Hello everyone, I’m Arne Huschenbeth, a Gold Pro based in Berlin, Germany.
My favorite format is also the one I found my most success in, Standard. In the future, I will be giving you my personal insight on new standard decks, techs, and metagaming here on Hareruya.
The early stages of Standard after a new set comes out and especially after a rotation happened are always exciting. It’s the brewers’ paradise and your deckbuilding skills can really shine in the first weeks. You have to start from scratch, find out what the metagame could look like and prepare accordingly.
I have no Standard event coming up, but I love Standard so much, that I just commit my time and energy to it anyways. In this article, I will present you with my findings on new decks and thoughts on the metagame. I am sure that it will be helpful to anyone who is playing a tournament this weekend or who just wants to know what’s going on in Standard. Let’s dive right in.
The Level 0 metagame is the starting point for the new meta which all my further assumptions are based on. The most commonly played decks will likely be Gx (most likely GB) Stompy, Mono-Red, Boros Aggro, and Turbo Fog. Decks that will also pop are Selesnya Token, GB Undergrowth (powered by Modern staple 《Stitcher's Supplier》) and UW/Jeskai Control.
GB Stompy is one of the best decks in the format and I assume it will always be one of the top dogs. 《Pelt Collector》 is a ridiculously good card, to good in my opinion, and 《Nullhide Ferox》 is also way better than it looks. It always trades equally or better in mana with a removal and is just a beating in any creature matchup, especially against red.
4 《Overgrown Tomb》
4 《Woodland Cemetery》
-Lands (24)- 4 《Pelt Collector》
4 《Llanowar Elves》
4 《Kraul Harpooner》
4 《Thorn Lieutenant》
4 《Steel Leaf Champion》
4 《Thrashing Brontodon》
4 《Nullhide Ferox》
2 《Vine Mare》
3 《Ghalta, Primal Hunger》
Now on to Mono-Red, it’s the real deal again. You would think that Mono-Red lost it all, but there are enough pieces for a low to the ground burn-heavy red deck. 《Risk Factor》, 《Runaway Steam-Kin》, and 《Experimental Frenzy》 are pretty great. The latter is a way better 《Outpost Siege》 in a low to the ground deck since you have a low land count and a low curve.
If you are a control deck and Mono-Red is heavily played you firstly need to have a plan against their barrage on your life total and secondly have a way to deal with 《Experimental Frenzy》. Definitely not an easy task to handle both angles of attack.
Here is a list, that is close to the one my good friend and GP Grinder Sascha Schwarz has been crushing with online lately.
-Lands (22)- 4 《Ghitu Lavarunner》
4 《Fanatical Firebrand》
4 《Runaway Steam-Kin》
4 《Viashino Pyromancer》
4 《Goblin Chainwhirler》
4 《Lightning Strike》
4 《Wizard's Lightning》
4 《Risk Factor》
2 《Experimental Frenzy》
Boros seems to be an underdog against Stompy, Turbo Fog and Control in general. I don’t like the deck too much currently, but maybe the right list hasn’t been found yet. Boros got a lot of publicity in the last days, so I expect that it will be heavily played this weekend. The deck is not bad by any means, 《Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice》 is quite the card.
I haven’t played with or against Turbo Fog lately. The deck almost lost nothing, that couldn’t be replaced easily. So I would expect people to play it. Especially the control players will gravitate towards it.
Now after we established our predicted metagame, let’s see how we can attack it. I’ve tried UW Control and Jeskai Control. Those decks felt good and playable, but UW has a problem dealing with creatures like 《Legion Warboss》 and 《Emmara, Soul of the Accord》. Moreover, Jeskai has trouble fighting red with their shockland heavy manabase.
The answer lies in the color black. Black has everything I want. 《Ritual of Soot》 is the truth. It looks unassuming but it does everything I want to be doing right now. Black actually has an abundance of good cards, especially in the multicolored department.
Something I learned early was that I am not playing a deck that can’t deal with a resolved 《Experimental Frenzy》. This means, that all the Grixis combinations are off the table.
Then I went to Esper Control, in which I already found success in the previous format, getting a Top 8 in Brussels. Right from the beginning, Esper felt like where I wanted to be. Here is my current list:
4 《Watery Grave》
3 《Evolving Wilds》
4 《Drowned Catacomb》
3 《Glacial Fortress》
3 《Isolated Chapel》
1 《Field of Ruin》
-Lands (27)- 1 《Chromium, the Mutable》
3 《Cast Down》
3 《Moment of Craving》
2 《Essence Scatter》
1 《Disdainful Stroke》
4 《Sinister Sabotage》
4 《Chemister's Insight》
3 《Ritual of Soot》
3 《Vraska's Contempt》
2 《Search for Azcanta》
4 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》
《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 is still bonkers. 《Chemister's Insight》 is also unbelievably good and way better than I thought. 《Vona, Butcher of Magan》 might be the best possible sideboard card. I’ll bring her in against almost everything. A great card, that can now see the light of day with 《Glorybringer》 and 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》 no longer in the format.
Esper is especially well suited to beat the green decks and other Control decks. The matchup against Mono-Red is close to being 50/50. The best cards they have against you are 《Risk Factor》 and 《Experimental Frenzy》. Postboard you have ways to mitigate the power of these cards in the form of 《Vona, Butcher of Magan》 and 《Invoke the Divine》.
Another card I love is 《Disdainful Stroke》. It’s the best counter for sideboard hate that opponents might bring in against you. Most decks try to beat Control postboard via planeswalkers or other hard to deal with permanents, which usually cost four or more mana. 《Disdainful Stroke》 answers these angles of attack efficiently.
Option One: Play Stompy or Mono-Red. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Being proactive in week 1 is never a bad choice. I would recommend these two decks to anyone who likes being the aggressor.
Option Two: Play a deck that can beat the predicted metagame. Play Esper Control.
Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can always contact me on Twitter.