Returning to Zendikar and Returning to Standard

So after retiring from Magic: The Gathering a few times, and coming back for the initial release of Magic: The Gathering ARENA for a while (See some old articles I posted) I somehow found a reason to come back for Zendikar Rising, and I thought here would be a good time to have a look at the state of standard, and what kind of direction MTG is moving towards in the future.

The first and easiest place to start is what deck am I playing right now. When logging back in after a while I had discovered I had a tonne of unspent wild cards, and after visiting my local game store they actually dumped a pile of promo cards on me when I mentioned I was only keen on MTGA instead of a physical pre-release that weekend. This meant that I had the opportunity to build whatever I was feeling like, and this is where I ended up:

So this is my Temur Ramp deck, that has a one-shot one kill combo, and lots of neat little synergies, but let’s first look at our big swinging combo:

7 Land in play, resolve Genesis Ultimatum reveal Terror of the Peaks, and three Beanstalk Giants, and you can dome your opponent for 21 damage for an instant kill. If anyone lets you untap with Terror of the peaks it’s pretty much a free win. You have so much action that lets you get a lot of lands into play and then 7 creatures that have their power equal to the number of lands you control which is a pretty crazy two card combo. With all your ramp options, and some of the crazy tricks that Lotus Cobra can do it’s pretty easy to get some wacky free wins against aggro decks that tap out against you.

Why come back?

The easiest answer to that is power creep. The newest few sets have been absolutely packed with bonkers cards, and there’s been more bans in standard when I haven’t been playing standard, then in the many years that I did play it. That alone boggles my mind, we’ve got cards printed in standard banned in eternal formats. The reason for this, I believe is that WOTC RND is desperate for things that’ll hook players and get them excited playing magic, and a whole separate department is managing the competitive play scene, and seeing all this crazy stuff entering tournament 75’s and having to remove it to keep the playing field fair. The average card in this set has FIVE LINES OF TEXT, compared to Beta where you were begging them for more text explaining what those cards were supposed to do. (Where’s my Banding reminder text?)

Here’s two cards I’m playing in Standard, that I could ship in a 75 in Modern or Legacy.

I like my MTG complicated, headthinkey, and heavily strategic, that’s why I’ve mostly played Legacy, and after we saw what felt like a season of simplifying standard, they’ve moved back towards making it complicated again, and I’m here for it.

Is Zendikar Rising the reason for my return? I don’t think so, I left MTGA right as Throne of Eldraine was hitting it’s peak, and came back for Zendikar release, having missed a few sets in between, it’s actually been cool to have a big list of cards to have to catch up on. Is it time for you to return to Magic: The Gathering?

Probably not. I still prefer Legends of Runeterra, but it’s nice having some use for the kilo’s of brain matter reserved for knowing how to play M:TG.

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