Kargan Warleader Art by Colin Boyer

Standard 2022 Warriors Deck Guide: A Nightmare On the Play!

For a moment, I thought that every tribe in Standard 2022 was explored, but thankfully I was wrong. When I first remembered that Warriors are a supported tribe, the idea was to build an equipment deck with Fighter Class and Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients, but soon I realized two facts: there’s not too much good equipment and it’s just better to build towards Warriors that have synergy.

I’m not gonna lie, at first it was a little hard and I stumbled a little (53% win rate, 15 games), but then I made some changes centering the deck around Warrior tribe while using just the top notch equipment and got incredible results:

The solution was simple. Remove situational equipment, and add one of the best cards in the format (one that surely is going to see play for its remaining time on regular Standard).

Even if my wildcards are crying (yeah, Jumpstart 2, it’s your fault), I decided to craft the remaining 3 Showdown of the Skalds to complete the set, and the results were amazing! The card has the word GAS written all over it, and the +1/+1 counters part of the second and third chapter of the saga supports aggro strategies incredibly well.

Before we go any further, let me share with you the list:

[sd_deck deck=”Ade_5WZvk”]

In my mind, it was obvious that the list improved a lot in comparison to the first testing versions, but it wasn’t just that, it got me get 100% win rate on the play which is impressive even in a small sample size.

Card Choices

Kargan Intimidator Art by Kieran Yanner
Kargan Intimidator Art by Kieran Yanner

One of the advantages of warriors is their strong curve. It begins with Usher of the Fallen and Fireblade Charger. Both are great one drops; while Usher of the Fallen lets us curve even without having a two drop and hit harder at first , Fireblade Charger makes combat really awkward for our opponents.

In the first versions of the deck, Fireblade Charger wasn’t included, but the little goblin started proving his strength at almost any point of the game because of its ability to deal damage equal to its power. With our Equipment and Showdown of the Skalds, this could steal many games, remove pesky blockers, or kill planeswalkers.

On the two drops we have two of our key cards. Kor Blademaster may looks weak with just 6 pieces of equipment, but trust me, it enables the “One Punch Man” mode, and even alone,a turn 2 Kor Blademaster into a turn 3 Maul of Skyclaves forces our opponents to respond ASAP or face their doom. The other two drop, when talking about creatures, is our MVP. Kargan Intimidator is definitely a jack of all trades or like we say in Spanish, “it does the laundry, irons and fold the clothes”. The +1/+1 saves him from cards or effects that could ping him and lets us hit harder if needed, the second ability is incredibly important and always turns turns combat in our favor letting us pass through one big blocker (remember, it makes a creature a coward, and with his passive, cowards can’t block any warriors), and finally it gives trample to ANY warrior, which lets us keep hitting hard.

Kargan Warleader is a pretty straightforward card. +1/+1 to all our creatures, but something that makes it better than other 3 mana lords is its 3/3 body, something that makes our curve strong enough to face early aggression or it can even be a threat by itself with an equipment. Akari, Fearless Voyager on the other hand was coming and going during testing, but after many games, she proved to be good enough to claim a couple of spots on the mainboard. This is mostly for two reasons: The first one is that being a 3 mana warrior she let us keep curving with our creatures, putting constant pressure. The second one is her set of abilities, letting us draw cards incidentally if we don’t have Showdown of the Skalds or save one of our creatures (any equipped one) and remain in the game even after a wrath effect.

Legion Angel and Halvar, God of Battle are the top of our creature curve. I’ve talked about Legion Angel before in my 2022 UW Guide and 2022 White Weenie Guide. Some people like this angel and some others don’t, but in my mind, it’s kind of a Squadron Hawk on steroids. I won a lot of games because drawing the Angel naturally means 4 turns of constant pressure. I like this Angel enough to make me think of playing 2-2 for drawing it more often instead of 1-3 could be correct, but playing 1-3 always allows us maximum value from drawing the first one. Halvar, God of Battle is here most of the time to fulfill our minimum equipment requirements to make synergies works. This means that you should cast him more often as the Sword of the Realms part, but from time to time, he works as the 5th and 6th Kor Blademaster, letting us kill our opponents from nowhere with a single swing of an equipped creature.

The Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients’ situation was peculiar. I began with a full set, but when I took out some equipment I realized that the tokens got much worse when there wasn’t an equipment on the field, so I went down to 2. However, this doesn’t mean that Nahiri is weak per se as the two copies do incredible work for us. First of all, she has one of the most important capabilities that makes a Planeswalker good, a loyalty ability that makes them protect themselves on their own. A 4 mana Planeswalker that has a plus ability that creates one or more tokens is always something we have to take into consideration while building a deck. Furthermore with 4 Maul of the Skyclaves, it looks much better. Just imagine doing the +1 and getting a 3/3 Flying First Striking Warrior which could be buffed by Kargan Warleader or Kor Blademaster on board. Not too bad, right? The -2 lets you look at a good amount of cards, letting us find our best warrior in the moment or our Maul of Skyclaves. The -3 works most of the time as just 2 damage… but that’s enough to kill a blocker on curve, letting us hit with our early Warriors. Overall, Nahiri is an incredible card in this deck, but the lack of good equipment in the format makes the correct number to play, two.

Even if we are playing an aggro deck, having some kind of removal is good for removing blockers when needed. In this particular case, we need a high creature count and all of them serve a specific purpose, so instead of cutting creatures, we play modal lands. 2 Shatterskull Smashing and 4 Kabira Takedown are more than enough for our needs, and makes our total land count go to 25, something that makes this deck work with the 4 lands it needs 74.7% of the time (getting 3 lands on turn 3 90.4% of the time).

The best for last. Maul of the Skyclaves makes this deck possible. Undoubtedly it’s the best equipment in the format, and Innistrad: Midnight Hunt would have to make great efforts to print something better. When I played Selesnya Adventures (personal brew) that took me to Mythic a few months ago, I started calling this card “The White Embercleave”. Maul of Skyclaves proves time and time again that 3-4 copies in any White/x aggro deck is a must. Finally, Showdown of the Skalds skyrocketed my win rate when I added the playset into the deck. In my initial list I wasn’t even playing a single copy, but after including this saga in the mainboard, I didn’t lose a game on the play again. As explained before, this saga is an incredible amount of gas, something that many aggro decks couldn’t afford, while letting us pressure harder with the +1/+1 chapters. 4 is the correct number without a doubt.

Notable Exclusions

Rip Apart Art by Anna Podedworna
Rip Apart Art by Anna Podedworna

The first list played Cave of the Frost Dragon and Den of the Bugbear, but after some games I realized that I was forgetting the best card in 2022 Standard, Faceless Haven. This doesn’t mean that they are bad, Cave has evasion and a good blocking body while Den pressures hard, but compared to a land that becomes a creature for 3 mana, higher power than the other two, and it being a warrior at the same time, it’s just too much to overlook. 

Cliffhaven Kitesail was one of the last pieces of equipment I took out. Knowing how relevant the evasion that Maul of Skyclaves gives to us is, having a 5th flying source for just one mana was good, and gave me some games, but in the end, this little kite had to give up its slot for other cards that make our deck better.

Fighter Class was maybe the biggest exclusion. We don’t have enough good equipment to make a toolbox for tutoring purposes, and we usually don’t have enough time to invest mana leveling it up when we want to spend our resources to keep the pressure on. I started with a full set, then cut 2 and played the remaining pair as Maul of Skyclaves 5 and 6 which gave good results, but sadly I had to cut them out for better cards like Showdown of the Skalds.

Dancing Sword, Plate Armor, Dueling Rapier, Leather Armor, and Zephyr Boots were other equipment that contended for a spot on the mainboard, but none of them proved to be good enough for replacing any of our cards. If any of these cards could get a place in our deck it would be Dancing Sword getting one spot in the sideboard for BO3 purposes vs removal based decks to let us keep the pressure up.

