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Halana and Alena Partners Art by Jason Rainville

Standard Naya Humans Deck Guide – Soldiers Isn’t the Only Good Aggro Deck

Looking to get aggressive in Standard? While Soldiers is a great option, find out why DoggertQBones has really liked Naya Aggro and why double splashing for one card is actually worth it!

Hello everyone! Today I have the pleasure of sharing a free guide on a deck I’ve been killing it with lately – Naya Humans.

Currently, Soldiers seems to be the only competitive aggressive deck as it has great synergies and solid cards. However, it is not without fault. The best thing about Soldiers is also its greatest weakness – reliance on synergy. Since you have cards like Valiant Veteran, Skystrike Officer, and Siege Veteran, you need to play all Soldiers and have a few on board at any given point for those cards to have their maximum efficacy. To that end, spot removal can really pick Soldiers apart as your cards do get substantially worse the more you lose. Does Naya Humans solve this? No, not completely anyway as dealing with incessant removal is going to be difficult for any aggro deck. However, in terms of card quality and maybe even speed, I think Naya may have it beat!

The second thing I like about Naya over Soldiers, in similar terms to card quality, is what cards you get to play. The cards Soldiers plays is almost completely predetermined, there are only so many Soldiers in Standard and only a subset of those are actually good! However, for Naya, we get to play any good Human within three colors (within reason), and since the main tribe of White is Humans, the odds of this deck getting upgrades in the future is substantially higher than Soldiers getting an upgrade.

Enough intro! Let’s take a look at the deck and break down the card choices.

Naya Humans
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $285.03
Standard
Tribal
best of 3
6 mythic
39 rare
8 uncommon
7 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (2)
Instants (2)
2
Valorous Stance
$0.50
Lands (24)
7
Plains
$1.75
1
Brushland
$1.99
2
Sundown Pass
$15.98
4
Plaza of Heroes
$33.96
60 Cards
$259.48
15 Cards
$133.87

I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, if you’re looking to play an aggressive deck, you need to play one drops.

Hopeful Initiate is our main one drop of choice due to the scaling that is allows. Deploying this on turn one then following up with any of our two mana creatures already puts pretty sizable pressure on an opponent, then when you add in the Disenchant ability, you have a powerful one drop.

A much more modest one drop, Recruitment Officer is a pretty standard Elite Vanguard, but sometimes when you have an excess of mana, you can use the activated ability to get some card advantage as well!

Moving up the curve, we have three very powerful two drops.

A staple in Mono White Aggro of old, Intrepid Adversary is a 3/1 Lifelinking beater at two mana, which is a solid deal, but with each additional two mana investment, you get a powerful lord that can scale up if you happen to have a lot of mana!

One of the most useful two drops around right now, Guardian of New Benalia is a real pain to kill which makes it invaluable against the Black decks. Since it has to be exiled or you have to run out of cards, you are near guaranteed to have a creature on board for the duration of the game. Furthermore, if you can Enlist with it, you’ll get a scry 2 which is some pretty sizable card selection, especially for an aggro deck.

Finally, the queen of two drops, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is a huge headache against most of the decks in Standard as it taxes all non-creatures unilaterally. While this does make our The Wandering Emperor cost five, which can be frustrating, slowing the opponent down is much more important and impactful. Furthermore, a 2/1 First Strike is just a really powerful stat line that only gets better if you can add some power onto it!

Going up the curve once again, we have our three drops!

As our Elite Spellbinder at home, Anointed Peacekeeper provides hand disruption which can be invaluable for aggro decks. While you do lose the effect once it dies, if the opponent ever has multiples of a card in hand, you can just win the game. Even in regular scenarios, Peacekeeper can absolutely obliterate an opponent’s curve and provide a solid body as well to pressure the opponent.

A classic in White Aggro, Brutal Cathar provides much needed interaction as you’ll be able to clear a blocker and swing out with the many creatures you’ve built up.

Finally, yet another classic in White aggro, Adeline, Resplendent Cathar is an absolute monster of a threat. It’s already huge on its own, but being able to provide 1/1s on each attack as well can quickly add up and provide huge amounts of pressure. Whether you have a wide board or just Adeline, it’s going to be a huge pain for the opponent.

