MTG Arena Standard Strongest Decks in December 2020


by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Dec, 10th 2020

MTG Arena’s meta doesn’t really shift too hard one way or another until bans happen. Thanks to the Omnath/Lucky Clover/Escape to the Wilds bans (not to mention the earlier Uro ban), the game has finally reached a decent state. It’s possible to counter most of the Tier 1 decks. You can play all kinds of decks right now, and not feel like a jerk for trying to play something fun. That being said, some decks are better than others. We’re probably going to focus on the Tier 1 decks, with a smattering of Tier 2 or 3 decks. Why? Because let’s face it: You can still win with the jankiest, silliest nonsense right now. Just because a deck isn’t good, that doesn’t mean it’s not able to get wins. Today, we’re going to talk about the best Standard Decks for MTG Arena as of December. We’ll be adding to this article, so keep checking in to see what else is a must-try!

How are the best decks determined though? This is thanks to third-party tracking apps like Untapped.gg, MTGA Assistant, MTG Arena Pro, and others. I also look at what I often see the most, and see winning the most. This is also focused more on BO1, because those matches are frankly, faster to play. BO3 is far more intricate and difficult. It requires a deeper knowledge of match-ups, and what to have/slot in and out of your decks through the sideboard. Most professional matches are done in BO3/BO5. Perhaps we’ll cover BO3 decks in a separate blog, with sideboard guides.

That having been said, the biggest blight on MTG Arena right now is the Throne of Eldraine. Most of the ridiculous power cards from this year came from that expansion, and we saw quite a few bans from just that expansion alone. As long as Eldraine exists, we’re going to see lots of its influence on the BO1 meta. Another point of fact about the BO1 scene is that there is a very heavy lean on Aggro. We won’t see a more control/mid-range deck until probably Tier 2 or so. They’re still excellent decks, but unless you shut down an aggro deck fast, the game is likely to not go your way.

There are some really fun decks that are killing it as of November and December for the MTG Arena standard decks meta. There are some really familiar aggro decks here, alongside some content that I don’t really talk about often. I’ll try to discuss the less-frequent decks first. Of course, Mono-Red Aggro will be here, but that’s just too obvious. With that said, let’s get started!

As always, if you have thoughts on a deck I haven’t talked about, or have some brews you’d like me to go over here, feel free to reach out!

Lurrus of the Dream-Den’s Still a Thing! (Mono-White Aggro)


This deck has fallen off a bit since I started writing this, but it’s still an incredibly powerful deck. You can be sure of that. Lurrus of the Dream-Den’s one of the best things to come out of the “Companion” mechanic. That’s not a debate, it’s a fact. He has to be the most-used of any of the companions with the tiniest of exceptions. The ability to bring back creatures from the grave and put it back into play (with a cost of 2 or less) sounds restrictive, but consider the decks that he’s run in. Only decks with a primarily low-casting cost. 

In fact, we only run two creatures in this whole deck that offer a higher cost than 2! Legion Angel and Skyclave Apparition. We also have a planeswalker outside of that cost, Basri Ket. But far more than our deck is viable for use by Lurrus. Bear in mind, he covers all permanent spells. So we can also use this on Glass Casket as a way to constantly delete token creatures permanently. If a token gets removed from play, it cannot come back. Let players get rid of the Casket. It’s gonna come back, whether they like it or not. This is a deck where we go in, hard and fast. We drop low-cost creatures early, and make sure they just keep getting bigger and bigger thanks to Luminarch Aspirant. That’s going to be one of the things that Lurrus brings back the most. After all, why would the other player let you just keep getting more powerful?

How’s It Work?


You’re going to see some familiar cards here. Daxos, Blessed by the Sun is one of them! His ability to give us 1 life anytime a creature we control enters the battlefield or dies will get us to enough life to make Speaker of the Heavens start doing the dirty things we love. Speaker of the Heavens is a 1-drop lifelink/vigilance creature for 1 mana. It can create a 4/4 white Angel token if we have at least more than 7 more life than our starting total (20). It can also only be done at Sorcery speed, so no tokens on your opponent’s turn.

That’s going to make Luminarch Aspirant a key part of the deck. As one of our new cards, it’s a 1/1 Cleric for 2 mana. At the beginning of our combat phase, we put a +1/+1 counter on a target creature we control. The more of these we have in play, the bigger a creature can become. Also, consider this: Alseid of Life’s Bounty. With Lurrus of the Dream-Den in play, we can sacrifice these every single turn and just bring them back.

Alseid of Life’s Bounty is a 1-cost enchantment creature with Lifelink that can be sacrificed. If we do, the target creature gains protection from a target color until the end of turn. Against mono-colored decks, you can do this before the attack even is selected, to prevent shenanigans. On the note of sacrifice cards, Selfless Savior, the best boy, yes he’s a very good boy, can also give his life for the cause. A 1-cost dog, he can be sacrificed to give a creature indestructible until the end of turn.

Those two cards will make sure whatever we attack with in the early/mid game will be unstoppable. A turn 1 Alseid followed by turn 2 Daxos might be one of my favorite starts. Then we follow that with Speaker/Luminarch, and start putting together a gameplan. Though this is an aggro deck, we need a few turns to really come online. I think one of my preferred early attackers is Giant Killer, mostly because he’s a 1-drop and a ½. If we let the Aspirant buff him, he’ll quickly become a threat. We also have Legion Angel as a 4/3 for 4. 

Though we only run one of her in the deck. Why? Because, when it comes into play, you can reveal a card named Legion Angel from the sideboard, and put it into your hand. So we’ll get them eventually. It’s not our ultimate creature, but pulling it is a great feeling. If the other player has no flyers, we can use her and the Speakers Angels to start hamming it up. 

