March Standard Deck Compendium

Posted in Perilous Research on March 7, 2013

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Hello and welcome back to Perilous Research, DailyMTG.com's exclusive Magic Online column. Every month, I spend at least one week breaking down the Magic Online Standard metagame. Performing well in large Magic tournaments isn't an easy task, especially in the current Standard environment. There are so many archetypes that you will almost certainly face off against a deck you're unfamiliar with, thus putting you at a pretty big disadvantage. Today, I offer up the latest Magic Online Standard Deck Compendium, a piece that's filled to the brim with all the Standard archetypes that have performed well recently. Armed with knowledge of all these decks, you should rarely find yourself in a spot where you don't know what you're up against. Let's get right into the decklists!

Skulldeath's Junk Rites

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Human Reanimator was the Unburial Rites deck of choice last week, but that seems to be shifting right now. The Junk Rites deck is significantly less dependent on its actual combo and performs much like a midrange creature deck in post-boarded games when you're assuming the opponent has graveyard hate. I recommend playing fast and loose here. Use removal spells aggressively and try to prevent the Junk Rites player from establishing a board presence. Izzet Staticaster is well positioned against this archetype, and I would suggest some type of pinging effect or some Rolling Temblors for your sideboard if they're on color and this deck continues to do well.


Li-Chun's Naya Midrange

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The latest Naya Midrange decks play similarly to the Naya Bonfire decks from last summer, so try to maintain a similar mindset against them if you're familiar with that deck. Naya Midrange plans on winning the board-presence war. This list plays Mizzium Mortars, but it's not unusual for the deck to have some number of Bonfire of the Damneds as well. Cards like Bonfire of the Damned and Mizzium Mortars become significantly stronger if you have a healthy board presence. Again, use your removal frivolously.


BadDrafter's UWR Reckoner

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Red-white-blue decks seem to be the winning player's favorite deck, but despite some talented pilots, the deck has been waning in power with the rise of Pacifism in sideboards, Abrupt Decay in main decks, and a level of aggression that seems downright unfair. The deck suffers most in control matchups. The favorable aggro matchup is becoming less favorable and I think this deck may be moved out of tier one for at least the next week or so until the format shifts.


driverseati's Red Gruul

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The Saito Gruul deck that performed well early on in the season is evolving into an aggressive red-based deck. The deck plays enough reach and/or cheap spot removal to keep up with the most aggressive Naya Human decks. Cards like Hellrider punish the format for taking Blind Obedience out of sideboards. This is likely going to be one of the more popular aggressive strategies moving forward.


Nova485's Jund Midrange

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Good old Jund Midrange is still a deck, and it's probably the most successful deck of the last week. You may be surprised that many of the Jund Midrange decks lost Pillar of Flame in the main deck. This is because there was a bug on Magic Online where Pillar of Flame didn't exile the creature it killed. The bug has been addressed and will be fixed by the time this column is published.


FawkesWinsAGain's Jund Aggro

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Aggressive Jund decks are picking up steam again. This version is particularly dedicated to the aggressive game plan. The deck should be able to run over most opponents. Boros Reckoner is exceptionally strong here, but try to bait out a Dreadbore or Abrupt Decay before you play the powerhouse three-drop.


Pyr0prep's Selesnya Fatties

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Sometimes it's correct to just play gigantic monsters and put Rancors on them. The current Standard format seems like a pretty good time for that. Most decks don't really have more than one or two cards that can deal with a Wolfir Silverheart, and Trostani, Selesnya's Voice seems like it's quickly becoming one of the format's hottest sleeper cards. Jund is probably the only aggressive deck that stands a chance against this, but I still don't love the matchup. As long as the format moves away from control, this deck should become a lot better in the coming weeks.


_Slippery_'s Human Reanimator

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Human Reanimator blasted onto the scene at Grand Prix Quebec City two weeks ago. The deck is nearly impossible for midrange or controlling decks to deal with, but it often flounders under the pressure of the most aggressive decks. Expect this deck to increase in popularity when the format shifts to midrange or control decks and expect this deck to dwindle in numbers when aggressive decks seem popular.


cmooney's Mono-Red

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Mono-Red continues to put up reasonable numbers. The general consensus among grinders I've spoken with is that Naya Humans, Gruul, and Jund Aggro are all better choices, but Red decks will always exist and it's good to know what they're going to look like if you want to go deep in a tournament. Red decks are easy to acquire and, as a result, will remain popular regardless of metagame shifts.


holynorth's Junk Midrange

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This deck is similar to the Junk Rites deck, but the combo has been removed. The deck doesn't offer the same surprise factor punch of the combo version, but it gets a real sideboard and still has a strong matchup against a lot of the field. Obzedat, Ghost Council has dramatically increased in popularity in the last week or so. Selesnya Charm is rare in current Standard lists and Obzedat, Ghost Council is, simply put, unraceable.


yamademon's Cagebreaker Gruul

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Every so often you see a card in a decklist and it's like a bolt of lightning hit you directly on the top of your head. This is a slightly less aggressive version of Naya that gets to play with one of the most underplayed/overperforming cards in the current Standard environment. Kessig Cagebreakers is really well positioned: 4 toughness is a tall order for most decks and a single attack should provide you with a sizable Wolf pack. I'm interested in trying Kessig Cagebreakers in other archetypes, too. It seems like a great one-of or two-of as long as people aren't playing removal that actually kills it.


Lister1991's Zoo

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This is the most aggressive you can be. The deck has some downright unfair starts and can often kill opponents while they still have two-mana removal spells stranded in their hands. You're going to need a lot of inexpensive removal to beat this deck. Don't be afraid to use your removal at sorcery speed when your opponent is tapped out—you don't want to get blown out by the newest trick, Giant Growth.


Deekaay's Rakdos

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The Rakdos Zombie deck had a great week on Magic Online, but I'm not sure if the deck is actually good or if it's just enjoying a respite with the Pillar of Flame bug that just got fixed. The deck will likely suffer against aggro strategies and I don't think it's well-positioned in the coming week unless you expect a lot of Esper or red-white-blue strategies.


mario91234's Bant Elderscale

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