Standard never ceases to amaze me. These last months, the premier format of competitive Magic has been more diverse than can be believed. The rotation gets closer every day, and I hope that after that the format continues to be fun and diverse. I don’t doubt that it will thanks to Kamigawa and Streets of New Capenna sticking around. Until then, every week I’ve found a new archetype or a new approach to an old one that keeps things fresh.
This is the case of the deck I’m going to talk about today. When Adventures in Forgotten Realms was released, some variants of Teleportation Circle decks started appearing here and there. Despite how fun and strong the archetype can be, it didn’t become a popular choice and it soon faded away in the metagame.
Or at least that’s how it was until now. Just recently, The_magician piloted the archetype during the Community Turnier at Sol4r1s, reaching seventh place in a fairly competitive tournament.
As we’ve made it clear before, revisiting old archetypes and trying to find upgrades when sets get released can be a very satisfying exercise. When the first iteration of this archetype was born, cards like Titan of Industry or Sanctuary Warden weren’t there, the same goes for Topiary Stomper or Spirited Companion. This new variant of Selesnya Circle features all of them!
The 7th place in a 40+ people tournament is not easy to accomplish. However, for a fun and powerful deck, it’s not something that comes as a surprise.
Also, the aforementioned cards are not the only new cards that this archetype is now playing. Mysterious Limousine is a card that adds a very high ceiling as far as doing power blink plays matters.
Let’s tackle this list card by card:
First of all, our two drops. Looking carefully at this list lets us know that, besides the Teleportation Circle plays, we have a lot of ramp creatures. This lets us play our high costed cards easily enough, making this deck work as a Ramp Midrange at its core. Ambitious Farmhand and Prosperous Innkeeper let us skip our third turn, enabling our four mana cards like Esika's Chariot and Teleportation Circle one turn earlier almost every single game.
Spirited Companion and Gala Greeters have other purposes. Gala Greeters doesn’t ramp us effectively when it enters the battlefield, however, all the value it can provide turn after turn makes this card shine in many situations. On the other hand, Spirited Companion lets us draw cards when it enters the battlefield, something that every deck that has any kind of blink plan can get a lot of use out of.
With more than 12 two drops, establishing a presence on the board while enabling our game plan is something that this deck consistently achieves with no issues in all our games.
Although we’re generally trying to skip turn three, our three drops certainly help solidif our game plan. Brutal Cathar and Skyclave Apparition have a very straightforward reason for being in the list; remove any threat that could bother us during the transition of early to mid-game, letting us reach the turns where we could play our high curve creatures without problems.
On the other hand, Topiary Stomper gives us the redundancy we need for our ramping plan, trying to ensure that those expensive creatures in our list are not going to stay in our hands for a long time without being cast.
This is where things become interesting. Many times now I’ve stated that Titan of Industry is one of the best creatures in the format. It’s good enough that a few weeks ago, Izzet started splashing this creature, even if it costs 7 mana and triple green.
Playing a full set of this elemental while being able to hard cast it consistently in addition to being able to blink it every turn, gives us a plan that makes any of the best strategies in the format stumble while trying to stop us.
The same goes for Sanctuary Warden. Vanishing Verse was a card highly present in the format. With the decline in popularity of this instant, it’s extremely hard to contest a game when this angel touches the battlefield. It not only has evasion and a 5/5 body that can close the game very quickly, it also lets us draw cards and put more bodies on the field when needed. A great choice to accompany Titan of Industry as our cards for ending the game.
Now, this shell could be a Selesnya Ramp deck without a problem; one even capable of competing against the best archetypes in the format. Let’s not forget that Selesnya Midrange was a thing not too long ago. Nevertheless, imagine what happens when we exploit all these ETBs (ETB: Enter the Battlefield) effects with blink engines.
What Teleportation Circle gives to this core is clear. There are two things we have to remember concerning Teleportation Circle. First, not only lets us blink creatures, but artifacts as well, which makes Esika's Chariot stronger than it already is on its own while enabling amazing tricks with Portable Hole, a card that helps us a lot against aggro strategies. Second, Teleportation Circle blinks our permanents at the end of our turn, letting us accrue more advantages with our creatures and defend if we attacked with them that turn!
