarch after he flashed it in with an Aether Vial. Match Result: 2-1, Overall Record: 2-2 Round 5: Bant Eldrazi In the final round of the swiss portion of the PPTQ, I found myself playing against Bant Eldrazi. As long as my opponent doesn’t play a Thought-Knot Seer on turn two or a Reality Smasher on turn three, then my merfolk should easily be able to take down my opponent. I have the seas effects to hit my opponent’s Eldrazi Temples and my opponent runs Islands for the islandwalk that is granted by my merfolk lords. Things went very well for both sides, but my opponent had no mana accelerators to help him cast his eldrazi. I had a Curescatcher on turn one and then I played another lord for the next three turns in a row. It also helped that my opponent played a tapped Breeding Pool on turn one. This enabled the islandwalk from my lords even though I didn’t have a seas effect. After winning game one, I made an interesting sideboard decision. I knew I was bringing in Ceremonious Rejection because that card is amazing against eldrazi, Unified Wills because I generally will have more creatures than he does, and Echoing Truths because it is my one way to beat Worship. I also made a sideboarding decision that many people may not have made. I decided to board in Gut Shot for this matchup. At first glance, dealing one damage against a big eldrazi creatures seems like an awful idea. However, the more I thought about it, the better it seemed. Gut Shot kills Noble Hierarch, Birds of Paradise, Eldrazi Skyspawner, and eldrazi scion tokens. The two most important creatures on that list are Noble Hierarch and Birds of Paradise. If I can kill those two creatures for free, then the chances of my opponent playing a giant creature early in the game are greatly reduced. Game two started out with my opponent playing a turn two Thought-Knot Seer. I had a copy of Ceremonious Rejection though, so things were still fine for now. I cast a Spreading Seas on my opponent’s Eldrazi Temple to try slowing him down a little. However, that didn’t work at all. My opponent just played another Eldrazi Temple and then cast a Reality Smasher that would quickly lead him to victory. In game three, I got off to a nice start. I played an Aether Vial on turn one and used a Gut Shot on my opponent’s Noble Hierarch to prevent my opponent from playing a Thought-Knot Seer on turn two for the second game in a row. My opponent and I played a great game, but I eventually came out victorious after being saved by another sideboard card. I swung for lethal with two of my merfolk that had islandwalk thanks to a Lord of Atlantis. My opponent attempted to cast Path to Exile on my Lord of Atlantis to make my creatures lose islandwalk. My saving grace in this moment was Echoing Truths. I returned the Lord of Atlantis to my hand in response to the Path to Exile and then I flashed it back into play thanks to Aether Vial. This allowed my creatures to keep their islandwalk and for me to successfully win the game. Match Result: 2-1, Overall Record: 3-2 Only one player with a 3-2 record made the top eight of the PPTQ. My tiebreakers weren’t great, so that one person was not me. I ended up in twelfth out of twenty-six players. It wasn’t the greatest finish, but I still did better than half of the people who attended. I also completed my goal of finishing the event with a positive record. Overall, it was a successful day of playing competitive Magic against some good competition and I was quite happy with my deck and my card choices. I hope you all enjoyed this article. If you did enjoy it, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel or following me on twitter by clicking the following links. YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/AlbyMTG Twitter - https://twitter.com/Alby_MTG
  2. You're correct. If you play it off of a Lotus Petal then you just sacrifice the Tiger. I was trying to say that if it was worded "When Scythe Tiger enters the battlefield, sacrifice a land" then the card would be good because we could play it off of a Lotus Petal with no downside. Since we can't make a play like that, I don't think the card will be as great as we are hoping.
  3. I like the card, but I don't think it will work out as well as we all want it to be. It could work in a delirium build as a way to get a land into the graveyard, but setting us back on lands in an aggro deck is just not where we want to be. If I could cast this off of a Lotus Petal before playing my land drop on turn one, I'd be all in, but the drawback is just too large here in my opinion.
  4. I would say that I'm probably 70% for winning and 30% for fun. If I'm playing a match of Magic, then the goal for me is to win. I'm always trying to get better and improve as a player. The only way for me to measure my growth as a player is by wins and losses. When I first started playing, I would never want to play against the great players at the shop, but now I want to play against them all the time. Also, to clarify something since I said I'm much more about winning, I am perfectly fine with losing a match of Magic as long as I learn something from the match. If I learn something that will help me to become a better player in the long run, then I count that as an internal victory. I get most of my fun out of Magic with certain formats and with the players. Formats like Commander and Cube were meant to be player for fun. Cube allows me to be serious and win (like sometimes if we cube draft for FNM) or it allows me to just play some 4 color, ridiculous deck that doesn't do anything productive. I'm not a big Commander person, (I generally prefer Canadian Highlander) but Commander also allows me to just relax and have fun and not care about winning. I also have fun through the players of the game. It's fun interacting with people who share a common interest, especially if it's an interest that we are passionate about. I get fun out of doing YouTube and interacting with this whole community. I spend more time playing Magic than I do focusing on my channel, but whenever I do upload once a century, I have fun creating it and have fun feeling like my ideas and opinions are valued by others.
