Spoiler season for Amonkhet is about to begin. While there will certainly be cards and mechanics that lead to entirely new decks, there’s also an opportunity for cards to boost existing decks that were missing just one or two crucial pieces. With this article I’m going to cover the things I’ll be looking for in Amonkhet.
New Dual Lands
Right now standard already has a lot of dual lands with the cycles headlined by Shambling Vent, Smoldering Marsh, Inspiring Vantage, and Port Town. While that gave you a lot of options, only certain combinations wound up being good. Building an aggressive 3-color wedge like Mardu worked great, especially with the addition of Spire of Industry. 2-color allied decks like U/W flash or G/W tokens worked ok, but you couldn’t afford to play very many utility lands. The lands worked pretty poorly for building a 3-color control deck like Esper or Grixis. Too many of your lands come into play tapped at inopportune times. While I’d certainly bet on there being new dual lands in Amonkhet, I can’t really speculate on how they will work. Once they are spoiled figuring out how they work with the existing duals will be an important first step to understanding the new standard.
New Colorless Lands
Reality Smasher, Matter Reshaper, and Thought-Knot Seer are all still going to be legal. When painlands left standard they all took a pretty big hit. It became too hard to play them in a two color deck. The single color decks just weren’t powerful enough. Amonkhet will help fill out the single color decks, and some good colorless utility lands could be enough to bring these creatures back into the top decks.
New Cheap Artifacts
One of the biggest disappointments to me in Kaladesh block was the lack of playable cheap artifacts. If you wanted to play an aggressive deck there was Heart of Kiran, Scrapheap Scrounger, and Smuggler’s Copter, but if you wanted to play a slower deck there were very few options for turns 1 and 2. Lots of people tried to build decks using Tezzeret the Schemer, Metalwork Colossus, and Herald of Anguish. One of the reasons these decks failed was that they needed early interaction, and they just couldn’t get it from their artifacts. That could all change if Amonkhet has cards like Ratchet Bomb or Pithing Needle.
While Fatal Push has certainly shown up in standard, most decks struggle to be able to turn on revolt. Renegade Rallier, Solemn Recruit, and Vengeful Rebel don’t really show up at all. If we see some revolt enablers that are better than Evolving Wilds we might start to see those cards show up. Fetchlands would be the most obvious way for that to happen, but I’m not expecting to see them come back into standard.
One of the best cards in standard right now is Torrential Gearhulk, but there aren’t very many options for expensive instants to pair with it. Glimmer of Genius isn’t really a card that has a good constructed rate. The main reason it gets used is that it’s the best option to pair with the Gearhulk. Confirm Suspicions is another card that sees play occasionally. It’s pretty embarrassing on it’s own, but starts to look ok if you get to rebuy it. Any 4+ cmc instant that is better than either of those options is going to pair really well with Torrential Gearhulk.
It’s a safe bet to assume that Amonkhet is going to have some Planeswalkers. We’ve already seen strategies that use the cycle of Oaths from Oath of the Gatewatch work in a variety of decks. If a new planeswalker looks good, trying it with the those cards is a pretty logical step. Dark Intimations hints at an upcoming Bolas planeswalker. While Dark Intimations looks pretty bad on it’s own if the new Bolas is good maybe it can make an impact.
B/G delirium has been a contender since Eldritch Moon was released. It took a big hit with the banning of Emrakul, the Promised End, but Grim Flayer, Ishkanah, Grafwidow, and Traverse the Ulvenwald are still very good cards. Any cards that give this deck a good way to get unusual types into the graveyard will need to be considered.
Human decks are almost good enough right now because of Thalia’s Lieutenant. Metallic Mimic works with any tribe. There are good cards from Shadows block for Vampires and Zombies. Each of these tribes is really just one or two pieces short of being a good deck. Pay attention to the creature types as cards are spoiled to see if we get any of the missing pieces.