WotC announces Challenger decks

Wizards of the Coast recently announced Challenger decks – special pre-constructed decks that act as an entry option for players who would like to play standard at FNM or a higher level. These decks are stacked and very closely resemble decks that are currently in the top tier of the standard metagame. Each deck also comes with a full sideboard which means these decks are truly ready to go and compete at FNM. There will be four different decks available to purchase so there are plenty of options. Let’s have a look at the lists.

Hazoret Aggro

Creatures (23)
4 Bomat Courier
4 Fanatical Firebrand
3 Soul-Scar Mage
3 Harsh Mentor
3 Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
4 Ahn-Crop Crasher
1 Hazoret the Fervent
1 Glorybringer

Planeswalkers (1)
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Spells (12)
4 Shock
2 Magma Spray
4 Lightning Strike
2 Abrade
Lands (24)
20 Mountain
4 Sunscorched Desert

Sideboard (15)
4 Chandra’s Defeat
2 Kari Zev’s Expertise
2 Key to the City
2 Magma Spray
2 Pia Nalaar
3 Sentinel Totem

This deck is incredibly close to the red aggro deck that is a top challenger in the format right now and it’s a great starting point. The deck includes heavy hitters like Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Glorybringer and Hazoret the Fervent. These cards will also lower in price which will make it easier for newer players to acquire more to really power up the deck. This is also a pretty simple and straight forward deck – you play dudes and turn them sideways – perfect for someone that is just getting into standard for the first time.


Vehicle Rush

Creatures (21)
4 Bomat Courier
4 Toolcraft Exemplar
4 Scrapheap Scrounger
4 Veteran Motorist
3 Depala, Pilot Exemplar
2 Pia Nalaar

Spells (8)
4 Lightning Strike
4 Unlicensed Disintegration

Artifacts (7)
4 Heart of Kiran
1 Aethersphere Harvester
1 Cultivator’s Caravan
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
Lands (24)
3 Aether Hub
1 Concealed Courtyard
1 Dragonskull Summit
2 Evolving Wilds
1 Inspiring Vantage
3 Mountain
5 Plains
4 Spire of Industry
1 Swamp
3 Unclaimed Territory

Sideboard (14)
1 Aethersphere Harvester
2 Chandra’s Defeat
2 Crook of Condemnation
4 Duress
3 Harsh Mentor
2 Magma Spray

This deck has FOUR HEART OF KIRAN!!!. Vehicles has been a strong deck ever since the mechanic was introduced in Kaladesh and this is another nice aggro deck. This deck is a bit more complicated then the Hazoret deck due to the three colours of mana and also having creatures with lots of different abilities. I reckon this is a really cool deck to grab if you love aggro but are a bit bored of just the generic red deck.


Second Sun Control

Creatures (1)
1 Kefnet the Mindful

Spells (25)
4 Opt
4 Censor
1 Renewed Faith
4 Supreme Will
4 Glimmer of Genius
1 Settle the Wreckage
3 Fumigate
3 Approach of the Second Sun
1 Farm // Market

Enchantments (8)
4 Aether Meltdown
4 Cast Out
Lands (26)
2 Field of Ruin
2 Ipnu Rivulet
4 Irrigated Farmland
10 Island
8 Plains

Sideboard (15)
2 Glyph Keeper
1 Kefnet the Mindful
4 Negate
4 Regal Caracal
2 Renewed Faith
2 Spell Pierce

Now this is a true control deck. The aim of this deck is to keep the board clear of creatures or threats and then resolve Approach of the Second Sun and then do it again to win the game. This is super close to a finished version of Approach control and all it needs is some more Settle the Wreckage, Search for Azcanta and maybe Torrential Gearhulk. If you enjoy winning long games and stopping your opponents from doing much, then this deck is for you.


Counter Surge

Creatures (26)
1 Walking Ballista
4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
4 Winding Constrictor
4 Longtusk Cub
2 Scrapheap Scrounger
3 Dreamstealer
3 Rishkar, Peema Renegade
2 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
3 Verdurous Gearhulk

Spells (9)
4 Blossoming Defense
1 Fatal Push
2 Walk the Plank
2 Hour of Glory
Lands (25)
4 Aether Hub
7 Forest
4 Foul Orchard
2 Hashep Oasis
8 Swamp

Sideboard (14)
2 Appetite for the Unnatural
3 Cartouche of Ambition
2 Die Young
1 Dispossess
4 Duress
2 Lifecrafter’s Bestiary

Now this is my kind of deck, in fact I have played a very similar deck to this in a PPTQ before. This deck is also pretty simple to “upgrade” – pick up more Walking Ballista, Fatal Push and Vraska’s Contempt. If you enjoy more midrange games with the potential for explosive aggro draws then this is the deck for you. Winding Constrictor is the most important card in the deck and if it survives, your win rate rises significantly. This is definitely my favourite deck of the four and I would 100% take this to FNM.


These decks have a MSRP of $30 USD so I expect them to be around $40-45 here in Australia which is a great entry product for anyone looking to get into standard. This is a great initiative from Wizards of the Coast and I really hope this is incredibly successful so that it can be a continual product in the future and maybe even in other formats (Modern or Pauper please!!).

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