Brewing with Khans of Tarkir

Welcome back! Today we’re brewing with Khans of Tarkir. For those of you who don’t know, this article is a little later than usual—because I’m prepping for Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir in Honolulu. As I’m finishing up this article, it’s Sunday October 5th, the day after States and the day before I leave for Hawaii. There is a benefit to this delay, though: I’ve had a lot more time to tune the decks and even provide full sideboards. I even made top eight of Ohio States with the Gruul Monsters list in this article on the 4th. Without any further delay, let’s get to some decklists…

Gruul Monsters

This is the leading choice for me for Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir. Not only is it brutally efficient, but I made top eight at States with it yesterday. This deck really only gained from rotation, leaving [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card] killable by only a few spells. It also gained [card]Nissa, Worldwaker[/card], who simply takes over games by herself, and [card]Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker[/card], who not only kills things but doubles as your fifth and sixth [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card]s. The sideboard does feel slightly off, but I can’t quite place where.

[deck title= Gruul Monsters]
[Creatures]
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
2 Rattleclaw Mystic
4 Courser of Kruphix
3 Polukranos, World Eater
4 Stormbreath Dragon
2 Genesis Hydra
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Lightning Strike
4 Xenagos, the Reveler
4 Nissa, Worldwaker
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Temple of Abandon
2 Mana Confluence
1 Darksteel Citadel
7 Forest
5 Mountain
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
2 Magma Spray
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Reclamation Sage
2 Harness by Force
3 Fated Conflagration
2 Chandra, Pyromaster
2 Hornet Queen
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Beast Wars

I tried to run this for old time’s sake last weekend and only went 3-2 with it due to some pretty terrible draws on my part. I didn’t run it this week so I could get in testing with other decks. I’m not really sure if the metagame is ready for this deck, as [card]Siege Rhino[/card] seems to be everywhere right now and it is a hell of a card. Adding white gave it a few nice tricks, but I’m not sure if it’s enough.

[deck title= Beast Wars]
[Creatures]
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sunblade Elf
4 Swordwise Centaur
4 Fleecemane Lion
4 Reverent Hunter
4 Boon Satyr
2 Polukranos, World Eater
3 Nylea, God of the Hunt
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Aspect of Hydra
2 Setessan Tactics
2 Bow of Nylea
[/Spells]
[Land]
13 Forest
4 Windswept Heath
4 Mana Confluence
2 Plains
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
2 Ajani’s Presence
1 Back to Nature
1 Setessan Tactics
2 Hall of Triumph
2 Reclamation Sage
2 Banishing Light
1 Ajani Steadfast
4 Nylea’s Disciple
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Mono-Black Aggro

This is another deck that had lots to gain from rotation. Unfortunately, everyone is running every sweeper spell they can find. This is still a great deck that can kill out of nowhere, so I won’t count it out.

[Deck title=Mono-Black Aggro]
[Creatures]
4 Bloodsoaked Champion
4 Gnarled Scarhide
4 Tormented Hero
4 Mardu Skullhunter
4 Pain Seer
4 Herald of Torment
4 Mogis’s Marauder
[/creatures]
[Spells]
4 Thoughtseize
4 Bile Blight
2 Hero’s Downfall
[/spells]
[Land]
14 Swamp
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Polluted Delta
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
1 Hero’s Downfall
2 Grim Horuspex
2 Despise
3 Pharika’s Cure
2 Murderous Cut
3 Phyrexian Revoker
2 Stain the Mind
[/sideboard]
[/deck]

Golgari Rock

Remember, I always brew The Rock, and this time is no different. I’m not convinced this is better than the Abzan decks due to the powerful cards that get added into the mix, but it will be able to more easily cast the ones it has to make up for it.

[deck title= Golgari Rock]
[Creatures]
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Rakshasa Deathdealer
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Reaper of the Wilds
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Thoughtseize
3 Bile Blight
4 Sign in Blood
4 Hero’s Downfall
2 Silence the Believers
4 Nissa, Worldwaker
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Temple of Malady
4 Llanowar Wastes
4 Jungle Hollow
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Darksteel Citadel
3 Forest
5 Swamp
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
2 Despise
1 Bile Blight
4 Drown in Sorrow
1 Empty the Pits
2 Whip of Erebos
3 Reclamation Sage
1 Garruk, Apex Predator
1 Silence the Believers
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Mono-Red Aggro

This was one of the first decks I brewed, and I was super excited about it until I saw the staggering amount of lifegain in the format. This deck can still get there, but it will take a lot more work to do it through all that lifegain.

