Decks to Beat March: Week 2


This week was pretty slow for standard. With a Modern GP the size of which we have never seen for a constructed event run by the company that throws the Open standard events each weekend. You could be sitting there wondering what kind of changes the standard metagame is going through. There is however one place in the world you can always go to when looking for metagame information. Magic the Gathering Online.

Magic the Gathering Online offers high value events called daily events. These events are the easiest way to get Qualifier Points for the Magic Online Championship Series. These happen various times each day and are a great way to test out you standard deck. So this week with a lack of other standard events to look at, lets take a look at MTGO and see where the metagame is at today.

Green Red “Monstars”

Lantto (4-0)
Green Red “Monstars”
Creatures (27)
4 Elvish Mystic
1 Scavenging Ooze
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Polukranos, World Eater
4 Stormbreath Dragon
2 Xenagos, God of Revels
Spells (10)
3 Mizzium Mortars
4 Domri Rade
3 Xenagos, the Reveler
Lands (23)
8 Forest
5 Mountain
2 Mutavault
4 Stomping Ground
4 Temple of Abandon
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Mizzium Mortars
1 Arbor Colossus
1 Bow of Nylea
1 Chandra, Pyromaster
4 Mistcutter Hydra
1 Plummet
1 Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
2 Shock
2 Unravel the AEther

A lot of people have been playing “Jund” in place of this deck and after a bit of testing I have come to the same conclusion of some of the best players in the world one of them being Paulo Vitor, and that is that the Jund version of this deck has almost no better matchups than the Green Red Version.

This deck itself makes up a little over 10% of the decks that go 3-1 or better at dailies right now. This is a pretty big percentage with of the different decks you can find on MTGO. I honestly think this number would be a lot hight if people weren’t gunning to beat this deck, and people would stop trying to play the Jund version.

The deck has truly changed our standard environment. Putting a target on its back for people to really look at their decks when building and asking themselves how they beat a Domri Rade, or a Stormbreath Dragon. This makes your deck look very different if it might have even there wasn’t a top-tier deck with these cards in it. We actually see this with our next deck.

Mono Back Rat Seize

_DarkBeast_ (4-0)
Mono Black Ratseize
Creatures (16)
4 Pack Rat
4 Lifebane Zombie
4 Desecration Demon
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Spells (18)
4 Thoughtseize
2 Bile Blight
2 Devour Flesh
2 Ultimate Price
4 Hero’s Downfall
4 Underworld Connections
Lands (26)
4 Mutavault
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
18 Swamp
3 Temple of Deceit
1 Bile Blight
1 Devour Flesh
3 Dark Betrayal
2 Doom Blade
2 Drown in Sorrow
3 Duress
2 Erebos, God of the Dead
1 Pithing Needle

The deck is currently making up 22% of the decks that are going 3-1 or better at daily events. I think this number is actually inflated due to the number of people on MTGO that are actually playing the deck. Before Born of the Gods came out it made up almost 40% of the decks I had played against when playing online. This number is very high. I personally believe the reason the numbers are still high is that people don’t want to buy another standard deck.

This deck has a very noticeable difference to the Mono Black deck of weeks past. That is the lack of Nightveil Specter and the addition of Lifebane Zombie.

We have talked about making this switch quite a few times on my podcast. Lifebane Zombie is quite good against the “Monstars” decks. Being able to strip a threat like Polukranos or Ghor-Clan rampager and then smash in for three untouched to hit one of their planeswalkers is pretty big game.

Another minor difference is the decrease in Bile Blights in the deck. This card was just not doing enough against G/R and the decrease in favor of Ultimate Price was kind of expected in my opinion.

One thing I like about this deck is how clean it looks. The numbers look crisp. This person wasn’t trying to do anything cute at all. It is something I respect a lot in someone. Being able to play the deck streamline not trying to put too much of themselves into a deck only to make it worse. We saw this happen toward the end of standard with the Owen Turtenwald deck that he dubbed Excalibur. The deck was very neat and tidy. Built to do the exact same thing every game. That is how I believe mono black is meant to be built.


Almost Devoted to U

kipricot (4-0)
Almost Devoted to U
Creatures (31)
4 Cloudfin Raptor
4 Judge’s Familiar
4 Frostburn Weird
4 Tidebinder Mage
4 Nightveil Specter
4 Thassa, God of the Sea
3 Ephara, God of the Polis
4 Master of Waves
Spells (4)
4 Detention Sphere
Lands (25)
2 Azorius Guildgate
4 Hallowed Fountain
11 Island
4 Mutavault
4 Temple of Enlightenment
2 Bident of Thassa
1 Cyclonic Rift
3 Domestication
3 Gainsay
1 Glare of Heresy
3 Rapid Hybridization
2 Revoke Existence

So last week I talked about this deck a little bit and said how much better Detention Sphere was than Demestication. This has held true. The deck has vastly improved since adopting the white splash.

The deck was being pushed out of the format by large midrange decks like the white version of the “Ratsieze” decks as well as the size of the Green Red deck at its natural evolution to beat up on this deck.

The addition of white for Ephara has really also helped the deck. It is just one more card that can tango with the monsters of Green Red and live to tell the tale. The card is also pretty good against control. Letting you always be ahead on cards when they are killing your creatures with one for one removal like Doom Blade is huge. Not to mention its large body is indestructible and hard to deal with.

This deck is making up about 11% of 3-1 or better decks in dailies right now. This has gone up a little in the last week due to the increase of the white versions. I expect as the numbers get figured out it will keep improving.

U/W Control

MGatica (4-0)
U/W Control
Creatures (1)
1 AEtherling
Spells (33)
2 Quicken
2 Syncopate
4 Azorius Charm
4 Detention Sphere
4 Dissolve
3 Divination
4 Sphinx’s Revelation
4 Supreme Verdict
1 Fated Retribution
Planeswalker (5)
2 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
3 Jace, Architect of Thought
Lands (26)
4 Hallowed Fountain
7 Island
3 Mutavault
6 Plains
1 Temple of Deceit
4 Temple of Enlightenment
1 Temple of Silence
1 Fated Retribution
4 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1 Dispel
2 Gainsay
1 Glare of Heresy
2 Negate
1 Pithing Needle
2 Renounce the Guilds
1 Revoke Existence

This deck is the pretty much the same as it’s always been. With the addition of Fated Retribution to help improve you Green Red matchup and give you just another wrath effect.

I really like this deck. I think it fits well into the format. It gives people a very solid deck to have to think about when building their decks. It also is actually one of the easier control decks to play and is a great introduction to control for new players to learn the archetype.

This deck is also making up about 11% of the 3-1 or better decks on MTGO Daily events. I think the deck is actually in a better position on MTGO because there is so much of a few decks online. It helps you tune your control deck and beat those decks.

I think you could call these four decks the pillars of current standard. If you have a deck that beats all four of them. I think you have found the new “best deck” in standard. I really think wizards did a great job with this standard environment and I truly enjoy playing it. Next week I will go over the “fringe” decks to beat and talk about the format from a slightly different light.

Thanks for reading everyone. See you all next week!

Spencer Howland
Twitter: @spencer13h