In recent MTG standard tournament results, Mono-Red has been conspicuously absent from the high-place finishers. Few top 8 spots have been awarded to Mono-Red in recent weeks, and not a single deck list with all red devotion made it to Day 2 of the most recent SCG Dallas Open. As some of our previous articles discussed, one reason for this decline in red dominance for the current standard meta is due to the overwhelming power of other decks, such as Sultai Midrange, that make a far better argument for being classified as the best deck in MTG standard compared to Mono-Red. There is still hope, however, for those who long for soul-crushing red decks that dominate tournaments. Although the days of Hazoret, Chandra and Soul-Scar Mage are behind us, here are three ways Mono-Red could find its way back to top tier MTG standard deck status.
Go Big or Go Home
One way that Mono-Red could be returned to its former status as the best standard deck is to up the curve and play some of the powerhouse finishers the color has to offer. A handful of lists, both before and after the release of Ravnica Allegiance, were making use of an odd combination of aggro and control cards, finding success against a variety of archetypes. Dire Fleet Daredevil, for example, offers incredible card advantage in the late game by stealing a spell from your opponent, which is twice as effective if targeting cards with Jumpstart like Chemister’s Insight, but can also function as a defensive 2/1 first-strike for two mana if your opponent’s aggression is overwhelming. Likewise, Banefire is a card that can provide uncounterable reach in the late-game, but can also be used as somewhat costly removal in a pinch. When combined with card selection spells like Rix Maadi Reveler, mana acceleration from Treasure Map, and a host of red removal, a Big Red list could switch from aggro to control quickly with a transformative sideboard and main-deck staples like Rekindling Phoenix and Siege-Gang Commander, out-maneuvering the more rigid decks of the format.
- Written by Vincent A. | Last Updated on 20 February 2019
In this edition of MTG Standard Deck Spotlight, we take a serious look at a deck once considered to be little more than a novelty before making a number of deep runs in recent tournaments. This four, or sometimes even five, color deck that relies on Guildgate lands and their respective payoff cards has found a place at the top of the MTG standard deck hierarchy, ramping into devastating win conditions and taking advantage of the newly released cards from Ravnica Allegiance. Quirky, tricky, and fun to play, this deck offers a great MTG standard deck option to those looking to be creative and just enough off-meta to legitimately surprise their opponents with their decklist. Here are three reasons why the Guildgate deck of Ravnica Allegiance standard is one of the best competitive MTG decks for the current environment.
Although the scaffolding of the deck is predetermined by the motif itself, there is a great deal of variance in Guildgate decklists currently performing well in competitive play. Specifically, different players are utilizing a variety of win conditions in different lists, in addition to some players using multiple win conditions within the same list, plunging opponents into chaos as they attempt to discern the optimal line of play against an unknown decklist. There are Guildgate decks, for example, that win through Gatebreaker Ram, a creature that achieves an absurdly high power and toughness in the late-game, and a couple of enormous Gate Colossus. Other decks prefer to rely almost entirely on obscenely large Hydroid Krasis after removing all the threats from their opponent’s board. Others still abuse the unreasonable amount of mana generated through Wilderness Reclamation to cast a single, game-winning Explosion//Expansion. Whichever win condition, or combination thereof, you choose to sleeve up for your tournament, you can be sure that this top tier MTG standard deck list will keep your opponents guessing at your choice until it ends the game.
- Written by Vincent A. | Last Updated on 15 February 2019
In this edition of MTG Standard Spotlight we address one of the most popular, and arguably the most winning, deck of Magic: The Gathering Allegiance standard. A common choice for mythic MTG Arena decks, Sultai utilizes the creatures from green, recursion from black, and a few splashed spells from blue to create an epic combination of power. Although this top tier MTG standard deck has a higher skill requirement than some of the other decks discussed, it will reward you tremendously for the time and effort you put into learning how to play it, and can even open avenues for adding your own tech. Here are three reasons why this deck is an awesome choice.
One of the most important aspects of Sultai Midrange is the inevitability it offers through recursion and card advantage that only pure control decks can top. Cards like Find//Finality and Memorial to Folly that bring creatures back to your hand from the graveyard allow you to trade mercilessly in the early game and reactivate enter-the-battlefield triggers. This recursion also functions as card advantage, as it allows you to play spells when your hand is empty or, in the case of Memorial to Folly, turn a flood of lands into a board state. Additionally, the plethora of explore creatures ensures you hit land drops, and offers card selection to optimize against the specific match up you’re facing in that moment. The combination of these two functionalities also has a multiplicative benefit, as you can send late game cards from the top of your deck to the graveyard knowing you can return them to your hand when they become relevant. In a format with exceptional, cheap removal, the potential of this deck to scale into the late game and grind down your opponent’s resources through recursion and card advantage is an excellent argument for why this is a MTG standard deck you should play.
- Written by Vincent A. | Last Updated on 12 February 2019
Welcome to our first installation of MTG standard spotlight, where we introduce and discuss some of the best decks in the format for competitive live tournaments and MTG Arena. In this article we dissect the stifling mono-blue Aggro archetype, a deck that has performed exceptionally well early in the standard season and is considered by many to be one of the best Magic: The Gathering standard decks. Whether you’re gearing up for the next Grand Prix, or just looking to grind Arena ladder for a shot at the Mythic Invitational, here are three reasons why mono-blue aAgro is a great MTG standard deck you should play.
Ridiculous Card Advantage
Mono-blue Aggro is by any definition an aggressive deck, looking to win decisively in the early game by dealing extensive damage with creatures that have evasion. Although effective, this strategy has traditionally suffered from several drawbacks, specifically the lack of card advantage. Because this aggro deck utilizes blue cards, however, it is able to maintain, and even surpass, the draw functionality of other decks while keeping early game pressure, turning ahistorical weakness into a formidable strength. Curious Obsession, for example, rewards each attack with an additional card, allowing consistency in land drops and access to more spells, while 4 of Opt makes the deck smaller and offers valuable card selection for only one mana. Most lists are also running some number of Chart a Course, which requires a player to discard a card after drawing two unless they attacked that turn, further empowering the constant aggression of the deck. By replacing the constant flurry of spells streaming from your hand, mono-blue is able to maintain pressure through the midgame and cycle through cards that may be ineffective in that particular match-up. This is especially helpful in best-of-one formats, making mono-blue a great MTG Arena mythic deck.
- Written by Vincent A. | Last Updated on 08 February 2019