Decks to Help You WIN in Standard
Hello Everyone! Welcome to Standard Weekly!
Last week’s article focused on the black cards you need to know about and the removal cards in the other four colors. This week’s article will look at a couple of decks well situated in the Meta to play competitively against the black decks that make up the bulk of the standard Meta.
First is Mono-White Aggro. Rotation cost Mono-White some of the cards that made it one of the better decks in standard over the last year. Dominaria United provided white with several good replacements for the cards that rotated. Here is my take on the deck.
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Adeline, Resplendent Cathar
4 Brutal Cathar
4 Intrepid Adversary
- 4 Hopeful Initiate
4 Hotshot Mechanic
4 Anointed Peacekeeper
4 Guardian of New Benalia
4 Serra Paragon
1 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire
3 Destroy Evil
2 The Wandering Emperor
3 Fateful Absence
2 March of Otherworldly Light
1 Banishing Slash
2 By Invitation Only
2 Unlicensed Hearse
The main deck is designed to go fast and beat your opponent before he can get his game plan started. Hotshot Mechanic replaces Usher of the Fallen and Anointed Peacekeeper replaces Elite Spellbinder. Both cards play important roles in the deck.
A Hotshot Mechanic played on turn one usually gets in an attack or two before your opponent gets a blocker on the field. Then it gets to continue attacking with the other threats that the deck presents doing additional damage.
Anointed Peacekeeper taxes one of your opponent’s cards. Peacekeeper’s ability allows you to name a card and the casting cost of it increases by two mana and any activated abilities of the card also increase by two mana. Naming Liliana of the Veil, Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, or the Meathook Massacre slows your opponent’s game plan and tends to lead your opponent to spend mana to remove Anointed Peacekeeper rather than playing creatures that can serve as blockers.
Guardian of New Benalia is the new two drop in the deck. Guardian does a decent job of replacing Luminarch Aspirant. It does not give a creature a +1/+1 counter at the beginning of your attack phase but does have the ability to enlist another creature and can gain indestructible by discarding a card. This makes Guardian of New Benalia difficult to remove and a difficult block. Guardian also makes a good attacker with Hopeful Initiate because you can increase Guardian’s power with its enlist ability.
The final new creature in the deck is Serra Paragon. This was my choice for the best card in Dominaria United. Serra Paragon costs four mana for a 3/4 flying Angel. What makes Serra Paragon powerful is its ability to cast from your graveyard permanents with mana value three or less once each turn. This allows you to recast all the other permanents in your deck because they all cost three mana or less. Casting Serra Paragon when you have the mana to cast a card from your graveyard can be a back breaker for your opponent when it gets you an Anointed Peacekeeper or a Brutal Cathar.
The sideboard offers a variety of removal options that deal with the threats of the other top decks in standard. Destroy Evil takes down any four toughness or larger creature and can destroy an enchantment. Taking down Sheoldred or The Meathook Massacre feels good and disrupts your opponent’s game plan.
The Wandering Emperor can exile a tapped creature and gain you two life. Against decks that want to reanimate creatures, this serves as permanent removal of the creature. Then you can plus The Wandering Emperor to add a +1/+1 counter to a creature or use the minus one ability to put a samurai token into play to give you a blocker or another attacker.
Fateful Absence destroys either a creature or a planeswalker for two mana. While March of Otherworldy Light and Banishing Slash can exile a creature, enchantment, or artifact. These are critical pieces of the sideboard because they offer flexible removal.
Finally, Unlicensed Hearse provides graveyard hate. Each turn you may tap Unlicensed Hearse to exile two cards from a graveyard. Unlicensed Hearse crew cost is two and its power and toughness are equal to the number of cards exiled by Unlicensed Hearse. Usually, you will tap Unlicensed Hearse during the first few turns it is in play to remove cards from graveyards that could be targets of reanimation spells or use other abilities to return to play. Then you can crew Unlicensed Hearse to make it a quality attacker or blocker.
As the deck evolves over the course of Dominaria United standard season, it’s likely that some of the removal in the sideboard will become part of the main deck if it will likely be used in any match-up.
by HeavyRain, MTGO League, 9-19-2022, 5-0
Mono-Blue Tempo decks have seen play during many different standard seasons. This version of the deck has all the tools to compete with the best decks. Mono-Blue Tempo relies on powerful creatures and counter spells to control the tempo of the game. Many times, the deck can kill an opponent on one turn. Here is the deck.
