[Welcome back to Fact or Fiction! Today, Gerry Thompson and Sam Black are back to render their verdicts on five statements about the first week Dominaria Standard. Don't forget to vote for the winner at the end!]
1. With TEAM5C's Magic Online Standard PTQ win, G/W Midrange is the deck to beat in Standard.
Gerry Thompson: Fiction . One event isn't a great indicator of anything, especially when three major tournaments were happening on the same weekend. It's difficult to gauge how tough that PTQ was and how much people prepared for it, so I'd wait to see additional results before drawing any conclusions.
If anything, the various flavors of U/W appear to be the deck to beat, as it has been crushing all over the place. It's also shown no sign of slowing down anytime soon. With Seal Away, Teferi, Lyra, Raff, and History of Benalia, white has enough useful cards to fulfill a multitude of roles. Previously, they were mostly worse than U/B, but the tables have completely turned.
White is the best, but the best color to pair with it isn't green.
Sam Black: Fiction . While the MTGO PTQ did seem more innovative than #SCGATL, it was still just week 1 of Standard, which should never been taken as seriously predictive of the rest of the season.
I believe that deck was untuned (it's really hard for me to believe that main deck Treasure Map is where a deck like that wants to be, and I love Treasure Map), but I think it's competition was as well. I think there are a lot of powerful cards in Dominaria that people haven't fully explored and that Standard will look totally different by the end of the Pro Tour.
Moreover, the simultaneous results in the Team Constructed open don't offer any supporting evidence for G/W. Instead, we see mostly old decks, especially R/B Aggro and U/W Control, and despite those main deck Treasure Maps, it seems like G/W would have a pretty hard time again U/W Control.
2. Though it was in five of the top 8 decks in the Magic Online Standard PTQ, Lyra Dawnbringer overperformed last weekend and you believe its dominance isn't sustainable.
Gerry Thompson: Fact . Lyra Dawnbringer is one of the best threats in Standard, especially against the lower to the ground aggressive decks. At first, people didn't play anything to answer her specifically and were promptly punished. Now, we see cards like Fight with Fire and a move back toward Unlicensed Disintegration.
While Lyra is a strong card, she's beatable if people respect her. At this point, I think people have learned their lesson that Baneslayer Angel is good and they should have ways to remove it.
Sam Black: Fiction . Lyra Dawnbringer is a great card, especially against Mono-Red Aggro. As we can tell pretty clearly from the results, people haven't really adjusted to take it into account yet, since they're basically just playing old decks.
While one must imagine it will be a little less successful once people respect and prepare for it, it's a much stronger card than Regal Caracal against people who cut removal, which makes it a much more punishing sideboard transformation.
Ultimately, I think the format will correct for it a little, but I also think U/W Control is well positioned and Lyra is the right card for its role in the deck, so it'll stay around just like other threats people gun for, like Hazoret the Fervent and The Scarab God.
I also believe it will continue to show up in other white decks beyond U/W Control, I just think that's the white deck that's best proven itself at this point.
3. Though Karn, Scion of Urza had a modest first weekend in Standard, you believe it underperformed and will become more dominant in the coming weeks.
Gerry Thompson: Fiction . Karn, Scion of Urza certainly underperformed, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it will be dominant. I would say that Karn is going to see an uptick in usage as people begin to experiment with him more and find good places to slot him in, but claiming it will be dominant is a stretch.
However, I do think that Karn plus removal for bigger threats such as Lyra is a winning combination. We've seen Karn in some artifact-based strategies and even in some aggressive decks that feature some artifacts, and it's looked great in both. Overall, those decks are more difficult to get right on the first week of a new format, so they'll only get better from here.
Meanwhile, the various Lyra decks don't have much room left to explore. It's time for Standard to begin the process of evening out the metagame share, and that typically involves playing non-white decks that will beat up on the white decks. Naturally, some of those decks will involve Karn.
Sam Black: Fact? "More dominant" is different than "dominant"-I'm not sure I'd call the role I currently think Karn is most likely to fill at this point "dominant," but I think it will ultimately see more play than it did this week.
The reason I wouldn't call Karn dominant is that I don't think it's a broadly great main deck card; however, I expect it to ultimately become an extremely widely played sideboard card-maybe every deck will have a couple in their sideboard.
4. White (Seal Away, Settle the Wreckage, and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria) has supplanted Black (Fatal Push, Vraska's Contempt, and The Scarab God) as the best complementary color to blue in Standard.
Gerry Thompson: Fact. Black didn't get any additional tools, Standard sped up making The Scarab God less appealing, plus white received numerous upgrades. It's official.
It doesn't matter if you're trying to play aggro, midrange, or control because white is basically the best color for each. Meanwhile, black is relegated back to being a support color.
Sam Black: Fiction. If it has, I think that grasp is tenuous-as people adjust to Lyra and Teferi, they'll get fewer free wins, but what I think will ultimately save black as a color to pair with blue is access to Duress and Arguel's Blood Fast for the control mirror.
Historically, it's been difficult for U/W Control to compete with U/B Control, and I expect that trend to continue here.
5. Though it didn't put up impressive results, Mono-Red Aggro is still the best aggressive deck in the Standard.
Gerry Thompson: Fiction. That honor goes to W/B or R/B. Both decks can present difficult to deal with threats and have sufficient removal for handling Lyra and instant speed Raffs. That versatility is what those decks need at the moment, and it's exactly what Mono-Red lacks.
Their transformational sideboard plan used to do a good job of juking opponents and going over the top of them, but none of that stuff matters in the face of History of Benalia and Lyra. What's good against the aggro plan is typically good against the bigger plan too.
Mono-Red didn't put up impressive results because it's not a very good deck.
The best aggro deck will need a better plan to compete against those cards and Settle the Wreckage, which is honestly a tall order. Therefore, I think we'll see a lot more things like Karn in the sideboard. We might see aggro decks bringing in answers to Lyra and trying to juke control decks that side out too much late game to beat the expected aggressive threat they're facing, similarly to how I've beaten decks like that with Mastery of the Unseen out of creature decks in the past.