Although several cards from the latest MTG expansion Ravnica Allegiance have seen competitive play, there is one card that has, in most people’s minds, emerged as superior to the other Allegiance spells, and is arguably one of the best Magic cards in standard. The terrifying and adaptable Hydroid Krasis has certainly had a significant impact on the format, and has enabled otherwise unsuccessful strategies, yet, because of this utility, has similarly seen a meteoric rise in valuation, begging the question of whether Hydroid Krasis is worth the price. In this article, we consider the pros and cons of the only Jellyfish Hydra to ever be printed in Magic, and discuss how to proceed in your purchasing decisions and deck choice moving forward.
Hydroid Krasis is by any standard a fantastic card, and provides the caster with a myriad of benefits for a variety of situations. First and foremost, Hydroid Krasis is an acceptably costed flying creature that can function both as an aggressor against opponents who cannot block creatures with evasion and also as a defender against bloodthirsty sky-decks like Mono-Blue Aggro. Hydroid Krasis also draws half its X casting cost in cards and gains half of X in life, two actions that by themselves are extremely helpful against control and aggro decks respectively, and additionally difficult for opponents to deal with because the draw and life gain triggers of Hydroid Krasis are on cast, not resolution, of the spell. This individual card, then, provides a number of advantages for the player that casts it, making it individually one of the most powerful creatures in standard. In addition to its own functionality, Hydroid Krasis is overwhelmingly strong as a result of the incredible synergies it has with other cards in the format. Wilderness Reclamation, for example, allows the player to tap all their lands to cast the largest possible Hydroid Krasis during their main-phase while also having mana available for counter magic during their opponents turn. Likewise, Sultai decks running Memorial to Folly and Find//Finality can run out Hydroid Krasis early to smooth out land drops and dig to removal only to return the creature during the late game and cast it for a much more significant amount. Hydroid Krasis is also an excellent win condition for the Simic Nexus deck, which its previous Bant iteration had virtually no way of winning the game aside from a concession from its opponent.
- Written by Vincent A. | Last Updated on 21 February 2019
In recent MTG standard tournament results, Mono-Red has been conspicuously absent from the high-place finishers. Few top 8 spots have been awarded to Mono-Red in recent weeks, and not a single deck list with all red devotion made it to Day 2 of the most recent SCG Dallas Open. As some of our previous articles discussed, one reason for this decline in red dominance for the current standard meta is due to the overwhelming power of other decks, such as Sultai Midrange, that make a far better argument for being classified as the best deck in MTG standard compared to Mono-Red. There is still hope, however, for those who long for soul-crushing red decks that dominate tournaments. Although the days of Hazoret, Chandra and Soul-Scar Mage are behind us, here are three ways Mono-Red could find its way back to top tier MTG standard deck status.
Go Big or Go Home
One way that Mono-Red could be returned to its former status as the best standard deck is to up the curve and play some of the powerhouse finishers the color has to offer. A handful of lists, both before and after the release of Ravnica Allegiance, were making use of an odd combination of aggro and control cards, finding success against a variety of archetypes. Dire Fleet Daredevil, for example, offers incredible card advantage in the late game by stealing a spell from your opponent, which is twice as effective if targeting cards with Jumpstart like Chemister’s Insight, but can also function as a defensive 2/1 first-strike for two mana if your opponent’s aggression is overwhelming. Likewise, Banefire is a card that can provide uncounterable reach in the late-game, but can also be used as somewhat costly removal in a pinch. When combined with card selection spells like Rix Maadi Reveler, mana acceleration from Treasure Map, and a host of red removal, a Big Red list could switch from aggro to control quickly with a transformative sideboard and main-deck staples like Rekindling Phoenix and Siege-Gang Commander, out-maneuvering the more rigid decks of the format.
- Written by Vincent A. | Last Updated on 20 February 2019
In this edition of MTG Standard Deck Spotlight, we take a serious look at a deck once considered to be little more than a novelty before making a number of deep runs in recent tournaments. This four, or sometimes even five, color deck that relies on Guildgate lands and their respective payoff cards has found a place at the top of the MTG standard deck hierarchy, ramping into devastating win conditions and taking advantage of the newly released cards from Ravnica Allegiance. Quirky, tricky, and fun to play, this deck offers a great MTG standard deck option to those looking to be creative and just enough off-meta to legitimately surprise their opponents with their decklist. Here are three reasons why the Guildgate deck of Ravnica Allegiance standard is one of the best competitive MTG decks for the current environment.
Although the scaffolding of the deck is predetermined by the motif itself, there is a great deal of variance in Guildgate decklists currently performing well in competitive play. Specifically, different players are utilizing a variety of win conditions in different lists, in addition to some players using multiple win conditions within the same list, plunging opponents into chaos as they attempt to discern the optimal line of play against an unknown decklist. There are Guildgate decks, for example, that win through Gatebreaker Ram, a creature that achieves an absurdly high power and toughness in the late-game, and a couple of enormous Gate Colossus. Other decks prefer to rely almost entirely on obscenely large Hydroid Krasis after removing all the threats from their opponent’s board. Others still abuse the unreasonable amount of mana generated through Wilderness Reclamation to cast a single, game-winning Explosion//Expansion. Whichever win condition, or combination thereof, you choose to sleeve up for your tournament, you can be sure that this top tier MTG standard deck list will keep your opponents guessing at your choice until it ends the game.
- Written by Vincent A. | Last Updated on 15 February 2019
In this edition of MTG Standard Spotlight we address one of the most popular, and arguably the most winning, deck of Magic: The Gathering Allegiance standard. A common choice for mythic MTG Arena decks, Sultai utilizes the creatures from green, recursion from black, and a few splashed spells from blue to create an epic combination of power. Although this top tier MTG standard deck has a higher skill requirement than some of the other decks discussed, it will reward you tremendously for the time and effort you put into learning how to play it, and can even open avenues for adding your own tech. Here are three reasons why this deck is an awesome choice.
One of the most important aspects of Sultai Midrange is the inevitability it offers through recursion and card advantage that only pure control decks can top. Cards like Find//Finality and Memorial to Folly that bring creatures back to your hand from the graveyard allow you to trade mercilessly in the early game and reactivate enter-the-battlefield triggers. This recursion also functions as card advantage, as it allows you to play spells when your hand is empty or, in the case of Memorial to Folly, turn a flood of lands into a board state. Additionally, the plethora of explore creatures ensures you hit land drops, and offers card selection to optimize against the specific match up you’re facing in that moment. The combination of these two functionalities also has a multiplicative benefit, as you can send late game cards from the top of your deck to the graveyard knowing you can return them to your hand when they become relevant. In a format with exceptional, cheap removal, the potential of this deck to scale into the late game and grind down your opponent’s resources through recursion and card advantage is an excellent argument for why this is a MTG standard deck you should play.
- Written by Vincent A. | Last Updated on 12 February 2019