Hello, everyone!  Welcome to Standard Weekly!

This past week saw the final card previews for Modern Horizons III.  While the focus has been on Modern Horizons III, Standard had six regional championships or other high-level events mostly in the Pacific region on May 25th.  These events give us a clearer idea about the health and diversity in Standard.

I have said this many times before, but I will reiterate it here.  The Arena Metagame is not the paper Metagame.  Arena is primarily a best-of-one format while paper Magic is best of three.  With the focus on best-of-one on Arena, this has a significant impact on the decks that have the best win rates because this format is much faster than traditional Magic because you do not play games that utilize a sideboard.

Let’s look at the results from these events to understand the health and diversity in Standard.

First up, Champions Cup Final Season 2 Round 3 @ BIG MAGIC (Japan).

The tournament had a total of 250 players that played 12 rounds for a spot in the Top 8.  The Top 8 consisted of 2 Azorius Control decks, an Azorius Aggro deck, a Dimir Control deck, an Esper Raffine deck, a Golgari Aggro deck, and 2 Temur Control decks.  Kenta Harane on Esper Raffine and Rei Hirayama on Azorius Control made it to the finals.  Harane defeated Hirayama 2 games to 1 to win the tournament.

Here is Harane’s deck.

CREATURES: (16)

  • 4 Raffine, Scheming Seer

  • 3 Faerie Mastermind

  • 2 Dennick, Pious Apprentice

  • 4 Deep-Cavern Bat

  • 1 Ertai Resurrected

  • 1 Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal

  • 1 Tishana’s Tidebinder

PLANESWALKERS: (2)

  • 1 The Wandering Emperor

  • 1 Kaito Shizuki

INSTANTS: (10)

  • 4 Go for the Throat

  • 4 No More Lies

  • 1 Cut Down

  • 1 Shoot the Sheriff

ENCHANTMENTS: (6)

  • 2 Virtue of Loyalty

  • 4 Wedding Announcement

LANDS: (26)

  • 1 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire

  • 1 Otawara, Soaring City

  • 1 Takenuma, Abandoned Mire

  • 2 Raffine’s Tower

  • 4 Restless Fortress

  • 2 Deserted Beach

  • 3 Darkslick Shores

  • 1 Shipwreck Marsh

  • 3 Concealed Courtyard

  • 3 Caves of Koilos

  • 1 Shattered Sanctum

  • 2 Underground River

  • 1 Plains

  • 1 Island

SIDEBOARD: (15)

  • 1 Disdainful Stroke

  • 1 Negate

  • 1 Duress

  • 2 Caustic Bronco

  • 2 Unlicensed Hearse

  • 1 Loran of the Third Path

  • 3 Pest Control

  • 2 Assimilation Aegis

  • 2 Temporary Lockdown

The weekend’s second tournament was Regional Championships @ ANZMTG Super Series (Melbourne, Australia).  168 players competed in the eight-round event.  The Top 8 consisted of an Azorius Control, a Bant Toxic deck, an Esper Raffine deck, a Gruul Aggro deck, two 4C Legends Aggro decks, and two Temur Control decks.  The finals saw Brennan Crawford on 4c Legends Aggro and Nathan Besser on Temur Control.  Crawford defeated Besser 2 to 1 to take the title.

Here is Crawford’s deck.

CREATURES: (22)

  • 4 Rona, Herald of Invasion

  • 4 Inti, Seneschal of the Sun

  • 1 Vial Smasher, Gleeful Grenadier

  • 3 Honest Rutstein

  • 4 Slogurk, the Overslime

  • 2 Titania, Voice of Gaea

  • 2 Ertai Resurrected

  • 1 Vorinclex

  • 1 Malcolm, Alluring Scoundrel

INSTANTS: (5)

  • 2 Cut Down

  • 3 Go for the Throat

ARTIFACTS: (4)

  • 4 Relic of Legends

LANDS: (29)

  • 1 Swamp

  • 3 Boseiju, Who Endures

  • 4 Otawara, Soaring City

  • 4 Takenuma, Abandoned Mire

  • 1 Blooming Marsh

  • 2 Darkslick Shores

  • 1 Deathcap Glade

  • 3 Cavern of Souls

  • 4 Plaza of Heroes

  • 4 Ziatora’s Proving Ground

  • 2 Xander’s Lounge

SIDEBOARD: (15)

