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Defiler of Instinct Art by Steven Belledin - Dominaria United

Standard Metagame Snapshot – September 8, 2022

Looking to see what decks floundered and flourished week one? DoggertQBones breaks down the most important decks in each tier and provides the most up to date list for each!

Hello everyone! Dominaria United has been out for a full week now and we’re already seeing the metagame beginning to stabilize. With the absolute dominance that Black has been having the first week, the metagame is already coalescing around it with most players choosing to join them rather than beat them. None the less, we’re already seeing these decks becoming more refined as well as Black’s competitors getting more refined as well to take advantage of the insular metagame.

So for the beginning of week two, let’s see where the decks are now. We’ll be focusing on Best of Three Standard, using the recent results from tournaments as a basis for our breakdown.

Tier 1 Decks

The Meathook Massacre Art by Chris Seaman
The Meathook Massacre Art by Chris Seaman

Before I dive in, while I do think Rakdos is the best deck currently, a lot of the Tier 1 decks are so close in power that I wouldn’t take the ordering with any particular importance.

Rakdos Midrange

Standard Rakdos Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $740.04
Standard
Midrange
best of 3
9 mythic
30 rare
9 uncommon
12 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (6)
Instants (5)
3
Cut Down
$6.87
2
Infernal Grasp
$2.58
Sorceries (4)
4
Invoke Despair
$7.16
Enchantments (6)
Lands (26)
1
Mountain
$0.25
11
Swamp
$2.75
4
Haunted Ridge
$71.96
60 Cards
$730.06
Sideboard
2
Voltage Surge
$0.50
3
Abrade
$0.75
1
Infernal Grasp
$1.29
2
Duress
$0.50
15 Cards
$208.97

Starting off our list, I believe Rakdos is the current king of Standard as it does a lot of things I’m looking for in a deck.

You get to play many powerful cards, namely Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Liliana of the Veil, and Invoke Despair. You get excellent removal between Cut Down, Infernal Grasp, and The Meathook Massacre. Lastly, all your threats are obviously great. This is my top pick as you get to play four Invoke Despair which I believe is Standard’s best card without pigeonholing yourself to being mono-colored.

Esper Midrange

Standard Esper Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $740.68
Standard
Midrange
best of 3
18 mythic
31 rare
6 uncommon
5 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (7)
1
Kaito Shizuki
$8.99
Creatures (12)
1
Serra Paragon
$22.99
Instants (10)
4
Cut Down
$7.96
2
Infernal Grasp
$2.58
3
Make Disappear
$0.75
Artifacts (1)
Enchantments (5)
Lands (25)
1
Swamp
$0.25
4
Adarkar Wastes
$9.96
4
Caves of Koilos
$1.96
4
Shipwreck Marsh
$23.96
2
Deserted Beach
$21.98
60 Cards
$686.3
15 Cards
$257.45

Just barely trailing behind Rakdos in my rankings, we have Esper Midrange.

Esper was one of the best decks from before the rotation, and it’s no surprise to see it here now. You get access to a slew of powerful cards like Wedding Announcement, Raffine, Scheming Seer, The Wandering Emperor, and maybe even most importantly, counterspells.

While I was down on Esper week one as Raffine, Scheming Seer played so poorly into Liliana of the Veil and Cut Down, the iteration that plays four Ao, the Dawn Sky seems like a great place to be. There is functionally no way to remove Ao in this Standard without killing it so you’re almost always guaranteed the death trigger which lets it functionally replace itself which is a big deal in a midrange metagame.

Grixis Vampires

Standard Grixis Vampires
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $605.66
Standard
Midrange
best of 3
8 mythic
35 rare
10 uncommon
7 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (6)
2
Kaito Shizuki
$17.98
Creatures (14)
Instants (8)
4
Voltage Surge
$1.00
1
Cut Down
$2.29
1
Infernal Grasp
$1.29
2
Make Disappear
$0.50
Enchantments (6)
60 Cards
$725.52
Sideboard
3
Cut Down
$6.87
1
Negate
$0.25
1
Infernal Grasp
$1.29
3
Duress
$0.75
15 Cards
$95.45

Once again just barely trailing behind Esper, we have Grixis Vampires!

