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Topiary Stomper Art by Robin Olausson

MTGO Standard Challenge – July 23, 2023 – Top 8 Decklists

Hi! My name is Vertyx and I will go over the top finishes of the Magic Online Standard Challenge that took place on the weekend: July 23, 2023. Lets go take a look at all of the interesting decks people chose to register this weekend!

standard challenge 32 #12568084
23 July, 2023 - standard - 32 players
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Top 8 Decks

Woah! A very diverse top 8 which is not so common to see these days in the standard format. Instead of being full of only Mono-Black Midrange and Esper Control we also have a bunch of other not so popular decks at the top tables! Most of those decks are returning “classics” which have existed for a while already if we talking about this specific rotation.

1st place was taken down with Domain Ramp. One of those returning decks that has been existing for a while already! It has for sure dropped in popularity but it still does put up results in events. All this deck wants to do is to ramp your manabase and control the board if the opponent presents threats. After you cast some of your ramp spells it should be enough to cast your pay-offs like Atraxa, Grand Unifier!

2nd spot was taken down with Orzhov Midrange! Another returning deck! Being base white this deck has a lot of premium removal that is able to deal with most permanents that the opponent can present. White was always strong in having great removal which this deck proves by having a dozen of it and building a part of its gameplay around it! When it comes to closing the game you got Breach The Multiverse to seal the deal!

3rd place was taken down with Selesnya Enchantments! A very synergistic deck that achieves its value with enchantments and cards that work well with it either by enabling the gameplan or finishing the game! Generating value is a peace of cake for this deck!

4th and 8th place were taken down with Mono-Black Midrange! Probably the most played and the best deck in the format. A straight-forward mono black deck that accomplishes its gameplan with awesome threats and premium removal which a lot of decks have a hard time catching up with!

5th place was taken down with Azorius Soldiers. An all in tribal aggro deck that plays a bunch of cheap soldiers with abilities either it being anthem effects or other benefits like drawing cards!

6th place was taken down with Esper Control. A true control deck consisting of counter-magic, removal and boardwipes to get the opponent under control!

And 7th place was taken down with Mono-Red Aggro! A classic aggro deck that has existed in almost every format in the games existence! Sometimes cheap threats and burn damage is just really hard to beat!

Overall the top 8 has: 1 copy of Domain Ramp, 1 copy of Orzhov Midrange, 1 copy of Selesnya Enchantments, 2 copies of Mono-Black Midrange, 1 copy of Azorius Soldiers, 1 copy of Esper Control and 1 copy of Mono-Red Aggro!

Domain Ramp by O_danielakos
by Vertyx
Buy on TCGplayer $291.53
Standard
best of 3
5 mythic
35 rare
9 uncommon
11 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (1)
Creatures (12)
4
Topiary Stomper
$9.96
Sorceries (8)
1
Depopulate
$0.49
3
Sunfall
$10.47
4
Herd Migration
$1.96
Artifacts (2)
Enchantments (7)
3
Ossification
$3.87
4
Leyline Binding
$47.96
Lands (26)
4
Forest
$1.40
1
Island
$0.35
2
Mountain
$0.70
3
Plains
$1.05
1
Swamp
$0.35
2
Mirrex
$5.58
60 Cards
$366.52
Sideboard
2
Tyrranax Rex
$11.98
1
Negate
$0.35
1
Duress
$0.35
2
Sunset Revelry
$0.70
1
Ossification
$1.29
15 Cards
$44.29

1st place was dominated with Domain Ramp by O_danielakos!

This deck has been with us for a while now so you might be familiar with it. The deck may look complicated, full of expensive cards with a lot of text and a manabase with a lot of colors but its gameplan is actually pretty simple and straightforward! All it wants to do is cast ramp spells and accelerate itself in the early game, if it needs it also plays removal to survive before it ramps enough! When it gets enough mana you can go ahead and hard cast Atraxa, Grand Unifier to take over the game by gaining a lot of value that the opponent probably cannot handle!

A really fun deck that I recommend trying.

Orzhov Midrange by Mah_Quintanilha
by Vertyx
Buy on TCGplayer $203.79
Standard
best of 3
8 mythic
20 rare
13 uncommon
19 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (5)
Instants (1)
1
Destroy Evil
$1.49
Sorceries (8)
4
Lay Down Arms
$1.40
1
Sunfall
$3.49
1
Farewell
$13.99
Artifacts (1)
1
The Celestus
$1.49
Enchantments (9)
3
Ossification
$3.87
Lands (24)
10
Plains
$3.50
2
Swamp
$0.70
1
Caves of Koilos
$0.79
1
Field of Ruin
$0.35
60 Cards
$296.12
15 Cards
$60.11

2nd place was taken down with Orzhov Midrange by Mah_Quintanilha!

