Which of these decks would work best?

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Hello. I've been away from Magic for a while and I finally had time to look back into it. I originally planned to just skip the Innistrad block, since I personally didn't care much for it, and start again with M13, so I am a little off.
The only deck I have left in Standard is my Werewolf Deck, which I finished because I had all the Innistrad Werewolves. The problem with that is that it will be out come September. So I am looking for something based more in the Ravnica Block that will hopefully do a bit better than Werewolves.

Originally, I posted a few deck types I was considering (Goblin, Selesnya Populate, Azorius Detain, Izzet, and Dimir Mill). But after reading the first few replies below, I wanted to change up the main post a bit. I will probably work at 1 or 2 decks although I doubt I will be finishing the full deck lists too quickly. I don't plan to play too competitively, only FNM and maybe a Game Day. I am willing to spend a good bit of money on my decks, but at the same time, I don't want to spend a ton. By that, I mean I don't mind working towards a couple playsets of $10 cards ($40 a playset) but I'd rather skip the playsets of $25 cards ($100 a playset). Also, I want the deck to be based more around Ravnica than Innistrad. I don't mind uses some Innistrad cards here and there, but I prefer that the central theme of the deck be focused around Ravnica cards and that any Innistrad cards are lower in cost.
The one deck I am planning to work on is my Selesnya Populate deck. I liked the idea behind the mechanic, although it currently seems to be too weak to be very competitive. Still, I made a deck list and posted it a few posts down. Feedback on that would be appreciated.

I would like to make another Standard deck, but I am not sure what to consider. I still like the idea of a WU Detain or a UR Deck, maybe a WUR deck even. While I don't expect others to decide this for me, I am hoping to gain a bit more insight on what to expect. I've been away for a while and before I still wasn't that knowledgeable of the Top Tier. So a good summary of what decks are currently owning the game, how they work, and what their deadly cards and combos are would be appreciated.
The next thing I'd like is advice on what decks you think would be worth looking into. Personally, I am kinda wanting to play more of a White and/or Blue deck as my third. You can suggest decks that focus in Red, Black, or Green; but I probably won't be too interested. Just to repeat, I am looking for more of a budget deck whose key cards are in Ravnica, not Innistrad. I am not really looking for anyone to build a deck for me, although if you want to show me a list as an example I'd be fine with it. I am more looking for some guidance of what decks would work well in/against the current metagame without costing me $200+.

Also, just to mention, I am not very good at playing Control based decks yet, but I am interested in trying them. My style has been more archetype focused (Bant, Landfall, Myr, Infect, Werewolf) than strategy focused; something I want to change.
So do you think I could come up with a good budget WUR deck? Or would you suggest a different color combination or focus? I know Gatecrash is almost here and that it will surly change a lot, but it would be nice to have a better idea on things beforehand so I can better adjust afterwards.

Goblins are actually really good with m13.
Goblins are actually really good with m13. And I would run them.
Goblins are actually really good with m13. And I would run them.

I disagree. It's almost impossible to build a competitive goblin deck in Standard. Somewhere there is a thread on this (try searching on Krenko, Mob Boss).

My short answer to the OP is that none of the Return to Ravnica guild mechanics are strong enough to build a whole deck around. For example, I have a Selesnya midrange aggro deck that I used for FNM tonight. It does have some use of tokens, populate, and life gain (via Trostani, Selesnya's Voice), but this is just a bonus to its main theme which is to quickly build up powerful creatures with double strike, trample, or flying (or some combination thereof).
Get creative and make your own homebrewed deck, about a week ago I made a mill deck based solely around blocking with augur of bolas then using unsummon type effects to bounce the guy before damage was dealt, makes an impervious wall and constantly fetches spells for me to further abuse him with; no one at my FNM liked me that day  all the matches went to time, 2 ties 1 win and 1 lose; ironically lost to jace, memory adept milling me .

The point is that the best ideas are never going to just hit you in the face so bluntly like a deck based around one guild's mechanics, try to find some interesting combos to abuse, most of the competitive decks right now use or abuse some sort of combo at their core. Do what works rather than what looks good, a good example of this would be populate decks vs thragtusk flickering decks, is it more effective to populate a 3/3 token or is it more effective to flicker a thragtusk gain 5 life and a 3/3 token, the populate mechanic is one of those things people want to base a deck around but in realilty it's better to use cards that are synergistic rather than try to base a deck around keywords.
If you want a simple deck try a RB aggro deck, RDW, or the increasingly popular fight club deck that has recently come up; their all aggro decks, but if your on a budget aggro is probably the best way to go their cheap $$$ wise and they have a decent chance of winning. Only down side is that you have to beat them fast with aggro type decks if you get unlucky and the other deck can stop you before turn 5 your pretty much done.

most other decks are going to cost you a pretty penny right now, if you want to seriously get into it all just wait until GTC comes out in a month because its probably going to completely change the meta game as it is right now.

