With the latest set, Kaldheim released it’s time to take one last look at the Standard meta before it drastically alters. Some of the biggest decks have vanished from the Tier One list and aggro/tempo strategies have overtaken control as the dominant archetype. Looking through statistics on MTGGoldfish for both the Standard format and MTG Arena format, four decks stand above others.
Remember, just because a deck is labeled as Tier One or Two doesn’t mean that’s all you should play. Some of the best matches come from wild, unorthodox decks. These are simply what a lot of people are playing and subsequently winning with. Keep in mind, these decks are post-Kaldheim.
Last updated on March 2, 2021, following card bans.
Mon-Red proves once again that it will never die. Built on the backs of Goldspan Dragon, Embercleave, and Anax, Hardened in the Forge, this deck is terrifyingly aggressive. Capable of dealing a lot of early damage thanks to cards like Fervent Champion and Fireblade Charger, Mono-Red is can overwhelm an opponent in just a few turns. Bonecrusher Giant and Frost Bite serve as our core removal spells, while Torbran, Thane of Red Fell can help get the last bit of damage through during an attack. Robber of the Rich provides some needed utility, allowing you to strip your opponent’s deck of useful spells. This is a remarkably easy deck to pilot, capable of bulldozing most top-tier decks. Plus, it’s relatively cheap to assemble which is always a benefit.
My personal favorite deck in the meta, Sultai Control is exactly what you’d expect from this color combination. Boasting an overwhelming amount of removal, cards like Eliminate, Binding the Old Gods, Heartless Act, Extinction Event, and Shadows’ Verdict allow us to easily remove any threats we may come across. If that isn’t enough, Disdainful Stroke, Jwari Disruption, and Negate comprise our counter package. We’re also running Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider to combo with Mazemind Tome and Valki, God of Lies when it flips over to Tibalt. Our big finishers are Kiora Bests the Sea God to make a massive Kraken and Shark Typhoon to get some value from all our non-creature spells. This deck is all about patience and timing, making it an effective counter to most aggro decks that are having a slow start.
Our final deck in the top tier category is Gruul Adventures. A mix of aggro and tempo, this deck is about deploying big creatures and keeping your foe always one step behind. Scavenging Ooze, Shatterskull Smashing, and Bonecrusher Giant serve as our removal package, with Robber of the Rich capable of picking apart our opponent’s deck whenever it attacks. Questing Beast, Lovestruck Beast, and Kazandu Mammoth are our main damage dealers, which are supported by cards such as Embercleave and Primal Might. This is a deck all about turning creatures sideways and battering down your foe. The adventures part simply acts as a way to consistently refill our hand due to Edgewall Innkeeper. We also have one The Great Henge because it does everything a growing Standard deck needs.
Did you think banning Wilderness Reclamation would stop the ramp decks? While I’m starting to lose track of how many times this deck has been reimagined, Temur Ramp is once again making waves in the Standard meta. Built on a foundation of Adventure cards, this deck is all about gaining a lot of mana so you can cast a big Alrund’s Epiphany to make some creatures and take an additional turn. It’s a simple strategy that is backed by some superb tempo cards such as Brazen Borrower, Bonecrusher Giant, and Spikefield Hazard. Our ramp includes Beanstalk Giant, Goldspan Dragon, and The Great Henge, while Edgewall Innkeeper acts as a solid card advantage engine. All of this building to deploying threats like Terror of the Peaks, Lovestruck Beast, Kazandu Mammoth, and Obosh, the Preypiercer to end the game.
Check out a Temur Adventure decklist here.
With the meta not really shifting much, there haven’t been any major changes or upsets when it comes to the best decks. Mono-Red is still very strong thanks to all the fast damage and additional ways to burn your opponent. For those who prefer tribal decks, Dimir Rogues has always been a popular Tier Two deck thanks to the sheer advantages they offer one another. But this deck is basically Dimir Control, just in a less efficient and deadly package.
Esper Doom is also nipping at the heels of the top tier decks, but this one is pretty tricky to pilot and very reliant on you being able to resolve Doom Foretold. This doesn’t make it bad, far from it, just a very difficult deck to use — especially for newer players. Finally, there’s Four Color Cycling which is just as janky and entertaining as it sounds. Essentially a Cycling tribal deck, you want to gain as much advantage as possible when ditching your cards into the graveyard for new ones. Truthfully, we don’t expect the meta to change much until the next set releases, as there’s really no card that’s too oppressive right now. This most likely means no more bans, at least until someone discovers the next broken combo.