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AlbyMTG

10 Hour of Devastation Standard Deck Ideas

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I hope you all enjoyed this article and I look forward to reading your opinions and comments.

If you did enjoy it, consider following me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Alby_MTG or subscribing to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/AlbyMTG

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3 hours ago, ComputerizedMTG said:

Boy I would love it if Seasons Past made a come back. When I saw Finkle play the deck I just had to build it! I love playing it, but I can't say my opponents loved being on the receiving end of that deck. It is definitely up in the top 10 of my favorite Standard decks I have ever played.

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.

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On 7/23/2017 at 8:19 AM, Breakfast with Nerds said:

Wow, Alby, this is awesome! You've made me (Paul) excited for Standard. Can't wait to try some of these out!! 

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.

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I may have just accidentally reposted something like this, but in far less eloquent or attractive fashion. Love your ideas and the post.

I like the Panharmonicon / God Pharaoh's Gift combo. (Don't know how to link card images because I'm a huge scrub.)

Also, the -1/-1 counter theme. Whoa boy. What we can do with this. I'm wanting to build around Hapatra, Obelisk Spider, Consuming Fervor, and Hapatra's Mark. Maybe jam Amit Eternal in there, and Nest of Scarabs. There are loads of possibilities with this control strategy.

Oh! (Flash edit) and Dramatic Reversal + Hope Tender + Cut / Ribbons [Ramp].

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On 7/21/2017 at 10:03 AM, AlbyMTG said:

I need to admit something before I get too far into talking about this deck.  This deck is a total flavor fail. 

Often times if a deck is a flavor fail, I can't see myself playing it.  

On 7/21/2017 at 10:03 AM, AlbyMTG said:

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

I was one of those people haha

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6 hours ago, m_hoop said:

I may have just accidentally reposted something like this, but in far less eloquent or attractive fashion. Love your ideas and the post.

I like the Panharmonicon / God Pharaoh's Gift combo. (Don't know how to link card images because I'm a huge scrub.)

Also, the -1/-1 counter theme. Whoa boy. What we can do with this. I'm wanting to build around Hapatra, Obelisk Spider, Consuming Fervor, and Hapatra's Mark. Maybe jam Amit Eternal in there, and Nest of Scarabs. There are loads of possibilities with this control strategy.

Oh! (Flash edit) and Dramatic Reversal + Hope Tender + Cut / Ribbons [Ramp].

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.

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4 hours ago, Lasraik said:

Often times if a deck is a flavor fail, I can't see myself playing it.  

I was one of those people haha

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.

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