Post-Uro Ban Standard: Where Does the Meta Go From Here?

Uro_Banned

DING DONG, THE WITCH IS DEAD. Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, a card that’s been too good for Standard for months, has finally received its divine punishment from WOTC. If you follow me closely, you know I was hoping for Omnath, Locus of Creation and Lucky Clover to go as well, but we have to work with what we got. So, where do we go from here?

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath was an egregiously overpowered card that any Simic/x deck could utilize as ramp, lifegain, card draw, and a threat. This forced every other deck in the metagame to be hyper-efficient, as every deck needed to be capable of beating a 6/6 than gained 6 life and drew 2 cards. For aggro decks, this was functionally an impossible ask considering the suite of cards available to them are so subpar compared to other current options (ex. Omnath, Locus of Creation and Lucky Clover).

So with that in mind, now that this horribly oppressive and overpowered card has finally gotten banned, how is Standard going to change? Well, I’m not sure if many of us are going to like the answer, but honestly, it’s probably not changing much. Uro very much deserved to go, however it didn’t feel like it was a particularly pivotal piece in the Omnath strategies. Again, it was excellent and it’s not like Omnath didn’t want to play it, but the deck doesn’t see an incredibly large power decrease with the loss of Uro, at best, it’s just a slight loss in consistency and a medium loss in inevitability. The deck will still function fine off the back of Lotus Cobra, Beanstalk Giant, and Cultivate to ramp into its amazing payoffs. Additionally, Omnath’s lifegain ability will continue to make aggro decks have an extremely rough time competing with it, but at least they now only have to contend with one card drawing, mana producing, life gaining mythic!

Four-Color Uro-Less Omnath

There are 2 major changes that come with the Uro ban in relation to the Omnath deck. First, one of Omnath’s worst matchups, Sultai Control, is now wiped clean from the metagame. So in an effort to power down the Omnath deck, in a sense, they have made the deck better because it lost one of it’s few matchups that sported a positive win rate against it. Awkward. However, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel yet. Uro was always the biggest issue for decks that were looking to interact with counterspells, and now that is gone, Shark Week may begin anew. With 8 Shark, the most problematic card in the matchup was always Uro, and with it gone, the matchup only improves from that point. Omnath players will actually have to show a little more respect to Control decks now that their unkillable threat is gone.

There is a large problem though, and its name is Lucky Clover. Lucky Clover has historically been excellent at shutting down Control decks from the metagame; the value accrued from Lucky Clover and Edgewall Innkeeper has been too hard to contest with when you’re trying to play a strategy aiming to go one for one in cards. Furthermore, with its host of aggressively costed Adventure creatures in Bonecrusher Giant, Lovestruck Beast, and Brazen Borrower, attempting to go under Temur Clover is generally difficult as well. They can interact with your board early and often and make the prospect of breaking through nearly impossible. With this in mind, playing Aggro right now, something that already seemed difficult, will likely continue to be subpar. There really aren’t decks that can effectively get under Clover, outvaluing or controlling them is similarly difficult, so your best option is to go over them generally speaking. So what deck can go over Clover? Omnath. Oh boy, here we go again.

Temur Adventures

These are the stock versions of each deck, but with the entire metagame now resting on Omnath’s and Clovers shoulders, it’s no surprise that people have already started innovating ways to take on the prospective metagame. Take yesterday’s nearly Uroless Omnath version that won the Standard Challenge for example.

Four-Color Ruin Crab Omnath

This list looks particularly decked out for the mirror as, instead of trying to outgrind the mirror using more and more expensive spells, it attempts to go over them by milling them to death! When I played Omnath, there were many games that I naturally almost decked myself, so this seems like a brilliant innovation if you’re expecting a lot of mirrors in your future (Minus the Uro, but that can easily be a Beanstalk Giant).

Omnath players aren’t the only ones looking to innovate on their seemingly established archetype, Temur Adventure players are evolving their lists as well. With the mirror likely to be prevalent and Omnath being a very powerful deck and a reasonably hard matchup, they’re looking to increase their decks power as well. Apparently, the best way to do that is to include their sworn enemy, Omnath!

Four-Color Omnath Adventures

This version of Adventures trades some of it’s consistency with only being 3 colors for the absolute powerhouse that is Omnath. Although Omnath isn’t necessarily as impressive here as it is in it’s titular deck, being able to play a Fabled Passage and use Fae of Wishes Granted half for free can set up insanely powerful turns. I’m not sure which version of Adventures has the leg up, but I think it’s going to largely depend on how the metagame shakes out and how much consistency you lose for including a 4th color.

Although these are interesting innovations, it’s possible that we’re going to be looking at a 2 deck metagame once again, Omnath and Adventures simply look significantly more powerful than your other options right now. That may come to pass, however, I’m not one to just concede to the projected metagame without giving it my all! Both these decks are extremely powerful, but with Uro gone, I truly believe there can be room for other decks to push in and shake things up. Let’s take a look.

Dimir Rogues

As I said in the Meta Snapshot, Rogues looked super promising at the Zendikar Early Access Event, but was quickly dismissed because milling over an Uro was just a death sentence most of the time. It looked embarrassing then, but it may be Rogue’s time to shine now. Sporting cheap threats and disruption, Rogues can pretty efficiently go under the Omnath decks and just wreck them before they can start dropping their unbeatable bombs. Unlike other aggro decks, Rogues doesn’t necessarily need to race in order to beat Omnath, as Zareth San can simply take permanents from their graveyard every turn until they just win off the opponent’s cards. Have you ever had an opponent’s Zareth San take your Ugin, the Spirit Dragon? It’s not a good time.