We have another way to make sure we gain life and creatures. Say hello to Basri Ket! As a 3-drop with 3 loyalty, he’s easy to kill, but he can do so much for you. Here are his abilities:

  • +1: Put a +1/+1 counter on up to one target creature. It gains indestructible until end of turn.
  • -2: Whenever one or more nontoken creatures attack this turn, create that many 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens that are tapped and attacking.
  • -6: You get an emblem with “At the beginning of combat on your turn,c reate a 1/1 white Soldier creature token, then put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control.

I know that -2 is tempting for the Speaker of the Heavens, but avoid it if you can. Instead, you want to pop that -6. Making all of your creatures gain a free +1/+1 each turn is beautiful, especially when you combine it with Skyclave Apparation. A turn-3 Basri Ket means you can attack safely every single turn. Making your attacker indestructible means it can only be exiled. Even if the other player has to sacrifice a creature to block, it’s a fair trade. 

Ideally, we start cranking out Angels every single turn. We can use Emeria’s Call as a game-winning bomb too. It’s better as a land (Emeria, Shattered Skyclave), but making all of our non-Angel creatures gain indestructible until next turn? Oh yes. It also gives us two 4/4 Angels, alongside the other Angels we hopefully have. All those soldiers, dogs, and humans? They’re about to show up and show out. That’s the name of the game.

We make our attackers unable to be dealt with, slowly build up their +1/+1 counters, and then swing for lethal as soon as it’s convenient. We want to leave our opponent unable to deal with our threats. Most of the other aggro decks don’t have strong creatures, so the bigger ours get, the easier trades will be. Finally, we also have a few control options. Not many, but some. Banishing Light to exile a nonland permanent (until Banishing Light leaves play), and Kabira Takedown. It again, is better as a land, but the ability to hit a planeswalker or creature for damage equal to the number of creatures we control, as an Instant? It could be a lifesaver.

We are going to want to keep Lurrus of the Dream-Den in play as long as possible too. The ability to cast permanents we’ve lost (2 or less cost) and put them back into play means we can keep playing Selfless Savior/Alseid of Life’s Bounty to keep things alive. We can also bring back errant Luminarch Aspirant to make sure we keep buffing things. 

Lurrus of the Dream-Den’s Still a Thing! (Mono-White Aggro)


Decklist

Deck

4 Alseid of Life’s Bounty

1 Banishing Light

3 Basri Ket

4 Daxos, Blessed by the Sun

2 Emeria’s Call

2 Giant Killer

4 Glass Casket

4 Kabira Takedown

1 Legion Angel

4 Luminarch Aspirant

2 Lurrus of the Dream-Den

17 Plains

4 Selfless Savior

4 Skyclave Apparition

4 Speaker of the Heavens

 

Sideboard

3 Banishing Light

1 Emeria’s Call

2 Heliod, Sun-Crowned

2 Hushbringer

3 Legion Angel

2 Sejiri Shelter

1 Shadowspear

1 Soul-Guide Lantern

Final Thoughts


Mono-White is back! It’s so good, too! It’s closer to mid-range the way I approach the deck, but once we can start buffing units, things get out of control very fast. We aren’t as worried about our creatures dying early on, because Lurrus means we can bring one back a turn. If Daxos is in play, we can just keep gaining life. Honestly, Daxos is one of the best Luminarch Aspirant targets. As a 1/* (* = our Devotion to White), so it’s going to be incredibly hard to kill. As far as the December meta decks for MTG Arena Standard, this one has a lot of meat on its bones. It’s not just “Play creature, Swing with creature” like some decks we’ll likely discuss. So, lots of positivity here!

Gruul Adventures – Still Nearly a 60% Win Rate (Red/Green Aggro/Mid-Range)


God. Somehow, Gruul Adventures/Aggro is still a thing. Not to mention it’s 57%+ winrate, it’s powerful, frustrating, and successful. We combine the overbearing power of Throne of Eldraine with new threats like Primal Might, Scavenging Ooze, and Kazandu Mammoth. The strong green creatures, various red threats, and of course, Embercleave are all on tap. Sure, the mana base is weak, but that’s the case of basically all multi-colored aggro decks right now. At least we have Cragcrown Pathway/TImbercrown Pathway and Fabled Passage at least, right?

Somehow, Edgewall Innkeeper missed the Great Bannification. Truthfully, it’s not the most broken card ever, but when we cast our Adventure Spell bearing creatures, we draw a card. Hello, Bonecrusher Giant, Rimrock Knight, and Lovestruck Beast! This is a very straight forward deck, and ultra powerful. It might be the most powerful of the aggro decks we feature for December’s MTG Arena standard decks. Why? Questing Beast

How’s It Work?


Oh, Questing Beast. You break every game you’re in and you don’t even care. I love it, but I can’t wait for it to disappear from Standard forever in. . . mid 2021. God, that’s a lifetime away. A long-standing rule in MTG is “If a card has no room for flavor text, it’s too powerful”. If you haven’t tried Questing Beast yet, here’s what it does, for a whopping FOUR MANA (2 green). It’s a 4/4, with Vigilance, Deathtouch, and Haste. It can’t be blocked by creatures with power 2 or less. Combat damage that creatures you control cannot be prevented. 

On top of that, if it weren’t enough, anytime he deals combat damage to an opponent, that damage is also dealt to one of their planeswalkers. So we can deal free damage and also potentially destroy a planeswalker. For decks that only run low-cost creatures (Rogues, Mono-White, Mono-Red), there’s a real chance we can defeat another player in one attack.

How? Questing Beast plus Embercleave flashed in, with a Primal Might on top. Embercleave can be Flashed in for less mana, depending on how many creatures we attack with. It also gives +1/+1, Double Strike and Trample. This makes him at least a 5/5 (that deals 10 damage thanks to Double Strike). If you cast a Primal Might on it first, it gains +X/+X and fights a creature you don’t control. So with another 6 mana, you can make him a 10/10 after the Embercleave. This is a “best-case scenario”, but I want you to see how powerful it is.

