Last week I wrote about the decks that you should play in Standard and the decks that you should avoid. Some of the decks I thought were really good did not perform very well while other decks that I was ready to dismiss surprised me. After another week of hardcore testing and studying in preparation for Grand Prix: Dallas I feel like I have a stronger grasp on the format. And I want to share my newfound knowledge with you.
So without further ado I bring you the Top 10 Decks in Standard.
Number 1: U/W Caw-Blade
In my time playing Magic I've never seen a Standard deck as dominant as Caw-Blade. It's consistently the most popular deck in events and continues to have high player percentages as players get eliminated.
I'd love to sit here and explain how to attack this deck but that's what everyone is trying to do right now. The only real advice I have is to pay attention to what cards they have at their disposal. Everyone plays a slightly different list of Caw-Blade – so you never know how many different Swords they'll be playing or if they have all four Day of Judgments main or if they're running Sun Titan or Baneslayer or Condemn or… There are about 6-7 slots that people will play around with in this deck. It's very difficult to figure out what they are even when you're twenty turns into the game. The fact that you don't know if you should play around Day of Judgment or if your opponent is getting ready to plop down a Baneslayer Angel gives Caw-Blade pilots a serious advantage.
Have a plan to fight this matchup but it will most of the time not be enough to win. This deck will beat you even if you're with it or against it.
I'm almost certain that I'll be playing Caw-Blade in Texas unless I'm able to get a different deck to work for me. Curious what that deck is? Well then you're going to have to read on!
Number 2: Darkblade
Gerry Thompson built and tuned the modern Darkblade deck a few weeks ago and has been crushing with it ever since. It's very strange that the second-best deck in a format is a variant of the best deck but that's just the way Standard is right now.
A lot of people would argue that Darkblade is actually the #1 deck in Standard but in my opinion I think the mana issues this deck has makes the straight U/W version the top dog (barely).
I like to be on the U/W side when facing U/W/B. This is because the U/W version is more consistent and because Spell Pierce is very good against planeswalkers – which are the most powerful spells in the “mirror.”
It should be noted that Darkblade does have a better matchup against the aggressive decks. Inquisition of Kozilek into Stoneforge Mystic is the most powerful start in this format; you just need to draw the right lands…
I don't think this version will be as popular as U/W in Texas but it will still be one of the most played and most successful decks in the tournament.
Number 3: Valakut
Even though some time has passed I'm still a very big fan of Toni's decklist. I was testing this for a few days this week and even though I liked it I just couldn't see myself playing it. I shudder to think about how tough it would be to dodge and/or beat all of the U/W Caw-Blade decks I'd have to face in a Grand Prix.
It seems like a smart move right now to play zero anti-creature cards in the maindeck and just focus on dropping Titans as quickly as possible. Inferno Titan is very good right now and can sometimes win games on his own.
This is also the fastest version of the deck that you can make without sacrificing (too much) consistency. This is very important in the mirror match.
Number 4: G/W Aggro
- 2 Baneslayer Angel
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 4 Fauna Shaman
- 2 Llanowar Elves
- 4 Lotus Cobra
- 4 Squadron Hawk
- 3 Stoneforge Mystic
- 1 Sun Titan
- 4 Vengevine
- 1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
So this is the first real curveball I'm going to throw at you today. I'm a bit biased when I say that G/W Aggro is the #4 deck in Standard because it's the deck I've been working on for the last few days. But I've only put it so high on my list because I think it really has the potential to be really really good. This is the only deck out there that might put me off of Caw-Blade this weekend.
The reason why I like this deck so much is because of how good it is against anything aggressive. It has a very good matchup against every other beatdown deck in the format. At the same time it has the highest win percentage of any deck I've tested against Caw-Blade variants. I'm “only” pulling in about a 60% win percentage against Caw-Blade but that's still pretty darn good.
The biggest problem with this deck is how bad it is against RUG and Valakut. The only thing that has been working for me is trying to mise some wins with Overwhelming Stampede. I don't think it's correct to try to play cards like Memoricide like others have been doing.
The reason why I'm against Memoricide is because it's a blank card once they cast a Titan while topdecking Stampede is not. Even if you do resolve a Memoricide taking all four of their Primeval Titans they still have Inferno Titans in their deck – which can easily beat you since you spent a crucial turn playing a spell that doesn't do anything to affect the board.
I'll be changing some things up in the next day or so and then making a video with this deck. If you're considering playing my list at any upcoming event make sure to check out the video with the deck that's going up tomorrow. It'll have more information on this deck and probably a few new cards/numbers.
Number 5: RUG
Last week I thought RUG wasn't that good of a deck – and it wasn't on the surface.
