Jeskai 1.5

jeskai 15

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Here’s a very nice Jeskai Ascendancy decklist from a man that many people believe comes from the future or at the very least has very good ‘Future Sight’ Yuuya Watanabe.

Jeskai 1.5

Standard Format

Creatures: 8
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Soulfire Grandmaster

Instants: 13
Valorous Stance
4 Wild Slash
4 Raise the Alarm
4 Stoke the Flames

Enchantments: 7
4 Jeskai Ascendancy
3 Citadel Siege

Sorceries: 8
4 Hordeling Outburst
4 Treasure Cruise

Lands: 24
2 Plains
1 Island
2 Mountain
3 Battlefield Forge
3 Shivan Reef
3 Flooded Strand
2 Temple of Epiphany
4 Temple of Triumph
4 Mystic Monastery


Valorous Stance
1 Glare of Heresy
2 Negate
3 Disdainful Stroke
3 Anger of the Gods
2 Outpost Siege
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

It’s indeed a very cool deck with some spice. He’s running the full playset of Soulfire Grandmaster as well as some Citadel Siege (about time we see this card in Standard decks). Another note of interest is that he is forgoing Lightning Strikes in favor of Wild Slash. I’ve seen quite a few Jeskai builds without all 4 Goblin Rabblemasters, but I’m guessing since you always want something attacking your opponent on turn 4 with the help of Citadel Siege, you need to increase the odds of it happening.

citadel siegeI guess he ate something spicy, hence the firebreathing

I’m used to playing the Jeskai deck with 4 Seeker of the Way so that it can confidently attack past would-be roadblocks like Sylvan Caryatids. While you do gain life by attacking into them with Soulfire Grandmasters, we’re not really advancing our game plan versus decks like GW Mastery of the Unseen or most midrange Green decks. You’re mostly glad to have them against speedier decks, where those little chunks of life being gained matter more. Also, having guaranteed lifelink is much better when you’re boosting your creature each turn via Citadel Siege.

sarkhanOut of the board!

I really adore the Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker out of the sideboard. He too, works well with Citadel Siege and can do wonders with a couple of +1/+1 counters (like taking out an Elspeth, Sun’s Champion). He’s also that extra piece of removal for those pesky Whisperwood Elementals. Another cool card out of the sideboard is Outpost Siege. While the Khans option will be used more often than not, it is worth nothing that it effectively functions like a burn spell when you cast it in Dragons mode quite often (since your little tokens tend to die).

I tested the deck a few days ago and it under-performed, however there was this really long game where all I drew were about 12 lands (Scryed 3 at the bottom and fetched twice) as well as 3 x Soulfire Grandmasters.That’s it! no other spells … You kinda have to shrug that one off at that point. I went back to a more conventional build for today’s local Standard tournament and it fared only slightly better. It’s almost as though I could have swapped versions and done much, much better.



francis avatar final

Grand Architect is an awesome magic card. A real swiss army knife, the best part is being able to use the mana ability the turn you cast it. The printing of Chief Engineer added another hasty blue artifact mana producer, and allows this deck to exist:


Modern Format

Lands: 20
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
1 Academy Ruins
2 Cavern of Souls
1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
1 Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
11 Island

Artifacts: 5
4 Aether Spellbomb
1 Bident of Thassa

Creatures: 35
4 Signal Pest
4 Judge’s Familiar
4 Vault Skirge
4 Myr Superion
4 Chief Engineer
4 Etherium Sculptor

4 Grand Architect
3 Master of Etherium
4 Lodestone Golem

4 Thorn of Amethyst
2 Quicksilver Fountain
2 Relic of Progenitus
1 Torpor Orb
2 Mindlock Orb
2 Echoing Truth
2 Monastery Siege


All 3 vedalken artificers give this deck explosive mana, allowing multiple artifact spells to be cast right away. They are all blue so they get the buff from Grand Architect and can produce artifact mana as well. This allows us to accelerate into a 4+ mana cost artifact turn 3.

grand architectLooks like he’s giving a pretty epic speech

All of the artificers also allows us to play the deck’s Tarmogoyf: Myr Superion. Landing that guy on turn 2 or 3 is serious aggro. We can use Grand Architect mana, Convoke from Chief Engineer, double Etherium Sculptor, single Etherium Sculptor + animated Blinkmoth Nexus or double animated Blinkmoths if we need to. Myr Superion is bigger than Siege Rhino and can grow even bigger with Master Of Etherium and Grand Architect making it blue. A 5/6 for 2 mana is pretty crazy provided you have enough ways to play it, which i think this deck does.