What makes this deck so great is that it doesn’t require a whole lot of thought and consideration. You play big, mean green creatures, and you swing with them. You drop land each turn if possible, which in turn buffs Brushfire Elemental/Kazandu Mammoth thanks to Landfall (until end of turn at least). We want to turn 1 Edgewall Innkeeper if at all possible, or as soon as possible. It gives us an extra card anytime we cast those Adventure creatures. We have quite a few of them, too. I think one of my favorite things is to turn 4 drop Questing Beast’s Adventure Spell (Heart’s Desire) to make a 1/1 Human, and then drop the 5/5 Beast for 3 mana (1 green). After all, it can’t attack unless you have a 1/1 creature. 

Even if you have Edgewall Innkeeper, I’d still make sure you cast the Adventure, either way, to make certain he can still attack. He can always block, at least. We can do so much damage in such a short period of time. Our ideal strikers are going to be Lovestruck Mammoth, Kazandu Mammoth, and Questing Beast. Or Scavenging Ooze, if we’ve spent time buffing it. After all, you pay 1 green and exile a card from a graveyard. If it was a creature, give the Ooze +1/+1 and we gain 1 life. Amazing against self-mill decks, that. They’re in the deck more as an insurance policy. A “just in case” the other player wants to start abusing the graveyard.

When you want to attack, attack hard, with as many big creatures as possible. That way you can flash in Embercleave easier (at best, 2 red), and if you can, Rimrock Knight has an Adventure Spell (Boulder Rush) to give a creature +2/+0 for 1 red mana. So you drop that on top of something else that’s getting through. 

We also have The Great Henge to give all of our creatures +1/+1 extra when they come into play (non tokens only), and can also give us 2 green mana and 2 life every turn. Oh, and those creatures that come into play also give card draw. The faster we cast this, the better. It costs X less (down to 2 green) based on the greatest power among creatures we control. Careful management of limited buffs and mana control can drop this before we actually have the ability to.

The key is to hit as hard and fast as you can. As soon as turn 4 rolls around, though the Beast/Peasant combo is great, you want to drop a Questing Beast. You can turn five an Embercleave with a few creatures, mid-combat. Wait until you see who gets/doesn’t get blocked, and drop Embercleave appropriately. I’d drop it on Questing Beast regardless unless something like Questing Beast or Kazandu Mammoth doesn’t get blocked. If you can deal 10 damage for free? By all means, do it. 

That’s what makes the deck so great. We can easily just obliterate someone in a few turns. Even the Bonecrusher Giant, as a 4/3 is a serious threat. He isn’t meant to live long. He’s here for a good time, not a long time. Targeting him with spells deals 2 damage to the controller of said spell, he’s a big threat there too. 

It’s honestly a deck that has a lot of variants too. You could go more of a Mutate route, or you could swap out the Questing Beast for Klothys, God of Destiny. It’s indestructible, cheaper cost, and exiles cards from graveyards every turn (to deal 2 damage to the opponent or give us 2 life). It really depends on how you’re feeling, but I prefer Questing Beast just for it’s reliable, fast damage. We also have Shatterskull Smashing to use on enemy creatures, but I have a feeling it will be played as a land more (because we always need lands).

Since we have two Landfall buff creatures, we need to get them in play and not miss landfall drops. All you have to do is play lands, play Green Creatures, and swing with them. Buff them when you can, and deliver Embercleave unto one of your biggest and best during combat. Never hard cast it, always Flash it in. 

Gruul Adventures – Still Nearly a 60% Win Rate (Red/Green Aggro/Mid-Range)


Decklist

Deck

4 Bonecrusher Giant

4 Brushfire Elemental

4 Cragcrown Pathway

4 Edgewall Innkeeper

4 Embercleave

4 Fabled Passage

9 Forest

4 Kazandu Mammoth

4 Lovestruck Beast

5 Mountain

1 Primal Might

2 Questing Beast

2 Rimrock Knight

3 Scavenging Ooze

4 Shatterskull Smashing

2 The Great Henge

Final Thoughts


Gruul Adventures (or any Gruul deck) is so frustrating to play against. Watching the other player use Bonecrusher Giant as a spell to kill your creature, then play the Giant next turn so you can’t safely swing? Then Lovestruck Beast, then Questing Beast. Then they start hitting you in the mouth and before you know it, the game is over. This is one of the highest win-rate decks I can think of right now. Whether in BO3 or BO1, it’s strong, reliable, and not complicated to play. Keep dropping creatures and keep dropping players. That’s the long and short of it. 

Red Deck(s) Win! (Mono-Red Aggro)


Is it a surprise to anyone that I am featuring a Red Deck here? Well, how about three Red decks? I couldn’t decide on which version I liked the most, but we’re going to focus on the Mono-Red Raid Bombardment. For my money, it’s got the best Win Rate and is absolutely wretched. It’s very reminiscent of the old days when we ran Mono-Red Cavalcade of Calamity. I had honestly forgotten that Raid Bombardment was a card we could use in Standard! You can’t in physical MTG that I’m aware of, but it is an option in MTG Arena’s Standard! It’s a part of the “Arena Beginner Set”. 

The Arena Beginner Set is a group of cards that are only legal in BO1 Standard for MTG Arena. This isn’t new or exciting, but it’s something that can be overlooked for those not really paying attention. If you just assume everything is available in any meta, you’ll probably be disappointed. We offered a link of the official list of ABS above, so you can see what other cards you can use in the Standard BO1 matches in MTG Arena. So that’s why I picked this as one of the Standard decks for MTG Arena’s best for December. There are all sorts of flavors of Red Deck Wins to pick from. It’s whatever works best for you, but I like this one the most.

We run a ton of low-power creatures, with some that can buff after declaring an attack. Raid Bombardment deals 1 damage to a player or planeswalker we’re attacking if we attack with creatures that have a power of 2 or less. So we just replace the old Cavalcade of Calamity and use it instead. This deck isn’t as strong as the older one I think, because that deck, to be frank, was filthy. Let’s talk about Red Deck Wins!

How’s It Work?