Another returning deck that has dropped in numbers since its initial hype. This deck is mainly in white which supports the decks main gameplan with its cards. That gameplan consists of value creatures, a lot of removal and a few board wipes to have the board under control and ideally without any threats or creatures on the opponents side! When it achieves the state of having the game under control it of course wants to close the game out but the deck isn’t the fastest at doing that since most of its creatures have 3 power or less. That’s where Breach The Multiverse comes in to help you with closing the game out by ideally providing the strongest threat your opponent has in their deck. That’s one of the main reasons this deck plays black together with a few sideboard cards consisting mainly of removal and discard.

This deck is capable of making the opponent very miserable my removing all of their threats! Be wary of this deck if your gameplan revolves around creatures!

Selesnya Enchantments by kasa
by Vertyx
Buy on TCGplayer $216.87
Standard
best of 3
4 mythic
25 rare
12 uncommon
19 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (1)
1
Rite of Harmony
$1.49
Sorceries (4)
Enchantments (18)
4
Ossification
$5.16
Lands (20)
5
Forest
$1.75
6
Plains
$2.10
4
Brushland
$11.96
60 Cards
$197.14
15 Cards
$78.59

3rd place was taken down with Selesnya Enchantments by kasa!

This deck is all around enchantments! By using a lot of enablers that can make your enchantments cheaper (Jukai Naturalist) or grow your creatures (Generous Visitor) in combination with enchantment payoffs like sagas, this deck is able to generate a lot of value with its cards! That value helps you in going over the opponent with your board! You also got your threats to help you with it! Those can include cards like Hallowed Haunting which spiral out of control really fast and quickly get you to a spot where casting an enchantment creates a 5/5 flier and grows your team!

This deck has it all when it comes down to grinding out the opponent!

Mono-Black Midrange by AlfredTorres
by Vertyx
Buy on TCGplayer $409.48
Standard
best of 3
12 mythic
18 rare
8 uncommon
22 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (4)
Instants (8)
4
Cut Down
$5.16
Sorceries (3)
3
Gix’s Command
$1.47
Lands (26)
22
Swamp
$7.70
60 Cards
$517.82
Sideboard
2
Sheoldred
$39.98
1
Parasitic Grasp
$0.35
4
Duress
$1.40
2
Path of Peril
$1.98
2
Phyrexian Arena
$5.58
15 Cards
$59.25
Mono-Black Midrange by _Falcon_
by Vertyx
Buy on TCGplayer $422.49
Standard
best of 3
13 mythic
19 rare
8 uncommon
20 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (4)
Creatures (19)
4
Evolved Sleeper
$2.76
1
Sheoldred
$19.99
Instants (8)
4
Cut Down
$5.16
Sorceries (1)
1
Gix’s Command
$0.49
Enchantments (3)
2
Phyrexian Arena
$5.58
Lands (25)
20
Swamp
$7.00
60 Cards
$544.5
Sideboard
1
Sheoldred
$19.99
1
Parasitic Grasp
$0.35
3
Duress
$1.05
2
Path of Peril
$1.98
1
Gix’s Command
$0.49
2
Phyrexian Arena
$5.58
15 Cards
$45.39

4th and 8th place were taken down with Mono-Black Midrange by AlfredTorres and _Falcon_!

This deck is probably the best one in the format right now so you are most likely already well familiar with it. To those who are new to the format this deck uses strong threats from the black part of the color pie like Graveyard Trespasser or Tenacious Underdog to put a lot of pressure onto the opponent. If you need to get thru a stale board you also have great removal in the form of Cut Down and Go for the throat!

The specific decklists are really similar. Sometimes people also like to play Misery's Shadow in their threat slot but none of these lists have it.

Sometimes being consistent with your manabase and having a good curve is all you need for a powerful deck! If you are preparing for a large standard tournament, you should be prepared to face this deck the most!