[deck title= Mono-Red Aggro]
[Creatures]
4 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Frenzied Goblin
4 Firedrinker Satyr
4 Borderland Marauder
4 War-Name Aspirant
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Hammerhand
4 Titan’s Strength
4 Lightning Strike
4 Stoke the Flames
[/Spells]
[Land]
12 Mountain
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Wooded Foothills
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
2 Rouse the Mob
2 Blinding Flare
2 Scouring Sands
4 Searing Blood
2 Hall of Triumph
3 Harness by Force
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Jeskai Counter Burn

This was a fun idea I had when I saw [card]Mindswipe[/card]—you just incidentally kill your opponent while controlling the board. This will definitely be good against a lot of the decks in the format, but I haven’t gotten to find out which ones yet.

[deck title= Jeskai Counter Burn]
[Creatures]
2 Keranos, God of Storms
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Lightning Strike
4 Dissolve
4 Banishing Light
4 Jeskai Charm
3 Anger of the Gods
4 End Hostilities
4 Jace’s Ingenuity
1 Fated Retribution
4 Mindswipe
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Temple of Triumph
4 Temple of Epiphany
4 Temple of Enlightenment
4 Shivan Reef
5 Island
2 Plains
3 Mountain
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
3 Fated Conflagration
2 Thassa’s Ire
1 Anger of the Gods
4 Nyx Fleece Ram
4 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
1 Pearl Lake Ancient
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Sultai Midrange

This was another deck I brewed early and was fairly excited for. I made quite a few changes to it after my initial testing, but have not yet gotten to try them out. I was easily taking down Mono-Green Devotion in testing though, so that’s something.

[deck title= Sultai Midrange]
[Creatures]
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Courser of Kruphix
1 Clever Impersonator
2 Prognostic Sphinx
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Thoughtseize
3 Bile Blight
4 Hero’s Downfall
4 Sultai Charm
4 Kiora, the Crashing Wave
1 Silence the Believers
3 Nissa, Worldwaker
2 Murderous Cut
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Temple of Mystery
2 Temple of Malady
3 Llanowar Wastes
2 Mana Confluence
4 Polluted Delta
3 Forest
3 Island
2 Swamp
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
2 Despise
3 Drown in Sorrow
4 Dissolve
2 Dissipate
1 Silence the Believers
1 Aetherspouts
2 Sagu Mauler
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Naya Planeswalkers

Naya Planeswalkers is one of the decks that mostly comes from the Theros Block format, but doesn’t gain as much as most of the other decks do. It could be a big deck in the format, but with the Abzan decks being so big right now, it has a lot to contend with.

[deck title= Naya Planeswalkers]
[Creatures]
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Stormbreath Dragon
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
3 Lightning Strike
3 Banishing Light
4 Xenagos the Reveler
3 Nissa, Worldwaker
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
2 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
4 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Temple of Abandon
4 Mana Confluence
2 Plains
2 Mountain
3 Forest
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
3 Magma Spray
4 Anger of the Gods
2 Chandra, Pyromaster
1 Banishing Light
3 Destructive Revelry
2 Fated Conflagration
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Izzet Artifact Aggro

This deck looks fun, but feels like it’s missing a couple of cards to be good. It could kick around a few of the midrange decks with its speed and shouldn’t be counted out.

[deck title= Izzet Artifact Aggro]
[Creatures]
4 Ornithopter
4 Phyrexian Revoker
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Springleaf Drum
4 Ghostfire Blade
4 Ensoul Artifact
4 Lightning Strike
4 Shrapnel Blast
2 Military Intelligence
2 Hour of Need
4 Stoke the Flames
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Shivan Reef
4 Temple of Epiphany
4 Darksteel Citadel
2 Mana Confluence
2 Island
4 Mountain
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
2 Magma Spray
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
4 Searing Blood
3 Disdainful Strike
2 Icy Blast
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

White Weenie

This deck could be strong if there wasn’t so much lifegain in the format, but suffers from [card]Siege Rhino[/card] being played so heavily. I would expect to see it quite a bit despite that.

