This weekend’s stop on the Star City Games Tour is Philadelphia, and it happens to be a team event. My wonderful team gave me the responsibility to hold down the Standard seat for them.  With only the single Standard Open in Worcestor for data and focus turning to Modern for Mythic Championship IV Barcelona, that’s not the easiest task. But I have narrowed down my deck search to two choices: Boros Feather and Gruul Dinosaurs.

My teammate Connor Mullaly had success at the Worcestor Open with Boros Feather, going 11-4 overall for nineteenth place. He feels the deck is well-positioned and has a positive win rate against the format. On the other hand, I did a lot of testing prior to Worcestor with Gruul Dinosaurs. That deck had so much power and felt really good.

So which will I play for my team this weekend in Philly? Let’s delve into the pros and cons of each deck. Then I’ll choose what I will play this weekend.

Boros Feather

My first potential Standard deck is Boros Feather. This deck plays a similar game to Bogles-style decks. Stick a threat—either Feather, the Redeemed or Tenth District Legionnaire—and use cheap spells that protect the creatures like God’s Willing and Sheltering Light.

Boros Feather

Creatures (16)
Dreadhorde Arcanist
Tenth District Legionnaire
Adanto Vanguard
Feather, the Redeemed

Spells (22)
Gideon Blackblade
Gods Willing
Defiant Strike
Reckless Rage
Sheltering Light
Moment of Heroism
Gird for Battle
Lands (22)
Temple of Triumph
Clifftop Retreat
Sacred Foundry

Sideboard (15)
Lava Coil
Tocatli Honor Guard
Dovin, Hand of Control
Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
Deafening Clarion
Saheeli, Sublime Artificer


There are a few pros to the Feather deck. First and foremost, even though there are a few creatures in the deck, they are resilient with the help of the spells. (Adanto Vanuard can also protect itself, of course.) Being able to grow Tenth District Legionnaire out of range of most burn spells is a big deal. You can attack through most creatures, and blocking becomes a nightmare for your opponent.

The deck also gains card advantage through the combination of its spells and creatures. Boros decks generally struggle with that part of the game. But Tenth District Legionnaire, Feather, the Redeemed, and Dreadhorde Arcanist all can generate massive amounts of card advantage with their abilities. Feather’s copying ability paired with Defiant Strike or Gods Willing can draw or manipulate your deck to find the cards you need.


Even with the London Mulligan rule, this deck has a high failure rate. Like any Voltron-style deck, drawing the wrong number of creatures and enablers often leads to defeat. Even with a bunch of card advantage built into the deck, it’s important to hit the ground running to stay ahead. I would be worried about not mulliganing aggressively enough and keeping non-optimal hands.

Gruul Dinosaurs

This deck uses Marauding Raptor to power out a bunch of aggressive dinosaurs. You assemble a large creature army that can attack through most board stalls. Domri, Anarch of Bolas and Commune with Dinosaurs find more threats to keep the action flowing.

Gruul Dinosaurs

Creatures (24)
Llanowar Elves
Marauding Raptor
Dreadhorde Arcanist
Gruul Spellbreaker
Ripjaw Raptor
Regisaur Alpha
Ghalta, Primal Hunger

Spells (15)
Domri, Anarch of Bolas
Commune with Dinosaurs
Reckless Rage
Adventurous Impulse
Lands (21)
Stomping Ground
Rootbound Crag

Sideboard (15)
Thrashing Brontodon
Veil of Summer
Reckless Rage
Chandra, Fire Artisan
Chandra, Awakened Inferno
Vivien Reid


This deck hits hard. It has one of the more aggressive curves in Standard, thanks to cards like Maurading Raptor. The cost reduction really accelerates the clock when you are playing three- through five-mana creatures. Many of the creatures in Standard have low power and toughness, so the bigger dinosaurs can crash through most defenses. And with the help of Domri, Anarch of Bolas, you can accelerate pretty fast into Ghalta, Primal Hunger, which is hard for Standard decks to answer currently.

Also, similar to the Feather deck, Gruul Dinos generates card advantage through the creatures. Maurading Raptor is one of the bigger “card advantage” spells in the deck, because the cost reduction lets you flood the board. In case you are worried about running out of creatures to play, Marauding Raptor combines with Ripjaw Raptor to draw more. Commune with Dinosaurs helps find good creatures to play, while fueling more double-spell turns.


This deck is weak against sweepers. Luckily control isn’t being played right now, so only Esper Hero has some wrath effects post board. It is easier to adjust the game plan from game one to game two with the knowledge that your opponent may have ways to deal with multiple creatures.

Nexus of Fates deck as a whole are another weakness of Dinosaurs. You apply so much pressure that they need to consistently Fog starting on turn four, so it’s not the worst matchup. But it’s basically a race, and one you can easily lose. Unfortunately there isn’t much in Gruul colors to make the deck better against Nexus.

Deck Choice

After testing both decks, I think I play Gruul Dinosaurs this weekend. It feels like the more well-rounded choice for the metagame, and one I am comfortable piloting. While the final list could look a little different, this is the gameplan I want to bring. For team events, the fact you don’t have to win every round on your own gives room to play a deck with some vulnerabilities but that offers a powerful gameplan that you enjoy. Hopefully I make the correct choice this weekend!

Now tell me, which of these decks interest you more and which one would you play.

Zack is a SCG grinder with one ultimate goal: getting to the Players Championship. Based out of NYC, you can find him in other cities every weekend trying to hit that goal. When he isn’t traveling he streams. Follow his journey on Twitter!

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