Thanks for the comments.

I did see the Goblin thread before posting this. They got a good bit of token generation, but they just don't seem practical to me. I guess they just aren’t the goblins I know. Still, it is hard to even rule out goblins, but for now they just don't seem worth working at.


Also, I guess I know that I can't build a deck solely around the Guild mechanics, at least not yet (maybe next two sets will change that). I just want something that makes use of them. Here is the Selesnya Populate deck I was planning to build:

WG-Standard: 60
Creatures: 15 (Total Costs: 1CMC- 7, 2CMC- 10, 3CMC- 12, 4CMC- 5, 5CMC- 2, 6CMC- 3)
2 Trostani, Selesnya's Voice
3 Armada Wurm
3 Loxodon Smiter
3 Thraben Doomsayer
4 Arbor Elf
Planeswalkers: 2
2 Garruk, Primal Hunter
Artifact: 0
Instants: 7
4 Selesnya Charm
3 Rootborn Defenses
Enchantments: 9
3 Oblivion Ring
3 Parallel Lives
3 Rancor
Sorceries: 6
2 Gather the Townsfolk
4 Call of the Conclave
Lands: 21 (Mana Breakdown: White- 35, Green- 31. Land Breakdown: White- 14, Green- 14)
2 Selesnya Guildgate
3 Grove of the Guardian
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
4 Forest
4 Plains

Okay, maybe I focused a bit too much on tokens with that, but I have to start somewhere before I can tweak it =P It is based on another deck I found on the forum, which seemed pretty solid from feedback. I think the main changes I made, besides skipped the Angel Token card, were adding Rancor and Oblivion Ring. Feedback on what to change would be nice.

Also, I know that all the best decks tend to use the less obvious combos and themes. The only issue there is that most (that I know of) tend to rely heavily on costly Innistrad Block cards, which I am trying to avoid. At least I know why Thragtusk is so costly now XD Makes sense, I just haven't remember all the flicker in standard recently. Personally, I'd love a flicker deck, but I doubt I could build one without spending a ton.

I doubt I will be doing much before GTC comes out either. So I guess I will be waiting a bit before deciding. I also should get a better feel for the current Metagame; it is nice to have an idea what will be crushing you beforehand =P I know some of decks by name, but not sure how they will play.

Also, it is good to hear that mill isn't trash this year. Last time I looked into mill, Eldrazi came out. That kinda killed it for a while. Also, I think I am leaning more towards a White/Blue deck with Detain. I am not saying it will be my main focus, but certainly something I would like to use in the deck. Maybe I will even look into a WUR deck to try to take the best of Izzet and Azorius (think that sounds promising?).

Still, for now, I think I will work towards the deck list I posted above and finish off my Werewolves. I guess I will just keep looking for new ideas and new themes and after Gatecrash I will think about a 3rd standard deck; hopefully stronger than the other two.

Can you edit your deck list to get rid of all the extra blank lines? Thank you! It will make it much easier to give a review.

I think that fixed it. No idea why I did that. I copied and pasted it from word and the format I use doesn’t double space or anything. I had to backspace onto previous line and hit enter to fix it. Eh, guess I am just not use to this kinda of post editor.

Edit: just to note, I updated the main post and changed the focus of the topic a bit. Instead of trying to pick the better deck from a list of 5, I am now more of looking for suggestions and advice for decks (including the list above) as well as some information to help me better understand the current metagame. If this is no longer the proper forum, please move the topic or at least let me know where to repost it.


I think that fixed it. No idea why I did that.

The forum software is really weird about adding blank lines, especially when copying from another source.

I'm on my way out to enjoy the day, but I'll try to have a look at your deck list later day.

Yah, I think that is one of reasons I didn't like posting here too much before XD At least I remembered the trick to fixing it, backspace on previous line and then enter from top down (doesn’t work from bottom up for some reason).
I'll look forward to seeing you comments later.

I'll look forward to seeing you comments later.

