Welcome back! We’re now five weeks into Ikoria but I’ve decided to skip my usual metagame update this week, as this is the first week where the top decks didn’t change so radically that I could write about mostly new ones; still, this could easily be the calm before the storm so watch out! Consider this a data gathering week, and we’ll see if we have enough new uprisings for one next week.
Instead, by popular demand, I give you the meta’s hidden treasures, those uncut diamonds in the rough, the lifeblood of the Standard format that gives it longevity even when there’s a temporary ceasefire at the top. These are the smaller lords that are laying a claim to this or that territory, all of which hope to eventually set their sights on the throne, but they aren’t quite there yet; the sweetest and most memorable mythic decks of the week, which I’ll be hand-picking and showcasing!
Mardu Winota Aggro by coutinho brewer (#257)
A deck that reminds me a great deal of my Historic Humans Theorycraft, that serves as a real compliment to a Standard deck; this one looks and feels powerful at first glance. Adding Black to Winota means the deck can run Lazotep Reaver as copies 5-8 of Raise the Alarm, which gives you enough go-wide cards that Judith starts to look very promising. Judith has great synergy with General’s Enforcer, alleviating her rather crippling weakness to Shock and Bonecrusher Giant. This is clearly the fairer aggressive plan that Wizards had in mind/tested out when printing Winota (rather than doing stupid things with Agent of Treachery), so it’s easy to imagine her being really powerful here also. Of course, it’s also far more fun and leads to more interactive and interesting games!
One tool that I feel Winota decks haven’t been built for but is powerful in them, and clearly so in this one, is Fight as One, which not only protects Winota from instant speed removal but is powerful against sweepers in any deck with a good mix of Humans and non-Humans (which Winota always has, but clearly saving something like Agent of Treachery from a Wrath is far less important/harder to set up than Judith or Tajic).
Embercleave has had quite the fall from grace this Standard, going from one of the best aggro tools in Standard to barely being played, as Companions became our swords instead – certainly I can say personally that I would rather have whatever nightmarish creature Obosh is at my side than a greatsword, even a massive flaming one. That being said, it fits perfectly in a deck like this, making Winota herself a lot threatening and providing a good way to use those go-wide creatures to maximum effect.
Overall, this is a deck with a powerful, focused, and resilient gameplan, and probably the one I would recommend the most of the lot – I suspect in coming weeks, it could well be contending for the top spots. Coutinho Brewer certainly seems to be doing well with it, having climbed from 98% to #257 Mythic, going by his top rank with his other deck this week (showcased later on!).
Temur Yorion Elementals by Sheep (#316)
This is a deck highly reminiscent of the M20 Standard format, where everyone and their cat (no, this was before Lurrus!) was trying out Temur Elementals; the inclusion of Yorion with all those ETB effects can only be great. While that deck was quashed by the early rise of Golos Field, drawing a million cards with Risen Reef and blowing up your opponents with Omnath felt pretty unstoppable, as long as your set-up turns went well and you didn’t run into too much aggro. This version even has the old Risen Reef + Scampering Scorcher combo (though no Chandra, Acolyte of Flame anywhere, which is a bit weird), and has some truly overwhelming high end in 4 Genesis Ultimatums + 4 Agent of Treachery – that’s the kind of inevitability that can even keep up with the likes of Temur Adventures.
My main concern is that while Yorion is obviously great here, Elementals has always been highly dependent on Risen Reef, and 80 cards does make you significantly less likely to draw it, but even doing so off Genesis Ultimatum late game is going to be huge here! I do think some aspects of the sideboard could be tweaked as, in an 80 card deck, I’m a strong believer that your cards should be haymakers and overwhelm the matchups in which you draw them (think Flame Sweep, not Scorching Dragonfire), rather than just doing something incidental and small. Still, this deck exudes power and should be a fun and strong alternative midrange deck for people to try out; it’s especially good since the meta has many controlling decks like Bant Yorion, and you should just be able to overwhelm them with neverending streams of value.
5C Niv-Mizzet Winota by Europa626 (96%)
Niv-Mizzet Umori is a much more interesting and out there way to build Winota decks than anything we’ve seen before; it combines the devastating power of Winota -> Agent of Treachery with the grind potential of Niv-Mizzet, and uses a bunch of nonhuman Ramp creatures which double up as Winota triggers – a 0 power Gilded Goose or Arboreal Grazer won’t make for such a laughable attacker when it’s fetching up an Agent, Haktos, or Kenrith to slay them with!
While I’m a bit sceptical that this is better than just playing Winota with the regular aggro creatures and token producers, and having a more consistent mana base and more triggers off her, one of the big problems with the old Winota decks are their weakness when you don’t draw her, and this deck certainly has a powerful backup plan for when that happens. I wonder whether Umori is worth giving up Fires here, since Kenrith and Niv-Mizzet benefit from that card so much… either way, the deck is certainly a ton of fun, and one of the most innovative brews in Standard, so a pat on the back and our thanks to Europa626!
Jund Kaheera Dinosaurs by Blasebui (97%)
Marauding Raptor has some major upsides over other Ramp cards: it still functions as a threat, since it can attack for 4 routinely, and Creature spells costing 1 less is much better for double-spelling purposes – you can play a 3 and a 4 on turn 5 with it. This is offset by the huge downside of being unable to play x/2s with it out; trying to play Kaheera in this deck with Raptor out will end poorly, and it also makes your x/4s like Questing Beast vulnerable to shock effects; if your Mono Red opponent has 1 mana up and is able to answer your Beast this way, that is absolutely devastating. That being said, it has great synergy with the deck, which has no fewer than ten Dinosaurs to pump it, and it enables you to establish much more threatening boards than Paradise Druid would.