Rather than going White, going Blue for access to the powerful Maestro cards and counterspells is another way to go. While the individual card quality of Grixis is a bit lower than Esper, the curve is also substantially lower and the colors cleaner making it harder for you to be left with a clunky draw.

Grixis is excellent at really grinding out games through the use of it’s copious interaction on top of card advantage creatures like Corpse Appraiser and Evelyn, the Covetous to keep the ball rolling. Since this can be built in a way where functionally every threat can be a two for one, this can have a leg up in the midrange mirrors.

Mono Black Midrange

Standard Mono Black Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $608.37
Standard
Midrange
best of 3
10 mythic
20 rare
9 uncommon
21 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (5)
Instants (5)
2
Cut Down
$4.58
3
Infernal Grasp
$3.87
Sorceries (4)
4
Invoke Despair
$7.16
Artifacts (1)
Enchantments (3)
Lands (26)
21
Swamp
$5.25
4
Field of Ruin
$1.56
60 Cards
$599.16
15 Cards
$113.97

Rounding out the Tier One for week one, we have Mono Black Midrange, which we have also published an in-depth guide for:

I’m a big fan of Mono Black midrange as it has all the same elements of Rakdos Midrange, just with the tradeoff of better mana in lieu of the Red cards. Personally, I think this leaves Mono Black a bit behind the rest of the midrange pack, as while having a painless mana base is excellent, you are leaving some powerful cards on the table, namely Fable of the Mirror-Breaker.

None the less, you have plenty of excellent cards to choose from as Black seems to be Standard’s best color right now, so even if you lose some power compared to your other midrange counterparts, you can make up for it in consistency and a better resilience to aggressive strategies.

Tier 2 Decks

Sol’Kanar the Tainted Art by Filip Burburan - Dominaria United
Sol'Kanar the Tainted Art by Filip Burburan

While most of the time I would classify Tier Two decks as being clearly less powerful than the Tier One counterparts, even if it’s not even by much, I would say that’s not necessarily the case here. This Tier Two is definitely tenuous as we have only a little bit of data to go on, but not only are these decks very close to each other within the tier, I don’t think they’re trailing the Tier One decks by a significant margin either.

Boros Reanimator

Standard Boros Reanimator
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $304.49
Standard
Midrange
best of 3
12 mythic
26 rare
4 uncommon
18 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (4)
Creatures (12)
Instants (4)
4
Cathartic Pyre
$1.96
Sorceries (4)
4
Invoke Justice
$1.16
60 Cards
$404.18
15 Cards
$16.23

Topping Tier Two is the deck that’s gotten many second place finishes over the weekend, Boros Reanimator.

Boros was a strategy prior to rotation, but was extremely fringe as it has an abysmal matchup against Jeskai Hinata, which was obviously a bad place to be. Now that the metagame is predominately midrange and Liliana of the Veil does the favor of putting Titan of Industry and Sanctuary Warden in your graveyard, it seems like the perfect meta call.

You have plenty to do early game, and then in the mid game, you can start threatening these extremely scary threats that can take over the game if unanswered. This works so well as it’s a great foil to Liliana as well as many of the midrange decks not playing too much hard removal to deal with the huge threats once they hit the board.

If graveyard hate trends upwards, I can see this deck falling down in the rankings, but for now, this seems like an awesome way to take advantage of the Liliana metagame.

Grixis Midrange

Standard Grixis Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $615.88
Standard
Midrange
best of 3
8 mythic
31 rare
13 uncommon
8 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (1)
Instants (10)
2
Voltage Surge
$0.50
2
Cut Down
$4.58
1
Rona’s Vortex
$0.25
1
Negate
$0.25
2
Infernal Grasp
$2.58
2
Make Disappear
$0.50
Artifacts (2)
Enchantments (6)
60 Cards
$633.12
Sideboard
1
Spell Pierce
$0.25
1
Voltage Surge
$0.25
2
Abrade
$0.50
1
Negate
$0.25
2
Duress
$0.50
1
Soul Transfer
$0.39
15 Cards
$184.33

Coming in next is a deck that’s nearly identical to Grixis Vampires, Grixis Midrange!

