Zendikar Game Day Standard

Posted in Feature on November 16, 2009

By Frank Karsten

Six weeks have passed since the release of Zendikar. Two weeks ago, Zendikar Game Day took place in local shops worldwide. Many players took the opportunity to play Standard with the cards from Zendikar on a global scale. This constituted the first big influx of Standard decks after Zendikar came out and should give us a starting point for the post-Zendikar Standard format. In this article, I will be doing an in-depth analysis of the metagame and Top 8 deck lists from these tournaments. I will highlight the strongest deck archetypes and let the deck lists from Zendikar Game Day (which you can find here) be my guide as I explore the Standard environment.

First, let me give you an snapshot overview of the metagame by combining popularity and performance of Top 8 deck archetypes in a single usable statistic, in similar fashion to what I used to do in my Online Tech column.

Methodological note: I looked at all Zendikar Game Day Top 8 deck lists (at least, the 222 deck lists that were available on November 7), and awarded points based on final rankings. I gave three points to decks that lost in the quarterfinals, four points to decks that finished in place 3-4, and five points to decks that made the finals. This gives me information on how often a particular archetype made a Top 8, as well as how often it made the Quarters, Semis, and Finals. By finally adding up all those points over all tournaments and dividing by the total, I arrive at the "winner's metagame percentages".

Clearly, the format defining deck archetype is Jund. Roughly speaking, if you were to play in a random Top 8 match during Zendikar Game Day, you had about a one in three shot of being paired against a Jund deck. The Jund decks even performed remarkably well once they got to the Top 8: as much as 61% of the tournaments were won by a Jund deck!

Overall, the above metagame corresponds reasonably well to what could be expected beforehand (based on Magic Online results, other previous major Standard tournaments and analyses of the format by other writers). I would have expected Boros Bushwhacker to do better and Vampires to do worse during Zendikar Game Day, but apart from that there weren't any major surprises.

Now, let's take a closer look at the strongest deck archetypes, starting with an average Jund deck.

Intermezzo: The Theory Behind Average Deck Lists

Yes, with "average" I actually mean that I used a computer program to calculate the average of cards across all available 62 Jund deck lists. I genuinely believe that such an aggregate deck list will give us more information and insight than a single Jund deck randomly plucked from a Top 8s, since an average list illustrates the wisdom of the crowd. I demonstrated the usefulness of this method last year at the World Championships in Memphis, where I made Top 8 with an average Faeries deck, trusting that a combination of the card choices of almost 100 Faerie players should converge to a well-developed list. This year, I once again won't have sufficient time to thoroughly test the Standard format, so I'll probably use the same methodology again.

Some remarks are in order. A limitation of the aggregate deck method is that it only works well if a sufficiently large number of deck lists are available. After all, taking the average of three deck lists won't give you a useful result. Another issue is that average deck lists may often include seemingly awkward one-ofs. However, I don't see this as an disadvantage, since if you play a deck full of one-ofs, you get more options during the games, and it also confuses your opponents. But perhaps more importantly, average deck lists are perfect starting points in a playtest process, both to test with and to test against. Either way, you get to play with or against with many different cards at the same time, allowing you to quickly learn the value of each distinct card. You may observe interactions and card strengths that you may not have thought of yourself. You get to start with a reasonable deck list, prevent inbred testing and avoid locking your mind in fixed card choices. Finally, testing against a cross-section of a particular archetype also teaches you to play around a variety of cards, which is a useful skill since in a real tournament you also won't know the exact contents of the opposing deck.


Now, let's actually go over this aggregate deck list.