Raid Bombardment is the order of the day in this deck. Dropping it on Turn 3 is one of the strongest moves we have. There’s not a ton of enchantment removal that we have to worry about right now. But the ability to do free damage to our opponents is what we’re all about. This isn’t our only option either. Sneaking damage in via Relic Robber also helps this come to life. What this 2/2 for 3 (with Haste) has, whenever it deals combat damage to a player, that player creates a 0/1 colorless Goblin Construct token. It can’t block and deals 1 damage to that player on their upkeep.

This counts as non-combat damage for the purposes of Chandra’s Pyreling, which, in theory, could blast someone from half-life to dead in one go. Chandra’s Elemental creatures are pretty great in general. This one in particular is one of our keys to seeing victory. This elemental is a 2-drop (1 red) ⅓. However, whenever a source we control deals non-combat damage to an opponent, Chandra’s Pyreling receives +1/+0 and Double Strike until the end of turn.

Sadly, Relic Robber tokens are no longer under our control when they come into play. That free damage won’t buff Chandra’s Pyreling that I’m aware of. But you know what will give us free damage every turn? Roiling Vortex! Sure, it hurts us too. But it does a lot for us. It’s another of the keys to the kingdom. At the beginning of each player’s turn, Roiling Vortex deals them 1 damage. We can also tap 1 red to make opponents unable to gain life during a turn. Finally, whenever a player casts a spell, if they did not spend mana to cast it, Roiling Vortex deals 5 damage to them. So any fun 0-cost artifacts/spells? ZAP. Anything the player gets to cast without spending mana on? 5 damage. Now your opponent has to really think carefully about any of these they utilize.

Other than Roiling Vortex, Spikefield Hazard can also deal 1 damage to any target, and so can Bonecrusher Giant (via Stomp Adventure Spell – 2 damage). These will make Chandra’s Pyreling bigger and meaner at Instant Speed. Thankfully, he’s not our only answer for dealing annoying damage. Every creature in this deck is 2 or less power, and some can buff the others (Bolt Hound). This is a very straightforward deck.

We use low-cost, high-value creatures, play Raid Bombardment and Roiling Vortex. We have a few spells to use as reactions/removal, and let our creatures do the heavy lifting. So let’s talk about the good stuff that’s on offer. 

The classics are coming back! A few of these creatures are coming back from previous decks. In particular, Fervent Champion and Robber of the Rich. Tired of these yet? Too bad, they aren’t going away until next year! Fervent Champion is a 1/1 First Strike, Haste creature, and Robber of the Rich is a 2-cost 2/2 with Reach/Haste. Robber of the Rich is the better of the cards, in my opinion. If we have fewer cards than the opponent, we exile the top card of their deck. If it’s a spell, and we attack with a Rogue on any turn, we can cast this spell by spending any color of mana.

Playing these turn 1 and turn 2 is brutal, and can really upset virtually any player. Bonecrusher Giant is also back but is a 4/3. So Raid Bombardment doesn’t trigger for it, but it’s a fantastic defensive unit. On top of that, we can cast it as a spell to deal 2 damage to any target for 2 mana.

The current expansion does offer us a lot of new, fun cards. There are new, good doggos in the deck! Akoum Hellhound is a 1-cost 0/1 Elemental Dog, that gains +2/+2 until the end of turn whenever we play a land. That means we should always have a land drop to maximize its usefulness. We don’t want it to die when we swing. Raid Bombardment will deal 1 damage even if this is a 0/1, but we don’t want it to perish. If you have replacements for it, and you have Bombardment, just go for it! The other player might think you have a buff for it. 

Bolt Hound is a 3-cost and is a 2/2 with Haste. He gives all other creatures you attack with +1/+0 until the end of turn whenever the Bolt Hound itself attacks. If you attack with more than one, they buff each other. These are the primary sources of damage to the deck. What about our spells? 

Fire Prophecy is a 2-cost instant that deals 3 damage to a target creature. It also lets you put a card from your hand onto the bottom of your library. If you do, draw a card. So you can remove a threat, get rid of a card you don’t want, and draw a card? On your opponent’s turn, no less? It’s brilliant. With how many artifacts are in the meta right now, we can use Shredded Sails to destroy one at instant speed for 2 mana. You can instead, choose to deal 4 damage to a creature with Flying. If neither of those is useful, you can Cycle it for 2 colorless mana to draw a card. As a non-damage spell, we can use our one copy of Valakut Awakening to put any of the cards in our hand onto the bottom of the library, then draw that many plus one. So it’s great, but it’s likely going to be used as a land, the same as Spikefield Hazard

The idea is that we drop an early Raid Bombardment and use those low-cost creatures and swing with them just about every turn. It’s a very easy to play deck, and it’s destructive. Attack, attack, attack, free damage, attack. 

Red Deck(s) Win! (Mono-Red Aggro)


Decklist

Deck

4 Akoum Hellhound

17 Mountain

4 Fervent Champion

4 Chandra’s Pyreling

2 Roiling Vortex

4 Raid Bombardment

4 Robber of the Rich

3 Relic Robber

3 Bolt Hound

4 Bonecrusher Giant

4 Fire Prophecy

2 Shredded Sails

2 Castle Embereth

1 Valakut Awakening

2 Spikefield Hazard

Final Thoughts


Under this, I’ll include one or two other alternate decks and some very brief thoughts on them. But this deck is the Red Deck Wins deck I’d likely run. There are so many ways to play Red Deck Wins. Play creatures, play Bombardment, swing over and over until you win. That’s what makes it so great! Sometimes you just want to hit the other player until they give up. Sure, control is great, but have you ever made someone tap out just from cheap nobody creatures?

