Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Top 10 Best MTG Standard Decks

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Standard has changed a lot over the course of the last few months. From the banning of extremely powerful cards like Fable of the Mirror-Breaker to the dominance of black-based midrange decks featuring Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, Standard hasn’t always been the healthiest format in recent times. With the arrival of Wilds of Eldraine cards, however, there seems to be a great deal of diversity to kick things off. Wilds of Eldraine is having an enormous impact on a multitude of formats beyond just Standard, and Standard appears to be in for a big shake-up.

Today, we are focusing on the best decks in the Standard format. Of course, with Wilds of Eldraine cards just recently making their debuts, it’s worth noting that the metagame is likely to shift over the course of the coming months. Still, it can be tough to know where to begin, but luckily, we’ve got you covered. Here are the current top 10 best MTG Standard decks.

#10 Mono-White Aggro

Mono-white aggro provides a decent mix of efficient Creatures and disruption to keep the opponent off balance. The deck is capable of very fast starts that can be hard to match up against, especially when Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is in the mix. Thalia is extremely strong against control and ramp strategies, and its ability to make removal spells cost more helps the deck race opposing midrange decks. The curve of turn two Thalia, turn three Adeline, Resplendent Cathar is extremely powerful.

While this deck didn’t gain a ton in the way of new Wilds of Eldraine cards, Spellbook Vendor is a solid two-drop addition. The deck can certainly be a bit weak to board wipes, but this is still a decent choice, nonetheless. The speed of the deck is undeniable, and both Extraction Specialist and Wedding Announcement help give the deck more potential in grindier games.

#9 Azorius Soldiers

Valiant Veteran

Azorius Soldiers, much like mono-white aggro, is capable of applying a decent amount of early pressure. However, this deck leans a bit heavier into the disruption package. The goal of the deck is to assemble a bit of early pressure, then keep the opponent on the back foot with interaction such as Make Disappear. Both Resolute Reinforcements and Zephyr Sentinel have Flash, which allows you to act reactively by casting Counterspells or proactively by developing your board, depending on what the opponent does.

While Azorius Soldiers certainly has its weaknesses and gained very little from the new set, this deck’s tempo-style gameplan can be quite strong against some of the slower decks in the format, such as the various multi-color Leyline Binding decks that have been performing extremely well thus far. Definitely be weary of hyperaggressive strategies like mono-red aggro, though, as fighting through quick starts backed up by burn spells can be a pain.

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#8 Naya Tokens

Questing Druid

Naya tokens is a relatively new strategy that has seen some early success in Wilds of Eldraine Standard. A lot of that has to do with the addition of Questing Druid. Questing Druid is an extremely strong card, providing both card advantage as well as an efficient beater in one card. As good as the card is on its own, it synergizes quite well with the cards in this deck. Much like Boros Prowess in Pioneer, this deck is built to maximize the power of Pia Nalaar, Consul of Revival.

Pia has the ability to generate Thopters any time you play cards from exile. Between the Adventure side of Questing Druid and both Reckless Impulse and Wrenn’s Resolve, there are plenty of ways available to trigger Pia Nalaar. You even get Thopters when casting Creatures that were put into exile originally after resolving the associated Adventure spell.

Beyond Thopter tokens, this deck also goes wide with tokens from Wedding Announcement. The buffs provided from Wedding Announcement transforming as well as Virtue of Loyalty help make each token into a significant threat. Combine this deck’s ability to go wide with all of the built-in card advantage and you’ve got a great strategy against opposing midrange decks. Naya tokens can be a bit slow at applying pressure, though, so matching up against the multi-color Leyline Binding decks that have elite top end can be tough.

#7 Dimir Faeries

Sleep-Cursed Faerie

Dimir Faeries, much like Azorius Soldiers, is a very tempo-oriented strategy that utilizes a bunch of new cards. Sleep-Cursed Faerie is a very efficient Faerie, even if it takes a few turns or extra mana to be able to attack with it. Faerie Mastermind and Faerie Dreamthief round out the deck’s efficient Faeries. The big payoffs for playing this specific Creature type are Ego Drain and Faerie Fencing. Spell Stutter is also a solid piece of interaction that improves when you have Faeries in play.

This deck has starts that can be quite strong, especially with Ego Drain in the mix to poke holes in the opponent’s gameplan. However, this deck would certainly improve if there were more powerful Faeries to add. As good as Ego Drain and Faerie Fencing are when you have a Faerie in play, they are extremely weak when you don’t. You may need to mulligan more often when playing this deck as a result, since hands without access to a Faerie are much weaker.

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#6 Esper Control

The Wandering Emperor

Esper Control was a deck that had a decent amount of success before Wilds of Eldraine and is still putting up reasonable results. This deck is about as controlling as it gets. Almost every card is either a Counterspell, removal spell, or piece of card advantage. Both Memory Deluge and The Wandering Emperor are powerful four-drops that help pull you further ahead. Most of the cheaper cards in the deck are all about simply trading resources. Cards like Go for the Throat and Make Disappear help prolong the game to help you get to your four-drops.

The Wandering Emperor acts as both interaction as well as a win condition, making it a rather versatile card. Sunfall and Farewell can help clean up a bigger board all at once, punishing players who overcommit to the battlefield. Despite not gaining a ton in the way of new cards, this deck still has a lot going for it.

#5 Golgari Midrange

Mosswood Dreadknight

Golgari Midrange is quite similar to Dimir Midrange from before Wilds of Eldraine cards became legal. This deck plays a bunch of efficient Creatures, Sheoldred, the Apocalypse as top end, and some removal spells to round things out. The main draw towards playing green instead of another color is definitely Mosswood Dreadknight.

