Orzhov Yorion Doom Deck Guide: Making Aggro Players Sad 101
Our Standard Orzhov Yorion deck guide features the best deck list for MTG Arena. You can find some general strategy advice and a breakdown of the deck’s key cards and sideboard.
Hello everyone! I’m here with a blast from the past, the Manfield special, Orzhov Yorion. I first tried this deck during the Omnath and Clover days and my results were… Unimpressive. Those cards just accrued so much value it was hard for a deck that’s playing cards like Acquisitions Expert to actually be competitive. However, a lot has changed since then. Both of those cards are banned and creature decks have completely taken over the metagame; so it felt prudent to play a deck that’s really good against creature decks, but can still hold its own against various midrange and control strategies.
A lot of the cards from the old version of Orzhov Yorion rotated, so I didn’t have a strong base to start on and compiling the list took much longer than normal. However, I’m quite confident with this list and have had pretty good success with it in top 100 Mythic.
This deck plays like a half-proactive, half-reactive, quasi-control deck. You have a relatively proactive game plan early, then in the late game you generally switch gears and try to grind as much value as possible out of your cards. With that in mind, let’s break down the card choices.
Companion – Yorion, Sky Nomad: The whole reason to play this deck. Our entire strategy is built around blinking a lot of ETB permanents and accruing large amounts of value from it. Once you’re blinking more than 2 permanents, you’re in the money.
4 Skyclave Cleric: Draft chaffe that pulls a lot of weight in the deck. This can help you stabilize against aggro decks, provide a small life buffer to blink with Yorion, or is just a land when you don’t need it. With 4 Treacherous Blessing, having incidental lifegain is incredibly important.
4 Acquisitions Expert: The only rat we have access to currently. This is a nice blink target, but is a little hit or miss in general. If you have your Skyclave Cleric out, you can see multiple cards which is cool, however, if they kill your Expert on the stack, you may get your trigger fizzled. Be mindful of that when you play this.
4 Charming Prince: The powerhouse of the deck. You can play this early to gain life or scry which is already good value. However, the most important part of this is to blink Yorion and provide a pseudo-infinite loop where you can keep retriggering all your ETB permanents. With that in mind, I try not to run out Charming Prince into removal if I can help it.
3 Yorion, Sky Nomad: Apparently you’re allowed to play your Companions main deck as well? Who would’ve guessed? It’s the best card in your deck, so may as well maximize your odds of having it.
3 Emeria’s Call: The games go really late, so a slightly worse Broodmate Dragon is castable a large portion of the games. Of coursem when you need a land you can just do that as well. I may even go up to a fourth as the card has been very good for me.
4 Agonizing Remorse: Just a solid card all around and a good early play. Take their best card and get that information.
4 Shatter the Sky: Just your standard board wipe. You could split these with Extinction Event if the exile becomes more relevant than clearing everything off, but you definitely want 4 wrath effects main deck.
2 Hagra Mauling: Bad Murder or land. Good enough.
4 Heartless Act: My 2 mana removal spell of choice. This can easily be an Eliminate or Glass Casket if the meta necessitates it, but I like the flexibility of Heartless Act.
3 Mazemind Tome: A good value engine that has strong synergy with Yorion. I use the scry ability really aggressively as you can generally blink it before you’re forced to use the tome up completely. Even if you have to put the 4th page counter on it, you get 4 life for your trouble.
2 Elspeth’s Nightmare: This card can be situational, but when all 3 modes become relevant you feel so smart for including it. Really good against Rogues, Rakdos, GB Adventure, and the newest hotness, Monogreen Food. If you can get 2 relevant modes off the card, it’s definitely fine to keep in.
4 Omen of the Sun: Probably my favorite payoff in the deck despite it looking innocuous. Gaining 2 life and getting 2 1/1s is a huge roadblock for aggro, and being able to get that multiple times can make it next to impossible for an aggro opponent to recover.
4 Treacherous Blessing: One of the best but the most dangerous cards in the deck by a mile. Painful Truths was one of the best cards in Standard when it was legal, and this card is extremely similar without the color restraints. However, you really need to blink it or get rid of it rather quickly or the life loss will accumulate very quickly. Cast this with caution.
4 Doom Foretold: This is easily one of the most annoying cards in Standard, so I’d rather be on the casting end of the card than the receiving end. This card obviously synergizes extremely well in the deck as we have a lot of ETB permanents that tend to sit around a lot, so being able to dismantle your opponents board and sacrifice unnecessary or even detrimental permanents on your side is super nice.
