www.Blackborder.com www.Blackborder.com www.Blackborder.com
www.Blackborder.com

Navigation

Small orders ship for just 60 cents!

RSS

Subscribe to Syndicate

Hot Products

Godless Shrine

Godless Shrine

$10.11

4 available

view Buy

Gitaxian Probe

Gitaxian Probe

$3.11

4 available

view Buy

Supreme Verdict

Supreme Verdict

$3.11

4 available

view Buy

Sacred Foundry

Sacred Foundry

$11.24

4 available

view Buy

You are here

Standard Thoughts on Innistrad

node_image: 

Petr Brozek
Petr Brozek

About Petr Brozek

Petr Brozek is a Magic player from the Czech Republic who has a number of high-profile finishes under his belt:

  • 65 Lifetime Pro Points
  • Czech National Champion 2008
  • Top 8 GP Prague 2011
  • Top 8 GP Oakland 2010
  • 11th Worlds 2009
  • 22nd Worlds 2008
  • Level 4 Pro Players Club member

Standard Thoughts on Innistrad

Hello and welcome to today's article in which I’m going to talk about some Innistrad cards and their Standard applications and bring you new brews that are trying to make the most out of the Innistrad mechanics or themes. I will try to adapt those decks to a metagame featuring some of the old decks that were successful in Block Constructed and those that survived from the old Standard format – Birthing Pod, Tempered Steel/Puresteel, MonoR control/midrange, UB control/Tezzeret. First of all, I have to say that I haven't played a lot with the decks, as Innistrad is too young right now, but I at least goldfished a lot with all the decks to figure out the mana curve and so on.

The first strategy I want to talk about is reanimating creatures from your graveyard. Whenever there is a new reanimation spell available, people try to build a reanimator deck. I don't think it is possible to build a real reanimator deck in this format, as the ways to get back creatures from your graveyard are pretty slow – Unburial Rites, Grimoire of the Dead, Quicksilver Amulet, Skaab Ruinator. The deck then ends up with either almost no cards to interact with the opponent and is too fragile, or becomes more of a control deck that isn’t a true reanimator deck, as it will most likely run reanimation targets that can also be cast from your hand. Instead of focusing on one of these two approaches, I will try to build a fake reanimator deck – a deck that is milling/discarding cards in order to get creatures into the graveyard, but it doesn't care about them as reanimation targets and rather uses them in a different way.

UG Fake Reanimator

Tags: 
Colors
Artifact8
Blue19
Green13
Land20
Converted Mana Cost
116
28
315
51
Type
Artifact8
Basic Land16
Creature28
Instant4
Land4
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
3.05263
Average: 3.1 (19 votes)

Skaab Ruinator
Versions:
Innistrad (Foil)

This deck is also trying to fill the graveyard with creatures, but it doesn’t care which creatures go to the graveyard. It just plays creatures that will benefit from other creatures in the graveyard and it doesn't rely on reanimation spells. This deck resembles the Dredgevine decks more than anything else. The goal of the deck is to get creatures quickly into the graveyard and then play several large threats, either directly from your graveyard or those that benefit from the full grave. As it is important to get creatures into your graveyard very quickly, there are spells that are capable of doing so as early as turn one. Among them, Dream Twist and Surge Node look like the best options. Ghoulcaller's Bell is probably not good enough, as it is a lot slower than the other options. At two mana, there is Mulch, Merfolk Looter, and Jace's Erasure and at three mana we have Jace's Archivist, Curse of the Blood Tome and Forbidden Alchemy. In order to have enough creatures in your graveyard, you have to play as many creatures as possible, so you will prioritize creatures over spells, even if the spells would be a little bit better. You really don't want to play your mill spells just to mill other mill spells into your graveyard. The right mix could be somewhere around 28 creatures and 12 spells.

The core of the deck is formed by the two green Lhurgoyfs and Skaab Ruinator. The only problem of this trio is that Lhurgoyfs don't combo well with Skaab Ruinator. But the other cards in the deck combo well with all of them. The rest of the deck is there to help with casting Skaab Ruinator or make your Lhurgoyfs big enough. This leaves the deck in an awkward position, as it doesn't interact with the opponent and your threats are just big and dumb creatures (though two of them have some kind of evasion).

