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This time feels somewhat split for me.

I just recently played the Core Set 2020 prerelease, but I went back and drafted Modern Horizons because that’s still my next relevant format at Mythic Championship IV in Barcelona. I’ll also play Modern there, but at the time of writing the ban announcement hasn’t happened yet so I don’t really know what the format will look like.
It also felt weird to have a new set plentiful with exciting options for Standard that I really had neither incentive nor time to dive into except for clearing some quests on Arena. However, I just went 6-2 in Modern Horizons Sealed (which is by the way the best Sealed format I have ever played) at the MOCS Preliminary. That means I am qualified for the Play-Off next weekend, which will be Standard.

So I have to get to work. The format will still be very unexplored by the time of the tournament, but the pay-off for figuring things out is quite high. So the only right course of action is: I will have to dive into this format for real now.
This is where I plan to start my exploration of the format.

A feather in my cap

Is it time for this deck to fly?

Feather, the Redeemed from War of the Spark

Feather, the Redeemed from War of the Spark

I think we can all agree that Feather, the RedeemedFeather, the Redeemed is such a cool Magic card. From name, to mana cost, to size and abilities, this is one that just screams to be built around.
And that was done. Successfully even! The deck managed to top 8 two Grands Prix in the months since it came out. I was interested in trying it out, but never pulled the trigger. That was until I saw this tweet from Wyatt Darby:

I think he is absolutely right. Not only does Temple of TriumphTemple of Triumph help make the deck more consistent by scrying, the deck also had an ambitious mana base that could certainly use an extra dual land. And we don’t even run any 1-drops it can get in the way of!
When the set came out on Arena, I spent some wildcards to build this version that is closely mirrored off of the deck that Teruya Kakumae used to top 8 Grand Prix Taipei.

Boros Feather by Simon Nielsen

Creatures (21)
Dreadhorde Arcanist
Tenth District Legionnaire
Adanto Vanguard
Tomik, Distinguished Advokist
Feather, the Redeemed
Legion Warboss
Gideon Blackblade

Spells (17)
Rile
Gods Willing
Defiant Strike
Reckless Rage
Shock
Lands (22)
Plains
Mountain
Temple of Triumph
Sacred Foundry
Clifftop Retreat

Sideboard (15)
Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
Tocatli Honor Guard
Demystify
Lava Coil
Prison Realm
Dire Fleet Daredevil
Fry

I added RileRile because I thought the deck needed a bit more value. As is, you aren’t really getting much use out of your Dreadhorde ArcanistDreadhorde Arcanist against decks without creatures unless you draw Defiant StrikeDefiant Strike.

Inspired by a Podcast

Improving on Naya Feather

Temple of Triumph from Core Set 2020

Temple of Triumph from Core Set 2020

While listening to the Pro Points Podcast, I heard how Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa – who was already a fan of the Feather deck – had tried out a Naya version with the new card Season of GrowthSeason of Growth. That card does seem nuts with the strategy we already want to employ.
His first attempt was a full-on Naya deck that lets us play green creature upgrades to the Boros list. He did say that the mana just didn’t work out, but he also said he just played the classic 12 shocklands, 12 checklands mana base.
As I pointed out in an earlier article, this mana base will provide 16 sources of each color which is way more green than we need, and not enough white. But if we cut Rootbound CragRootbound Crag for Temple of TriumphTemple of Triumph, we actually get a perfect, albeit painful, mana base.

Naya Feather by Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

Creatures (18)
Dreadhorde Arcanist
Tenth District Legionnaire
Thorn Lieutenant
Feather, the Redeemed
Gruul Spellbreaker

Spells (18)
Defiant Strike
Reckless Rage
Season of Growth
Gods Willing
Domri’s Ambush
Lands (24)
Temple of Triumph
Temple Garden
Stomping Ground
Sacred Foundry
Sunpetal Grove
Clifftop Retreat

Sideboard (15)
Veil of Summer
Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
Shock
Fry
Tocatli Honor Guard
Lava Coil

After a couple games with the deck, I must admit Paulo was so right about Thorn LieutenantThorn Lieutenant being the perfect creature for this deck. 3 toughness is important when we play Reckless RageReckless Rage and unlike Adanto VanguardAdanto Vanguard it’s actually more than fine at defending you.
Boros Feather usually destroys creature decks, but with a more painful mana base and no maindeck ShockShock I could see that turning, even though our creatures are better at blocking. For that reason I’ve considered cutting a Temple of TriumphTemple of Triumph or Clifftop RetreatClifftop Retreat, as I think 23 lands would be fine, and a Season of GrowthSeason of Growth to play two ShockShock maindeck, and cut the third Shock in the sideboard for that 4th Season of GrowthSeason of Growth.

