Going for the Gold: Dominaria Standard
Welcome back to Going for the Gold!
It's been a while since I've delved into the state of Standard so I figured now was as good a time as any. Of course, with the upcoming Pro Tour and team Grand Prix I would be remiss to share any of my brews. However, I can definitely discuss the current state of the Magic Online metagame, which is usually a great predictor for the upcoming tournaments. It really breaks down to the following Tier One decks:
UW God Pharoah's Gift
Of course there are many other viable decks, such as BW Tokens, UR Wizards, RW Midrange, Mono Green, Ux Control, and so on. But these don't boast the same win percentage that the core four do. Let's delve into each deck separately and discuss what the deck is trying to do, and why it has been so successful.
This deck will remind you of the G/B menace that terrorized Standard during the fall of 2016, then lost a big card with the banning of Attune with Aether.
Well the archetype is back and it uses a new shell of Adventurous Impulse which allows you to find your better creatures. This version of G/B is very well positioned against the mirror and other creature decks because you can find Ravenous Chupacabra. You probably noticed that we have way more spells in the sideboard. This is because you want to fill your deck with hits for Adventurous Impulse.
Llanowar Elves is also a great addition that revives this archetype and replaces Servant of the Conduit, since the deck was lacking a good one drop creature. You may be wondering about Jadelight Ranger. It's a great creature that is able to find us lands or become a 6/5 with Winding Constrictor for the low cost of three mana. We still have Verdurous Gearhulk, which is able to pump out a huge army with our favourite snake as well.
This deck is typically weak against the slow grindy control decks. This is where the sideboard of Duress, Lifecrafter's Bestiary, and Vraska, Relic Seeker come in. Of course, depending on your local metagame you can adjust your sideboard to fight against any cards that you're having difficulty with.
This next deck actually gained in popularity since it started crushing all of the G/B decks popping up on Magic Online.
This deck really hits a sweet spot for me. After all, it gave me the closest shot that I've ever had to a Pro Tour Top 8 in Dublin back at the start of 2017. I finished 8-2 with a similar deck to this so I can really appreciate what it brings to the table.
This deck works functionally as a hyper aggressive deck, but it has a lot of late game inevitability. Scrapheap Scrounger is able to grind out opposing creatures and removal (with the exception of Magma Spray). Plus, if you get to the late game, you have cards like Chandra and Karn to help bolster you.
Heart of Kiran is a very unique type of card that pressures players and can be used as a counterspell against opposing planeswalkers as long as you don't activate it into removal spells earlier. I'm interested to see how Siege-Gang Commander changes the Standard format and this is one of the first non-God Pharoah's Gift decks that I have seen it played in (albeit in the sideboard).
The next deck will remind you of the Mardu Vehicles decks that ravaged Standard last year, but they have lost one of their primary colours since Unlicensed Disintegration is no longer needed.
Very similar to the RB Vehicles deck, this deck aims to get under the opponent early. We have a big creature upgrade in the form of Toolcraft Exemplar and History of Benalia compared to R/B. Scrapheap Scrounger does god's work in the same way it does in the aforementioned deck. History is a mythic that has warped Standard because of its ability to place a lot of pressure on your opponents. Knight of Malice is great at holding off opposing creatures and is immune to Fatal Push.
Unlike the R/B deck however, this deck can transform into a control deck with its ability to go late with Planeswalkers and wrath effects. Because of that flexibility, this deck is on my short list for the next Pro Tour in June.
Finally, the last deck is another one that I played in a Pro Tour in the last 12 months. It's gained many cards and has many different colour combinations, the most streamlined of which is U/W so that is what we will focus on.
UW God Pharoah's Gift
Ever since this deck won a Magic Online PTQ during its first week of being Standard legal, it has been a force to be reckoned with.
Pascal Maynard took it to a finals finish at Pro Tour Ixalan and it fell off the map after that. Unlike the other Gift's decks, this one has four copies of God-Pharaoh's Gift and zero copies of Gate to the Afterlife. That is because this deck is focused on filling the graveyard and casting Refurbish to put the Gift in play. It only has 16 creatures, which makes it difficult to trigger Gate, and that is why it is not included.
Out of the sideboard you get the ability to fight control decks with Negate, and you have Sacred Cat to slow down the hyper aggressive decks of the format. So there you have it, the four top decks in Standard with the addition of Dominaria.
Which of these decks is your favourite to play? Leave your comments below, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
Until next time, have a great weekend.