The Standard rotation in September brought a whole new format with it, and it has been great to try out whole new strategies without having to constantly face Bonecrusher Giants and Emergent Ultimatums. Now that it has been a while and the World Championship is in the rearview mirror, the metagame seems fairly stable. While there are weekly ups and downs it appears that there are a few decks at the top of the pack. With this stability, as well as the recent announcement that there won’t be any bans in Standard until the next set is released, now is the perfect time to dive into a few decks that can be relied on for the rest of the season.

The main characteristic of the current Standard format is that it is divided between control decks with powerful endgames and aggressive decks that can have crushing starts. Due to this, midrange has mostly been pushed out of the picture (although if aggressive decks become prolific enough it would certainly be possible for a midrange deck to come and punish them). Alrund’s Epiphany seems to be the most oppressive card in the format, and whether or not aggro can beat a control player before they cast it is the main theme of many games of Standard these days. On the other end, aggro decks are mostly either mono-white with cheap attackers and disruption such as Elite Spellbinder and Reidane, God of the Worthy, or mono-green with a variety of large creatures and a mid-game plan consisting of Esika’s Chariot and Wrenn and Seven. 


Izzet Epiphany

by Ondřej Stráský

MTG Arena decklist

1 Spikefield Hazard
4 Riverglide Pathway
3 Fading Hope
4 Unexpected Windfall
4 Divide by Zero
2 Shatterskull Smashing
2 Memory Deluge
3 Expressive Iteration
3 Jwari Disruption
2 Test of Talents
2 Field of Ruin
2 Hall of Storm Giants
2 Demon Bolt
3 Frostboil Snarl
4 Galvanic Iteration
4 Alrund’s Epiphany
5 Island
3 Burn Down the House
7 Mountain

2 Goldspan Dragon
1 Spikefield Hazard
3 Burning Hands
3 Smoldering Egg
2 Malevolent Hermit
1 Teachings of the Archaics
1 Test of Talents
1 Environmental Sciences
1 Mascot Exhibition


Izzet Epiphany seems to be the consensus best deck in the format, and has also been my favourite to play so far. This deck isn’t necessarily a traditional control deck but it fills the role pretty well. It consists mostly of interaction including counterspells and damage-based removal, as well as card-drawing with Memory Deluge and Expressive Iteration. The namesake card Alrund’s Epiphany makes up the win condition of the deck, especially when combined with Galvanic Iteration. When left to its own devices, this deck can start taking extra turns as early as turn five (thanks to Unexpected Windfall). Later in the game it’s possible to take four or more turns in a row, although I have never needed more than three before the game was over. Although it is possible to commence the endgame early with this deck, it’s often better to play patiently. A turn three Expressive Iteration to ensure you make land drops is a very common play, and early turns can often be spent foretelling and setting up Epiphanies for later on, while possibly countering an opponent’s spell or bouncing a creature. 

Grixis Epiphany decks, which showed up at the World Championship, are also powerful but seem to be slower and even more controlling than Izzet. This makes them better against other Epiphany decks but weaker to aggressive decks. For now, Izzet is likely the better option for the metagame but if Epiphany decks are entirely dominant then Grixis could definitely provide an option for players looking to take advantage of that.


Mono-Green Aggro

by Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

MTG Arena decklist

4 Old-Growth Troll
19 Snow-Covered Forest
4 Blizzard Brawl
3 Inscription of Abundance
1 Snakeskin Veil
4 Kazandu Mammoth
1 Primal Adversary
2 Tangled Florahedron
4 Faceless Haven
4 Werewolf Pack Leader
4 Sculptor of Winter
2 Wrenn and Seven
4 Ranger Class
4 Esika’s Chariot

3 Snakeskin Veil
1 Devouring Tendrils
1 Tovolar’s Huntmaster
2 Tajuru Blightblade
3 Froghemoth
2 Outland Liberator
1 Wrenn and Seven
1 Inscription of Abundance
1 Choose Your Weapon


