Hey everyone! I’ve been having an absolute blast trying out the brand new Standard format and I hope you have too! There have been so many things I’ve tried, have left to try, and have seen people try that it’s making my head spin! While there’s obviously so much left to discover about the format, I’m hoping that I can help you out a bit with my findings from Day 1!
Again, these are going to be pretty preliminary takes, but it can help you get an understanding of where the format may be heading. Speaking of which, if you want to know where I predict the format is going to head, you can check out my Premium article on that exact topic!
Mono White Aggro
The terror of old Bo1 Standard is still kicking, albeit with some of it’s best cards missing. Moreso than most decks and quite surprisingly for a mono colored aggro deck, Mono White took a pretty big hit with rotation. Losing Usher of the Fallen, Portable Hole, Luminarch Aspirant, Skyclave Apparition, Elite Spellbinder, and Legion Angel is a lot of strong cards for a single deck to lose. However, even in the face of that, it’s still doing quite well for itself.
We still have a good curve with our eight one drops (even if Hotshot Mechanic isn’t much of a Hotshot here), twelve two drops, twelve three drops, and Serra Paragon at the top end for some grind capabilities. Unsurprisingly, due to how many cards we lost, I’m doubting that this is going to be taking the top spot of any tier list, but for how much it lost, it’s performing better than expected. Definitely a solid deck to keep an eye on.
Mono Blue Tempo
Looking to revive the first Mythic Championship winning archetype, Mono Blue Tempo is a deck that has been out of Standard for quite awhile. With Dominaria United, we actually have a lot of the pieces we would need to make this deck competitive and it shows. It is very similar to what Autumn, but how does it fare now?
I like what the deck is doing, but unsurprisingly, it is not meant for a Bo1 environment. The toughest matchup for this deck are decks that get on the board early and often, and for Bo1, that’s going to be a very large percentage of decks. While this is very unlikely to work out in Bo1, it has a much better chance in Bo3 where you’re going to see slower decks that this can capitalize on.
Mono Black Aggro
Continuing on to my personal favorite aggro deck, we have Mono Black Aggro! Before the rotation, I was a huge fan of this strategy as it was aggressive enough to beat down the slow decks, but also had the tools to fight quite well against the aggro decks. However, it wasn’t without issues of course. While I was happy with the card quality, the curve was less than stellar. Only four one drops, zero four drops, and then Invoke Despair made my curve condense around two and three which made it difficult to double spell. However, that’s not an issue anymore.
With a fixed up curve, great threats, great removal, and of course Liliana of the Veil, Mono Black looks like it’s going to be a contender again, but likely pick up more main stream appeal. Since this is much more aggressive than powerful and can still pack good removal, I envision this is going to be one of the better aggressive decks coming out of Dominaria.
Mono Red Aggro
Where Mono White lost a lot of powerful pieces, it seems Mono Red gained just as many! Out of all the archetypes I’ve looked at, I think Mono Red is the easy winner for most gained from the rotation. The power level of the format went down, painlands are going to make mana bases hurt more than normal, and it picked up a lot of great cards to use as well.
On top of all that, the deck performed as advertised. The leaned out curve felt excellent as I felt I always had something to do each turn and access to cheap burn as removal and reach was similarly great. I expect big things from this.
Mono Green Aggro
So for Mono Green we have some good news and bad news. Personally, I like starting with bad news, and the bad news is that out of all the mono-colored aggro decks, this has the worst curve by a decent margin. With only four one drops and eight two drops, you’re not going to have too much to do early game and may struggle to double spell later.
For the good news though, Defiler of Vigor is as messed up as advertised. As long as you can have a reasonable curve, Defiler will have no issue mopping things up for quickly. Even though I’m down on the curve, the deck still functions quite well and has a nice advantage of the threats and generally more powerful standalone than the other aggro deck’s threats. The main issue I have with it right now is that it seems unfavored against the other aggro decks as they can get under you, but with the right hand, that wouldn’t be an issue. Furthermore, this is much less susceptible to spot removal or small mass removal like The Meathook Massacre by the virtue of having larger creatures. While I don’t think this is going to be a tier one option, I envision this will be solid.