Average Jund deck

Download Arena Decklist

Methodological notes: My program gives output in the form of e.g. 1.66 Garruk Wildspeaker, forcing me to manually round numbers afterwards in order to arrive at a presentable list. Perfectly rounding each amount to the nearest integer leads to a deck with 56 cards, so I had to make a few value judgments. I eventually rounded up the amount of Rootbound Crags, Verdant Catacombs, Broodmate Dragons, and Terminates in order to obtain a deck list that seemed the most reasonable to me and that had a total amount of lands, spells, and creatures as close as possible to the average list. Other options were to put 1 random Goblin Ruinblaster, Jund Charm, or Resounding Thunder main deck. I am personally considering cutting 1 Terminate and adding a creature (preferably one that is good in the mirror match), mainly because I feel that the removal-to-creatures ratio is too high in the above deck. Furthermore, I would prefer to swap out a black mana source for a red mana source main deck, especially considering the double-red Goblin Ruinblasters in the sideboard. I also made some manual tweaks in the sideboard. In particular, I changed the actual average of 2 Goblin Ruinblaster plus 1 Anathemancer to three copies of the former, as it does not make a lot of sense to me to play both; first blowing up lands with Goblin Ruinblaster, only to do less damage with Anathemancer afterwards is not the best plan. (This constitutes an example where the logic of the average deck list fails and where you must identify the anti-synergies and non-combos yourself.)

Furthermore, the second Great Sable Stag and the singleton Slave of Bolas and Maelstrom Pulse in the sideboard could easily become something else; Malakir Bloodwitch, Volcanic Fallout, Magma Spray, and Vampire Nighthawk were included almost as often as the aforementioned cards, and you also probably can't go wrong by adding more Jund Charms and/or Goblin Ruinblasters to the sideboard. Furthermore, I was personally considering adding 1 Exotic Orchard, 1 Armillary Sphere, or 1 Borderland Ranger to the sideboard, since in the post-sideboard mirror match your opponents will likely have Goblin Ruinblasters, in which case adding a card that could prevent mana and/or color screw is smart.

The Jund deck is basically a collection of the strongest black, green, and red cards available in the format. Almost every card in the deck yields some sort of card advantage, with the cascade spells being the frontrunners of that concept. Maelstrom Pulse and Blightning can also yield two-for-ones. Furthermore, opponents will often have to spend two cards to completely get rid of Sprouting Thrinax, Broodmate Dragon, and Garruk Wildspeaker.

Maelstrom Pulse

The best part of all these card advantage spells is that you don't have to give up tempo in order to play them. A blue control deck, for example, can cast Divination to yield card advantage, but has to spend three mana on a card that doesn't immediately affect the board. The Jund deck continuously generates card advantage while adding relevant threats to the board, and therein lies Jund's main strength. Furthermore, Jund contains some of the best creature removal spells in the format, allowing Jund to play a strong tempo game by destroying a five-mana Baneslayer Angel with a two-mana Terminate, for example. While Jund can't be classified as an aggressive deck, it can still put a reasonable clock on the table against a control or combo deck with a turn-two Putrid Leech, followed by Lighting Bolts for the final points of damage.

Sprouting Thrinax
Garruk Wildspeaker

The above list will very likely become my deck choice for the World Championships in Rome this week, although I may make a few tweaks based on personal preferences, as outlined in the "methodological note" accompanying the deck list. When choosing a deck for a tournament, there are always two important things to keep in mind. The first is that you should pick an inherently strong deck that is a serious contender in the format. Clearly, this is the case for Jund (although it also holds for many other archetypes). The second issue is that you should have experience with the deck of your choice. Being comfortable with a deck and knowing how to pilot it remains incredibly important. Since I played Jund in the Block Constructed Pro Tour in Hawaii half a year ago, for which I actually tested quite a bit, I am feeling good about this deck choice. By the way, if you examine the similarities between the above Jund deck and its Block Constructed cousin, you will see that almost all cards in the Standard version are from Shards of Alara block! Cascade truly is a powerful mechanic ....


