Standard Metagame Challenge Event Guide and Recommended Decklists – July 2021

Dueling Rapier Art by Anna Podedworna
Dueling Rapier Art by Anna Podedworna

The Standard Metagame Challenge is a limited-time competitive event held over this weekend, where players test their mettle for one of the biggest (and riskiest) reward payouts on MTG Arena. It has now been just over a week since the release of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, which is the eighth set to be added to the Standard format and marked the yearly rotation cycle!

In this guide, we’ll give you a overview of the current metagame, sample decklists before the event starts and proven ones with 7 wins as soon as they are shared. We also have the details and expected value (EV) of this event, all updated for AFR Standard. Also remember, you can go straight to our entire Standard deck collection here and have your pick from the latest decklists.

Event Details

July 2021 Standard Metagame Challenge

Bring your Standard deck and play best-of-three matches! You’ll receive rewards based on how many matches you win.

  • Duration: July 17, 2021 at 8:00 AM PST – July 20, 2021 at 8:00 AM PST
  • FormatStandard
  • Entry Fee: 2000 Gold or 400 Gems
  • Ends After: 7 wins or 1 loss (whichever comes first)
  • Match Structure: Best-of-three matches (BO3)

Event Rewards

  • 0 Wins: 500 Gold
  • 1 Win: 1000 Gold
  • 2 Wins: 1500 Gold, 1 Pack
  • 3 Wins: 2000 Gold, 3 Packs
  • 4 Wins: 2500 Gold, 5 Packs
  • 5 Wins: 3000 Gold, 10 Packs
  • 6 Wins: 4000 Gold, 20 Packs
  • 7 Wins: 5000 Gold, 30 Packs

What is Standard Metagame Challenge?

Standard Metagame Challenge is a special event that gives players the opportunity to win huge rewards in a relatively new metagame where the new cards from the latest set are being tested, and decklists are being refined. Key things to note for this event are:

  • Best-of-three matches: Unlike many MTG Arena events which are BO1, this event requires you to bring a sideboard.
  • Changing decks: You cannot change cards in your deck or change your deck in between matches. Once you have paid the entry fee and registered your deck, it’s final.
  • High variance: After just one match loss, the event is over and you will have pay the entry fee again should you wish to participate again.

Of course, the best way to reap the rewards is to play one of the the best possible decks! Read on as we will help you choose what deck to play this weekend, how the Standard metagame is developing, and what to expect from your opponents. Do keep in mind, players should generally play the decks they know best – whatever you have the most experience with, and is closest to one of the best decks is probably what you should be playing.

Expected Value (EV)

As you can see from the reward structure above, the event is high variance because it ends as soon as you get your first loss. Most of the value of the event comes after your fifth win, though getting to three wins will at least guarantee your entry fee returned.

Your overall win rate is clearly a big factor in succeeding this event, and it gets more difficult as you progress because you are usually matched against better quality players of the same (or similar) record. Refer to the chart above by Frank Karsten, which shows this in greater detail. That all being said, this event is a great opportunity for players to boost their collection significantly early on in the expansion, which rewards not only your luck but also your skill and knowledge of the chosen deck.

Standard Metagame Challenge 7 Win Decklists

Here are the decks that recorded a perfect result for this event:


DoggertQBones’ Recommended Decks

Although AFR has introduced many powerful new cards, Standard has remained relatively unexplored due to the popularity of Standard 2022 and the general apathy surrounding Standard. Unfortunately, the metagame is more or less the same as it was prior to AFR’s release and should be treated as such. However, DoggertQBones did some research and came up with his top decks to play for the challenge!

SULTAI ULTIMATUM

Sultai Ultimatum by Matt Sperling 

Companion
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Creatures (7)
1
Valki, God of Lies
2
Polukranos, Unchained
1
Quandrix Cultivator
2
Elder Gargaroth
1
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
Spells (25)
2
Sea Gate Restoration
1
Duress
2
Disdainful Stroke
4
Heartless Act
1
Negate
4
Cultivate
1
Mystical Dispute
1
Extinction Event
3
Shadows' Verdict
2
Alrund's Epiphany
4
Emergent Ultimatum
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 (33)
4
Barkchannel Pathway
1
Blightstep Pathway
4
Clearwater Pathway
4
Darkbore Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
3
Forest
3
Island
1
Ketria Triome
2
Swamp
3
Temple of Malady
4
Zagoth Triome
Cards (80)
Sideboard (15)
1
Cling to Dust
1
Duress
1
Agonizing Remorse
1
Disdainful Stroke
3
Eliminate
1
Negate
1
Mystical Dispute
1
Shadows' Verdict
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
2
Shark Typhoon
2
Koma, Cosmos Serpent

If Standard hasn’t changed, then Sultai Ultimatum is still the top dog. There aren’t many decks that can handle Sultai’s game plan and it shows with it’s constant success. Although it is the best deck, it also has the largest target on it’s back and everyone will be prepared to face it. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this if you have no practice with it, but if you’re a seasoned player, this is likely your best option.

