Welcome to Standard in the year 2022. Without any new cards on the way until February, the Standard meta has remained a bit stale for the time being. The top decks are still the same top decks from a month ago, and the potential dark horse lists are still posting mediocre results. The predictable Standard environment has pushed plenty of players over to the Alchemy queues in search of a fresher format. For those who intend on sticking with Standard, here are the top decks that every player needs to be ready to battle.
Tier 1: Decks that Define the Meta
- Mono White Aggro
- Izzet Turns
- Mono Black Control
There are a ton of players that do not like to net-deck, and that’s totally ok. However, if there is one deck that every player should pilot at least once, it’s this Mono White Aggro list. Every play in the deck just feels powerful. From a turn 1 Usher Fallen, into a turn 2 Luminarch Aspirant, followed up with an Elite Spellbinder, the deck just always has something going on. It’s fast, it’s disruptive and it doesn’t really care about what the opponent wants to do. Because it’s a mono-colored deck, it also decks the bonus of playing two key creature lands. There is no surprise as to why everyone not playing the deck is looking for a way to overcome Mono White Aggro.
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So far, the best counter to this list is Mono Black Control. A deck with loads of sweepers and removal spells is the perfect answer to a creature-based aggro deck. Mono Black looks to utilize an array of one-drops to slow down the pressure from the aggro decks and live long enough to cast The Meathook Massacre and Lolth, the Spider Queen.
To complete the rock-paper-scissors of Standard is Izzet Turns. While Mono Black is sitting with a grip filled with removal spells, Izzet is simply playing lands and passing the turn. Izzet Turns wants to win the game by taking multiple turns in a row, thanks to a copied Alrund’s Epiphany. Cards like Divide By Zero and Lier, the Disciple of the Drowned also help nab wins against the majority of the field. Though the deck does sometimes stumble against, you guessed it, Mono White. A copy of Burn the House Down is great, but often times it might not be enough to turn the tides.
Tier 2: Decks That are Solid Options Against the Meta
- Mono Green Aggro
- Orhzov Control
- Orzhov Clerics
- Izzet Dragons
Mono Green Aggro was once the top-tier option to roll through the Arena ranked ladder. Sadly the classic Stompy deck has fallen on some hard times. Mono White is just faster and wider. Mono Black accidentally hoses Mono Green for the same reasons it crushes Mono White. Worst of all, it has a bad habit of being a bit too slow to beat Izzet Turns. The good news is the deck received a much needed Questing Beast “clone” in Ulvenwald Oddity. A hasty creature that can pump the team in the late game is a big boon for the deck.
The pair of black/white decks that sit comfortably in Tie 2 have two very different game plans. Orzhov Control plays a lot like Mono Black Control, however it looks to utilize Edgar, Charmed Groom to out-grind the opponent. Orzhov Clerics, on the other hand, is a midrange deck that wants to overwhelm the opponent through life gain triggers and flying threats. Righteous Valkyrie and Voice of the Blessed are the two main threats in the list, and they can quickly take over a game if left to their own devices.
The last entry is the creature based version of Izzet Turns. Izzet Dragons aims to capitalize on using Dragon’s Egg as an early blocker that can transform into a late game finisher. Goldspan Dragon makes an appearance in this list as the big mid-game threat. The list still runs Alrund’s Epiphany, but it isn’t as reliant on taking multiple turns to win. This version slides down the tier list because it is oddly susceptible to removal.
Tier 3: Decks That Can Compete Against the Meta
- Boros Midrange
- Gruul Werewolves
- Jund Midrange
- Dimir Zombies
- Mono Red Goblins
- Rakdos Vampires
- Selesnya Humans
Tier 3 is home to all the creature decks that aren’t quite fast enough. These decks certainly appear strong, especially looking at how many wildcards are needed to craft them. The issue is that most of them end up playing similarly to midrange decks rather than aggro decks – the one exception being Mono Red Goblins.
Dimir Zombies can have aggressive openings, but the real strength of the list comes from it’s resiliency to boardwipes. Headless Rider is an excellent deterrent for any opponent looking to cast Doomskar or Blood in the Snow. The deck also gets to play Champion of the Perished and Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia. It is a neat little combo that consistently applies pressure to the opponent.
Boros Midrange is an interesting list, as it plays one of cards that really shined in limited. Angelfire Ignition is a beating against any aggro deck, and it allows midrange decks to break the stall in long, drawn out games. The other options for Boros are pretty open to what the player wants to do. Some lists like Reckless Stormseeker and Brutal Cathar, while others prefer Blade Historian and Venerable Warsinger.
Tier 4: Decks That Are Harder to Find Success Against the Meta
- Orzhov Angels
- Golgari Control
- Mono White Lifegain
Gogari Control unfortunately feels like a powered-down version of the Mono Black Control list. Skeletal Swarming is a solid win condition, it’s just very slow. The addition of green doesn’t really add much else into the deck other than being able to play Wrenn and Seven.
Orhzov Angels is a deck that some players initially thought would be a major player in Standard. Inside the Standard 2022, Angles ended up being one of the top decks in the format. The problem, which inevitably wound up being the reason it died out, was that it failed to beat the Izzet Control decks that began to pop up. The BW Angels deck was powerful and oppressive to other creature decks, but couldn’t stick the heavy hitters on the board against blue decks. It still exists in some capacity now, but it isn’t nearly as strong as it was many months ago.
Mono White Lifegain is just fine in Standard. There are several other, better, aggro options in the format so it may be best to leave this one in the dust.
Tier 5: Notable Rogue Decks
- Izzet Mill
- Dimir Rogues
- Selesnya Landfall
The one deck that really needs to be discussed is this Izzet Mill list. What a breakthrough this list is huh? The deck wants to combine Dual Strike and Tasha’s Hideous Laughter to hopefully wombo combo the opponent. In order to do that, it focuses on early incidental mill with Ruin Crab as well as plenty of tempo spells like Unsummon and Fading Hope. It’s a whacky list that can, and will, surprised plenty of unsuspecting opponents. The downside is that there isn’t really any other way to win. It’s all mill or bust in this list.
Pour one out for the former “big bad” of the format. Dimir Rogues is a shell of its former self. It is too slow to be considered an aggro deck, and losing key cards like Drown in the Loch makes the deck too weak to be a tempo deck. Plenty of players are happy to see it go, but it’s tough to see a once strong deck become nothing more than a joke.
Featured image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast and Svetlin Velinov
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