  • 1 Titania, Voice of Gaea

  • 1 Cut Down

  • 1 Long Goodbye

  • 3 Glistening Deluge

  • 3 Duress

  • 1 Turn the Earth

  • 1 Jace, the Perfected Mind

  • 1 Hostile Investigator

  • 1 Sheoldred, the Apocalypse

  • 1 Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines

  • 1 Liliana of the Veil

Next up, Japan Cup: Outlaws of Thunder Junction @ BIG MAGIC (Japan).  258 players entered the 9-round event.  Making the cut to the Top 8 were an Azorius Control deck, a Bant Toxic deck, three Golgari Aggro decks, two Mono Red decks, and a Temur Control deck.  In the finals, Tatsuaki Yajima on Mono Red and Malseman on Golgari Aggro.  Yajima took home the crown defeating Malseman 2 to 0 to complete his impressive run through the tournament.  He finished with an impressive 21-6-3 game record.

Here is Yajima’s winning deck.

CREATURES: (15)

  • 4 Bloodthirsty Adversary

  • 4 Charming Scoundrel

  • 2 Feldon, Ronom Excavator

  • 1 Goddric, Cloaked Reveler

  • 4 Monastery Swiftspear

INSTANTS: (8)

  • 3 Lightning Strike

  • 3 Play With Fire

  • 2 Witchstalker Frenzy

SORCERIES: (6)

  • 3 Obliterating Bolt

  • 3 Scorching Shot

Enchantments: (4)

  • 4 Kumano Faces Kakkazan

ARTIFACTS: (4)

  • 4 Urabrask’s Forge

LANDS: (23)

  • 4 Mishra’s Foundry

  • 17 Mountains

  • 1 Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance

  • 1 Mirrex

SIDEBOARD: (15)

  • 3 Cemetery Gatekeeper

  • 2 End the Festivities

  • 2 Lithomantic Barrage

  • 1 Chandra, Dressed to Kill

  • 2 Unlicensed Hearse

  • 2 The Elder Dragon War

  • 3 Koth, Fire of Resistance

Europe’s contribution to the weekend’s events was the Legacy European Championship @ Napoli (Italy).  The event had 808 players and played 15 rounds of Standard to cut to the Top 8.  The Top 8 consisted of two Azorius Control decks, two Boros Convoke decks, two Esper Raffine decks, a Golgari Aggro deck, and a Temur Control deck.  The finals came down to TheManLand on Esper Raffine and Ivan Errico on Golgari Aggro.  TheManLand won the tournament with a 2 to 1 defeat of Errico while compiling a 33-12 game record.

Here is the Esper Raffine deck he played.

CREATURES: (17)

  • 4 Deep-Cavern Bat

  • 3 Faerie Mastermind

  • 1 Sheoldred, the Apocalypse

  • 2 Tishana’s Tidebinder

  • 4 Raffine, Scheming Seer

  • 1 Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor

  • 2 Dennick, Pious Apprentice

PLANESWALKERS: (1)

  • 1 The Wandering Emperor

INSTANTS: (9)

  • 4 Go for the Throat

  • 3 No More Lies

  • 2 Cut Down

ENCHANTMENTS: (7)

  • 3 Virtue of Loyalty

  • 4 Wedding Announcement

LANDS: (27)

  • 3 Caves of Koilos

  • 4 Darkslick Shores

  • 3 Concealed Courtyard

  • 1 Raffine’s Tower

  • 1 Plains

  • 1 Island

  • 3 Shattered Sanctum

  • 1 Deserted Beach

  • 4 Restless Fortress

  • 1 Otawara, Soaring City

  • 1 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire

  • 3 Underground River

SIDEBOARD: (15)

  • 1 Tishana’s Tidebinder

  • 1 Cut Down

  • 1 The Wandering Emperor

  • 3 Pest Control

  • 1 Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal

  • 1 Long Goodbye

  • 2 Negate

  • 2 Disdainful Stroke

  • 2 Rest in Peace

  • 1 Destroy Evil

The fifth large event of the weekend was Rebound supported by Rakuten Books @ BIG MAGIC (Japan).  This event had 198 players competing in 8 rounds of Standard then cutting to the Top 8.  The Top 8 decks consisted of four Boros Convoke decks, a Dimir Control, and two Esper Raffine decks.  The 8th deck by Mitsuhito Kitashima was not registered on MTG Melee, so we do not have that information.  The finals were a Boros Convoke mirror matchup between Takanori Watanabe and Yosuke Oka with Watanabe securing the victory.