ROGUES

AFR Rogues 

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
Negate
3
Skyclave Shade
2
Test of Talents
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
1
Mystical Dispute
3
Crippling Fear

Rogues waxes and wanes in the metagame, but I think this is a great time to pick it up again. Rogues is at it’s best when Escape creatures see little play, and I think Rogues has been out of the limelight long enough to make that happen. The perfect foil to Sultai Ultimatum and one of the most punishing decks out there, this seems like an easy choice to get 7 wins in the challenge.

That being said, I would steer clear of this deck if you aren’t an experienced pilot and you do have to be cognizant that you may run into a lot of Monored as it’s very popular in general. I think this is very well positioned, but only to those with a lot of practice.

TEMUR KOMA

Temur Adventures by John Girardot 

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)
1
Shatterskull Smashing
2
Disdainful Stroke
2
Fire Prophecy
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)
3
Redcap Melee
1
Disdainful Stroke
2
Fire Prophecy
1
Negate
1
Test of Talents
2
Klothys, God of Destiny
1
Mystical Dispute
1
The Akroan War
3
Goldspan Dragon

My personal favorite Standard deck. Temur Koma combines the midrange power of Adventures with the strong top end up of Koma to overrun opponents. This deck can realistically be tuned to beat anything and has a reasonable matchup spread which makes it a solid choice for an open field.

Furthermore, the deck isn’t the hardest to pilot so it’s much more forgiving to those who haven’t played it before.

NAYA ADVENTURES

Naya Adventures by Logan Nettles 

Companion
1
Jegantha, the Wellspring
Creatures (31)
3
Tangled Florahedron
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Giant Killer
4
Jaspera Sentinel
2
Clarion Spirit
2
Drannith Magistrate
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Lovestruck Beast
Enchantments (6)
4
Showdown of the Skalds
2
The Akroan War
Lands (23)
4
Branchloft Pathway
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
3
Forest
1
Mountain
4
Needleverge Pathway
3
Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Reidane, God of the Worthy
1
Redcap Melee
1
Run Afoul
2
Fire Prophecy
3
Glass Casket
2
Klothys, God of Destiny
1
Jegantha, the Wellspring
3
Ox of Agonas

Naya’s popularity and meta positioning have fluctuated a lot since it’s creation, but it has established itself as one of the best decks in the metagame and even showing signs of being favored against Sultai. The deck is very powerful when piloted properly, but is probably the least forgiving on this list in terms of pilot error. Sequencing is insanely important with this deck and although it’s excellent, you need to be really careful to avoid small mistakes that can snowball into bigger issues.

GRUUL ADVENTURES

AFR Magda Gruul 

Creatures (27)
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Jaspera Sentinel
4
Magda, Brazen Outlaw
4
Rimrock Knight
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Lovestruck Beast
3
Goldspan Dragon
Spells (5)
4
Shatterskull Smashing
1
Song-Mad Treachery
Artifacts (8)
4
Esika's Chariot
3
Embercleave
1
The Great Henge
Lands (20)
4
Cragcrown Pathway
1
Fabled Passage
10
Forest
5
Mountain
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Purphoros's Intervention
1
Redcap Melee
1
Burning Hands
2
Roiling Vortex
1
Scorching Dragonfire
2
Klothys, God of Destiny
3
The Akroan War
2
Elder Gargaroth
2
Ox of Agonas

Although this is the least popular out of all the Adventure variants, I think this is one of the best decks in Standard. The deck has the speed to punish clunky draws like Monored, but has the ability to grind with the Adventures package. Although you will be unfavored in the Adventure mirrors, most of your other matchups are favored and this deck doesn’t require much experience to play well. Out of all my recommendations, this is likely the easiest deck to play.