  5. This feels like a fairly weak pack. I think I just take Rakdos signet. Rakdos and Boros are the 2 worst signets because they are generally meant to be more aggressive color pairs, but there is no cards that just stand out as the clear first pick. Hangarback Walker is probably my 2nd choice. I personally don't think that Lotus Bloom is the pick here.
  6. http://www.artofmtg.com/ They don't have all the cards, but there's some. I use them for all of my thumbnail images.
  7. I agree. Cat Tribal is both fun and good right now.
  8. This is why I warned everyone at the beginning that it was a flavor fail. The deck is really sweet though. Thirteen mana worth of planeswalkers for only six mana is great.
  9. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. All of the decks you mentioned here all sound pretty sweet as well. I think God Pharaoh's Gift has a lot of potential and there's a ton of different ways to build a deck with it. I think the UW version that Zac Elsik made is probably the sweetest version I've seen so far. For the card images, I use https://scryfall.com/ and I download the card image to my computer. Once the image is saved, you can either drag the image into the text box or click "choose files" to select the image and then insert it. Hope this helped.
  10. Thank you so much Abaddon. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
  11. Our store isn't too worried about it. A lot of stores need high FNM numbers to continue going, but FNM isn't really that monetarily important for our shop. We have a very competitive shop, so our money usually comes from people playing in big tournaments and buying expensive singles to stay competitive. I can understand how scary it could be from a business side of things for other stores, but with the way that our shop runs, it just won't affect us much.
  12. Thank you Paul. I'm also really excited for standard right now too. There's lots of cards to brew with and tons of decks that have a lot of potential. I'm excited to see what the pros are able to come up with for the PT.
  13. I would also love to see it make a come back. I didn't personally play it, but one of my friends did and it was always fun to watch. It's just such a cool idea for a deck.
  14. With the release of a new set, we also get a new standard environment. Aetherworks Marvel was recently banned in standard and the standard meta feels extremely open. With that being said, everyone knows that there are still going to be some decks from the Amonkhet standard meta that will manage to successfully make the jump into the Hour of Devastation standard meta. Zombies will still be a great option if you enjoy creature strategies, Blue Red or Grixis Control will shut down opposing player’s strategies, Blue White Monument will remain both impressive and entertaining, Vehicles and Black Green Delirium will continue to be some of the safest and most consistent deck choices that we've ever seen, and Temur Energy shall live on as a powerful deck despite the inability to cast an Ulamog for free on turn four. As previously stated, we all know those decks already and we wouldn’t be surprised to find out that those decks are good in Hour of Devastation standard. In this post, I’m going to be focusing more on decks that aren’t obvious, but have a ton of potential. I picked out ten of my favorite deck concepts that I’ve been messing around with. I hope you all enjoy the deck ideas and maybe your future standard deck is waiting for you within this post. Deck 1 - Cat Tribal As soon as Regal Caracal was spoiled for Amonkhet, everyone in the MTG community wanted Cat Tribal to be a functional deck. Even if it wasn’t going to be a functional deck, people were still going to force it into existence anyway. The biggest problem with the Cat Tribal deck in Amonkhet standard was that the synergy level of the deck wasn’t enough to make up for the deck’s lack of power. Regal Caracal and Metallic Mimic were the only rares being played in the deck. However, Hour of Devastation brings two new rares to the Cat Tribal deck that increase both synergy and raw power level. These new additions are Pride Sovereign and Adorned Pouncer. The other cats that you play in the deck synergize well with Pride Sovereign and Pride Sovereign can even make additional cats for you. Adorned Pouncer is a very nice two drop for the deck. It works very well with combat tricks and it also gives you something to do with your mana during the late game. A 4/4 creature with double strike is no joke. Your opponents will need to use a removal spell quickly or just lose the game. I think the Cat Tribal deck has found the pieces that it was previously lacking. If you enjoy synergy and strong creatures both in the same deck or if you just enjoy getting to tell your friends about your cool cat deck, then Cat Tribal may be the deck for you. Deck 2 - Black Red Midrange I feel like this deck needs the least amount of explanation out of any of these decks. We just play the best cards that we can in Red and Black. Magic can be so complicated at times that it clouds our brains from seeing the simple, easy things that are right in front of us. We don’t need ridiculous synergies or a crazy combo to win games. We can win games by having powerful creatures, great removal spells, and