Zirda, the Dawnwaker is Banned in Legacy!

Zirda, the Dawnwaker is one of two Companions to be banned before Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is even legal on paper

“I don’t think they banned too many Companions.”


We knew from the outset that Lurrus of the Dream-Den was going to be really good with Black Lotus. All you had to do was draw your Black Lotus and you could deploy your Lurrus of the Dream-Den on the first turn and re-play the Lotus! The ban in Vintage was thus eminently predictable.

Interestingly, Vintage usually tries to deal with overpowered cards via restriction (rather than banning). But restriction under the current rules doesn’t stop Lurrus from being played as a Companion… So ban it is!

Joining Lurrus on the Legacy banned list is fellow Companion Zirda, the Dawnwaker. Zirda is abusively powerful with mana artifacts with “untap” abilities like Grim Monolith and Basalt Monolith.

Zirda, the Dawnwaker

There’s lots of ways that Zirda can break; here’s a simple implementation:

  • Turn two, play your second land and a Grim Monolith
  • Turn three, float 3 — and don’t even hit your land drop. Tap your original two lands, using one of the 3 Monolith mana to cast Zirda; you have 2 floating… Which, with Zirda in play, is exactly what you need to untap the Grim Monolith.
  • You can tap for 3, use 2 to untap the Monolith, and essentially make infinite colorless mana on turn three.
Zirda, the Dawnwaker enables infinite mana with Grim Monolith

Zirda wasn’t a problem yet: But the writing was on the wall.

All the Companions! All the Standard!

  • Solar Blaze is the hot new tech in 80-card Jeskai. Unlike with Shatter the Sky, your Agent of Treachery and Yorion, Sky Nomad will live through the ‘Blaze
  • Heraldic Banner helps cast Obosh, the Preypiercer in Mono-Red! Accelerating three-to-five is less exciting than decelerating three-to-one to leave up Shock mana or pop out another hasty one drop.
  • Bolas’s Citadel replaces Casualties of War in Jund Sacrifice. Now that no one is playing permanents, six mana Desert Twisters are less exciting than forcing the opponent to take ten.
  • Lurrus of the Dream-Den enables a Bogles-like White Weenie deck that violates the spirit of the law… and the opponent’s life total.
  • The four-color Neoform deck that Patrick is afraid might be busted…
  • And the critical difference between Mono-Green Ramp and Simic Mutate.

Give it a listen:

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We Adore This Colossus Hammer Deck

You don’t know what a Colossus Hammer is, you say? Let us help you out with that…

It’s Hammer Time!

More on Colossus Hammer in a second; but before we get to Modern and Pioneer [with Companions!] it’s probably worth mentioning Vintage, which is “in a kind of weird, unplayable state” might just feature the first banning of a card before it is actually printed:

To be fair, we did warn y’all that Lurrus of the Dream-Den Sure is Good with Black Lotus.

All Kinds of Companions in Modern and Pioneer!

  • Blinking Ice-Fang Coatl with Yorion, Sky Nomad [and wouldn’t Magic be more fun if all the decks were 80 card decks?]
  • Your standard* Uro / Urza deck, with Emry and Galvanic Blast [* where “standard” is actually Modern]
  • Seal of Fire just seems better than Burst Lighting in this 18-land Burn deck [that really only splashes white for Lurrus]
  • Why there really are no prohibitive costs in Modern
  • The card LITERALLY NO ONE should talk about in Modern [Weather the Storm]
  • Klothys, God of Destiny; Glorybringer; Bonecrusher Giant… All in a viable Modern deck? [aka “the good guy”]
  • … And so much more

But Our Favorite Deck is Colossus Hammer Beatdown!

Let’s start with Bogles; aka “Infect that’s great against Burn” according to Mike. While Patrick isn’t super happy with that description, the decks are often spoken about in relation to each other. Both are about playing small creatures with specialized abilities that specialize in putting a ton of pants on one of those creatures to win in a small number of attacks.

Infect is historically much more explosive, and a bit faster; but can be vulnerable to point removal.

Bogles, with mostly hexproof creatures, is far more resistant to removal, but less explosive than Infect. But Bogles is slower and — at least prior to the recent availability of Lurrus of the Dream-Den — could collapse like a house of cards if the one creature it drew was dealt with via discard or a Liliana activation.

But now we have Colossus Hammer!

What makes this deck so exciting?

