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30 New Standard Brews with Zendikar Rising

Zendikar Rising full spoilers have been out for almost a week now, and while everyone was busy watching the Mythic Invitational, I was brewing decks (okay, I watched the Mythic Invitational as well…)! The new modal double-faced card mechanic adds another layer of complexity in deck building, so I don’t expect these lists to be perfect, but they are a great starting point for someone who is interested in seeing the wide array of possibilities in the new Standard format. I’ll try and keep this as organized as possible, but there are just so many different archetypes! These decks don’t have sideboards because we obviously don’t really know what the new metagame will look like, but I’ll put an overview of what cards I think are going to be good sideboard choices in the new format at the end of this article.

Without further ado, here they all are. You can also see all the decklists in one place here.

Winota Decks

Boros Warriors Winota

This version of Winota attempts to have both good mana and good threats, utilizing a warrior subtheme. Kargan Intimidator can basically make a single creature not block your entire team and Kargan Warleader helps you go wide. What I like about this deck is that without Winota, it looks like it can still have a fairly powerful aggressive curve.

Naya Winota

This version is way more focused on getting a turn 3 Winota in play and triggering it on that turn. Lotus Cobra offers the most explosive version of this start, but Gilded Goose + a 2 drop can get it done as well. This deck is base GW, so it was difficult to find other early aggression, hence the Bronzehide Lions. Kenrith, seems like a very good payoff for this version, and you can even activate all the modes with Cobra/Goose!

Spell Decks

Izzet Spells

The big gains for spells archetype are Riverglide Pathway, Spikefield Hazard, Deliberate, and the most impactful of all, Magmatic Channeler. Startling Development Works well with all the creatures in the deck, allowing you to push through for surprise damage while also being able to cycle it on turn 1 to feed Channeler.

Rielle Spells

This version is a little more all-in on discard synergies, leveraging Rielle as the main engine. The Royal Scions help Rielle push through to end the game.

Control Decks

Azorius Control

It’s pretty hard to build control when the meta is undefined, but it looks like the core in Standard is very strong. Jwari Disruption, Silundi Vision, and Emeria’s Call being both lands and spells is amazing for control, and I expect this deck to be viable in some form.

Azorius Yorion Control

I think the Yorion decks have the most to gain of any strategy with the introduction of the Spell/Lands. One of the issues with Yorion is that it’s possible to have very bad draws where you either flood or do not draw enough lands to function. This issue is mitigated by running extra virtual copies of lands that you can also cast as spells. Another interaction featured in this deck that I’m excited about is Jace, Mirror Mage with Elspeth Conquers Death.

Dimir Control

The same caveats for UW Control apply here, but this deck might be better against Uro Piles because of Shadow’s Verdict (though there is some anti synergy between Verdict and Jace).

Ramp Decks

Mono Green Ramp

A pretty low level ramp build, but it definitely has powerful payoffs. Cragplate Baloth seems like it will be pretty difficult for control to answer. Crawling Barrens is also a fantastic mana sink and finisher for this deck.

Gruul Ramp

This version focuses more on Landfall triggers, with Valakut Exploration and Radha, Heart of Keld keeping the cards flowing. It also has the possibility to win with Valakut Exploration + Nahiri’s Lithoforming in a similar fashion to Scapeshift decks of the past.

Gruul Lithoforming

This deck’s main focus is to resolve Nahiri’s Lithoforming.

Simic Kinnan Ramp

A more creature-based ramp deck. An early Kinnan or Vivien seem like great payoffs for this deck. The Fierce Empath package might just be better off as more big creatures. I like the idea of The Great Henge in this deck even if it won’t have that high of a cost reduction most of the time. Once you resolve Kinnan, mana shouldn’t be a problem.

+1/+1 Counter Decks

Golgari Counters

Grakmaw is a huge payoff for counters. The Ozolith + sacrifice outlets seems like a very strong proposition.

Selesnya Counters

This is a more aggressively slanted counters deck. It’s possible that Vastwood Fortification belongs in the deck, but I wasn’t sure how to make room because aggressive decks cannot afford to stumble by playing a tapland early. Conclave Mentor is the biggest payoff for counters archetypes, so this might end up being the better choice over GB.

