One week of previews down, and already the community is busy trying to work out what cards will be the break out stars in the new upcoming Standard session. Some have already made many players ‘cards to watch’ list, such as Ramunap Excavator and Solemnity, others have yet to find a place to call home. For me though, one creature got me very excited, mainly due to the fact I can finally sleeve up a tribal deck I have been brewing for the last couple of months. That creatures name, Pride Sovereign. Yes, it’s time for the rise of Cat tribal.
The first time I had a go at playing a Cat deck was way back during Mirrodin block, when I was all in on Mono-White Weenie. Back then a turn two Leonin Den-Guard into a turn three Bonesplitter was a thing of beauty. While I loved the deck, it sadly didn’t have the same impact on constructed play that the Affinity decks of the day had. Despite its lack of top table finishers, the seeds of my love for heavy creature aggro and tribal decks were well and truly sown. So when we started to see some Standard playable Cats popping up in Kaladesh and Amonkhet, I immediately started brewing. But between the banning of Felidar Guardian, and the lack of any good pay off cards, I thought I would never get the deck working. That was, until now.
We will start at the bottom of our creature curve, with a playset of Sacred Cat. A 1/1 with Lifelink might not seem like much, but we will need time to assemble our force of Cats, and this little one drop can work as an effective chump blocker which we can get back later in the game. Next we move on to the two drops, where the real meat of our deck lay. Longtusk Cub has already proved its worth in Standard, and even without other Energy creators, can be a one card engine of distruction. We also want to include a playset of Metallic Mimic. This Honorary Cat can work wonders in a tribal deck, as the Zombie strategies of the last few months have proven. We round out our two drops with a couple of Initiate’s Companion, and a playset of the new Adorned Pouncer. A 1/1 with Double Strike is ok, but in the late game we can Eternalize it back as a 4/4, which will cause a lot more damage.
Moving on to our three drops we add in the previous mentioned Pride Sovereign. This Gray Ogre a real beast in our deck. Not only does it get a boost for every other Cat we control, but for the cost of a single white mana and exerting the Sovereign, we can create two 1/1 lifelinking cat tokens. This is where we start to see the synergies of the deck come together. If we can Exert the Sovereign, then attack our opponent with a Initiate’s Companion, we can untap our Sovereign as a blocker, or even to create even more cat tokens. We also will include a couple of Prowling Serpopard, which will protect our creatures from control decks and counter spells, as well as providing a heavy hitter to our tribe. We top off our creatures with four Regal Caracals. Not only is it a cat lord, but comes with two additional tokens to boot.
For non-creature spells we will take a playset set of Attune with Aether, as well as two copies of Declaration in Stone, Dissenter’s Deliverance and Cast Out. The attunes will help keep us on curve, while our removal suite should help us against most threats, or draw us some cards in the early game if the need arises. The mana base is a health split of Plains and Forest s, with some duals to help fix our mana.
2 Cast Out.
And there you have Cat tribal for the upcoming Standard season. The deck has the ability go big or wide depending on your opponent is playing, and has a tonne of life gain in order help us against more aggressive decks in the format. The sideboard can be designed to be flexible until the meta settles, but plays cards such as Solemnity to help fight against G/B counters, and Crook of Condemnation to deal with graveyard based decks isn’t a bad idea. But I’m curious, what decks are interested in running out when Hour of Devastation hits the shelves? Why not tell us what you are looking forward to playing, we would love to hear from you. But until next time Good Luck, and Have Fun.