Ever since Ikoria came out, I’ve been jamming a lot of Standard trying to figure out this Companion madness. I don’t love the mechanic, and I think some of those cards are outrageously powerful, but it’s been a fun change of pace. Not sure how long it will last, but I’m enjoying Standard right now. Today, I’m going to go over four archetypes that I believe are at the top of the format. These aren’t in any particular order, because honestly I’m a little lost; I’m sure they’re the best archetypes, but as of writing this I’m not sure which is best. Let’s dive in.
Reclamation flew a bit under the radar in the new format simply because it didn’t get many new toys. The new toy it did get is a big game changer, however. Previously, this deck struggled a lot against Teferi decks, but Shark Typhoon solves that issue rather nicely. You ramp a lot so getting to 7 mana isn’t a big problem, and once you do you just jam the Shark end-step and go to town. Ivan Floch was smart enough to realize how great this card is and jammed the full four copies in the deck, which netted him a clean 5-0 finish in one of the qualifiers. Moving forward, I think the format needs to adapt a bit to this deck. It still doesn’t get the respect it deserves, despite being truly powerful.
Jeskai Keruga Fires
Jeskai Fires is a deck that can freeroll relatively powerful Companions, and therefore is on top of the metagame right now. Thanks to Keruga, you’re losing access to Aether Gust, Devout Decree and Robber of the Rich as some great sideboard options, but I think that’s more than made up for by always having a card that helps you reduce flood, which has been an issue with Jeskai Fires in the past. Decks that want to curve out on turn five need to play a large land count, which obviously means you flood more. Keruga can draw you a couple of cards out of nowhere while providing a solid, if unexciting, 5/4 body. The Jeskai Triome also helps mitigate flood, cycling essentially for free with Fires of Invention out, while providing great fixing. The newest innovation is to splash Kunoros, Hound of Athreos, which is wicked smart, since the dog is awesome against Gyruda and all the Cat + Oven decks floating around. Black mana is also useful for Kenrith’s reanimating ability.
Rakdos Obosh Sacrifice
Mono Black Sacrifice
There are lots of different variants of this deck, but all of them are based around the Cauldron Familiar + Witch’s Oven combo, which we’ve surely all grown to love in the past year. The stock versions are Orzhov and Rakdos with Lurrus as your companion, but I’ve personally favoured this Mono Black version, and also the Rakdos version with Obosh. Mono Black has a super clean manabase and access to great beatdown draws. One issue I had with the deck was a big weakness to Grafdigger’s Cage, which I’m trying to solve by including a Blast Zone. It’s not an ideal answer, because it also blows up part of your board board, but there’s nothing better. Obosh has impressed me a lot, because Mayhem Devil over-performs in the current meta; your matchup against the other Lurrus decks tends to be quite positive. I played a bunch with both decks and can happily recommend them if you’re a fan of beatdown decks.
Four-Color Yorion Fires by Corey Baumeister
Bant Yorion Ramp by Oliver Tiu
Like with Cat + Oven, there are a lot of ways to build around Yorion. We’ve seen Esper Control, Esper Midrange, Bant, Temur, Four-Color Fires, 5 Color Niv etc. Personally, I’ve liked Bant and Foir-Color the most. The Bant version is very similar to the deck we’ve dominated with in the last season, while the Four-Color version is a strong build abusing Fires. Overall, I’ve had a worse win rate with Yorion than with the other archetypes, but I believe that’s more due to the fact that I wasn’t very comfortable with the lists I’ve been playing. There’s still no consensus best version and with so many options, I’ve been struggling to figure that out; I’m pretty confident that if you find it, you’ll have a grand time this Standard though. Yorion is an incredibly powerful card, and having 80 cards in your deck isn’t such a bad downside. One thing to note is that I’ve liked the Fae of Wishes sideboard a lot, because in an 80 card deck, the likelihood of drawing your sideboard cards is lower, so it makes sense to have “fewer” cards in your sideboard.
That’s all from me today. It’s been only a week since Ikoria came out, so nothing is set in stone and the best deck is probably still hiding somewhere out there.
Thanks for reading,