A Black and White two-drop legendary from Aftermath is worth splashing.
Move over Azorius and Mono-White, there’s a new best-of-one Magic: The Gathering Soldiers deck on the MTG Arena ladder using March of the Machine: Aftermath cards, created by content creator CovertGoBlue (CGB).
Azorius and Mono-White MTG tribal Soldier decks rose to dominance following the launch of The Brothers’ War (BRO) almost a year ago. Both decks have performed well through best-of-one on MTG Arena and even competitively within best-of-three Standard Constructed formats. New cards were splashed in over time, like Skrelv, Defector Mite from Phyrexia: All Will Be One (ONE). But it wasn’t enough to elevate the tribal deck back to its former glory.
A new Soldiers deck has emerged, thanks to CGB, that was specifically built for the MTG Arena best-of-one meta. The Esper Soldier build adds two cards to the Soldier tribal deck through the March of the Machine: Aftermath (MAT) set: Jirina, Dauntless General, and Coppercoat Vanguard.
Adding Jirina, Dauntless General is the biggest change to the original Azorius and Mono-White Soldier decks. The legendary human soldier is a two drop in the colors White and Black. Within CGB’s build, Jirina is the only card with a Black mana pip, replacing Skrelv, Defector Mite as a protector of key cards while synergizing better with the rest of the build.
The CGB Esper Soldiers Standard deck build streamlines an aggressive gameplay strategy, leaning on Jirina, Dauntless General for protection in conjunction with the land Plaza of Heroes, while also using another MAT card called Coppercoat Vanguard. Also a two-drop, Coppercoat Vanguard pumps each Human type +1/+0 and applies Ward One to them as well. And a majority of the soldiers in the Esper Soldier Standard deck are human.
Players will want to curve out and play the Esper Soldier Standard deck similar to Azorius Solders, taking advantage of early damage through one-drops like Yotian Frontliner and Recruitment Officer. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is great against Mono-Red as a two-drop. And Skystrike Officer creates a solid wide board state for card draw and a lethal attack once Harbin, Vanguard Aviator drops onto the battlefield.
Jirina, Dauntless General adds an additional layer of protection to key cards like Harbin, Vanguard Aviator, Skystrike Officer, and Valiant Veteran. Coppercoat Vanguard additionally provides protection through Ward One, which can stack through multiple copies of the human soldier on the battlefield. And the human soldier pumps up the power of all creature-type Humans, allowing for extra damage during the early game.
Secluded Courtyard helps cast Jirina, Dauntless Vanguard but players will likely want to also include the Pain land Caves of Koilos as well, especially if they’re adding additional Black removal to the Esper Soldier sideboard within a best-of-three Standard Constructed format.
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There are MTG bans coming to the Standard format next week and it’s very unlikely that any of the cards within the three Soldier tribal decks will get hit. But the bans could pave a pathway to success in the Standard meta, with the Esper Soldier deck at the top.