Season of the Lich

In the last couple of months of Standard, we’ve primarily seen the format dominated by aggressive decks and Blue-based control. Prior to Dominaria, it was The Scarab God, now it’s Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Ever since Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger rotated, we’ve seen very little in the way of big mana decks. Hour of Promise is still in the format, and I’m glad to see that some players haven’t completely given up on ramping into haymakers:


Josu Vess, Lich Knight
The interesting thing about {B}{G}ramp is that there’s so many options. Llanowar Elves is obligatory, but after that there’s a ton of choices to be made. Servant of the Conduit versus Gift of Paradise is the first one. Whether to play midrange threats like Thrashing Brontodon and Ravenous Chupacabra or go bigger with Vraska, Relic Seeker and Carnage Tyrant.

This build is focused on being as flexible as possible. Your first goal is to ramp into Hour of Promise, finding Arch of Orazca and enough deserts to get some Zombie blockers. Arch gives you some longevity while the zombies let you buy time to leverage your Arch. Vraska serves a similar purpose, both taking out threats and helping to stall out the board so you can leverage your engine. You’ve got enough removal to keep key threats like Hazoret the Fervent and Glorybringer off your back.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this deck is its top end; specifically that there kind of isn’t one. The most expensive thing you can do isn’t Carnage Tyrant or anything like that. Instead, it’s Josu Vess, Lich Knight. This card can come down early with enough toughness to stabilize the board, but also lets your close out games later on.

Arch of Orazca and Arguel’s Blood Fast help you keep up with control decks, you just need a high enough density of threats to overload Essence Scatters and Disallows. If you can piece together the right removal suite, you can keep pace with aggro decks. If you want to combine early interaction with acceleration and big threats, this seems like a good shell to do it in.


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