The annual Magic World Championship XXVI is happening this weekend, and MTG Arena is holding a special event over the duration of the tournament to showcase the Standard decks being used by the 16 competitors. The full decklists have already been released yesterday, so you can click here to skip straight to them if you wish!
This is a great event especially for new players who do not have access to all the cards, to try out all of the competitive metagame decks without having to spend any Wildcards and win some bonus rewards in the process. In this article, we will go over each unique decklist, how they are relevant for everyday MTG Arena players and how we think the tournament will pan out.
The Magic World Championship XXVI is happening this weekend on MTG Arena! Tune in to live event coverage and see which of the 16 incredible competitors will win the title of World Champion and their share of the $1,000,000 prize pool.
Join the fun and #FindYourChampion by selecting a Worlds competitor! We’ll provide decks for use during this event. Matches are best-of-one, and you can swamp decks between games.
- Duration: February 14, 2020 at 8:00 AM PST – February 16, 2020 at 8:00 AM PST
- Format: Standard – choose from any of the 16 preconstructed decks supplied
- Entry Fee: Free
- Ends After: You can keep playing, but rewards do not go past three wins.
- Match Structure: Best-of-one matches (BO1)
- 1 Win: 1000 Mastery XP
- 2 Wins: 1000 Mastery XP
- 3 Wins: Worlds XXVI Card Sleeve
Let’s have a look at what deck archetypes the 16 players brought to the tournament:
|Deck Archetype||Deck Color||Number of Decks||% of Decks|
|Mono Red Aggro||4||25%|
- Firstly, we recommend you check out the tournament structure (and all other information, including coverage) at the Magic World Championship XXVI tournament page. The format is primarily best-of-three (BO3) Standard across the three days, but there are up to three rounds of Theros Beyond Death draft at the beginning.
- This particular event is BO1 so we don’t get the full picture here, but in this article we will be going through each decklist in the context of BO3.
- These are already widely proven top tier archetypes in Standard (check out our tier list here), but it is important to keep in mind that there are only 16 players in the tournament. Each of the competitors have built their decks to increase their win rate against these opposing archetypes, and is not necessarily representative of the metagame at large (though it does seem pretty close in this case, with control, aggro, combo and midrange represented).
- This is the first major Standard tournament since the release of Theros Beyond Death and the first examples of more refined decks built for higher stakes.
- Three of the archetypes revolve around cards that “goes over the top” or as part of a “combo” piece. Wilderness Reclamation and Fires of Invention essentially doubles your mana (at Instant or Sorcery speed) and Embercleave allows doubling of damage.
We will now delve into each decklist and compare them side by side!
There are four unique Temur Reclamation decks here, and each one does not deviate too much from what we have been seeing so far. The major point of difference is in the card selection and draw spells and the top end of the curve to act as an alternate win condition rather than just relying on the combo.
It is important to note that both Azorius Control and Jeskai Fires – almost half of the metagame – has a full set of Teferi, Time Raveler, which is one of its main weaknesses. Azorius Control even has Narset, Parter of Veils which can be difficult to deal with sans Storm’s Wrath. Mono Red Aggro is not the best matchup either, and these decks will need to have a board wipe ready to go and have ways to slow them down.
Autumn’s build is a well balanced, “stock” build – in the main deck, there is a split between Omen of the Sea and Opt for card filtering, a single copy of Scorching Dragonfire in lieu of the full playset of Storm’s Wrath, and Hydroid Krasis as the mana dump card draw creature (with Gadwick, the Wizened being the other option). Opt allows for easier access to Escape on Uro, whereas Omen allows you to dig deeper into your deck.
The sideboard is packed full of counterspells and Fry for the opposing Azorius Control and Jeskai Fires matchups, Scorching Dragonfire and Aether Gust for Mono Red Aggro.
Jean-Emmanual Depraz uses the more “traditional” spells, using a full play set of Opt and a couple of Chemister’s Insight and no Thassa’s Intervention or Omen of the Sea that the new builds are currently using. 2 Mystical Dispute and 1 Negate are included in the main deck to strengthen the matchup against other control decks. As a result, the sideboard is spread out across numerous cards with one-ofs and two-ofs. There are no Hydroid Krasis or Gadwick, and protecting the combo seems to be more important in this deck.
This is another well balanced build similar to Autumn’s version above. The single copy of main deck Niv-Mizzet, Parun may prove to be an important one.
