Happy Cinco de Mayo! Today brings quite the spectacle in Magic too; the old guard, the meta’s favourites that everyone was banking on, seem to have been caught unawares by sudden uprisings from covetous lords astride rarer Companions! Just last week, Keruga Fires and its Returned King seized back the throne through a string of tournament victories over the feline menace, Lurrus of the Dream Den and his band of death cultists, and looked to be consolidating its power as the best deck in Standard. Only Wilderness Reclamation, the villain in the East, presented itself as a major threat with its great Fires matchup, but a truly fascinating aspect of Standard is how quickly early metagames evolve. Several new decks have emerged and Yorion Fires has found a truly terrifying build that retains the many advantages Fires presents, while harnessing the spirit of Invention to go way over the top of the other Fires builds, and crushing Keruga Fires under its boot. This is all through its adoption of a powerful combo and through finding a king of its own to ride the great Bird Snake to victory… read on and get the scoop!
Our data this week comes from the Weekly Championship and the raging battle for the top mythic spots; we have no less than three decks to show off that have held the no.1 spot this week at one point or another. As usual, we’ve provided a full metagame update below, but you can click here to skip to the decklists if you want to see those right away!
Check out last week’s update & decks! Don’t worry, I won’t be repeating myself very much; most of the decks are different this week!
Yorion is the best Companion in Standard right now, the subject of a truly absurd number of meme tweets, with several powerful decks perched precariously atop those rather slippery-looking scales.
Let no one accuse me of burying the lede! Last week, I said that Yorion Fires decks were on the precipice of power but were still struggling to find a cohesive build, as is to be expected from having to pick 80 cards… well look no further. Appropriately for this week’s backdrop of betrayals, Lukka has conspires with Agent of Treachery himself to usurp Kenrith! The power of this build is abusing a very specific buildaround combo: if you have only one expensive powerful creature in your deck and you sacrifice tokens you get off your various noncreature generators to Lukka’s minus ability, you are guaranteed to plop that creature right into play as early as turn 5. When that creature is Agent of Treachery…. well, your opponents are never going to be having a fun time, and it’s going to be great on almost any board state, especially as your Companion is Yorion so if the Agent lives a turn, you just get to reach across the board and snatch their favourite card a second time; it’s really very rude.
The swing of stealing their best permanent and putting a must-kill 2/3 into play on turn 5 is something most decks are in no way going to be able to recover from. The other Fires decks don’t usually have a hope if you get to execute the Lukka combo, and the deck is full of good token generators to facilitate this, such as The Birth of Meletis, Mythos of Illuna and Shark Typhoon; these cards are strong and on-plan anyway! Mythos is devastating before or after; the combination of that and Teferi, Time Raveler means that they better kill your Agents even when you’ve already used Yorion up. This is a deck that makes best use of having 80 cards; it would be pretty tough to fit all these token generators into a 60 card deck alongside all the stuff your Fires deck wants to run anyway, but Yorion is easily incentive enough. Because your combo pieces are creatures, this deck has a strong anti-Control plan in that it will repeatedly force your opponents to tap out against Shark and soldier tokens or just take a lot of free damage and slowly die.
While this deck is a less focused Fires deck purely because it’s harder to draw Fires, you really don’t need it – Fires leads to some great turns but is afterthought rather than centrepiece here, which is another key difference and advantage over the Kenrith Fires decks; Kenrith shoots from medium to busted with Fires, while Lukka is great in this deck with or without. One nice aspect is that you don’t really care that much about Mystical Dispute; many of your crucial cards are red or white, which certainly gives you an edge postboard.
Yorion Fires crushed the Magic Fest Online Championships this week, and I suspect it’s far from done yet; it’s one of those decks that feels obviously ludicrously powerful from the first few times you play it… Stay tuned, I’ve been having a blast with it and plan to put out a deck guide for it soon; when I do, I’ll update this sentence with a link!
Don’t fall asleep just yet! Last week Bant was still trying to ramp up to stuff, but in this it has swerved in a more controlling direction, no doubt in an attempt to better combat Fires and Wilderness Reclamations; both decks dislike playing against Elspeth Conquers Death and Aether Gust, and Fires really wants countermagic to stay far away from it. Another Agent of Treachery deck, this one just seeks to hardcast it; it’s always a reflection of aggro’s decline and Standard’s turn in a greedy direction when that happens among one of the best decks. Really, greed is very clearly at the forefront of the mind of its creator Witch, a Japanese player from Team Cygames, who fought for rank 1 mythic with it this week. It incorporates not just Narset but Tamiyo, Collector of Tales, as a card advantage engine and to combo with Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath. I suspect this is a good way to attack Yorion Lukka Fires and that matchup may be even prove favourable, since Aether Gust is great against that deck, but this one operates on a much lower power level, doesn’t actually have that much countermagic, and Lukka Fires still has those devastating midgame turns so we’ll have to see how that pans out!
