Standard After the Kaldheim Championship: What to Expect Until Strixhaven

Edgewall-Innkeeper-Throne-of-Eldraine-MtG-Art

Hello everyone! Just like many of you, I kicked back last weekend and enjoyed some masterful gameplay from the best in the game in the Kaldheim Championship. With all the happenings, I think it would be interesting to talk about what you can expect Standard to look like until Strixhaven comes out to shake everything up.

Although Historic is the upcoming Mythic Qualifier format, there’s still plenty of Standard tournaments to play so I wouldn’t be slacking off if I were you!

For the data I’ll be referencing, I’ll be using two tables from the amazing MTG Data team: The win rates from the Kaldheim Championship and matchup data from events during the whole week. Let’s get started.

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TEMUR TAKEOVER

Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast

From the Standard portion, Temur was easily the talk of the tournament. Although it didn’t end up being the highest win rate deck (Gruul taking that accolade in the Championship), to have such a high win rate despite such a high play rate is rare. With that, you can safely expect to see ladder and tournaments flooded by Temur (not that it wasn’t already). This is an example of the most likely list you’ll be seeing, the classic Obosh iteration.

 

Companion
1
Obosh, the Preypiercer
Creatures (25)
4
Kazandu Mammoth
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
1
Jaspera Sentinel
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Brazen Borrower
4
Lovestruck Beast
1
Elder Gargaroth
3
Goldspan Dragon
Spells (5)
3
Mystical Dispute
2
Saw It Coming
Artifacts (4)
1
Shadowspear
3
The Great Henge
Lands (26)
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
2
Forest
2
Island
4
Ketria Triome
2
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Redcap Melee
1
Run Afoul
1
Shadowspear
1
Crush the Weak
2
Klothys, God of Destiny
1
Mystical Dispute
2
Saw It Coming
2
Soul Sear
1
Obosh, the Preypiercer
3
Ox of Agonas

With that, those aren’t the only versions of Temur that showed promising results from this week. Two different iterations of Temur, both eschewing Obosh, have also made strong showings. First is Chris Kvartek’s take on Temur which makes the most of the ability to play even cost cards with main deck counterspells and a sideboard loaded with great answers. This version is very teched out for prolonged mirrors and looks like it can be a great choice moving forward.

Oboshless Adventures 

Creatures (28)
4
Kazandu Mammoth
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
3
Scavenging Ooze
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Brazen Borrower
4
Lovestruck Beast
1
Elder Gargaroth
4
Goldspan Dragon
Spells (3)
1
Disdainful Stroke
2
Negate
Artifacts (4)
4
The Great Henge
Lands (25)
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
2
Forest
2
Island
4
Ketria Triome
1
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Cinderclasm
1
Disdainful Stroke
3
Fire Prophecy
1
Masked Vandal
2
Negate
3
Mystical Dispute
2
Soul Sear
2
Ox of Agonas

Although only sporting one copy in the championship, Temur Lukka has put up strong results already with a #1 spot and a Standard challenge win. The deck looks to utilize Lukka to morph a 3 drop into a Koma as early as turn 4! I can’t say if this list is better or worse than the standard Obosh adventures, but it’s good to know this exists. I’ll link both lists for reference.

Temur Lukka 

Planeswalkers (4)
4
Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast
Creatures (22)
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Bonecrusher Giant
3
Brazen Borrower
4
Llanowar Visionary
4
Lovestruck Beast
3
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
Spells (6)
1
Valakut Awakening
2
Fire Prophecy
1
Negate
2
Mystical Dispute
Enchantments (2)
2
The Akroan War
Lands (26)
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
2
Forest
2
Island
4
Ketria Triome
2
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Run Afoul
1
Shadowspear
2
Disdainful Stroke
2
Fire Prophecy
1
Negate
2
Klothys, God of Destiny
2
Mystical Dispute
2
The Akroan War
2
Elder Gargaroth

Temur Lukka Kyle Moran 

Planeswalkers (4)
4
Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast
Creatures (21)
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Brazen Borrower
3
Llanowar Visionary
4
Lovestruck Beast
2
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
Spells (7)
2
Shatterskull Smashing
2
Fire Prophecy
3
Negate
Artifacts (3)
3
Esika's Chariot
Lands (25)
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
1
Forest
2
Island
4
Ketria Triome
2
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
3
Disdainful Stroke
2
Fire Prophecy
4
Mystical Dispute
2
Soul Sear
3
The Akroan War
1
Ox of Agonas