4 Delver of Secrets // Insectile Aberration
4 Haughty Djinn
4 Tolarian Terror
4 Consider [MID]
4 Essence Scatter [DMU]
4 Fading Hope [MID]
4 Make Disappear [SNC]
4 Slip Out the Back [SNC]
4 Spell Pierce [NEO]
3 Thirst for Discovery [VOW]
2 Disdainful Stroke [KHM]
4 Negate [DMU]
4 Out of the Way [SNC]
2 Pithing Needle [2X2]
2 Reckoner Bankbuster [NEO] (F)
1 Unlicensed Hearse [SNC]
Mono-Blue Tempo employs three creatures: Delver of Secrets, Haughty Djinn, and Tolarian Terror.
Delver of Secrets costs one mana for a 1/1 human wizard. Then at the beginning of your upkeep, you look at the top card of your deck, if the card is an instant or sorcery you transform Delver of Secrets into Insectile Aberration a 3/2 human insect with flying. Assuming that you can transform Delver of Secrets on turn two, you now have an evasive threat that your opponent must deal with, or Insectile Aberration will chip away at your opponent’s life total.
Haughty Djinn and Tolarian Terror serve as finishers for the deck. Each creature provides the deck with a powerful threat that must be answered, or it will finish the game. Haughty Djinn was one of my Top 10 cards from Dominaria United. For three mana you get a */4 flying Djinn that’s power is equal to the number of instants and sorceries you have in your graveyard. Most of the instants in the deck cost one or two mana, so it is easy to fill your graveyard. Plus, each instant or sorcery spell you cast costs one generic mana less. Typically, you will cast Haughty Djinn with open mana available to protect it from a removal spell. Then you attack on the next turn to potentially finish off your opponent.
Tolarian Terror is the decks other finisher. For seven mana, you get a 5/5 serpent with ward 2. Casting Terror for seven mana does not happen because the cost of the spell is reduced by one mana for each instant or sorcery in your graveyard. Casting Tolarian Terror in the mid-game for one mana happens regularly. Then Tolarian Terror becomes an effective attacker or blocker because of its power and toughness. The ward cost provides Tolarian Terror with protection making it more difficult for an opponent to use spot removal to kill Tolarian Terror.
The deck has twenty-seven instants. Of those, seven are card draw spells: Consider and Thirst for Discovery. These instants allow you to keep up counter spells and then use these spells on your opponent’s end step if you still have mana available. They also give you choices about what card you will draw. Consider lets you scry one to look at the top card of your library then you get to decide whether you want to draw that card or put it in the graveyard. Once you have three or four mana in play, scrying a land to the bottom allows you to dig through your deck to get to the cards you want in that matchup.
Thirst for Discovery cost three mana to draw three cards. Then you must discard two cards unless you discard a land. Most of the time, a land does get discarded. Late in the game, you may want to discard two non-land cards to get more instants into the graveyard to grow Haughty Djinn or make it easier to cast Tolarian Terror.
A full package of counter magic makes up most of the remainder of the instants. Essence Scatter, Make Disappear, and Spell Pierce make-up the main deck package with Disdainful Stroke and Negate in the sideboard. Essence Scatter is a two-mana spell that counters a creature spell. Having Essence Scatter in the main deck makes sense because almost all decks play twelve to twenty-four creatures. Make Disappear is a two-mana spell that requires your opponent to pay two additional mana to cast the spell and you can use its casualty ability to increase the cost to four mana. It is a multipurpose spell that can counter any play by your opponent. Spell Pierce cost one mana to require your opponent to pay two additional mana to cast a non-creature spell. Disdainful Stroke and Negate are hard counters. Disdainful Stroke counters a spell that cost four mana or great while Negate counters a non-creature spell. What your opponent is playing will determine which counters should remain in your deck post-sideboarding.
The remaining instants are Fading Hope and Slip Out the Back. Each serves as a protection spell for one of your creatures. Fading Hope allows you to return a creature to its owner’s hand. This lets you protect one of your creatures from removal or return a threat to your opponent’s hand. When the creature’s mana value is three or less, you get to scry 1. Slip Out the Back phases out a creature and gives it a +1/+1 counter. This effectively counters a removal spell.
Depending upon your play style, these decks represent quality options in competing against Mono-Black and all of the other decks playing black in the format.
That’s it for this week. I’ll see you next time!
By: Scott Trepanier
Scott began playing Magic the Gathering in 1994. His preferred format is standard. Typically, you will see him playing aggro decks focused on quickly defeating his opponent but will pivot to midrange or control when standard is unfavorable for aggro decks. He began creating Magic content in 2019.
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