Jeskai Humans promises to be a fierce competitor in the Ravnica Allegiance Standard era.
Hero of Precinct One has been getting a fair amount of attention as of late - specifically from the LandSayGo team - and I feel like I needed to get you this list as soon as possible. This a list of Magic cards that I think will be making a considerable impact on the meta. It may not be in exactly this list, but some variation will eventually see play. What I have elected to build here is well-tuned (in terms of mana efficiencies) list that is good enough to be considered competitive. Given the nature and speed at which Derek and I are producing this list: the standard disclaimer applies. These decks are about an 8 out of 10 in terms of finality. We drop these lists to get your creative juices flowing, and hopefully kick start something bigger and better from the #MTG brewing community. Let's get started!
The Struggle to Survive...
I'm not a Lore aficionado when it comes to Magic: The Gathering, but I can tell you that it feels like Humans have always been riding the "struggle bus." Certainly not when it comes to competitive formats, I mean, one needs to look no further than Modern to see how powerful Humans actually are on the battlefield. I just mean that their existence appears to be compromised by powerful beings that manipulate their planes and surroundings to suit diabolical ends or power grabs. Hero of Precinct One aims to capitalize on that struggle by giving us the ability to rally additional Humans to our cause by casting multi-colored spells. I made sure the list we are presenting today is capable of utilizing the Hero's abilities, and answers the meta through our curve.
The Old Two for One Tactic...
There may be no denying that Boros Challenger is a "limited card." But, in this particular list of 60 we make a valid point that it can be used to move along token strategy through the Hero and also provide with an excellent body for two mana. Any 2/3 power & toughness creature for 2 mana should never be overlooked in a creature deck, and we get to Mentor our 1/1 Human tokens in combat. The Boros Challenger inspires our rank and file minions to fight harder and smarter. Love this card, and it fits perfectly into our game plan. SwiftBlade Vindicator is also an outstanding two drop in our deck - another multi-colored synergy for our Heroes. Now, the Vindicator has not seen the acclaim or abuse of say, Fencing Ace, in Standard, but it becomes a problem for our opponents fast when we have active anthems and Mentor effects.
Evasion and haste are often difficult to downplay in combat. Skyknight Legionnaire, is another synergistic and lethal element to our deck in providing us a hasty flyer, token generation with an active Hero, and a perfect target for Mentor. When coupled with other elements of our deck, which we will discuss shortly, this common can end a game all by itself when left unattended. Storm Fleet Sprinter Is the fourth "fodder" creature in our strategy, and our synergy in this card is outstanding. It is an unblockable threat, with haste, that creature token triggers. It is a Mentor target, and like Skyknight Legionnaire, must be answered when we have equipment options online or the game tends to end rather quickly.
These creatures are cheap when it comes to CMC, any combination of them curve out well, and we run enough copies of each to begin strong, and provide ourselves with options outside of the token generation strategy. Think of them as "friends with benefits."
Maintenance Requires Maintenance...
3 copies of Tajic, Legion's Edge further help us by bolstering our Mentor mechanic, and also help us stabilize when facing decks with direct damage for creatures. Tajic begins to shine when are able to get in for first strike damage, and he also generates token for us when he enters the battlefield off of the Hero of Precinct One. He can reliably mentor every other creature on our deck besides the Benalish Marshal and is the perfect poster child for our deck. He feels great on curve too. I'm a little disappointed that WOTC did not include Tajic in his own ability; making him impervious to shock would have been great, but I suppose getting one freebie for all of your other creatures when you cast a Star of Extinction is enough...
Benalish Marshal is our anthem effect. 3/3 for three mana that pumps all of other creatures. Dauntless Bodyguard saves our set up from potential calamity. We need a way to stave off direct removal in the form of destruction spells, or the ability to save our creature during a "would be" trade during combat. Dauntless Bodyguard is one of the first cards to sideboarded out.
Chart a Course has made itself famous in the Mono U aggro lists of late. I don't know if Mono U aggro will continue to dominate the online Standard scene, but I think you can definitely expect to see Chart a Course in "winning" decks until it rotates out with the rest of the Ixalan block. Even if we are not attacking, sometimes we need to loot to correct mana, and drawing two off of an unblockable Storm Fleet Sprinter feels pretty good. It might be a worthwhile consideration to drop chart a course for a more meaningful combat trick here. But, all in all I think the extra draw card is something we need for fixing our mana, and finding additional triggers for tokens and draw off of the Vanquisher's Banner.
I'll preface these next three cards by saying that I am very skeptical that this deck list will be a world champion, but I am confident that you will have fun playing it. I have a great deal of passion and interest when it comes to decks that wholly brand new. We are using Vanquisher's Banner to further boost our Human horde, and to also draw cards on the cast trigger created by casting our Human spells. I like Vanquisher's Banner, and if we can survive the early game, resolve a Banner, and begin casting Human spells, we can really take off.
Sigiled Sword of Valeron is a nice piece of equipment. We get some spicy 2/2 tokens for attacking, and have an opportunity to really buff those tokens with Benalish Marshal. I've always had a love for equipment, and I think in recent years WOTC has veered away from giving us any really powerful relics. Which seems weird given the context of recent sets, and the continuous in-flux of new legends (each more powerful than the next). Forebear's Blade is interesting; we only need to equip it once as long we control more than one creature. It just keeps bouncing around our creatures, and in a token strategy can be a very trusty weapon.
Drastic Times Call for Drastic Measures...
Our sideboard options are aimed at crushing the early game for our opponents, and surviving the mid-game. It's a very straight forward approach to the meta (as of yet undefined), because my limited testing (15 matches or so) of this deck proved several things to me and we are going to run through those eventualities.
Spell Pierce is a great spell. It gives us meaningful interactions that can "counter a counter" or disrupt our opponents curve, or outright stop Planeswalker or board wipe. A well placed Spell Pierce is devastating to an unsuspecting opponent, and the very nature of the spell being a one mana "nope" can save games or win games. I include 4 copies of Spell Pierce to make sure we are seeing it when we need to and winning races against our opponents. Lava Coil is an excellent answer to many of the current best creatures in Standard, I have been looking at drastically modifying the sideboard to include several big flyers, but for now this will work - we get Wildgrowth Walker, the Drakes, and several other commonly seen creatures.
Unbreakable Formation is awesome. Just read it. Think about it. Use it. I love playing this card - it has been an absolute all-star, and a outright blowout post-board against other creature strategies. Bounty Agent is my very personal response to all of the Prime Speaker Vannifar decks I have been testing against. Prime Speaker Vannifar is so good right now, from what I've seen, that she may catch a ban - it would not surprise me in the slightest. Bounty Agent pretty much stinks, but I use her to shut down Niv-Mizzet, Vannifar, Trostani, and Admiral Beckett Brass (wink wink).
Never Give Up - Never Surrender!
I have tested this deck list quite a bit. I am not sold on it being the best thing since sliced bread, and I am not posting it because believe that this deck will move heaven and earth to take you to the highest echelons of the game. I want it to be food for thought for you. I want you to get the satisfaction seeing several of possibilities that these new Ravnica Allegiance cards are bringing to us and then take our framework, and build upon it. I want you to tear this deck apart, and help us build versions through iteration.
More importantly, I want to showcase your deck lists here on LandSayGo. Use the submission form, share your decks with us, and we will showcase your mastery of the game right here on the site. Stay tuned this Friday for another community submission - I've reviewed the list, and it's the hotness!