This week in Magic: Looking at the new Standard

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It’s that time again. Time for another edition of This week in Magic. As you could tell, we took a little break last week because things were getting a little stale, but now that Standard tournaments have been reporting in with the latest rotation, we’ve finally got something to talk about. Last week, the SCG Open was in Indianapolis. If you were one of the many viewers tuning in, then you got to see some of the great new decks to hit the tournament scene. A quick look at the Top 8 shows that Abzan is still alive and kicking. At the same time, Jeskai and Esper managed to make the trip as well.


There were two decks, though, that really stood out among the crowd. Those two decks were a 5-color Bring to Light deck and an Atarka Red Aggro deck. Now the Atarka Red Aggro deck is something that many players saw coming. A Red based aggro deck is usually expected at the beginning of every new Standard rotation. Bring to Light was a card many were excited about, but it was unclear as to how this card would get played. Well, it seems that we finally have an answer. Let’s take a look at the list that made the Top 8.



5C Bring to Light

by Gerry Thompson – 5th place


4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy

4 Siege Rhino

2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer

1 Silumgar, the Drifting Death

1 Gilt-Leaf Winnower

1 Clever Impersonator

4 Bring to Light

4 Abzan Charm

2 Disdainful Stroke

2 Murderous Cut

2 Reave Soul

1 Crux of Fate

1 Ugin’s Insight

1 Languish

1 Ruinous Path

1 Utter End

1 Sultai Charm

4 Polluted Delta

4 Flooded Strand

3 Bloodstained Mire

2 Lumbering Falls

2 Windswept Heath

2 Forest

1 Wooded Foothills

1 Shambling Vent

1 Plain

1 Island

1 Swamp

1 Canopy Vista

1 Sunken Hollow

1 Cinder Glade

1 Prairie Stream

1 Smoldering Marsh


For now, we’re going to concentrate on just the core aspect of the deck. We’ll look at the sideboard another time. If you couldn’t tell by now, the key to the deck is Bring to Light. Don’t let the look of this sorcery fool you. It’s proven to be quite a powerful tutor. In a lot of the games captured on camera during the tournament, the best thing it could tutor for was Siege Rhino. It’s one thing for  deck to naturally draw multiple Rhinos in a row, but playing Bring to Light essentially gives you Siege Rhinos number 5-8.


In addition to being able to stomp all over your opponent with Rhinos it has incredible reach. The deck has an unusual number of 1’s and 2’s in the deck list, but as long as you have the mana, Bring to Light can grab anyone of the limited spells in your deck. Also, thanks to Jace, you can use these spells more than once if needed.


So how do you play against a deck like this? Well, one thing is for sure, I don’t think this is an easy deck to play. This looks like one of those situations where if the person piloting the deck doesn’t know how to play it well, it could potentially implode on itself, but don’t always count on that. Bring to Light is one of the keys to the deck. If you take it out of the equation, you chances of winning increase. So, spells like Duress or anything that will disrupt your opponent’s hand may do the trick. There is also a lack of counters in the deck which means it could run into some serious trouble against heavy control decks.


Atarka Red is a deck that will probably stick around for a while. Mono Red was really hurt with the rotation of Theros and M15. So like any good deck, it adapted to the changes and has transformed itself from a burn deck to one of the most aggressive decks in the format. Let’s take a look at the list.


atarka command

Atarka Deck Wins

by Brian Demars – 1st place


4 Zurgo Bellstriker

4 Abbot of Keral Keep

4 Monestary Swiftspear

2 Lightning Berserker

2 Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh

1 Makindi Sliderunner

4 Wild Slash

4 Atarka’s Command

4 Titan’s Strength

4 Dragon Fodder

3 Become Immense

3 Temur Battle Rage

8 Mountain

4 Bloodstained Mire

4 Wooded Foothills

2 Cinder Glade

2 Windswept Heath

1 Forest


As you can see, there is nothing special about this deck. It’s very straight forward – play a bunch of creatures and smash your opponent as fast as you can. Like a lot of aggro decks, there isn’t much of a late game. So, if your opponent begins to stabilize with fatter creatures, you could find yourself in some trouble. This shouldn’t be the case, though. You should be playing spells without much hesitation because you want to be able to fill your graveyard in order to make things easier when casting Become Immense. The green pump spell plus Temur Battle Rage should be more than enough to finish your opponent even if they have a blocker.


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


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