The traditional approach of having cards with great enter-the-battlefield (ETB) abilities and a great payoff in Thassa, a plan Yorion obviously has great synergy with, is still paying dividends! Yet another Agent of Treachery deck (definitely seeing that card everywhere is not getting old, no sir), this one again seeks to control the game until it can hardcast it, at which point if you have Thassa out you generally win the game. The deck has a lot of similarities to Bant Control, but has more direct on-the-nose Yorion synergy rather than seeking to have your planeswalkers live to abuse it. That plan has some advantages in that this deck is significantly better against aggro so if we see Lurrus leave some more pawprints over the meta next week, this is probably a better place to be. I suspect this deck is significantly worse against Lukka Fires though, being less able to keep up with devastating midgame turns and having a less powerful grind, and because Mystical Dispute will generally cost 3 against that deck (and this deck is one that looks to tap out, so it won’t necessarily be able to hold that up) and be useless if they ever stick Fires; it’s significantly worse than Aether Gust in that regard.
Lurrus & Obosh
Interestingly, the Cat Oven decks seem to be going back in the direction of just having good aggro cards this week, shaving some more synergistic elements. It’s a moment of deja vu to see Kroxa again; this version is highly reminiscent of the aggro deck that conquered the tail-end of the Theros meta (embark on a wondrous foray into the past here), and it’s been one of the three competitors for rank 1 Mythic this week. As always, Kroxa has fantastic synergy with both Oven and Priest, allowing you to full control get a free sacrifice in off the first time you play him. The Ghostform tech is certainly here to stay, with Lurrus + Ghostform being a powerful t4 play that sets up your coming turns magnificently, preventing even Elspeth Conquers Death from getting you. No doubt to try to prevent being outground by Fires and help dig for your Cauldron Familiar + Witch’s Oven combo sooner, Light up the Stage has crept back into these lists.
The real battle of the aggro decks is between this and the Obosh decks, with each having its own advantages and putting up its own great results (Mono Black Obosh is the third competititor for rank 1 this week, look out for its segment soon), and the Obosh decks looking like they actually win the matchup, Mayhem Devil being so devastating. It’ll be interesting to see which better fights the new Yorion decks, as I suspect that will be the ultimate winner in the coming weeks – I would be inclined to believe this one does so better, for now.
Purported to be the premier best-of-one deck, it’s easy to see why Emperor Kitty’s New Groove would be leaving some deep scratch marks all over that format, with Inspiring Veteran and Worthy Knight being such powerful cards in aggro mirrors and the deck having a ton of ways to both protect and extract maximum value from the Catpanion himself. Fight as One is an interesting inclusion which incentivises jamming Lurrus t4 and allows you to rumble in combat with him a lot more than you’d otherwise be willing, and allows you to protect another Knight alongside him/absolutely destroy some combat phases/counter some removal spells for devastating tempo. The deck acknowledges being poor against Wraths in its two copies of Unbreakable Formation (though that card does suck against Teferi, so keep him off the board at all costs!).
The deck is spotty at best in best-of-three, so we might need to see some adaptations to better fight the Lukka Fires menace in the coming weeks.
RuneclawBarich was the final competitor for rank 1 Mythic this week, with all manner of terrifying monsters at their side (Obosh himself probably still winning the fear factor award, with that gaping burning maw peering right into your soul… the producers of the next Ghost Rider movie should really take note) including our old friend, the 3 mana 7/6. The deck uses its 12 one-drops to great effect, with all of them being great with Obosh and Heraldic Banner playing the dual role of ramping up to Obosh and making them that much more terrifying. The deck leans heavily on disruption to fight against Fires and slower decks, with a full 6 discard spells main, and leaving many of its anti-aggro tools in the sideboard; 4 Cry of the Carnarium means I suspect it’s well-favoured games 2 and 3 against the Lurrus decks.
And there’s more…
Here’s some quick looks at four very different decks, which capture some of the wackier things going on in Standard right now (though really the Cycling deck is just good rather than wacky, but I didn’t want to infringe on Mark Gabrielle’s terrific deck guide, which I enjoyed editing!):
- Dimir Mutate is a really cool deck which exploits a much-overlooked feature in Companion deckbuilding; you can board out Companions and stop adhering to their restrictions. Game 1 the deck plays a powerful general proactive role, swarming the board with as many creatures as possible and therefore outsizing the aggro decks, and then it brings in the best tools to approach the matchup it’s facing in games 2 and 3, with Cry of the Carnarium against aggro and a pile of countermagic against Control.
- Jeskai Winota is capable of having one of the best t4s in the entire format, being another deck that can cheat Agent of Treachery into play, sometimes even multiples, while having a much more aggressive gameplan than Lukka Fires. However, the deck is heavily reliant on drawing Winota in a way that Fires is not, since many of its cards (like Raise the Alarm) aren’t great without her, and you tend to be very vulnerable to instant-speed removal on turn 4 as a result.
- In another blast from the past, some Mono Green Stompy lists are creeping onto the ladder! I have a full deck guide on the Theros version of this archetype here and really not many of the cards have changed, apart from adopting Gemrazer instead of Lovestruck Beast to better fight Fires and Reclamation.
- Note that Temur Reclamation is still a really strong deck, and one I would recommend practicing with and getting your reps in! I gave a full description of the deck last week, and pro Ivan Floch wrote a fantastic guide on it.
Tune in for our ongoing MagicFest Online coverage! We have breakdowns of the hundreds of decklists each event presents us as they come out.
MTG Arena Mythic Standard Decks of the Week
Here are the full list of known Mythic decks over the past week shared by the players, sorted by the deck archetype name with their highest placement noted (if known). You can also view all of these decks in our Standard deck section.
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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 gather and post decks from a variety of archetypes and that include plenty of 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 @Terence a shout in the Discord!