I’m not going to reiterate the points that I liked about Vampires as this deck is very similar overall. However, the reason I have it a few ranks below Vampires is simply a difference in the threats package. While an awesome card, I believe Sol'Kanar the Tainted is a weaker threat compared to Evelyn, the Covetous. If both live, they both can enable you to run away with the game due to the card advantage, but Sol’Kanar living too long can be a liability while Evelyn living awhile is an asset.

While both threats will help you snowball, they far from guarantee that you’re going to win quickly and there is definitely a nonzero chance you’ll have to give away your Sol’Kanar which may then kill you if the game was close. While there may be builds of Grixis that don’t involve Evelyn and Sol’Kanar is a powerful card, I believe that this is a fine approach, but not the best approach.

Rakdos Anvil

Standard Rakdos Anvil
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $595.02
Standard
Artifacts
best of 3
9 mythic
15 rare
12 uncommon
24 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (6)
Creatures (10)
Instants (6)
4
Voltage Surge
$1.00
2
Infernal Grasp
$2.58
Artifacts (8)
4
Oni-Cult Anvil
$1.00
Enchantments (7)
Lands (23)
5
Mountain
$1.25
7
Swamp
$1.75
4
Haunted Ridge
$71.96
60 Cards
$678.5
Sideboard
2
Cut Down
$4.58
3
Abrade
$0.75
3
Duress
$0.75
15 Cards
$89.01

Up next in Tier Two is the beloved Rakdos Anvil!

Mostly unchanged from last season, Rakdos Anvil still looks to be going strong as you get access to a powerful grindy engine in the titular Oni-Cult Anvil that’s relatively hard to disrupt. While the deck is clearly powerful, I do have some issues with it.

With Deadly Dispute now gone, it is less consistent than it was before, and with the uptick of Reckoner Bankbuster in other strategies, artifact removal is going to be at an all time high. Neither of these issues are going to kill the deck in any capacity and many players have already found success with it, but it’s enough to make me look towards other options in the short term.

Jund Midrange

Standard Jund Midrange
by Josh
Buy on TCGplayer $623.75
Standard
best of 3
7 mythic
33 rare
10 uncommon
10 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (2)
Instants (6)
2
Cut Down
$3.98
2
Infernal Grasp
$2.58
2
Tear Asunder
$2.98
Sorceries (3)
1
Soul Transfer
$0.39
Enchantments (5)
60 Cards
$583.72
15 Cards
$217.53

Coming towards the bottom of Tier 2, we have the deck that got both first and second in the Crokeyz Standard Open, Jund Midrange.

Yet another strong midrange option to choose from, Jund looks to add Green for the powerful late game it provides. Creatures with powerful ETB and death triggers are more important now than ever, and gaining access to Workshop Warchief and Titan of Industry is no joke.

While I’m a fan of going bigger for midrange mirrors, it’s not so easy as your mana is significantly more stretched compared to the other midrange decks and deploying your huge threats with the looming threat of Liliana of the Veil dismantling your hand is definitely rough. Furthermore, with most of the midrange decks having access to counterspells, resolving these bombs can be difficult as well. While this deck seems powerful, with all these elements combined, I feel that this is a bit of a weaker option compared to the other midrange decks.

Jeskai Control

Standard Jeskai Control
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $401.85
Standard
Control
best of 3
10 mythic
39 rare
3 uncommon
8 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (8)
Instants (7)
3
Impulse
$0.75
1
Negate
$0.25
1
Ertai’s Scorn
$0.25
1
Memory Deluge
$1.79
Sorceries (12)
3
Silver Scrutiny
$0.75
2
Farewell
$23.98
Artifacts (4)
2
The Celestus
$4.98
2
Timeless Lotus
$45.98
Enchantments (3)
Lands (26)
1
Island
$0.25
1
Mountain
$0.25
2
Plains
$0.50
4
Adarkar Wastes
$9.96
4
Shivan Reef
$7.16
4
Deserted Beach
$43.96
4
Sundown Pass
$35.96
60 Cards
$498.84
Sideboard
3
Negate
$0.75
1
Fateful Absence
$2.49
1
Farewell
$11.99
15 Cards
$57.19

Rounding out our tier two we have Jeskai Control!

