The Grinding Stone – Standard Post M12

Hello!  Welcome to the second edition of “The Grinding Stone.”  This week I will be going over the post M12 Standard format.  While it will be short lived, the format will be relevant for the upcoming open events and US Nationals.  Comprising of the Zendikar block, Scars block, M11 and M12, the New Standard is shaping up to be quite interesting.

With Jace and Stoneforge banned, the format really feels fresh.  There is still the Splinter Twin/Exarch combo looming, and while the old bad guy Valakut will be making a comeback, there is still quite a lot of design space.  Many creatures and strategies that were completely neutered by Jace have been given a new life.  Titans are good again.  Cards like Consecrated Sphinx and Wurmcoil Engine rise in value as there is no “Jace Test” anymore.  There is also another reason these creatures will be standing out, but we will get to that in a bit.

First, I want to go through a list of cards in M12 that I think will have an immediate impact on the format:

Grim Lavamancer

Solemn Simulacrum

Chandra, the Firebrand


I know what you’re thinking: “WTF It’s not that big!”.  Sadly, I still think Valakut and Twin put a bit of a stranglehold on the format.  My list of cards to use after the Innistrad rotation is pretty huge, and will be an entire article of its own.

With M11 staying in, Mono red is definitely a force to be reckoned with.  Lavamancer will be at its best during this current format (unless something is printed in Innistrad to replace the functionality of the fetch lands), and is poised to be a very powerful and popular deck.

Mono Red

4x Goblin Guide

4x Grim Lavamancer

4x Ember Hauler

4x Lightning Bolt

4x Incinerate

4x Stagger Shock

4x Searing Blaze

4x Flame Slash

4x Arc Trail

4x Shrine of Burning Rage

4x Arid Mesa

4x Scalding Tarn

4x Teetering Peaks

8x Mountain


4x Dismember

3x Act of Aggression

4x Kiln Fiend

4x Vulshok Refugee

This is a pretty stock Mono Red list, except I have cut Spikeshot Elder.  He always was the worst card in the deck, and just having more burn definitely feels better.  The sideboard is a thing of beauty.  Patrick Sullivan knows his red decks, and when hes sleeving up Dismember you know its the real deal for Red.  This card is the other reason I see the Titans and other 6 toughness creatures picking up value.  While the “Jace Test” might be gone, the “Dismember Test” is still here.  Nice Baneslayer.  Nice Baloth.  Nice Firewalker.  Nice Deceiver Exarch.  Dismember is already seeing play in Legacy.  Its here to stay, and will be a benchmark in standard for a long time.  Here’s another strategy I feel can only get better.

Exarch Pod

4x Birds of Paradise

4x Fauna Shaman

4x Lotus Cobra

4x Deceiver Exarch

3x Birthing Pod

4x Splinter Twin

1x Solemn Simulacrum

1x Spellskite

1x Acidic Slime

1x Manic Vandal

3x Vengevine

1x Sphinx of Lost Truths

1x Sylvan Ranger

1x Inferno Titan

1x Sea Gate Oracle

1x Consecrated Sphinx

1x Urabrask, the Hidden

4x Misty Rainforest

4x Scalding Tarn

1x Evolving Wilds

3x Copperline Gorge

3x Raging Ravine

4x Forest

3x Mountain

2x Island


3x Dismember

3x Spellskite

2x Acidic Slime

4x Obstinate Baloth

1x Act of Aggression

2x Garruk, Primal Hunter

Unfortunately, I still think that Valakut puts a HUGE strain on any mid-range type strategy like this, and it is pretty soft to straight UR Twin.  My friend Jojo Naseef has been championing this list and is still working on it.  I think that as the format rotates and we lose Zendikar, Birthing Pod could end up being a major player.  Next up is Pyromancer Ascension with a transformational sideboard.

4x Pyromancer Ascension

4x See Beyond

4x Preordain

4x Ponder

4x Mana Leak

2x Forsee

2x Call to Mind

4x Lightning Bolt

4x Incinerate

2x Jace Beleren

4x Into the Roil

3x Halimar Depths

4x Scalding Tarn

8x Island

7x Mountain


4x Pyroclasm

2x Spell Pierce

1x Jace Beleren

4x Deceiver Exarch

4x Splinter Twin

This deck sure is fun to play and a lot of people won’t see the Exarch/Twin combo coming after side-boarding  Having Ponder along with Preordain means you have A LOT of dig.  You get to see so many cards its quite likely you will hit your Ascension.  Just make sure to save them for when you know what you are looking for (unless you need land ASAP).  Being able to Ponder/Preordain on turn 3 and then play your Ascension is pretty sweet.  I feel that straight U/R Twin is probably better, and I plan on getting into that next week!

Now lets talk about Tezzeret.  Sadly, the thing he was best at is no longer relevant;  punching Jace in the head.  Now, however, I think might be his time to shine!

4x Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

4x Tumble Magnet

2x Jace Beleren

4x Everflowing Chalice

4x Torpor Orb

3x Sphere of the Suns

3x Dismember

2x Go for the Throat

2x Doomblade

4x Inquisition of Kozilek

2x Wurmcoil Engine

1x Surgical Extraction

4x Darkslick Shores

4x Creeping Tarpit

4x Drowned Catacombs

3x Tectonic Edge

2x Inkmoth Nexus

4x Island

4x Swamp


3x Memoricide

2x Disfigure

2x Duress

1x Jace Beleren

4x Spellskite

3x Solemn Simulacrum

I really see Tezzeret getting better after the Innistrad rotation along with Solemn Simulacrum.  With Primeval Titans romping all over the place and a Billion Exarchs attacking you on Turn 4, tapping out for Tezzeret or Jens just doesn’t seem that effective.  The Torpor Orbs are some tech from GP Singapore from before the banning.  While it doesn’t stop Ms. Broken-mystic from grabbing Baneslayer Germs, it still turns off half of Primeval Titan and stops the Exarch combo.

I’ve deliberately left Valakut and UR Splinter Twin out of this article, as I plan on going over them next week (or maybe even later this week).  I wanted to lump them together, as they are definitely perceived as public enemy numbers 1 and 2.

Feel free to email me any questions, suggestions, or just to say hi:  You can also follow me on Twitter @richardamore.



About powerfulwizard

I am a Powerful Wizard who resides in Wichita Ks. I currently play Magic the Gathering and write for!

Posted on July 6, 2011, in Articles, The Grinding Stone and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great article chris. Keep them coming!

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