My stream viewers clamored for Bruenor Battlehammer, but he wasn’t good enough for the deck. 3 toughness means Frost Bite, and we really don’t want to lose a 4 mana card to a 1 mana removal. It’s a tempo loss big enough to lose a game. Besides that, our 4 mana curve has really good cards like Showdown of the Skalds, Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients and Halvar, God of Battle, so including another 4 mana card that makes our curve higher means more undesired changes, like adding a land. Finally, like we stated before, we don’t play enough artifacts for getting use of his +2/+0 ability, or the equip for 0 while Maul of Skyclaves comes into play equipping a creature. Sadly, Bruenor wasn’t enough this time.

Frost Bite and Rip Apart are good removals in our colors but, using modal lands as removal like Shatterskull Smashing and Kabira Takedown let us keep a higher creature amount and other cards that solidify our strategy instead of circumstantial removal.

I tried to sneak a single copy of Axgard Armory in the deck, but playing tapped lands while trying to be aggressive is something that we don’t want, and again (the lack of good equipment for making a tutoring board is something extremely notable). This was something that held me back for a while from adding Alpine Meadow, but this last land even as a tapped one, covers our color needs.

Best of 3 List + Sideboard Guide

Guardian of Faith Art by Brian Valeza
Guardian of Faith Art by Brian Valeza

Last weekend, The Gaming Stadium hosted the biggest Standard 2022 tournament that’s taken place in all the time this format has been alive – for the full tournament report, click below:

186 players battle for a $1,000 CAD prize, leaving us with some interesting conclusions:

  1. Mono Green Aggro remains strong and claims the throne of The Big Three.
  2. Izzet Dragons (or its Jeskai variant with splash for Adult Gold Dragon + Rip Apart) holds tight to the top 3 archetypes in the format.
  3. Dimir Control is no longer part of The Big Three. Tian Fa Mun (@upampa89), creator of the archetype, being the only player with it in the top 32.
  4. A plethora of mid range strategies comprise a big % of the field.
  5. White Weenie is the biggest contender for taking the spot that Dimir Control left.

Based on these facts, we are now not going to cover The Big Three in this sideboard section for the tournament players. First we are going to explain the sideboard against Izzet Dragons and Mono Green Aggro, and then explain the use of some of the sideboard cards for specific situations against other archetypes in general.

[sd_deck deck=”srlcTHZ0P”]

Izzet Dragons

+3 Heated Debate-2 Akiri, Fearless Voyager
-1 Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients

Heated Debate is a really good card here. It kills Goldspan Dragon and Galazeth Prismari without a problem, checking Faceless Haven in the process. Yes, it misses Iymrith, Desert Doom, but most of the time, even on the draw, Iymrith is going to arrive late to the party. They tend to play 1-2 and we can easily overpass him with almost any creature equipped with Maul of Skyclaves.

Thinking about what to take out is hard when you don’t want to disrupt the aggressive plan. We have to keep our earliest creatures and cut the biggest ones trying to exert pressure fast. Exchanging creatures like Akiri, Fearless Voyager for removal is necessary if we want to secure hits against heavy blockers such as Goldspan Dragon and Galazeth Prismari (or even Adult Gold Dragon in the Jeskai Version). Halvar, God of Battle is not considered because most of the time we want to play him as Sword of the Realms. Legion Angel on the other hand remains in the mainboard because it trades against almost every dragon and gives us the card advantage we need against this kind of deck, replenishing incidental card drawing that Akiri, Fearless Voyager gave us in the first game.

Special Note.- if your opponent is playing Battle of Frost and Fire add the following change:

+2 Guardian of Faith-1 Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients
-1 Kargan Warleader

We are susceptible to wrath effects. Even if Guardian of Faith is not a warrior, it could save all our team and being a creature with flash gives us incredible tempo plays against this kind of deck.

Mono Green

+2 Portable Hole-2 Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients
+2 Burning Hands-2 Akiri, Fearless Voyager
+2 Rip Apart-1 Halvar, God of Battle
-1 Maul of the Skyclaves

Still talking about not disrupting our aggressive plan, we have to remember one of the greatest columns in all the MTG history “Who is the Beatdown” by Mike Flores. We have to recognize who is the aggressor and who is the defender in any Magic game. The best way to be prepared against Mono Green is having the best possible removal if they start with a more aggressive opening than us while keeping our best cards for an aggressive opening when we are on the play or they start slower than us.

