With less than a month until the launch of Dominaria United, Standard rotation is almost upon us. For better or worse, this will massively shake up the current Standard meta and give us some well-needed change. Due to the power of Hinata, Dawn-Crowned, and Raffine, Scheming Seer, Standard has definitely started to feel very stale as of late. Thankfully, you don’t have to wait until September 9th to be the change you want to see.
After all, it’s not mandatory to exclusively run only the most dominant Standard decks. With 2366 cards to choose from, there are countless combinations of decks, both good and bad, at your fingertips. Since there’s really no busting the ultra-refined Standard metagame, we’re more concerned with the bad but ultimately entertaining decks. Predominantly, we’re interested in the more unique ways to win an MTG game. These decks likely won’t win you many games, but it’s absolutely worth it should you ever pull it off.
You Win the Game
Believe it or not, there are a number of cards in Standard with “you win the game effects.” This may surprise some, as all of these cards are criminally underplayed and rarely seen as a result. This comes down to the fact that alternate win condition (AltCon) decks often require very precise situations to win you the game. As a result, cards like Triskaidekaphile don’t see much play. We’re here to fix that injustice by going over every AltCon card in Standard, and highlighting why some of them might actually be quite good.
The Deck of Many Things
For better or worse, The Deck of Many Things is potentially the most novelty of all the alternative wincon decks in Standard right now. With the requirement to not only roll a natural 20 on a D20 but also have no cards in hand while you do it, The Deck of Many Things is certainly punishing. After that already impressive feat, you’ll also be required to kill whatever creature you can pull from your opponent’s graveyard. Only after doing all that will you finally be given a win.
As a result of this, The Deck of Many Things is probably your worst bet if you actually want to win a game with an AltCon card in Standard. If this is your dream, however, thankfully, things do get much better.
Faithbound Judge // Sinner’s Judgment
Only requiring three turns once it’s in play, Sinner’s Judgement is a surprisingly effective alternate win-con. That is, however, so long as you can get Sinner’s Judgement into play. With a Disturb cost of seven mana, you’ll likely be waiting a while to cast Sinner’s Judgement. In that time, you’ll also have to hope it doesn’t get exiled by cards like Lion Sash or Unlicenced Hearse. These drawbacks make Sinner’s Judgement rather tricky to pull off but all the more exhilarating when you do.
Like Sinner’s Judgement, Vorpal Sword’s effectiveness is hampered by its cost. With a hefty price of eight mana to enable the game-winning effect, games may be long over before it’s activated. Thankfully, Vorpal Sword is still useful outside this game-winning ability. By giving a creature +2/+0 and Deathtouch, Vorpal Sword needn’t be relegated to only the jankiest of AltCon decks.
Hidetsugu Consumes All // Vessel of the All-Consuming
It should hardly be a surprise at this point, but Vessel of the All-Consuming requires a lot of work to achieve the coveted AltCon win. Not only does Vessel of the All-Consuming only come into play after the completion of the Hidetsugu Consumes All Saga, but it also needs to be significantly buffed to manifest its win. By doing ten damage in a single turn, Vessel of the All-Consuming might not even be what wins you the game, as that’s a lot of damage.
Since blue loves to relentlessly draw cards, flooding your hand with 13 cards shouldn’t be a problem. This would make Triskaidekaphile one of the easier AltCon wins in Standard. However, things aren’t that easy. As a creature, Triskaidekaphile is far easier to remove than other AltCons. This may mean it’s all for naught once you get close to that elusive 13 cards in your hand. To keep Triskaidekaphile around, you’d hope a few of those cards could be counterspells. However, any counterspell means one less card draw spell in your deck.
As fun as it is, Strixhaven Stadium will likely have you winning the game before its AltCon conditions are met. With ten-point counters required on Strixhaven Stadium to achieve the AltCon win, players are encouraged to mercilessly attack their opponents. This inspires a very aggressive deck that keeps dishing out damage, perhaps a white weenie or Boros aggro deck… Hang on a second… These are just tier 1 Standard decks! Strixhaven Stadium, you tricked us! Shame on you.
In somewhat of a running theme, Halo Fountain’s alternate win condition requires much effort to activate. As usual, achieving these conditions is often counterproductive to winning the game sooner. With the requirement to untap fifteen creatures, for instance, it’d be far easier to win a game by merely buffing and attacking those creatures. To keep it from being useless,[tootips]Halo Fountain[/tooltips] thankfully has uses outside its alternate win condition. By giving white some much-needed card draw, Halo Fountain can actually be quite effective in the right deck.
Angel of Destiny
While they are by no means a tier 1 deck, Angels have had a consistent presence in Standard recently. Thanks to Righteous Valkyrie, tribal Angel decks are as good at gaining life as they are dealing damage. This makes Angel of Destiny’s alternative wincon surprisingly attainable. Just like Triskaidekaphile, there’s no guarantee this creature will stick around to achieve this wincon. However, Angel of Destiny won’t have you ruining your deck to play it.
Fynn, the Fangbearer
With Poison counters potentially featuring in Dominaria United, Fynn, the Fangbearer has perhaps the most fitting altcon to send off Standard. Admittedly, Fynn, the Fangbearer doesn’t explicitly feature a “you win the game” effect. However, its poison counters are at least unique. With only a few Deathtouch creatures, Fynn, the Fangbearer can even get the winning done surprisingly quickly. Puny Deathtouch decks are liable to get hosed by The Meathook Massacre; however, that’s hardly an isolated issue in Standard.
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