Azorius Soldiers by ThaisM
by Vertyx
Buy on TCGplayer $162.98
Standard
best of 3
0 mythic
35 rare
16 uncommon
9 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (7)
4
Make Disappear
$3.16
2
Destroy Evil
$2.98
Enchantments (2)
Lands (23)
1
Island
$0.35
2
Plains
$0.70
3
Adarkar Wastes
$13.47
4
Seachrome Coast
$13.96
2
Deserted Beach
$19.98
1
Mirrex
$2.79
60 Cards
$137.72
15 Cards
$130.51

5th place was taken down with Azorius Soldiers by ThaisM!

This one is a highly synergistic aggro deck! By playing a bunch of one-drops and two-drops this deck can present a really fast clock which the opponent has to deal with very quickly. a turn 1 Recruitment Officer into 2 other Recruitment Officer‘s on turn 2 and followed up with Valiant Veteran puts 9 power onto the field swinging in on turn 3 which is a really fast clock! If an aggro gameplan isn’t good this deck is also able to grind its way out of a board-stall! By playing 3 Skystrike Officer and 2 Tocasia's Welcome this deck is able to draw a card every turn to get itself to the answers it needs. As mentioned this deck plays a bunch of cheap creatures and lords but sometimes it can get tough to attack trough a complicated boardstate. For that reason you also have Harbin, Vanguard Aviator and Steel Seraph both of them giving you the ability to fly over the battlefield!

This aggro deck has a lot of answers for various boardstates and situations making it way more resilient than other aggro decks!

Esper Control by Graciasportanto
by Vertyx
Buy on TCGplayer $371.83
Standard
best of 3
4 mythic
39 rare
10 uncommon
7 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (4)
Instants (23)
2
Cut Down
$2.58
1
Negate
$0.35
3
Siphon Insight
$2.97
3
Make Disappear
$2.37
2
Dissipate
$0.70
2
Void Rend
$4.98
4
Memory Deluge
$3.16
Sorceries (5)
1
Silver Scrutiny
$0.49
3
Sunfall
$10.47
1
Farewell
$13.99
Artifacts (1)
1
The Celestus
$1.49
Lands (27)
1
Island
$0.35
1
Plains
$0.35
1
Swamp
$0.35
2
Adarkar Wastes
$8.98
1
Caves of Koilos
$0.79
4
Darkslick Shores
$15.96
4
Deserted Beach
$39.96
1
Shipwreck Marsh
$6.49
2
Mirrex
$5.58
60 Cards
$349.52
Sideboard
1
Cut Down
$1.29
1
Negate
$0.35
1
Siphon Insight
$0.99
2
Duress
$0.70
1
Sunset Revelry
$0.35
1
Farewell
$13.99
15 Cards
$216.95

6th place was taken down with Esper Control by Graciasportanto!

I would use this deck as a great example of what a control deck is and how it should look like. Esper naturally has the abilities to be a good control deck since black has great removal, white has boardwipes and blue has counterspells. This deck as mentioned above has all it needs to be a true control deck! Those include cheap countermagic (Make Disappear), great removal (Go for the Throat) and boardwipes (Sunfall) which is basically the majority of what a good control deck should have!

Esper is a really good looking deck in my opinion and has a lot of power in this current rotation!

Mono-Red Aggro by Solidsnake408
by Vertyx
Buy on TCGplayer $79.54
Standard
best of 3
8 mythic
12 rare
19 uncommon
21 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (8)
4
Play with Fire
$11.96
Sorceries (2)
Enchantments (4)
Lands (23)
17
Mountain
$5.95
60 Cards
$101.14
15 Cards
$27.73

And 7th place was taken down with Mono-Red Aggro by Solidsnake408!

This type of aggro is old as the game itself and has been an existing archetype in a lot of formats during the lifetime of the game! This rotation even has one of the best mono-red aggro threats in the form of Monastery Swiftspear so the aggro starts can get really strong! The gameplan on paper is simple, you want cast creatures with haste and point burn spells at face, but sometimes the deck also has a bunch of tough decisions to make so do not underestimate its pilots!

Red was always the best color for all-aggro cards and with a low curve this deck is able to finish the game very quickly!

That’s it for today! Compared to the Saturday Challenge this one had a much more diverse top 8! Hopefully it means that the format could be evolving from a black dominated meta! I hope you enjoyed the article and see you soon!

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Vertyx
Vertyx

Hi! I am Vertyx, I am 18 years old and I am from the Czech Republic. Most people know me due to my results on MTGO. I have countless Challenge Top 8s and a handful of wins with a wide variety of decks. I manage data from Magic: The Gathering events on MTG Arena Zone and MTG Meta.

Articles: 1223

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