Kaldheim Standard: Five New and Powerful Midrange Decks
Hello everyone! A few days ago I wrote about 5 ways to get Aggressive in Kaldheim Standard, but don’t worry Midrange players, I haven’t forgotten about you. Beyond Food, there wasn’t very much representation for midrange decks in Standard as Gruul and Rogues went under you while Yorion and Temur Adventures went over you. You could argue that some of those decks are actually midrange, but then we’re just arguing semantics. What’s not semantics though, is that with Kaldheim’s release, there’s a bunch of new ways to play Midrange that wasn’t previously possible or good! Let’s dive right in to decks you may be seeing in the new metagame!
Azorious Blink isn’t a new concept, but it fell off the map early in Zendikar Rising standard as Gruul became the deck of choice. It seemed Yorion was down, but with a large amount of good cards from Kaldheim, it’s ready to come back in a big way.
It’s boring, but realistically the biggest gain from Kaldheim for Azorius is Hengegate Pathway! Many decks live or die by their ability to cast spells so having access to better mana is always a plus. The real cool addition from Kaldheim is Alrund, God of the Cosmos. Now I know what you’re thinking, how does Alrund slot into the Blink strategy? It wasn’t obvious to me either, until my good friend Chris Kvartek pointed out a powerful synergy. If you cast Alrund as his Bird half, Hakka, then you blink it, it’ll return to the battlefield as Alrund! As early as Turn 3 you can have a large Alrund threatening to draw cards and begin the beatdown on the opponent.
Cosima is another great addition to Azorius as both halves are quite strong in the deck. We’re looking to often hit our land drops so Cosima is going to be happy and coming back to the battlefield with a bountiful voyage. Furthermore, we can use the flipside, The Omenkeel, as a proactive 2 drop that any of our creatures can crew and start drawing lands off of.
Unsurprisingly, not a new card, but the glue that holds this deck together is Yorion, Sky Nomad. Pairing Yorion with cards with Enter the Battlefield abilities isn’t novel, but I think this is a really good time for this strategy while the meta is still fresh. We opted for the 60 card 4 main deck Yoroin build, but this can easily be the 80 card version as well.
Jund Midrange has been a beloved deck for a really long time in Magic’s history and I intend on doing it justice. Before Kaldheim, there were really only two 3 color combinations that really got shafted by their mana bases from lack of triomes and Pathways: Jund and Bant. Now we have all the Pathways, Jund is finally a tenable archetype.
The first huge gain from Kaldheim is Valki, God of Lies. It’s hard to envision a card that slots better into a Jund midrange shell than Valki as it really does everything we want in this style of deck. First, it’s a proactive 2 drop. Second, it’s disruption and information where you get to see your opponent’s hand then steal a creature from it. Third, it’s a mana sink that allows Valki to transform into the creature that it stole. Lastly, it scales reasonably well into the late game as you can cast Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter once you hit 7 mana to grind even harder. It’s pretty well known how good Valki, God of Lies is at this point, but this very well may be the best shell for it.
The second huge addition from Kaldehim which arguably is more important than Valki, is Binding the Old Gods. It was hard to justify playing a slow deck that wasn’t White as Elspeth Conquers Death was such an important answer to have access to, exiling nearly anything that can be problematic. You could play Mythos of Nethroi to the same effect, but that’s also functionally a White card and pigeonholes you into Abzan colors. With Binding of the Old Gods, you only have to be two colors to get a very similar effect. This isn’t as powerful as Elsepth Conquers Death, but being easier to cast, a mana cheaper, and a ramp effect isn’t to be underestimated.
Beyond the new cards, we are playing the classic Jund configuration, interaction and the most powerful cards the format allows. I was super tempted to put Goldspan Dragon into the slot Elder Gargaroth is in, and you certainly could, the mana base would just have to be changed to accommodate it. When building the deck, I was actually unsure if Goldspan Dragon or Elder Gargaroth was better as playing Goldspan Dragon, attacking, then deploying a Valki, Scavenging Ooze, Stomp, or Heartless Act in the same turn is insanely appealing. Elder Gargaroth on the other hand is pretty unbeatable if you untap with it. If you want to try out the new Dragon instead, make sure you add way more red sources to make it easily castable.
For some weird reason, nobody’s been talking about Tergrid, God of Fright, and I’m about to show why you should be. For my most savvy readers, you’ll see this is similar to Orzhov Yorion, a deck that’s been very popular for it’s unique play style and it’s utilization of annoying discard creature cards like Burglar Rat and Yarok’s Fenlurker in conjunction with Doom Foretold (now replaced by Acquisitions Expert and Elderfang Disciple). Instead of utilizing Yorion as the top end which wasn’t the best with Doom Foretold, Tergrid takes that spot.