Here is his version of Boros Convoke.

CREATURES: (28)

  • 4 Imodane’s Recruiter

  • 4 Knight-Errant of Eos

  • 4 Novice Inspector

  • 4 Resolute Reinforcements

  • 2 Sanguine Evangelist

  • 4 Voldaren Epicure

  • 4 Warden of the Inner Sky

  • 2 Yotian Frontliner

SORCERIES: (4)

  • 4 Gleeful Demolition

ENCHANTMENTS: (6)

  • 4 Case of the Gateway Express

  • 2 Warleader’s Call

LANDS: (22)

  • 4 Battlefield Forge

  • 2 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire

  • 4 Inspiring Vantage

  • 1 Mirrex

  • 3 Cavern of Souls

  • 2 Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance

  • 3 Plains

  • 3 Mountain

SIDEBOARD: (15)

  • 1 Seismic Wave

  • 2 Get Lost

  • 3 Invasion of Gobakhan

  • 2 Urabrask’s Forge

  • 1 Lightning Helix

  • 2 Lithomantic Barrage

  • 2 Destroy Evil

  • 1 Rest in Peace

  • 1 End the Festivities

The final large event for the weekend was the MTG China Open – Regional Championship @ Kadou (Beijing, China).  This event saw 236 players compete over 9 rounds of Standard that reach the Top 8 for a chance at the regional championship.  The Top 8 consisted of an Azorius Control deck, a Bant Toxic deck, two Boros Control, three 4c Legends Aggro decks, and a Temur Control deck.  The finals came down to Liang Jianwei on 4c Legends Aggro and Yang Shi on Temur Control.  Liang Jianwei claimed the regional championship defeating Yang Shi 2 to 1.

Here is the 4c Legends Aggro deck that Liang Jianwei played.

CREATURES: (22)

  • 1 Vial Smasher, Gleeful Grenadier

  • 2 Titania, Voice of Gaea

  • 1 Tinybones, the Pickpocket

  • 4 Slogurk, the Overslime

  • 4 Rona, Herald of Invasion

  • 4 Inti, Seneschal of the Sun

  • 3 Honest Rutstein

  • 2 Ertai Resurrected

  • 1 Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal

INSTANTS: (5)

  • 2 Cut Down

  • 3 Go for the Throat

ARTIFACTS: (4)

  • 4 Relic of Legends

LANDS: (29)

  • 4 Ziatora’s Proving Ground

  • 2 Xander’s Lounge

  • 4 Takenuma, Abandoned Mire

  • 1 Swamp

  • 4 Plaza of Heroes

  • 4 Otawara, Soaring City

  • 1 Deathcap Glade

  • 2 Darkslick Shores

  • 2 Cavern of Souls

  • 3 Boseiju, Who Endures

  • 1 Blooming Marsh

  • 1 Blackcleave Cliffs

SIDEBOARD: (15)

  • 1 Vorinclex

  • 1 Turn the Earth

  • 1 Sheoldred, the Apocalypse

  • 1 Path of Peril

  • 1 Long Goodbye

  • 1 Liliana of the Veil

  • 1 Jace, the Perfected Mind

  • 3 Glistening Deluge

  • 3 Duress

  • 1 Cut Down

  • 1 Ertai Resurrected

Over the six high-level events and 47 known Top 8 finishing decks, there were seven Azorius Control, an Azorius Aggro deck, three Bant Toxic decks, eight Boros Convoke decks, two Dimir Control decks, six Esper Raffine decks, five 4c Legenda Aggro decks, five Golgari Aggro decks, a Gruul Aggro deck, two Mono-Red Aggro decks, and seven Temur Control decks.  Across the six events, eleven different decks reached the Top 8.  Additionally, a Boros Convoke deck, two Esper Raffine decks, two 4c Legends Aggro decks, and a Mono Red Aggro deck won Championships.  This represents a very diverse field of decks that are not only capable of competing, but also winning tournaments.

With just over two months until the arrival of Bloomburrow in August, the diversity of the decks from these events leaves Standard in a good place as we go through June and July.  Once we reach August, Standard will go through a big shakeup as key cards from the sets rotating will result in significant changes to each of these decks.  Frankly, I cannot wait for the arrival of Bloomburrow because of the changes it means for Standard.

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.