Hello, fellow planeswalkers! Welcome to standard weekly!
With summer in full swing and the Wilds of Eldraine still nearly a month and a half away, it’s time to look at how Black is doing after the banning of some of its key cards. For anyone unaware, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Invoke Despair, and Reckoner Bankbuster were banned this past spring because they had taken over standard. Normally, all three cards would have rotated out of standard when the Wilds of Eldraine is released this fall, but to revitalize standard Wizards of the Coast announced that there will not be a rotation this fall. Sets will remain in standard going forward for up to three years. With this change, Wizards acted to correct standard with the ban announcement.
The question is did the ban work? The answer is yes and no. Overall, the diversity of viable strategies has increased. Yet black still has a large share of the overall metagame. What black had as a color were replacements for the cards that were lost that are not as good as those banned, but close enough to make Mono-Black Midrange, Dimir Midrange, and Esper Control good decks in standard.
In July’s large events, black decks have dominated by winning several events and taking most of the Top 8 spots in those events. Of the six events, Mono-Black had twelve decks placed in the Top 8, Dimir had ten decks placed in the Top 8, and Esper Control had six Top 8 finishes. Here’s a look at the decks.
MONO-BLACK CONTROL, Gul_Dukat, MTGO Challenge 32, 7/9/2023