Standard Revolution: Core Set 2019

by Lee Shi Tian on 06 July 2018, Friday

Lee Shi Tian

Standard Revolution: Core Set 2019

Hello all,

Things were not as I expected for the recent Banned & Restricted Announcement. Once again, I failed to predict what was going to happen. As a player who dislikes banning cards, I, however, felt that Goblin Chainwhirler had to go. Things didn't go as I expected but Core Set 2019 has plenty of exciting cards.

Today, I'd like to go over some cards which I feel are excellent additions to the format.

 

Shield Mare

 

Shield Mare


Shield Mare is one of the cards in the color hosing cycle. The ability of Shield Mare looks good against cards like Earthshaker Khenra and Ahn-Crop Crasher
Pointing any burn spell to it could gain you extra life as well. 

I think Shield Mare is still one of the best cards you could have to stop Mono-Red's early aggression. The only problem is that it is not able to block Goblin Chainwhirler. Despite how good it looks, we'll have to try out the matchup before deciding whether we need it in our sideboards.


Leonin Warleader

 

Leonin Warleader


Hero of Bladehold was a great card and Leonin Warleader looks great too. Starting from Amonkhet, we had a few strong Cat tribal cards. Curving out with Leonin Warleader and then Regal Caracal will give you more than 15 power with just two cards.

Ajani's Pridemate is also reprinted, which means that there is a real chance that Cats could rise in Standard.

Exclusion Mage

 

Exclusion Mage


Exclusion Mage is certainly not Reflector Mage, but it is the card blue needed against Rekindling Phoenix. Regardless of whether you bounce the Phoenix itself or the token, it could gain you huge tempo.


I think it is a great card to add to any God-Pharaoh's Gift deck. It is easy to cast, while also good to return from the graveyard God-Pharaoh's Gift. Sometimes, you cannot get a one-turn kill, and you'll need some form of board control to buy you a couple more triggers.

Skilled Animator

 

Skilled Animator


Ensoul Artifact made its way to the finals of Pro Tour Magic Origins. Skilled Animator has the potential to give artifact decks a huge boost. Remember, Skilled Animator works with Vehicles, which means you can turn Heart of Kiran and Aethersphere Harvester into 5/5s with flying.

 

Making Scrapheap Scrounger a 5/5 will also force your opponent to kill it, allowing you to gain back the value afterward. Prophetic Prism or Puzzleknots could also provide immense value.

Diregraf Ghoul

 

Diregraf Ghoul


Mono-Black Aggro was one of the aggro decks which was good before Goblin Chainwhirler was printed. Thankfully, Diregraf Ghoul is a two-powered creature with more than one toughness. Together with Vicious Conquistador, there are still some creatures which survive Chainwhirler, which makes the Mono-Black aggro deck possible again.

There are also plenty of great Zombies printed in Core Set 2019. It's a considerable possibility that Zombie Aggro could make a comeback. None of the Zombies are quite as good as Cryptbreaker, but there is enough to build a decent deck. Since we're on the subject of Zombies, here are two of the most important ones!

Graveyard Marshal

 

Graveyard Marshal


Graveyard Marshal is an excellent aggro card. A 3/2 creature for two mana is a good rate, and it also turns your graveyard into resources in the late game. Zombies do not have many good choices for two-drops, so Graveyard Marshal fits nicely.

Liliana, Untouched by Death

Liliana, Untouched by Death

 

Liliana, Untouched by Death points towards the Zombie tribe and she is a Planeswalker which demands you to build your whole deck around her. You have to ensure that you have the majority of your nonland cards as Zombies for her to be effective.

Her first ability helps you race, while the second ability helps against Hazoret the Fervent. If you can get Liliana, Untouched by Death before your opponent's Hazoret the Fervent, it will likely be able to stop the God.

The final ability is a small-sized ultimate compared, but it is mighty. You can fill up your graveyard with Liliana's first ability and also Stitcher's Supplier, so recasting your entire graveyard back can change the game significantly. I can see it being the most critical ability of Liliana.


Banefire

 

Banefire


Banefire is an excellent finisher against control decks. Settle the Wreckage could become a liability in the late game, because it will do nothing to stop a lethal, uncounterable Banefire.

The existence of Banefire, if it is adopted in sideboards, will force control decks to have a faster win condition other than having Teferi, Hero of Dominaria endlessly bouncing and looping himself. I also anticipate Blue-Black Control to become better than White-Blue Control due to Blue-Black's faster clock. However, if Banefire turns out to be not as popular as we think, it can adapt quickly and reemerge.


Elvish Rejuvenator

 

Elvish Rejuvenator


We do not have a three-mana ramp spell that gives us value. In a deck with 25 lands, you should be able to hit land over 90% of the time. The best part is that you can also find nonbasic lands with it. It's perfect if you can use the 1/1 body to trade for something before it gets eaten up by Goblin Chainwhirler.

Lately, there has been some Black-Green-styled Ramp deck becoming popular and Elvish Rejuvenator could be a key enabler to a similar variant.

Reclamation Sage

 

Reclamation Sage


While Thrashing Brontodon is great, it only trades for an artifact or enchantment one-for-one. Reclamation Sage destroys those cards and leaves behind a body, which provides the potential for two-for-one.

Having said that, Thrashing Brontodon would be a good main deck card as the body will always be relevant. However, Reclamation Sage is a better sideboard choice. Heart of Kiran and Aethersphere Harvester is one of the biggest weaknesses for green decks. Now, it finally has a right tool to combat these annoying flying Vehicles.


Chromium, the Mutable

 

Chromium, the Mutable


This Esper-colored Dragon will break the control mirror. It has flash, it cannot be countered, and it has hexproof. All one the same card! It's easy to include at least one copy in Esper Control decks.

Your best bet is to block it and then cast a removal spell on it. This requires a lot of things to go your way (for example, not having your blocker removed, your opponent doesn't have a counterspell, etc.) and the control player can choose not to attack with Chromium, the Mutable if he or she senses trouble.

Nicol Bolas, the Ravager

 

Nicol Bolas, the Ravager


Nicol Bolas, the Ravager might look splashy but it is all about value. It's a gigantic Ravenous Rats with the potential of becoming a Planeswalker. However, my concern is that it doesn't match up well against Chandra, Torch of Defiance, and you also allow Hazoret the Fervent to come active a little earlier.

At least it cannot be killed by Glorybringer - because, gasp, Nicol Bolas is a Dragon - but I feel it will truly shine after the powerful red cards rotate out.


Desecrated Tomb

 

Desecrated Tomb


I like Desecrated Tomb with Scrapheap Scrounger where we could get 2 triggers off it. It also has synergy with Embalm and Eternalize. Even if your opponent tries to exile your graveyard, you will gain the extra bat as well.

The flying token provides constant pressure to your opponent. However, I feel that you need to at least get two Bats out of it to justify the value of Desecrated Tomb.

 



Anyway, there are the essential Standard cards I would like to discuss. There are still lots of cards in Core Set 2019 which could shake up the format a little. For now, Mono-Red will continue to be the top deck in the format and Goblin Chainwhirler is going to be everywhere.

I'll brew very hard and hope to find something competitive because I'm not sure that I will enjoy playing red decks for the entire season. Wish me luck!

 

@leearson on Twitter




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