Hello, fellow planeswalkers!  Welcome to Standard Weekly!

Invasion of Alara was thought of as a meme card for most of its time in standard, but not anymore.  It may be the most important card in the current standard format because of a new card from Wilds of Eldraine: Bramble Familiar.  Together they have taken the 5 Color Control deck to a new place which typically means the game is over once you can successfully cast Invasion of Alara.

On the surface, Invasion of Alara does not appear to be one of the strongest invasions from March of the Machine.  For a mana of each color, you get the following:

“When Invasion of Alara enters the battlefield, exile cards from the top of your library until you exile two nonland cards with mana value 4 or less.  You may cast one of those two cards without paying its mana cost.  Put one of them into your hand.  Then put the other cards exiled this way on the bottom of your library in a random order.”

Spending five mana to get two nonland cards with mana value of 4 or less does not seem like the best deal given all the powerful cards in Standard.  But when you only have two nonland cards that cost 4 mana or less then you are guaranteed to get the card you want when Invasion of Alara enters play.  That card is Bramble Familiar.  The creature side of the card cost two mana so you will get it every time you play Invasion of Alara.

You will cast Bramble Familiar with Invasion of Alara’s ability, but you will not play the two-mana side of this adventure card.  You will play the seven-mana sorcery Fetch Quest.  This will mill seven cards.  Then you get to put a creature, enchantment, or land card from among the milled cards onto the battlefield.  This should hit one of your seven mana creatures.  Ideally, you will mill Cemetery Desecrator.

When Cemetery Desecrator hits the battlefield, you get to exile another card from a graveyard.  When you do you may remove X counters from target permanent, where X is the mana value of the exiled card.  At this point you should have another seven-mana spell in the graveyard, so you should be able to take full advantage of this enter the battlefield trigger.

You will point your counter-removal at Invasion of Alara.  This will remove all seven counters from the battle causing it to become exiled and returned to the battlefield as the sorcery Awaken the Maelstrom.  When Awaken the Maelstrom is cast from exile you get the following:

Target player draws two cards. You may put an artifact card from your hand onto the battlefield.  Create a token that’s a copy of a permanent you control.  Distribute three +1/+1 counters among one, two, or three creatures you control.  Destroy target permanent an opponent controls.

At this point, most opponents will scoop and move on to the next game.  When an opponent does not decide to concede, you will draw two cards, get to put an artifact onto the battlefield (Phyrexian Fleshgorger assuming it is in your hand), create a token that is a copy of a permanent you control, distribute three +1/+1 counters among the creatures you control, and destroy a target permanent an opponent controls.  The value from the sorcery side of the card puts your opponent on a short clock.  This usually leaves you with multiple creatures in play while your opponent has taken a beating from Invasion of Alara.

An alternative to this line of play is hitting an Atraxa, Grand Unifier or Etali, Primal Conqueror from the cards milled by Fetch Quest.  Atraxa, Grand Unifier will get you a bunch of cards that you can play on future turns and a 7/7 body on the battlefield with flying, vigilance, deathtouch, and lifelink.  “When Etali, Primal Conqueror enters the battlefield, each player exiles cards from the top of their library until they exile a nonland card.”  You then have the option of casting the spells without paying their mana cost.  Most of the time you will get two creatures off Etali’s trigger.

No matter which of the seven drop creatures you get from Invasion of Alara through Bramble Familiar’s adventure you will become significantly ahead on board.  This will leave your opponent with few options to come back in the game.

The 5 Color Invasion of Alara deck has not reached its final form at this point, so here are several versions of the deck list.

5 COLOR CONTROL, from untapped.gg

CREATURES: (14)

  • 1 Atraxa, Grand Unifier

  • 2 Etali, Primal Conqueror

  • 3 Phyrexian Fleshgorger

  • 4 Cemetery Desecrator

  • 4 Bramble Familiar

PLANESWALKERS: (2)

  • 2 Lukka, Bound to Ruin

INSTANTS: (1)

  • 1 Go for the Throat

SORCERIES: (4)

  • 4 Herd Migration

ENCHANTMENTS: (8)

  • 4 Leyline Binding

  • 4 Virtue of Persistence

BATTLES: (4)

