My Top 5 Standard 2022 Decks for Grinding Ladder
Hello everyone! I’ve spent a good deal of time playing 2022 ranked and depending on what I play, my rank can fluctuate greatly. Although I’m already qualified for the MIQ, I like to stay in the numbers as that gives me a better chance to see what the top ranked players are doing and work on decks from there.
With that, a good portion of my play is dedicated to decks that are suspect. Some of them perform way above expectations, but most of them perform at or below what I hope for. With that, my rank tends to plummet a lot. I’m sure I’m not the only one experimenting in 2022, but falling further and further down the ranks can certainly be demoralizing. What to do?
Today I’m going to do something that’s a bit akin to a Tier list, but a bit different. Tier lists are generally the intersection between overall play and win rate, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be representative of your personal experience. Sometimes I play what’s considered to be the top deck and hate it and sometimes I play what’s supposed to be a bad deck and can’t lose.
Tier lists are still really helpful, but I also like having a more personal touch when approaching what decks I recommend. All 5 of these decks have gotten me out of the percentages and back to a solid ranking so I can repeat the cycle of obliterating my rank again.
My hope is that one of these 5 decks can be in your back pocket if you want to grind up quickly as all of them have already proven themselves as powerful and consistent options for me. These lists will be in order of what I recommend, but again, all 5 have proven to be excellent choices. Each deck also comes with their related guides, which you should check out to learn about them in more detail!
First up on the list is Selesnya Magecraft. I’ve actually been playing this deck for quite awhile and it’s starting to gain popularity, but it’s still flying under the radar.
Magecraft is brutally fast with wins coming as early as turn 4 and it has a solid amount of interaction whether it’s Blizzard Brawl for creature interaction or Snakeskin Veil to protect your own creatures. Furthermore, the deck is rather easy to play as most of the decisions revolve around your opening hand and your first few turns. Generally speaking, no game is going to last beyond turn 6 so this let’s you get a lot of games in quickly as well.
Magecraft excels when you’re facing mostly creature decks such as Monowhite and Monogreen as you can easily outsize their threats and race them extremely effectively. Furthermore, this deck performs really well against decks that lack interaction in general as the amount of pressure you can put in will generally overwhelm their linear strategy before they can gain traction.
This isn’t to say the deck doesn’t have faults though. For starters, the deck is much more reliant on a proper land to spell ratio compared to other strategies. Not only do you need the right amount of lands AND the right colors, you need a good mix of creatures and spells. This will naturally make the deck more inconsistent compared to other options.
The second issue I have with Magecraft is that the Control matchups can be very rough. Decks like Izzet Dragons or Black based Control with board wipes can be a real headache as this deck doesn’t function well when it’s threats are picked apart. That being said, these matchups aren’t unwinnable by any means, they are just much harder than the average deck.
Magecraft has been a consistent winner for me, but with all these issues in mind, I think placing it as the lowest spot is fair.
Anyone who’s been playing a lot of Standard 2022 is probably not surprised by Monowhite’s inclusion. The list I used was slightly different, but Bohe just wrote a great guide on the subject so I since have audibled to his version.
Monowhite does one thing and does it extremely well, kill the opponent quickly. I never groan harder than when I’m on the draw and my opponent leads with Snow-Covered Plains into Monk of the Open Hand, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. The deck curves out extremely well, has enough interaction to stymie any opposing game plan, and can generally close out the game by turn 5. Furthermore, it functions reasonably well on the draw, and as I said before, obscenely well on the play. It’s likely the best deck on the play in the format which is quite the powerful advantage.
That being said, my major issue with Monowhite is how big of a target it has on its back. Despite it being one of the best decks available, a lot of decks on ladder are now teched in an effort to beat it as most people are understandably sick of getting their teeth kicked in. However, even when players are prepared for Monowhite, the deck is still quite the hard deck to beat and if you aren’t prepared for it, you’re going to get run over easily.
Out of all the decks on the list, Mardu is easily the most underappreciated. The deck has been excellent since the beginning of 2022, and yet it still sees extremely little play.
