Introduction: New Kings in the Post Ban Standard
We are already getting results from the first few events on MTG Arena and Magic Online (MTGO) and it’s becoming clear what are the two front runners for best deck or best archetype: Jeskai Fires (For now the most popular versions are the ones with Cavaliers and 《Sphinx of Foresight》. Without the Planeswalker package and without 《Fae of Wishes》) and Cat-Oven decks (Jund being the most popular option at the moment, having 《Mayhem Devil》 as the best card against other 《Witch’s Oven》 decks).
My Favorite Cat-Oven Shell: Golgari
Magic Online grinder Carlos Alexandre (_Batutinha_ on MTGO) finished second in the first post-ban PTQ playing a Golgari version of the Oven-Cat archetype.
4 《Overgrown Tomb》
4 《Temple of Malady》
1 《Castle Locthwain》
-Land (25)- 4 《Cauldron Familiar》
4 《Gilded Goose》
4 《Paradise Druid》
3 《Murderous Rider》
3 《Thrashing Brontodon》
2 《Midnight Reaper》
3 《Massacre Girl》
This is an archetype I’ve been working on for a while as well, even before the banning of 《Oko, Thief of Crowns》 I was happy to have a better mana and 《Midnight Reaper》 instead of the Planeswalker and I felt reassured about the deck when I saw Batutinha coming so close from the qualification.
What is the Best Top-End Spell?
People are still trying to figure out what are the best top-end spells to play in the deck. 《Liliana, Dreadhorde General》? 《Garruk, Cursed Huntsman》? 《Korvold, Fae-Cursed King》? 《The Great Henge》? But the banning of 《Veil of Summer》 is what makes this question very easy for me to answer: 《Casualties of War》.
Batutinha identified this and pushed his strategy and decklist all the way to play four maindeck copies of the card. Casualties is not only much better with 《Veil of Summer》 gone, it is also perfect for the current metagame of 《Fires of Invention》, 《Witch’s Oven》, 《Trail of Crumbs》 and multiple big creatures and Planeswalkers.
Other than the big impact of 《Casualties of War》 is going to have in the next few weeks, there are other cards I would like to talk about. For that, let me first share my current take of the decklist:
4 《Overgrown Tomb》
3 《Fabled Passage》
2 《Temple of Malady》
2 《Castle Locthwain》
-Land (26)- 4 《Gilded Goose》
3 《Cauldron Familiar》
3 《Paradise Druid》
3 《Midnight Reaper》
3 《Murderous Rider》
4 《Questing Beast》
2 《Wicked Wolf》
The first card I think people are missing out is 《Questing Beast》. After the banning of 《Field of the Dead》 and Food decks taking over, 《Questing Beast》 stopped seeing play because it’s poor match against 《Wicked Wolf》. The Wolf is barely seeing any play anymore and 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 is picking up in popularity again. Not only is the Beast taking down the Planeswalker, but is also surviving Jeskai’s sweeper of choice: 《Deafening Clarion》. Giving you an excellent clock to finish games before Fires generates enough value to take over.
《Questing Beast》 is still very hard to block. Cat-Oven decks play very few creatures with power 3 or more and even less that can actually trade with the Beast. 《Cauldron Familiar》 not being able to buy time via chump blocks is also a big game winning line in the mirror.
《Assassin’s Trophy》 is another card that haven’t seem much play lately. 《Fires of Invention》 generate so much value and Jeskai plays so many lands already that giving them an extra one is rarely relevant. Probably the third most popular archetype right now is the 《Rotting Regisaur》 + 《Embercleave》 decks. The reason why this combo is so good is because there are very few good ways of interacting with it at instant speed. Trophy does exactly that in a fantastic way.
Against control and midrange this card is weak on it’s own. 2 《Witch’s Oven》s and 1 Cat work for 2 drains per turn, but not 2 Cats and 1 Oven. I don’t want to draw 2 Cats early and games normally go long enough that you assemble the combo anyway.
People used to run 24 lands and 4 《Once Upon a Time》 in the Food Sacrifice decks, it’s crazy to me seeing lists of the archetype with as low as 23 lands now. Nobody is going over 25 either. Hitting land drops is very important for this deck. Missing a land drop early means having less 《Trail of Crumbs》 activations later on and that basically means drawing one, two, three cards less because of that. The deck also has 《Castle Locthwain》 as mana sink!
This card was excellent against decks with 《Nissa, Who Shakes the World》 and decks with 《Edgewall Innkeeper》. Both those decks suffered a big loss with the banning of 《Oko, Thief of Crowns》 and 《Once Upon a Time》 and their metagame share is reduced because of it. Maybe I am being bold by completely removing this card from my 75, but right now I don’t think it’s as good or even needed to win certain matches.
《Legion’s End》 in the sideboard
Another card I couldn’t get why people stopped playing. Maybe not as impressive as dealing with 20 zombie tokens in one go, but still quite impressive to deal with a creature, see their hand AND maybe even take an extra copy of the card from there. Golgari Adventures plays 《Order of Midnight》 and 《Find/Finality》 to recover their 《Edgewall Innkeeper》 from the graveyard, sometimes just “killing it” isn’t enough. Against Rakdos Knights information of their hand is also very relevant, being able to play around 《Embercleave》 or 《Blacklance Paragon》 make the games easier.
I like 《Rotting Regisaur》 better than 《Lovestruck Beast》 against the decks you want those cards for: Gruul Aggro and 《Wilderness Reclamation》, but honestly I can’t be sure if I am right. 《Lovestruck Beast》 sometimes can’t attack and Temur Reclamation has 《Aether Gust》 to deal with it.
Decklists and metagame are still shaping up, but here’s a guide to get you started with the deck:
Gruul Aggro / Gruul Adventures
I am still exploring the format and I am sure things will keep changing in the upcoming weeks, but I am happy where I am right now and I hope this article helps you get started as well in the new metagame.
Thanks for reading,