Every time your opponent discards or sacrifices a permanent, as long as you have Tergrid out, we get that instead. The downside of cards like Elderfang Disciple is generally they didn’t scale well into the late game, but with Tergrid, a turn 6 discard effect can be back breaking depending on what your opponent has. Furthermore, with cards like Liliana, Waker of the Dead and Doom Foretold, we have an extremely gross curve of either of those into Tergrid which would give a near instant advantage. Although 9 times out of 10 you’ll want to cast Tergrid, if you have no other plays or an excess of Tergrid, the Lantern half isn’t bad as well. It’s pretty slow, but in a long game it can accrue a significant amount of advantage.
Similar to Jund, Valki, God of Lies also slots into this deck easily. As an extension of that, all the reasons it was good in Jund apply here as well, but the downside is that this doesn’t synergize with Tergrid.
Although a little janky looking, this deck actually seems very powerful as you have an excess of ways to tax your opponent’s resources and really powerful synergies throughout the deck. This list doesn’t feature Yorion, but you could easily bump this up to 80 cards, add more white lands, and make this into a Yorion shell as well.
Don’t worry Lurrus Midrange, I haven’t forgotten about you. In the beginning of Zendikar Rising Standard I played a Grixis Lurrus Midrange deck that looks medium, but felt quite powerful.
! I noted in the article that I feel like Rakdos Lurrus could be a great choice eventually, it just wasn’t then. Well, I think it’s time has come.
Once again, the introduction of Blightstep Pathway really pushes the power level of decks that were on the cusp much higher. Also once again, Valki, God of Lies makes an appearance. I don’t need to reiterate how good this card is, but now you get the added benefit of being able to recur it with Lurrus, despite it having a 7 mana back half! That being said, I don’t believe you can cast Tibalt from the graveyard with Lurrus, but we can settle with Valki.
Even with Omnath around, the grindy potential of Magmatic Channeler and Kroxa backed up by a host of interactive spells felt very powerful. The best part about this deck is since the threats are so good, you can build the interactive suite however you need to best attack the metagame, and this is just a sample of how you can approach building this deck. I’m hoping that the addition of better mana and an extremely powerful proactive 2 drop can finally put this deck on the map.
As with a lot of other midrange decks, Yorion rears their very thin head. Yorion is the King of Midrange so it’s no surprise so many of these decks either utilize it, or could easily do so. I wrote about Selesnya Yorion not so long ago, but this looks like an upgraded version of it.
In Search of Greatness, works well with this deck as we have a large number of cards in the 3, 4, and 5 drop slot. I’m not completely sold on In Search of Greatness, but if it’s going to be good, it’s going to be here (or Mono Green Food).
The Black splash is light, but it’s hard to argue with what we’re getting as a result. Binding the Old Gods is a miniature Elspeth Conquers Death so getting access to 8 of that effect is very gross. Furthermore, Black is the best sideboard color in Standard so you get a whole host of great options once you’re willing to do the light splash. Lastly, with a Triome and all 3 Pathways, the splash is near free anyway. If you enjoyed playing Selesnya Yorion or you like spanking creature decks, this is where I’d look.
You’re probably wondering why I bother having a Bonus Decklist section. Well for two of these lists, they are just slight upgrades from old decks and one of them I’m unsure of how good it is. I’m no clickbait content creator!
I’ve already written on it in my last article, but Rakdos is going to be great. Just a reminder for those who missed it.
With Darkbore Pathway and a way to answer any permanent, Golgari may be slated for a great return in Kaldheim. That being said, without a card to break through board stalls like Embercleave, Golgari may be a worse choice than Gruul, but it’s hard to say.
I’ve been trying to make this deck work for so long, and with the Pathway it may be possible that this deck can finally shine. Curving Gilded Goose or Stonecoil Serpent into Sea-Dasher Octopus is super gross and can start accruing major amounts of advantage over a long game. Furthermore you have a great suite of creatures to be aggressive with and a lot of strong sideboard options as well. What’s likely going to kill this deck though, is the lack of creature interaction in the 75. Being on the draw with the deck against something like Gruul or Rogues seems like a huge problem so I didn’t want to put this in the main article promising that this was a great deck.
That wraps up my assortment of Midrange decks! If there’s a deck you think I missed, let me know in the comments! Be on the look out for my smattering of Control decks coming out soon as well! Thank you so much for reading!