Alternate Deck: 0 Rare Red Aggro


How about a Mono-Red deck that runs 0 Rares? We still run Raid Bombardment to deal 1 damage anytime a weak creature attacks. Not every creature in this deck will take advantage of it, like Anax, hardened in the Forge. It might not trigger Raid Bombardment, but that’s okay. We’ll use him with Kazuul’s Fury to make sure that after Anax has tons of Devotion, we can get more free damage. This is a deck where we’ll be using Gingerbrute, declare an attack, make it unblockable, and then get that free damage. However, we also have Chandra’s Pyreling! We declare attack with it, drop a few Shocks to give it +1/+0 and Double Strike. Then we drop Infuriate a few times to make it even bigger. Let it attack, since it’s huge and has Double Strike. 

This is another great target for Kazuul’s Fury. If we can drop a few Infuriates down, Kazuul’s Fury has a chance to one-shot a player. We also run Forbidden Friendship to make a few tokens that are low-power to help us with Raid Bombardment. It’s a brilliant, annoying deck. 

Alternate Deck: 0 Rare Red Aggro


Decklist

Deck

4 Anax, Hardened in the Forge

18 Mountain

4 Gingerbrute

4 Shock

2 Spikefield Hazard

4 Heartfire Immolator

2 Kazuul’s Fury

4 Forbidden Friendship

4 Raid Bombardment

4 Chandra’s Pyreling

4 Infuriate

2 Claim the Firstborn

4 Weaselback Redcap

Alternate Deck: MONO RED YORION


This comes courtesy of covertgoblue and is pure silly nonsense. It’s an 80 card mono-red deck that also has Yorion, Sky Nomad in it. It’s our only non-red card. We do have 4 blue lands to cast him (as a white/blue), but we probably won’t really need to cast him. This is an 80-card mono-red aggro deck. Akoum Hellhound, Fireblade Charger, Fervent Champion, everything. Phoenix of Ash, Embercleave, Torbran, Anax! Every single good red card is thrown together, and we run playsets of almost all of them.

I love this as a troll deck. Plus people see Yorion, and then red comes out of the deck? It has to be confusing and infuriating! God bless, this is for people that understand Red Deck Wins, love it, and want to troll the ladder.

Alternate Deck: MONO RED YORION


Decklist

Companion

1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

 

Deck

2 Roil Eruption

16 Mountain

4 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

4 Castle Embereth

4 Needleverge Pathway

4 Phoenix of Ash

4 Bonecrusher Giant

4 Anax, Hardened in the Forge

4 Riverglide Pathway

4 Embercleave

4 Rimrock Knight

2 Kargan Intimidator

4 Shatterskull Smashing

4 Shock

4 Akoum Hellhound

4 Fireblade Charger

4 Fervent Champion

4 Robber of the Rich

 

Sideboard

1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

Food For The Food Throne (Mostly Mono-Green Thassa Food)


A disclaimer though: I know this reads “Mono-Green”, but we do have 3 copies of one blue creature here. I hesitate to call it a Simic Deck if it has 3 copies of Thassa, and a playset of Temple of Mystery, but here we are. It’s still nearly an almost entirely green deck. Out of the various decks produced for MTG Arena’s Standard meta, this is the one I’m most likely to run beside a control deck. This is more of a mid-range deck than an aggro though. We abuse the ability to produce Food Tokens to make some of our creatures far more insidious. 

There are in particular, three powerful creatures we use in the deck. Wicked Wolf, Kogla, the Titan Ape, and Feasting Troll King. Are there other good creatures in the deck? Absolutely. We can’t discount Wildborn Preserver for its ability to spiral wildly out of control with stats. Lovestruck Beast is still a 5/5 for 3, and Gilded Goose gets us all set to start making Food Tokens. But the three I mentioned are the most likely to see us to victory. Since we can sacrifice a Food Token to give the Wicked Wolf a +1/+1 counter and give it indestructible, we can do this mid-combat. It tapes the Wolf, but he’s already tapped to attack. Partner that with Garruk Unleashed to give him +3/+3 and Trample until the end of the turn? Suddenly it’s a minimum 6/6 Trample, then a 7/7 Trample/Indestructible!

The question has to be asked then: Why Thassa? Creatures like Wildborn Preserver, Scavenging Ooze, and Wicked Wolf will come back with their original stats! That would ruin all the careful work we’ve done! Surely there’s a good reason for this weird blue god to be in the deck. She can’t even actually become a creature, without more blue cards.

What’s the play here? It’s such a weird choice! But. . . is it though? It has a purpose, I promise. So let’s talk about it!

How’s It Work?


Thassa is indestructible, and at the end of your turn, you can bounce a creature you control out of play, and then bring it back into play (also under your control). This is a deck that needs a lot of Food Tokens. Sure, casting Feasting Troll King from your hand gives you 3, but we probably want to use those to bring him back from the grave. 

We have Gilded Goose as a Food Token generation system. We can tap 2 mana (1 green) to create one, and it also gives you a Food Token when it comes into play. That’s the play! We create a Food Token with this, and then bounce it in and out of play so we can have another Food Token! This also pairs nicely with Wildborn Preserver as long as we have spare mana.

Speaking of Thassa, we have one more target for our favorite blue goddess. Kogla, The Titan Ape! It’s a 7/6 for 5 (3 green), and when it comes into play, it fights up to one target creature you don’t control. Sure, Wicked Wolf can do that too, but we use Food Tokens to buff it. This comes in as a 7/6. We can use this every turn to fight a creature that we can easily stomp out. However, whenever Kogla attacks, you destroy an artifact or enchantment the defending player controls. We can also return a human we control to its owner’s hand to give Kogla indestructible. The hard part about that is, we only have 4 humans, and they come from Lovestruck Beast’s Adventure Spell. We probably won’t be using that often. Lovestruck Beast can’t attack without a 1/1 in play. Luckily, we have Tangled Florahedron to fill that slot. 