Now we reach the end of the curve and the whole reason we construct our mana base the way we do!

First off we have The Wandering Emperor, which as I say often, is just an insane card. As long as you are playing a White deck, there’s very little reason to not be playing this. It’s great offensively, defensively, for defending against pressure, or even providing pressure. This is truly a swiss army knife of a threat.

Next, we have the reason we’re going Naya in the first place – Halana and Alena, Partners. Despite it being two colors to splash for and being susceptible to Cut Down, this card is more than worth playing. Functionally speaking, this is a Luminarch Aspirant on steroids that also grants Haste, if this can live even just to the combat step, you’re getting pretty substantial value from it. If it’s able to live multiple turns, then you will kill the opponent extraordinarily quickly as no deck can realistically beat the value accrued from this over the course of multiple turns.

All in all, you have a fast and powerful aggressive deck that may look a bit wonky, but is extremely consistent with the mana and game plan.


Best of One

Bo1 Naya Humans
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $300.54
Standard
Tribal
best of 1
6 mythic
39 rare
8 uncommon
7 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (2)
Instants (2)
2
Valorous Stance
$0.50
Lands (24)
7
Plains
$1.75
1
Brushland
$1.99
2
Sundown Pass
$15.98
4
Plaza of Heroes
$33.96
60 Cards
$278.58
15 Cards
$133.87

The deck remains mostly the same in Best of One, but just a few changes in the three drop slot. Instead of four Anointed Peacekeeper, three Brutal Cathar, and three Adeline, Resplendent Cathar, we shave two Peacekeeper to go up to four copies of the other three drops. This is better suited to fight more aggressive strategies, and best yet, Halana and Alena, Partners is even better in Bo1 than it is in Bo3. There was a time where an iteration of this deck was one of the best in Bo1, so I have good reason to believe that it’s still well suited for Bo1 as well!


Matchups and Sideboard Guide

Guardian of [card name=
Guardian of New Benalia Art by Ernanda Souza

Grixis Midrange

INOUT
+2 The Wandering Emperor-4 Hopeful Initiate
+2 Cathar Commando-4 Intrepid Adversary
+1 Extraction Specialist-3 Brutal Cathar
+2 Destroy Evil-3 Halana and Alena, Partners
+2 Reckoner Bankbuster
+1 Unlicensed Hearse
+4 Wedding Announcement

When in doubt, throw most of the sideboard at them! I didn’t consciously design the deck and sideboard so I could do this, but after tinkering around, I found that this was the best course of action. You have a lot of early game creatures that just aren’t that helpful, but you have a lot of cards in the sideboard that can be, so I like making the swaps. This plan has been working so far as you can still have decently fast starts, but you have the ability to go into the mid game better when the opponent is likely maxed out on interaction. There’s no real trick here beyond hoping they don’t draw too much removal before you can get down some pressure as the longer the game goes, the harder and harder it’ll be for you to win. That said, they do seem to struggle with a decent curve into sticky threats, so this matchup has felt relatively even.

Mardu Midrange

INOUT
+2 Cathar Commando-2 Recruitment Officer
+4 Wedding Announcement-2 Guardian of New Benalia
-2 Brutal Cathar

I haven’t faced this yet admittedly, but this seems like a great matchup as they’re both relatively slow and don’t have too much interaction to slow you down. Archangel of Wrath is obviously the card that the matchup depends around as, if they have that and you can’t get through it, it’s going to be extremely difficult to win. While Archangel is definitely scary, the best plan of action is just to go as fast as you can and see if that’s good enough.

Mono White Midrange

INOUT
+1 The Wandering Emperor-2 Recruitment Officer
+2 Cathar Commando-4 Intrepid Adversary
+2 Reckoner Bankbuster-3 Brutal Cathar
+4 Wedding Announcement

Mono White is, admittedly, a tougher matchup as their game plan does line up reasonably well with yours. They have a lot of early blockers to help trade or absorb damage, but they also have cheap removal and board wipes to keep your board relatively clear. The only saving grace of this matchup is that they are relatively slow so you may be able to mount enough pressure to kill them, or they’ll have an awkward draw where they don’t have any interaction and you’re able to kill them. While I board in some slower cards like Reckoner Bankbuster, your best bet is generally just jamming your threats and hoping they don’t have the wrath. Bankbuster is good for turns where you already have a lot of pressure and you don’t need to add more, so don’t look to deploy it too early.

