Standard After the Kaldheim Championship: What to Expect Until Strixhaven

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

Temur Lukka Kyle Moran

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Planeswalker (4)
4
Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast
Creature (21)
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Brazen Borrower
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
2
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
3
Llanowar Visionary
4
Lovestruck Beast
Sorcery (2)
2
Shatterskull Smashing/Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass
Instant (5)
2
Fire Prophecy
3
Negate
Artifact (3)
3
Esika's Chariot
Land (25)
4
Barkchannel Pathway/Tidechannel Pathway
4
Cragcrown Pathway/Timbercrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
1
Forest
2
Island
4
Ketria Triome
2
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway/Lavaglide Pathway
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
3
Disdainful Stroke
2
Fire Prophecy
4
Mystical Dispute
1
Ox of Agonas
2
Soul Sear
3
The Akroan War

ROGUES RESURGENCE

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

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

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Yorion, Sky Nomad
Creature (3)
1
Polukranos, Unchained
1
Valki, God of Lies/Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor
1
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
Sorcery (19)
3
Alrund's Epiphany
4
Cultivate
4
Emergent Ultimatum
1
Extinction Event
2
Pelakka Predation/Pelakka Caverns
2
Sea Gate Restoration/Sea Gate, Reborn
3
Shadows' Verdict
Instant (10)
2
Behold the Multiverse
1
Eliminate
3
Heartless Act
2
Jwari Disruption/Jwari Ruins
2
Mystical Dispute
Artifact (2)
2
Esika's Chariot
Enchantment (15)
4
Binding the Old Gods
2
Elspeth's Nightmare
1
Kiora Bests the Sea God
4
Omen of the Sea
4
Wolfwillow Haven
Land (31)
4
Barkchannel Pathway/Tidechannel Pathway
4
Clearwater Pathway/Murkwater Pathway
4
Darkbore Pathway/Slitherbore 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
Elder Gargaroth
2
Eliminate
1
Kaervek, the Spiteful
1
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
2
Negate
1
Polukranos, Unchained
2
Shark Typhoon
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad

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

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

Matias Leveratto Monowhite

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Creature (29)
4
Alseid of Life's Bounty
4
Giant Killer
1
Halvar, God of Battle/Sword of the Realms
4
Luminarch Aspirant
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
3
Reidane, God of the Worthy/Valkmira, Protector's Shield
4
Seasoned Hallowblade
4
Selfless Savior
4
Skyclave Apparition
Artifact (7)
2
Glass Casket
4
Maul of the Skyclaves
1
Shadowspear
Land (24)
4
Faceless Haven
20
Snow-Covered Plains
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
2
Archon of Absolution
2
Drannith Magistrate
2
Glass Casket
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
1
Reidane, God of the Worthy/Valkmira, Protector's Shield
1
Scalding Cauldron
1
Shadowspear
1
Soul-Guide Lantern
4
Usher of the Fallen

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

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Creature (26)
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Brushfire Elemental
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Kazandu Mammoth/Kazandu Valley
4
Lovestruck Beast
2
Ox of Agonas
4
Questing Beast
Sorcery (4)
4
Shatterskull Smashing/Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass
Instant (4)
4
Fire Prophecy
Artifact (4)
4
Embercleave
Enchantment (2)
2
The Akroan War
Land (20)
4
Cragcrown Pathway/Timbercrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
8
Forest
4
Mountain
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
2
Garruk, Unleashed
1
Ox of Agonas
2
Redcap Melee
2
Robber of the Rich
3
Roiling Vortex
2
Soul Sear
1
Vivien, Monsters' Advocate
2
Wilt

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.

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

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Yorion, Sky Nomad
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Yorion, Sky Nomad
Sorcery (6)
2
Emeria's Call/Emeria, Shattered Skyclave
4
Extinction Event
Instant (11)
2
Disdainful Stroke
2
Eliminate
4
Heartless Act
3
Negate
Artifact (6)
2
Esika's Chariot
1
Glass Casket
3
Mazemind Tome
Enchantment (21)
4
Binding the Old Gods
4
Doom Foretold
4
Elspeth's Nightmare
4
Omen of the Sea
4
Omen of the Sun
1
Treacherous Blessing
Land (33)
1
Barkchannel Pathway/Tidechannel Pathway
2
Branchloft Pathway/Boulderloft Pathway
4
Brightclimb Pathway/Grimclimb Pathway
4
Clearwater Pathway/Murkwater Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
1
Forest
4
Hengegate Pathway/Mistgate 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
3
Mystical Dispute
1
Negate
1
Polukranos, Unchained
3
Shark Typhoon
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad

atelier Dimir Control

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Yorion, Sky Nomad
Planeswalker (4)
2
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
2
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Creature (5)
3
Lochmere Serpent
2
Murderous Rider
Sorcery (10)
4
Bloodchief's Thirst
3
Extinction Event
3
Shadows' Verdict
Instant (22)
2
Disdainful Stroke
2
Drown in the Loch
2
Eliminate
2
Erebos's Intervention
3
Hagra Mauling/Hagra Broodpit
4
Heartless Act
4
Jwari Disruption/Jwari Ruins
1
Mystical Dispute
2
Saw It Coming
Artifact (3)
3
Mazemind Tome
Enchantment (6)
4
Omen of the Sea
2
Shark Typhoon
Land (31)
1
Castle Locthwain
2
Castle Vantress
4
Clearwater Pathway/Murkwater 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
2
Disdainful Stroke
3
Duress
2
Erebos's Intervention
1
Mystical Dispute
2
Negate
2
Shark Typhoon
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad

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, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and teaching!

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