New Standard Metagame

Petr Sochurek

Petr Sochurek

Hello everyone!

It’s Petr again and as usual I am going to be talking about standard today.

Standard is in a very interesting place after the bannings and a lot of people are kinda lost about what is going on right now, so I figured it might be useful if I share my view on where exactly standard is at this point, why certain things happened and how I would approach it.

Aetherworks Marvel

After the ban of 《Aetherworks Marvel》 a lot of people thought that Mardu will be the uncontested number 1 deck, but that didn’t happen at all.

Why is that? Well the main reason why people thought that Mardu is so good is in my opinion the fact that Mardu was one of the few decks that could compete in the previous metagames and if you follow that logic: it means this deck was powerful enough to compete against those broken decks, so its obviously going to be insane now, then it would make sense, but that was not the case.

Toolcraft ExemplarGideon, Ally of ZendikarHeart of Kiran

Mardu was able to compete because its a straightforward proactive deck with a nut draw and Gideon can very easily steal games against Saheeli and Marvel if they don’t have the combo, because they have a hard time pressuring it.

Now the metagame looks completely different – if you look at the tier1 decks (temur energy, mardu, zombies, BG energy) they are all creature decks and all of them are somewhat good at not simply dying to 《Heart of Kiran》 or 《Gideon, Ally of Zendikar》 while going over the top, which makes Mardu a lot worse.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good deck; it has a lot of powerful cards with a great sideboard, it’s just not even close to being as dominant as some people thought it would be.

Why is BG delirium not that great?

Grim FlayerTraverse the UlvenwaldIshkanah, Grafwidow

After the bannings, the conclusion that I heard the most was that B/G delirium with 《Ishkanah, Grafwidow》 is going to be great – the spider is great against aggro so it makes sense right? I still think that there is a fine version of delirium that can easily compete, but it’s never going to be an amazing deck, because it lacks nut draws.

If you look at all the other decks, there is one thing that connects them – they all have a very strong nut draw that is almost impossible to beat, while being somewhat resilient and still having a reasonable lategame.

Liliana, the Last HopeVessel of Nascency

The delirium deck doesn’t really have that – their best draw is something like removal, 《Liliana, the Last Hope》, 《Vessel of Nascency》, spider or something? I mean that is good but it’s not 《Toolcraft Exemplar》 into 《Heart of Kiran》 or 《Winding Constrictor》 into 《Rishkar, Peema Renegade》 that can easily win games from a mulligan to 5.

Emrakul, the Promised End

Also there are many games where you play your flashy card that you have to work so hard for, in this case Ishkanah and you still lose, because the other decks also have powerful cards and you don’t have 《Emrakul, the Promised End》 in your deck anymore – yes you are probably a favorite to win those games, but the fact that you still lose a decent amount of those is really bad for your overall win percentage.

How to approach this metagame?

As I said, most of the decks right now are creature decks and it’s good to be aware of that and take advantage of it.

Aethersphere Harvester

I am not necessarily talking about a deck choice that preys upon all the creature decks, but you should customize your current deck (even though it’s probably also a creature deck) with that in mind, right now you can very easily get away with playing more removal or cards like 《Aethersphere Harvester》 main deck.

Fatal Push

For example, I think that all the black decks should just play 4 《Fatal Push》 right now – a lot of the games (especially g1) are about curving out and goldfishing better than your opponent in the early game – it’s really hard to come back from certain starts and push is great at getting back tempo – on the draw pushing their 2drop and playing yours can easily be game winning.

Why is there no deck that preys upon all these creature decks?

I’ve already touched on this when I talked about BG delirium – it’s hard to compete with the creature decks nut draws, in simpler terms : the creatures they’ve printed are just way too good.

I think that there is a card that is very very good right now though and that is 《Fumigate》 – simple as that. It’s not great against Mardu (it’s still fine), but as I already said, Mardu is nearly not as popular and it’s insane against temur, bg and zombies.


I think that there are 2 legitimate 《Fumigate》 decks now and those are Mardu planeswalkers and UW control.

Mardu planeswalkers is basically a Mardu deck that is already presideboarded – my problem with this is that when Mardu sideboards into the controlling version, they know exactly what are they up against and can customize their decks depending on that.

However it’s hard to do that game 1 as every deck requires a little bit different setup and a lot of your cards (like planeswalkers for example) might be really bad and slow (just simply dying to the creatures) in the games where you don’t draw 《Fumigate》 so I think that ultimately you are probably better of just playing regular Mardu and board into the control deck as usual (though it depends on the specific metagame a lot and I can certainly be wrong about this).

As for the second option – UW control, I think it might be very good right now. It was terrible before, because you often have to rely on your sweeper as your removal spell and have to tap out for it – if they punish you with Gideon, then it’s not that bad, but Marvel or Saheeli could have just easily combo’d you. Those aren’t in the format anymore so there might be a chance for U/W to shine.

