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!

5. SELESNYA MAGECRAFT

2022 GW Magecraft v2 

Creatures (21)
2
Clever Lumimancer
4
Monk of the Open Hand
4
Clarion Spirit
4
Dragonsguard Elite
4
Leonin Lightscribe
3
Mavinda, Students' Advocate
Spells (19)
4
Blizzard Brawl
4
Charge Through
4
Guiding Voice
4
Snakeskin Veil
1
Wild Shape
2
Show of Confidence
Lands (20)
4
Arctic Treeline
4
Branchloft Pathway
2
Hall of Oracles
4
Snow-Covered Forest
6
Snow-Covered Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (7)
1
Academic Probation
1
Environmental Sciences
1
Basic Conjuration
1
Containment Breach
1
Expanded Anatomy
1
Inkling Summoning
1
Mascot Exhibition

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.

4. MONO WHITE AGGRO

Standard 2022 White Weenie Version 2 by Bohe 

Creatures (32)
3
Reidane, God of the Worthy
4
Codespell Cleric
4
Monk of the Open Hand
4
Usher of the Fallen
4
Clarion Spirit
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Skyclave Apparition
1
Legion Angel
Spells (2)
2
Kabira Takedown
Enchantments (4)
2
Paladin Class
2
Sparring Regimen
Lands (22)
4
Faceless Haven
18
Snow-Covered Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
4
Portable Hole
1
Academic Probation
1
Divine Smite
1
Environmental Sciences
3
Guardian of Faith
1
Reduce to Memory
3
Legion Angel
1
Mascot Exhibition

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.

3. MARDU SACRIFICE

2022 Mardu Sacrifice 

Creatures (26)
4
Extus, Oriq Overlord
4
Eyetwitch
4
Fireblade Charger
4
Shambling Ghast
4
Kalain, Reclusive Painter
2
Orcus, Prince of Undeath
4
Goldspan Dragon
Spells (10)
2
Malakir Rebirth
2
Shatterskull Smashing
4
Deadly Dispute
2
Hunt for Specimens
Enchantments (4)
4
Showdown of the Skalds
Lands (20)
4
Blightstep Pathway
4
Brightclimb Pathway
4
Mountain
4
Needleverge Pathway
4
Swamp
Cards (60)
Sideboard (7)
1
Environmental Sciences
2
Necrotic Fumes
2
Pest Summoning
1
Start from Scratch
1
Mascot Exhibition

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

2022 Jeskai Codie v2 

Spells (33)
3
Emeria's Call
1
Shatterskull Smashing
2
Unsummon
3
Dragon's Fire
4
Expressive Iteration
1
Rip Apart
4
Divide by Zero
1
Draconic Intervention
3
Starnheim Unleashed
4
Doomskar
3
Lorehold Command
4
Alrund's Epiphany
Artifacts (4)
4
Codie, Vociferous Codex
Lands (23)
4
Hengegate Pathway
4
Island
1
Lorehold Campus
2
Mountain
4
Needleverge Pathway
2
Plains
2
Prismari Campus
4
Riverglide Pathway
Cards (60)
Sideboard (7)
1
Environmental Sciences
1
Spirit Summoning
2
Teachings of the Archaics
1
Elemental Summoning
1
Introduction to Annihilation
1
Mascot Exhibition

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.

1. MONO GREEN AGGRO

2022 Monogreen v3 

Creatures (24)
4
Kazandu Mammoth
4
Tangled Florahedron
2
Jaspera Sentinel
4
Swarm Shambler
4
Werewolf Pack Leader
4
Old-Growth Troll
2
Gnarled Professor
Spells (6)
4
Blizzard Brawl
2
Snakeskin Veil
Artifacts (4)
4
Esika's Chariot
Enchantments (4)
4
Ranger Class
Lands (22)
2
Faceless Haven
2
Lair of the Hydra
18
Snow-Covered Forest
Cards (60)
Sideboard (7)
1
Fractal Summoning
1
Basic Conjuration
1
Containment Breach
1
Expanded Anatomy
1
Pest Summoning
1
Introduction to Annihilation
1
Mascot Exhibition

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!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.

6 Responses

  1. TexasHoncho713 says:

    Nice!

  2. TunechiFish says:

    My guess to explain the shift from monogreen (I pay against it a lot still)is that people are looking for the easy mill strategy at the moment. I run a monoblack deck that is extremely weak to it. I have even seen people experimenting with 200+ card decks to fight off the mill.

  3. Darth Stoner says:

    Codie needs….
    Solve the Equation / True Polymorph & your opponent knows the fun of Codie, too.
    Body or Research / Wizard’s Spellbook for late game fun!

  4. MArk says:

    I am really fond of Mardu Sacrifice, but it seems less compatitve in the meta. I just got a 2-10 run last night using this deck.
    Although as you said, it has no bad matchup, it also means less guaranted win rate against either aggros or controls to me. When in aggro matchups, I can hardly survive to turn 5, and Orcus seems too pricy to wipe the board since the thoughness of opponent creatures would not below 2-3. While facing teh control matchups, when I cast Goldspan or Blood avatar using treasure to make pressure, a counter spell always wait. A guide for Mardu Sacrifice would be very appreciated!