The thing is, how can you beat the Jund deck? While Jund is undoubtedly a very strong and format-defining deck, it is also the deck that everyone will want to beat. Almost no one will dare to play a deck that flat-out loses to Jund, and I'm sure that fellow Worlds Competitors will come up with decks that have a good match-up against Jund. I will offer some preliminary ideas on how to beat Jund later in this article, but first I want to zoom in on the second-most-popular deck of Zendikar Game Day: Vampires. Once again, I will offer an average list.

Average Vampires deck

Download Arena Decklist

Methodological notes: The above is the average of 26 deck lists. This time, I made no adjustments in the main deck, as rounding each amount to the nearest integer gave exactly 60 cards. It bears mentioning that Blade of the Bloodchief, Bloodchief Ascension, and Sorin Markov barely missed the average main deck. Personally, I believe that a twenty-fourth land (definitely more fetch lands!) are in order and that Guul Draz Vampire appears too weak. As for the sideboard, right now it is almost all one-ofs and while this offers a useful list of sideboard ideas, it should probably be tuned a bit. Particularly, the Quest for the Gravelord, Infest, Hideous End, Disfigure, and Consume Spirit could easily become something else; Pithing Needle, Malakir Bloodwitch and Fleshbag Marauder were played almost as often as the aforementioned cards, and you also probably can't go wrong by adding extra copies of Marsh Casualties and/or Duress.

This deck appears to be almost pre-built for Zendikar Block Constructed. The idea behind the deck is fairly obvious. Malakir Bloodwitch and Vampire Nocturnus are excellent in combination with lots of Vampires, so you simply add the best Vampire creatures available and round out the deck with some solid black spells. The deck also sports a nice interaction in fetch lands plus Bloodghast and Vampire Nocturnus. Sign in Blood also seems a perfect fit, as the life loss can easily be compensated for by Vampire Nighthawk and Malakir Bloodwitch.

Vampire Nighthawk
Vampire Nocturnus

An important question is: "Can Vampires beat Jund?" Looking at the mana curves of both decks, it seems that Jund and Vampires are about equally fast; they are both midrange decks, so there's not much difference there. The Vampire deck can generate quite a bit of card advantage; Gatekeeper of Malakir, Bloodghast, and Sign in Blood stand out. Furthermore, the life gain of Tendrils of Corruption and Malakir Bloodwitch could also be considered as pseudo–card advantage, since they preemptively counter a Lightning Bolt to the head. But is all that enough to win a card advantage war against Jund? My initial impression is no—Vampires won't keep up. Furthermore, the key cards of the Vampire strategy, i.e. the lords Malakir Bloodwitch and Vampire Nocturnus, are easily dispatched by Jund's cost-efficient removal. It is probably a quite close match-up, but Jund simply contains slightly more cards that yield two-for-ones, so I would expect Jund to emerge victoriously after a long match.

If I were to run Vampires in Standard now, I would consider the addition of more discard spells, like Duress or Mind Sludge, as I think attacking Jund's Blightnings or Bituminous Blasts could help a lot. Although the Vampires deck has clearly proven itself during Zendikar Game Day, I do not believe that it is the ideal metagame answer against Jund.

So How Can You Actually Beat Jund?

Since Jund put up such amazing results, the question of how to beat it will form the guiding theme for the remainder of this article. But first, let's actually ask a more general question: how do you beat any certain deck X? My answer would usually be: you can either build a deck that is much faster than X, or a deck that is slightly slower than X, or a deck that avoids interaction with X.

In order to explain these ideas, let me give a (simple) example. Consider, for instance, a deck containing only 5/5 creatures for five mana and lands. Such a deck will clearly beat a slightly faster deck, e.g. a deck with only 4/4 creatures for four mana, since its 5/5 creatures outmatch the 4/4 creatures, but it will succumb to a much faster deck, i.e. a deck with only 1/1 creatures for one mana, since it will be overrun before it can cast its slow 5/5 fatties. Similarly, this deck with only 5/5 creatures for five mana will lose to a slightly slower deck, e.g. a deck with only 6/6 creatures for six mana, but it will beat a much slower deck, e.g. a deck with only 8/8 creatures for eight mana. It often helps to view match-ups, metagames, and decks in this (simplified) framework. You could also beat the deck full of vanilla 5/5 creatures with a combo deck, with a deck full of flying creatures or with a control deck that includes mass removal, all of which are all examples of decks that try to avoid interaction with the 5/5 creatures. Now, let's apply this theory to Jund.