I have a really good gut feeling about this Naya build. I know this historically hasn’t meant much, but I had to to say it anyway.

Back on my horse

The worst deck for ladder climbing

Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle from Dominaria

Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle from Dominaria

If you need a refresher on this complicated combo deck, I’ve got you right here.

That article has to be my most visited one, as it’s still being shared by people like Matt Nass when he plays it on his stream. I am very proud of myself for making this ridiculous combo somewhat competitive. And while I thought there could be no more perfect card for the deck than Fblthp, the LostFblthp, the Lost, boy was I wrong about that when they printed Salvager of RuinSalvager of Ruin in M20.

This card makes the combo so much smoother, as now you only need to play Teshar, Ancestor’s ApostleTeshar, Ancestor’s Apostle and cast Chamber SentryChamber Sentry for 0 bringing back Salvager of RuinSalvager of Ruin. Once the Chamber SentryChamber Sentry has entered the battlefield and died, you can use Salvager to bring it right back, which then brings the same Salvager back.
This is infinite historic spells to mill them out with Diligent ExcavatorDiligent Excavator. If you have two Mox AmberMox Amber instead you can get infinite mana, which lets you get access to your entire deck if you also have two Fblthp, the LostFblthp, the Lost or a single Lazav, the MultifariousLazav, the Multifarious.

As always, you can also just mill yourself and win right away by generating infinite mana and bringing back Jace, Wielder of MysteriesJace, Wielder of Mysteries with Rona, Disciple of GixRona, Disciple of Gix.

And Salvager of RuinSalvager of Ruin is even historic itself. It couldn’t be more perfect!

Teshar Combo by Simon Nielsen

Creatures (31)
Chamber Sentry
Stitcher’s Supplier
Fblthp, the Lost
Lazav, the Multifarious
Diligent Excavator
Militia Bugler
Salvager of Ruin
Rona, Disciple of Gix
Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle

Spells (7)
Mox Amber
Jace, Wielder of Mysteries
Teferi, Time Raveler
Lands (22)
Island
Godless Shrine
Watery Grave
Hallowed Fountain
Glacial Fortress
Temple of Silence
Drowned Catacomb

Sideboard (15)
Oath of Kaya
Teferi, Time Raveler
Kitesail Freebooter
Cerulean Drake
Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord
God-Eternal Oketra

Smarter people than me have added Teferi, Time RavelerTeferi, Time Raveler and Oath of KayaOath of Kaya to the deck, and those innovations are certainly here to stay. I also really like Matt Nass’ idea of Jace, Wielder of MysteriesJace, Wielder of Mysteries as an alternate win condition. It’s not even that hard to just play it on turn 3!
I was actually also pretty hyped up about Tomebound LichTomebound Lich in this deck as I thought I could really use a creature that discards cards to bring back with Teshar, Ancestor’s ApostleTeshar, Ancestor’s Apostle. But it just kept being underwhelming, partly because it’s really bad against Narset, Parter of VeilsNarset, Parter of Veils and partly because it doesn’t put you up on cards, which makes it lackluster when you play value-Teshars.
I figured in the end that if I was going to play a card that didn’t put me up on cards, I’d rather just pay one mana for it, and I added Stitcher’s SupplierStitcher’s Supplier back in. This also makes the deck a bit less clunky now that we have an extra 3-drop to accommodate.

This deck continues to be a pain in the neck to play online, but it is actually doable, especially with the new combo that is so much easier to execute. I would still recommend against using this to climb the Arena ranked ladder unless you have way too much spare time.

New Stompy!

When Ghalta crashed into the mortuary

Rotting Regisaur from Core Set 2020

Rotting Regisaur from Core Set 2020

Mono Green Stompy is another Standard deck that I have absolutely loved ever since Dominaria, and I’m still quite happy that I got to play it at Pro Tour 25th Anniversary where it was decently positioned.