Mono-Green is the predominant aggro deck in the format, partly thanks to all the incredibly powerful green cards in Standard right now but also partly thanks to how the metagame has shaped up. Since most controlling decks are playing red removal that is based on doing damage, the high toughness that cards like Old-Growth Troll and Wrenn and Seven tokens offer makes them quite hard to deal with. The most difficult-to-deal-with card in the whole deck is Esika’s Chariot. Control decks can’t just rely on board wipes when you have a vehicle that can swing for four the turn after. And they can’t rely on spot removal either when the Chariot creates three bodies on arrival. Indeed, there seems to be no solid answer to Esika’s Chariot at all, meaning it will usually be a two-for-one, often deal a fair amount of damage before being fully taken care of, and frequently overwhelm opponents and win games. When Esika’s Chariot can be combined with Old-Growth Troll tokens or Wrenn and Seven treefolk tokens it feels even more ridiculous. 

Another noteworthy element of this stompy deck is that it has the most non-creature spells of any aggressive green deck I have ever played. Since Ranger Class, Esikas’s Chariot, and Wrenn and Seven all make tokens they essentially count as creatures, but the deck also usually plays about eight fight spells and combat tricks such as Blizzard Brawl and Inscription of Abundance. These spells give the deck a lot more interaction than traditional stompy decks and allow it to do more than just fill up the board with power and toughness. It could also mean that control decks can more safely play cards like Negate and Duress however.


Mono-White Aggro

by Rei Sato

MTG Arena decklist

2 Portable Hole
4 Elite Spellbinder
3 Reidane, God of the Worthy
4 Faceless Haven
3 Stonebinder’s Familiar
1 Cave of the Frost Dragon
4 Usher of the Fallen
3 Fateful Absence
4 Sungold Sentinel
4 Luminarch Aspirant
19 Snow-Covered Plains
3 Adeline, Resplendent Cathar
4 Intrepid Adversary
2 Maul of the Skyclaves

1 Portable Hole
1 Fateful Absence
2 You’re Ambushed on the Road
2 Brutal Cathar
4 Skyclave Apparition
3 Guardian of Faith
2 Curse of Silence


Although Mono-Green is commonly considered the number-one aggro deck right now, Mono-White isn’t just the second-best. Indeed, in many situations it is likely even better, especially if players are tuning their decks to beat green. Mono-White attacks in a fairly different way than Mono-Green and also takes advantage of a number of powerful synergies in order to have an overwhelming and disruptive force of smaller creatures. The deck also looks very different post-rotation with a number of new cards from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and a Strixhaven card gaining a place on the list. Thanks to Elite Spellbinder, Portable Hole, and the new Sungold Sentinel, Stonebinder’s Familiar has managed to become a surprisingly powerful one-drop for Mono-White, working with Usher of the Fallen to create an early offensive. Meanwhile, new cards Intrepid Adversary and Adeline, Resplendent Cathar provide an extremely powerful top end for this deck when it is able to go wide. Intrepid Adversary works particularly well with Luminarch Aspirant and this combo will probably be the bane of opponents for as long as these cards are in Standard.

Even though there are a few decks that have been cemented at the top of the metagame, this format is still proving to be quite fun and interesting. Every deck is shifting weekly, changing a few slots to try and beat the others in a continuous rock-paper-scissors game that is made even more entertaining by the various other decks that rise and fall each tournament. The ladder on Arena is filled with people playing decks such as Ramp, Mill, and Vampires. Meanwhile, sideboarding also changes week to week and even playing one of the top decks often requires some thought and energy to make sure it is updated and suited for whatever opposition is expected. The current format is certainly a breath of fresh air after two years of Throne of Eldraine. Hopefully it will continue to entertain until the mid-November release of Innistrad: Crimson Vow, when it will be shaken up again. Until then, I highly recommend playing one of the decks above, or trying your hand at all three to fully experience Standard this fall!


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