Mono Black Aggro

INOUT
+2 The Wandering Emperor-3 Brutal Cathar
+1 Extraction Specialist-4 Halana and Alena, Partners
+4 Wedding Announcement

While they’re named Mono Black Aggro, they really function more as an aggressive midrange deck, so we treat the matchup as such. We are inherently faster than they are, but they have the inevitability between Sheoldred, the Apocalypse and Invoke Despair, so racing is still the name of the game. However, we do slow down slightly to make room for high impact cards like The Wandering Emperor and Wedding Announcement since they’ll struggle to deal with both. Conversely, as much as I would like to keep Halana and Alena, Partners in, they play a lot of removal that will make it difficult for it to shine.

Mono Blue Tempo

INOUT
+2 The Wandering Emperor-4 Intrepid Adversary
+1 Extraction Specialist-2 Brutal Cathar
+2 Reckoner Bankbuster-4 Halana and Alena, Partners
+1 Unlicensed Hearse
+4 Wedding Announcement

This is probably one of our best matchups as we do everything Mono Blue doesn’t want a deck to do – we have a fast curve backed up by must counter threats that can run away with the game. There is nothing particularly of note in this matchup beyond just playing to your curve and hoping they don’t have the interaction that lines up with it every time. You could try to sandbag threats, but if you play too low impact of a card, they can take the opportunity to Thirst for Discovery which is the last thing you want. Keep the pressure on as much as possible and they should crack eventually.

Azorius Soldiers

INOUT
+2 The Wandering Emperor-4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
+1 Extraction Specialist-2 Anointed Peacekeeper
+1 Brutal Cathar-2 Valorous Stance
+4 Wedding Announcement

This is a good, old fashion aggressive mirror that’s extremely play/draw and draw dependent. While you have slightly higher quality threats individually, they have synergy pieces, so it really comes down to if they have enough synergy pieces to overwhelm you or not. Admittedly, I’m still up in the air on this sideboard plan as I’m not positive who has the inherent inevitability in the matchup, but trying to go a bit bigger than your aggro opponent is a well known method of approaching aggressive mirrors. At the very least, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Valorous Stance are quite bad in the matchup, so cutting those is pretty free.


TIPS AND TRICKS

Brutal Cathar Art by Karl Kopinski
Brutal Cathar Art by Karl Kopinski
  • You should pretty much never opt to use the activated ability on Recruitment Officer unless you have literally nothing else to do.
  • Remember that Hopeful Initiate can take the +1/+1 counters off of any creature you control for its ability, not just itself.
  • Anointed Peacekeeper not only makes something cost 2 more to cast, but also 2 more to use activated abilities. This can be very powerful against Planeswalkers or cards reliant on activated abilities like Oni-Cult Anvil. Just be mindful that this effect is unilateral.
  • Be careful of the Day/Night cycle when playing Brutal Cathar. It’s easy to forget that you’re in Night when you’re looking to clear a blocker.
  • This is a good tip for most aggro decks in Standard right now, but I would try not to mulligan too aggressively. Most of the decks in Standard are looking to grind you out, and even if your hand is middling, being down a card is a huge detriment. Don’t be afraid to throw away obviously bad hands or hands with no plan of course!

End Step

While I don’t believe that this deck is going to revolutionize Standard, Naya has so far proven to be a perfectly competitive deck that feels different than a lot of the other options available in Standard.

Thank you for reading!

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DoggertQBones
DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on
Twitch and Discord.

Articles: 611

2 Comments

    • Anvil is a tougher matchup that’s thankfully been mostly pushed out. I would go: +4 Wedding, +2 Reckoner Bankbuster, +2 Cathar Commando / -3 Brutal Cathar, -3 Intrepid Adversary, -2 Recruitment Officer as x/1s are very bad against the deck. The bright side is that Anointed Peacekeeper is really good at locking Anvil or Saheeli down

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