[deck title= White Weenie]
[Creatures]
4 Soldier of the Pantheon
4 Favored Hoplite
4 Master of Pearls
4 Cavalry Pegasus
4 Phalanx Leader
4 Cavalry Pegasus
4 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Launch the Fleet
2 Gods Willing
2 Dauntless Onslaught
1 Spear of Heliod
1 Hall of Triumph
[/Spells]
[Land]
22 Plains
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
3 Ajani’s Presence
1 Spear of Heliod
3 Banishing Light
1 Ajani Steadfast
3 Deicide
2 God’s Willing
2 Suspension Field
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Sultai Control

This deck is more Dimir Control splashing green for some very powerful spells than it is Sultai, but that allows it to hit double black and double blue consistently for its best cards. I will be surprised if a variation of this deck is not a contender in the format.

[deck title= Sultai Control]
[Creatures]
1 Clever Impersonator
2 Sagu Mauler
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Thoughtseize
3 Bile Blight
2 Drown in Sorrow
4 Hero’s Downfall
4 Dissolve
3 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
4 Sultai Charm
1 Silence the Believers
1 Aetherspouts
2 Murderous Cut
3 Jace’s Ingenuity
1 Garruk, Apex Predator
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Polluted Delta
1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Yavimaya Coast
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Temple of Deceit
2 Temple of Mystery
2 Temple of Malady
2 Mana Confluence
3 Swamp
4 Island
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
2 Despise
2 Pharika’s Cure
3 Negate
1 Bile Blight
2 Drown in Sorrow
1 Silence the Believers
1 Jace, the Living Guildpact
1 Aetherspouts
1 Pearl Lake Ancient
1 Empty the Pits
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Gruul Devotion

This deck is already seeing a lot of play, and I expect that to continue for quite a while. There will be lots of variations on it that are competitive as we’ve already seen with Mono-Green, Golgari, and Gruul versions.

[deck title= Gruul Devotion]
[Creatures]
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Voyaging Satyr
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Polukranos, World Eater
2 Nylea, God of the Hunt
4 Arbor Colossus
4 Genesis Hydra
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Xenagos, the Reveler
2 Crater’s Claws
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
4 Temple of Abandon
4 Wooded Foothills
9 Forest
3 Mountain
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
4 Nylea’s Disciple
3 Setessan Tactics
3 Reclamation Sage
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
2 Nissa, Worldwaker
1 Crater’s Claws
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Big Boros

While this deck lost a lot of the enablers for devotion it still has some very powerful cards to ramp into. Whether this strategy is good enough yet remains to be seem, but I’m not super optimistic about it at the moment.

[deck title= Big Boros]
[Creatures]
4 Prophetic Flamespeaker
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
2 Iroas, God of Victory
4 Stormbreath Dragon
2 Soul of Shandalar
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Chained to the Rocks
4 Magma Jet
4 Tormenting Voice
3 Chandra, Pyromaster
3 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
2 Crater’s Claws
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
4 Temple of Triumph
4 Battlefield Forge
2 Wind-Scarred Crag
10 Mountain
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
4 Anger of the Gods
4 Banishing Light
2 Fated Conflagration
2 Harness by Force
3 Magma Spray
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Boros Aggro

This deck has two things going for it: being fast and having a lot of built-in card advantage. I will be surprised if I don’t see Boros aggro running around, and smashing face.

[deck title= Boros Aggro]
[Creatures]
4 Soldier of the Pantheon
4 Firedrinker Satyr
4 Master of Pearls
4 War-Name Aspirant
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Launch the Fleet
4 Magma Jet
2 Desperate Stand
4 Stoke the Flames
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Temple of Triumph
4 Battlefield Forge
4 Mana Confluence
4 Plains
6 Mountain
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
4 Ride Down
2 Banishing Light
3 Chained to the Rocks
3 Magma Spray
3 Ajani’s Presence
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Orzhov Warriors

This is a pretty aggressive deck with a lot of built in resistance to a majority of the sweepers in the format. While it does resist the sweepers, it may or may not be enough to be a contender in the metagame.

