Standard and Modern Brews with Dragons of Tarkir

Modern, MTG Game Play -

Standard and Modern Brews with Dragons of Tarkir

We’ve only just scratched the surface of what Dragons of Tarkir is capable of in constructed formats across the board. What can we brew up to take advantage of the new cards in both Standard and Modern?


Without further ado, here are two brews for both Standard and Modern that I have concocted to fight the new metagame with Dragons of Tarkir!


G/W Tokens

4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Rattleclaw Mystic
3 Voyaging Satyr
4 Courser of Kruphix
2 Hornet Queen

4 Secure the Wastes
4 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
4 Dictate of Heliod
4 Shamanic Revelation

4 Windswept Heath
4 Temple of Plenty
3 Blossoming Sands
8 Forest
4 Plains

It may not seem like much, but the addition of Secure the Wastes to this archetype is huge. It gives the deck much more resilience to sweepers like Anger of the Gods and Drown in Sorrow by allowing it to wait until the end step to unload a massive army. Between Secure the Wastes and Dictate of Heliod, the deck can now operate almost entirely at instant speed to kill people out of nowhere.

Dictate of Heliod is the biggest payoff card here, but Shamanic Revelation gives you some redundancy for games where you don’t draw it. One of the biggest weaknesses of ramp strategies in Standard is a hand that contains all mana creatures and nothing to do with them. Revelation allows you to reload after dumping a bunch of mana guys in play and dig through the deck in search of the more powerful finishers. Even an end-of-turn Secure the Wastes for three into a Shamanic Revelation is a big game, giving you a Harmonize (at minimum) for your troubles. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the card’s potential when you draw it late in the game and start drawing 7-8+ cards with it, which can put close games away in a hurry or catch you up from behind.

It isn’t yet clear if this sort of strategy is better than more traditional tokens decks like Jeskai Tokens. It gives up some amount of consistency in favor of raw power and an explosive late game to overpower the midrange decks of the format. If control decks become a big part of the metagame again, I might move back towards a blue-based Ascendancy Tokens version, but this is how I’m choosing to attack the Siege Rhinos of the world.

UR Dragon Control

4 Thunderbreak Regent
2 Stormbreath Dragon

4 Draconic Roar
4 Silumgar’s Scorn
3 Dissolve
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Roast
3 Fated Conflagration
2 Perilous Vault
4 Dig Through Time
4 Anticipate

4 Shivan Reef
4 Temple of Epiphany
4 Swiftwater Cliffs
1 Evolving Wilds
2 Flooded Strand
1 Bloodstained Mire
5 Island
4 Mountain
1 Haven of the Spirit Dragon

Jeff Hoogland played a similar deck at the Invitational to a solid finish, but his build was more midrange-oriented with more dragons and less control options. This deck functions more like a U/R Control deck with the dragons as a win condition rather than the centerpiece. Silumgar’s Scorn and Draconic Roar want you to have dragons, but they are still playable without them; as a Force Spike, Silumgar’s Scorn will still hard counter most things in the early game, while Draconic Roar is still solid as a Lightning Strike to kill creatures early on. These spells only get better with time as you start digging through your deck and find a dragon to supercharge them.

With only six dragons to win the game, this deck really seeks to have the game under lock and key before starting to attack. This is a worthwhile endeavor in the current Standard format, however, since decks like Abzan are well-prepared for heavy creature decks but ill-equipped to fight pure control strategies like this one. They will be stuck with dead removal spells in hand while you wear down their resources, and once you’re ready to deploy some dragons you’ll have more counters at the ready to protect them than they have means to destroy them.

In addition to the dragon theme for Silumgar’s Scorn, the benefit of playing red in a control build is that U/B Control traditionally struggles with aggressive strategies due to a lack of cheap interaction available to them. Red gives you access to Roast, Anger of the Gods and a plethora of other cheap removal to stay on top of the aggro decks while still allowing you to take over the game when you need to later. I’m interested to see which direction this deck goes next as the metagame evolves.

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