1. A deck that is significantly faster than Jund

First, let us try to find a blazingly fast deck that can beat Jund before its big card advantage spells come online. The fastest deck in the format is probably Boros Bushwhacker. Here is a representative sample list from Zendikar Game Day (no average this time, as there weren't enough deck lists available to do useful aggregate analysis on):

Ryan Sieger, 2nd Place at Zendikar Game Day in Pats Games, Austin, Texas

Download Arena Decklist

Sporting as many as twelve one-drops, this deck will come out of the gates extremely fast. It makes use of the new Zendikar mechanics, as it exploits the interaction between fetch lands and landfall creatures. Ranger of Eos is also extraordinarily strong in this deck; tutoring up a Goblin Bushwhacker plus another creature can make for some devastating turns. As if the deck did not have enough synergy, there is also Kor Skyfisher returning Teetering Peaks. Some versions also run Hellspark Elemental. Overall, this makes for an efficient beatdown package. Lighting Bolts and Burst Lightnings give the deck some reach in order to finish off opponents, and a top-decked Ranger of Eos in the late game can also win out of nowhere. The above deck list seems well thought out, although I would suggest adding a couple Ajani Vengeant to the sideboard, as I think they are good against many decks.

Ranger of Eos
Goblin Bushwhacker

Is this deck good enough against Jund? If Jund hiccups and misses a play on turn one, two, or three, then Boros Bushwhacker will easily win on the back of its speed. But if Jund can match the early creatures with Lightning Bolts or Terminates, then Boros Bushwhacker won't have amassed an overwhelming board presence by turn three or four, in which case the card advantage cards of Jund will probably grind out the game (barring insane multiple Ranger of Eos / Burst Lightning finishes).

Burst Lightning
Mark of Asylum

Does the match-up change after sideboard? Well, Boros Bushwhacker does seem somewhat vulnerable to mass removal such as Jund Charm. The above version does have Mark of Asylum in the sideboard, which also nullifies Lightning Bolt and Bituminous Blast of the Jund deck, so it would seem good in theory. However, you'll still have to find time and two mana to actually get it in play before Jund Charm hits, which is probably too much to ask. I think that Jund is often fast enough to keep up with Boros Bushwhacker, so I would guess the match-up is close, but favorable for Jund.

2. A deck that is slightly slower than Jund

Now, let's try to find a deck that is similar to Jund, but just slightly slower. We need a deck that can roughly match the speed of Jund, but that is just one step ahead of it with slightly more and bigger card advantage spells. In fact, a regular Jund deck with fewer Terminates and Lightning Bolts main deck and with more Bituminous Blasts, Broodmate Dragons, and Goblin Ruinblasters instead would classify. You could also add extra colors to gain access to more card advantage–generating cascade cards at the cost of a little speed and a weaker mana base; the five-color Cascade deck does something akin to that. I think that such a deck is actually quite strong in a metagame filled with Jund. However, it would be quite boring to show another Jund deck with small tweaks; I prefer to show you a distinct deck type. Eventually, I found a deck list from Zendikar Game Day that I liked in particular.

Roger Buteau Jr, 6th Place at Zendikar Game Day in Die Hard Games, Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Download Arena Decklist

This deck combines the best control cards in all colors and appears to be built with a Jund-filled metagame in mind. It has some cheap removal cards (Path to Exile, Lightning Bolt, and even main-deck Celestial Purge) to deal with fast creature onslaughts. Path to Exile and Celestial Purge in particular are perfect answers to Sprouting Thrinax, as well as to Bloodghast. Subsequently, the goal of the Cruel Control deck is to take the flow of the game in hand with Day of Judgment and Ajani Vengeant, both of which can generate card advantage as well. After that, Esper Charm and Jace Beleren can dig for game-winning spells, while Negate answers opposing Blightnings (and after sideboard, Double Negative deals with Bloodbraid Elf).

