Hello everyone! I’m back with another week of my top three off meta decks! So while we’re here, I want to be clear that when I say off meta, it isn’t at all synonymous with suboptimal. To me, off meta options are simply those that don’t see much play, whether they are unpopular, new, or otherwise, but can be very good despite that!
To that end, I use this articles to highlight the more off the beaten path options that may be potentially be great! If you want to see the three decks I highlighted last week, you can check out the link below.
Let’s get into it!
Kicking us off today, we have a derivation on one of my favorite Standard decks – Boros Reanimator. Now I know what you’re thinking, isn’t this just Boros Invoke? Well, while they are both reanimator decks, I would argue that for Boros Invoke – reanimation is the Plan B, for this deck, this is 100% the Plan A. Let’s break that down.
For this list, we’re starting the curve at two.
To help with consistency, we have two great two drops in Scrapwork Mutt and Ambitious Farmhand. Scrapwork Mutt works towards our game plan, it lets us pitch one of our reanimation targets and get a fresh card to work with. On the other hand, Ambitious Farmhand simply gives us a Plains which is extremely welcome given that this deck is extremely mana hungry.
Moving up the curve a bit, we have some excellent sagas to help us out as well.
To further increase this deck’s consistency, we have The Restoration of Eiganjo. Letting us nab a land is great, but the real prize is the second chapter. Being able to effectively ramp or even discard another reanimation target to recur a two drop is quite the deal. Lastly, getting a pretty nice blocker isn’t too bad either!
Next up, we have Fable of the Mirror-Breaker. I probably don’t need to explain, but a broken card that also lets us loot away reanimation targets is pretty good.
Finally, we have The Elder Dragon War as a multifaceted card for us. On the first chapter, you get a Pyroclasm which is excellent against aggro decks, second chapter you get a huge loot, then the final chapter is a great body. The best part about this card? You can choose where you start! If you need all three abilities or just one, you can do whatever you want here.
These slots are simple enough, here’s our reanimation! Invoke Justice is better as it can bring back anything and even grow you board, but Repair and Recharge is good at bringing back anything other than Sanctuary Warden which makes it very helpful!
Finally, we reach the cards we’re interested in getting back!
A nice middle ground between reanimation target and mid game bridge, The Mightstone and Weakstone not only lets you ramp to your most powerful cards, but guarantees card advantage through card draw or removal as needed!
Next, we have the classic reanimation payoff for White in Sanctuary Warden. This card is insane on cast and even more unreal when brought back with Invoke Justice as you can eat your +1/+1 counters over your Shield counters for the triggered ability. Then, if the opponent can’t kill it immediately (which is pretty hard considering the Shield counters), you’ll just start chunking the opponent while drawing more cards!
One of the scariest threats available in Standard, Cityscape Leveler is terrifying when cheated in or hard cast! When cast, you’re guaranteed that you’re killing the opponent’s best permanent, then if it lives even for just a turn, the game functionally ends right there. Even if the opponent can kill it, the Unearth ability will still almost always be 8 mana for 8 damage and a Vindicate.
Lastly, Standard’s most flashy card right now, we have Portal to Phyrexia for the last reanimation target. If this comes down, you just nuke your opponent’s threats, and then if it survives, you get to bring back the best creature from any graveyard each turn to seal out the game. I have to admit, I have yet to see a game that didn’t immediately end when this hit the board!
While this style of deck is a bit riskier than Boros Invoke’s midrange approach, going harder on the strengths of this deck can be quite powerful if you know the metagame you’re attacking!
Moving onto the second deck of the article, we have a super interesting tempo deck with Dimir Tempo!
Like all good tempo decks, you need cheap interaction, and we have plenty of that here!
To help deal with noncreature spells, we have Spell Pierce. I’m a huge fan of Spell Pierce right now as there are so many juicy cards right now that are pricey and just begging to be tagged for one mana. Furthermore, it’s so hard to play around as we have other one mana interaction as well!
If you need to remove small creatures, Cut Down has you covered. Killing every one or two drop and even some amount of threes is pretty strong for a one mana removal spell after all!
Finally, we have Rona's Vortex and a Unsummon / Vraska's Contempt split card that only Dimir decks get to utilize! Fading Hope saw a lot of play as just a slightly better Unsummon, but getting the ability to kick it and completely remove a threat is a substantially better deal than what Fading Hope gives you.
Moving up to the two drop slot, we have a pair of powerful threats.
First is a card we all know and love, Ledger Shredder! With a litany of cheap spells at our disposal, it’ll be trivial to trigger the Connive ability of Shredder letting us filter effectively and grow this bird extremely quickly.
Yet another bird gracing our deck, we have one that’s seen virtually no play in Aven Heartstabber. A two mana 1/1 Flier isn’t much to write home about, even if it draws a card on death, but once you get the passive active, you have a 3/3 Flying Deathtouch which is powerful on offense or defense which will assuredly give your opponent a big headache.
Since we’re a tempo deck, we need a lot of interaction, and there’s plenty here to choose from.