some planeswalkers to bring it all together. For removal, the deck has access to: Fatal Push, Magma Spray, Harnessed Lightning, Collective Brutality, Abrade, Unlicensed Disintegration, Never // Return, Grasp of Darkness, Sweltering Suns, Bontu’s Last Reckoning, Hour of Devastation, Cut // Ribbons, and even more. For powerful creatures, the deck has access to: Glorybringer, Noxious Gearhulk, Gonti, Lord of Luxury, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, Gifted Aetherborn, Goblin Dark-Dwellers, The Scorpion God, Hanweir Garrison, and maybe even Sin Prodder for some card advantage. For planeswalkers, the deck has access to: Liliana, the Last Hope, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Chandra, Flamecaller, and Ob Nixilis Reignited. We also have some hand disruption spells such as: Transgress the Mind, Lay Bare the Heart, Doomfall, Collective Brutality, and Lost Legacy for the sideboard as well. I hope I was able to show you the true power level of this deck by naming all of these cards. Red and Black just have so many great options right now and they could be used to make an amazing deck in this new standard format. Deck 3 - Blue Red Spells Back in Eldritch Moon, one of my favorite decks to watch was Blue Red Spells. The deck played Thing in the Ice, Stormchaser Mage, Bedlam Reveler, Fevered Visions, and a bunch of instants and sorceries to go along with them. However, the reason this deck even existed was because of Thermo-Alchemist. Thermo-Alchemist was always great and it did so much more damage than I ever could have imagined for an 0/3. That deck eventually evolved into the Blue Red Control decks that we see today. Cards like Torrential Gearhulk and Glimmer of Genius caused the deck to shift to a control build instead of a tempo build. However, I feel like Hour of Devastation has made the shift back into a tempo deck much better. Firebrand Archer acts as four more additional copies of Thermo-Alchemist. The damage from both Thermo-Alchemist and Firebrand Archer will add up very quickly. Burn spells like Incendiary Flow and Fiery Temper can help to speed up your opponent’s defeat. These burn spells will also be triggering prowess on creatures like Stormchaser Mage and Bloodwater Entity. It might not be the most exciting of cards, but the reprinting of Unsummon is fantastic for this deck as well. Unsummon triggers prowess, triggers your Firebrand Archers and Thermo-Alchemists, sets your opponent back a little, and it does all of this at instant speed for just one mana. I hope that this deck can put up some decent results in the new standard environment. The deck is extremely fun to watch and even more fun to play. Deck 4 - Grixis Reanimator Grixis Reanimator was actually the first deck that I had thought about during spoiler season and it inspired me to make this list. The idea behind the deck is super sweet, but I’m not sure about it. Sometimes as deck builders, we get the idea for an awesome deck, but then as we get further into the deck creation process, we realize it’s super janky. This deck could either be ridiculously janky or just way too sweet to not play it. Grixis Reanimator revolves around the card The Scarab God. A lot of people read The Scarab God and they instantly think of a Blue Black Zombies deck. My mind went to reanimator instead because of The Scarab God’s activated ability to basically give anything eternalize. So what kind of creatures do we want to make eternal? The answer is simple: Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. We won’t be able to get the cast triggers off our Ulamog, but we’ll still have a 4/4 creature with indestructible that exiles one-third of our opponent’s library when it attacks. It’s basically the same thing as having a normal Ulamog, except this time Ulamog could die to Hour of Devastation and Grasp of Darkness. We can have our Ulamog out on turn six if we use The Scarab God or on turn five if we use Rise from the Grave. We can make sure it’s in our graveyard with the help of Tormenting Voice and Cathartic Reunion. Other than the reanimator shenanigans, the deck is a pretty basic Grixis Control list. It will have some ways to counter our opponent’s spells and some removal spells to deal with even more of our opponent’s spells. Since the base of our deck is a Grixis Control list, it means that we can probably play Nicol Bolas as well. I feel like a deck running The Scarab God and Nicol Bolas must be someone’s dream standard deck. We still have yet to figure out if this deck is good or not, but it will certainly be a fun one to bring to Friday Night Magic. Deck 5 – Five Color Planeswalkers I need to admit something before I get too far into talking about this deck. This deck is a total flavor fail. It takes all things that we know about lore and flavor and it completely disregards them. However, this deck is still super sweet. The deck revolves around a card called Deploy the Gatewatch. However, because I care more about winning than I do about flavor, we won’t be finding the Gatewatch with this card. We will be finding Nicol Bolas instead. Along with Nicol Bolas, we could find Chandra, Flamecaller, Sorin, Grim Nemesis, Nissa, Vital Force, Ob Nixilis Reignited, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and many more. I don’t know about