ROGUES RESURGENCE

lie-setiawan-soaring-thought-thief-liesetiawan

 

Companion
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Creatures (16)
4
Merfolk Windrobber
4
Ruin Crab
4
Thieves' Guild Enforcer
4
Soaring Thought-Thief
Spells (20)
2
Agadeem's Awakening
1
Disdainful Stroke
4
Drown in the Loch
2
Eliminate
2
Heartless Act
1
Didn't Say Please
2
Mystical Dispute
2
Of One Mind
4
Into the Story
Lands (24)
1
Castle Locthwain
4
Clearwater Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
6
Island
3
Swamp
3
Temple of Deceit
3
Zagoth Triome
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Cling to Dust
2
Dead Weight
1
Disdainful Stroke
1
Essence Scatter
1
Negate
3
Skyclave Shade
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
1
Mystical Dispute
3
Crippling Fear

Despite just a reasonable performance in the Championship, the masterful piloting of Rogues in the hand of eventual champion Arne Huschenbeth is going to be a large catalyst to a huge uptick in Rogues. Furthermore, with aggro once again having a middling performance and the presumed large increase in Temur’s playrate, Rogues looks to be in a pretty reasonable spot in the metagame right now.

That’s the upside to Rogues though, the downside is that despite it not being a particularly represented archetype (with many lists not teching to hard for it), it’s best performance may already be behind it. Temur is supposed to be a good matchup for Rogues, and it didn’t manage to get over 50% at the Championship (but did overall in the last week of tournament play). To further compensate, Temur players will likely add more Ox of Agonas or Klothys, God of Destiny to swing the matchup further in their favor.

With all this, I would say that unless you are a very adept Rogues player, it’s probably in your best interest to steer clear of it for now.

SULTAI’S SOMEWHAT SAD

Emergent-Ultimatum-Ikoria-MtG-Art

 

Companion
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Creatures (3)
1
Valki, God of Lies
1
Polukranos, Unchained
1
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
Spells (29)
2
Jwari Disruption
2
Pelakka Predation
2
Sea Gate Restoration
1
Eliminate
3
Heartless Act
4
Cultivate
2
Mystical Dispute
2
Behold the Multiverse
1
Extinction Event
3
Shadows' Verdict
3
Alrund's Epiphany
4
Emergent Ultimatum
Artifacts (2)
2
Esika's Chariot
Enchantments (15)
4
Omen of the Sea
4
Wolfwillow Haven
2
Elspeth's Nightmare
4
Binding the Old Gods
1
Kiora Bests the Sea God
Lands (31)
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Clearwater Pathway
4
Darkbore Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
3
Forest
3
Island
1
Ketria Triome
2
Swamp
2
Temple of Malady
4
Zagoth Triome
Cards (80)
Sideboard (15)
3
Duress
2
Eliminate
2
Negate
1
Kaervek, the Spiteful
1
Polukranos, Unchained
2
Elder Gargaroth
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
2
Shark Typhoon
1
Koma, Cosmos Serpent

I think it may be time to call it for Sultai, no matter how the metagame seems to be shaking up, it still remains to be nothing more than a middling option. This may be weird to say considering 3 copies of it made it to the top 8 of the Kaldheim Championship, but the data isn’t supporting it and it was a split format tournament.

Sultai does beat up on some of the slower decks like 4 Color Yorion, Naya Spirit, and Gruul Food (more on this later), but struggling overall with Aggro decks, Rogues, and splitting games with Temur is not a spot I would love to be in. I wouldn’t say it’s a terribly positioned deck either, but I’m not one to play something that’s firmly in the middle of the pack as the matchup spread can be very swingy. If you think you pilot the deck very well, feel free to keep playing it, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

On that note, I wouldn’t expect Sultai players to be disheartened by the results either. Sultai has fostered a large player base since it’s inception and I don’t believe that they’re going anywhere anytime soon.

