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By: Plainswalker83, Marcus Brunstetter
Apr 19 2018 12:00pm
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I haven't written an article in a very long time. Life happened and family obligations and other things have taken up most of my time. I have however still been trying to stay in the loop. Magic is in an interesting place now. Multiple formats are popular and each are having some time in the spotlight.

Modern was at the forefront of the last Pro Tour. Watching different decks do well and have their time on camera was entertaining. Recently there were unbannings to make the format even better. (Or worse depending on how you look at it). Either way it will add some freshness to an already healthy format.

Pauper has been getting more coverage as well. It is getting articles on Channelfireball, videos on Starcity, and even paper tournaments at bigger events. Our own writers here have been doing an amazing job keeping us up to speed and it seems to be a very healthy place. I still struggle to fully dive into it but it has a lot of power for "just" commons.

Even Standard is finally healthy. I have been playing it a bit, watching some coverage, and perusing the top performing lists on MTGO. Let's look at some of the most played.

First, we have Grixis Energy. With the most recent Standard bannings any energy deck with green took a big hit. Grixis lost nothing and in fact became stronger when it didn't have to worry about the 4 color variants or Temur decks with their almost limitless power. It has been putting up good results and still sits as the most popular deck on MTGO. When you look over the list it is not hard to see why. There are good creatures, solid removal, and the mana is actually pretty good. Recent lists have even started to include Glimmer of Genius and Torrential Gearhulk like Huey Jenson did with his World Championship Temur list. If you like midrange this might be the best one out there.

What if you want to play control?

I believe this is the best deck if you want to play control. It has a ton of answers and a very powerful finisher in The Scarab God. Control has always been a deck that performs better in the hands of a skilled pilot. This deck is no exception. If you take the time to practice and understand the meta then you can really rack up some wins with this. Knowing what cards can be replaced or increased in number. This may be the deck I would play if I have unlimited resources and time to play Standard.

Next up is the current best aggro deck in the format.

This is a surprise to no one. Hazoret is pretty amazing and it looks like this is the best Hazoret deck. The bannings were so long ago and it is very clear this deck is different but still very good. It added another one drop to the ranks in Fanatical Firebrand which is pretty much a poor man’s Mogg Fanatic but it still gets the job done. I think the best pickups that the deck gained were Lightning Strike and the powerful Rekindling Phoenix. The latter being a hard to answer threat that can require two removal spells or an exile effect to actually deal with it. The best part is that all of that is in the main deck.  

The sideboard still has the powerful Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Glorybringer. Going bigger is something this deck can do well and there are times you are unsure which version of the deck you will be facing.  There are even other versions of this deck with black and even white. Pretty much if the deck has access to the powerful red God it has a chance at victory. 

All three of these decks are great choices and I am sure if I had access to the cards, I would play any of them. However, part of the challenge of playing on a budget is having to win with other options. So, I wanted to find something that I could play that could still compete with the top decks in the format.

I mentioned earlier how diverse this format is and first I started pouring through some of the other aggro lists. I started with the Mono Black Aggro deck and it performed quite well. However, there were times it just felt as if it was missing something. I decided that I wanted to have access to white so I could handle troublesome cards like Hazoret or The Scarab God and also be able to deal with enchantments and artifacts if needed. Cast Out was the card I was looking for but then I had to decided what deck I would put it in.

I moved on to the Green White Aggro or tokens list. I played something similar to it in paper so I already knew the deck pretty well. Testing went well but to me the deck just did not feel right. I kept wanting more to do in the side board and there were not a ton of options.

I realized that I wanted to have access to blue mana because I really wanted Negate out of the board. The first deck that I turned to was the UW Auras list that had been having some success.

enjoyed playing and testing this deck. I did find certain things to be problematic though. Control decks seemed to have an easy time dealing with your one or two creatures. Especially the ones that had access to Settle the Wreckage. I figured if that card I would look for a deck that best utilized it.


The two that I liked were UW Cycling and UW Approach. The latter did not seem better than UB Control but the Cycling deck did seem to have enough play to it and had decent match ups on paper against the top decks in the format. I have only begun to test with it but I am happy with how it plays. I definitely need to play faster with it. This deck is one that you need to have your decisions made and click accordingly or you will really eat up your clock. I have not timed out yet but if I am distracted I can get close.

Moving forward, I am going to try to stay in UW as far as colors go. The UW Pharaoh’s gift deck has been picking up in popularity as well and I may want to try to it out.

I have also been trying to look into the spoilers for Dominaria as well. I will spend more time doing that and see if I can brew up a list or two. That is always one of my passions but my time to do so has dwindled so I keep going to established lists and using them. With the new set, maybe there are some things that will really shake up Standard. I was excited for the new Teferi.  It might give UW Control another weapon and source of card advantage. I am not sure how good it is just yet though. I also think it might be possible to build some sort of White Weenie deck. I will at least give it a try. I will wait to see how these new cards change the format. Next time I will have more information to work with.

For now, it seems Standard is pretty established. If you want to do well you can learn one of the top decks and play it until you master it.  If you don’t want one of those try some of the tier 2 lists and work with them.

Thankfully there is no “best” deck and Standard has been fun again. Let me know what you are playing? Until next time!