Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Nov 30 2020 12:00pm

 Hello and welcome back to the State of Standard, our seasonal rendez-vous with all things Standard, to make sure you know everything that's happening in the format.

 The series archive is here.
 Let's start a new ride!


 So rotation happened! And a lot of other things in between then and now happened, too. After the release of Zendikar Rising on September 25 (September 17 on MTGO and Arena), the meta was dominated by the new Omnath, Locus of Creation for a little while. Then the banhammer took care of that by kicking Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath out of Four-Color Ramp lists three days later, and then Omnath himself on October 12, giving the Zendikari Elemental even less time on the spotlight than Oko, Thief of Crowns had last year (Omnath does appear to have the same kind of "solid design with bad execution" problems. Notably, the order of the landfall triggers feels wrong). The last round of bans also hit the similarly prominent Temur Adventures decks by removing both Lucky Clover and Escape to the Wilds, thus bringing the number of banned cards from Throne of Eldraine up to six. That was one hell of a set.


 So what we have now is a more or less stabilized meta that will keep going unchanged until February 5, when Kaldheim will arrive, later in the winter than usual. And the most surprising aspect of this meta is that Monogreen Aggro has immediately established itself as one of the top deck, if not the absolute dominator! At first it was the Stompy version, with Stonecoil Serpent and Gemrazer, but lately it reconfigured itself as Monogreen Food.


 This is a very straighforward concoction, picking up the remnants of older Food decks, dropping any sacrifice angle (with only the occasional Witch's Oven still showing up now and then, as a safety measure), and aiming to leverage the staying power of the previously overlooked Feasting Troll King, as well as the triptych of card advantage engines Trail of Crumbs, The Great Henge, and Vivien, Monsters' Advocate. Some more audacious builds splash blue for a few copies of Thassa, Deep-Dwelling, who can retrigger Wicked Wolf, Kogla, the Titan Ape (missing from Kvartek's list but popular otherwise) and, more importantly, the Henge's triggers.


 Tied with Monogreen for the title of king of the current meta is, once again, the imperishable Temur Adventures. It doesn't matter that it kept losing piece after piece, it's still around and still able to demonstrate all its Eldraine-fueled power.


 Most distinctly, adventure players eventually found out it's pretty trivial to accommodate Obosh, the Preypiercer as the deck's companion, since all the adventure creatures you're interested in playing (namely Brazen Borrower, Bonecrusher Giant, Beanstalk Giant, and Lovestruck Beast) have an odd converted mana cost, even when they contain adventure spells that didn't. Plus, this latest iteration of the mechanic has sort of reinvented itself as a combo deck, ramping into Genesis Ultimatum to try and drop Terror of the Peaks alongside some beefy creatures like Beanstalk Giant. If Obosh is around by then, it's easily game over in one fell swoop.


 The Gruul Adventures setup is instead aggro-oriented, a direct heir to the Gruul Embercleave decks of the recent past. Brushfire Elemental is the major new addition, ma the red-green Cragcrown Pathway is also a valuable improvement to the mana base, as are the most useful of the MDFCs, like Shatterskull Smashing and Kazandu Mammoth. Edgewall Innkeeper is not going to draw as many cards as other builds were used to, but he still has eight potential triggers and a 5/5 Beast to enable with his love.


 A deck that looked like a potential top dog but then retreated a little into tier-2 territory is Dimir Rogues, directly engendered by Zendikar Rising tribal support, in the form of Soaring Thought-Thief and Zareth San, the Trickster.


 The apparent milling theme is deceiving; the deck rarely manages to win by decking the opponent, but filling their graveyard unlocks crucial synergies, including the Thought-Thief's anthem as well as enhanced performances from Thieves' Guild Enforcer, Drown in the Loch and Lullmage's Domination. Some lists opt to give up on Zareth San and Brazen Borrower in order to run Lurrus of the Dream-Den as companion. In that kind of list, Merfolk Windrobber and Ruin Crab are a common sight. In the Zareth San lists, sometimes Slitherwisp is seen.


 Moving to lower echelons, Esper Doom decks are still alive and well. Lists running 80 cards for Yorion, the Sky Nomad and featuring Doom Foretold as their advantage engine can make good use of newcomer Skyclave Apparition, which just asks to be flickered and doesn't really mind being sacrificed. Dimir Control lists are the other control deck of choice in the current meta, using most of the same tools of the Rogue decks, Mazemind Tome to sculpt their draws, and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and Lochmere Serpent as finishers.


 Last but not least come the family of Monored builds no meta could be complete without. There's the usual aggro Embercleave-based fare, which has now acquired Akoum Hellhound as a new one-drop. But the more interesting development is the emergence of viable Big Red lists, using Irencrag Feat to power out an early Ugin.


 Zendikar Rising didn't provide these lists with anything of relevance beyond the MDFCs lands that double as removal (and even Spikefield Hazard has an amount of good targets, between Lotus Cobra and the smaller Rogues). Rotation also didn't take away much, and the meta then shifted enough to make room for their battleplan, now that the Simic Ramp style of decks, which used to go over the top of Big Red, is not as viable anymore.



 Currently 5 sets out of 8: Throne of Eldraine (Fall 1), Theros: Beyond Death (Winter 1), Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths (Spring 1), Core Set 2021 (Summer 1), Zendikar Rising (Fall 2).

 Set 6 of 8: Kaldheim (Winter 2), releasing on February 5, 2021.

 Set 7 of 8: Strixhaven: School of Mages (Spring 2), releasing in Spring 2021.

 Set 8 of 8: Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms (Summer 2, replacing the core set), releasing in July 2021.

 Next rotation, back to 5 sets: "Innistrad: Werewolf" (Fall 3.1), releasing in Fall 2021, triggering rotation of Throne of Eldraine, Theros Beyond Death, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, and Core Set 2021. "Innistrad: Vampires" (Fall 3.2, possibly replacing Winter 3) will release in November. Both sets don't have final names yet.


 Last revised: September 28, 2020 and October 12, 2020

 Total banned cards: 8 (6 from Throne of Eldraine, 1 from Theros Beyond Death, 1 from Zendikar Rising)

 See you in the mid-winter, after the snowy Kaldheim will have started to build up Standard again!