I don't think you want to mix human tokens and populate. To be effective, I think you need to either make a white human deck with some green splash, or you make a populate deck that focuses on beefier tokens (3/3 and up). The other approach is where you make a Selesnya-themed aggro deck or midrange deck where you just capitalize on the strong G/W creatures, and tokens are just a small side effect from using Call of the Conclave or Thragtusk leaving the battlefield.

I don't think you need or want the Selesnya Guildgate if you have eight dual-colored lands. If you need to mana fix for white, then run some Avacyn's Pilgrim. I usually run 2x Arbor Elf and 4x Avacyn's Pilgrim.

There is another thread with a populate theme that seems to have been well received and which may generate some ideas: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

Thanks for the feedback. Actually, I saw the topic for the other deck before making and posting this one; in some ways I based mine off it.
I'll look into removing the weaker tokens. I know they don't populate well, but I was running low on strong token cards (besides high cost like Coursers' Accord). I may replace the Gather the Townsfolk with Slime Molding; I really like the idea of being able to make a huge token with Slime Molding.
I doubt I will be able to get Entreat the Angels or Thragtusk due to their cost, but I am considering them. I'd rather get the RTR cards like Trostani, Selesnya's Voice, Armada Wurm, and Temple Garden; then the support like Parallel Lives and Garruk, Primal Hunter first. After I get those, I'll see if I can get the others. Hopefully some new cards come out to help the deck too, if not in Gatecrash maybe in Dragon's Maze.
Also, just to mention, last night I ordered a bunch of cards I needed for the deck and other cards to test. I mostly got lower cost cards, but I did manage to get 3 Loxodon Smiter and a playset of Intangible Virtue. I defiantly want to try a Cathars' Crusade build with a lot of smaller tokens. I will be sure to try other version as well when testing. I am interested on trying a more aggressive version with less token focus. I'll just have to see how it goes.
At the moment the whole populate deck is a bit weird. I'd love to run cards like Wayfaring Temple (with Rancor for Trample), but to power him up it seems best to use a lot of small tokens. Sigh, if only Bestial Menace was still in standard. It would be great if it, or a card like it, were reprinted in the upcoming sets...

Well, until the orders comes, I will be focusing on other decks. After I get a chance to play with the token cards a bit, I will see if I can revise this deck list.
Besides that, I did update the main post not too long ago to try to change direction of the topic. So if anyone could give me some info on what the top tier decks are and how they work it would be appreciated. Or if you know of any cool, unique, and/or decently effective decks that can be build without dishing out $100 I'd like to know. I'll just be looking around for new ideas to try and preparing for next expansion.

At the moment the whole populate deck is a bit weird. I'd love to run cards like Wayfaring Temple (with Rancor for Trample), but to power him up it seems best to use a lot of small tokens.

Populate is a slow mechanic and tricky to get right, because you need to have a balance of both token generators and cards with the populate mechanic. I think this is why it is not used much in competitive decks.

I agree with Hreth on this one.  I tried a populate deck, and it felt too...clunky to me.  When it works, it works great.  The problem is that it's unreliable.

Yah, from what I've seen that seems right. Hopefully before the block ends we'll see better cards. The decks need cards like Coursers' Accord, only without such a horrid cost. From what I've seen, most of the cards are currently commons too; so hopefully newer cards have higher rarities and stronger effects.

Personally, I find the mechanic itself to be a bit lacking. My original thought was that it would be awesome to use with my landfall token generation deck I use to have (which would be modern now). But now, I doubt I'd be able to use any of it, maybe Trostani and Rootborn. But before I had trouble finding room for all the landfall cards in standard, and in modern that would be even harder and I'd need to get cards like Parallel Lives in the deck.
I think the main flaw is that it only generates one more token, regardless of power. Maybe if it did one of each unique token (e.g. you could populate a 3/3 beast, 1/1 bird, and a 1/1 spirit each once, but if you only had 3 3/3 beasts you could only do 1). Or Populate X, where is power/toughness (so populate 1 could only make a clone of a 1/1, but populate 3 could make 3 more 1/1 or 1 more 3/3). Oh well, bit late to change it now.
So yah, I feel a bit iffy about the whole mechanic at the moment. I still plan to work on the deck, but I don't expect it to work too well if I try to focus around populate as main goal. I'll be better off flooding with weak tokens or just playing up the WG colors without a major populate focus. Hopefully the 2nd or 3rd set of the block will offer some better populate cards.