Devotion Decks

Mono Blue Devotion

This is a deck I can get behind running 4 Sea Gate Restoration. The loss of Leyline of Anticipation does hurt, but I’ve added an Emry package to the deck, which can help dig for Nyx Lotus. I’m not sure it’s competitively viable, but it definitely looks like fun!

Mono Black Devotion

This deck probably needs another BB 2 drop before it becomes good, so keep your eyes peeled.

Tribal Decks

Dimir Rogues

I’m very excited for Rogues to be viable as a competitive strategy. It’s certainly possible that Uro will make this deck difficult to play, but the payoffs are there. I think this deck could also be a Lurrus deck, but it would lose Brazen Borrower.

Orzhov Clerics

Clerics look like a very interesting lifegain/sacrifice synergy deck. What I really like about Orah is that you can cast redundant copies and just return your graveyard to the battlefield with it.

Boros Akiri Equipment (Warriors)

Akiri provides card advantage for your aggressive strategies; that alone is something to consider. She also allows you to unattach equipment to make your creature survive wraths/combat, so we want equipment that can be equipped with relative ease. Shadowspear fits the bill. Fervent Champion gets to be an honorary warrior because of its ability to reduce equip costs on its own.

Aggro Decks

Mono Black Aggro

We’re a bit short in the 1 drop department, but Skyclave Shade and Scourge of the Skyclaves sure up the 2 drop slight quite nicely. Demonic Embrace + Scourge of the Skyclaves could be the new Rotting Regisaur + Demonic Embrace.

Azorius Party

I want the payoffs for the party deck to still be good with a partial party deck, so Spoils of Adventure and Archpriest of Iona seem like the best way to start. I expect Drannith Magistrate to be good in the new meta. The mana for this deck is a bit awkward, and we are definitely forced to run some slightly underpar creatures just for their party contributions, but it could be powerful enough to be worth it.

Mono Red Aggro

It’s entirely possible that Sneaking Guide should just be Fervent Champion. Ardent Electromancer sets up Embercleave so nicely, and if you can ever live the dream of turn 1 charger, turn 2 robber, turn 3 mancer, Anax, the game will be very hard to lose.

Mono White Aggro

Even though I’m not a huge fan, I have seen this deck on the Standard 2021 ladder, and it did gain Luminarch Aspirant and Kitesail Cleric without losing too much (rest in peace Venerated Loxodon).

Boros Landfall

RW landfall looks like it is missing 1 more 1 or 2 drop to be playable.

Boros Cycling

Not too much innovation here, but if you switch the cyclers to instants/sorcery and add Magmatic Channeler, you get a more competitive deck than the previous iteration.

Rakdos Vessel

This deck has synergy galore! Credits to Bryan Gotlieb for the original idea. Some interesting interactions in this type of deck aside from the obvious claim + sacrifice from last season: Nullpriest of Oblivion can be kicked when cast off Lurrus. Malakir Rebirth + Archfiend’s Vessel is a 5/5 with any sacrifice outlet/dying in combat. Be weary though, you cannot use it on a creature your opponent originally controlled, it will come back under the opponent’s control!

Mono Green Stompy

A very low to the ground aggressive green strategy. Hopefully Rosethron Halberd turns out to be worth it. Unfortunately, you can’t put it on Syr Faren, but a Rancor-like effect should not be overlooked.

Midrange Decks

Simic Mutate

This is a deck that I loved playing last standard, and the addition of Lotus Cobra and Tangled Florahedron certainly seem like good includes. Unfortunately, the deck lost Arboreal Grazer, which helped enable the best starts of the UG Mutate deck.

Uro Valakut Exploration

Valakut Exploration serves double purpose in this deck, allowing you to gain card advantage, while also filling your graveyard for Uro. Other than that, its a pretty standard Temur Midrange strategy. I expect Bala Ged Recovery to get really annoying in this type of deck.