Whenever a non-Human creature comes into play under our control, we can pay X mana, and give the Preserver that many +1/+1 counters. Consider that Wildborn Preserver is a 2/2 with Flash/Reach for 2 (1 green), it’s another amazing win condition. It’s another great Garruk, Unleashed target. Imagine swinging with a 34/34 Trample/Reach! It’s a fantastic, disrespectful way. The downside to this creature is that it can be removed. You can’t destroy Wicked Wolf as long as we’ve got Food Tokens. It can be exiled, but that’s just the price we pay. 

I’m not saying “Don’t use Wildborn Preserver”, because I have and will. Just remember we have other options. Speaking of the Wolf, it’s a 4-cost creature (2 green), and when it enters play, it fights up to one creature we don’t control. If you think it will die in that fight (but still kill off an enemy), feel free to sacrifice a Food Token to turn him into a 4/4 indestructible. That’s what makes the Wolf so amazing. It will get bigger and be indestructible every single turn if we want it to.

As long as we can keep churning out Food Tokens like butter, it’s going to be great. Speaking of food tokens, that leads me to the Feasting Troll King. He is not cheap to play. If you’ve been stacking Food Tokens every turn, you can also discard him (if made to do so/if you have too many cards in hand). You can sacrifice 3 Food Tokens to bring him from the grave into play. But if you cast him from your hand, he creates 3 Food Tokens. He’s expensive at 6 mana (4 green), but we have a ton of mana in this deck. Gilded Goose can sacrifice a Food Token to tap for mana, and Tangled Florahedron is either a creature that taps for mana, or a land, up to you.

Kazandu Mammoth can also come into play as a land instead! The Feasting Troll King is a Troll Noble that comes in as a 7/6 with Vigilance/Trample. He’s wildly powerful for that mana cost, and can be simply used to create more fodder for the Wicked Wolf. Bear in mind that you can use the ability Wicked Wolf has more than once a turn if you need. Just don’t do it before you attack or you won’t be able to for the turn.

Between these creatures, we can drop The Great Henge on the cheap. It casts for X less (up to 7) based on the most powerful creature have. So we can drop it for 2 mana (2 green), and tap it to get 2 green and 2 life. It also gives our creatures (nontoken) +1/+1 when they come into play, and draws a card for us. 

This isn’t a deck that comes equipped with a lot of counter spells/abilities. We’ve got a Thrashing Brontodon to destroy an artifact or enchantment, and the ability to attack with Kogla. That’s about it! We can get life back through The Great Henge, and the power to buff our creatures for a turn with Garruk. His +1 is our go-to for that. He comes in with 4 loyalty, but if we can get up to his -7, we’ll be sitting pretty for the game. It lets us search our library for a creature card and put it into play every one of our end steps. So at the end of our turn, get another creature. This allows us to be far more aggressive with our decisions and attacks since we’ll have a powerful blocker waiting at the end of each turn!

Thassa Food has us attacking with our big creatures every turn we can. Keep Food Tokens on tap to buff/give Wicked Wolf indestructible and make sure we win every single trade. What we have here is a very aggressive deck that, after a few turns, really starts to kick off. Players get frustrated attacking something that can’t be killed. Even if they run flyers, we can keep buffing our Wildborn Preserver and make them think twice. If we have a 15/15 Reach, nothing their deck runs can get past it (without protection from green or something else obnoxious).

Food For The Food Throne (Mostly Mono-Green Thassa Food)


Decklist

Deck

4 Tangled Florahedron

14 Forest

3 Thassa, Deep-Dwelling

3 The Great Henge

1 Scavenging Ooze

4 Castle Garenbrig

4 Gilded Goose

4 Temple of Mystery

4 Wicked Wolf

1 Kogla, the Titan Ape

4 Kazandu Mammoth

4 Lovestruck Beast

2 Wildborn Preserver

2 Garruk, Unleashed

1 Thrashing Brontodon

1 Bonders’ Enclave

4 Feasting Troll King

 

Sideboard

2 Scavenging Ooze

2 Questing Beast

3 Thrashing Brontodon

3 Chainweb Aracnir

2 Primal Might

1 Kogla, the Titan Ape

2 Ram Through

Final Thoughts


Technically this is a “Tier 2” deck, but I think it’s closer to Tier 1. It’s just so annoying and can batter down most decks. Decks can’t use their chump blockers against this deck, because Garruk provides us with Trample thanks to his +1. I’d like to add more Kogla’s in the deck to make sure we actually get him, but I’m not certain what to remove. I’d be tempted to take out a Thrashing Brontodon or a Lovestruck Beast, but that would probably make the mana curve of the deck all weird. I don’t like that idea one bit. I think it’s fine as is, but drawing into Kogla in the early/mid game feels very satisfying.

Two Temur Concepts Combine to Form a Nightmare (Blue/Green/Red Ramp/Combo)


When Omnath/Uro got banned out, the community rejoiced. That is, everyone but the Temur and Simic players. They had to find a new way to get wins, and boy did they come through! We take the best of two decks and smush them into one terrifying concept. We take Obosh Odds and throw it together with a Ramp deck! We don’t have to have Obosh in play to make this combo work, but they sure make it go fast! 

Obosh, the Preypiercer is a Companion that requires all cards in your deck have an Odd Casting Cost. The reward? When Obosh is in play, if a source you control has an Odd casting cost, it deals double the damage it normally would to any player or permanent. That already sounds pretty beastly. Then you tack on Terror of the Peaks and things start to get interesting. When we play creatures, at that point, they deal damage equal to their power to any target. Then that number gets doubled.

What could we possibly do with a deck like this? How about cast Beanstalk Giant? After all, it has Power/Toughness equal to the number of lands we have! He’s going to come screaming out of the sky like the meteor in Final Fantasy VII

How’s It Work?


Our early game is going to be focused on setting up our land ramping capability. We’ll bounce enemy creatures away to slow them down, pop the Cultivate to pull two basic lands from our deck, and put one into play/one into hand. Our land ramp isn’t as powerful as it used to be.

That doesn’t make it bad though. It’s just a little more manageable for the meta as a whole. We still want to get a turn-1 Edgewall Innkeeper, because he gives us card draw. Whenever we play a creature that has an Adventure, we draw a card. Almost every creature in this deck is an Adventure creature, after all!

