The State of Standard

Posted in Top Decks on May 29, 2014

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

Welcome back to Perilous Research! Last week, we explored the Modern format and discussed the decks that seem to define the Magic Online metagame at this stage of the format's evolution. This week, we'll be taking a similar look at the state of Standard. We'll be discussing the most successful decks from recent Magic Online Standard events.

Understanding our opponent is extremely important in Constructed Magic. Entering a tournament with full knowledge of the format's archetypes gives us a huge advantage over players who are unfamiliar with the expected contents of their opponents' decks. Armed with this knowledge, we'll be able to play around tricks with maximum efficiency.

Let's take a look at some decks!

Black Devotion

Humble Budokadonk's Black Devotion

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Black Devotion still reigns in Standard. The deck puts up consistently strong results. It's difficult to truly beat the Black Devotion deck with any regularity. Thoughtseize goes a long way in dismantling the opponent's line of play while efficient creatures close the game quickly. In a long game, Black Devotion grinds opposing decks into oblivion with Underworld Connections. We can expect Black Devotion to remain a format powerhouse for the foreseeable future and it would be wise to play a lot of games both with and against the deck to maximize our chances of emerging victorious against it.

Underworld Connections

Black Devotion Splashing Green

warzone's Black Devotion Splashing Green

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Some players have begun splashing green in their Black Devotion decks. Golgari Charm is strong in the current Standard environment and Abrupt Decay gives the deck an efficient way to interact with Underworld Connections, Detention Sphere, Banishing Light, Domri Rade, and Courser of Kruphix. Given the format's current enchantment craze, it seems like the green version of Black Devotion is the cat's meow.

Golgari Charm
Abrupt Decay

Red Devotion Splashing Blue

dedallus's Red Devotion Splashing Blue

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Red Devotion strategies have experienced a resurgence since Journey into Nyx was released. Some Red Devotion players have added blue to the deck in lieu of white. This gives the deck access to Keranos, God of Storms, one of the most powerful cards from the new set. Ral Zarek serves as two removal spells in most situations. In longer games, Ral Zarek can be used to untap Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx to produce massive amounts of mana. Turn & Burn gives the deck outs to some of the larger plays in the current Standard format. This deck seems particularly exciting. We should keep our eye on this one to see if it experiences continued success in the coming weeks.

Keranos, God of Storms
Ral Zarek

Red Devotion Splashing White

thebeck514's Red Devotion Splashing White

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Most Red Devotion players still have white as their splash of choice. Chained to the Rocks serves as an incredibly efficient piece of removal, and post-board copies of Assemble the Legion will cause nightmares for control opponents and Black Devotion players who haven't started splashing green. This deck has great inevitability and should be in a good spot as long as Master of Waves decks remain in obscurity.

Chained to the Rocks
Assemble the Legion

Blue Devotion

theWhiskyDream's Blue Devotion

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Blue Devotion and versions of the deck splashing white have been underperforming lately. The new green decks can outgun (but not outrun) the Blue Devotion strategies and Supreme Verdict strategies are as popular as ever. We can expect Blue Devotion to experience a boost in popularity as Supreme Verdict decks become less popular, but that probably won't happen at least for another month or two.

Thassa, God of the Sea
Master of Waves

Green Devotion

suckatog_trader's Green Devotion

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Green Devotion is back and it's a lot more aggressive than previous incarnations of the deck. The deck performs well against most decks on the play and shouldn't be written off as a gimmick. We've seen this deck put up great numbers in Daily and Premier Events on Magic Online this last week.

Nylea, God of the Hunt


Spideydood's Stompy

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Red-Green Stompy wants to establish board dominance quickly and pound the opponent out of the game. Xenagos, the Reveler and Domri Rade give the deck a lot of longevity against Supreme Verdict and Black Devotion players, while the aggressive side of the deck is enough to keep opponents on the defensive.

Xenagos, the Reveler
Domri Rade

Jund Monsters

Kengur's Jund Monsters

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Jund Monsters attempts to attack an aggressive format by going slightly larger. Again, the deck uses Xenagos, the Reveler and Domri Rade to provide a long game against the control strategies. The deck's true strength is on full display against the most aggressive strategies, where bigger creatures and better removal is key. We can expect this deck to continue having success in the current state of Standard.

Polukranos, World Eater
Stormbreath Dragon

Bant Tap Out

UglyCat's Bant Tap Out

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A number of Bant Tap Out decks have begun performing well on Magic Online. The deck plays a huge suite of Planeswalkers that makes it a nightmare for Supreme Verdict strategies that are forced to skimp on countermagic to interact with boards. Advent of the Wurm allows the deck to efficiently punish opposing Planeswalkers. This deck is a bit schizophrenic at times, as playing cards like Sylvan Caryatid alongside Supreme Verdict is a bit of a gamble. Nonetheless, the sheer power of the available cards makes this a big contender in the new Standard.

Sylvan Caryatid
Advent of the Wurm

mesmerize's Bant Tap Out

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Some versions of the deck try to go smaller with cards like Voice of Resurgence. This may be a better choice given Voice of Resurgence's strength in the current format.

Voice of Resurgence
Elspeth, Sun's Champion

Azorius Control

Bojan11's Azorius Control

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Azorius Control has become the Supreme Verdict deck of choice. The deck controls the game with countermagic, Detention Sphere, Azorius Charm, and Supreme Verdict before taking over with a big Sphinx's Revelation. It's hard to argue against a strategy this streamlined, and we can expect this deck to enjoy a lot of success going forward.

Supreme Verdict
Sphinx's Revelation


M4dfinest69's Hexproof

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Bassara Tower Archer gave the Naya Hexproof deck the extra power it needed to become tier one. The deck has consistency issues, but the power level available when it operates at full capacity is unmatched in the current Standard format.

Bassara Tower Archer
Ethereal Armor


quillshot's Burn

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Burn continues to do well in the face of Sphinx's Revelation and Courser of Kruphix. The deck has a lot of power over the course of a long game, but the current popularity of Gray Merchant of Asphodel and the aforementioned sources of lifegain make this a dangerous choice right now.

Lightning Strike


mhc's Dredge

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Dredge (a black-green graveyard-based strategy with no actual dredge cards) saw some scattered success before it had access to cards like Pharika, God of Affliction and Strength from the Fallen. The new versions of the Dredge deck have some mana consistency issues, but the deck can go bigger than other creature strategies and the graveyard interactions give it a lot of play in longer games too.

Pharika, God of Affliction
Strength from the Fallen

White-Black Midrange

atams's White-Black Midrange

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