Simic Jolrael

A UG deck focused on triggering Jolrael and filling the graveyard for Uro.

Selesnya Enchantments

A very low to the ground aggressive green strategy. Hopefully Rosethron Halberd turns out to be worth it. Unfortunately, you can’t put it on Syr Faren, but a Rancor-like effect should not be overlooked.

I decided to keep the number of decks at 30 for the article, but here is a list of some of the other decks I left out (either because other people have already posted similar enough lists that I didn’t feel them necessary, wasn’t sure they were good enough after building, or that I wasn’t exactly sure how to build):

  • Omnath/Uro Landfall
  • Big Red
  • Temur Ultimatum
  • UW Mutate
  • Sultai Uro
  • UG/x Adventures
  • Mono G Big Aggro
  • Forsaken Monument
  • W/x All that Glitters

Sideboard Cards

As promised, here is a list of sideboard cards that I think will be good in this format. Feel free to mix and match them when you take lists from above:


  • Drannith Magistrate: An escape hoser with a relevant creature type. 
  • Fight as One: If you are on a human/non-human split, this card is a great against Wraths.
  • Sejiri Shelter: A way to board up on lands and also protect creatures against more midrange/control decks
  • Skyclave Cleric: Against aggressive strategies, this can stem the bleeding early and become a land later.
  • Giant Killer: A good answer to big creatures for aggressive white decks.
  • Selfless Savior: A good answer to wraths from aggressive strategies.
  • Glass Casket: Deals with Uro and aggro decks effectively.
  • Skyclave Apparition: versatile answer to permanents.
  • Disenchant: If you are not in green, this card could be a viable sideboard card.


  • Jace, Mirror Mage: We’re back to a world where it might be reasonable to sideboard in a low cost planeswalker against control decks (think Narset, but less annoying).
  • Negate: No more Dovin’s Veto, but we still have Negate as a perfectly reasonable sideboard option.
  • Mystical Dispute: Hopefully this card stays as a sideboard card this time around. Dispute is a very efficient answer in the blue mirror.
  • Confounding Conundrum: I don’t like it, but it might be necessary against landfall strategies.
  • Concerted Defense: In decks where this can be Spell Pierce, I think it is a potent sideboard answer.
  • Shell Shield: Expensive dive down is still potentially worth it.


  • Agonizing Remorse: Exile based discard is welcome in a format with Uro.
  • Cling to Dust: Uro is still legal in the format, so black decks will need cling to be able to prevent it from ruining their plans.
  • Duress: Still Legal, still a great sideboard card against non-aggressive strategies.
  • Malakir Rebirth: A good way for aggressive strategies to play around wraths
  • Feed the Swarm: A versatile answer and black’s first good answer to enchantments. More applicable in Historic than Standard, but definitely something to consider if Felidar Retreat gets out of hand.
  • Bloodchief’s Thirst: Versatile removal.


  • Blazing Volley: If there are a lot of 1/1s involved in decks, this can be a great answer.
  • Redcap Melee: Effective answer to red aggressive strategies and trades very well with Winota.
  • Thundering Rebuke: takes out creatures or planeswalkers in the right matchup.
  • Valakut Exploration: A great card advantage engine for post board games.
  • Cinderclasm: An instant speed sweeper is a very good answer to aggressive strategies, and it scales well.
  • Embereth Shieldbreaker: A way for aggressive red decks to deal with artifacts.


  • Heroic Intervention: Wrath protection against Control decks for green.
  • Kazandu Nectarpot: If you manage to resolve this early against aggro decks, it will be a good way to soak up damage.
  • Cragplate Baloth: A beefy threat that is uncounterable in a world where Aether Gust is no longer legal.
  • Elder Gargaroth: Good against damage based removal and from aggressive decks.
  • Return to Nature/Wilt: More versilite Disenchant 
  • Oakhame Adversary: Still a great card in the green mirror
  • Scavenging Ooze: Another good graveyard hate card, but probably just worth maindecking in a lot of green decks.


  • Soul-Guide Lantern: A colorless answer to graveyard based strategies.

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