/ Standard

Legen--Wait For It? G/W Mox Legends in WAR Standard

I feel bad for Mox Amber.

I really do. It comes from a long line of fame and glamour. Its five oldest siblings are part of the "Power Nine" (I know trying to live up to your older cousin who's in medical school is pretty difficult, but it's not "Power Nine" difficult) and are probably worth more than your car. Chrome Mox was so strong that it dominated from the second it came into existence until it was banned in Modern. Mox Diamond is an Eternal format favorite, even though it costs you a card. Mox Opal may still be legal in Modern, but it's so good in Affinity that it's been one of the top-three demands for bannings for years now.

And then there's Mox Amber. Everyone was so fired up when it was spoiled out of Dominaria...a free mana rock? That can make multiple colors according to which legendary creatures you have on the battlefield? Appearing in a set that's based on legendary creatures? WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

Nowhere. The answer is nowhere, because it's been virtually unplayable since the second it was released. It shortly saw play in a couple of Aetherflux Reservoir decks because it was free. Since then, nada. It's still living in Richard Garfield's basement, mooching off of the free Wifi and guzzling Doritos and Mountain Dew all day like D.Va on a three-day losing streak. In a few short months, it'll be out of Standard entirely and relegated to EDH play for the rest of its existence because most degenerates would play a ham sandwich in their 99 if challenged.

But maybe there's another answer. Maybe War of the Spark has FINALLY produced an opening, an apartment on the east side next to Halsey, an entry-level job that'll get Mox Amber into the sunlight for the first time in eighteen months. I first saw a version of this list posted by Kokoshomebrews as a thought experiment about two weeks before the WAR Prerelease, and the soft spot in my heart for underdogs was touched. I played the list extensively through the streamer pre-release event, both on and off of stream, and... it was fun! It had some weaknesses to be sure, and I made a small change to the list for BO1 play. Of course, you have to take all of this with a BIG grain of salt, since the only place you're able to play WAR Standard right now is online and using your Arena wildcards on four mythics is asking an awful lot unless you're a degenerate collector. But the deck is certainly fun, and maybe there are some ideas here that can benefit your deckbuilding.

4 Healer's Hawk
4 Skymarcher Aspirant
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Emmara, Soul of the Accord
4 Shanna, Sisay's Legacy
2 Shalai, Voice of Plenty
4 Mox Amber
4 Tomik, Distinguished Advokist
4 Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner
3 God-Eternal Oketra
10 Plains
4 Selesnya Guildgate
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden

The downside of Mox Amber, of course, is that it does absolutely nothing if you don't have a legendary creature already on the board. So you can't accelerate your mana in the first turn (there aren't any great one-mana legendary cards like Isamaru, Hound of Konda in Standard. So you not only need to get a legend on the board WITHOUT the help from the Mox, but you need to keep one on the battlefield in order to KEEP it functional. DOM provided a bunch of cheaper legendary creatures, but they all had their downsides. But there are a couple of newer legends in WAR that helps Mox Amber be all it can be, along with a couple of unique payoffs that make an Elfball-like combo that can just run your opponent over.

healershawk

We are, in essence, a G/W go-wide deck that wants lots of creatures on the board at the same time. Since a turn-one legend isn't really in the cards, we've got to play a good number of one-mana creatures. Healer's Hawk is highly-played in Standard for a reason, since it has evasion and lifelink can get you a couple of points ahead in damage and buy you a turn or two to play your stuff. Skymarcher Aspirant is a good, cheap blocker in the early game and gains evasion if you get enough stuff on the board. The inclusion of Llanowar Elves into the maindeck was my decision after playtesting (there was originally a playset of Snubhorn Sentry), mainly because I wanted a bit more ramp while still keeping it a cheap creature for the late game.