3 Elspeth Conquers Death: It’s not as good as it used to be, but it’s still easily one of the best cards in Standard. If you can exile a high priority target and then blink it with Yorion or recur a Yorion with it, it’s very hard to lose.
28 Land + 9 MDFCs
4 Bloodchief’s Thirst: One of the most efficient removal spells around. This card is very nice for dinging small creatures and even good at clearing out planeswalkers as well. The versatility of the spell makes it an easy 4 of in the 75.
1 Mazemind Tome: To fill out the 3 copies in the main, bring these in grindy matchups.
4 Archon of Sun’s Grace: This card is interesting since I find myself constantly boarding them in nearly every matchup. I like doing so as it’s a great road block against aggro decks and a decent finisher against the Control decks. Since most opponents have to board out a lot of their removal, this can get them out of nowhere.
1 Elspeth Conquers Death: Same thing as the Mazemind Tome more or less.
4 Shadows’ Verdict: Now this is the card that got me the most questions in my build. There are a lot of small creature decks that utilize their graveyard, and this is the perfect answer for it. Especially against the Lurrus decks, this can be absolutely back-breaking. This won’t necessarily always be good, but its excellent against the three best decks: Rogues, Rakdos, and GB Adventure.
MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARDING
You know what I’m going to say, don’t you. I’m not the biggest fan of definitive sideboard guides as they can harm your ability for on the fly decision making, but knowing how I approach each matchup is obviously extremely helpful. There you go. Now, onto the matchups:
Mono Green / Gruul Aggro
|+4 Bloodchief’s Thirst||-4 Acquisition’s Expert|
|+4 Archon of Sun’s Grace||-4 Agonizing Remorse|
|+1 Elspeth Conquers Death||-3 Mazemind Tome|
|+4 Shadows’ Verdict||-2 Treacherous Blessing|
It’s always interesting when you can throw nearly your entire board at a matchup and have that be good. One of the nice things about Yorion is with the additional 20 cards, overboarding becomes less likely. All you have to do is answer all of their threats and ride a Yorion to victory.
Dimir Rogues / Mill
|+4 Bloodchief’s Thirst||-2 Omen of the Sun|
|+4 Archon of Sun’s Grace||-4 Doom Foretold|
|+4 Shadows’ Verdict||-3 Mazemind Tome|
|-3 Elspeth Conquers Death|
This matchup can be difficult as their game plan works against you well, but you also have a 20 card buffer for their mill game plan. If you can wrath them a few times, you should be in pretty good shape.
|+1 Mazemind Tome||-4 Acquisitions Expert|
|+4 Archon of Sun’s Grace||-2 Heartless Act|
|+4 Shadows’ Verdict||-3 Elspeth Conquers Death|
This board plan can change depending on how their deck is configured, but this is what I’ve been happy with so far. Although they have good resiliency, a Shadow’s Verdict is very hard for them to beat. Furthermore they’re likely cutting their removal so Archon of Sun’s Grace can run away with the game.
|+4 Bloodchief’s Thirst||-2 Elspeth’s Nightmare|
|+1 Mazemind Tome||-4 Agonizing Remorse|
|+1 Elspeth Conquers Death||-2 Doom Foretold|
|+4 Shadows’ Verdict||-2 Treacherous Blessing|
I’m not completely sold on this board plan yet, but it’s been reasonable for me. Doom Foretold is very hit or miss as it can nab important permanents, but can be awful if they have Edgewall Innkeeper firing or a Foulmire Knight on board. Since we’re boarding down on Doom Foretolds, I don’t think you can keep all 4 Treacherous Blessing as GB can be aggressive and grind effectively. However, like all the other creature decks, they can only beat so many wraths. Keep their Edgewalls off the board and you should be fine.
|+1 Mazemind Tome||-4 Shatter the Sky|
|+4 Archon of Sun’s Grace||-2 Heartless Act|
|+1 Elspeth Conquers Death|
This is a very general board plan and will change dependent on what deck you’re facing. The main idea is to shave removal and board in better cards, a no brainer here. Be cognizant of what you’re facing and change accordingly.
That’s all I have for today! If you like my content and want to see more of it, you can check me out on Twitch! Have a great day!