[deck title= Orzhov Warriors]
[Creatures]
4 Bloodsoaked Champion
4 Gnarled Scarhide
4 Tormented Hero
4 Pain Seer
4 Chief of the Edge
4 Chief of the Scale
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Bile Blight
4 Sign in Blood
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Caves of Koilos
4 Temple of Silence
4 Mana Confluence
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
6 Swamp
3 Plains
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
4 Thoughtseize
3 Banishing Light
3 Pharika’s Cure
2 Grim Haruspex
2 Raider’s Spoils
1 Hall of Triumph
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Abzan Midrange

This is so far the most heavily played deck in the format, and I’ve played against it a whopping seven times this weekend. This is the deck to beat.

[deck title= Abzan Midrange]
[Creatures]
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Fleecemane Lion
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Siege Rhino
4 Wingmate Roc
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Abzan Charm
4 Hero’s Downfall
2 Utter End
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Sandsteppe Citadel
2 Temple of Silence
2 Temple of Malady
4 Mana Confluence
4 Windswept Heath
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
3 Forest
2 Plains
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
4 Thoughtseize
2 Whip of Erebos
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
2 Banishing Light
3 Reclamation Sage
1 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Temur Monsters

This has a little more utility than the Gruul Monsters list, but utility doesn’t always win. There’s very little reason to splash the blue, but the few cards that are worth it are very very good. We will see Temur Monsters around.

[deck title= Temur Monsters]
[Creatures]
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Rattleclaw Mystic
4 Savage Knuckleblade
4 Courser of Kruphix
3 Polukranos, World Eater
4 Stormbreath Dragon
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Lightning Strike
2 Temur Ascendancy
4 Temur Charm
4 Xenagos, the Reveler
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Temple of Abandon
2 Shivan Reef
2 Yavimaya Coast
2 Mana Confluence
4 Wooded Foothills
6 Forest
3 Mountain
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
3 Nissa, Worldwaker
3 Magma Spray
2 Surrak Dragonclaw
2 Chandra. Pyromaster
3 Reclamation Sage
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Mardu Midrange

Another deck that’s quickly gaining popularity, but with little reason. This deck is just a mishmash of good stuff barely held together by its removal. I will be surprised if it continues to be a player.

[deck title= Mardu Midrange]
[Creatures]
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
4 Butcher of the Horde
4 Strombreath Dragon
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Thoughtseize
3 Bile Blight
4 Mardu Charm
4 Hero’s Downfall
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Nomad Outpost
4 Temple of Malice
3 Caves of Koilos
3 Battlefield Forge
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Mountain
2 Swamp
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
4 Anger of the Gods
2 Silence the Believers
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
2 Utter End
3 Pharika’s Cure
2 Despise
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Villainous Sultai

This is just a nice fun little list for those of you who want to ramp into [card]Villainous Wealth[/card], since lots of friends have been talking about wanting to play it. I don’t think it really has a place in the format, which is unfortunate for people who like fun.

[deck title= Villainous Sultai]
[Creatures]
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Courser of Kruphix
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Thoughtseize
4 Sultai Charm
3 Hero’s Downfall
4 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
4 Kiora, the Crashing Wave
2 In Garruk’s Wake
4 Villainous Wealth
[/Spells]
[Land]
4 Opulent Palace
4 Temple of Malady
4 Llanowar Wastes
1 Yavimaya Coast
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Polluted Delta
2 Swamp
2 Island
[/Land]
[Sideboard]
4 Drown in Sorrow
1 Hero’s Downfall
2 Garruk, Apex Predator
2 Prognostic Sphinx
3 Nissa, Worldwaker
3 Bile Blight
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

That’s all I have for now. I’ll be back in a few weeks talking about my Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir experience. If you have any questions of comments, pleases feel free to leave them below and I will do my best to answer them.

Thanks for reading,

Josh Milliken

@joshuamilliken on Twitter

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