The 2020–21 postseason is coming to a close and for the final sixteen players as they battle for the title of Magic World Champion. To earn the title, they will have to overcome the toughest challenge they've faced this year: a new Standard format just three weeks after rotation.
The Sun Sets on Eldraine
Throne of Eldraine was, without a doubt, one of the most impactful Standard releases of all time. Cards like
The release of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt changed many of the known elements in Standard, making way for new cards and archetypes to take shape and define the Standard metagame. Thanks to early tournament and ladder results coming in, we can begin getting a feel for what that metagame looks like. There's plenty of room for things to evolve and change from here, but when it comes to preparing for a tournament like the World Championship, having this early data is invaluable.
The Duality of Standard
While there seem to be many viable decks in the new Standard format, there is an early divide happening amongst the top archetypes. We are seeing a clash of reactive and proactive decks, each camp spearheaded by a powerful two-mana card.
The battle of
The classic Izzet Dragons deck survived the rotation thanks to the remaining core of the deck in
One of the discussion points for Izzet Dragons deck building has been whether the deck needs to be a Snow deck. With creature lands like
This new version of Izzet is one that has quickly been gaining in popularity. The creatureless main deck plays out like a true control deck, answering all threats the opponent plays before deploying their combo finish with
An interesting part of this deck is how it is utilizing the sideboard. Lessons, such as
Mono-Green Aggro was a dominant force in the Standard 2022 MTG Arena queue before rotation, but there was always the question of whether that would translate over favourably to the new format. So far, the answer seems to be "Yes!" as Mono-Green continues to come out on top.
Not many of the Class cards from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms had Constructed impact, but
The efficient cheap creatures and removal spells were already trouble, but the introduction of the new planeswalker
Perhaps the showcase deck of the Innistrad: Midnight Hunt expansion, the Gruul Werewolves deck is a cool take on
What you give up by being smaller against other creature decks you get back by being faster against slower decks like Izzet. Slower reactive decks typically have a hard time manipulating the day/night cycling, allowing Gruul Werewolves to get full advantage of their cards and put on constant pressure thanks to their haste creatures.
This Gruul Aggro deck is more in line with what we've seen in previous formats, relying on cards like
Similar to the Gruul Werewolves deck, this deck is taking advantage of Pathways for a small blue splash out of the sideboard, giving them some interaction for cards like
The Third-Party Candidates
Despite how good
Mono-Black Control is one of those archetypes that is fondly remembered from Magic's past but has not been viable for quite some time. I believe this deck finally has the right combination of removal, threats, and utility to play a real part in the Standard format.
This deck is very similar to the Selesnya Ramp deck, and I love the inclusion of some additional exciting
It's unclear which of these will be the better deck when the format settles, and perhaps there's a different
The latest iteration of Mono-White Aggro has many of the elements we've come to expect from the archetype, and it does them all quite well. This deck hits the ground quickly and has tons of ways to buff their creatures, making life a nightmare for any deck that stumbles against it. This deck has a lot of raw power and should not be taken lightly.
This Dimir Control deck is as close as we get to a traditional control deck in Standard. A pile of removal and counterspells is paired with a few powerful finishers to create a threat for many of the most prevalent decks in the format.
I am worried for Dimir Control, as typically control decks thrive later on in formats when there is an established metagame of the decks and cards that need to be answered. That said, this deck has the power level and tools to be a force in this Standard format, assuming the pilots arrive with a correct read on the World Championship metagame.
Setting the World Championship Stage
The World Championship is just over a week away. Sixteen incredible players are a week away from competing on the biggest stage for a chance to be immortalized in Magic's history. They will have had three weeks to prepare with their teams and figure out this new Standard format in an attempt to get any edge possible. Will they go with one of the known powerhouses, or will we see a new archetype brought out?
My excitement has been building from the moment Jan Merkel clinched the final spot, and I cannot wait to watch these games and see our next World Champion crowned.