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Magic Arena Standard Tier List: October 2021

With the conclusion of the Magic World Championship, the Standard meta-game has settled a bit and a few decks have come out on top as the premier options in the format. Players have had an idea of what deck to expect in any given tournament, but now it is clear which list stands above all others. Blue/Red decks are going to be the final boss for any rogue brew trying to break out into the format.

[Related: Top 5 Midnight Hunt Cards for Standard]

This is the start of a new monthly column that looks to highlight the best decks in Standard. The format can remain stale, but there are always some new contenders that are looking to break the mold and become the next top deck. Here are the latest top decks from around the competitive Magic scene.


1. Izzet Control

Example List

4x Goldspan Dragon
4x Smoldering Egg

Non-Creature Spells
1x Spikefield Hazard
4x Dragon’s Fire
4x Memory Deluge
1x Negate
2x Divide by Zero
4x Expressive Iteration
1x Prismari Command
1x Fading Hope
3x Alrund’s Eiphany
1x Dissipate
2x Thundering Rebuke
3x Jiwari Disruption
1x Saw It Coming
4x Shatterskull Smashing

7x Island
4x Mountain
4x Riverglide Pathway
3x Frostboil Snarl
2x Hall of the Storm Giants

Topping the Standard tier list for October is none other than Izzet Control. There are several variations of the list, including Yuta Takashashi’s World Championship build that is listed above, and they are all incredibly dominant. Izzet control is powered by it’s combination of great board control and reliable win conditions. Cards like Divide by Zero and Prismari Command allow players to respond to any situation because they can find the right answer – whether it is already in their deck or from their sideboard. Expressive Iteration is always just a solid draw spell, but Memory Deluge adds even more digging power to find the next piece of interaction or a way to close out the game. 

Speaking of which, what better way to end a game than to take multiple turns in a row. Goldspan Dragon takes to the skies to make quick work of any opponent. Give the 4/4 flier an additional turn and two extra bird tokens, and the deck wins almost on the spot. Once Goldspan Dragon hits the battlefield, the game is typically all but locked up. Having any two-mana spell to leave up with the treasure token ensures that the dragon sticks. Right now, Izzet decks are the deck to beat in Standard.

2. Mono-Green Aggro

Magic October Standard Tier List

Example List:

4x Sculptor of Winter
4x Werewolf Pack Leader
4x Kazandu Mammoth
4x Old-Growth Troll

Non-Creature Spells
3x Wrenn and Seven
2x Snakeskin Veil
2x Inscription of Abundance
4x Blizzard Brawl
4x Esika’s Chariot
4x Ranger Class
1x Unnatural Growth
19x Snow-Covered Forest
3x Faceless Haven
2x Lair of the Hydra

For every great control list, there is a comparable aggro list to keep each other in check. Mono-Green Aggro is the go-to option for those players who hate the idea of playing basic Island. The game plan is very simple – play on-curve creatures to beat down the opponent before they can have an answer. Mono-Green can adjust its gameplan if the matchup calls for it, making it a difficult deck to sideboard against. 

The threats in this deck are a pain to deal with. Old-Growth Troll is an absolute menace against decks that are trying to trade one for one with spot removal. With Ranger’s Class and format all-star Esika’s Chariot completely blank wraths, and can even serve as important stop-gaps against other aggro decks. Mono-Green Snow even has access to a small suite of removal spells in Blizzard Brawl and Inscription of Abundance. Mono-Green is an excellent choice in the meta right now, and should remain one of the best decks for the next few weeks.

3. Mono-White Aggro

Magic October Standard Tier List

Example List:

4x Battlefield Raptor
4x Chaplain of Alms
4x Usher of the Fallen
4x Clarion Spirit
4x Intrepid Adversary
4x Luminarch Aspirant
4x Adeline, Resplendent Cathar
2x Elite Spellbinder
Non-Creature Spells
3x Fateful Absence
4x Maul of the Skyclaves
4x Faceless Haven
19x Snow-Covered Plains

Much like it’s green cousin, Mono-White Aggro is an aggressive deck that wants to kill the opponent before they know what happened. The difference between the two lists is that Mono-White is a bit faster thanks to its overloaded one-drop slot. Mono-White gets on the ground running from turn one and never looks back. Usher of the Fallen and Stonebinder’s Familiar are the one-drops that Mono-White loves to see in their opening hand. Other options like Chaplain of Alms, Battlefield Raptor and Monk of the Open Hand are all great options as well, depending on how the deck is built. 

The other benefit to playing Mono-White is having access to the disruptive spells that green can’t get. Fateful Absence is an amazing card that allows the deck to battle against planeswalkers as well as other creature decks. Elite Spellbinder and Skyclave Apparition are the top-end of the list, and are the main forms of interaction for the deck. With Luminarch Aspirant and Intrepid Adversary pumping up the board, Mono-White is a great choice for those hoping to grind out the ranked ladder. 

4. Pretty Much Everything Else

Magic October Standard Tier List

When it comes to rogue decks, there are a ton of options that are just so very close to being competitive, but just miss the mark. Mono-Black Control is a list that looks to have some legs with an extremely favorable matchup against the two top aggro decks. The new Dimir list that is running around on Arena has a similar advantage. However both decks fail to compete against any form of Izzet Control variant. Missing crucial cards like Expressive Iteration and Prismari Command are massive drawbacks to playing any control shell without red.

Then of course on the other side of the coin, there are a few aggressive decks that can’t beat out the top contenders. Mono-B Zombies is an explosive aggro deck that has access to all of the best removal spells in the format. The problem is its consistency. Starting off the game with Champion of the Perished and Jadar is really strong, but really fragile. The other problem with zombies is with the “decay” keyword. Having a board of creatures that will die when they attack means that the zombies deck really needs to win that same turn. Or even worse, if there is a board of 2/3s or 3/3s, those zombies won’t even get a chance to attack.

If climbing the ranked ladder is what drives a player, then they will need to be ready to face off against one of the top three decks at every rank. New brews are coming out of the woodwork every day, and maybe soon one of those will come through to diversify the meta. Till then, take some extra turns.


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1 comment

Daily Deck Tech: Standard RB Vampires October 22, 2021 at 12:21 pm

[…] [Related: Magic Arena Standard Tier List: October 2021] […]


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