We then have to consider adding cards that can interact with your opponent’s plays. I don't think there is room for non-creature cards to do that job and you would have to rely on Aether Adepts and such, if you really care about the other side of the table. Another question is whether to include more real threats, such as Stitched Drake, Bonehoard or Wreath of Geists. And finally, we have to decide if playing Visions of Beyond is worth it. If everything goes according to plan, you could have twenty cards in your graveyard by turn five or six. This is exactly the point in the game when you need to refill your hand, but I think it is still better to just start casting Skaab Ruinators over and over again. Ponder could also be an option, as it is very good with all the mill effects and can improve your draws in the early game, while also being able to find the important beater in the late game, which is a similar effect to drawing three cards if you can mill away the other two cards. But still, there aren’t many slots for non-creature non-mill cards.

A lot of tuning and tweaking will be needed to find the right mix of cards and hopefully there will be a configuration that makes the deck competitive against the rest of the field. For example, Kessig Cagebreakers could be pretty strong, as it can kill your opponent with one hit, but it’s also quite slow.

Another theme of Innistrad is Flashback. The first card “with flashback” that is on everyone’s mind is Snapcaster Mage. But let’s forget about Snapcaster Mage for a moment. I am not saying that he is bad, but he is definitely not a card you can build a Standard deck around. He is a good addition to existing decks or new decks, but all these decks would most likely work just fine without him. Then there are some flashback cards that are good, because of the card advantage they provide (Think Twice, Forbidden Alchemy), but those are also just additions to an already functioning deck. When I am talking about using Innistrad themes, I want to turn these themes into the win condition of my decks.

And with flashback, there is a card that makes this possible – Burning Vengeance. With Burning Vengeance, you just have to cast ten cards from your graveyard (if you have one copy on the table) to win the game and it really doesn't matter what those cards are doing on their own. The only problem with this is that there are not enough cards with flashback with strong enough effects and with a reasonable casting cost to make that plan viable. Fortunately, there is a card that could help - Past in Flames. This is the other part of the combo, as it allows you to replay any instant or sorcery card in your graveyard. How easy. Or, how easy it would be in a world with a ton of rituals and spells like Manamorphose. Unfortunately, there are no (playable) rituals in Standard, which makes it pretty difficult to play enough cards in one turn, so there won’t be a fast mana strom deck around. A possible way to go is to use Phyrexian mana, allowing you to play enough spells from your graveyard without the need for extra mana. The problem is that, if you want to deal 20 damage, you have to pay exactly 20 life, if you are lucky enough and you have 10 Phyrexian mana spells in your graveyard. So this is the only problem of the plan that needs some more work. Here is a list for reference.

TIPS (The Imperfect Storm)

Tags: 
Blue
Red
Colors
Blue20
Green4
Land20
Red16
Converted Mana Cost
128
38
44
Type
Basic Land16
Enchantment4
Instant24
Land4
Sorcery12
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
3.5
Average: 3.5 (22 votes)

Burning Vengeance
Versions:
Innistrad (Foil)

Even if the list above is not working very well, it lead me to another deck idea. If it’s possible to have 10 instant or sorcery cards in your graveyard, why not to use this as fuel for Runechanter's Pike? It’s similar to Blazing Shoal, though not as fast, as cheap, as reliable and... At least it is not banned and is Standard legal! It’s probably more of a Cranial Plating style card than a Shoal, but in one way or another, it fits pretty well into a deck that plays a lot of spells.

In general, Runechanter's Pike is not as good a piece of equipment as Swords are, but it could be a lot better in the right deck. Pike is not in the deck to create a long term advantage like SoFaF does, but to quickly kill your opponent, ideally in one or two hits. And in order to make that possible, you need some good bearers for the equipment. The best one is definitely Inkmoth Nexus. This one alone will enable some one hit kills and the same is true for Blighted Agent. But the deck is not trying to be as fast as possible (it’s not possible to get 9 spells in your graveyard quickly enough, and also have an Agent online) and rather is trying to play a similar game as Splinter Twin did. You counter some spells, search for you combo and protect yourself with Spellskite and then kill them in one big turn. And, when you are searching for a combo and trying to get as many instant and sorceries in your graveyard as possible, you have the perfect home for everyone’s favorite Innistrad superstar – Snapcaster Mage. In this kind of deck, you can be sure that you will get some value out the mage almost every time. It will be drawing extra cards most often, but, being flashable, he can also grab the Pike and hit hard.

