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.
As far as card interactions are concerned, Sultai Midrange has some of the strongest synergy amongst the available decks in standard. The backbone to these powerful effects is the combination of explore creatures such as Jadelight Ranger and Merfolk Branchwalker with the cheap and effective Wildgrowth Walker, which not only receives a +1/+1 counter every time you explore, but also gains you three life. The explore creatures, then, can either dig for other creatures with explore to continue to build up your Wildgrowth Walker, or, if you’re sufficiently stabilized, can remove early game cards from your library to hasten your powerful finishers. These cards are additionally powerful in multiples, as each Wildgrowth Walker will trigger off each instance of explore. Further, as discussed above, the ability to return creatures from your graveyard to your hand means you can use your explore creatures as blockers to prevent early life loss even without the Wildgrowth Walker in play, only to bring them back when you finally resolve one. These strong synergies add additional support to an already brutal deck, offering consistency in play and survivability befitting the one of the best decks for Arena Mythic Invitational or other competitive events.
In addition to synergy between cards, Sultai Midrange utilizes many of the individually best Magic: The Gathering cards available in the format. Vivien Reid, for example, is an amazing Planeswalker that offers a number of potential lines of play, making her useful in almost any board situation even without synergies with other cards. Carnage Tyrant is another all-star card used by Sultai Midrange, which, because of its inability to be targeted or countered, frequently ends the game entirely by itself. The coup de grâce, though, comes from the behemoth jellyfish monstrosity Hydroid Krasis, a card so powerful it is singlehandedly worth splashing a third color for. A flying, trample creature whose power and toughness scale with your available mana, this card also draws cards and gains life equal to half of its X casting cost, offering a trifecta of win conditions by itself; strong, late game flyers can devastate decks that focus on going wide, card draw can help you overpower control decks, and even incidental life gain can buy you precious time needed to stabilize against a burn deck.
More than anything, Sultai Midrange has answers to virtually any threat your opponent can offer. Versatile and unrelenting, this deck thrives in taking over the midgame with an unmanageable board state that improves turn after turn regardless of what removal you might have. With inevitability, consistency, and raw power, Sultai Midrange is surely one of the best MTG standard decks available.