you, but thirteen mana worth of planeswalkers put onto the battlefield for only six mana seems quite nice to me. This deck also gets to run Djeru, With Eyes Open to tutor planeswalkers for us and to protect them a little as well. Other than these big planeswalkers, the deck would also run some removal spells to keep things clear until we can start slamming our planeswalkers. For the base colors of the deck, it would have to be Abzan. We can use cards like Oath of Nissa, Attune with Aether, Servant of the Conduit, and Aether Hub to help us fix our mana. The only blue card in the deck would be Nicol Bolas and the only red cards in the deck would be Nicol Bolas and Chandra, Flamecaller. We’ve all seen those games where someone just played a planeswalker and won because of it. With a deck like this, you can do that for an entire standard season. Deck 6 – Green Red Eldrazi Ramp When I first saw the “Hour of” cycle, I wrote most of them off. They all looked like cards that would only be playable in EDH/commander. The only exception was Hour of Devastation. The card seems to fit into standard perfectly. While I was right about Hour of Devastation being playable in standard, I was very wrong about another card in the cycle. The card is Hour of Promise. Hour of Promise allows us to find two land cards and put them onto the battlefield tapped. The important part here is that it doesn’t need to just find basic lands. I already know one guy from my local game store who went 5-0 in a competitive modern league two days after Hour of Devastation came out. He was running four copies of Hour of Promise to get two copies of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle in his Green Red Valakut deck. As soon as he told me the card was playable in modern, I knew this card had to be better than I initially thought it was. I decided to see if I could make the card work in standard since he was able to make it work in modern. In standard, Hour of Promise works great with Shrine of the Forsaken Gods. On turn five, we can cast Hour of Promise to find two copies of Shrine of the Forsaken Gods. Next turn, we can cast an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger if we hit our land drop for the turn. If we don’t have an Ulamog, we can do something like Endbringer and Chandra, Torch of Defiance or Ulvenwald Hydra and Thought-Knot Seer. It’s also important to note that this deck would still work fine as a mono green build, but I felt like red would be a good color to compliment this kind of a deck. We need to be able to stay alive long enough to cast our payoff cards. The removal spells in red all do their jobs well and Sweltering Suns is an amazing card for a deck that has great creatures with four or more toughness. Most people have become used to casting their Ulamogs for far less mana than they should, but if you’re looking for a deck that puts Ulamogs into play by actually spending ten mana, then I think this may be your best option. Deck 7 - Green White Life Gain Just like everyone else, I want to see Crested Sunmare be playable. Many people have been brewing with Crested Sunmare, but I’ve only been seeing people brewing with Crested Sunmare in Black White decks. Many people have been pairing it with Drana’s Emissary because it assures you that you will gain life on your turn. This is nice, but it doesn’t use the full potential of Crested Sunmare. Because of the wording of Crested Sunmare, you can make a horse on your turn and your opponent’s turn as well. Too many people are just settling for only getting a horse on your own turn. Because I’m greedy and I want all the horses possible, I think a Green White Life Gain deck could be better. Some ways for us to gain life on our opponent’s turn include blocking with creatures that have lifelink, Blessed Alliance, and Life Goes On. If we decided to run some deserts in our deck, we could also use the activated ability on Dune Diviner to gain life on our opponent’s turn as well. Blossoming Defense is another reason that I really like using green for our Crested Sunmare deck. If Crested Sunmare is our primary win condition, we need to keep it alive so that it can make more horses for us. Blossoming Defense can be used to keep our Crested Sunmare alive or it can be used to get in for the last two points of damage. I’m still not sure if Crested Sunmare is any good, but I’d love to see this card find a nice home in a deck that can gain life easily and can take advantage of the card’s true potential. Deck 8 – Jund Aftermath Aggro When the aftermath cards were first spoiled, I wasn’t a fan of them. Most of the aftermath cards seemed good one side, but unplayable on the other. There were a few exceptions to this though. I found that most of the cards that had two great sides worked well in aggressive decks. So, what if we just slammed all the best aftermath cards into an aggro deck? Well, I was pleasantly surprised. The deck appeared to be both fun to play and able to win matches. The aftermath cards that we are running in this deck are Cut // Ribbons, Insult // Injury, Driven // Despair, and Claim // Fame. These cards all work well on their own, but they work even better together. We play creatures with high power that also have a low converted mana cost and then we turn them sideways and attack