MTG Arena’s July 2020 ranked season is now well under way, and the first week has always been a great time to source decklists, as players rush to claim the top Mythic spots and share their success. This month is no different, as we find out what the best decks in the Standard and Historic metagame are, and how Core Set 2021 has affected those environments. Though we may not see too much change or innovation until the premier tournaments start (Players Tour Finals and Mythic Invitational), the formats are evolving slowly but surely. Make sure to also check out the results of some Standard and Historic events from the past weekend:
- Standard Metagame Challenge (huge variety of decks here, we highly recommend you check it out!)
- SCG Tour Online Championship Qualifier #2
- Red Bull Untapped Online Qualifier Russia
- MTG Arena Zone Historic Open #4
Remember, we also have our metagame section that you can visit anytime for the latest tier lists alongside links to more decklists and guides!
MTG Arena Standard Mythic Decks of the Week
Here are some of the highlights from this week, and today we look at various mono colored decks and some other existing archetypes that experiments with the new Core Set 2021 cards. You can click on the links to go to the decks themselves, and you’ll find the full listing below, sorted by their highest recorded placement.
Pro player Teruya Kakumae was one of the first to reach Mythic this season, with an off-meta deck that caught everyone by surprise. If you have been keeping up with the latest decks from MTG Arena Zone or social media, there is a good chance you’ve seen it on the ladder or tried the deck for yourself by now. It relies on Rotting Regisaur being well-positioned in the current metagame, as control decks are less common, Temur Reclamation struggles to answer it, and the colossal body fares well against opposing creature decks like Mono Red Aggro and Mono Green Stompy. Keep an eye out for Sacrifice decks as they are still relatively popular in Standard, and present an unfavorable matchup for creature-based decks like this one.
We don’t have access to Embercleave to go over the top with the giant dinosaur, but Demonic Embrace gives it flying and extra power to end the game, often in one swing, if your opponent doesn’t have a good answer. You can even discard the Embrace to Regisaur and recur it later, when the moment is ripe. Being able to stick it on to your one drops is another great option, giving them longevity and utility even when the ground is locked down. Eliminate and Grasp of Darkness, from the new set, have been used in the initial build as support spells.
There are two flavors of Mono White decks around: one is the low to the ground aggressive deck and another is based on exploiting lifegain synergies. With this deck, we’re showcasing the latter, which got a huge boost in Theros with Heliod, Sun-Crowned and Alseid of Life’s Bounty, but was not quite powerful enough to break into the existing metagame. The deck was still decent in a BO1 metagame where Mono Red was especially prevalent, but looks set to make more waves now than it ever has before.
Core Set 2021 has introduced some interesting cards to support this archetype, namely Speaker of the Heavens, a solid one drop on its own but, if left unchecked, can start generating 4/4 Angel tokens every turn. Selfless Savior is arguably better than the Alseid as you do not have to hold up mana for the ability, and Basri Ket looks to be a decent Planeswalker for these type of decks, though he may fit better into the more aggressive shell.
Mono Green was picking up traction in the weeks leading up to the release of Core Set 2021, and now we have even more options in card choices. The major advantage of a mono colored deck is the consistent mana base, and Mono Green is able to produce a seemingly endless stream of must-answer threats, which have brought this archetype to solid tier 2 status. Scavenging Ooze is the quality two drop the deck really needed, and graveyard hate is now more relevant than ever with cards like Cauldron Familiar and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath running amok. Primal Might is a solid, flexible spell which allows you to invest only one mana in killing off pesky creatures even if you are on the draw, and then functions as a powerful mana sink later on, threatening a lot of extra damage alongside the removal effect.
It remains to be seen if other additions such as Garruk’s Harbinger or Garruk, Unleashed will be staples or situational roleplayers. In CraigMack’s version, they have included the full four copies of Garruk’s Harbinger in the main deck, so it is worth trying for yourself, especially if heavy black decks like Mono Black become more common.
Counterspells are not at their best in the face of the sort of mana ramp that also generates insane value like Uro, or cards that outright stop them like Teferi, Time Raveler and Mystical Dispute, which is especially powerful against other counterspells, but Flash decks are hanging on in the metagame to some degree. Blue received some decent disruption spells in Core Set 2021, and Sublime Epiphany has impressed the most so far, despite costing six mana. This is one of those spells that, without the right supporting cast of Growth Spiral and Uro, may be too expensive, but when you have a bunch of ramp, it plays out as the Blue Casualties of War, blowing out opponents from nowhere. Discontinuity is another interesting card with numerous applications, and we even have a deck guide built around this card that you should check out. Both Flash decks utilize these cards well, and should be viable (if not especially good) at least until the likes of Growth Spiral and Nightpack Ambusher (a combo with Rewind!) rotate out of Standard in September.
It appears some versions of Gruul have transitioned into more of a slower midrange style, as the mana base for even two color decks is quite rough for aggro decks at the moment. Having access to more varied threats as a result of this change, in the form of planeswalkers and creatures that avoid Claim the Firstborn is definitely a positive. The new Gruul creatures provide exactly what it needs, and the new Garruk, Unleashed presents immense pressure and suits this kind of style perfectly. Terror of the Peaks has also been used in the Temur Elementals build with Genesis Ultimatum to one shot kill opponents, and Elder Gargaroth looks unbeatable against opposing creature decks, as it can attack and defend at the same time, and is very tough for Mono Red, Mono Green, or Rakdos Sacrifice to remove.
MTG Arena Historic Mythic Decks of the Week
It is hard to properly assess whether Core Set 2021 has impacted the Historic metagame significantly – our weekly Historic tournaments have been dominated by the usual Gruul Aggro and Nexus of Fate decks. We still have Jumpstart cards to look forward to, and the upcoming Mythic Invitational tournament in August will provide players more incentive to break the format. Hopefully, all of this will inject more life into a format that has begun to feel a bit stale!
Goblins are on the fringe of being competitive, especially with the introduction of Gempalm Incinerator in Historic Anthology 3 and Conspicuous Snoop in Core Set 2021. Jumpstart looks to strengthen the deck further (be sure to check out our theorycraft article) with cards such as Goblin Chieftain and Muxus as well. What really makes the deck such a powerhouse in the current form is the fearsome Goblin Chainwhirler and Call of the Death-Dweller combo, which is a death blow against opposing creature decks such as Gruul Aggro. If you’re looking for something a bit different, this is a fun deck that is capable of climbing the ladder quickly.
Vito and Revival // Revenge is a powerful instant kill combo, but is not really fast or reliable enough to be used as a win condition on its own, especially in Standard. In Historic however, Vito fits well into the Vampire creature tribe, which is supported well enough to have been a Tier 1 deck in the pre-rotation M20 Standard environment, and at least 2-3 in the current Historic meta. Vito works fantastically in the deck as a stand-alone card, since Vampire cards have a lot of incidental lifegain, and their solid aggressive plan sets up the burn he provides to end the game in many spots. Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord is the main engine that can cause huge life swings in the presence of Vito. Be sure to give the deck a shot, especially if you already have most of the cards.
This column is our weekly roundup of Standard and Historic decks players are using to climb the ranked ladder on MTG Arena! Our goal is to curate and post a variety of deck archetypes and interesting card choices at the end of each week to help you keep up to date with the latest trends in the metagame. If you have any decks you want featured, please tweet us at @mtgazone or give us a shout at our Discord.