A full week of post-ban Standard has gone by and the format looks to be promising. What did I notice from the past week of watching and playing Standard?

Jund Cats

Spells (37)
Trail of Crumbs
Vraska, Golgari Queen
Witch’s Oven
Massacre Girl
Korvold, Fae-Cursed King
Midnight Reaper
Murderous Rider
Paradise Druid
Mayhem Devil
Gilded Goose
Cauldron Familiar

Lands (23)
Temple of Malady
Mountain
Castle Locthwain
Swamp
Forest
Fabled Passage
Blood Crypt
Overgrown Tomb
Stomping Ground
Sideboard (15)
Thrashing Brontodon
Shifting Ceratops
Lovestruck Beast
Flame Sweep
Duress
Assassin’s Trophy
Massacre Girl

Jund Cats has performed surprisingly well, with a finals finish in the Twitch Rivals tournament and a top 4 finish at the online PTQ last weekend. Korvold, Fae-Cursed King seems to be a flex card with Massacre Girl main board, as both impact the board the second they are cast, they serve as a game finishing top end. Despite the deck presenting a fast clock with a strong mid-late game plan, it still lost to a heavy top end deck in:

Jeskai Fires

Spells (33)
Teferi, Time Raveler
Bonecrusher Giant
Cavalier of Flame
Cavalier of Gales
Kenrith, the Returned King
Sphinx of Foresight
Deafening Clarion
Shimmer of Possibility
Solar Blaze
Fires of Invention

Lands (27)
Castle Vantress
Fabled Passage
Hallowed Fountain
Island
Mountain
Plains
Sacred Foundry
Steam Vents
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of Triumph
Sideboard (15)
Aether Gust
Devout Decree
Disenchant
Legion Warboss
Mystical Dispute
Sorcerous Spyglass

Jeskai Fires relies on sweepers, like Deafening Clarion and Solar Blaze, for the early game or to clean up clogged board states, to set up for their top-end beaters, Cavalier of Flame and Kenrith, the Returned King. Once the deck stabilizes around turn 4 or 5, they take the next turn to present a very fast 1-2 turn clock.

So what do I suggest to play in the face of Jeskai Fires and Jund Cats?

Sultai Food

Main Deck (60)
Breeding Pool
Cauldron Familiar
Fabled Passage
Forest
Gilded Goose
Hydroid Krasis
Island
Nissa, Who Shakes the World
Overgrown Tomb
Paradise Druid
Swamp
Roalesk, Apex Hybrid
Trail of Crumbs
Watery Grave
Wicked Wolf
Witch’s Oven
Sideboard (15)
Ashiok, Dream Render
Assassin’s Trophy
Brazen Borrower
Thought Erasure
Mystical Dispute
Questing Beast
Vraska, Golgari Queen

Why play Sultai over Jund? Hydroid, and I can’t emphasize this enough, Krasis. Hydroid Krasis is an absurd magic card that can turn a game where you are very far behind, to a game where your ahead a turn or two after it is cast. Does adding the ramp package work with the Cauldron Familiar package? Yes. Gilded Goose is a card already seeing play in both ramp and cat decks, the addition of Paradise Druid can work well with your mana sinks, Trail of Crumbs and Food Tokens, or to early-mid game Nissa, Who Shakes the World. Trail of Crumbs helps you through some awkwards hands you can get thanks to shaky mana bases.

Is Roalesk, Apex Hybrid playable again? This is definitely a flex spot for me. He synergizes well with Nissa tokens and Witch’s Oven. He is also a beater on the top end, presenting a 5 turn-clock. Having access to blue also allows for Thought Erasure, Brazen Borrower and Mystical Dispute out of the board, which present good interaction for Jeskai Fires and some fringe control and blue-based aggro strategies.

Overall, the deck has a good way of presenting a clock while keeping up with the other top-end decks in the format. Sultai Food is my choice my next PTQ.