  • 4 Invasion of Alara

LANDS: (27)

  • 1 Haunted Ridge

  • 1 Shipwreck Marsh

  • 1 Boseiju, Who Endures

  • 1 Stormcarved Coast

  • 1 Plains

  • 1 Island

  • 1 Mountain

  • 1 Xander’s Lounge

  • 1 Mirrex

  • 1 Forest

  • 1 Swamp

  • 3 Jetmir’s Garden

  • 3 Raffine’s Tower

  • 3 Ziatora’s Proving Ground

  • 3 Spara’s Headquarters

  • 4 Llanowar Wastes

SIDEBOARD: (15)

  • 4 Mirrorshell Crab

  • 1 Thrun, Breaker of Silence

  • 1 Parasitic Grasp

  • 1 Fade from History

  • 2 Kogla and Yidaro

  • 2 Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines

  • 1 Up the Beanstalk

  • 1 Lukka, Bound to Ruin

  • 1 Atraxa, Grand Unifier

  • 1 Phyrexian Fleshgorger

FIVE COLOR RAMP, By Skura from MTGAZONE

CREATURES: (16)

  • 2 Atraxa, Grand Unifier

  • 2 Etali, Primal Conqueror

  • 4 Phyrexian Fleshgorger

  • 4 Cemetery Desecrator

  • 4 Bramble Familiar

SORCERIES: (4)

  • 4 Herd Migration

ENCHANTMENTS: (8)

  • 4 Leyline Binding

  • 4 Virtue of Persistence

BATTLES: (4)

  • 4 Invasion of Alara

LANDS: (28)

  • 1 Haunted Ridge

  • 2 Shipwreck Marsh

  • 1 Otawara, Soaring City

  • 1 Stormcarved Coast

  • 1 Plains

  • 1 Island

  • 1 Mountain

  • 1 Xander’s Lounge

  • 1 Mirrex

  • 1 Brushland

  • 1 Swamp

  • 3 Jetmir’s Garden

  • 3 Raffine’s Tower

  • 3 Ziatora’s Proving Ground

  • 3 Spara’s Headquarters

  • 4 Llanowar Wastes

  • 1 Yavimaya Coast

SIDEBOARD: (15)

  • 4 Mirrorshell Crab

  • 2 Thrun, Breaker of Silence

  • 3 Obstinate Baloth

  • 3 Horned Loch-Whale

  • 3 Sunfall

5 COLOR CONTROL, Nzsharpe#53970, 5th Place Construido do TorTo (234 and 237)

CREATURES: (16)

  • 1 Atraxa, Grand Unifier

  • 2 Etali, Primal Conqueror

  • 4 Phyrexian Fleshgorger

  • 4 Cemetery Desecrator

  • 4 Bramble Familiar

  • 1 Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines

INSTANTS: (1)

  • 1 Go for the Throat

SORCERIES: (4)

  • 4 Herd Migration

ENCHANTMENTS: (8)

  • 4 Leyline Binding

  • 4 Virtue of Persistence

BATTLES: (4)

  • 4 Invasion of Alara

LANDS: (27)

  • 1 Haunted Ridge

  • 1 Shipwreck Marsh

  • 1 Otawara, Soaring City

  • 1 Stormcarved Coast

  • 1 Plains

  • 1 Island

  • 1 Mountain

  • 1 Xander’s Lounge

  • 1 Mirrex

  • 1 Brushland

  • 1 Swamp

  • 3 Jetmir’s Garden

  • 3 Raffine’s Tower

  • 3 Ziatora’s Proving Ground

  • 3 Spara’s Headquarters

  • 4 Llanowar Wastes

  • 1 Yavimaya Coast

SIDEBOARD: (15)

  • 4 Mirrorshell Crab

  • 1 Thrun, Breaker of Silence

  • 1 Obstinate Baloth

  • 3 Horned Loch-Whale

  • 1 Sunfall

  • 2 The Kami War

  • 1 Vanquish the Horde

  • 1 Nissa, Ascended Animist

  • 1 Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines

What direction the deck takes over the next few weeks will be interesting to watch.  No matter what direction the deck takes, it looks like it will be among the top decks throughout Wilds of Eldraine season and beyond.

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