This past weekend was the last Mythic Championship of the season and it provided a good look into where standard is and will probably be over the next year. Midrange combo decks dominated the event with Jund Sacrifice coming out on top piloted by Piotr Glogowski. The surprise deck on the tournament was Simic Flash. It produced three Top 8 places with Brad Nelson, Seth Manfield, and Javier Dominguez piloting it.

WHAT I LEARNED FROM PLAYING THESE DECKS

But most importantly, where is Standard now after this event. Over the weekend, I used all the Top 8 decks on Arena to get a sense of the power of each deck. What I found was that they all had strengths and weaknesses depending on what your opponent was playing. The common problem for all these decks was consistence. When you got the right cards, they could crush an opponent, but when the draw was not ideal, they had problems.

Another issue with all these decks is sequencing. Knowing when to play key cards played a significant role in whether you would win or lose a hand, so you should familiarize yourself with the Top 8 deck lists so that when you play against one of these decks you will know what to expect because playing into your opponent’s strategy has a bad feeling. That is why I do not recommend playing them in best of one on Arena.

To get a real feel for the deck playing traditional standard will put you in a better place and allow you to overcome any game-one problems because of deck construction issues. I feel that each of the decks is standard playable. Simic Flash seems to be the best, but Jund Sacrifice is a close second with Jeskai Fires coming in third. Here are the decks.

Jund Sacrifice, Piotr Glogowski MCVII

CREATURES (23)
Korvold, Fae-Cursed King
Massacre Girl
Thrashing Brontodon
Cauldron Familiar
Beanstalk Giant
Murderous Rider
Mayhem Devil
Gilded Goose

SORCERIES (4)
Casualties of War

ARTIFACTS (4)
Witch’s Oven

ENCHANTMENTS (4)
Trail of Crumbs

LANDS (25)
Blood Crypt
Overgrown Tomb
Stomping Ground
Swamp
Mountain
Forest
Fabled Passage
Castle Locthwain

SIDEBOARD (15)
Massacre Girl
Korvold, Fae-Cursed King
Duress
Wicked Wolf
Murderous Rider
Deathless Knight
Thrashing Brontodon
Lovestruck Beast

Simic Flash, Seth Manfield

CREATURES (15)
Frilled Mystic
Paradise Druid
Nightpack Ambusher
Hydroid Krasis
Brazen Borrower

PLANESWALKERS (4)
Nissa, Who Shakes the World

INSTANTS (15)
Mystical Dispute
Aether Gust
Growth Spiral
Quench
Sinister Sabotage
Negate

LANDS (26)
Castle Vantress
Forest
Island
Breeding Pool
Fabled Passage
Temple of Mystery

SIDEBOARD (15)
Mystical Dispute
Aether Gust
Lovestruck Beast
Negate
Sorcerous Spyglass
Hydroid Krasis
Crushing Canopy
Chemister’s Insight
Kenrith’s Transformation

Jaskai Fires, Paulo Victor Damo Da Rosa

CREATURES (15)
Bonecrusher Giant
Cavalier of Flame
Cavalier of Gales
Kenrith, the Returned King
Sphinx of Foresight

PLANESWALKERS (4)
Teferi, Time Raveler

SORCERIES (7)
Deafening Clarion
Shimmer of Possibility

ENCHANTMENTS (4)
Fires of Invention

INSTANTS (3)
Aether Gust
Justice Strike

LAND (27)
Castle Vantress
Fabled Passage
Hallowed Fountain
Island
Mountain
Plains
Sacred Foundry
Steam Vents
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of Triumph

SIDEBOARD (15)
Aether Gust
Devout Decree
Disenchant
Bonecrusher Giant
Mystical Dispute
Justice Strike
Kenrith, the Returned King
Drawn from Dreams

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

We are about a month and a half from the release of Theros: Beyond Death. From the leaks so far, we know what mechanics will be part of the set. The big returning mechanic is devotion. We saw a similar mechanic in Eldraine with adamant, but it has not played any significant role to date in standard. As formal previews begin in January, we will get a better idea of the power of the other mechanics.

hen Kaladesh and Amonkhet rotated out of standard just over a year ago, the format changed significantly. Gone were combo decks and aggro decks became significantly worse. With this past fall’s rotation, aggro became generally unplayable in competitive play because of the vast amount of board wipes available in the format. When you look at the deck lists from Mythic Championship VII, you will notice that outside of Simic nearly all the decks have some form of board wipe that can crush any aggro deck that stumbles or even has a good draw. The most popular aggro deck, Mono-Red, is particularly bad because it does not have a way to deal with all the 5/5 creatures that are dominating standard or the 4/4s that play key roles in many of the top midrange decks. As a result, aggro is not playable in highly completive events. In addition, Theros will most likely not change this very much unless red and white get powerful tools to combat midrange decks.

Several players attempted to play Azorius or Esper Control at Mythic Championship VII. These decks did not perform well. The overall power of Jund Sacrifice, Jeskai Fires, and Simic put these decks behind early with recurring strategies that made it difficult for control to keep up with them. Without more early interactions in the form of Annul, Spell Pierce, and Essence Scatter it will be difficult for traditional control to be in the top tier of decks moving forward.

This leave standard with a group of competing midrange combo decks that tend to play long games. The only current strategy that has successful deployed a control element is Simic Flash and this version uses ramp to get its key cards into play early. To execute the decks game plan, it uses a half dozen counter spells and Frilled Mystic to attempt to control the game early and uses Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Nightpack Ambusher to win the game. At the beginning of this season, I felt that this would be one of the better strategies for this season because of the additional flash creatures from Core Set 2020. What Dominguez, Nelson, and Manfield did was take the deck in a new direction that proved very successful at the Mythic Championship given the metagame. I expect this deck to see plenty of play through the remainder of Eldraine season and into Theros season.

Given what we know so far from Theros: Beyond Death, red and white will need help to be competitive aggro strategies and traditional control will need additional counters or affects that create a prison type strategy for it to succeed. The fact that we are getting a cheaper white exile spell in Banishing Light will help white strategies. Hopefully, more tools will arrive once preview season starts to allow these strategies to have more of a role in the metagame.

Until next time. Good luck finding your win condition!