Mosswood Dreadknight is a very powerful Creature. As a two-mana three-power Creature, the card is relatively efficient. However, it also comes with an Adventure stapled to it that lets you draw a card and lose a life for two mana. Sure, that isn’t super exciting, but here’s the kicker: if Mosswood Dreadknight dies, you can cast it from your graveyard as an Adventure until the end of your next turn. This allows you to pay two mana to draw a card, then replay the Creature from exile again for two mana. Outside of exile effects, this card is very difficult to deal with.

Beyond Mosswood Dreadknight, the deck utilizes some other strong beaters, such as Glissa Sunslayer, to put additional pressure on the opponent. Golgari midrange has a lot of tools to fight against aggressive decks and outgrind opposing midrange decks. On the other hand, Decks that go way over the top such as four-color ramp, can be problematic.

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#4 Four-Color Ramp

Atraxa, Grand Unifier

Four and Five-color ramp strategies are nothing new to Standard. Being able to play lots of colors to maximize Leyline Binding is quite strong, and there are plenty of powerful threats to ramp into. Atraxa, Grand Unifier is one of the most powerful threats to put into play in Standard, and this deck has the tools to cast the powerful Phyrexian ahead of schedule. Both Courier’s Briefcase and Invasion of Zendikar help push out threats early. Archangel of Wrath can help stabilize the board until you can cast one of your haymakers.

Speaking of ramp and haymakers, one new card in particular helps fill both parts of the curve. Bramble Familiar acts as a two-mana mana dork, which is decent on its own. However, there’s still more to the card, as Bramble Familiar has an Adventure attached as well. Instead of casting the two-mana Creature, you can cast a seven-mana Sorcery that lets you mill seven cards, then put an Enchantment, Creature, or Land card from among them into play. Both Atraxa and Virtue of Persistence are great hits. The fact that Bramble Familiar and Virtue of Persistence can be useful both in the early game and the late game makes them great upgrades for this strategy.

#3 Esper Midrange

Skrelv, Defector Mite

Esper midrange added little to no new cards into the maindeck, but is still a strong choice, especially early in the format. As players try to figure out their new brews, sometimes playing a well-established strategy has its perks. This deck is focused on playing efficient, legendary Creatures to the board. Skrelv, Defector Mite helps protect your other legends from removal spells. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben can slow the opponent down, and both Raffine, Scheming Seer and Adeline, Resplendent Cathar can close the game out relatively quickly.

While it isn’t necessary to have such a legendary-heavy theme, there are some decent payoffs for doing so. First of all, you get access to Plaza of Heroes, which helps cast all of your legends on curve, regardless of color. Plaza can even protect your legends from removal spells if you have extra mana lying around, which is a nice bonus. Another payoff is being able to reliably use the Channel abilities of some of the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Lands for cheap. Both Otawara, Soaring City and Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire are versatile cards that get stronger the more legends you have in play. It’s unclear how long this deck will remain a top contender in this format, but for now, it’s a decent option to choose.

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#2 Mono-Red Aggro

Monastery Swiftspear

Mono-red aggro, unsurprisingly, is a great place to start as players are experimenting with new cards. This deck is certainly the fastest deck in the format and does a great job punishing the slower four and five-color decks. By pairing cheap, Hasty Creatures like Monastery Swiftspear and Bloodthirsty Adversary with burn spells, this deck can cross the finish line very quickly. Mono-red aggro also got some new additions from Wilds of Eldraine. Charming Scoundrel can attack as a two-power Creature with Haste, but it can also generate a Treasure token or pitch away excess Lands later in the game, depending on the situation. Goddric, Cloaked Reveler has the ability to attack as a four-power Dragon with Flying, giving the deck some extra reach.

Mono-red aggro is especially strong when players aren’t fully prepared for it, so it’s possible that the deck starts to die down a bit in the coming weeks. After all, it can be weak to decks with high-toughness Creatures like Esper midrange, and Sheoldred is quite difficult to beat without a timely Nahiri’s Warcrafting. Still, the deck’s blazing starts can beat anyone who stumbles even a little, and getting to outpace the slower decks in the format makes it a great choice in certain metagames.

#1 Five-Color “Cascade”

Bramble Familiar

Five-color “Cascade” is a top-tier archetype with a very unique gameplan. This deck revolves around two main cards: Invasion of Alara and Bramble Familiar. Invasion of Alara, similar to cards with Cascade, allows you to exile cards from the top of your library until you reveal cards with lesser mana value. Invasion specifically gets you two cards of mana value four or less, then lets you cast one of them for free and put the other into your hand. Outside of Bramble Familiar and one copy of Go for the Throat, every card in the deck costs five or more mana, guaranteeing that you “Cascade” into Bramble Familiar.

Here’s the catch, though. You can actually cast the seven-mana Sorcery Adventure portion of Bramble Familiar without paying its mana cost instead of the two-mana Creature. With this in mind, the deck plays a ton of top end. Atraxa, Grand Unifier as well as Etali, Primal Conqueror and Phyrexian Fleshgorger are great cards to put into play. The best card to often put into play, though, is none other than Cemetery Desecrator.

Cemetery Desecrator is a weird card that lets you either remove X counters on a permanent or give an opposing Creature -X/-X, where X is the mana value of the card you exile from your graveyard as Cemetery Desecrator enters the battlefield. Interestingly, if you exile a seven-mana card, you can actually choose to remove all seven defense counters from Invasion of Alara, and reap the rewards from the game-breaking Sorcery you cast as the Battle transforms.

As you can see, this deck is quite synergistic, and having access to cards like Leyline Binding and Virtue of Persistence helps make sure you don’t fall too far behind in the early turns. Considering how top-heavy this deck is, this is super important. We are just getting started in the world of Wilds of Eldraine Standard, but for now, this deck is at the top of our list.

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