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Theros Beyond Death Standard Decks from Day 1

Theros Beyond Death is the latest expansion released just yesterday, adding more than 250 cards to the Standard card pool. While the new cards are not on the same level of power as the ones from Throne of Eldraine, they are good enough to make players excited to try out new brews and attempt to shakeup the old metagame. This is our roundup of all the interesting decks from the first day, featuring decks played by Mythic players, pros and streamers.

Do note that players should be thinking twice before committing their precious resources such as Wildcards early on after a set release. Popular decks from the first week can disappear very quickly once people figure out how to beat it, and a metagame will form again as tournament and event results start to come out. In these roundup articles, we will be presenting the decklists below but first, we will be highlighting individual cards so our readers can be better informed should they choose to craft them.

January 18, 2020: We’re now past day 1 of the Theros Beyond Death metagame – check out our Standard deck page for all future upcoming decklists and archetypes!

January 19, 2020: MTGO Standard Standard Challenge #12071839 Decklists – First Look at the Theros Beyond Death Standard Metagame

January 20, 2020: MTG Arena Budget Standard Decks – January 2020 has now been updated!

Mono White Devotion

Alseid of Life’s Bounty is a card that has impressed many so far, and fortunately it is just an uncommon. It is very versatile in its roles – whether it be an enchantment, lifegain or protection enabler. It is akin to Siren Stormtamer, and can be considered even better. Naturally, it fits well in the Mono White Devotion deck featuring Heliod, Sun-Crowned that can put counters on your creatures left right and centre, and has been dubbed “Soul Brothers” along with Daxos, Blessed by the Sun. It looks like Linden, the Steadfast Queen has found her home, but consider that Heliod is a pretty niche Mythic that you should keep an eye on, but shouldn’t rush into.

Mono Black Devotion

Mono Black Devotion has been one of the most popular decks so far on the ladder, and one of the reasons is Gray Merchant of Asphodel being a key card only at the uncommon level. As is with these types of decks, being a creature based deck without good enough backup plans make them weak against control decks. Nightmare Shepherd and Woe Strider have also been almost staple cards players have been including and their effects are generic enough that you may find a use for them later down the track.


The new Sagas are also the talk of the town at the moment as players are beginning to find out how good they are. Starting at uncommon, we have The Birth of Meletis is perfect for a more controlling deck to stall your opponents and it makes sure you don’t miss your land drop. Elspeth Conquers Death is also a great catch-most removal spell for planeswalkers and creatures alike from the first chapter. Its effect also seems generic enough to be relatively safe to craft.

Azorius Control

Next up, Shatter the Sky is the catch-all removal spell control players have been looking for as cards like Defeaning Clarion and Time Wipe were not good enough some times. The 4 mana cost is huge, as it can mean the difference between life and death especially if you are on the draw. Dream Trawler is also being touted as one of the key cards of the format, giving the White/Blue based decks the best finisher it needed. Being able to protect itself without paying any mana makes it very difficult to deal with.

Escape Cards

Both of these red Escape cards – Phoenix of Ash and Ox of Agonas – are also being tried out in a few builds, namely ones featuring Arclight Phoenix. The deck finally has a great way of using its graveyard, and these two cards fill that role just fine. While Phoenix of Ash seems like a fine card, be wary of the Ox though it’s definitely a card keeping an eye on – but there’s a lot of Mythics in this set that may be worth your attention more.


The two titans still are out to prove themselves in their respective deck archetypes, whether it be the ramp or sacrifice deck where they obviously needs to be tested first. Holding off on crafting them would be a good idea, though they look extremely tempting.


  • crokeyz has shown us from the Early Access Streamer Event that Thassa, Deep-Dwelling is a really good card – even if you don’t intend for her to become a creature at all! He is starting with a build that gives a lot of value in his Elementals deck with enter the battlefield effects featuring Omnath, Locus of the Roil and Risen Reef. He is still improving and refining the deck on his stream as we speak. Remember the Claim the Firstborn interaction where you can steal your opponent’s creatures permanently!
  • Magic Pro League player and Hall of Famer William Jensen had been playing around with Enigmatic Incarnation on his stream today, a toolbox deck featuring creatures that have a variety of mana costs and effects. As we saw with early Vannifer decks last year, there is a risk that this deck will end up not being competitive at all. The major difference is that the effect happens automatically and for no mana cost, and you don’t just have to sacrifice creatures – you can sacrifice other enchantments as well.
  • Anax, Hardened in the Forge is being trialled in the new Mono Red Aggro builds, as it can carry Embercleave well, and it is really good against board wipes. Phoenix of Ash is also another one competing for its spot and is also good against more controlling decks. It’s unlikely that these cards alone will make the deck top tier again, but as we know Mono Red Aggro is at its best when there is a fresh metagame and it can prey on unrefined, slow decks.


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