It certainly has been an interesting meta with some hiccups out of the gate in the great rotation plus the release of Zendikar’s Rising, however we are most certainly in one of the smoothest periods I certainly recall since the Return to Ravnica days. Things continue to be extremely healthy, and I will comment some more on this below. Additionally, what I like most is from my experience this set being the last standard drop of the year it is also the longest time to play the current standard meta and set.
We are roughly two months in, with about 2+ months to go with Kaldeim being dropped. With the above said enjoy the health while we have it even though you may be getting some standard fatigue?!?!? (Never fear there is probably a list for you below otherwise) I wanted to share some thoughts as always, and highlight some new decks into the fray! (Note: This time around we have quite a few decks! Since the short to the expanded and now this list I have 40+ Decks!)
Previous Informative Tiers for Reference Posts on the site
I pull these lists together to help give us an alternative competitive angle, as well as trends, with a nice little timestamp as I believe being competitive there is a long term knowledge angle we need to take as well 🙂
Additionally, I like to provide a competitive MTGA Landscape, those who like a visual or just to discuss! You can find the observations along with the tier list below. Please share your thoughts as always, and feel free to comment on the new format or decks I should consider that I missed.
Note because you spikes may get a smile/laugh: Throwing this out there because I did beat Frank Karsten with a 6+ Plat2Mythic Rakdos aggro deck (below) match here…sorry Frank if you read this but I did try to tweet/DM you GG 😛 PS I was caught off guard while filming so no voiceover apologies…I wish! Still was a great match…I digress back to the Tier List!
TLDR: The healthy meta remains intact. Yorion has been knocked down a few, and esper doom more of a thang. Ugin creeping back in as predicted. Some surprise sleepers, and probably more. Don’t be surprised to see more competitive decks that make you go oooo.
What it is, current meta observations, and deck overviews! Additionally I love sharing the observations and recent changes we have faced in an ever evolving fast paced format.
Items of Interest & Considerations:
Long Live Balance – The “Spirit Squad” is still in the house! As I mentioned above I don’t quite recall a timeframe as healthy for the current state of standard for a very long time. The positive side of this is we continue to get an opportunity to both have fun as well as be competitive with a variety of decks in the current eco-system. Over the last two months we have heavily seen some trends come and go, new decks pop in, jank become competitive, and even those that were there right from the beginning continue to hold strong. There isn’t a consolidation of 30%+ of the meta playing one deck. Sure you run into common decks, but not every deck is Gruul or Rogues. There is a fair distribution among the decks taking up a healthy 2-5% of the meta, and at most clocking in around 15%. Even the pro leagues look pretty interesting!
Yorion got too close to the sun – Out of the gate Yorion decks were extremely hot, almost too hot to touch in fact and almost seemed unbeatable at times. However, since this rise I think like Yorions cousin icarus they may have got too close to the sun! In reality there are still some power esper/orzhov doom foretold decks, but many of the others are starting to wane. I believe we have even seen some interesting mardu spicing in there as well. All said and done it seems like the Yorion doom combo is emerging as the one key part of this pairing, and has just fallen a bit back to reality.
Ugin Second Coming? – Now this definitely needs to be called out! I had said this for sure after the Omnath ban, and that Ugin may make that comeback. However, maybe I was dreaming as I couldn’t find the line, but maybe I did call it out as a watch in my tier list videos. Nonetheless I will reinstate this as Ugin is most certainly coming back, and an Ugin insert land color or colorless or whatever archetype you want is definitely starting to show. More dominantly BIG RED and Mono Black Control making their marks.
“Where is Ugin? – I missed this in my BO3 commentary so figured I would add here. There is becoming a slight rise in ramp decks sadly next release for me, however I think that is also due in part to not a high usage of Ugin in the format yet…I say yet because I did posterize that Ugin definitely may make a comeback, and is certainly a great answer to loads of decks in the format.”
Definitely Overlook & Underplayed Cards – The more decks I have played, the more familiar I have become, and the more time I have spent there is one thing that has surprised me. There are still very very powerful cards that are not played enough or many of us have forgotten. I will give two examples given my recent experience oddly playing more black/swamp colored decks. The first one is soul shatter, this is certainly undervalued, and if you watch my sultai midrange matchup you will see why. The ability to crush a wicked wolf is absolutely nasty. The other one here worth mentioning that I absolutely love is necromentia. Again, a forgotten card that is a beast in destroying any main strategy your opponent has! All in there are certainly lots of fun things still coming, and I didn’t want to spoil it all because I love to see what people have in their back pockets!
Continuation – Still a call out despite the shifting landscape several of the competitive decks still remain positioned well, but their overall win rates have come down a bit, and the viability less certain. This again points to a very healthy meta. The decks I am talking about are mono red, dimir rogues, and gruul. These still remain great options, and certainly a path to hit mythic this season, or the next two.
There are still competitive, jank, and homebrewed decks to be discovered. Believe me when I say this not a day goes by I think of the jank meme’s going ooooo I should try that. I feel like every other day in competitive I play something with a dropped jaw and I need that shiny object!
I have produced this list from a culmination of a few things. I have reached this point by pulling together research data from multiple sources like untapped, MTGAzone, Aetherhub, twitter, personal gameplay, tournament matches, this reddit as well as others, personal stats, and consistently hitting Mythic over the last year and participation in the last Mythic Qualifier.
Again, Happy to discuss or talk about decks not included! Tier list below plus deck lists (shells – tweak to your heart’s content) if you are looking for some options most all top 1500 at some point many at the #1 Rank, and multiple top end tournament results!
2 The Royal Scions (ELD) 199
2 Shark Typhoon (IKO) 67
4 Sprite Dragon (IKO) 211
3 Vadrok, Apex of Thunder (IKO) 214
4 Raugrin Triome (IKO) 251
4 Opt (M21) 59
3 See the Truth (M21) 69
4 Stormwing Entity (M21) 73
1 Jace, Mirror Mage (ZNR) 63
1 Sea Gate Restoration (ZNR) 76
2 Sea Gate Stormcaller (ZNR) 77
2 Magmatic Channeler (ZNR) 148
2 Shatterskull Smashing (ZNR) 161
3 Spikefield Hazard (ZNR) 166
4 Needleverge Pathway (ZNR) 263
4 Riverglide Pathway (ZNR) 264
4 Crash Through (AKR) 149
4 Shock (ANB) 84
7 Island (KLR) 290
2 Redcap Melee (ELD) 135
1 Ox of Agonas (THB) 147
1 Shark Typhoon (IKO) 67
2 Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor (IKO) 109
1 Mythos of Vadrok (IKO) 127
1 Teferi, Master of Time (M21) 75
2 Confounding Conundrum (ZNR) 53
1 Into the Roil (ZNR) 62
4 Thundering Rebuke (ZNR) 170
I hope you enjoyed this slice of competitive Magic the Gathering on Arena or if you are lucky right now in paper. Thank you for your time, and feedback is always welcome! As previously mentioned happy to discuss deck choices, decks, and lists as always!