Zendikar Rising (ZNR) releases this week on MTGO and MTG Arena. ZNR brings back flip cards, which I am honestly very excited for. ZNR also brings the removal of War of the Spark which comes with a sweet sigh of relief.

Like many other players, I was exhausted from Nissa, Who Shakes the World. As much as I love the card, it is time for Nissa to exit Standard and let other cards get their chance to shine. As we all know, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath has already dominated Standard, not to mention Modern and Historic, but I don’t want to focus on a Uro deck today. Building an Uro ramp/landfall deck almost seems too easy and expected with the release of the new set. Although I am actually excited to see said decks, I want to focus on a deck that I had already been testing before the release of ZNR, UB Rogues.

I made my attempt at UB Rogues while competing in numerous SCG Online challenges and climbing the MTG Arena Latter. Needless to say, I was not very successful. Why do this? I fell in love with Thieves’ Guild Enforcer. The card is, in a sense, Standard Delver of Secrets (I know it is far from the actual Delver, but the conditional 3/2 just reminds me of it). So come to find out that UB Rogues is an actual pushed archetype with the new set, I am very excited to begin playing this deck.

Creatures:4 Thieves’ Guild Enforcer4 Merfolk Windrobber3 Zareth San, the Trickster3 Nighthawk Scavenger4 Soaring Thought-Thief3 Brazen Borrower4 Ruin Crab (0)

Instant and Sorceries:4 Drown in the Loch3 Cling to Dust2 Agadeem’s Awakening3 Anticognition (0)

Lands:4 Fabled Passage4 Clearwater Pathway1 Castle Locthwain5 Swamp7 Island2 Temple of Deceit (0)
Sideboard:3 Cunning Nightbonder1 Lullmage’s Domination2 Bloodchief’s Thirst2 Heartless Act2 Mystical Dispute2 Rankle, Master of Pranks1 Anticognition2 Duress (0)

First thing I’d like to address: The Uro Problem. In testing against a world full of Sultai, you are not going to stop the Uro from hitting the board. However, the games I was able to beat Sultai were to either get lucky and exile every Uro that hit the graveyard or keep filling their graveyard and ignore Uro (somewhat).

As the former is not a viable gameplan, the former is where I plan to focus on how to beat the upcoming Uro decks. Keep filling their graveyard.

This is where Ruin Crab comes into play. Ruin Crab isn’t really a strong threat, so it won’t commonly find itself on the end of a piece of removal. This deck relies on the opponent’s graveyard being filled, in some games of testing, milling the opponent out was a way of victory as you are constantly pressuring their deck total. Zareth San, the Trickster is the card that puts this deck over the edge. A single hit with Zareth turns the game to your favor quickly.

Nighthawk Scavenger is a fantastic blocker vs aggro strategies and a beater when needing to close out the game. Unfortunately for Scavenger, it is typically more common to only have 4 card types in Standard rather than 5 or 6 like you would see in Modern with Tarmogoyf.

Soaring Thought-Thief is the other notable card that will help take this deck to Tier 1. A creature that helps fill the opponent’s graveyard, while also providing a clock and has a evasion for 2 mana is very powerful. Anticognition plays nicely into a deck that uses instant speed to its advantage. However, it is very weak to the escape mechanic, getting full value out of an Anticognition can help put an opponent away for good. Agadeem’s Awakening is an unexpected finisher for this deck. Returning a full curve of creatures in the late game can certainly put an opponent away. Regrettably, Extinction Event is the sweeper of choice, so how often this plays out will be in the smaller percentage of opportunities.

Lastly, the sideboard is some guess work if I am being honest. It is really hard to tell what exactly to put in their given there isn’t really a clear meta at the moment. However, you can expect there to be some number of blue and green decks running around so having a surplus of removal and counter spells seems like a must.

Let me know your thoughts and how you would build UB Rogues in the upcoming Standard. Also, don’t forget it is not too late to Preorder Prerelease kits with Win Condition Games online!