Aside from Cultivate, we also have the, speaking of Adventures, Beanstalk Giant. This has a spell attached, Fertile Footsteps for 3 mana (1 green). We can search our library for a basic land and put it into play. Sadly, no Lucky Clover to use on this, since it was banned!  Once we have 7 mana, which shouldn’t take long, we’re going to want to drop a Genesis Ultimatum. It’s our biggest way to ramp and get cards into play.

We look at the top five cards of our deck and put any of the permanents we see into play. The rest of those cards go into our hand. Consider that we have 24 creatures, 2 artifacts, and 26 lands in the deck. Oh, and 3 instants (Spikefield Hazard). This deck is a tiny bit over 60 cards for that reason. We could in theory get five lands and just put them all into play! We’d love to get a Terror of the Peaks this way. That’s our next big win condition piece.

When it’s safe (which is about any time, honestly), Obosh, the Preypiercer can come into play. I’d consider waiting until after Terror of the Peaks perhaps. If your opponent has no control cards/removal cards, you can play her as soon as it’s convenient. We have to drop 3 colorless to pull it from the sideboard, and then another 5 (2 red) to cast it. The two of them combine to win the game for us. At that point, anytime we cast a creature, its Power is turned into damage on any target and doubled. 

That’s why we have Lovestruck Beast in the deck. We don’t need to attack with it. Using it this way deals 10 damage to any target, provided Obosh/Terror is in play. Sure, it can’t attack without a 1/1 in play, but we’ve got Edgewall Innkeeper to help with that! Just play the Beast, and laugh as the damage comes rolling in.

Depending on how much mana you have/how many cards are in play, you can pretty much win in one turn at this point. Terror of the Peaks only specifies that the creature has to “enter the battlefield under your control”. So you can cast Genesis Ultimatum again, drop some free creatures, and laugh as the other player melts under the weight. The only thing stopping this deck from becoming a Tier 1 is the speed. It’s excellent in BO3 because of this though. That way you can slot cards in and out as you need them for the match-up.

If we can outlast the aggro decks’ early game, we can turn it all around. Especially with The Great Henge giving us life and mana every turn, alongside buffing creatures that come into play under our control. We have some options to help though. Spikefield Hazard can deal 1 damage to a target, and if it dies, it gets exiled.

There’s also Bonecrusher Giant, who can deal 2 damage to any target, for 3 mana (1 red). Brazen Borrower also lets us bounce enemy nonland permanents back to their hand, so we can slow them down that way too. We’ve got the tools we need, but if the opponent’s deck is too fast, we’re going to suffer. I wanted to include this deck because I love the concept, and it has promise in ranked. It’s not going to be the end-all, beat-all god-killer, but it’s going to be strong. The best deck is probably still going to be Gruul Adventures.

Two Temur Concepts Combine to Form a Nightmare (Blue/Green/Red Ramp/Combo)


Decklist

Companion

1 Obosh, the Preypiercer

 

Deck

1 Bala Ged Recovery

4 Beanstalk Giant

4 Bonecrusher Giant

4 Brazen Borrower

4 Cragcrown Pathway

3 Cultivate

4 Edgewall Innkeeper

2 Fabled Passage

3 Forest

4 Genesis Ultimatum

3 Island

4 Ketria Triome

4 Lovestruck Beast

2 Mountain

4 Riverglide Pathway

3 Spikefield Hazard

4 Temple of Mystery

4 Terror of the Peaks

2 The Great Henge

Final Thoughts



This is a really fun deck, even if Obosh dies. There’s a very real chance that if you can make the game stretch out, you can bomb the other player with Terror of the Peaks for 16-20 damage, thanks to Beanstalk Giant. Throne of Eldraine keeps coming through with the most powerful cards of the year. I love the idea of this deck, and while sure, it can be countered, every deck in this current meta, for my money, can be too. We just mana ramp as hard as we humanly can, hold out for a hero, and when it shows up, we bring forth untold amounts of doom. We’re not looking to deal damage to our opponent by attacking, but we can. It’s far more satisfying to make them attack into our units and take trades that aren’t worth it.

Dimir Rogues Struggle But Stand Tall (Black/Blue Rogues Control)


Mill: The act of making a player take the top card of their deck and put it into their graveyard. This can mean you (the player) or the opponent. If a player can’t draw, they lose the game.

Dimir Rogues come in a couple of flavors too. There’s the jankier, aggro option, and then there’s a more control flavor. That’s what we’re looking at, which also features the powerful Lurrus of the Dream-Den. With Lurrus, as long as we can keep him in play and alive, we can be aggressive and force situations where the other player has to block/kill a Rogue, and either way, we’re going to mill people down. That’s what we’re after: mill conditions! With cards like Ruin Crab, Soaring Thought-Thief, and Thieves’ Guild Enforcer, we’re going to make people very sad, very quickly.

Now, this isn’t a pure mill deck. We’re lacking some of the more expensive enchantments that help the other player lose cards faster. That’s because we have Lurrus. In order to make him a Companion, our permanents in the deck have to be 2 casting cost or less. We can however at least steal one creature from the other player, thanks to Lullmage’s Domination.

Since Lurrus lets us cast a permanent from our grave every turn (once), we can attack with a creature, force an enemy to mill two cards (thanks to one of our Rogues), and then play it again, and they mill further! If we can get a few Ruin Crabs in play, any land we have is a threat. It does not feature a ton of new cards, but we do go back to this deck because let’s face it; Rogues are awesome right now.

I feel like they can be easily outmatched by the damage in Red Deck Wins/Gruul Adventures, but if we get going before they do? It’s done. We can get very lucky and start milling all their key cards into the grave. Those decks don’t have any way to fetch from the grave, so once gone, it’s gone forever. As a long-time fan of control decks, this one’s a bit different. We still have a few counterspells, we still have spot removal, and we have a boatload of mill.

