At first, I dreaded the rotation. This is basically my first ever. When I stopped going to tournaments back in the late 90s, the block structure was still in its infancy and the rotation system as we know it today was sort of there, but it was more of an arbitrary decision by the DCI than an actual formalized system as it is today.
Now, I’m beginning to see it differently. Theros has some cards which make me feel like I want to build around them. I haven’t really built standard decks yet. Sort of, yes. Maybe even more than most, as I see netdecking happening all the time (and I don’t mind this at all since I regard deck building and playing too different skills, you don’t need to be good at both to enjoy the game) and even though my decks aren’t totally unique (like most decks), they at least have a hint of creativity in that I usually take a deck I like with heavy emphasis on a color, like Kibler’s Golgari deck or Conley Woods’ Black by Popular Demand and make them work for my style.
This time around, I’m actually thinking about decks from the ground up. At first, this seemed impossible, as the card pool is now quite limited. On the other hand, everyone has this same problem. I’m not alone in going from the largest possible standard pool to the smallest. This just means that I have to dig a little deeper, but so does everyone else.
Losing Innistrad and M13 is big. Losing Predator Ooze, Champion of the Parish, Vampire Nighthawk, Hellrider and so on completely neuters my current decks. But hey… that’s the beauty of rotation. Not only do I have to start from scratch, I get to start from scratch. Yes. I am overly positive. Obviously, my deck on 27th will be weaker than my current decks, but everyone is in the same situation.
That being said, as I’m writing this, we’ve seen one of the new gods from Theros, Thassa, the blue one. If the other gods are similar, I’m sure I’ll find a way to use them. I know my opponents will be able to abuse their weakness, but I’ll just have to live with that.
So, here’s what I’ve thinking about thus far (note that as I’m writing this, many of the cards aren’t in the gatherer yet, so you might have to look them up yourself, here’s a start):
Ember Swallower looks like something one might build around. With Boros Reckoners and Awaken the Ancients, this might actually work. Maybe. Depending on what kind of burn we’ll get in Theros. If we get a god similar to Thassa for red (and we probably will), it will be great with Boros Reckoner.
Red Deck Wins
I already talked about this in the last installment. Nothing new to add thus far. Hopefully we get at least one usable burn spell, so I can put Young Pyromancer into work. I guess Ogre Battledriver would work too, but it doesn’t have the same impact as Hellrider, so I’m not sure.
With Polukranos, World Eater out and a supposed green god coming, this might be it. I’ve actually been toying around with the idea of some ramp and Garruk, Caller of Beasts’ to get out huge creatures every turn. I was thinking about Worldspine Wurms, but I’d hate to be stuck with two of them in hand while never being able to cast them. Therefore I probably have to go down a bit on the casting cost. Gladly, Polukranos seems very good at four mana. Kalonian Hydra doesn’t really strike my fancy, although it would be a good addition for the curve, unless we get something better.
I already miss my Predator Oozes and Vorapedes. Those would be great for the Devotion with their three green mana symbols and resilience against removal. Why has extended died off? (That was rhetoric, I know why.)
Okay, the Champion is gone, Silverblade Paladin is gone, Sublime Archangel is gone… Turn four kills are probably out. Turn five, however… still within reach. Probably. Precinct Captain is probably underrated and a good mix of cheap Azorius creatures with interesting abilities and Boros Battalion creatures just might work. Maybe a working Rootborn Defenses into the deck somehow, if sweepers are popular. If not, Brave the Elements is probably better.