Regisaur + Embercleave functions a lot like Anax + Embercleave here, in that they die instantly, but the deck is much less aggressive than Mono Red, since it can play a far better value game and is much more midrangey; it still retains most of the speed with Grazer and Marauding Raptor, so it’s the best of both worlds in theory. Shifting Ceratops is fantastic in a meta dominated by Blue, and t2 Raptor t3 Ceratops will devastate Teferi players.
That being said, there are some significant downsides to this strategy instead of just playing something like Gruul Kaheera Fires (see that deck’s creator Delmo’s exhaustive guide here, which I had the pleasure of editing) – you lose one of Standard’s best cards in Fires of Invention, and your mana base is significantly worse (e.g. this deck only has 12 untapped Green sources for t1 Grazer). Playing cards like Heartless Act and trying to be more of a classic midrange deck in a Standard environment where proactivity is king has some serious costs in itself; 1 for 1 removing their stuff is a lot less appealing when your opponents are playing better Companions like Yorion or Keruga and are going to be several cards ahead of you if you don’t kill them as quickly; this deck is certainly faster than Gruul Kaheera Fires when it has its good draws, but its awkward draws are much worse, especially since you have to trade off any Raptors to have access to your Companion.
The Raptor has been one of Standard’s forgotten children since Ixalan’s Dinosaurs rotated out last September, a simpler time before 2019’s greatest Standard fiascos. Other than the ten seconds in which I considered comboing it with Phyrexian Obliterator in Historic (it’s a combo for your opponents in that they win the game), I myself hadn’t thought too much about it either, so I’m glad to see it get some love here! Reintroducing old cards into the mix is a fantastic way to keep Standard from stagnating; I’d recommend that the aspiring deckbuilders among you follow Blasebui’s example and reinvigorate some old classics!
Temur Keruga Flash by Gordoless (92%)
Quite the amalgam of Simic Flash and Temur Reclamation on display here! Simic Flash was long seen as the boogeyman of some old Standard metagames, but it hasn’t been good for quite a while. One problem the old deck had was that you would often find yourself running out of cards in the late game; if your opponents got to resolve anything, that would often put them a lot of value up, and your cards weren’t as value-oriented so you would lose a longer game. The inclusion of Keruga, move into Temur rectifies that problem in a big way, and we already saw in Keruga Fires that if you’re running Adventures, you’re really not losing much. Mystical Dispute is another good way to get around Keruga’s stipulation, since the card is often castable on turns 1 and 2 and will keep opposing Teferis off the board, always a huge concern for both Flash and Reclamation.
The inclusion of Reclamation + Expansion is a highly interesting one, granting the deck more longevity, a way to further get around Keruga’s restriction (copying opposing Growth Spirals will be a big game!), and tap out for stuff like Uro and Keruga on your turn while still having access to your suite of countermagic on theirs. How well this deck compares to just playing Reclamation and having Growth Spirals (and sideboard Aether Gusts) of your own, it’s difficult to say, but it certainly plays a much better beatdown game than that deck can, and to discount the importance of that in a meta full of Mono Red Obosh and planeswalkers you have to pressure running around everywhere would be a Frilled Mistake.
Mono White Obosh Aggro by coutinho brewer (98%)
- I thought I was going to be able to go one article without talking about Lotus Cat (I already gave him plenty of attention in my banlist announcement commentary this week!) but this time, he’s given up his prized Companion chair and made his way into the deck itself; I think for how powerful he is, we haven’t seen enough experimentation with maindeck Lurrus (outside of the Ikoria Constructed Event, where I slotted him everywhere).
- Heraldic Banner & Obosh remain partners in crime, and we see the return of Venerated Loxodon, another old Standard card who used to make a board full of tokens into an absolutely deadly threat in short order, and here cheats Obosh’s restriction by often being castable for even mana.
- Lavabrink Venturer too makes an appearance as a powerful mirror-breaker for handling the other Obosh decks and as a 6 power evasive unit with your own Obosh.
- The deck has 4 copies of Fight as One for mitigating sweepers and making use of the good mix of Humans and Non-Humans (more incidental this time than in the Winota decks). Gideon is himself great sweeper protection, as they’d better have Planeswalker or creature exile removal to follow it up!
- The 3 Swallow Wholes in the sideboard are an interesting inclusion for breaking aggro mirrors and buffing up your myriad disposable 1 drops.
This is another powerful and focused aggro deck that looks clean and consistent; perhaps that is Coutinho Brewer’s style as they’re certainly living up to their name this week, knocking it out of the park with two memorable and innovative offerings at high Mythic.
MTG Arena Mythic Standard Decks of the Week
Here’s the full list of known Mythic decks over the past week, as shared by the players, sorted by the archetype name with their highest placement noted (if known). You can also view all of these decks in our Standard deck section.
Look out for my guide & brews for the Historic Artisan FNM-at-Home event in a few days!
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This column is our weekly roundup of Standard and sometimes Historic decks players are using to climb the ranked ladder on MTG Arena! Our goal is to gather and post the best and freshest decks from a variety of archetypes 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 on the site, please tweet us at @mtgazone or give @Terence a shout in the Discord!