Pre-Theros release, the Magic meta isn’t likely to do anything too jarring, but the newest Mythic Championship definitely cemented a few decks and even brought back ramp as a viable strategy. So, let’s go through six of them and see what’s kicking around in Standard.
It seems like green and blue have become the most powerful colors in Magic lately. Only the most hardcore of aggro decks in the meta aren’t those colors. It seems the combination of mana efficiency, card draw, and some truly silly creatures and planeswalkers is tipping the scale in a very weighted direction. Simic Ramp is really Hydroid Krasis the deck, though it’s got a pretty fun elemental interaction. The game plan is generating a lot of mana quickly, then dumping it into card advantage engines and spells that will instantly overrun an opponent. Quasiduplicate and Finale of Devastation are both really fun additions and it’s cool to see End-Raze Forerunners being played in a top tier deck.
For the more aggressive Simic player, Simic Flash is a deck that only needs to stabilize for a few turns before it utterly takes over a game. Nightpack Ambusher is such a brutal card and only gets more so in multiples. Nissa, Who Shakes the World is a planeswalker that used to be undervalued but has proven itself to be a card that demands an answer right away, or it will utterly ruin someone’s plans. Frilled Mystic is a little clumsy mana-wise, but is such a blowout when timed right. This all combines for a pretty dang consistent deck.
Hey, it won the Mythic Championship. Turns out the best way to make the cat oven deck utterly mean is to add a big dragon in Korvold, use Mayhem Devil as a combo damage machinegun, and stack Trail of Crumbs so the deck can generate even more card advantage than some blue decks. It’s by no means an easy deck to pilot—there are complex fiddly bits and resource management considerations—but it attacks on so many levels and from so many directions that it’s hard to stop it from utterly killing you.
The not nearly as popular—and possibly not as powerful—of the Flash decks. This version is a little heavier on removal and deals incidental damage as it goes. It’s a deck in the flavor of the old Mono-Blue tempo strategy: you don’t need to have that many threats if your opponent can’t do anything to stop the one you have. Gadwick finds a home here as a way to refill your hand when you run low, and can easily defend with its tap ability and just as easily remove blockers so Brineborn or Bonecrusher can start smacking people in the face. Some versions are even running Embercleave because it lets that one attacker that does get through each turn hit for absurd damage. If Temur falls out of the meta, this might become my new pet deck.
Some people noticed that the Temur colors had quite a few haymakers of creatures in it. And that a lot of them have good Adventures attached to them. I’m usually not a fan of Lucky Clover decks—just because they feel kind of gimmicky—but it’s hard to argue with a deck that gets to use Bonecrusher, a Wish sideboard, can abuse Beanstalk Giant, and runs some of the best parts of Simic Ramps plans. Actually using Escape to the Wilds effectively is one of the more interesting parts of the deck, as it’s a powerful ramp trick—though the latest list in the meta seems to be somewhat drifting from the card. Regardless, this is the truest midrange build, since Goglari Midrange seems to not be running around as much lately.
I can’t forget to mention this one. The list hasn’t changed terribly, but that’s because it’s consistently brutal to fight. Turns out playing two big deadly creatures a turn makes it very hard to lose a game of Magic. Playing against this deck is like watching a wave come at you from the shore. There’s a point, and it’s always much faster than you’d expect, where it utterly overwhelms you and leaves you clinging to life. Counter Fires of Invention or destroy it on sight and the deck flounders a bit, but a playset of the fun police Little Teferi makes that strategy a lot harder. This is still one of the best decks in Standard and is seeing a lot of high-level play for a reason.
Though some may argue against it, I think this is one of the more interesting Standards we’ve had in Magic for a while, thanks to a lot of controlled bans finally sorting it out, and I’m both worried and excited for the next set because it may break everything wide open again.
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