This deck is brought to you by Jeremy & Everyone Else.
It was only a matter of time before the correct card combinations made a Gates deck possible. After returning to the plane of Ravnica, and visiting the 10 Guilds again, we are empowered to leverage the powers of the Guilds and their gates to wield fantastic and brutal power against rival Spellslingers.
I have seen a number of versions of this deck floating around; many of the competitive versions are running Hydroid Krasis in the mainboard - Standards newest, and greatest, entirely busted and broken dominant card. Several popular streamers and content producers are celebrating this deck. There are front page posts and video content being brought to the community this week hyping various versions of Gate decks that are all fast, effective, and powerful.
There are only so many cards in any Standard pool, so I won't try and take credit for the deck list. Rather, I would prefer to focus on the beautiful synergy of these 60 cards, the tactical response that the sideboard offers, and the sheer joy I have over a deck this fun to play being so inexpensive to buy in paper. Finally, a deck competitive enough to 5-0 at competitive Magic events that doesn't break the bank.
A radical idea: Cooperation...
Any draw-card engine that produces tempo off of a mechanic as commonplace as putting lands in to play is very special. Several pieces of this deck are intentionally included to build mana resources quickly, to expedite needed spells to our hand, and to overwhelm our opponent's in spectacular fashion. Multiple copies of this permanent in play in conjunction with ramp spells keep our hand constantly full, and the engine humming. We are limited only by the number of guildgates we are running in the deck. The gates are the gas, and our objective is to get to the end of the game before the gas in the engine runs out. Luckily, the win conditions and resources for ending a game are abundant. At uncommon, Guild Summit is incredible.
Revitalize the Cycles of Nature...
I have hypothesized on Growth Spiral in several articles thus far; Derek and I have had some in-depth conversations during our podcasts on this card. I don't know that the ultimate capabilities of this card are revealed just yet. I don't know that the truly beautiful motion of this card have been identified and displayed in competitive MTG - in all formats. I can tell you, after extensively testing this deck, that Growth Spiral is as about as perfect as it in a deck available in the current Standard meta. We get to draw at instant speed and play an additional land. Let's say we have an active Guild Summit on the battlefield, we play a guildgate, draw a Growth Spiral, tap for two, draw another guildgate, put it into play, draw a card. See where this is going? Just imagine two Guild Summits in play with the same sequence. Bonkers.
Circuitous Route is clearly designed for ramping gates. Just read it; this card belongs here - we find the ability to ramp our mana resources, create draw triggers with active Guild Summits, and thin our deck to find our win conditions. It's meant for this deck. I like Shimmer of Possibility; Derek thinks Anticipate is better in this slot, but I like the ability to dig four deep over three, and casting at Sorcery speed is fine - I dare my opponent to counter this spell. "Never counter the tutor." If the gates are the gas for our engine, then these spells are the spark plugs. We also run one copy of Negate mainboard - "insurance."
Results Are Sometimes Explosive...
Ramp decks are accompanied by outlets for the mana they produce. We are finding ourselves in a unique situation in this case that our mana (gate) production is instead used as a bonus to the rules text present on the other permanents and spells in our deck. "For each gate you control" or "whenever a gate enters the battlefield" is the common theme. Expansion // Explosion is not of this category, but nevertheless a remarkably useful and dynamic spell. Expansion is not quite a Fork, but it's close. Its uses are only limited by your ability to sequence responses in conjunction with Instant and Sorceries your opponents cast with 4 cmc or less. Get funky. Explosion is the big mana dump for ramping out our mana resources. Blow things up and draw cards.
Gates Ablaze. What a card...again implicitly designed for a deck that is running Gates. Total garbage outside of that schema; a terrible limited card, not something you would pull in draft unless the stars are aligning. However, here, in 4-Color Gates, it's all-star. This card is mana light, easy to cast with our land base, and generally irreversibly wrecks the opponents battlefield. 4 copies feels so good - our draw potential almost always provides you with a copy. Our creatures outpace the sorcery, and if your Colossus' die from the damage, then you have enough Gates in play to free cast the Colossus. Cast Gates Ablaze, wipe the board, play a gate, order the triggers, place Colossus on top of library, draw from Guild Summit, play Colossus. :)
Pale in Comparison to the Real Thing...
