The Top 5 Decks of Current Standard

by Zen Takahashi on 14 May 2018, Monday

Zen Takahashi

The Top 5 Decks of Current Standard

Hello everybody!

Dominaria is now in full swing, and the set has made a significant impact on Standard thus far! Today, I will be going over the results of three significant events that occurred over the past two weekends – the SCG Team Open in the US, the Big Magic Open in Japan, and the PTQ on Magic Online, and will cover what I believe are the top five decks in Standard at the moment.

Please note that these five decks are not ranked in order of how good I think they are, as it is still too early to tell.



W/B Vehicles

 



W/B Vehicles was one of the breakout decks from the Magic Online PTQ, as it went 8-0 in Swiss, before losing in the Top 8. The deck has had some massive additions from Dominaria, with the notable cards being History of Benalia and Karn, Scion of Urza.

Both of these cards are great threats against control decks due to its resiliency against removal, and further allows these Vehicles decks to attack from different angles as it diversifies its threat base even more.

 

Isolated Chapel Spire of Industry


Another addition to this deck was Isolated Chapel. While the land may look innocuous, it has had a major impact on the deck building of these Vehicles decks, as these decks do not have to rely on Spire of Industry anymore – meaning you do not have to play bad artifacts just to support your mana base.

Due to the flexibility in card choices, and the sheer power level of all the individual cards in the deck, I suspect W/B Vehicles will be a relevant player for the months to come. Similar to Mardu Vehicles in the past Standard format, we will likely see many variations of the deck as it will continuously adjust itself for the format on the given week.



W/U Control

 



In the SCG Team Open, Rudy Briksza, a notable SCG Grinder and a friend of mine, managed to Take Down the event with his team playing W/U Control. While Dominaria has many impactful cards, it is possible that Teferi, Hero of Dominaria may go on to be the most impactful card of the set.

 

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria Take Down

 

The addition of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria means that you want to play more two mana interaction spells so that you can utilize the untapping lands ability of the planeswalker. We see this in Rudy’s decklist, as he plays three Seal Away, three Essence Scatter and two Blink of an Eye.

One major thing to note about these new W/U Control decks is that almost all of its interaction comes in the form of counterspells and removal that exiles creatures instead of destroying them. This has made cards that have historically been good against these control decks, like Rekindling Phoenix and Hazoret the Fervent, much worse.

 

Rekindling Phoenix Hazoret the Fervent

 

A card that I think will now see more play to combat these control decks is Nissa, Vital Force. Control decks have historically been bad at dealing with planeswalkers, and this White-Blue deck is no exception.

Being able to generate a five-powered haste creature is exactly what you need to kill a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria after they have slammed it on turn five. And, since the creature is a land, it cannot be bounced by Blink of an Eye, so they have to have a Seal Away to protect their planeswalker.




Mono-Green Aggro

 

 

If Teferi, Hero of Dominaria does not end up becoming the most impactful card from Dominaria, then it may be because Llanowar Elves ends up taking that title. The one mana elf has been a major player in Magic since it was first printed twenty-five years ago, and as the power level of cards have gone up, so has its presence – as it allows you to abuse fast mana even more.

This Mono-Green Aggro deck, which was played by Japanese Pro Rei Sato to a ninth-place finish at the Big Magic Open, is relatively straightforward – but also brutally powerful. A turn two Steel Leaf Champion is backbreaking for any opponent to deal with, especially if you can do it on the play. The deck can also consistently cast Ghalta, Primal Hunger on turn four for just two mana.

While his decklist may look simple, I think Rei made multiple subtle, yet smart deck building decisions. The biggest one for me is the presence of a whole playset of Ghalta, Primal Hunger. Many players only play two or three, but I think this Mono-Green Aggro deck is quite similar to Mono-Blue Devotion from back in the day, and Ghalta, Primal Hunger is like your Thassa, God of the Sea. While drawing multiples may seem awkward, you also want to draw it every game – and if your opponent cannot deal with it, they will likely lose to it, so drawing multiples is fine.

The other big difference to Rei’s list from other Mono Green decks is his small splash of black. One of the issues with Mono Green is that it does not have great two drops, and Scrapheap Scrounger goes a long way to improve that issue. The other big issue with Mono Green is its lack of removal, so I really like the addition of Hour of Glory in the sideboard to deal with problematic creatures for Mono Green such as Lyra Dawnbringer and Rekindling Phoenix.



U/R Gift


 

Another deck from the Big Magic Open was UR Gift; this time piloted to a Top 8 finish by Hall of Famer Makihito Mihara. This was a deck that my teammate and good friend Simon Nielsen had been working on for the past few months, and the deck caught the world’s attention when it had a breakout performance at GP Seattle just a few weeks before Dominaria was released.

 

Sulfur Falls Skirk Prospector


The two major additions to this deck from Dominaria were Sulfur Falls and Skirk Prospector. The former is fairly self-explanatory, but very much welcomed, as all these enemy colored pairs were struggling with bad mana bases compared to its buddy colored counterparts.

The other significant addition, Skirk Prospector, has helped the deck have even more broken draws than before. The deck can now have God-Pharaoh's Gift in play as early as turn three and can do so reasonably reliably on turn four.

This is one of my favorite decks in the format at the moment, and since I get to work with Simon, one of the great minds behind the deck – I cannot wait to give this deck a go before the Pro Tour!

 


B/R Aggro

 



The last deck I want to highlight today is one that actually did not gain any cards from Dominaria, and that is RB Aggro. The above list was played by Kwame Gunn to a second place finish at the SCG Team Open, and looks to be based on the list that Platinum Pro Gerry Thompson had been tuning and writing about for the past few weeks.

 

Unlicensed Disintegration Doomfall Arguel's Blood Fast



While this deck did not gain anything from Dominaria, it did become better positioned because of the set. Unlicensed Disintegration looks great in the format, as many decks are playing large threats such as Lyra Dawnbringer and Ghalta, Primal Hunger, while Bristling Hydra has mainly become pushed out of the format.

The addition of Black to these Red-based aggro decks also gives it better tools to fight control decks, as you gain Doomfall and Arguel's Blood Fast. The former seems especially good against these W/U Control decks, as it is a good answer to Lyra Dawnbringer as well as Settle the Wreckage.

One thing I like a lot about Kwame’s list is his choice of four drops. He has clearly identified that Rekindling Phoenix and Hazoret the Fervent have become worse due to the presence of more exiling creature removal, so instead he has gone with three Chandra, Torch of Defiance, with the fourth in the sideboard.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this article as I went over the results of what I believe are the top five decks in Standard at the moment based on the results from major events that happened over the past two weekends.

Dominaria has made a significant impact on Standard thus far, and I suspect that will continue to be the case as people try more cards from the set and build new archetypes. Dominaria has thus far proven itself to be one of the best sets over the past few years, and I cannot wait to prepare for Pro Tour Dominaria in a few weeks’ time!


Until next time!

Zen Takahashi
@mtgzen on Twitter




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