This is a decklist that Gabriel Nassif streamed with a couple of days ago:

Gabriel Nassif – UW Control

8 《Island》
7 《Plains》
4 《Irrigated Farmland》
4 《Prairie Stream》
2 《Blighted Cataract》

-Lands (25)-

4 《Torrential Gearhulk》

-Creatures (4)-
4 《Censor》
3 《Essence Scatter》
2 《Negate》
1 《Anticipate》
1 《Blessed Alliance》
1 《Immolating Glare》
2 《Disallow》
4 《Glimmer of Genius》
4 《Hieroglyphic Illumination》
3 《Fumigate》
4 《Cast Out》
1 《Aether Meltdown》
1 《Quarantine Field》

-Spells (31)-
4 《Spell Queller》
2 《Gisela, the Broken Blade》
2 《Descend upon the Sinful》
1 《Shielded Aether Thief》
1 《Angel of Sanctions》
1 《Archangel Avacyn》
1 《Thalia's Lancers》
1 《Linvala, the Preserver》
1 《Bruna, the Fading Light》
1 《Dispel》

-Sideboard (15)-

CensorTorrential GearhulkFumigate

I haven’t played with the deck yet, so I am not really sure, but my instincts tells me to play 4 《Fumigate》 main deck and probably more 《Archangel Avacyn》 in the board.

What would I play if there was a tournament tommorow?

Relentless DeadLord of the AccursedLiliana's Mastery

I think that in a theory zombies should be the best deck right now, but it suffers from one certain thing – it’s easy to sideboard against. This is a common thing that I see happen over and over again.

Most of the people you face in tournaments aren’t professional players and they don’t see as deep into certain matchups. If I asked you to tell me what is the single best card against temur energy, what would you say?

It’s hard because there is no simple answer and it largely depends on your deck, on their specific version and other factors so you have to understand what the matchup is about to sideboard properly, whereas everyone knows that cards like 《Magma Spray》 and sweepers are great against zombies and when building a sideboard, everyone starts with those cards.

It doesn’t really matter if it’s right for your deck to have those cards to maximize your win percentage against the field in the next tournament: most people are just going to have those cards anyway (it doesn’t mean that is wrong to have those cards in your sideboard, my point is that even when it is, people are still going to have those) and I think zombies suffers because of that. It’s still a good deck, but I think that it’s getting hated out a little bit too much.

New Perspectives

You can see the same pattern with the 《New Perspectives》 deck – I think that in theory it should be way better than it actually is, but it’s not because it’s easy to find it’s weakness and target it.

NegateTransgress the MindSkysovereign, Consul Flagship

It doesn’t matter that it might be wrong to have infinite 《Negate》s or 《Transgress the Mind》 in your sideaboard right now and maybe they should be something like 《Skysovereign, Consul Flagship》 – many players are still going to have those, because they know when to board them in – you play against a control or a combo deck? Great I have these!

For those reasons, the deck I would play tomorrow is Temur energy, seems weird, right? Marvel got banned and the deck suffered a huge blow, but it’s still great, why is that?

Servant of the ConduitRogue RefinerGlorybringer

The energy shell itself is very powerful and customizable to beat any deck and the fact that the Marvel card got banned, might have actually worked in its favor, because people are no longer gunning for it.

It would take a lot for someone to enter a tournament before with what they thought was a deck with a bad marvel matchup, but now there are infinite viable decks and temur isn’t even close to being as powerful as marvel in a vacuum so no one has a reason to target it, which means that there are a lot of decks being played that are good matchups.

This is my current list:

Petr Sochurek – Temur Energy

4 《Forest》
2 《Mountain》
1 《Island》
2 《Game Trail》
2 《Sheltered Thicket》
4 《Aether Hub》
3 《Botanical Sanctum》
2 《Spirebluff Canal》
1 《Lumbering Falls》

-Lands (21)-

4 《Longtusk Cub》
4 《Servant of the Conduit》
4 《Rogue Refiner》
3 《Tireless Tracker》
3 《Whirler Virtuoso》
4 《Bristling Hydra》
4 《Glorybringer》

-Creatures (26)-
4 《Attune with Aether》
4 《Harnessed Lightning》
2 《Cut // Ribbons》
2 《Aethersphere Harvester》
1 《Chandra, Flamecaller》

-Spells (13)-
3 《Magma Spray》
3 《Dissenter's Deliverance》
3 《Negate》
3 《Radiant Flames》
2 《Lifecrafter's Bestiary》
1 《Skysovereign, Consul Flagship》

-Sideboard (15)-

Rogue RefinerTireless Tracker

I think the biggest strength of the deck is that it’s great postboard – you have great options for any matchup while 《Rogue Refiner》 and 《Tireless Tracker》 become busted when you have the right cards in your deck to draw into and the fact that games postboard tend to go longer on average works in your favor as well.

Thanks for reading,

Petr Sochurek

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