While I have this at the bottom of Tier Two, that’s not because I think it’s weak. Quite the opposite, a control deck that’s able to fight on even grounds with the insanely powerful midrange options we have in Standard certainly deserves respect. To that end, I believe Jeskai is a bit of a wildcard in this metagame.

Liliana of the Veil is typically obscene against Control strategies and a lot of the threats people are playing are either recursive or gain value no matter what which seems like a bad combination for a Control deck all around.

Unlike the midrange decks, Jeskai has a lot more to prove as it’s still a budding strategy in this metagame, but of course we’ve only had one week of analysis, so anything can happen moving forward!

Tier 3 Decks

Defiler of Instinct Art by Steven Belledin - Dominaria United
Defiler of Instinct Art by Steven Belledin

Per usual, when discussing Tier Three decks, they usually have an endemic issue with them that’s keeping them from achieving more success. While again, I think the Tiers are much closer than normal due to low data and the high power level of decks I’ve seen so far, this still remains true here.

Mono Red Aggro

Standard Mono Red Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $132.51
Standard
Aggro
best of 3
0 mythic
9 rare
20 uncommon
31 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (20)
4
Rabbit Battery
$3.16
4
Phoenix Chick
$2.36
Instants (8)
4
Play with Fire
$11.16
Sorceries (8)
4
Ancestral Anger
$1.56
Enchantments (4)
Lands (20)
19
Mountain
$4.75
60 Cards
$53.92
15 Cards
$114.41

Coming up first is the deck I was on the fence for putting in tier two or here is Mono Red Aggro!

I had high hopes for Mono Red Aggro during the spoiler season, but unfortunately, it looks like a struggling archetype. The midrange decks are very low to the ground which makes it difficult to get under them, and to make matters worse, cards like The Meathook Massacre and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse are very hard to beat.

That said, there are elements of Mono Red I still very much like. The fact that you don’t have to play pain lands, have a great curve, and access to cheap burn is a really big deal for the deck. I’m highlighting this version of the deck that may look to break through tough board stalls with Electrostatic Infantry and Ancestral Anger on top of the normal offerings of Mono Red. While it still has a lot to prove, this deck performed relatively well last weekend so I wouldn’t be surprised if it just needs the right version to flourish.

Azorius Spells

Standard Azorius Spells
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $186.17
Standard
Aggro
best of 3
0 mythic
18 rare
20 uncommon
22 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (12)
4
Ledger Shredder
$107.96
Instants (17)
2
Spell Pierce
$0.50
4
Fading Hope
$3.16
4
Shore Up
$1.00
1
Impulse
$0.25
Sorceries (4)
Enchantments (7)
4
Combat Research
$3.96
3
Security Bypass
$0.75
Lands (20)
6
Island
$1.50
2
Plains
$0.50
4
Adarkar Wastes
$9.96
4
Deserted Beach
$43.96
2
Thran Portal
$1.38
60 Cards
$214.68
15 Cards
$4.31

Finishing up our tier list we have Azorius Spells to play us out.

While probably not what you want to be doing in this metagame, this deck is right up my alley. I’ve always been a fan of the Heroic/Magecraft archetypes that have you be disruptive while building up a singular threat. While I’m biased towards the archetype, I have to be realistic as well. A deck that doesn’t want to see a Cut Down or Liliana of the Veil is a bit of a pipe dream right now.

While cool and you can likely get stylish kills out of nowhere, this deck also seems overly reliant on Illuminator Virtuoso as your clock looks quite slow otherwise. Maybe there’s something here, but I’m not seeing it.

Thank you for reading!

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DoggertQBones
DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a 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 coaching! Join our community on
Twitch and Discord.

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