Chris Kvartek brings a clean build, but the major difference between the other three decks is the inclusion of the full playset of Nissa, Who Shakes the World rather than Storm’s Wrath – preferring to be proactive rather than reactive. With Mono Red Aggro being a quarter of the field, this may make games pretty rough against them, though the full playset of Aether Gust and Scorching Dragonfire may help after sideboarding.
Mono Red Aggro
There are three unique builds here, and all of them increased the land count, decreased the burn and pump spells such as Shock and Infuriate, which currently does almost nothing against Azorius Control, Temur Reclamation, Jeskai Fires and even Jund Sacrifice so it seems like a decent choice since they consist of rest of the metagame (75%). Phoenix of Ash has been basically phased out from these builds, and the idea is just to end the game as soon as possible.
Seth Manfield and Andrea Mengucci worked together bring the same deck to the tournament. They went all in on creatures, increasing the land count to 22 due to the inclusion of Torbran, Thane of Red Fell.
Eli Loveman had a similar idea here to above, but still included a mix of Shock and Infuriate. 3 Experimental Frenzy in the sideboard is interesting, as we anticipate would be hard to resolve against most of the decks in the tournament due to counterspells like Aether Gust and Absorb.
Sebastian Pozzo drew the same conclusion as his other Mono Red competitors. Grim Initiate is an interesting choice over something like Tin Street Dodger which can help activate Robber of the Rich’s stolen cards and can be unblockable.
We have two unique builds of Jeskai Fires, which consist of a quarter of the metagame – which shows that the deck is still good despite getting minimal upgrades from Theros Beyond Death. In general, the deck should fare decently against Mono Red Aggro and Temur Reclamation but not too favored against Azorius Control.
This version of Jeskai Fires has more interaction spells in Bonecrusher Giant, Brazen Borrower and Defeaning Clarion – and no Cavalier of Gale! There are 4 Robber of the Rich in the sideboard, which will be particularly good against opposing control decks on the play.
This deck has two copies of Dream Trawler and Aether Gust (which proved to be a good maindeck inclusion in a green heavy meta) as its main point of difference. Aether Gust is a dead card against Azorius Control but should make the rest of the matchups more favorable with valid targets. Dream Trawler is an interesting inclusion, and we’ll be keeping an eye on how they perform. Legion Warboss is the sideboard creature card of choice as opposed to Robber of the Rich above.
Here we have two unique Azorius Control builds, with the finalists of Mythic Championship VI and Magic Pro League members Ondrej Strasky and Paolo Vitor Damo Da Rosa opting to work together.
This is a hardcore control deck that uses only one copy of Archon of Sun’s Grace and Dream Trawler and 3 Castle Ardenvale as the win conditions. They are using Thirst for Meaning as the card draw spell, which allows them to filter through their deck more quickly. Dovin’s Veto and Mystical Dispute will be important to counter the key cards such as Wilderness Reclamation and Fires of Invention. We will be in for some long games!
This is a clean build with mostly 4-ofs in the main deck, with some funky techs in the sideboard such as Emergency Powers (good combo with Narset), Spectral Sailor (will need to waste a removal spell on it) and The Wanderer (prevents damage from Expansion // Explosion). This is a well rounded deck that can do well against any of the decks in the metagame.
Piotr Glogowski won Mythic Championship VII with an undefeated record with the same deck archetype, and it is only fitting that he runs it again in the biggest stage. Whether the deck itself is the strongest out of the five is debatable, but in the right hands in certainly can be.
The most notable new inclusion in the list is Agonizing Remorse, and discard can be good against opposing decks relying on key cards to further their game plan. On a similar note, the three copies of Thrashing Brontodon in the maindeck targets all Embercleave, Fires of Invention and Wilderness Reclamation, which is 75% of the metagame. Despite this, Jund Sacrifice can lose to itself by being too slow or drawing the wrong half of the deck.
It will be interesting to see how far he can go as the “rogue” deck, having the advantage of being more under the radar than the other deck archetypes.
With all that being said, it is only fitting to predict who will win after seeing all the decklists. We picked Seth Manfield as part of the #FindYourChampion promotion, and we still think that Mono Red Aggro is good enough to go under all these decks here and have an edge in the tournament. A close second would be Jeskai Fires by Javier Dominguez and Marcio Carvalho, but they would hope to avoid Azorius Control along the way.
We hope you enjoy the event and the tournament! We’ll be covering the tournament live today, starting at 11 AM PST. In the mean time, why not check out the latest episode of the MTG Arena Standard Podcast where Jason and Jana discuss the pre-Worlds Standard metagame?