Why is this deck so good? Consistency. Mardu is one of the most consistent decks in the format since it’s capable of having a similar curve every single game it plays. Furthermore, the deck performs just as well on the play or draw as most of the spells are cheap enough and impactful enough to recoup the tempo value lost for being on the draw or propel you ahead when you’re on the play.
My favorite element of the deck though, is how it has functionally no bad matchups. Sure, you’re not happy to see Control and you definitely want to avoid cards like Draconic Intervention, Shadows' Verdict, or Blood on the Snow, but unlike other creature decks, you don’t fold to those. You have a huge amount of early game plays to put pressure on, but you also have an obscene late game between Showdown of the Skalds, Goldspan Dragon, and Orcus, Prince of Undeath. Couple that with your value cards like Deadly Dispute or Extus, Oriq Overlord, you have yourself a deck that feels powerful in every matchup.
I would argue this deck doesn’t have a substantial weakness beyond board wipes, but if I had to pick one, it’s likely the difficulty of play. You have a lot of decisions every turn and this is probably the hardest deck to pilot optimally in the format. Despite that though, your practice will be rewarded as the deck has consistently been amazing for me.
2. JESKAI CODIE
I know you’re probably thinking that I’m crazy, but hear me out. As I said in my deck guide, Codie started off as a meme since I though it would be fun, but not competitive, then it just couldn’t lose with it. Out of all the decks on the list, Codie pulled me out from the lowest rank, from 92% to around 600 Mythic.
Similar to Mardu, Codie doesn’t really feel like it has bad matchups. We’re more than happy to face the creature decks as we have a boatload of interaction for them. Furthermore, a lot of the common removal spells miss Codie so if you ever untap with it in a creature matchup, it’s extremely hard to lose. I’m not saying it’s impossible to lose from that point, but I personally haven’t yet.
Although we play a lot of removal, the control matchups have also felt similarly good. Codie is definitely more of a liability there, but since nearly every Control deck is looking to win through creatures, it’s not like our removal is dead either. We still have excellent grinding tools like Expressive Iteration for card draw and Lorehold Command for both card advantage late in the game and pressure at instant speed. Plus if the opponent ever taps out, we have Starnheim Unleashed or Alrund's Epiphany to capitalize on that opportunity.
This deck is very powerful, but it’s major weakness is also the difficulty of play. Codie gives you so many possibilities it can be hard to find the right line quickly, but that would come with practice. Secondly, since our deck is split between threats and interaction, you can draw the “wrong” half of your deck depending on your matchup which can give you free losses. Lastly, although this list has 27 lands, mana screw can still happen and it’s much more debilitating in this deck than it is in most others.
Jeskai Codie isn’t the deck for everyone, but I think it’s truly an excellent choice in 2022. However, it still doesn’t take the number one spot, the most consistent deck on the list.
I’ll be honest, I have no idea what happened to Monogreen in the 2022 queues. Week 1 and 2 it was everywhere, but suddenly, it disappeared. I stopped playing it for awhile myself between a combination of wanting to explore the format and assuming that it must not be as good anymore. However, every time I come back to this (which is often), the deck just can not lose.
Like Monowhite, the deck is just extremely fast and powerful in every single matchup. You aren’t as fast as Monowhite, but this deck has more of an ability to grind so if you can’t close out the game within the opening turns, it’s not like you’re falling behind. You have an amazing curve, amazing stand alone threats like Old-Growth Troll and Esika's Chariot, the ability to grind with Werewolf Pack Leader, Ranger Class, and Gnarled Professor, solid interaction with Blizzard Brawl and Snakeskin Veil, and resiliency with Old-Growth Troll, Esika's Chariot, and the creature lands.
I may seem like I’m pontificating here, but the deck kind of just has it all and I don’t know why it’s popularity has so sharply declined. Played well, this deck is an absolute monster and I feel like no matter what I play this is the deck I’m most afraid to see. Some strategies like Angels or Ramp can be problematic, but that issue is so minor in the face of what this deck is capable of accomplishing on average. If you need to rank up fast, this is easily the best deck for the job.
Thank you for reading! Is there a deck that you rely on when you need to rank up quickly? Let me know in the comments!