With the latest set, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, about to be released and alter the Standard meta it’s time to take one last look at the current best decks before some vanish. Looking through statistics on MTGGoldfish for both the Standard format and MTG Arena format, five 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 pre-Innistrad: The Midnight Hunt and we will update our list in October once the new meta has settled a bit.
Last updated on September 8, 2021, following card bans.
My favorite deck in Standard has rocketed back up in popularity, but not because of any new cards. While the only D&D cards in this deck are Power Word Kill, the rest consists of the same rogues and tempo spells we’ve seen. These include Merfolk Windrobber, Soaring Thought-Thief, Thieves’ Guild Enforcer, and Drown in the Loch. Boasting quite a bit of removal, we will use cards like Into the Story and Of One Mind to refill our hand. This deck thrives on other midrange or slower decks with expensive spells it can counter or destroy. Plus, we are running two Agadeem’s Awakening, just in case something goes wrong and we need to bring our creatures back.
This deck is… annoying. Boasting a comical amount of utility, Naya Midrange is all about dropping creatures, powering them up, and controlling the flow of the board. Our big drops are Winota, Joiner of Forces and Minsc, Beloved Ranger, while Kenrith, the Returned King offers an uncomfortable amount of versatility. Jaspera Sentinel, Prosperous Innkeeper, and Lotus Cobra offer us ways to quickly ramp into our threats. Blade Historian acts as a terrific finisher since it can give our creatures double strike and Esika’s Chariot can get out of hand if left alone. In terms of board protection we are using Selfless Savior and Elite Spellbinder can do some potent enter the battlefield tricks. Overall, this deck is exceptionally resilient, capable of dealing with almost any type of threat while maintaining control of the board.
Perhaps the most unique deck we’ve had in the meta for some time, Jeskai Mutate is a fun mix of control and aggro. The deck revolves around mutating Lore Drakkis and Vadrok, Apex of Thunder to constantly reoccur instant and sorcery spells in your graveyard. Given that a large percentage of our noncreature spells are some form of removal or disruption, we can easily overwhelm our opponent. This allows our small army of fliers to just batter our opponent’s life with very little trouble. We’re also running Valakut Awakening, Seize the Spoils, Expressive Iteration, and Prismari Command to refill our hands, ensuring we always have gas even without creatures. This is a pretty tricky deck to pilot, but one that can be an absolute nightmare to play against.
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.
For all those looking to run as few creatures as possible, consider picking up Prismari Control. This deck solely revolves around stalling your opponent until you either mill them out with Midnight Clock or resolve a Kiora Bests the Sea God. Supporting this is a big removal package that includes Burning Hands, Spikefield Hazard, Cinderclasm, Fire Prophecy, Shatterskull Smashing, and Bonecrusher Giant. If that wasn’t enough control, we also have a plethora of counterspells like Disdainful Stroke, Essence Scatter, Jwari Disruption, Mystical Dispute, and Saw It Coming. Mazemind Tome gives us more card advantage while Shark Typhoon provides another way to take over the board. If you’re new to Magic this isn’t the deck for you. It heavily relies on understanding the meta, while knowing what threats to deal with.
With the meta shifting following D&D: Adventures in the Forgotten Realm releasing, there are a number of solid Tier 2 decks. Naya Adventures is probably one of the most skill-intensive decks in the format, but unfortunately, so much of it will rotate out soon when Eldrain leaves Standard. Black/Red Sacrifice isn’t Tier 1, but it’s probably one of the most entertaining decks right now.
For those who just want to punch opponents in the face, the Mono-Green Midrange deck is a terrific option. This deck offers a nice mix of aggro and control cards, but it can be a bit resource intensive if you don’t have a ton of Wildcards. Jeski Cycling is still kicking around as well. However, due to the sheer amount of counterspells and control decks in Tier One, this deck can be tricky to play. If you really want to play control, I recommend either Prismari Midrange or Sultai Control.