Celestial Purge
Double Negative

The main win condition of this deck is Cruel Ultimatum. The idea is that resolving its namesake sorcery will seal the game. As this format appears to resolve around the better card advantage spells, Cruel Ultimatum is clearly king. However, the inclusion of a sorcery makes building the mana base notoriously difficult, especially since you don't want to constantly Time Walk yourself with lands that enter the battlefield tapped.

Cruel Ultimatum

In the Top 8 deck lists of the Zendikar Game Day, I also encountered decks that, while similar to the above Cruel Control deck, eschew the black altogether and run Mind Spring and/or more planeswalkers as big finishers, in order to gain a more stable mana base. With or without black, we have a control deck that is slightly slower than Jund, but can still match its speed, answer Jund's creatures in the early turns, and take over the game later on with bigger spells.

A really clever element of this deck is that it also takes into account the third way to beat Jund: avoid interaction. Jund generally runs lots of creature removal spells. Take another look at the Jund deck list shown above and count along: 4 Lightning Bolt, 3 Maelstrom Pulse, 3 Bituminous Blast, and 3 Terminate. Okay, Maelstrom Pulse and Lightning Bolt can also target non-creatures, but overall you see that Jund has lots of creature destruction. How many targets does the above Cruel Control deck contain? Exactly zero. Terminate and Bituminous Blast cannot touch Sphinx of Jwar Isle! Therefore, Cruel Control simply blanks many cards in the Jund deck; it denies Jund the option of utilizing its cost-efficient removal cards.

Of course, the games after sideboarding will be different, since Jund will board out its removal and add cards like Goblin Ruinblaster and Duress. Cruel Control players will have to figure out something a proper answer to deal with this. Boarding in countermagic may help, and adding creatures once your opponent is cutting removal is also a strategy I love.

On the whole, my first impression is that a well-built control deck that is tuned with the Jund match-up in mind and piloted by an experienced player is favored versus Jund. However, you would still have to figure out a way to beat Boros Bushwhacker and you may also need to include more answers to planeswalkers such as Garruk Wildspeaker. Perhaps cutting some of the slow Jace Beleren and/or Day of Judgment for faster Terminates or something like Volcanic Fallout could help? Volcanic Fallout in particular seems solid against both Bushwhacker and Garruk. Just putting some ideas out there.

3. A deck that tries to avoid interaction with Jund

In the previous section, we already identified that Jund contains many removal spells and observed that these can be side-stepped by running Sphinx of Jwar Isle (along with Wall of Denial, if you want) as your only creatures. This is a concept that can be extended to other (non–Cruel Control) decks and I would expect this idea to catch on as long as Jund remains popular. You could also consider a white-based deck with Devout Lightcaster and White Knight. Not only are they untargetable by Terminate and Bituminous Blast, they are also amazing against the mono-black Vampires deck. Another way to blank the powerful creature destruction spells is to play a deck that wins without creatures altogether—in other words, play a combo deck. The Standard format currently does not seem to offer the right cards for combo decks, especially when compared to Extended. Out of all the deck archetypes coming out of Zendikar Game Day, there was only one that resembled a combo deck.

David Glore, 3rd Place at Zendikar Game Day in Mid-South Game Center, Cordova, Tennessee

Download Arena Decklist

It may take some luck and effort to be able to reap the benefits of Pyromancer Ascension, but once you get it online, it will truly feel like you are playing a combo deck. Some versions even run Time Warp. This deck hopes to keep early creatures at bay with mana-efficient removal in Lightning Bolt, Burst Lightning, and Terminate. At the same time, it is digging through its deck with Ponder, Worldly Counsel, and Divination until it finds Pyromancer Ascension. Once that card is on the battlefield, the aforementioned blue card drawers will hopefully find dual copies and turn on the enchantment. Eventually, you just play a Cruel Ultimatum and copy it. The turn afterwards, you should be able to win the game with all your burn spells.