with them. Creatures like Scrapheap Scrounger, Voltaic Brawler, Greenbelt Rampager, Longtusk Cub, and Dread Wanderer are great for this deck. We combine these cheap, powerful creatures with the aftermath spells and then we win games. The removal spells in these colors are all great as well. We have access to cheap ways to remove blockers so that we can continue to attack. Fatal Push, Harnessed Lightning, and Abrade are arguably the three best removal spells in this new standard format. This deck can play all of them and use them to their full potential. Heart of Kiran is also great for this deck because it allows us to do something with our creatures on the turn they enter the battlefield. This deck seems great if you enjoy aggressive strategies. You won’t come across many opponents playing around these aftermath cards either. With the elements of speed and surprise on your side, you should be able to take down your opponents and take home some prizes with Jund Aftermath Aggro. Deck 9 - Black Green Seasons Past The coolest deck to come out of Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad was Black Green Seasons Past. The deck put one copy into the top eight in the hands of Jon Finkel. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the deck, it plays all the best cards in green and black with a focus towards the control elements in each of these colors. It plays all the best black removal and hand disruption spells, green spells that provide tons of advantage over a longer game, and Seasons Past to continuously keep playing the deck’s great spells. Thirty-nine of the cards that Finkel played in his main deck are still standard legal, but the deck has disappeared from the standard meta due to Dark Petition rotating out. Dark Petition is basically irreplaceable in this deck, but we may have just gotten the closest thing to a replacement that we will ever see. The card replacing Dark Petition is Razaketh’s Rite. If we draw into multiple copies, we can cycle one away and replace it for just one mana. Cycling makes Razaketh’s Rite much better than Diabolic Tutor even though Diabolic Tutor costs one less mana. The deck doesn’t run many creatures, but the creatures that it does run are all great. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Tireless Tracker are very powerful cards. Kalitas helps to shut down aggressive deck through life gain and token creation and Tireless Tracker helps us generate card advantage against control decks through clue tokens. I really like Green Black Seasons Past in the current meta. I feel like it has access to a lot of great cards for the main deck and a lot of good sideboard options as well. It’s also important to note that if we sideboard in a card that instantly shuts down out opponent’s deck, the tutors can act as four more copies of that sideboard card. I would love to see this deck make a resurgence and I feel like it’s certainly poised to do so in Hour of Devastation standard. Deck 10 - Blue White Paradoxical Outcome This deck has a special place in my heart. I played Mono Blue Paradoxical Outcome for the entire duration of Aether Revolt standard. I originally played it to improve myself as a player. A deck like Paradoxical Outcome teaches you a lot and helps you improve on other skills you may still need to work on as a player. Some of these skills include: sequencing, maximizing probability, and learning when to go all in. The deck ended up becoming so much more to me than just a learning tool. It was also the first topic I talked about in my introduction to Magic: The Gathering article writing. The deck works by playing an Aetherflux Reservoir and then playing a ton of zero converted mana cost spells so that we can kill our opponent with the Aetherflux Reservoir. The zero converted mana cost spells that the deck uses are Ornithopter, Bone Saw, and Cathar’s Shield. I loved the mono blue version of this deck, but there were many people who preferred the blue white version due to the inclusion of Sram, Senior Edificer. After watching both versions of the deck, the white splash just didn’t seem like it was a good idea. Mono blue already had all the pieces it needed. However, now that Hour of Devastation is here, I think the change to add in white is perfect. The deck will get access to two or three copies of Sram, but the important part is that it will get four copies of Leave // Chance. Leave acts as a smaller, cheaper version of Paradoxical Outcome. We won’t get to draw cards off it, but getting to cast all our zero converted mana cost cards again is perfect. When we have an Aetherflux Reservoir in play, all we care about is casting more spells so that we can win the game. Leave allows to have four more copies of a card that can just let us win out of nowhere. This deck is so much fun to play and I encourage you to give it a try. It will make you into a better player and it will win you some prize packs as well. I hope you all enjoyed this article and I look forward to reading your opinions and comments. 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  15. I go to FNM every week because it's the only time it get to play Magic other than Monday nights. The FNM promo changes are bad, but I'm still going to go because I love playing Magic and want to play it as much as I can.