Like Teleportation Circle, Mysterious Limousine is without a doubt, a card that further elevates the level of our possible plays with this deck. This artifact functions like a virtual Brutal Cathar, but for any creature (not only creatures controlled by our opponents). When it attacks, it lets us exile another target creature, returning to the battlefield the first creature it exiled. This works in a lot of useful ways. It can establish a loop where two of our creatures enter and exit the battlefield turn after turn for high amounts of value. It can work as removal in case we need it, exiling an opponent’s threat. Its 4/4 stats are quite relevant, letting us attack, exert pressure, or block comfortably thanks to its cheap crew cost. This is a card that this deck can exploit from a wide variety of angles.
After working with the deck I made some slight changes that make me feel more comfortable while playing this archetype.
I moved the single Portable Hole from the main to the sideboard, adding the fourth Gala Greeters. Portable Hole is an amazing card and shines in the proper matcheups, however, drawing that single copy of it during the late game against certain decks feels like a dead draw sometimes. Instead, the fourth copy of Gala Greeters strengthens our early game against any opponent.
The same goes for the second copy of Brutal Cathar, putting in its place the fourth copy of Skyclave Apparition. With many non-creature early problematic cards like Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Reckoner Bankbuster, etc, having Skyclave is better than Brutal Cathar most of the time. This doesn’t mean that we don’t want more copies of Brutal Cathar in our 75 cards. The second copy of it is now on our sideboard.
Potential Inclusions / Notable Exclusions
As we have to remember. This archetype’s first iteration was born a few months ago when Adventures in Forgotten Realms was released. Selesnya was even a force to be reckoned with and one of the decks to beat in Standard. A few cards that this deck played back then could also still be good options:
- Tangled Florahedron could be a great choice instead of any of our two mana creatures. It doesn’t have any interaction with Teleportation Circle like Prosperous Innkeeper, but being a modal land could help solidify our opening hand.
- Spirit of the Aldergard was amazing in the first iterations of the deck. Having a three mana option for ramping like Topiary Stomper makes this bear fall behind.
- Inspiring Overseer is another good card that could help us draw more gas in conjunction with Spirited Companion. Also, it could help us gain some life in the process.
- We already play two Spara's Headquarters, lands that could replace themselves in case we were flooded. Having access to blue mana could let us splash Lagrella, the Magpie. This is a creature that could work similarly to Mysterious Limousine letting us exile creatures from both sides of the battlefield.
- The blue splash could also let us play Scheming Fence for locking activated abilities, just like a Pithing Needle would do.
- Nadaar, Selfless Paladin is very good against The Wandering Emperor thanks to its vigilance ability. If this white planeswalker starts rising in popularity once again, this dragon could be a great choice. Also, blinking Nadaar could mean a lot of value from venturing into the dungeon.
- Yasharn, Implacable Earth shuts down any sacrifice deck. Blinking it means more ramp than any of our other creatures can provide.
- If we want redundancy in our blink plan while having another removal option at our disposal,
Touch of the Spirit Realmis a great choice.
- Guardian of Faith helps us protect our creatures against sweepers. However, Glorious Protector works better for our purposes.
Matchups and Sideboard Guide
|+1 Fateful Absence||-4 Gala Greeters|
|+1 Brutal Cathar||-2 Mysterious Limousine|
|+3 Elite Spellbinder||-1 Topiary Stomper|
|+2 The Wandering Emperor|
We want to exert pressure as soon as possible. Gala Greeters provides value, but works better in attrition games. Hinata decks have a lot of spot removal that could kill Gala Greeters easily before we start getting the value we need from it.
Mysterious Limousine is too expensive in case we need it as removal, and in a similar vein, lowering our curve helps us prevent Jeskai Hinata from developing its game plan. Topiary Stomper is more or less the same. Ramping for a land while having a non-useful creature until the late game is not our best plan.
Elite Spellbinder is our best friend here. If “Paulo” starts delaying our opponent’s plan, it can give us enough time to play a heavy beater that could seal the game in a couple of turns. Blinking “Paulo” denying any kind of interaction from our opponents seals the deal.
|+3 Portable Hole||-1 Sanctuary Warden|
|+1 Fateful Absence||-2 Mysterious Limousine|
|+1 Brutal Cathar||-2 Topiary Stomper|
|+2 Glorious Protector||-4 Gala Greeters|
|+2 The Wandering Emperor|
They play many planeswalkers and creatures to justify adding Fateful Absence. Also, having more options for removing Raffine, Scheming Seer as soon as possible is always a great idea. An extra Brutal Cathar is also here helping us in our task to remove threats while The Wandering Emperor gives us a powerful way of competing for the board.
|+1 Fateful Absence||-2 Topiary Stomper|
|+1 Brutal Cathar||-4 Gala Greeters|
|+2 Glorious Protector||-2 Mysterious Limousine|
|+2 The Wandering Emperor|
|+2 Dawnbringer Cleric|
Against Grixis, we want our cards to be more proactive than Topiary Stomper or Gala Greeters. This sideboard plan works similarly to the one against Esper, the two best midrange decks in the format. Glorious Protector for answering The Meathook Massacre, The Wandering Emperor for contesting the board just like Brutal Cathar, and Fateful Absence for any pesky threat that escapes our other removals, including its planeswalker of choice, Kaito Shizuki.
The new card here is Dawnbringer Cleric. Being able to destroy an enchantment is very valuable in this metagame, especially against Naya Runes. However, against a deck with The Meathook Massacre and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, it’s also very good. The big upside here is that now, Grixis Vampires are playing Bloodthirsty Adversary, a card that lets them recast instants or sorceries from their graveyard. With this cleric, keeping our opponent’s graveyard clean is not a big deal.
|+3 Portable Hole||-2 Topiary Stomper|
|+1 Fateful Absence||-1 Mysterious Limousine|
|+1 Brutal Cathar||-2 Spirited Companion|
|+2 The Wandering Emperor||-1 |
|-1 Titan of Industry|
We remove one of each of our heavy hitters because lowering our curve against the more aggressive deck in the format is mandatory.
Topiary Stomper goes out because ramping without being able to block immediately is not what we are aiming for. We have enough tools to stall the game until we can draw any of our big creatures, moment when almost any aggro deck doesn’t have many outs for.
Tips And Tricks
- When Ambitious Farmhand transforms to a 3/3 with lifelink, it can contest the board very well. Always have in mind its coven ability and the power of your creatures.
- Gaining life with Gala Greeters or Dawnbringer Cleric can be very good in a lot of situations. Don’t underestimate this ability.
- Keep in mind that Topiary Stomper has vigilance which can be extremely relevant.
- Sanctuary Warden can remove counters from any creature or planeswalker we control. This means that we can draw cards and make 1/1 tokens even without removing its shield counters thanks to Gala Greeters, Turntimber Symbiosis, or The Wandering Emperor.
- Choosing to create a 4/4 rhino with Titan of Industry should be your priority and main option when this creature comes into play. Choosing two of its other options without choosing to create a rhino is something that you are going to do in very specific scenarios.
- Emeria's Call gives indestructibility to all non-angel creatures. We have to keep in mind that any Sanctuary Warden on our side of the field is not going to get the ability.
- Copying rhino tokens with Esika's Chariot is great! That’s one of the reasons of prioritize the rhino tokens with Titan of Industry.
- Usual pathway advice: Save these lands for later turns as possible. Choosing the wrong color for playing these lands earlier in the game could make us struggle. This is true because of how many double and triple-colored cost spells we have in our deck.
- It’s always useful to blink a Portable Hole for choosing a new target depending on the situation. Especially if we use this artifact to exile a token during the early game.
- We didn’t mention Archon of Emeria during our sideboard guide. Sideboarding it is very good against Naya Runes or Jeskai Dragon Storm.
Visiting old archetypes from time to time allows us to explore new cards and their functionality in established ideas and game plans. Just as we said during our Naya Legends Deck Guide, successful archetypes that fall in popularity tend to succeed again if we take the time to update them. This archetype could be one of the best ones to revisit thanks to how good many of the newer cards are for it.
If we take the time to remember, Selesnya Teleportation Circle was a great deck during the temporary format Standard 2022. If Standard 2023 arrives (sooner or later it surely is going to be a thing?), keep in mind all the decks that can be developed there can be even stronger if we revisit them after Dominaria United, The Brothers’ War, and the next sets from 2024 get released.
I had a lot of fun working with this deck and I encourage you to try it. It’s very powerful, it has many of the strongest creatures in the format, and without a doubt, it can get you very good results if you master the blink tricks inside it.
Until the next time, let me know what you think on my social media (links below). Thanks for reading this far. Until our next column, guys!