  • Colossus Hammer plays actual good cards. Don’t forget: Stoneforge Mystic spent most of Modern on the Banned List
  • This deck can be as explosive as Infect. Kor Duelist + the Hammer itself is worth more than 20 damage
  • Though the Hammer is a permanent, this deck has some instant speed play. Sigarda’s Aid and Magnetic Theft can act as lethal “Giant Growth”-type cards.
  • It can defend its combo. Giver of Runes (or Spellskite in some versions) can keep your attacker alive to attack for lethal.
  • It’s ALSO an Infect deck. What’s better to give +10/+10 to than an Inkmoth Nexus?

Ready to pound the opponent for 20+ (or lethal Infect)? What are you waiting for?

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The Many Faces of Yorion, Sky Nomad

The man — err… Bird Serpent — of the hour:
Yorion, Sky Nomad

Yorion, Sky Nomad has taken over as the most popular and successful Companion in Standard over the course of the last week!

It’s no Lurrus of the Dream-Den in powered formats [yet], but for the low low cost of twenty extra cards in your library, this card can become a reliable source of massive card advantage and synergy.

Tale’s End; with and against Yorion, Sky Nomad

The popularity of Companions makes Tale’s End a versatile tool for Standard

First thing’s first: Tale’s End is a reliable “Essence Scatter” type in a format with so many Companions. Even better, it usually trades favorably on tempo… Two for three; even two for six!

But that’s not all!

Many decks play Legendary permanents other than their Companions… Whether a ubiquitous Planeswalker or Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath in Temur Reclamation, Tale’s End can counter them for two.

You can counter the ability of Priest of Forgotten Gods! What a beating on the battlefield that would be!

Or how about countering a Cycling activation? Trading a permission spell for a card drawing spell has never been completely out of the question, but these days that might also mean depriving the opponent of a specific trigger or the 1/1 token from an Improbable Alliance.

It’s pretty important to stop the Control Magic-type ability on Agent of Treachery in these Yorion decks, too! Don’t sleep on Tale’s End.

Popular Builds with Yorion, Sky Nomad

  • Jeskai – Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast can team up with the token creatures from a variety of sources (Castle Ardenvale, Shark Typhoon, even Omen of the Sun) to upgrade into Agent of Treachery.
  • Arcanist’s Owl – In a non-Lukka build… The Owl can help dig to Fires of Invention or rack up triggers from Archon of Sun’s Grace.
  • Four-color – If you’re already in the market for an Omen of the Sun, what about Calix, Destiny’s Hand for a green splash? The deck is full of all kinds of enchantments, up to and including Fires of Invention, and digging to them is generally welcome. Given all the enchantments, Calix is reliable removal, too.

Yorion combines brilliantly with all these enters the battlefield effects. Omen of the Sea, Omen of the Sun, and even Omen of the Forge represent card advantage coming and going and coming back again!

Load your battlefield up with 187-style permanents and Yorion, Sky Nomad will pay you back, reliably, circa turn five.

Learn all the secrets of the Sky Nomad in this week’s podcast:

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Keruga, the Macrosage is Defining and Dominating Standard!

Don’t get us wrong… Keruga, the Macrosage is defining Standard right now

But… Have You Seen That Pioneer Yorion, Sky Nomad Deck?

Demonic Pact
Yorion, Sky Nomad + Demonic Pact
What a combo!

Patrick and MichaelJ are pretty much in love with a Doom Foretold deck that runs Demonic Pact in Pioneer.

You can get value with the Pact, and sacrifice it to Doom Foretold before it costs you the game. Or for that matter, just Emblem up Gideon of the Trials to prevent losing on the spot.

Of course playing especially multiple copies of Demonic Pact or other exciting reset-able permanents and then slamming Yorion, Sky Nomad makes for a really exciting strategy. Of course you’re ALWAYS going to be able to play Yorion on demand (provided you’ve hit five land drops)… So the downside risk on Demonic Pact is a lot lower than it has historically been in previous formats.

People are exploring the new seven mana Ultimatum cycle from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths… But this card gives you basically a delayed blast Ultimatum for only four.

Now for our scheduled Keruga, the Macrosage admiration session…

Keruga in the Fires of Invention deck was absolutely dominant last week.

Not only did it occupy 15 of the Top 32 slots in the MTGO Super Qualifier, it took both first and second place, posted five of the Top 8, and claimed six of the seven wins in that Top 8.



Even StoneBlade?

Mike could not remember so dominant a performance in Standard.

It did not take long for Patrick to remind him:

You TRY to forget…

The Best of the Rest…

  • Simic Mutate Linear
  • Jeskai Cycling… Also Linear (and how to improve it)
  • Heraldic Banner in Rakdos Sacrifice
  • And more!

Check it out now:

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