This innovative deck looks like it is a blast to play. It even turns all of Jund's removal cards into dead cards! Yet an outstanding issue is the card Maelstrom Pulse. This deck greatly hinges around Pyromancer Ascension, and Jund generally maindecks an answer. Furthermore, this deck has major issues with Sprouting Thrinax as well as with the discard spells that Jund will probably add after sideboarding. So, unfortunately, I would expect Jund to actually beat this "combo" deck most of the time. Therefore, I conclude that a combo deck is probably not the best way to tackle Jund. Note, however, that I am only theorizing; I haven't tested the match-up. Perhaps the Sphinxes from the sideboard can turn things around?

Concluding Remarks on the Jund Issue

Jund is the dominating Standard deck. It can be beaten, however, although it will take some effort. For instance, I would consider a tweaked-out control deck that is slightly slower than Jund with untargetable creatures, Celestial Purge, and big card advantage spells to be a good foil, but there are certainly many other strategies available in Standard that can perform well versus Jund. I am looking forward to the World Championships this week. It should be interesting to see what type of decks and tech everyone will bring. If someone can come up with a deck that beats Jund while still doing well against all other decks (the combination of both is critical and seemingly hard to achieve), then such a deck will shake up the format. I will probably be playing Jund myself for lack of a better option.

The Rest of the Format

So far, I showed two midrange decks (Jund and Vampires), an aggro deck (Boros Bushwhacker), a control deck (Cruel Control), and a combo deck (Pyromancer Ascension). Those five compose a solid and diverse gauntlet. However, Standard is still much deeper than those five decks, as could be observed in the metagame table at the beginning of this article. I cannot go over all deck archetypes in detail and I don't have a deck-o-pedia anymore, so I'll go for the next-best option: I will write a few quick remarks on all deck varieties and offer hyperlinks directing you to a solid sample Zendikar Game Day Top 8 deck list for those of you who are interested in a specific deck type. I will cover these decks in the same order as they appeared in the metagame table, i.e. from most popular to least popular.

Bant is a midrange deck that uses the best green, white, and blue cards, such as Noble Hierarch and Rhox War Monk. A representative version would be Jonathan Ma's 1st place list from Pawtucket, USA.

Red Deck Wins uses hasty creatures like Ball Lightning and burn like Lightning Bolt to deal 20 damage as quickly as possible. A representative version would be Almerick Li's 2nd place list from Sydney, Australia.

Naya is a mid-range deck that uses the best red, green, and white cards, such as Wild Nacatl and Woolly Thoctar. A representative version would be Brian Peters's 2nd place list from Pawtucket, USA.

Mono-White Control can work because of Emeria, the Sky Ruin. This land gives late-game inevitability. Other typical cards are Baneslayer Angel, Knight of the White Orchid, Day of Judgment, and Path to Exile. A representative version would be Alan Aguinaldo's 5th place list from Pawtucket, USA.

Red-White Control comes in many flavors. Most commonly, it is base red in order to exploit Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, with only a smattering of white cards. It contains zero creatures and tries to win the game with Ajani Vengeant, Chandra Nalaar, Earthquake, other red burn cards, and of course Valakut. White creature removal cards make up the remainder of the deck. A representative version would be Anthony Karns's 6th place list from Doylestown, USA.

White-Blue(-Red) Control looks similar to Cruel Control, featuring planeswalkers and Luminarch Ascension in place of Cruel Ultimatum and Esper Charm, along with a more stable mana base. A representative version would be Jimmmy Tran's 6th place list from Austin, USA.

