With the new set Adventures in the Forgotten Realms now on Arena, Wizards of the Coast has created a new format that is allowing players to get a sneak peek at what Standard will look like post-rotation. It’s called Standard 2022 and it allows players to only use cards from the most recent four sets. This leaves out sets that have dominated Standard for a long time such as Throne of Eldraine and Ikoria, which are leaving Standard in a few months when the new Innistrad set is released this fall. Standard 2022 seems to be a response to all the players that have been complaining about how monotonous these powerful sets have made Standard. At long last, we can have a taste of Standard without the presence of Embercleave, Edgewall Innkeeper, or Emergent Ultimatum

With just four sets (everything from Zendikar to Forgotten Realms), Standard 2022 doesn’t boast the largest card pool. However, there are still powerful cards such as Goldspan Dragon and Showdown of the Skalds as well as a number of interesting brews to be made. As well, Forgotten Realms is already making its mark in this format, which I will get into below. This glimpse into what Standard will look like after rotation is unprecedented, and is a great opportunity to learn what cards from the new set will be worth having in the months to come.

With many players excited for the format, some tournament organizers have decided to hold events specifically for Standard 2022. Third-party tournament organizer Insight eSports recently held a $1,600 Standard 2022 Open, and it is clear from the results that there are some very competitive archetypes already identified.

Mono-Green Stompy

Standard 2022
by Sam Beaulieu

MTG Arena decklist
Deck 12 Forest 4 Snakeskin Veil 4 Swarm Shambler 4 Ranger Class 4 Lotus Cobra 4 Tangled Florahedron 4 Werewolf Pack Leader 4 Kazandu Mammoth 4 Old-Growth Troll 4 Esika's Chariot 4 Froghemoth 4 Lair of the Hydra 4 Gnarled Professor Sideboard 4 Tangletrap 4 Inscription of Abundance 1 Basic Conjuration 1 Containment Breach 1 Environmental Sciences 1 Masked Vandal 1 Expanded Anatomy 1 Mascot Exhibition 1 Introduction to Annihilation

Coming in first and second place, Mono-Green Stompy had the strongest showing at this tournament. Those results have been backed up by great finishes in other tournaments as well. The deck has a lot of power, and a lot of toughness. Two-drop 3/3’s and three-drop 4/4’s are the standard for this deck. Thanks to Forgotten Realms, the deck has the best set of two-drops in the format with Werewolf Pack Leader and Ranger Class. Both these cards are absolute game-changers because they provide solid stats while also providing huge advantages in the mid to late game. I have been surprised by how easily Werewolf Pack Leader draws cards and by how often I activate Ranger Class’s level abilities. In my experience playing the deck, Werewolf Pack Leader has single-handedly won me games by drawing enough creatures to flood the board and overwhelm blockers. 

Further up the curve, things are a little less set in stone. I have seen decks playing Froghemoth, Battle Mammoth, or Gnarled Professor, but the only card over three mana that is consistently played is Esika’s Chariot. Green players will likely come to a consensus at some point; I personally like Froghemoth. Some decks are splashing blue for Decisive Denial, but when the only good dual land is Barkchannel Pathway I don’t think splashing is an option for this deck. Playing mono-green also allows the deck easier access to Faceless Haven and Blizzard Brawl, which can be very powerful. Without Emergent Ultimatum in the format, I believe counterspells are also much less necessary.

When rotation comes around, Stompy is certainly poised to be an excellent contender. It will be exciting to see if it gets even more upgrades with this fall’s Innistrad set as well.


Izzet Dragons

Standard 2022
by Tomas Pokorny

MTG Arena decklist
Deck 4 Expressive Iteration 3 Prismari Command 3 Galazeth Prismari 4 Frost Bite 3 Dragon's Fire 4 Goldspan Dragon 8 Snow-Covered Island 5 Snow-Covered Mountain 4 Saw It Coming 4 Riverglide Pathway 4 Volatile Fjord 3 Faceless Haven 4 Alrund's Epiphany 3 Behold the Multiverse 2 Disdainful Stroke 2 Frostboil Snarl Sideboard 2 Graven Lore 3 Ray of Frost 2 Test of Talents 3 Battle of Frost and Fire 2 Burning Hands 2 Disdainful Stroke 1 Behold the Multiverse

The other deck contending to be the best in the format is Izzet Dragons. Izzet is already a top deck in Standard, but it turns out it’s still great even without Bonecrusher Giant and Brazen Borrower. To help out with the vacancies, Iymrith, Desert Doom from Forgotten Realms has been occasionally slotted into the deck, adding a fearsome new threat. Izzet boasts some of the best cheap removal with Frostbite and Dragon’s Fire while also featuring Expressive Iteration and Behold the Multiverse for amazing card draw. Izzet also gets to take advantage of Alrund’s Epiphany, one of the most exciting spells in the format. With all this to complement the dragons, it is no surprise that the deck is performing well.


Honourable Mentions

Aside from these top contenders a number of other archetypes are starting to take shape. Mono-White Aggro (with Loyal Warhound) looks pretty good, and is sometimes seen splashing red for Showdown of the Skalds. Dimir Rogues decks look very different without Lurrus of the Dream-Den but could still be powerful, especially since they now get to use Nighthawk Scavenger and Zareth San, the Trickster.

In a surprising move, Wizards of the Coast has recently made a banning in this experimental format. They didn’t ban a particularly popular or successful card, either. It was The Book of Exalted Deeds that was cut, due to an unusual combo. When the book is activated targeting a Faceless Haven (which is an angel thanks to changeling), the combo player effectively can’t lose the game anymore. Some players had built mono-white prison decks based around that play and, unsurprisingly, many of these decks had absolutely no win conditions. However, once the combo had been completed, they could just wait for opponents to run out of cards, even with no cards in their own library or even while being at a negative life total. The deck could be frustrating to face, and there was almost no way to beat the combo once it was completed, so it was banned even though it is fairly slow to actually execute.

Aside from this ban, the format has felt very smooth and balanced thus far. I highly recommend getting on Arena and trying out Standard 2022. It’s a breath of fresh air, a return to a normal power level, and a great way to get a head start on Standard this fall.


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