What I like about Gruul Aggro is that it gives up on Defiler of Vigor from Mono Green to gain pretty much everything it can want. With Kumano Faces Kakkazan, we have eight one drops rather than two, and with Yavimaya Iconoclast, we have twelve two drops rather than eight. Furthermore, we also get some really powerful cards in the form of Radha's Firebrand, Lightning Strike, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, and Halana and Alena, Partners. We don’t have an excess of removal like Mono Black or Mono Red get, but having a really strong curve, powerful cards, and some Lightning Strike should help out there.
For Gruul, my results are somewhat split here. The deck is clearly good, but it can struggle in the Bo1 queues more than I like due to a painful mana base and little removal to work off of. It’s not impossible to come back from a slower start or if you’re on the backfoot, but it is challenging. With that, I envision that Gruul is going to fare much better in Bo3 where card quality matters a lot more than speed, as out of all the aggro decks, Gruul’s card quality is definitely the highest.
Coming back as one of the decks from last season, Rakdos Anvil is doing quite well for itself still. While it didn’t lose much from rotation, no longer having Deadly Dispute has been sorely felt as the card advantage aspect of the deck is no longer as prominent. Despite that, the deck is still performing as well as advertised.
Between all the removal spells you can play by the virtue of being Rakdos, Oni-Cult Anvil itself, and The Meathook Massacre, you can definitely have some solid creature matchups. Furthermore, even without Deadly Dispute, you still have good grindy elements in case the game is looking to go long. While a strong option, my main concern for it in Bo1 is the consistency as drawing “the wrong half” of your deck is an issue it can face. Nevertheless, this seems like a strong option moving forward.
The second best deck from old Standard is coming back and is looking as good as ever. Esper did lose some really powerful pieces in the form of Luminarch Aspirant and Vanishing Verse, but it doesn’t seem to have slowed it down much as it still seems like an excellent option.
Unsurprisingly, Esper is still doing it’s thing quite well. You have solid removal, you have a good curve, and you have good threats to make your opponent’s life difficult. The deck is just solid, always was, and always will be as long as Raffine's Tower is in Standard. For Bo1 specifically, the deck is definitely a reasonable option, but you could do better. The slow and painful mana base doesn’t lend itself well to the Bo1 environment, and although your card quality is fantastic, it’s hard to offset that inherent disadvantage, especially if you are on the draw. Like Mono Blue, I envision this to be much better in the Bo3 queues, but this will still be a fine option in Bo1 if you’re a fan of Midrange decks.
Me and Control have an ironic history as my two most popular builds were both Control decks, yet it’s still my least favorite archetype. I really dislike being reactive in modern day Standard as I feel the threats are so good that it’s easy to lose when you don’t have the right answer. This is doubly true in a Bo1 environment where stumbling even a little bit can mean certain death. All that said, it’s hard to keep the veritable Control master, Skura, down as he made a Control list that seems strong in Bo1.
Clearly more geared to an aggressive metagame, I really like the removal suite he has for this deck as I find it’s really difficult to be left without a piece of interaction at any point in the game. While this list only features one win condition and may want more, the deck is very good at establishing hard control and incentivizing the opponent to concede before they even see how you win. Still, I’m typically not a fan of Control nor do I think a Control deck will crack Tier 1 in Bo1, much less be the best Bo1 deck, this seems like a pretty smart way to go about it if you’re a Control junkie.
For the final standout deck of the list, you know I have to talk about the hotness from the Streamer Preview event. This deck is sick. You get to do extremely powerful things, play with a bunch of cool and powerful cards, and when it works, it really works. Jodah, the Unifier is truly the glue that holds this deck together as well as the whole reason to build the deck as it is so ridiculously powerful when you get to untap with it.
While this deck is cool as anything, I have to say that the results for Bo1 leave a bit to be desired. Believe it or not, a slow and painful mana base in a clunky deck is not exactly what you’re looking for out of a Bo1 deck. While you’re not just stone dead to an aggro deck on the draw, it is definitely much tougher than it needs to be. This is definitely not where you want to be in Bo1 (unless you love styling on your opponents), but in Bo3 where you can use this to potentially smash midrange decks? I could buy that.
With that, we will be actively updating our Standard Metagame and Tier List sections accordingly as soon as we find out more. Make sure to check them out with our preliminary findings and give us feedback for our new design on our Discord!