Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Nov 07 2023 11:22am

 Hello and welcome back to the State of Standard, our periodical rendez-vous with all things Standard, to make sure you know everything that's happening in the format. Since, for the time being, the premier releases have switched to a September-November-February-April format, the updates will be linked to the sets rather than the seasons of the Northern Hemisphere.

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


 Seasonal check-in on Standard in between the releases of Wilds of Eldraine and The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. And that mostly means we'll look back at the 2023 Magic World Championship (the 29th iteration of the event), which took place on the September 22-24 weekend during Las Vegas MagicCon. After the international dust settled, the Standard meta more or less stayed the same as it were before Wilds of Eldraine was added to the ever-growing pool. At long last, French top player Jean-Emmanuel Depraz managed to end on top at Worlds after a long streak of near-successes, including a second place last time. And he did it while piloting Esper Legends, which along with its close relative and current format dominator Esper Midrange amounted to more than one quarter of the field. The rest of it was for the most part all well-established lists that we had previously already touched upon post-March of the Machine: Monored Aggro (which however failed to place in the Top 8), Five-Color Ramp, and even Azorius Soldiers. It's true that Wilds of Eldraine was only three weeks old at the time, but the scenery hasn't changed much since its arrival.


 The new cards both Esper Legends and Esper Midrange gained from the most recent set are Lord Skitter, Sewer King as a relentless token generator, and a few copies of the reprinted Disdainful Stroke in the sideboard. The Midrange version also runs Restless Fortress in the land base, to mitigate damage against aggro. And that's about it. It was enough to secure a second place to Japanese up-and-comer Kazune Kosaka, and a Top 8 placement to Italian Lorenzo Terlizzi.


 The partial outlier Azorius Soldiers (which had only 4 representatives at Worlds) snatched a prestige Top 4 placement in the hands of Danish champion Simon Nielsen. Regal Bunnicorn and Werefox Bodyguard are the resident Wilds of Eldraine additions, but the list still functions primarily on Brothers' War fuel, while also featuring Innistrad cards like Wedding Announcement and Lunarch Veteran – once, one would comment that those oldies from 2021 are about to rotate out; but under the new Standard world order, they actually still have a full year of service left, and that could be true of the Soldier-based deck as well.


 Five-Color Ramp took hold of the Top 8 with two pilots, Hall of Famer Reid Duke and Brazilian Willy Edel. The two lists were pretty much the same (Edel ran Chrome Host Seedshark in the main, in a larger number). The archetype had the most significant transformation post-Eldraine, since it dropped red entirely (i.e. it dropped Etali and Lithomantic Barrage from March of the Machine), so it's now more correctly identified as Domain Ramp. It also incorporated Virtue of Persistence, so it's basically become the heir to Atraxa Reanimator too, if in a roundabout way. And all those discounted spells with a nominally high mana value made it the perfect home for Up the Beanstalk. A more streamlined version was played as Bant Control by Greg Orange, for another Top 8 placement. The finisher of choice in that version is Horned Loch-Whale – a bit unexpectedly, since the generally superior Hullbreaker Horror is still legal in Standard.


 The greatest decline befell Rakdos Midrange, a major force until very recently that now all but disappeared from the meta. Its place as the favorite non-Esper home for powerhouse Sheoldred, the Apocalypse was taken, in a way, by Golgari Midrange, which is the list that employs the largest number of Wilds of Eldraine cards: Blossoming Tortoise, Bramble Familiar, Sentinel of Lost Lore, Virtue of Persistence, of course Restless Cottage, and even Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator off the sideboard. But most of all, this is the Mosswood Dreadknight deck that seemed primed to exist in the meta to some extent. It's a tier-2 list for sure, but it was worth a 4th place at Worlds to the event's breakout competitor, Anthony Lee, the man who's shattering every record any Australian player had set before.


 Currently 10 sets out of 13:

  1. Innistrad: Midnight Hunt (Fall 1.1)
  2. Innistrad: Crimson Vow (Fall 1.2)
  3. Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty (Winter 1)
  4. Streets of New Capenna (Spring 1)
  5. Dominaria United (Fall 2.1)
  6. The Brothers' War (Fall 2.2)
  7. Phyrexia: All Will Be One (Winter 2)
  8. March of the Machine (Spring 2.1)
  9. March of the Machine: The Aftermath (Spring 2.2)
  10. Wilds of Eldraine (Fall 3.1)


  1. The Lost Caverns of Ixalan (Fall 3.2) will be released November 17, 2023
  2. Murders at Karlov Manor (Winter 3) will be released in February 2024
  3. Outlaws of Thunder Junction (Spring 3) will be released around April 2024
  4. Bloomburrow (new Fall 3) will be released around September 2024. It will trigger the rotation of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, Innistrad: Crimsow Vow, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, and Streets of New Capenna.


 Last revised: May 29, 2023

 Total banned cards: 4 (1 from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, 3 from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty)

 See you after Standard will be exploring the hollow Ixalan!