AVOID AGGRO

greg-rutkowski-torbran-thane-of-red-fell-1500

 

Creatures (23)
4
Fervent Champion
4
Fireblade Charger
3
Rimrock Knight
4
Robber of the Rich
4
Bonecrusher Giant
1
Phoenix of Ash
3
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
Spells (4)
4
Frost Bite
Artifacts (4)
4
Embercleave
Enchantments (4)
4
Anax, Hardened in the Forge
Lands (25)
2
Castle Embereth
4
Faceless Haven
19
Snow-Covered Mountain
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Blazing Volley
2
Redcap Melee
2
Roiling Vortex
2
Scorching Dragonfire
2
Phoenix of Ash
2
Soul Sear
2
The Akroan War
2
Ox of Agonas

Matias Leveratto Monowhite 

Creatures (25)
1
Halvar, God of Battle
3
Reidane, God of the Worthy
4
Giant Killer
4
Selfless Savior
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Seasoned Hallowblade
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
4
Skyclave Apparition
Artifacts (7)
1
Shadowspear
2
Glass Casket
4
Maul of the Skyclaves
Enchantments (4)
4
Alseid of Life's Bounty
Lands (24)
4
Faceless Haven
20
Snow-Covered Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Reidane, God of the Worthy
1
Scalding Cauldron
1
Shadowspear
1
Soul-Guide Lantern
4
Usher of the Fallen
2
Drannith Magistrate
2
Glass Casket
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
2
Archon of Absolution

Like the title says, I still don’t think it’s aggro’s time to shine. Although more Rogues players is a nice metagame adjustment for fast decks, seeing significantly more Temur is not exactly where you want to be either. Monored had a decent showing at the Championship, but being barely above 50% against Sultai and nearly 10% down against Mono White does not look great for the archetype.

However, having a phenomenal Rogues matchup and a good showing at the SCG $5k on Sunday with sandydog taking second does show Monored will still have reasonable viability. It wouldn’t be my choice, but I wouldn’t necessarily blame someone for registering it either. The real sad story for the Championship was Monowhite Aggro. Putting up a sad 40% win rate and sporting few actively good matchups overall (and not getting above 50% at the Championship), you can expect Monowhite to trend down as well. Couple that with the increase in Temur and the decrease of Sultai, we’re looking at a situation that aggro pilots don’t necessarily want to be in. 

GRUUL… IS MEDIUM

kazandu-mammoth-znr-189-art-mtga

Jan-Moritz Merkel Gruul Adventures 

Creatures (26)
4
Kazandu Mammoth
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Brushfire Elemental
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Lovestruck Beast
4
Questing Beast
2
Ox of Agonas
Spells (8)
4
Shatterskull Smashing
4
Fire Prophecy
Artifacts (4)
4
Embercleave
Enchantments (2)
2
The Akroan War
Lands (20)
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
8
Forest
4
Mountain
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Redcap Melee
2
Robber of the Rich
3
Roiling Vortex
2
Wilt
2
Soul Sear
2
Garruk, Unleashed
1
Ox of Agonas
1
Vivien, Monsters' Advocate

Ok so I couldn’t think of a good title with alliteration, sue me. Gruul Adventures didn’t put up great results last weekend factoring in all of the tournaments, but it was the best performing archetype at the Kaldheim Championship. With an uptick of Rogues could Gruul be really well positioned again? Maybe. The Temur matchup is notoriously challenging as they do a similar thing to you, but go a lot bigger in the mid game. Furthermore, although Gruul performed well in the Championship, I can’t say the same for the week as a whole. With a total 46.6% win rate, it may not seem like it’s amazingly positioned, but if Gruul can find a plan to beat Temur more consistently, it could be a great choice.

Despite me initially referring to Adventures, that wasn’t the iteration of Gruul that stole the spotlight this weekend. Kushiro, known to play only the spiciest of lists, brought Gruul Food to the Kaldheim Championship.