Chief Engineer and Etherium Sculptor makes us want to play one drops, because we want to have cheap artifact creatures that we can chain convoke or cast for free off of Etherium Sculptor turn 2. Vault Skirge and Signal Pest are our best cheap artifact creature option. Judge’s Familiar is also a worthy one mana creature. It is blue, has evasion, it can delay many of our opponent’s early plays, keeping early counter magic and removal in check. Interestingly it saves us from Hive Mind by countering our own copy of any Pact. The taxing ability also adds up well with Lodestone Golem.

Lodestone Golem is an awesome creature. Some decks have a hard time beating it. Burn is forced to spend a Lightning Bolt on it. All of our artificers enable turn a 3 Lodestone Golem. You can even cast it on turn 2 with the ‘nut draw’. Lodestone is also a great threat, 5 power is no joke. Getting multiple golems on the field is ridiculously painful for the opponent’s mana and it usually doesn’t hinder our strategy since most of the deck is artifact-based. In the post ban meta there is a chance that not every deck you will face will have Lightning Bolts. Paying a single Blue mana with Grand Architect or having Master of Etherium out keeps it out of Bolt range.

Master Of Etherium boosts most creatures in the deck. In this deck, you get a lot of synergy from a creature that is both blue and an artifact. He might not be as big as in Affinity decks but he’s great nonetheless.

Non-creature Spells

Aether Spellbomb breaks every creature-based combo and can give us the tempo we need to beat the opponent. Once on the field, the ability can’t be countered and is unaffected by golems, as opposed to Vapor Snag, but there is no surprise factor. At worst it cycles or it saves a creature from removal.

bident of thassa

Bident Of Thassa is a sweet one of. This deck tends to be able to play a lot of evasive creatures by turn 2 so landing this on turn 3 with Convoke or Etherium Sculptor can give us tons of card draw. Sweepers are bad for us so drawing a bunch of cards can compensate for the incentive to overextend. At worst, we can still draw cards from our manlands if we lose our creatures. The ‘taunting’ ability is just a bonus.

Land choices

At first i was playing Tectonic Edge to add up to the mana denial plan of Lodestone Golem. I changed to Blinkmoth Nexus because we are aggro and manlands are more synergistic. I choose Blinkmoth Nexus in particular because they are cheap to activate, they come untapped (as opposed to Faerie Conclave), they are evasive (as opposed to Mutavault), they block as well as Mutavault (using the pump ability on themselves) and can be pumped via Grand Architect. Mutavault‘s creature types do not matter here.

Academy Ruins can easily be used while casting the recurred artifact with Artificers. It is just a great way of recovering key artifacts,since it can keep up the pressure by insuring us relevant draws.

Oboro an Minamo are good against Choke and Boil. You can also bounce Oboro to discard it instead of a better card in response to an opposing Liliana Of The Veil +1 activation

Cavern of Souls is always on Vedalken, sometimes on Golem if you draw another copy. It also fights Choke and Boil.

I think 11 Islands is the correct number. We do want double blue for a turn 3 Grand Architect. Playing with 11 Islands makes us almost Blood Moon proof, a card i hate losing to. We never run out of basics for Path To Exile and Ghost Quarters and we can’t get mana-screwed with an opposing Tectonic Edge.


thorn of amethystOhhhhh! Shiny!


Thorn Of Amethyst basically comes in when Aether Spellbombs are bad, vs. creature-light match-ups like Storm, Scapeshift combo, Burn, etc. We play 4 so we can replace our 4 Aether Spellbombs. They are also better than Batterskull vs. Infect strategies. The taxing effect adds up with Lodestone Golems and Judge’s Familiars and makes winning very hard for those decks unless they get rid of it. Even if the opponent sided in artifact hate,they will still have to pay the extra mana to get rid of it which makes for great tempo.

Quicksliver Fountain is our Blood Moon. It isn’t nearly as powerful as the red enchantment, but it is our best option synergy wise. I side it in for Tron decks mainly.

quicksilver fountainBlue mana for everyone!

Relic Of Progenitus is our mandatory graveyard hate. We don’t do much with our own graveyard (except for Academy Ruins) so this is why i choose it here.

Mindlock Orb is a very powerful option, it used to be even better when Birthing Pod was around but it is still backbreaking vs. Scapeshift and Amulet of Vigor decks, preventing both their mana from developing and the combo itself. Being a blue artifact means that we can cast it on turn 3 with our Artificers.