The most important slot is the two-drop slot since these are the creatures that can make your Mox Amber go. Emmara, Soul of the Accord is a great way to start going wide if she gets to attack and make more elf tokens, and Shanna, Sisay's Legacy is very good once you have multiple creatures on the board (although pretty meh in the early game). The big addition to the concept of a legendary deck is Tomik, Distinguished Advokist. Ignore most of the card's text, since you are very rarely going to run into a Crucible of Worlds deck in today's Standard, but a 2/3 flyer for two mana that's also a legend is just an above-curve creature. Tomik is good on offense and when back to block, and it gets your Mox jumpstarted.

The surprise all-star of the deck is Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner. You wouldn't think that a KIORA, of all of the planeswalkers would have any place in a Selesnya deck. But both her static and planeswalker abilities have important roles in this deck. Kiora's minus will be used about 90% of the time to untap either a land or your Mox Amber to continue to ramp and allow you to cast your finishers as early as possible. The real champ, however, is her static ability. Again...you're probably saying, "You only have ONE CREATURE in the entire deck that triggers it!" Even Shalai, Voice of Plenty only has three power, so that part is true.

oketraG

But then there's God-Eternal Oketra. If you opened this card in prerelease, I should just offer you congratulations because you probably won your prerelease. The cat-god-eternal thing is a complete house in Limited...her HUGE butt makes her big enough to block just about anything, double-strike allows you to attack through fairly-developed boards, and the ability to put her back into your deck if killed or exiled means she's never gone long. But the key is her quasi-Eternalize ability. Those 4/4 zombie tokens that she makes when any creature is cast is big enough to trigger Kiora's static ability. If both are on the battlefield, ANY creature cast triggers Oketra, which makes a 4/4 zombie, and that zombie token triggers Kiora and draws you a card. So playing a one-mana Healer's Hawk creates FIVE power and toughness over two bodies, AND cantrips a card into your hand. At this point, it's very difficult to kill you. In a strange development, this loop also takes away some of the sting of drawing a second of any of the legendary creatures. If you have Shanna or Emmara or Tomik already on the board and you draw one, it usually feels like a blank. But with Kiora and Oketra, you can attack with your two-mana legend into darn near anything, play the duplicate, keep the newest copy, and you're still getting a 4/4 cantrip creature for two mana. This is also true for Oketra herself...if you draw a second one, you create this neat loop where you know you'll get an Oketra every other turn because you're playing one and tucking the other AND getting 4/4s to go with it.

dreadhordeinvasion

However, the deck does have weaknesses, and those weaknesses are based around some sweepers in the format. This can't really be helped when you're playing a go-wide strategy in Standard...a well-placed Kaya's Wrath is generally going to ruin your day no matter how hard you try to play around it. If an Amass deck based around Dreadhorde Invasion gains traction, a well-placed Widespread Brutality can also wipe your board and leave your poor Mox sitting there like a lump. You'll also have hands where you never see a Mox (or you see it too late) and it just feels like you're playing a rather clunky Selesnya deck with none of the payoffs that go uber-wide. But there are also Magical Christmasland games where you hit the early legend along with a Mox or two, and turn 3 Oketra can be a thing.

So, what's my official prognostication about this deck? I wouldn't run out and buy the parts if you don't own them already. That said, I would tell you that about any deck that I'd be covering in this space on this date. We have virtually no idea what the meta in paper, on MTGO, or on Arena is going to look like next week or next month. It's the Wild West out there, and while you can expect that RDW, mono-red, and mono-white are still going to be things, there are a lot of other possibilities ESPECIALLY with the huge numbers of new planeswalkers that will be printed. But this list strikes me as a bare-minimum FNM candidate that can win some games and do some fun things. So if you have the Moxen sitting around growing moss, dust them off and try them in this shell. It's better than watching Game of Thrones for the ninetieth time, and WAY more legendary.

ADDENDUM: I exchanged a few messages with the aforementioned Koko after I had drafted the article, and he noted that he's made a couple of changes to his build as well as put together a sideboard for BO3 play. Rather than repeat that here, why don't you go check out his Instagram and see for yourself?

Darin Keener

Darin Keener

Darin has been a Magic: The Gathering streamer (https://Twitch.tv/FDTerritory) for 18 months and has participated in multiple Streamer Showdowns through WotC. He specializes in Tier V jank and fun.

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