How’s It Work?


There are a few cards you’re likely going to be familiar with if you were a fan of the previous Rogues deck. Merfolk Windrobber mills a card from a player whenever it deals combat damage to a player. It has flying and is a 1/1 for 1, so it’s easy to get into play. But more than that, Thieves’ Guild Enforcer is probably our best Rogue.

A 1/1 for 1 (1 black) with Flash, whenever it or another Rogue enters play for us, each opponent mills two cards. If an opponent has 8 or more cards in their grave, the Thieves’ Guild Enforcer gains +2/+1 and Deathtouch. I’d like to play it on turn 1, but I’m perfectly fine waiting until my opponent’s turn to play it. That way we can keep mana open in case of a needed counterspell. That is, after we have at least two mana open (so turn 2 or later).

Speaking of two mana, for 1 blue and 1 black, we have a Flash/Flying Rogue, that is also a ⅓. It’s the Soaring Thought-Thief!  As long as an opponent has eight or more cards in their grave, our Rogues receive +1/+0. On top of that, whenever one or more Rogues we control attack, each opponent mills two. Now, if we attack with 3 creatures, we still only make the other player mill 2, unless we have several Soaring Thought-Thief cards in play. Then it will trigger over and over!

Since it has Flash, we can also wait until the last part of the opponent’s turn, making sure we don’t need to counter any of their spells. Then, we open a turn with free mana to do what we need! This is useful because we do have just two Sorcery cards in the deck. Of One Mind is normally a 3-cost (1 blue), but costs 2 less if we control a Human and a non-Human. The reward? Draw 2 cards.

As far as non-Humans, Merfolk Windrobber meets that bill, and so does the most important creature in this entire deck: Ruin Crab. Sure, Rogues are rad, but Ruin Crab is amazing. A 0/3 for 1 blue, whenever we play a land, each opponent mills 3 cards. We want as many of these to get into play as possible, and start dropping lands.

Lurrus of the Dream-Den is our Companion, so we can bring it to our hand at any time we can play a Sorcery, for 3 colorless. Casting it requires 3 mana, 2 black (or 2 white). It’s a 3/2 with Lifelink and again, each of our turns, we can cast a 2-cost or less permanent from the grave. That’s what makes this deck so fierce.

If we have at least 1 Thieves’ Guild Enforcer, Merfolk Windrobber, and Soaring Thought-Thief in play, we can do so much. We attack with a creature, not really intending to do damage. If it does, great. If we lose the creature in question, we just re-cast it. Attacking made them mill 2, playing a creature makes them mill 2, and dealing damage with the Windrobber makes them mill 1. That’s also hinged on us only having one of them each. Those abilities stack, friends. That’s what we want. To constantly harass them with land drops (Ruin Crab) and make our Rogues mill them too.

Even better if we can drop Fabled Passage, and then sacrifice it for another Basic Land. We also have Agadeem’s Awakening, which can drop as a land instead of the spell. The spell is great, as a 3-black+X that lets us bring back as many creatures from the grave that have costs that are different, but we aren’t going to get a ton of value out of it. It’s mostly a “just in case Lurrus” dies if you ask me. A turn-1 Ruin Crab can be wildly deflating if the other player has no answers for it.

As it happens, Mono-Red and Gruul Adventures both have to do a lot to deal with 3 damage. We never attack with it, so they have no choice but to burn at least two spells to deal with it. That’s still a win to me. We don’t pack the ability to do a ton of mill in one turn, but we nickel and dime them down.

Even one of our counters does it! Didn’t Say Please is a 3-cost counter that makes the target mill 3 cards. Speaking of control, we also use Drown in the Loch, which counters spells or destroys a creature, based on how many cards its controller has in the graveyard. So the more we mill them down, the easier it is to use.

Speaking of removal, we also have a copy of Negate to counter noncreature spells, and Heartless Act, which we’ve already discussed. It destroys a creature with no counters, or removes 3 from a creature. Cling to Dust is a 1-black Instant to exile a card from a graveyard. If we pick a creature, we gain 3 life, and otherwise, it’s a card we draw. We can target our own graveyard if we need, too. Another popular card is Bloodchief’s Thirst, which is a 1-cost (with a 3-cost Kicker). Normally it destroys a creature or planeswalker that costs 2 or less. But if we pay the Kicker, it can be any creature or planeswalker.

We can also draw 4, thanks to Into the Story. Again, it feeds into the enemy being milled down. If they have seven or more cards in the grave, it costs 3 less (making it a 4-cost instead of a 7). Thankfully it’s an Instant, so we can also do it on the other player’s turn.

That’s all we want. We want to play our creatures, force situations where the player mills, and watch as their deck dwindles to nothing. We can even mill down Yorion decks, but it sure takes forever.

Dimir Rogues Struggle But Stand Tall (Black/Blue Rogues Control)


Decklist

Companion

1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den

 

Deck

3 Heartless Act

4 Temple of Deceit

4 Fabled Passage

3 Swamp

5 Island

4 Into the Story

2 Of One Mind

1 Lullmage’s Domination

3 Agadeem’s Awakening

2 Zagoth Triome

4 Clearwater Pathway

1 Negate

4 Soaring Thought-Thief

1 Cling to Dust

2 Bloodchief’s Thirst

3 Merfolk Windrobber

4 Ruin Crab

4 Thieves’ Guild Enforcer

4 Drown in the Loch

2 Didn’t Say Please

Final Thoughts


This is a fun deck. It’s not the strongest in the meta, but there are only a few decks that really stand out and feel unbeatable. This one takes a bit longer, which is dangerous in this meta. We’re in a very aggressive meta, so you have to be able to take a solid start. If you can eliminate key threats (which varies from deck to deck), and mill early, the other player can run out of options. That’s my favorite; when the other player takes a greedy start, and you mill all the early-draw lands they might have received. From there, they give in, and you’re free to just harass them with more and more mill.

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