Brewing for the New Standard with Old Favorites

Written by Sam Burnside-Woods

When a new set is fully spoiled, it’s always exciting to both see what cards fit into existing powerful archetypes and attempt build a deck that creates an entirely new one. To this effect, I’ve been trying to build around Drake Haven, the Cycling payoff card aimed at Constructed. However, Drake Haven doesn’t just care about cycling; it also has two magic words printed on the card, “or discard,” so you know what that means….

(Cue "The Boys Are Back in Town")

(Cue "The Boys Are Back in Town")

For those who don’t know me well, I’ve have had something of a fixation with Sanitarium Skeleton ever since the card was spoiled. I even managed to Top 8 the Standard Open at the last MTG Adept Representationals Tournament with a deck affectionately called “Weetbix and Milk,” built largely around this little guy and his interactions with discard outlets. Sadly Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, champion of control players everywhere, rotated, and with him gone, any hope of Sanitarium Skeleton achieving anything remotely near constructed vanished. Until now!

Decklist 1.png

This was my initial draft of what a deck built around Drake Haven with the skeleton as a focal point would look like. Since then, I’ve done a bit of playtesting, and have some good news, and some bad news.

Good News:

  • Drake Haven is actually a good card, and synergises well with Call the Bloodline, something I thought initially might not be the case.
  • Censor is a good 2 mana counterspell.
  • Scarab Feast is a totally reasonable maindeck card in this format.
  • Disallow is so much better then Cancel now.

Bad News:

  • Every game I played with this version of the deck felt like a losing battle against aggressive decks.  Tapping out on turn three for a Drake Haven, something this deck very much wants to be doing, felt like a huge loss in board presence that ultimately led to me dying a bunch of times.

So, what to do about that?

This deck goes a long way to shore up some of the problems of the previous iteration. Yahenni’s Expertise offers us a way to get our do-nothing enchantments in play without dying on turn 5.  Maxing out on one mana cyclers offers consistency as well as more drakes, which is always nice. Cutting awkward spells like Essence Scatter for more hard counters and removal makes us less vunerable to Embalmed creatures,  which were a big deal for this deck in testing. (Honored Hydra is no joke, kids. Believe the hype.)

Anyway, what do you guys think of the deck, or even the general idea? Feedback would be much appreciated. Feel free to comment here, as well as hit me up directly on FB (Sam BW) with any ideas you have. I’m really looking forward to the new standard season, and hope to see as many new decks in the meta as possible.