Well, I considered letting this topic die and posting a new focused on my Selesnya deck; but I decided to hold off on that a bit longer. So instead, I'll post two new deck lists. I took a look at my deck and tried to make a version with less Token/Populate Focus and more aggression to it. Then after that, I decided to see if I could pull off an all out Token/Populate deck. The results are interesting for both; my comments for each are listed below them. Here they are.

Aggro-WG-Standard: 60
Creatures: 13 (Total Costs: 1CMC- 4, 2CMC- 12, 3CMC- 13, 4CMC- 3, 5CMC- 2, 6CMC- 3, XCMC- 2)
3 Armada Wurm
3 Silverblade Paladin
3 Trostani, Selesnya's Voice
4 Loxodon Smiter
Planeswalkers: 2
2 Garruk, Primal Hunter
Artifact: 0
Instants: 7
3 Rootborn Defenses
4 Selesnya Charm
Enchantments: 7
3 Oblivion Ring
4 Rancor
Sorceries: 10
2 Slime Molding
4 Call of the Conclave
4 Farseek
Lands: 21 (Mana Breakdown: White- 36, Green- 38. Land Breakdown: White- 13, Green- 14)
2 Gavony Township
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
6 Forest
5 Plains
This is meant to be a direction improvement over the previous deck list. Pretty much, I cut out the Doomsayer for a Silverblade; I dropped the Gather the Townsfolk for Slime Molding; and I dropped the Parallel Lives for 1 more Loxodon, Trostani, and Rancor. Also, I decided to cut the Arbor Elf for Farseek; but I can easily change that around if I feel it doesn’t work. I liked Arbor Elf because he could untap Temple Garden, but I feel it may be better just to fetch it. Also, I changed Grove of the Guardian to Gavony Township, which will probably work better.
I still got 6 cards that can Populate (Rootborn and Trostani); the latter of the two can do it once per turn. I feel that number works good since I also got 15 token generation cards (4 Call, 2 Slime, 4 Charm, 2 Garruk, and 3 Wurm). The Slime Molding is the odd choice but I wanted to try it since it could get me a stronger token or just be an overcost 3/3. Slime Molding and Rootborn Defense are the cards I'll be keeping an eye on to see if I want to cut them.

Token Swarm-WG-Standard: 60 (Big Token-12, Swarm Token-13/17, Populate-7)
Creatures: 10 (Total Costs: 1CMC- 4, 2CMC- 11, 3CMC- 4, 4CMC- 12, 5CMC- 5, 6CMC- 3)
3 Armada Wurm
3 Trostani, Selesnya's Voice
4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
Planeswalkers: 2
2 Garruk, Primal Hunter
Artifact: 0
Instants: 12
4 Eyes in the Skies
4 Midnight Haunting
4 Selesnya Charm
Enchantments: 6
3 Cathars' Crusade
3 Parallel Lives
Sorceries: 9
2 Fungal Sprouting
3 Gather the Townsfolk
4 Call of the Conclave
Lands: 21 (Mana Breakdown: White- 37, Green- 33. Land Breakdown: White- 13, Green- 13)
3 Grove of the Guardian
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
5 Forest
5 Plains
This deck was fun and a bit frustrating to build. The goal of the deck is to combo with Cathars' Crusade and Parallel Lives to generate a lot of tokens and then get a ton of +1/+1 counters on them. I admit, it will probably suck in the early stages of the game and I probably should have more mana ramp. Also, I get that it won't be until turn 5 when I get the Parallel Lives and Cathar's Crusade up, so before then I'll pretty much just have weak 1/1; but hopefully I'll be able to throw down a couple more and make them all 5/5s (2 1/1x2 by Parallel Lives=4 creatures so all get 4 +1/+1 counters...right? Also, Parallel Lives would clone a token made via Populate too, right?). Still, I think it is a pretty decent attempt to merge Populate and Token Swarm decks.
I focused on a lot of token generation cards and fewer creatures; Parallel Lives certainly has enough targets. Eyes in the Skies is there because it can be a better version of Midnight Haunting; 1 more cost but at worst it makes same tokens and at best it gives a 1/1 flyer and populates something bigger. Fungal Sprouting is there because I believe it will count the +1/+1 counter when played so it will give a lot of token; however, I may be wrong and if I am I'd swap it out for something else. Also, I went with Grove of the Guardian again for this because if I can pull it off and get the 8/8, well, it will just be really good for the deck XD Also, with all my weak little tokens 2 creature shouldn't be too hard to get.
I kinda expect it to fail against a very competitive deck, or at least most of the time. It isn't as stable or versatile as the other deck list and enchantment removal on game 2 will just destroy me. Still, it seems like an interested deck to try.