Need a creature dead? Good thing we have Go for the Throat and Infernal Grasp! I like the 2/1 split as Go for the Throat is going to take care of most of the problems you have, but in case a Steel Seraph is giving you trouble, you have additional outs.
For a more general interaction spell, Make Disappear is an excellent one. Most of the time it’ll just be a Quench, but in a metagame that’s defined by the power of the three drops and expensive cards, sometimes a Quench is all we need!
Moving up the curve, we have some powerful three drops that are perfect to curve into after a two drop!
A scary snowballing planeswalker, Kaito Shizuki is great at providing card advantage, making unblockable bodies to help pressure, and then can quickly creep up to the ultimate!
In a similar vein to Kaito, Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor is extremely scary following up a two drop as you can start converting damage into cards which will be extremely tough to stop!
Ending our curve we have a smattering of excellent cards we’d be happy to see in the late game.
Kicking us off, Sorin the Mirthless is a pretty classic walker with card advantage, creature making, and a powerful ultimate, all of which can be excellent depending on what we need.
Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim does much of the same as Sorin, but the tradeoff is much easier to scale upwards while giving up a game winning ultimate. Either way, Teferi is pretty scary as it provides cards for free, and once you have a lead, can start creating an ever growing army that’ll end the game within a few turns.
Just an excellent card in general, Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is simply a powerful fun of! It seems excellent here as you have a lot of means to defend it, so if the opponent can’t deal with it quickly, it will generally convert into a win.
Finally, one of the best end game threats in Standard, we’re running a pair of Invoke Despair as this deck can utilize it either as a stabilization tool or a threat to pull way ahead when we already have the lead.
Two color decks have mostly been absent from Standard due to the power of the three color lands, but Dimir goes to show that shaving some colors can be worthwhile!
For the final deck of the article, we have a cool take on Control with Orzhov Control!
Like any Control deck, your plan is to survive long enough for your threats to matter, so you’ll need a decent amount of early game interaction!
If you need to kill some creatures beating you down, it’s hard to do better than Cut Down and Go for the Throat! While Cut Down will kill the cheap creatures at a premium, Go for the Throat should do a great job at cleaning up the larger threats that need removing.
As a strong meta call, Duress seems excellent in the current metagame with most decks running a while lot of spells. While it’s technically tempo negative, being able to deal with a powerful threat for one mana is quite the nice deal none the less.
Finally, a staple in all slower decks, Reckoner Bankbuster will help provide a steady stream of cards so if you have to play off curve, you don’t get punished for it.
Moving up the curve, we have a bunch of great threes to work with!
One of the strongest planeswalkers ever printed, Liliana of the Veil has not had too much of an impact in Standard as the climate was hostile towards it, but it’s still a fantastic card. Whether you’re pressuring the opponent’s board or hand, Liliana will make life very difficult for the opponent.
Simply a solid card, Inspiring Overseer is a modest, yet effective threat that nets you a card, a life, and a body to work with, whether you want to pressure the opponent or trade with an earlier creature.
Lastly, we have the powerful The Restoration of Eiganjo to help keep things consistent. Acting as ramp for this deck, Restoration can get you ahead of schedule, then help defend you with a 3/4 body that will keep at bay most of Standard’s threats!
Coming in at the four drop slot, we have a bunch of different options to help us out depending on what we need.
A generically busted card, The Wandering Emperor always shines in Control decks as a means of excellent defense. Whether we’re exiling a threat or producing a bunch of 2/2s, The Wandering Emperor is a big pain for any deck to deal with.
Yet another walker to help us out, Sorin the Mirthless is yet another generically good card where the card advantage or bodies can easily start putting us ahead of the opponent.
An extremely underappreciated four drop in the sea of excellent threats, Henrika Domnathi can come down, immediately provide card advantage, then flip into a must kill threat that will swing any race in your favor left uncontested.
My personal favorite four drop in Standard, Edgar, Charmed Groom is a huge pain for most decks as killing it isn’t even bad for you! Unless the opponent can exile it, you’ll have some sort of threat one way or another, and if they kill it, you just get Edgar back in a few turns anyway!
The deck’s second board wipe to help reset things when needed, Depopulate does the job well when you need to start with a clean slate.
Finally, we have our curve toppers which are going to be the main way we’re ending the game.
A similarly annoying threat to Edgar, Charmed Groom, Ao, the Dawn Sky excels at providing pressure and being an absolute pain to kill as you will still get something powerful out of the deal on death!
The premiere top end for White decks recently, Sanctuary Warden comes down and absolutely dominates game states with a huge body, card advantage, and the threat to keep it up if not stopped quickly!
Finally, and to no big surprise for a two color Black deck, Orzhov is also representing Invoke Despair as well. This is just a two of as the mana base isn’t optimized for it, but even if you have to cast it much later in the game, it’ll still be brutal no matter what position you’re in.
When midrange is the name of the game, going bigger than them is an obvious solution, so if you like controlling the game, this could be an excellent option.
Do you have any interesting decks I should consider for the next highlight? Make sure to let me know on our Discord!
Thank you for reading!