The tougher part of the equation is going to be Temur Clover. Bonecrusher Giant is still going to be a house against Rogues, but Lovestruck Beast and Brazen Borrower look significantly less good. Cheap, flying threats is a good way to try and circumvent those cards as Lovestruck can’t block it and Borrower can bounce them and block them, but at a higher mana investment than the Rogues player put in. I’m not sure if it will be enough, but with proper tuning there may be a way to make the Temur Clover matchup more reasonable. In that vein, the best way for Rogues to beat Clover is to keep Edgewall Innkeeper and Lucky Clover off the board. With a lot of early removal, getting Edgewall Innkeeper off the board shouldn’t be too problematic, but Lucky Clover is the biggest issue. In that, I suggest maybe looking towards Concerted Defense. In Rogues, this is functionally Spell Pierce, but more importantly, it’s an answer to Lucky Clover on turn 1 if you’re on the draw. Furthermore, with Temur Clover looking to play their creatures as spells first, Concerted Defense could nab you a lot of value and tempo for the low price of one blue. If you’re a prospective Rogues player, take Sorquixe’s well built list, shave those Ashiok’s Erasure for more Concerted Defense, and I think you may have some good results. In the vein of Dimir decks getting a boost from Uro’s timely demise:

Dimir 8 Shark

This deck stays mostly true to the original list, but with the biggest change of shaving the Ashiok’s Erasure. Erasure was excellent at keeping Uro off the board permanently, but it was still a relatively clunky answer that only accrued value if the opponent draws multiple copies of the card underneath it. Couple that with the prospective amount of Artifact/Enchantment removal increasing because of Lucky Clover, Erasure is likely going to be too large of a liability. I added some Negates main and also went up on a Jwari Disruption in an attempt to have more answers to Lucky Clover on turn 2. The Temur Clover matchup is the worst one for 8 Shark, that I can’t deny, however if they don’t get to resolve their Lucky Clover, you can generally have your sharks eat them for lunch. Edgewall Innkeeper is still good as well, but with 4 Heartless Act and now, 2 more Eliminate, I think we can bring the matchup into more reasonable territory. Furthermore, with Uro gone, your matchup against Omnath has only improved. If you’re looking to prey on Omnath strategies, here’s your deck. However, if playing Control in a Clover world still scares you, maybe this will help you out.

Izzet 8 Shark

This list foregoes the Black interaction in Heartless Act/Eliminate/Hagra Mauling for much leaner spells like Spikefield Hazard and Bonecrusher Giant. With taking out the hard removal spells, this list could be a bit more polarizing overall compared to the Dimir version; matchups where damage absed removal is good will improve, but matchups where it isn’t good get appreciably worse. Furthermore, when playing UB 8 Shark against Omnath, there are times I had to let Omnath resolve and then use a kill spell to get rid of it, an option this version doesn’t have. However, what it trades in hard removal and an extremely strong Omnath matchup, it makes up for in ways to kill small creatures. This list is looking to keep Edgewall Innkeeper off the board for good, and does a much better job of that compared to UB 8 Shark. Furthermore, your small creature matchups like Monored are significantly better compared to the UB version. With the addition of 3 Shredded Sails to the board, you actually have answers to Lucky Clover if they manage to sneak it under you as well. Don’t get me wrong, this version definitely has a worse Omnath matchup compared to UB 8 Shark, but I would still venture to say that it’s going to be in your favor nevertheless. Although this deck is a little bit riskier compared to the Dimir version, this could be a great choice either if you’re at the top of the ladder where the best decks (Omnath and Temur Clover) are more likely to be present or for tournament play where the best decks always take a higher metagame share. As a minor aside, if you believe that you’re going to be running into the 8 Shark mirror often, I’d prefer to be on the UR side compared to the UB one.

That’s my write up for today! As the metagame stabilizes, you can expect another Metagame Snapshot to help you navigate the jungle that is Standard. If you don’t already, please give me a follow on Twitch if you enjoy my content and want to watch my matches and brainstorming sessions live. See you next time!

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Killer Frost
Killer Frost
21 days ago

And excatly how Uro’s ban was fair and not Cobra?Cobra made Uro OP because of ramp.You could play many cards in the same turn and have enough cards for Uro.Uro alone is fine because he is slow. Now the meta will only be aggro once again because there is no counterplay against them.

Javi Moreno
Javi Moreno
20 days ago
Reply to  Killer Frost

The fact that you complain that without Uro “Aggro will run rampant again” and call Uro slow in the same post… Yikes.

Ed K.
Ed K.
20 days ago

Hey Robert, I really like your articles!
I think the major problem with everything is Arena. Whenever I play red aggro, it’s mirror, maybe 95% of the games (1% adventures, 4% green aggro). If I change to omnath adventures, guess what I play against? Mirror – 100%. And if I play knights, then it’s always vs rogues. If they get removal, they win, if they don’t, I win. It’s so boring!
I can’t even tell if my decks are good because they pretty much only play against the mirror.

Marek Osvald
Marek Osvald
20 days ago
Reply to  Ed K.

The deal with the play queue is that it tries to match you against a deck that should be similar in strength, meaning budget decks get matched against budget decks and decks full of mythics and rares get matched against those.

I get the idea and it’s a nice touch so that beginners don’t get absolutely wrecked by top-tier meta decks on their first try. However, in practice, I have to say, it just doesn’t work. Especially on mirrors where the beginning player usually has a huge advantage.