Well, those are my two deck lists I plan on testing and tweaking when I my orders arrive (I'll have to Proxy some cards still though). I think most will agree that the Aggro seems far more competitive while the Token Swarm seems more casual. Still, I won't know until I test them. Any comments on either build?

Well, I tested both of the above decks. Since my only other standard deck is werewolves, it was the only deck I had to test against. Still, werewolves seem quick and forceful enough to get a good estimate of the decks.

The token version just failed. Too often was I left with 1/1 tokens that were hopeless to hold back the foes. The only advantage was that I had flying tokens, which did a good job of getting past werewolves, but that probably wouldn't help too much against most other decks. The main problem I found was that it was too dependent on its enchantments.
I ended up tweaking build by removing 2 Garruk, Primal Hunter, 2 Fungal Sprouting and 1 Trostani, Selesnya's Voice for 1 more Cathars' Crusade, Parallel Lives, Gather the Townsfolk, and a couple Farseek. That did help, but not enough. I really needed Cathars' Crusade or else my tokens just failed. The main problem was that it took until turn 5 or so to get it on field, if I even drew it, and by then I used up most my token generation cards (had to keep casting to keep werewolves from transforming).
Mana was a big issue with deck. I did change out the Pilgrim for Arbor Elves because only giving white was too limiting (Arbor Elves can untap Temple Garden, which I got more often than not). Grove of the Guardian also proved futile. I never got it off once, mainly due to mana costs.
However, if I did manage to pull it off and get a Cathars' Crusade on the field; then dropping any 1 or 2 token cards became instant field control. Still, werewolves managed to win despite an army of 1/1 tokens with 5 +1/+1 counters on them in one game; that deck just got a really good field as well. So I am defiantly going to give up on the idea of token swarm. I am sure it would run into worse things than werewolves and chances are my opponent would side in an enchantment crush, which would devastate the deck.

The aggro version on the other hand worked much better. I didn't have too much tokens, but I still had enough that I felt the theme was there. Garruk, Primal Hunter is defiantly the MVP of the deck. I late upped him (and Silverblade Paladin) by taking out Slime Molding (not a bad card due to flexibility, it even won me a game, but others just seem more useful). The thing Garruk did that I didn't really expect to be so useful was the draw power. The first game I got him out I managed to cast a Slime Molding to make a 5/5 token and then use the -3 ability to draw 5! That netted me enough cards to easily win (Armada Wurm and needed 6th land).
I did find how important mana ramp is with this deck. It has been a while since I had to worry about lands that much. Still, I found the Farseek did the job wonderfully. Although I wouldn't be against adding some Arbor Elves if I had the room. Rootborn Defenses if the only card I never drew, or at least used, while testing the deck. I decided to keep it in for the moment, but it is the most likely card to be removed.
I never got to use Gavony Township's effect, but it didn't slow deck any to have it and it seems worth using. Trostani, Selesnya's Voice was another card that was a big game changer. Any token with her turns into easy life gain. Also, she can be a great blocker when paired with Silverblade Paladin. Speaking of the Paladin, he certainly proved to be worth the addition; too bad he goes for $9 each. Still, I got no problem going after him; I am sure I will use him in other formats after he rotates out. Nothing quite as sweet as a turn 3 Loxodon Smiter followed by a turn 4 Silverblade Paladin and Rancor; a 6/4 Double Strike Trampler can really cause some damage, even if he dies to blockers (took out lot of werewolves at least).
The aggro build is defiantly the one I am sticking with. Chances are Gatecrash will have a few cards to improve the deck (waiting for full spoilers before I check it all out). Personally, I am really hoping for some Green/Blue Draw card that I could fit in. I may be able to shift the deck towards more of a token focus if some new strong token cards come out, but I am not expecting anymore Selesnya/Populate stuff until Dragon's Maze, if then.

Well I would like to thank everyone who helped me with this topic. I will continue to work at my Selesnya Aggro deck (with some Populate) and hopefully get all the cards and use it before the format changes XD For the moment, I decided not to pick up another standard deck, but I do have my eye on a few (Exalted for one) so I'll just have to see how that plays out.
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