I've been dreading the day Scars of Mirrodin becomes Standard legal and my beloved Shards of Alara block rotates out. Of course, I said the same thing when Time Spiral block rotated and Lorwyn/Shadowmoor rotated. But I mean it this time. I mean it because before, when TSP and LWN/SDM rotated I just dove head first into Extended and building casual builds. That is when I thrived as a deckbuilder. I was able to become more Johnny then Spike and had tons of fun with the Westwood College playgroup (new and old).
Alas, I am without a playgroup here in Central Florida. The four places I did find (3 of them are almost an hour drive each) all rock Standard for the most part. And I hear plenty of talk of EDH nights. I shudder to think. Gah!
Back to Standard...
So, not really sure what to build. I know I have to take apart what I have and modify decks that are close to Standard already. Historically I will probably start with the basics: RDWs, White Weenie, MUC, UW Control and MGA.
RDWs loses so much in the rotation, it will be difficult to see what is it made up of after Shards block leaves. I basically lost it's heart and soul with Ball Lightning, Hellspark Elemental, Hell's Thunder and Earthquake. Without the hastiness of the aforementioned, it will be difficult for RDWs to actually be called Red Deck Wins. It still has Goblin Guide, the best turn 1 in Standard, and a bunch of good burn spells to dome dude's with: Lightning Bolt, Burst Lightning, Searing Blaze and Staggershock. My guess is any Mono-Red Deck in the new Standard is going to need Koth of the Hammer x 4 to be even remotely competitive. That seriously pisses me off, the whole, "gotta have Mythic Rares in all the Tier 1 decks," thing that has become Standard Magic. The cool thing about previous Standard was RDW had a bunch of commons and uncommons and a few rares to operate. Many lists did run Kargan Dragonlord but he is $10-$15 at best, which still isn't great. But it beats the $50-60 Koth is selling at. WTF? The other cool deck was Jund, basically a Block deck that ran NO Mythics (some ran Sarkhan the Mad). But having to run Jace the Mind Sculptor in anything with blue mana is disgusting and WOTC should be ashamed of themselves. They make it difficult for young players or players without a bankroll or real-life responsibilities, hard to compete. Back in my heyday $10 for a Rishadan Port or Masticore wasn't all that bad to play Standard and there were always possibilities for budget decks. These days there really isn't any slack for decks that don't run Mythics. I may eat my words but I bet the Top 8 at most upcoming States and at Worlds will have S#!t-tons of Mythic Rares in their decklists.
Back to RDWs...the deck is probably dead. I think I want to go a more creature type Red Beatdown deck reminiscent of Lorwyn/Shadowmoor Standard with Demigod of Revenge hitting the up-curve and slew of 1-3 drops mudding the field prior.
Goblin Guide x 4
Ember Hauler x 4
Vulshok Replica x 4
Chimeric Mass x 4
Perilous Myr x 4
Kuldotha Phoenix x 4
Lightning Bolt x 4
Arc Trail x 4
Galvantic Blast x 4
Tettering Peaks x 4
Tectonic Edge x 2
Mountains x 18
Combust x 4
Manic Vandal x 4
Forked Bolt x 3
Goblin Ruinblaster x 4
This isn't so much Red Deck Wins as it is a Red Metalcraft Deck Wins. When Kuldotha Phoenix was spoiled I knew I MUST MUST MUST have a playset. Thanks to my friend Mike and the Lakeland store dropping them $1 a piece, I have my playset. I figure a 5cc 4/4 Flying Haste will hit most of the time. When Phoenix is Metalcraft active it will continue to beatface. Even if they deal with it in traditional ways it keeps on coming back. Short of a Journey to Nowhere or a well timed Condemn (which was also the problem for Demigod) the Phoenix should be aces. In order to get the Metalcraft going the deck obviously needs artifacts. To the Gather I said! And searched up new Artifact Creatures with relevant abilities to a RDW beatdown strategy. I'm not totally sure if the deck will even work and not sure if 12 Artifact Creatures will get there (my guess is not) but I MUST try!!! Hopefully by the time you need to hardcast the Phoenix it spells game over for your opponent.
My Artifact Picks for the deck:
Vulshok Replica fits into the 3 Drop curve on your way to Phoenix. He beats for 3 and kill most creatures. When he dies he acts as a Lightning Bolt to your opponents face. Not great but not terrible either.
Perilous Myr is quite the same way as the Vulshok but adds a different dynamic because he can deal damage to creatures as well. It can put your opponent on difficult blocks or attacks depending on what is in your hand. If blocked the Myr can kill an up to 3 toughness dude. Not bad.
Chimeric Mass is great because it's curve is ambiguous. It can come down early and do a Mishra's Factory impression or can come down late and beat for 5 or 6. I like the flexibility of Chimeric Mass.
And before you start obviously Molten-Tail Masticore x 4 should somewhere in this list as should Koth of the Hammer but as I stated before, I'm a budget player a just refuse to pay the crazy money dealers are asking for. I can work with what I have. Thanks.
Goblin Guide and Ember Hauler round out the creature base because Goblin Guide is the best Turn 1 in Standard and Ember Hauler attacks, blocks and give you a bit of reach toward the end.
The burn suite is obvious. Lightning Bolt because Bolt is the best burn spell in the game. Galvanic Blast is still questionable. Not sure If I like it yet but it fits in with the Metalcraft theme so far. Or it just becomes Staggershock or Burst Lightning x 4 instead. Arc Trail is there because, well, if you've ever played Arc Lightning, which I did x 4 during Saga Standard and Block, it is an amazing card. Arc Trail is basically the same card minus one in the casting cost. But I think it is relevant because it can take out early Birds of Paradise and Fauna Shamans.
The Sideboard I threw together and is totally questionable. Manic Vandal x 4 is the only thing I'm sure of only because it eats 50% and beats for 2. Goblin Ruinblaster for pesky Valakut and control man-lands. Combust is for one creature and one creature alone...Baneslayer Angel. If a Baneslayer sticks I'm probably dead.
So there is the first deck I will attempt to build in the new and (imo) $#!tty Standard. I only call it that because I don't like when sets force you play one way, that way being artifacts. I initially didn't like Lorwyn for forcing Tribal but realized Tribal isn't that bad. They are still just creatures and spells. Artifacts are bad because they can die to double the amount of removal spells.
I'll have to trade for some Chimeric Mass but that's about it. Then I can try the new Standard.