That’s the reason why we take out 2 of our equipment. We can be aggressive enough if needed even if we don’t draw one on the opening hand, and we can defend ourselves better if they have the upper hand by siding in efficient removal spells that let us take care of blockers. When it comes to Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients, most of the time we are going to be busy enough with combat making her not have enough time to shine. I don’t like having to take out Akiri in any match. Her second ability is great against decks without exiling removal like Mono Green or the aforementioned Izzet Dragons while drawing cards in the process… but we have to make room for other cards, so… 

Other Sideboard Notes

The only card we didn’t mention was Divine Smite. Black planeswalkers are a part of the metagame we have to respect right now, so being prepared for Lolth, Spider Queen, Professor Onyx, and Kaya the Inexorable is mandatory. I tried to sneak a second copy of this card into the sideboard, but having enough cards for Izzet and Mono Green are key if we want to succeed in tournament environments.

Tips and Tricks

Boros Winota Deck Guide: Put the Win in Winota • Standard • MTG Arena Zone
Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients by Anna Steinbauer

– Deciding between Fireblade Charger or Usher of the Fallen most of the time falls back on if we have a turn two play. If you have it, go for Fireblade Charger, if you don’t, go for Usher of the Fallen and use its ability on turn two.

– I won a few games putting equipment and Showdown of the Kalds into Fireblade Charger making it “unblockable” and “unkillable” (be careful of Vanishing Verse because it exiles the creature).

Kor Blademaster is a really good play on turn two followed by a Maul of Skyclaves. If you don’t have Maul of Skyclaves, go for Kargan Intimidator. Save a Kor Blademaster for a surprise turn as, when unexpected, this can steal some games from nowhere.

Kargan Intimidator is our MVP. Remember, if you make a creature coward it can’t block warriors, which means they can’t block anything on our team, not just Kargan Intimidator. Kargan Intimidator can give trample to any warrior, not just him. Finally, every ability can be chosen just one time every turn, don’t forget that.

Akiri, Fearless Voyager makes us draw one card when we attack with equipped creatures, not one for every equipped creature. Most importantly, the second ability could save any equipped creature, not just her.

– Treat Halvar, God of the Battle as your 5th and 6th equipment, Sword of the Realm being the most important side of the card for us. While played as a creature, it’s like a big Kor Blademaster, so sneaking him in can give us easy wins. He lets us move equipment for free one time every turn if it’s already equipped to another creature; with the cost of equipping Maul of Skyclaves being 2WW, this becomes useful from time to time.

Faceless Haven is a warrior. Kargan Warleader gives it +1/+1, Kargan Intimidator can make it unblockable, and if you transform it on time, Halvar, God of Battle can equip a Maul of Skyclaves for free before attacking.

Final Notes

After playing Standard 2022 for almost 6 weeks (with some draft in between), if I had a tournament tomorrow, of all the archetypes I studied for my columns and all the tier 1 decks I would choose this Boros Warriors instead. 

It was an incredible satisfaction building a deck from scratch and after struggling a bit, making some change,s and having it work close to perfection against a metagame (at least when we are on the play in BO1).

This format was amazing, but before we have to say goodbye to it, we get two more weeks of crushing our opponents by dealing 16 damage with a “voltroned” creature with double strike -Voltron: A deck that puts many auras or equipments to one creature making it a big robot- or swinging with a lot of angry Warriors ready to clear the path to take us to Mythic.

Till next time, keep it safe and remember to smile.

Card Kingdom - Double Masters 2022
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A full time MTG content creator. Started playing Magic in 99’ with the release of Urza’s Destiny, 3 times Grand Prix attendant (1 as a player ending #78 and 2 as a judge). Mexican, lover of coffee, Korean culture, languages and ex-LoL coach.
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