Hello, fellow planeswalker!  Welcome to Standard Weekly!

With the first major tournament occurring in Japan last weekend, we now have more data about how deck builders are using the cards from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.  Plus, MTGO held an MTGO Showcase Challenge last weekend, so we have several new decks to talk about.

Players Convention Aichi 2023 Open @Big Magic (Japan) had 370 competitors that brought a wide variety of decks to the event.  The majority of the Top 32 finished played either Esper Raffine or 4/5C Control.  Last week I wrote about the changes to Esper Raffine.  You can check out that article here: Esper Raffine.  The rest of the Top 32 was a wide variety of decks.  Many of these decks took advantage of the new cards from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.

The breakout deck from the event was Azorius Tempo.  The deck uses the blue and white shell from Esper Raffine then replaces the black portion of the deck with new cards from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. It scored 2 Top 8 finishes.

Here is Masashiro Kuroda deck.

Azorius Tempo, Masashiro Kuroda, #3-4 Players Convention Aichi 2023 Open @Big Magic (Japan)

CREATURES: (13)

  • 2 Warden of the Inner Sky

  • 3 Dennick, Pious Apprentice

  • 4 Tishana’s Tidebinder

  • 4 Spyglass Siren

PLANESWALKERS (3)

  • 3 The Wandering Emperor

INSTANTS: (6)

  • 4 Make Disappear

  • 2 Destroy Evil

ENCHANTMENTS: (8)

  • 4 Wedding Announcement

  • 4 Virtue of Loyalty

ARTIFACTS (4)

  • 4 Subterranean Schooner

LANDS: (26)

  • 1 Otawara, Soaring City

  • 1 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire

  • 2 Island

  • 2 Plains

  • 4 Deserted Beach

  • 4 Seachrome Coast

  • 4 Adarkar Wastes

  • 4 Mirrex

  • 4 Restless Anchorage

SIDEBOARD: (15)

  • 2 Tocasia’s Welcome

  • 1 Knockout Blow

  • 2 Invasion of Gobakhan

  • 2 Disdainful Stroke

  • 2 Negate

  • 2 Get Lost

  • 2 Elspeth’s Smite

  • 2 Sunfall

Masashiro utilizes three new creatures from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan: Spyglass Siren, Tishana’s Tidebinder, and Warden of the Inner Sky.

Spyglass Siren is a 1/1 blue siren pirate with flying that costs a blue mana.  When Spyglass Siren enters the battlefield, create a map token.  Spyglass Siren provides the deck with an evasive threat that can grow as the game progresses by exploring.

Tishana’s Tidebinder is a 3/2 three mana merfolk wizard with flash.  When Tishana’s Tidebinder enters the battlefield, counter up to one target activated or triggered ability.  If an artifact, creature, or planeswalker’s ability is countered this way, that permanent loses all abilities until Tishana’s Tidebinder leaves the battlefield.  Tishana’s ability to shut down a Sheoldred or planeswalker makes it a valuable inclusion in the deck.  While Tishana’s Tidebinder does die to most removal, shutting down Sheoldred, the Apocalypse or a planeswalker does force your opponent to deal with Tishana’s Tidebinder can prevent your opponent from removing another key creature in the game.

Finally, Warden of the Inner Sky is a 1/2 human soldier who costs one white mana.  Like other new creatures, Warden of the Inner Sky has additional abilities that make it a good card.  As long as Warden of the Inner Sky has three or more counters on it, it has flying and vigilance.  Also, you may tap three untapped artifacts and/or creatures you control to put a +1/+1 counter on Warden of the Inner Sky.  When you activate this ability, you scry 1.  This ability allows you to use map tokens and creatures that just entered the battlefield to grow Warden of the Inner Sky until it has three counters.  Then it becomes a threat that must be dealt with, or it can take over the game.

The final key addition to the deck is Subterranean Schooner.  This vehicle costs two mana and crews for 1.  Whenever Subterranean Schooner attacks, target creature that crewed it explores.  This allows you to get an additional land or put a +1/+1 counter on the target creature if you reveal a nonland card.  When you use Warden of the Inner Sky to crew Subterranean Schooner, you get an explore trigger that may help Warden of the Inner Sky grow and get to the counters needed to activate its ability.

The other major event of last weekend was the MTGO Showcase Challenge.  Just like the Players Convention Aichi 2023 Open @Big Magic (Japan), Esper Raffine and 4/5C Control performed well.  Esper Raffine placed eight players in the Top 16 while 4/5C Control won the event.

The MTGO Showcase Challenge breakout deck was Azorius Tokens.  It placed three decks in the top 9.  Just like the Azorius Tempo deck, this deck utilizes Spyglass Siren, Subterranean Schooner, and Warden of the Inner Sky.  Plus, it adds Invasion of Segovia to get an additional token generator into the deck.

AZORIUS TOKENS, perret, 2nd PLACE MTGO SHOWCASE CHALLENGE

CREATURES: (12)

  • 2 Warden of the Inner Sky

  • 4 Regal Bunnicorn

  • 1 Malcolm, Alluring Scoundrel

  • 4 Spyglass Siren

  • 1 Skrelv, Defector Mite

PLANESWALKERS (4)

  • 4 The Wandering Emperor

INSTANTS: (3)

  • 1 Make Disappear

  • 2 Destroy Evil

ARTIFACTS (4)

  • 4 Subterranean Schooner

ENCHANTMENTS: (8)

  • 4 Wedding Announcement

  • 4 Virtue of Loyalty

INVASIONS (4)

  • 4 Invasion of Segovia

LANDS: (25)

  • 1 Deserted Beach

  • 2 Restless Anchorage

  • 2 Mirrex

  • 2 Otawara, Soaring City

  • 2 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire

  • 4 Island

  • 4 Plains

  • 4 Seachrome Coast

  • 4 Adarkar Wastes

SIDEBOARD: (15)

  • 2 Unstable Glyphbridge

  • 3 Elspeth’s Smite

  • 2 Protect the Negotiators

  • 1 Disdainful Stroke

  • 3 Tishana’s Tidebinder

  • 3 Dennick, Pious Apprentice

  • 1 Spell Pierce

   

When Invasion of Segovia enters the battlefield, you create two 1/1 blue Kraken creature tokens with trample.  This addition gives the deck additional creatures that can crew Subterranean Schooner and because they have trample, they make good explore targets.

When you defeat the battle, Invasion of Segovia transforms into Caetus, Sea Tyrant of Segovia.  Caetus is a 3/3 and it makes all your non-creature spells have convoke.  This allows you to tap your creatures to help cast spells.  Plus, you may untap 4 creatures at the beginning of your end step.  This allows you to attach with your creatures or use them to help cast spells and have them available to block.

Both Azorius Tempo and Azorius Tokens have the potential to remain among the best decks in Standard.  We will have to see what the next few weeks bring to determine what tier these decks will become a part of as the format develops.

That’s all for this week.  I’ll see you next time.

By: Scott Trepanier

Scott began playing Magic the Gathering in 1994.  His preferred format is standard.  Typically, you will see him playing aggro decks focused on quickly defeating his opponent but will pivot to midrange or control when standard is unfavorable for aggro decks.  He began creating Magic content in 2019.