Standard 2022 Selesnya Magecraft Guide: The Fastest Deck in 2022
Hello everyone! Today I’m going to go over a long time favorite of mine and what I believe to be the fastest deck in 2022: Selesnya Magecraft.
The philosophy behind the deck is that you want to get a creature or two on board, cast a bunch of spells to pump them up or accrue advantages, then steamroll the opponent.
Since I used to be a huge Modern Infect and Standard Heroic junkie, this style of game play really appeals to me. Back when 2022 first started, I didn’t even have this deck on my radar until someone on Twitch was just talking in a chat about this deck that he was cruising into Mythic with. Curious, I checked it out and this was the base list.
Immediately, I was in love. This seemed extremely reminiscent of Heroic with it’s signature creatures into pump spells game plan, but I was skeptical. I felt that on first inspection, the deck looked extremely weak to spot removal. This was always a problem in Heroic, but seems to be significantly worse here as beyond Dragonsguard Elite, none of the creatures actually grow.
Furthermore, drawing the wrong ratio of creatures, spells, and lands was also an issue for these style of decks. Nevertheless, I decided I had to give it a try.
I won’t say my fears were unfounded, but they were definitely not as bad as I suspected they may have been. The deck performed very well overall, being blisteringly fast in most matchups and reasonably interactive in the creature matchups. The Control matchups were unsurprisingly not very good, but even those were not as bad as I expected them to be.
For a first draft of a deck, I thought it was really well constructed. However, I still felt it could be improved further so I decided to spruce it up a bit. Here’s what I came up with.
It was a great base so it required very few alterations, but I believe the things that were changed are quite important.
Let’s break down the card choices.
The first half of our one drops. In theory, Lumimancer is excellent in this deck as it starts us off turn 1 and can grow extremely quickly. Those are both true, but it does come with a major problem. Unless you cast a spell, it can’t really do anything on board. Not having any base power makes it much more liable to do nothing which is a big concern in a deck that can run out of gas quickly. I still think you want 2 copies as the upside is still there, but it’s definitely not always the best.
The second half of the 1 drop crew. Although Monk doesn’t have any inherent synergy with instants or sorceries, it does work well in a deck where you’re trying to cast a lot of cheap spells in general. Monk can very easily become a 1 mana 2/2 and if you get to grow it more than that, it becomes extremely potent.
Similar to Monk of the Open Hand, Clarion Spirit doesn’t care about instants or sorceries, but likes seeing a lot of cheap spells. The best part about Clarion Spirit is that it’s a removal magnet that can generally accrue value regardless. If you cast Spirit and a spell and they remove it, you’re still left with a 1/1 that can be extremely relevant and they’re way less likely to have another removal spell for your more threatening creatures.
The best individual threat in the deck. Since we have so many cheap spells, Elite can very quickly grow out of control and well above anything else on board. Most of the time this can only be answered by hard removal, or will need to be chumped forever for the opponent to not get run down. Lastly, it does have the 6 mana ability to double counters which I have admittedly never used, but can likely be relevant some percentage of the time.
Although not as threatening as Dragonsguard Elite by itself, this is definitely the scariest threat in the deck. If you have any board state at all, you can very easily create a functional Overrun by casting a few spells.
There were initially 2 copies of Mavinda, presumably because it can be a little bit clunky, but it has consistently overperformed for me. Being able to rebuy any of your spells once is an insanely powerful ability and if you can play Mavinda with a Snakeskin Veil or Wild Shape in the hand or graveyard, it makes it extremely difficult to kill.
The best fight spell available to us. The main appeal of Brawl is when you have the 3 snow lands out you can have some absolutely crazy turns with removing a creature and getting massive damage in. I know it seems concerning when you don’t have the 3 snow lands yet, but that’s actually rarely an issue. For the most part it’s really easy for your creatures to outsize the opponents which still makes Brawl a slightly better Prey Upon at the worst of times.
Guiding Voice is our Defiant Strike surrogate, but instead of a random card, you get a specifically decent one and instead of a temporary buff you get a permanent one! Can’t ask for much more in a deck like this.
One of the most important spells in the deck. Magecraft can struggle against waves of chump blockers so you really need ways to break through. Furthermore, you can use this as a functional cycle spell in a pinch.
Your main means of protecting your creatures. For one mana you can counter a removal spell and permanently grow one of your creatures; talk about value!
This is the deck’s “top end” card. If you play this with a Leonin Lightscribe out, you can produce astronomical amounts of damage while making a large vigilant board. Although it can be hard to cast multiple spells before this, even getting this for 2 can be really powerful a good amount of the time.
This deck can operate on pretty few lands so having access to utility lands is really helpful. Although we don’t want to be playing Unknown Shores, having a land that can grow our creatures is extremely powerful and has been relevant way more often than you might think. There have been so many games I just barely hit them for lethal because of this.
If you need an extra land or a cheap spell, this is your hit. This will also be your most common grab.
Probation can be really helpful mostly as a tool to lock down a creature for a turn. However, you could also name a card that will kill you if you need just one more turn to win the game.
It doesn’t come up often, but sometimes you’ll really need more creatures after casting a Guiding Voice, so you can grab this in a pinch.
If you really need to Naturalize something.
A nice pump spell to have access to and Vigilance is extremely relevant in a lot of matchups.
This is relatively weak, but if you need a 2/1 flier, here you are.
It’s rare that games will ever go long enough for this to be relevant, but when they do, Exhibition is one of your best hits.
NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS / POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS
Although this card is solid in something like Monowhite, we’re generally not going as wide making this a lot less effective.
This is actually pretty solid as an offensive tool to go over an opponent’s board or a defensive tool to ambush a creature in combat. Definitely wouldn’t hate a 1 of in the deck.
Although this does have some utility, I think this is pretty weak and worse than something like a Wild Shape
This may seem silly to even mention, but Gambit can be a potent 1 of in the late game. Most of the time your opponent’s will be out of gas and this will just be a hard removal spell, but I still think it’s a little too risky and too bad in the early game to consider.
A strong card, but we don’t go wide enough to make great use of it.
Although a powerful card, it doesn’t fit in the deck’s plan at all.
A very solid card that gives us further access to the Lesson board, but is pretty weak by itself otherwise.
It’s a bit clunky for a protection spell, but it could be a fine one of.
A pretty medium spell on a meh land, pass.
A relatively versatile spell that could be a solid one of. I think it’s a bit too expensive, but it’s far from unreasonable.
A decent removal spell, I think you have better options.
The initial list played Mage Duel, but I decided to cut it. The card was pretty solid and I’m assuming it was initially split between Brawl and Duel since the original pilot thought Brawl needed to be active to be good, but I disagree with that.
As I said before, Brawl is still great even when you don’t have the Snow requirement and although Mage Duel was solid for me, I found it being 3 mana to be a rather large detriment.
TIPS AND TRICKS
I like playing out Clarion Spirit first as it tends to be your lowest impact threat. You really don’t want Dragonsguard Elite to be tagged by removal and Leonin Lightscribe is at it’s best in the late game.
Mavinda, Students' Advocate can be activated on both players turns, not just your own.
Although in theory you’d want to cast Guiding Voice as late as possible to get the most of your lesson, I found just casting it early and getting something to set you up later in the game like Academic Probation has generally been better.
It’s ok to play creatures off curve to protect them with Snakeskin Veil.
Show of Confidence is meant to be a late game finisher, but casting it earlier can be a surprisingly effective push as well.
Thank you for reading!