This is important because decks are not ready to be attacked by a deck like RUG. RUG constantly does proactive things that progress its board position. Cards like Tumble Magnet as well as pretty much any other card that's good against equipment are almost unplayable against this deck.
That said I don't think RUG will be particularly popular. Historically it has been underplayed even when it has been one of the top decks in a format. Even during Block Constructed when it was the best deck in the format people shied away from it for some reason. This trend has continued since RUG has been ported to Standard.
Number 6: Boros
- 3 Cunning Sparkmage
- 4 Goblin Guide
- 3 Hero of Oxid Ridge
- 4 Plated Geopede
- 4 Squadron Hawk
- 4 Steppe Lynx
- 3 Stoneforge Mystic
Boros is the best aggro deck in the format and has been for a while now. Boros is not the most consistent deck in the format but it has the best (aggressive) starts that you can reasonably find. Boros has been in the format for some time now and still has a decent shot at crushing any U/W Caw-Blade players that are too teched out for the mirror match.
I don't want to play a deck like Boros right now because it's not particularly consistent and I worry about the Darkblade matchup but I still have a lot respect for people who choose to run out the red and white guys. This deck will always perform decently and it will excel when people fail to properly respect it.
Now that we've gone over the best let's go over the rest.
The following decks are still ranked in order of how good I think they are but I wouldn't recommend playing any of them in the next couple weeks. I do not think they will do well.
Number 7: Mono Red
Mono Red is able to get off to some fast starts but it just seems like an inferior version of Boros. Searing Blaze is the deck's only saving grace (it's really good right now!). After that each card in Boros is just slightly better than the equivalent card in Mono Red. Koth of the Hammer is okay at times but is not that powerful in this format. Every deck is either a ramp deck or a deck that attacks people.
There is a real reason why the only time I see a Mono Red deck doing well is when it's in the hands of Patrick Sullivan. I'm very curious how many PTs this man would have won if he loved blue cards half as much as he loves red ones.
I still think this deck ranks this high because of how fast it can be and how many people only have basic removal and Gideon Jura for it. If Kor Firewalker becomes a real card this deck will not stand a chance.
Number 8: U/B Control
Last week I thought this deck was awesome. The new deck in the format that would solve everyone's problems; I thought we wouldn't have to play Caw-Blade anymore and and and… This just is not true. This deck was performing pretty well on Magic Online right away – but it has slowed down as the week has progressed. It just doesn't have the right answers for the format.
The reason why U/B Control is positioned poorly right now is because every other deck in the format is a proactive deck. A ton of different questions are being asked and one deck cannot answer all of them. There are decks trying to ramp attack equip walk and reanimate. There are just too many things to be able to control.
I do believe that Guillaume Wafo-Tapa is a good enough Mage to always have the best version of this deck from week to week and do well with it but this is not an ability anyone else on the planet has. This man knows control and will always be ahead enough to succeed. We cannot do such a thing.
Number 9: Infect
The reason I rank this deck so low is that the only times I've lost to this deck is when I'm either screwed in a serious way or because I made a very big mistake. I've never lost when both decks/players were running at optimum levels.
There are cards in this deck that are amazing and when they're drawn in multiples this deck has a chance. These cards are Phyrexian Crusader Inquisition of Kozilek and Preordain. The problem with this is that Caw-Blade already runs one to two of the three. I don't see a reason to play this deck when you have other similar decks that are just strictly better at your disposal.
Now Kibler is an amazing Mage and great deckbuilder. It's just hard to win with his “fun” decks if you're not him.
Number 10: Eldrazi Green
- 2 Wall of Tanglecord
- 1 Wurmcoil Engine
- 4 Joraga Treespeaker
- 4 Overgrown Battlement
- 4 Primeval Titan
- 1 Viridian Corrupter
- 1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
- 3 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
This deck seems like a very weak call right now. It was a good surprise at the time. Though I think that as more people are aware of it it will lose a big percentage of wins.
The other big problem is I think Valakut will get more popular. This matchup has always been a big problem for Eldrazi and the reason it went away for so long. If Valakut was not around this deck would've been a big part of the metagame.
I admit that I haven't tested this deck so I might be wrong. If you've been playing this deck you might know more about it than I do so I wouldn't suggest switching. I just know I was beating it with Caw-Blade as well as with my G/W list. G/W should not beat any real ramp deck. This might be a terrible way to look at it but it works.
This is my Top 10 list of decks for Standard. If you're wondering why I didn't mention [insert random deck] then you should switch decks. Unless it's a sweet rogue deck that beats everything but I'd guess it isn't that.
Good luck this weekend and come back tomorrow when I take my G/W deck through a Daily.