 

Creatures (27)
4
Kazandu Mammoth
4
Gilded Goose
1
Scavenging Ooze
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Lovestruck Beast
4
Wicked Wolf
2
Elder Gargaroth
2
Feasting Troll King
1
Kogla, the Titan Ape
1
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
Spells (1)
1
Shatterskull Smashing
Artifacts (5)
1
Witch's Oven
2
Embercleave
2
The Great Henge
Enchantments (3)
3
Trail of Crumbs
Lands (25)
4
Castle Garenbrig
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
7
Forest
2
Ketria Triome
4
Mountain
Cards (61)
Sideboard (15)
1
Redcap Melee
2
Fire Prophecy
3
Roiling Vortex
1
Scavenging Ooze
3
Garruk's Harbinger
2
Klothys, God of Destiny
1
Garruk, Unleashed
2
The Akroan War

Clearly Kushiro wanted to target creature decks, and it worked out rather well for him considering he finished in 4th overall. That being said, I know many people like trying out the new spice, but I would avoid this deck if you’re looking for late month wins. It definitely smacks around creature decks, no denying that, but it’s (presumably) atrocious Sultai matchup and Temur being able to fight it with cards just as powerful as theirs does not spell success for the long term success of this deck. Couple that with Rogues coming back in full force, and you have yourself a rather hostile metagame for this breakout deck.

If you believe you are going to be facing a parade of aggro decks, give this a go, but I would be wary in an open metagame.

CONTROL ISN’T CUTTING IT

iko-88-extinction-event

Corey Burkhart 4 Color Doom 

Companion
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Creatures (3)
3
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Spells (17)
2
Emeria's Call
2
Disdainful Stroke
2
Eliminate
4
Heartless Act
3
Negate
4
Extinction Event
Artifacts (6)
1
Glass Casket
3
Mazemind Tome
2
Esika's Chariot
Enchantments (21)
4
Omen of the Sea
4
Elspeth's Nightmare
4
Omen of the Sun
1
Treacherous Blessing
4
Binding the Old Gods
4
Doom Foretold
Lands (33)
1
Barkchannel Pathway
2
Branchloft Pathway
4
Brightclimb Pathway
4
Clearwater Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
1
Forest
4
Hengegate Pathway
4
Indatha Triome
1
Island
2
Plains
2
Swamp
4
Zagoth Triome
Cards (80)
Sideboard (15)
1
Cling to Dust
2
Duress
1
Eliminate
2
Glass Casket
1
Negate
3
Mystical Dispute
1
Polukranos, Unchained
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
3
Shark Typhoon

atelier Dimir Control 

Companion
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Planeswalkers (4)
2
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
2
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Creatures (5)
2
Murderous Rider
3
Lochmere Serpent
Spells (32)
3
Hagra Mauling
4
Jwari Disruption
4
Bloodchief's Thirst
2
Erebos's Intervention
2
Disdainful Stroke
2
Drown in the Loch
2
Eliminate
4
Heartless Act
1
Mystical Dispute
2
Saw It Coming
3
Extinction Event
3
Shadows' Verdict
Artifacts (3)
3
Mazemind Tome
Enchantments (6)
4
Omen of the Sea
2
Shark Typhoon
Lands (31)
1
Castle Locthwain
2
Castle Vantress
4
Clearwater Pathway
3
Crawling Barrens
4
Fabled Passage
4
Island
6
Swamp
4
Temple of Deceit
3
Zagoth Triome
Cards (81)
Sideboard (15)
2
Cling to Dust
3
Duress
2
Erebos's Intervention
2
Disdainful Stroke
2
Negate
1
Mystical Dispute
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
2
Shark Typhoon

For the Championship, the only Control deck to be featured was 4 Color Yorion, but in tournaments overall, Dimir Control has also seen a good amount of play. Unfortunately for both Control archetypes, I don’t think the metagame is right for it.

Yorion is solid against the aggro decks, but really struggles with decks that can over the top of it like Sultai or Temur. Dimir can handle decks looking to go big, but then struggles with aggro decks. The only element that the two control decks seem to share is that they both struggle against Rogues, not a great spot to be in when there’s likely to be a huge uptick in play from Rogues.

I know there’s some die hard Control players, and I say you keep doing you, but be mindful of Temur and Rogues predominately. If you think you can have a plan that can beat them, go for it, but I don’t think that’s the most realistic.

CONCLUSION

In reality, functionally every archetype talked about here is playable if you’re already well versed with the strategy and the last thing I want to do is dissuade a skilled pilot from playing something they’re already good at. That being said, if you are up in the air about what to play moving forward, I think Temur is the way to go. I think it’s pretty firmly the best deck with very few bad matchups overall. If you don’t want to play Edgewall Innkeeper, you can do worse than Rogues, assuming you’re at all adept with the archetype. 

Thank you for reading! If you like my content and want to see more of it, you can check me out on Twitch! Have a great day!

DoggertQBones

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

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