CYCLING

AFR Cycling 

Creatures (18)
4
Flourishing Fox
4
Drannith Stinger
4
Valiant Rescuer
4
Irencrag Pyromancer
2
Rielle, the Everwise
Spells (18)
2
Go for Blood
4
Startling Development
4
Memory Leak
4
Zenith Flare
4
Boon of the Wish-Giver
Enchantments (4)
4
Improbable Alliance
Lands (20)
1
Blightstep Pathway
1
Brightclimb Pathway
1
Clearwater Pathway
4
Hengegate Pathway
4
Needleverge Pathway
4
Raugrin Triome
4
Riverglide Pathway
1
Savai Triome
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
3
Redcap Melee
2
Disdainful Stroke
3
Negate
1
Shredded Sails
1
Test of Talents
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
2
Mystical Dispute
2
Prismari Command

Somewhat similar to Rogues, Cycling waxes and wanes in popularity depending on the amount of sideboard slots opponents are dedicating for it. At the beginning of formats, most people reset their board to be very broad, making it a great time to strike with Cycling.

The deck is very powerful, but it does suffer from lack of meaningful play decisions as most games will be decided by what order you draw your cards in (moreso than most decks anyway).

Furthermore, sideboarding can get complicated as overboarding is an issue, but the deck is still relatively beginner friendly.

Standard Metagame Challenge 7 Win Decklists

The below decks have already proven their success with their 7 win run. If you would like to submit your decklist here, please send it to us via Twitter or leave a comment below.


Wrapping Up

If you want to dive into this event a bit later, we will be keeping an eye on what decks people are using to reach their 7 win run in this event.

Remember, you can always engage in our growing MTG Arena Zone community:

  • Discuss everything and ask quests about MTG Arena in our Discord server
  • Follow our Twitter to keep up to date on our latest decks and guides
  • Leave a comment below if you have any feedback or just want to let us know how the decks went!

Terence

Korean gamer in Australia. Proud owner of the DotGG and its network of websites. I especially enjoy fantasy worlds, role-playing games, and collecting things! Favorite games include World of Warcraft, Magic: The Gathering, and League of Legends.

6 Responses

  1. Matteo Soldi says:

    Standard Metagame Challenge 7 wins

    Arena nick : Barons

    Companion
    1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

    Deck
    4 Tangled Florahedron
    4 Emergent Ultimatum
    3 Extinction Event
    2 Cling to Dust
    3 Eliminate
    4 Heartless Act
    2 Mystical Dispute
    4 Quandrix Cultivator
    1 Professor Onyx
    4 Binding the Old Gods
    4 Omen of the Sea
    1 Solve the Equation
    4 Wolfwillow Haven
    4 Barkchannel Pathway
    4 Clearwater Pathway
    4 Darkbore Pathway
    4 Fabled Passage
    4 Forest
    2 Island
    3 Swamp
    1 Temple of Malady
    4 Zagoth Triome
    1 Valki, God of Lies
    2 Alrund’s Epiphany
    1 Kiora Bests the Sea God
    1 Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
    1 Sea Gate Restoration
    1 Ketria Triome
    1 Shadows’ Verdict
    1 Pelakka Predation
    1 Elspeth’s Nightmare

    Sideboard
    2 Elspeth’s Nightmare
    1 Negate
    1 Disdainful Stroke
    2 Test of Talents
    1 Chainweb Aracnir
    1 Cling to Dust
    2 Polukranos, Unchained
    2 Elder Gargaroth
    1 Yorion, Sky Nomad
    1 Koma, Cosmos Serpent
    1 Mazemind Tome

  2. David says:

    Sultai Ultimatum likely ought to be playing Power Word Kill over Eliminate now.

  3. Miguel Angel Garcia Fernandez says:

    nick arena : Al carrer!
    standard metagame challenge 7-0
    Deck
    4 Elite Spellbinder (STX) 17
    4 Faceless Haven (KHM) 255
    2 Alseid of Life’s Bounty (THB) 1
    4 Giant Killer (ELD) 14
    3 Guardian of Faith (AFR) 18
    4 Luminarch Aspirant (ZNR) 24
    4 Selfless Savior (M21) 36
    4 Reidane, God of the Worthy (KHM) 21
    4 Seasoned Hallowblade (M21) 34
    3 Skyclave Apparition (ZNR) 39
    3 Drannith Magistrate (IKO) 11
    1 Archon of Emeria (ZNR) 4
    2 Cave of the Frost Dragon (AFR) 253
    17 Snow-Covered Plains (KHM) 276
    1 Legion Angel (ZNR) 23

    Sideboard
    3 Glass Casket (ELD) 15
    1 Shadowspear (THB) 236
    2 Legion Angel (ZNR) 23
    1 Disenchant (ZNR) 10
    1 Archon of Absolution (ELD) 3
    2 Archon of Emeria (ZNR) 4
    3 Portable Hole (AFR) 33
    2 Idol of Endurance (M21) 23

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *