Sometimes your random draft can be a source for Standard.
I've always had a fascination with cards that are complete game-ending houses in Draft but haven't found a home in Standard or other formats. Needless to say, the two formats aren't the same. In draft, for instance, the average power level of cards is so low that a single card can be enough to win the match if it's strong enough. The smaller deck sizes also mean that it's more likely that you see any given card in the course of the average game. On the other hand, cards that are often playable in Standard (hello,
Fires of Invention) aren't that great in draft because the build-around requirements to make the card truly good may not be all that easy to achieve in the course of three packs of cards.
The card that satisfies these requirements for me in Throne of Eldraine draft is
Outlaws' Merriment. When my opponnent plays one, I know that unless I have a
Return to Nature or
True Love's Kiss in the maindeck (and I do more often than I probably should because I both fear and respect enchantments) I'm in for a rough time. A single creature every turn doesn't seem like a big deal... until you have to kill them, one by one, until they get so much value that the game ends. It's also not even that expensive and in a color combination that's been a pretty good one in draft.
So I put my hand toward building around the partying miscreants, but that turned out to be more difficult than anticipated. I also apparently have a love for four-mana cards that do nothing on the turn you play them (hello again
Panharmonicon), so that's always an issue. You have to figure out a way not to die on the turn after you play it AND find a way to stabilize the board so that the value you begin to accrue is enough to get the job done. In addition, the card in Standard that pairs the best with
Outlaws' Merriment is...
Divine Visitation, a card which turns those little creatures into a free
Serra Angel every turn with the teeny-tiny downside that it's a FIVE-mana enchantment that generally does nothing on the turn you play it.
4 Starfield Mystic 2 Giant Killer 1 Dawn of Hope 4 Prison Realm 3 Deafening Clarion 4 Rule of Law 4 Revenge of Ravens 4 Ill-Gotten Inheritance 4 Outlaws' Merriment 2 Divine Visitation 1 Realm-Cloaked Giant 1 Chandra, Awakened Inferno 4 Fabled Passage 4 Godless Shrine 4 Sacred Foundry 4 Blood Crypt 2 Mountain 7 Plains 1 Swamp
My first attempt was to build an Abzan Prison deck that used
Revenge of Ravens (another Limited powerhouse that isn't played often in Standard) and
Rule of Law to slow down the game and control the board until we can resolve an
Outlaws' Merriment and follow it up with a
Divine Visitation to have an unlimited source of Serra Angels to win the game. We're also using Giant Killer (yet another great draft card) to kill our opponents' bigger threats and tap down their next-biggest threat. I've found that the deck is best in the best-of-one queues simply because it folds to enchantment removal. But there are an awful lot of decks that simply get locked up by our main idea.
Rule of Law alone is torture to aggro and Fires decks, and
Revenge of Ravens deals adequately with go-wide strategies. I can't say that I'd enter a tournament with this list, but it can win you some games and hasn't really been tuned a ton at all, so maybe you'll be able to run farther with this than I have.
When I was playing around with this in my stream one day, a viewer mentioned that he, too, had been messing around with a deck that wanted to play Outlaws' Merriment, but his version was a
Fires of Invention deck that also used a wish board and Fae of Wishes to get the cards that were needed in any given situation, and I went on a decent-enough run with it on Arena. There are a few really good ideas here as well:
4 Fae of Wishes 4 Deafening Clarion 3 Narset, Parter of Veils 4 Teferi, Time Raveler 3 Saheeli, Sublime Artificer 3 Drawn from Dreams 3 Outlaws' Merriment 3 Fires of Invention 2 Divine Visitation 3 Time Wipe 2 Ugin, the Ineffable 4 Hallowed Fountain 2 Island 2 Mountain 2 Plains 4 Sacred Foundry 4 Steam Vents 3 Swiftwater Cliffs 2 Tranquil Cove 3 Wind-Scarred Crag 1 Ashiok, Dream Render 1 Chandra, Awakened Inferno 1 Chromatic Lantern 1 Divine Visitation 1 Ethereal Absolution 1 Fires of Invention 1 Jace, Wielder of Mysteries 1 Karn, the Great Creator 1 Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner 1 Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God 1 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales 1 The Elderspell 1 Unmoored Ego 1 Ugin, the Ineffable 1 Planar Cleansing
This deck is also trying to turn the game into a rockfight. The play pattern is to try to get an early Narset or Teferi to control the opponent's play and find our pieces as well as a Saheeli to make some blockers as we're casting our stuff. Once we work that out, we try to stick Fires to be able to play the aforementioned Merriment and
Divine Visitation. The difference here is the use of Fae of Wishes to have access to the entire sideboard at any time so we can go get whatever part we need, whether it's a copy of
Fires of Invention or another combo piece, graveyard hate in
Ashiok, Dream Render, a finisher for control like
Chandra, Awakened Inferno, or even a big ol'
Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God to be anything and everything. Being able to search up sideboard pieces even makes it possible to have access to incredibly narrow cards that are amazing in certain positions. The many versions of
Doom Foretold decks struggle with access to
Unmoored Ego, and superfriends lists never want to see
Lately I've had less success with the above list because of the recent surge of control options and really fast Fires mirrors. Our strategy struggles when the opponent can spend two mana to counter our five-mana enchantments, and a Fires deck that can play a
Cavalier of Flame and a
Kenrith, The Returned King is not something that we can keep up with easily.
Now, I don't think either of these decks are Tier 1 builds right now. But I'm going to keep pursuing them because they demonstrate one of the better ways to investigate janky or alternative builds of decks that you enjoy playing. Many people take a top-down approach where you find an overall theme (as in tribal or aggro decks) and find cards that fit the theme. But another way to find undiscovered gold is to take a relatively unplayed card and figure out what would make it perform the best, and then build from that point up. Don't forget:
Field of the Dead was a relatively unplayed card for almost a year of Standard until someone dug it from a pile of cards and figured out the best way to make it perform at a maximum level. So even when we're getting excited about the preview cards starting to trickle in from the new Theros set coming in January, don't forget about some of those old favorites that helped you 3-0 a draft, because they may have future value in Standard. Give them a try, let me know what you think, and as always... please drive friendly!