Torpor Orb is mainly for Splinter Twin, but with Siege Rhino everywhere is is an option vs. Abzan decks as well. It is not a bad inclusion against Amulet combo on the play to prevent the first Primeval Titan trigger.

Echoing Truth is a generic creature/combo/hate solution. We need stuff to side in when facing Splinter Twin. It’s also good against Lingering Souls from Abzan or Orzhov token decks.

Monastery Siege is here mainly for the ‘Dragons’ mode. It is for the removal-heavy deck such as Abzan or Burn decks. The taxing adds up with Golem/Familiar/Thorn and at worst the ‘Khans’ mode is never terrible.

Artifacts…transform and roll out!

This deck can be a great budget-friendly alternative to Affinity, with some added disruption. We can’t play Cranial Plating since we don’t have enough artifacts and Darksteel Citadel is just bad in this deck, so a turn 3 kill is not a possibility. It has potentially explosive turn 2 plays that may lead to a turn 4 win.

On the plus side, the deck is not as affected by hate as much as Affinity is. Stony Silence doesn’t do much and Judge’s Familiars, Grand Architects and Chief Engineers aren’t affected by artifact destruction. Creeping Corrosion/Shatterstorm/Fracturing Gust are still devastating but we have Judge’s Familiars and Lodestone Golems to delay them and hopefully win before they are able to be cast.

Kataki, War’s Wage is pretty bad for us, especially when we have our explosive turn 2. Early Choke or Boil can be a pain. If we already have some Artificers on the field we can keep casting our artifacts which is the most important thing to do in this deck. Also our non-basics aren’t affected by it so with some luck we can overcome the hate.

Selesnya Aggro

selesnya ggro

monkey mealing

I love attacking, putting pressure on my opponents and forcing them to react. Mike Tyson once said: “Everyone has a plan until I punch them in the face.” In Magic it’s the same thing. Everyone wants to take time to set up their game plan, so by putting pressure on their life total it’s not as easy for them to take a lot of early turns to do so. Every experienced Magic player has a plan to deal with an aggressive strategy, so it’s my responsibility as an aggressive player to have a plan to counteract theirs. The issue with linear aggressive decks like “mono red “is that you can’t adjust your strategy very much post sideboard, so if your opponent has a solid sideboard plan for you then there’s not much you can do about it. The last couple of years I have adopted a deck building style that has explosive starts, but has enough sustainability that it can go longer and hang with mid-range decks with similar card quality. Let me show you what I mean with my new Standard Selesnya brew:


Selesnya Aggro

Standard Format

Creatures: 25
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Warden of the First Tree
2 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Fleecemane Lion
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Whisperwood Elemental

Instants: 3
3 Valorous Stance

Enchantments: 3
2 Mastery of the Unseen
1 Banishing Light

Planeswalkers: 5
2 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion

Lands: 24
2 Blossoming Sands
6 Forest
1 Mana Confluence
4 Temple of Plenty
1 Temple of Malady
4 Windswept Heath


1 Valorous Stance
1 Banishing Light
3 End Hostilities
2 Reclamation Sage
Glare of Heresy
2 Arbor Colossus
3 Mistcutter Hydra


As you can see we are playing the best three aggressive cards in our colours, Warden of the First Tree, Fleecemane Lion, and Brimaz, King of Oreskos. On the other end of the spectrum we have the four best mid to late games cards our colours have to offer in Mastery of the Unseen, Whisperwood Elemental, Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. Bridge those cards with some mana ramp and the best removal we have access to and you have the most durable and flexible aggressive deck in the format. The most common question I get asked is “why no four drops?” Although we don’t have any cards that cost four mana, we certainly have lots to do on turn four. You can activate Mystery of the Unseen, level up Warden of the First Tree or just ramp into a 5 or 6 drop. I feel all the cards at 3 and 5 are more important to our deck than anything we have access to at 4. We also have ten 1 or 2 mana cards that perform great in the late game, mana sinks if you will. Let’s get into the cards, and their roles in the deck.

mastery of the unseenThe next Jeskai Ascendancy? perhaps…

The Mana Ramp

4 Elvish Mystic
2 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Courser of Kruphix

A concession to playing a large number of 5 and 6 mana spells is that you need mana ramp. I found six mana dorks to be the right number in the deck, as we function best with one by turn 2 but we want to avoid flooding on them too often. Although Courser of Kruphix isn’t necessarily mana ramp, he does help us hit our land drops to cast our expensive cards. It’s also nice to be able to see the top card when Mastery of the Unseen is in play so you can fix your draws a little bit if you want.