Sure, you can end the game with a massive Explosion coupled with an Expansion, but why prohibit ourselves from reaping the benefits of the tools at our disposal? Isn't it just better for us to play the game in its natural form? Swinging in with creatures during combat? Sending our opponents forces scattering like dead leaves in wintry gusts? I think so. Archway Angel is not a Congregate, but the mechanics are similar - only the game is not checking to see how many creatures you have on the battlefield - it's checking for gates. It's expensive to cast but our deck has the mana when we find a copy of the Angel - mulligan hands with it in your opening draw.
Gate Colossus, Gate Colossus, Gate Colossus. We have a great early aggro strategy here with Colossus. We have to be careful though - the temptation is to go pedal to the metal to benefit from your Guild Summits. Colossus requires that we be purpose driven with our gates in the mid-game, to be able to capitalize off of the recursion mechanic on a gate entering the battlefield. I found myself in removal heavy match ups, where I was already outdrawing my opponent, saving a gate back to rebuild my Colossi. The best part about Gatebreaker Ram, besides being $0.25, is that it always survives a Gates Ablaze. A vigilance and trample creature at 7/7 or 8/8 is a game ending threat - I find myself dropping the Ram early in aggro match ups, and late in removal heavy match ups. We want our opponent to use their removal spells to mitigate damage from the Colossus, and bring the Ram when the time is right.
Only Premium In This Engine...
One Azorious Guildgate, four Gruul Guildgates, four Izzet Guildgates, one Selesnya Guildgate, 4 Simic Guildgates, and a Dragon Whelp in a Pear Tree. That makes 14 cards that act as an anchor for our deck mechanics. I debated on playing more gates, but we need some untapped entry from our mana base to be able to curve out well. I would recommend you go for your white mana producing Gates with your Circuitous Routes first. You want to be able to cast the Archway Angel and bounce back when you find it.
"Extensively testing" is what I've been doing my friends. Against all types of decks, meta strong and brews, and I can positively tell you: this deck is AWESOME. It is so refreshing to have a deck that can perform well for $50.00 in paper. Sure, it's fragile to certain types of removal (Ixalan's Binding), but what isn't? That's the cyclical beauty of Magic: The Gathering. Nothing is guaranteed to win 100% of the time. There are always answers, especially in Standard. We supplement with additional lands - shocks and basics - to help us reliably hit our turn three and turn four drops. I feel the tuning here is spot on, and don't recommend changing it, unless your permanents and spells differ from this list.
"As one, nature lifts its voice to tell you this: ‘No.'"
I am not one-hundred percent set on my sideboard choices. View my selections as direct responses to cards I view as a problem for our deck, and I will walk you through each of them. Let's start with the obvious: two more copies of Archway Angel; we are shaving one copy of Gatebreaker Ram and one copy of Gate Colossus when we need the life, or the evasive flying threats (almost always the life). Chim-Chimmity-Chim-Chim-Charoo!
Thrashing Brontodon is still an excellent answer to pesky artifacts and enchantments, but I believe Cindervines in red and green is the new hotness. We get to punish noncreature spells, and kill-switch our opponent's permanents. Crushing Canopy at one copy gives us an additional resource for enchantment removal, at instant speed, and plummets Niv-Mizzet, Doom Whisperer, and Lyra.
Lava Coil is necessary. Sometimes we need to exile the Arclight Phoenix. Sometimes we don't want our opponent recurring a Ravenous Chupacabra with Find // Finality. We certainly have cause for slotting in additional cards over Lava Coil, and I am open to your interpretation. Negate at 3 additional copies is obvious here. Would you rather your opponent didn't Unmoored Ego your Guild Summit?
I am happy with this deck list. You will be too. Build it - play it - get some wins.
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Here is yesterdays version of this amazing 5-0 list.
~Jeremy (and Everyone Else)