These next three months will be the last roar of Ghalta, Primal HungerGhalta, Primal Hunger, but she did get some new followers to help power her out. Both ones that are alive and well, and one that is particularly nasty and definitely dead.

Black Stompy by Simon Nielsen

Creatures (33)
Llanowar Elves
Pelt Collector
Growth-Chamber Guardian
Barkhide Troll
Glowspore Shaman
Steel Leaf Champion
Rotting Regisaur
Nullhide Ferox
Ghalta, Primal Hunger

Spells (5)
Assassin’s Trophy
Vivien, Arkbow Ranger
Lands (22)
10 Forest
Temple of Malady
Overgrown Tomb
Woodland Cemetery

Sideboard (15)
Ghalta, Primal Hunger
Veil of Summer
Shifting Ceratops
Cast Down
Find // Finality
Carnage Tyrant
Loaming Shaman
Thrashing Brontodon
Vivien, Arkbow RangerVivien, Arkbow Ranger seems tailor-made for this archetype, but I was actually more hyped about Barkhide TrollBarkhide Troll as the deck has been lacking a bit in 2-drops and we want to play all green lands anyway. It’s also a neat combo with Vivien, Arkbow RangerVivien, Arkbow Ranger to make it big and also a pretty safe target for its -3 ability.

Another big upgrade from M20 are the scry lands. It has been a big issue for Stompy since rotation that the creatures in green haven’t quite been up to the right power level, but since you couldn’t afford to play lands that don’t cast Steel Leaf ChampionSteel Leaf Champion, you’d also lack sources to play an additional color.
Now, we both get a really overstatted 3-drop along with the scry-land to cast it. Turn 1 Llanowar ElvesLlanowar Elves, turn 2 Rotting RegisaurRotting Regisaur just lets you play Ghalta, Primal HungerGhalta, Primal Hunger turn 3 by themselves. Viviens ability to give trample also comes in very handy with a big creature like this.

And speaking of Vivien, I tried to include a tiny tutor package in the sideboard for her last ability, but I certainly didn’t want to go overboard. It works neatly with Ghalta, as I don’t really want 4 maindeck, but I do want to board up to 4 in some matchups anyway.

Postboard M20 brings even more gifts, and I can certainly imagine a sideboard plan where against interactive black decks I take out Nullhide FeroxNullhide Ferox and Ghalta, Primal HungerGhalta, Primal Hunger to bring in Shifting CeratopsShifting Ceratops and Veil of SummerVeil of Summer. Veil is such a sick card, it even counters a Thought ErasureThought Erasure on the draw!

Stompy Worship

A Temple for a different variant of this deck

Temple of Mystery from Core Set 2020

Temple of Mystery from Core Set 2020

Black-Green wasn’t the only color combination to get a new temple. I revisited the Blue Stompy deck I enjoyed playing a lot earlier this year.

Blue Stompy by Simon Nielsen

Creatures (34)
Llanowar Elves
Pelt Collector
Kraul Harpooner
Barkhide Troll
Departed Deckhand
Steel Leaf Champion
Jadelight Ranger
Frilled Mystic
Nullhide Ferox
Ghalta, Primal Hunger

Spells (2)
Dive Down
Lands (24)
Forest
Breeding Pool
Hinterland Harbor
Unclaimed Territory
Temple of Mystery

Sideboard (15)
Frilled Mystic
Shifting Ceratops
Nissa, Who Shakes the World
Veil of Summer
Thrashing Brontodon
Cerulean Drake
Departed DeckhandDeparted Deckhand looks weak but it just overperforms in this deck. And now we even get to have the full 12 sources we need to cast it. Same goes for Frilled MysticFrilled Mystic, which has the necessary 16 sources once we count Unclaimed TerritoryUnclaimed Territory naming Elf.

Though now I think about it, I played this deck before War of the Spark, and a world with Teferi, Time RavelerTeferi, Time Raveler certainly isn’t the best world for Frilled MysticFrilled Mystic, so maybe this version should just remain on the shelf.

 

This article was written by Simon Nielsen in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com