Learning Magic is learning all the formats, or, at least, the most popular ones. As much as I hate to admit it, there’s a whole world outside of 40 cards, and it’s about time to start exploring.

Last month, Hunter crossed over to the dark side of Standard after a PTQ victory. I think he’s rocking Jund Monsters right now, which looks like a ton of fun. On several occasions, I’ve considered investing in a tier one deck and never looking back.

Now is a bit of a weird time to enter Standard. This nifty little site lets you visualize the current blocks in rotation, as well as the ones about to leave. Ravnica block and M14 make their departure in little over two months, and I have little to no interest in purchasing cards that I’ll only be able to use for a few FNMs.

According to this nifty TCGplayer diagram, the bulk of Standard’s popular offerings—pillars of mono black devotion, mostly—are set to leave this fall.

most played

Let’s play spot the difference.

At first, I thought about building a reasonably competitive GB deck post-rotation. My tentative buylist looked a little bit like this:

BG buylist

I’ve been brokering my used textbooks to fund my Magic addiction, but it hasn’t really been going well.

Thoughtseize, Courser of Kruphix: dynamic duo, format staples. Thanks to some lucky first picks at GP Philly drafts, I already have a ‘seize and two Coursers in my collection. Price-wise, I don’t think they’re going anywhere, and shouldn’t be too hard to trade if I feel like pivoting to some other colors.

I’m trying to save money on lands, but the rotation of Mutavault/shocklands helps in that regard. At current prices, I don’t think scrylands and one damage zap-tap things are prohibitively expensive. But as a scrub, I do think they’re a prohibitively boring way of spending cash on the game.


Still have four packs of Journey Into Nyx. I’m hoping to find a playset of Coursers in there, somewhere.

The second, potentially more attractive option was to build a UR-Artifact list that’s been floating around lately. With stuff like Scuttling Doom Engine and Ensoul Artifact, M15 released a lot of goofy, powerful cards. Everyone likes the idea of Shrapnel Blasting a Doom Engine for a million damage to the face. And a turn-two indestructible/flying 5/5 creature (the definition of “living the dream”) helps dodge the removal and ground creature-heavy meta. When I watch Modern coverage, I love seeing Ux Delver decks in action. The combination of aggression and tempo plays looks powerful, and, most importantly, a lot of fun to pilot. Other archetypes seem clunky in comparison, even if they are favored.

I mostly stole this list from a Reddit /r/spike’s thread. There’s a lot of good discussion in there, as well as some alternative mono U and Boros build paths. All the artifact lists I’ve run into have the same combination of Engines/Thopters/Ensoul/Blast. I just decided to round out my main deck with some burn and counterspells. I really like Generator Servant.

Rotation-Compliant Izzet Artifacts, or, the Knighting of Sir Scuttles

Creatures (14)
Scuttling Doom Engine
Generator Servant
Chief Engineer

Spells (22)
Ensoul Artifact
Shrapnel Blast
Magma Jet
Lightning Strike
Lands (24)
Darksteel Citadel
Shivan Reef
Temple of Epiphany

Sideboard (4)
Phyrexian Revoker

So, what are your thoughts? Buying Thoughtseizes and Coursers seem like the more stable option. Probably unexciting, but they open up a lot of doors for future decks. The UR artifact list doesn’t seem to be much of an investment, and picking up a playset of Scuttling Doom Engine is never, ever a bad option.

Tony’s is the Hipster’s resident scrub, and Scrub Report is about his experience learning Magic. Find him at tonymei.com.

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