White Weenie is exactly what the name suggests: fast white creatures like Elite Vanguard and Soldier friends, backed up with Honor of the Pure. A representative version would be Konrad Sokolowski's 1st place list from Lodz, Poland.

Five-Color Cascade is living the dream of cascading Enigma Sphinx into Enlisted Wurm into Bituminous Blast into Bloodbraid Elf into Esper Charm. A representative version would be Jason Mohr's 2nd place list from Minneapolis, USA.

Goblins hopes to put Siege-Gang Commander onto the battlefield with Warren Instigator. Goblin Chieftain also helps with the tribal theme. Most versions splash black for removal. A representative version would be Joey Catardi's 3rd place list from Lindenhurst, USA.

Green-White Aggro uses Dauntless Escort and Vines of Vastwood to save its creatures from removal and may finish with Conqueror's Pledge plus Overrun. A representative version would be Jason Dyal's 2nd place list from Oshawa, Canada.

Green-White-Black(-Red) Midrange is like a Jund deck with Knight of the Reliquary, Baneslayer Angel, etc. Some versions cut the red altogether. A representative version would be Aaron White's 1st place list from Cordova, USA.

Mill tries to deck the opponent with cards like Hedron Crab, Archive Trap, Nemesis of Reason, and Mind Funeral. Yes, really. A representative version would be Erik Strijbos' 6th place list from Antwerp, Belgium.

Red-Green Nissa makes the most of Nissa Revane together with Nissa's Chosen. Elvish Archdruid supports the Elf theme. A representative version would be Artur Cnotalski's 2nd place list from Lodz, Poland.

Agadeem Black uses black cycling creatures like Architects of Will, Monstrous Carabid, and Viscera Dragger to fill its graveyard quickly. Eventually, Crypt of Agadeem generates monstrous amounts of mana that fuel Consume Spirit. A representative version would be James Parenti's 3rd place list from San Diego, USA.

Bonus Magic Online Section

While Zendikar Game Day is over, Standard tournaments will continue to be held and the format will keep on evolving. In case you had not noticed yet, deck lists from Magic Online Standard tournaments can be found in the weekly "Decks of the Week" feature (which also covers other formats, Pro Tour Qualifers, etc.) on magicthegathering.com, archived here, and in the Event Coverage section of www.mtgonline.com.

You can often find amazing deck lists there, and lately I found two creative "combo"-like decks. Firstly, there is the hilarious deck by yaya3 that mills itself with Hedron Crab or Traumatize, subsequently returns Crypt of Agadeem with Grim Discovery, makes a ton of mana, and finally unearths Corpse Connoisseurs to win the game. It can be found here as a 4-0 deck. Secondly, I would keep an eye on the red-green mana ramp decks that tutor up Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle with Expedition Map and subsequently turn Harrow and Khalni Heart Expedition into burn spells, like Carmona's 4-0 version here. Finally, I want to direct your attention to a mono-green deck that runs Nissa Revane and lots of token generators to fuel Eldrazi Monument. It is on the rise on Magic Online Standard tournaments and even won a StarCityGames Standard Open event. It looks quite solid; check out Yemeth's 4-0 list here. All in all, these Magic Online results show that Standard is still in flux and that innovative deck builders can still find new strategies and card combinations to work with.

Thanks for reading, I hope it was useful, and see you in Rome!

Latest Feature Articles


January 21, 2022

Boseiju Reaches Skyward by, Emily Teng

In the heart of Towashi is Boseiju, the oldest living tree on Kamigawa and the only remnant of Jukai Forest left within city limits. Boseiju Reaches Skyward | Art by: Zezhou Chen At th...

Learn More


January 21, 2022

The Modern Age by, Emily Teng

For much of Kamigawa's history, power was concentrated in the hands of the elite: the Imperials who ran the Plane with Kyodai's blessings, various warlords, and those who could channel th...

Learn More



Feature Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All