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In Search of Greatness

The Top 5 Decks to Beat in Early Kaldheim Standard

With the release of any set, every serious player tries a whole slew of decks looking for the ones that will stand out above the rest resulting in an extremely turbulent meta. When you’re trying to parse what’s good in the new metagame, one of the best metrics to go by is what decks you are seeing over and over. With a lot of Standard practice under my belt, I have a strong idea of what decks are rising to the top of the metagame. To be clear, this isn’t a Tier list, this is just the 5 decks that keep popping up on Standard ladder which I then rank from what I believe is the weakest to strongest among the five. Let’s get to it.


[sd_deck deck=”l5jQVnzu8″]

[sd_deck deck=”30OO4nF98″]

Mono Green really hasn’t seen much play yet, but I believe that could change soon. I slated Mono Green as a winner with Kaldheim’s release and I’ve seen results that may prove that prediction to be accurate. First, Rumti once again hit Mythic with his version of Monogreen in 8 hours time. That’s as surprising as saying fish are good at swimming, but it’s still relevant. Rumti doing well with Mono Green is expected, but on top of that, MythicRichard also took Rumti’s list to a #1 placement yesterday as well. To top that off, Mono Green won a Standard challenge as well. Don’t sleep on Mono Green or Vorinclex may come around to ruin your day. I’ve included both Rumti’s and Mogged’s list for comparison.


[sd_deck deck=”gjsE-j3Mh”]

A day 1 creation of LSV, Izzet Tempo looks to utilize cheap interaction to put the opponent off balance then to finish them off with a Goldspan Dragon or large Shark Typhoon token. This deck has been picking up a lot of steam as it won a Standard challenge and put 5 more pilots in the top 16 of the same event. With that, this is likely the deck I see the most on ladder, but not one I’m a particularly big fan of. I think the strategy of cheap interaction into large threat is a great game plan, but I think Izzet suffers from a few fatal flaws.

One, the deck doesn’t do much if you don’t find your end game in a timely manner. Two, if a sizable threat slips under your counterspells, you only have Brazen Borrower to stop it. It feels really bad to have control the entire game just for your opponent to land an Elder Gargaroth while you stare helplessly at it. I think Izzet Tempo has a great game plan for early Standard as these styles of decks can prey on the unrefined, but as decks improve, this deck will be forced to adapt or die.


[sd_deck deck=”5T4arOBeZ”]

Out of all the popular decks, this is the deck I’ve seen the least, but it’s definitely a strategy to be wary of. Rakdos looks to demolish creature decks with its plentiful amount of interaction then to finish them off with a Kroxa or Immersturm Predator. This deck can feel very polarizing since you’re playing 4 Claim the Firstborn and 3 The Akroan War main deck, game one can be miserable if you’re facing a deck that isn’t reliant on it’s creatures. That being said, if Rakdos wasn’t good against non-creature decks, it simply wouldn’t exist. Once you reach the post board games, Rakdos can completely shift gears into a more aggressive deck with Skyclave Shade and Duress.

That being said, although it has seen a reasonable amount of play on ladder, it’s more of a tournament deck where if you anticipate a lot of creature decks or Rogues, this will be one of your best options; if you envision you’re going to face a lot of Ramp and Yorion, you’d be better served playing something else. If you’re looking to beat Rakdos, Klothys is the easiest way but you can also pick apart their board with exile effects like Glass Casket, Skyclave Apparition, and Elspeth’s Nightmare.


[sd_deck deck=”K74I0IOKb”]

Binding of the Old Gods is a very good card, and when a good ETB permanent is available, Yorion players flock to it in droves. Abzan Yorion has seen a huge uptick in play compared to it being functionally non-existent in Zendikar Rising Standard just off the back of Binding the Old Gods and Darkbore Pathway. That being said, Abzan Yorion is in a solid spot of the metagame where it can realistically beat anything, and has strong matchups against creature decks.

Since Abzan Yorion has been so prevalent, I believe that helped justify that large play numbers of Izzet Tempo and other decks that look to prey on slow strategies like Temur Ramp and Rogues. If you are looking to play a creature deck, make sure you have a plan to deal with both their insanely powerful late game and their interaction heavy early game. If you want to beat Abzan Yorion, as I said before, going bigger than them with Ugin or way under them with Rogues is a very safe bet.


[sd_deck deck=”lrCTS_XPb”]

Gruul was the definitive best deck in Zendikar Rising and it looks like it got a bit of a face lift. Gruul traded in some of the aggressive elements for better grinding ability and more interaction by adding White for Giant Killer, Shepherd of the Flock, and Showdown of the Skalds. Naya is a popular and fantastic option right now as it truly has game against any strategy and doesn’t have any particularly terrible matchups in the process. Although it prefers to not face strategies like Abzan Yorion or Monogreen Food, since it has Showdown of the Skalds, Naya’s ability to draw out of a bad spot is significantly higher than Gruul’s was.

The only real downside to Naya is that the list is pretty tight so teching for particular matchups can be quite challenging. This makes it a solid deck for ladder where you can face any variety of decks, but slightly worse in tournaments where it can be a bit difficult to tune the list to the expected metagame. Despite that small shortcoming, Naya is clearly one of the best decks to be playing right now and having a plan to beat it is near mandatory for any deck.


[sd_deck deck=”CVvA9-zFw”]

Rogues was one of the best decks in Zendikar Rising standard, and as of right now, I think it’s the best deck to be playing. Do I think it’s going to be the best deck in a week or two? Not necessarily, but it’s insanely well positioned right now. If you thought Izzet was well positioned because it beats up on clunky decks, Rogues is the king of demolishing decks not expressly prepared for it. Rogues didn’t receive anything it really wanted to add to the main deck, but it received a slew of powerful sideboard options in Weathered Runestone, Disdainful Stroke, and Crippling Fear.

I know this is still the early brewing season and everyone is just trying to build their cool decks, but if you do not pack a lot of hate for Rogues, you’re going to have a bad time every time you come across it. In the same vein, if you’re looking to rank up quickly in new Kaldheim standard, Rogues is a great place to be before everyone starts packing their 4 Ox of Agonas again.

That’s all that I have for today! If you like my content and want to see more of it, you can check me out here. Thank you for reading and have a great day!

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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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