The Removal

3 Valorous Stance
1 Banishing Light

I started with 4 Valorous Stance as the versatility of protecting your guys and killing theirs is so good. I changed one to a single Banishing Light so we had an out to problematic permanents game 1. If you feel like you need one more removal spell main deck then I would cut an Elspeth, Sun’s Champion for the second Banishing Light, but be conscious that you will become more vulnerable to Stormbreath Dragon as a result.

The Bombs

4 Whisperwood Elemental
2 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos

elspeth suns championThe best planeswalker for the longest part of the Standard format

These cards tend to pull you ahead in the mid-game, most midrange games coming down to who draws more Whisperwood Elementals. Ajani, Mentor of Heroes can pull you far ahead if you have established an early board presence by making all your creatures bigger than your opponent’s. Most importantly it will win those grindy games where you are trading card for card with your opponent. Lastly, we come to Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. When I first built the deck she over performed, but now with the all the Whisperwood Elementals being played she is not quite as good. She’s still a necessary evil due to our weakness to Stormbreath Dragon, but I wouldn’t fault you for moving one to the sideboard.

The Soul

4 Warden of the First Tree
2 Mastery of the Unseen
4 Fleecemane Lion

These three cards are the reason the deck wins so much. And that is for one simple reason: they are good at any point of the game. The big thing I learned was if you have other things to play, then do that and don’t sink mana into these cards unless you are afraid of board sweepers. You will start to notice a trend, if you play this way, that your opponents will ignore these three cards to deal with your “bigger” threats. Once your opponent is hellbent, or when you feel there’s a safe opening, you can start investing mana into these three cards. You never want to invest 5 mana into the monstrous ability of Fleecemane Lion when your opponent is representing Lightning Strike and you could do other things with your mana. For Warden of the First Tree there are some scenarios where you spend mana early on leveling it up if you feel it’s safe. Getting it to level 2 then playing an Ajani, Mentor of Heroes and giving it three counters is pretty backbreaking. Also remember that you can activate the third ability of Warden of the First Tree more than once. I have won many games with a 13/13 trampling lifelinker.

warden of the first treeNot to be underestimated

I am not one to have a set sideboarding plan, as not every build or player of an archetype is the same. I do follow four golden rules though:

1. Against control I want constant pressure on the board without overextending.
2. If they are faster than you, lower your curve.
3. If they go wider then you, control them.
4. If they have a problematic card for you, board in all available answers.

I will have a video ready next week to post. If you can’t wait until then check out the archives on my twitch channel.
Until next time,

Monkey Mealing

Dragons of Tarkir Promos

Game Day Promos

scaleguard thunderbreak

The winner of the Dragons of Tarkir Game Day also get this sweet looking playmat, which I can only assume depicts Sarkhan in the new altered world as WWE’s Seth Rollins.

dragons mat


Tarkir Dragonfury Game

dragon fod dragonlord serv evolving promo foe razer


You get these depending on how well you do in the mini-game shown here



ojutai promoWow! even a toned down Cryptic Command is great

It’s also hinted that these will be part of a cycle (Pretty obvious, since it’s name after one of the five new Elder Dragons, eh?) Let’s hope the other ones are just as good if not better.


Waste Not

waste not


ddt avatar final

Waste Not

Standard Format

Creatures: 7
3 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
4 Gurmag Angler

Instants: 7
3 Bile Blight
1 Empty the Pits
Hero’s Downfall

Enchantments: 2
4 Waste Not

Sorceries: 19
4 Dark Deal
4 Rakshasa’s Secret
4 Sign in Blood
3 Thoughtseize
4 Treasure Cruise

Lands: 23
1 Island
5 Swamp
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Polluted Delta
4 Temple of Deceit
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Dismal Backwater

Here’s a little concoction featuring Dark Deal and the MTG community created card: Waste Not. It did really well in the side event of a Grand Prix and is so totally different from any other Standard deck at the moment that I thought it was worth posting. The fetches are great since the fill up your graveyard fast and get you an early beater (Tasigur or Gurmag Angler) which can allow you to win early even if you don’t go Turn 2: Waste Not into Turn 3: Dark Deal.

Couldn’t find a sideboard, but one thing you can do is try and make it into a transitional UB Control one and catch many people off guard.

tasigurToo much mana to be a Tiny Leader eh? I’ll show them!