Here is an initial decklist:

Runechanter

Tags: 
Colors
Artifact10
Blue28
Land20
White2
Converted Mana Cost
116
220
34
Type
Artifact7
Artifact Creature3
Basic Land16
Creature4
Instant18
Land4
Sorcery8
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
3.4
Average: 3.4 (20 votes)

Runechanter's Pike
Versions:
Innistrad (Foil)

The last “mechanic” in Innistrad is "vampirism" – the ability to get a +1/+1 counter every time a creature deals damage to an opponent. Even this is not a ridiculous ability, but it's one that could potentially be pretty strong with one of the older abilities, proliferate. And it is also a mechanic that could make red decks a real contender. With those vampires, it seems that red will have to focus more on synergy rather than just playing the best burn spells and aggressive creatures. Honestly, the best burn spells and aggressive creatures rotated out with Zendikar Block anyway. Without Goblin Guide, Lightning Bolt and Searing Blaze and the presence of Timely Reinforcements, Red will have to think more about the later stages of the game and about playing threats that can deal more than three to four damage. Even though there is a pretty nice burn spell in Innistrad (Brimstone Volley) that would have fit nicely into old burn decks, I think the better three mana burn spell will be Volt Charge, as Stromkirk Noble has the potential to become the best red one drop right now. Other cards that will likely be found alongside Volt Charge in your deck are Stormblood Berserkers, Shrine of Burning Rage and Koth of the Hammer. All those cards are able to compete with other decks in games that go to the late game.

The question then is if you want to play other proliferate cards such as a Tezzeret's Gambit, the answer is probably no, as those cards will make the deck too slow. You also have to figure out if playing other cards with counters on them, such as a Bloodcrazed Neonate, is worth it. When analyzing these cards, the criterion has to be if they are good enough without the proliferate effects, as you can't rely on them so heavily (having 4 of them in a deck, or 8 at max. if you are playing Tezzeret's Gambit). Right now, I don't think there are such cards in Innistrad other than Stromkirk Noble.

I am going to post a decklist of a red deck that will undoubtedly surprise many of you because of the number of Grim Lavamancers. I think that this wizard is not the best red one drop anymore, without the fetchlands and cheap burn spells. He will find a better home in some red/blue decks where he will have more fuel. In this deck he is a late game card that won't do much in the early game and there are probably better guys for the late game jobs. The other thing is a green splash. I didn’t splash green just because of Kessig Wolf Run, but because of the reprint of Ancient Grudge. Ancient Grudge is one of the reasons why I think red could stand a chance against Tempered Steel decks or against Puresteel Paladin decks. And it also kills Birthing Pod and destroys the new artifact Ivory Mask that every deck has access to.

A preliminary decklist could look like this:

Rg Charge

Tags: 
Red
Colors
Artifact4
Green2
Land22
Red32
Converted Mana Cost
117
212
34
45
Type
Artifact4
Basic Land12
Creature15
Instant15
Land10
Planeswalker4
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
3.666665
Average: 3.7 (24 votes)

I know, I didn’t explore all the new possibilities of the Innistrad world, but that’s impossible to do in one article. I tried to talk about topics and ideas that other writers haven't covered yet (at the time I was writing my article), so hopefully you won't regret reading this article, even if there are no perfectly tuned decklists.

See you next time!

Petr Brozek

Average: 
0
Your rating: None
3.9
Average: 3.9 (20 votes)
All trademarks and copyrights are acknowledged and are the property of their respective owners. This website is not produced by Wizards of the Coast TM. As an Authorized Internet Retailer of Wizards of the Coast, adventuresON.com may only ship sealed Magic: the Gathering products within the United States. As an Authorized Internet Retailer of Wizards of the Coast, adventuresON.com cannot sell sealed Magic: the Gathering products business to business. Authorized Internet Retailer for Wizards of the Coast