Standard Metagame Challenge Event Guide and Decklists – Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Standard

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Standard Metagame Challenge is a limited-time competitive event held over this weekend, where players test their mettle for one of the biggest reward payouts on MTG Arena. It has now been just over a week since the release of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, which has reinvigorated the Standard format with the addition of more than 250 new cards. In this guide, we’ll give you a overview of the current metagame, sample decklists you can try and approaches for how you can tackle it, as well as the details and expected value (EV) of this event, all updated for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Standard. Also remember, you can go straight to our entire Standard deck collection here and have your pick.

Event Information

  • Duration: April 25, 2020 @ 12:00 AM PST – April 27, 2020 @ 12:00 AM PST
  • Format: Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Standard
  • Entry Fee: 2000 Gold or 400 Gems
  • Ends After: 7 wins or 1 losses (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 Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Pack
  • 3 Wins: 2000 Gold , 3 Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Packs
  • 4 Wins: 2500 Gold , 5 Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Packs
  • 5 Wins: 3000 Gold , 10 Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Packs
  • 6 Wins: 4000 Gold , 20 Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Packs
  • 7 Wins: 5000 Gold, 30 Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Packs

What is Standard Metagame Challenge?

Standard Metagame Challenge- Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths

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

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 winrate is clearly a big factor in succeeding this event, and it gets more difficult as you progress because you are 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, and rewards not only your luck but also your skill and knowledge of the chosen deck.

The Current Standard Metagame

How is the Standard metagame shaping up so far? There’s no doubt that Companions are here to stay in Standard; the trade-off of drawing the same great extra card every game outweighs the deckbuilding restrictions the individual cards impose (well, except for the weaker ones such as Lutri, the Spellchaser). Despite this, the Standard metagame is not a whole lot different from where we left off and decks are being represented by their newfound Companions rather than being completely revamped by them. Thanks to MagicFest Online and the abundance of decklists, we’re able to analyze the metagame in far more detail. In summary:

  • Jeskai Fires with Keruga, the Macrosage is the strongest deck and most widely represented deck in the competitive scene.
  • Rakdos Sacrifice is next in line, with either Lurrus of the Dream-Den or Obosh, the Preypiercer as the Companion.
  • Bant Ramp adds Yorion, Sky Nomad and is almost on the same tier as the above two decks.
  • Temur Reclamation is still a strong contender, and adds Shark Typhoon to the deck.
  • Mono Red Aggro has now been pushed out of the metagame, having a terrible matchup against both Fires and Rakdos Sacrifice.

Of course, there are new decks too, but require a bit more of a track record before cementing themselves in the metagame (we will show you these below). We are still in the process of updating our existing tier lists, but in the meantime here are some reference points we used to make today’s deck recommendations!

MagicFest Online Season 2

Every day, we’ve been posting the decks that achieved 5 wins or more from the MagicFest Online Season 2 Daily Qualifiers. The numbers are supplied below by Robert Taylor. In essence, you’ll find that the numbers support our conclusions above.

You can check out all decklists by day, below:

Ondrej Strasky’s Top Choices

We had Magic Pro League player Ondrej Strasky review the top decks of Standard (read the article here) and these are his current recommendations. View the decklists below:

Standard Metagame Challenge Sample Decklists

Tier 1 Decks

We believe these deck archetypes are the top Standard decks at this moment in time and will be your best choice for this event if you want to maximize your chances. Out of these, Jeskai Keruga Fires is likely the strongest out of them all.


Tier 2 Decks

If you want to play something a little bit different and catch your opponents by surprise, these decks have also been performing well in recent events and so are viable choices:


Standard Metagame Challenge 7 Win Decklists


Wrapping Up

The MagicFest Online Weekly Championship is a two day tournament that will be held on April 25 at 9 AM PT. In addition to the players qualified above, all Magic Pro League and Rival League players will also be participating and it will be interesting to see what they choose to bring – you could wait for the results before making your deck choice. We also have a primer on Jeskai Keruga Fires by Drifter up, so check it out if you want some tips on playing the deck!

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