Breaking Standard With Golos And Fires of Invention

Standard has taken clear shape with Golos, Tireless Pilgrim-focused Bant decks cementing themselves as the best deck while everyone else tries to compete with the powerful ramp strategy. This is challenging because the deck’s ramp package allows them to power out the namesake threat a turn or two ahead of schedule (and a horde of Zombies are never far behind). I’ve tried to get underneath the deck through conventional aggression challenging. This lead me to try and find something that goes over the top and kills them before you get overwhelmed by the inevitable march of Zombies from Field of the Dead and they only card I could think of with the potential to match their mana advantage was Fires of Invention. 

This card has already been explored a fair bit making appearances in Jeskai-based decks that pair it with sweepers and planeswalkers, but I knew I wanted to be a bit more proactive. The two main things I wanted to do was pair Fires with Growth Spiral and Arboreal Grazer to compound my mana advantage and outpace the ramp of the Golos decks. The other was utilize the haste abilities of Cavalier of Flame and/or Kenrith, Returned King to create potential one turn kill setups, never giving my opponent the opportunity to use a sweeper like Cast Off. Once i put this base together I quickly noticed a lot of similarities to my ramp base and that of Bant Golos, which gave me the thought, “What if I just cut all the reactive cards from Bant Golos and beat them at their own game?”

That idea eventually lead me to this.

3  Arboreal Grazer

4  Fae of Wishes

4  Cavalier of Flame

3  Golos, Tireless Pilgrim

2  Kenrith, the Returned King

4  Circuitous Route

4  Growth Spiral

4  Once Upon a Time

4  Fires of Invention

1  Blossoming Sands

2  Breeding Pool

1  Castle Vantress

2  Fabled Passage

4  Field of the Dead

2  Forest

1  Golgari Guildgate

1  Island

1  Izzet Guildgate

2  Mountain

1  Plaza of Harmony

1  Rakdos Guildgate

1  Selesnya Guildgate

1  Simic Guildgate

2  Steam Vents

2  Stomping Ground

1  Temple of Epiphany

1  Temple of Malady

1  Temple of Mystery

Sideboard

3  Aether Gust

1  Ashiok, Dream Render

3  Flame Sweep

1  Kaya’s Wrath

1  Tamiyo, Collector of Tales

1  Vraska, Golgari Queen

1  Escape to the Wilds

1  Shared Summons

1  Casualties of War

1  Chandra, Awakened Inferno

1  Ugin, the Ineffable

Scryfall link with Arena export

I really liked the idea of retaining the inevitability provided by Field of the Dead while also leaving yourself open to nut draws where you can one-turn-kill your opponent with a few Zombies alongside Cavalier of Flame. The key to Fires of Invention is being able to take game actions that impact the board without counting as spells and Field of the Dead turning all of your land drops into creatures is huge. All of this felt kind of greedy and cute until I started playing with it and saw how all these cards worked in concert. I just kept smashing people. 

While Bant Golos generally wins through a slow suffocating form of inevitability, this deck is not only able to immediately convert that vale into damage, it does it faster because of fires. It felt very unfair when one opponent was foolish enough to tap out at sixteen life against my Fires of Invention and died to Golos, Cavalier, and a few zombies. The first time I played Golos and immediately activated their ability I felt like I was cheating which is another big point in favor of this version. Your Golos activations are also much better than Bant’s because you have Fae of Wishes and Cavaliers in place of their sweepers and Hydriod Krasis.

Fae of Wishes and our “wishboard” is another core part of the deck that allows us to gain access to almost any effect thanks to Fires of Invention’s mana agnostic nature. Normally Fae of Wishes would be too slow and too narrow, but when paired with Fires of Invention we are able to essentially spend our turn casting the perfect card for the given situation. The only limit to what you can include in the wishboard is Fae’s non-creature clause, outside of that feel free to experiment with whatever you want. 

That said, I do think there are some key effects that you want present in your wishboard to leverage common situations you’ll find yourself in. I break these down into, a way to reset the board, a way to accumulate card advantage, and a way to find your key threats. In my iteration of the wishboard I use Kaya’s Wrath, Escape to the Wilds,and Shared Summons in those roles respectively. Several other good options for those roles are Time Wipe, Planewide Celebration, and Once and Future. Another cute thing you can do is put a land in your sideboard as it’s a legal target for Fae. I usually use Castle Vantress in this role as it’s essentially a spell anyway.

The main drawback of this build over Bant that I’ve found is that when your draw doesn’t quite come together you don’t have a panic button like Cast Off to slow things down until you draw out of it. You are relying a lot on Fae of Wishes to find your reactive elements and if you don’t have Fires online it will be challenging to retrieve or even cast those spells. Still, I’m fairly comfortable giving the deck a proactive focus given it’s powerlevel and the consistency is quite high thanks at least partly to Once Upon a Time. Moving forward, you could possibly add more ramp in the form of Beanstalk Giant because you really want to limit the deck’s fail rate as much as possible. 

On top of being exceptionally powerful, this deck also generates very interesting games of Magic. I’ve had a blast navigating what to wish for at certain points, and trying to set up lethal combos over the course of several turns. Give it a try and see if you have as much fun with it as I’ve been having. I will be continuing to tune this deck and others on stream every weekday at my Twitch channel so come by and say hello!

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