Standard: Dominaria United's first week!

Magic: the Gathering

Competitive

Standard: Dominaria United's first week!

09/07/22 Comment regular icon0 comments

Dominaria United is finally among us on digital platforms, and the Challenges brought the first taste of what we can expect from the new Standard!

Writer image

By Romeu

Writer image

translated by Romeu

Writer image

revised by Tabata Marques

Edit Article
Dominaria Unitedlink outside website is finally among us on digital platforms, and the Challenges brought the first sampling of the new Standard! Today, we'll be dissecting the format's top Metagame competitors right now, as well as a breakdown of what we can expect in the coming days. Without further ado, let's get straight to the results of last weekend's events.

Saturday Standard Challenge

Last Saturday's Standard Challenge ended with the following Top 32: 6 Rakdos Midrange

Ad

6 Rakdos Anvil 3 Orzhov Midrange 3 Jund Midrange 2 Mono Black Midrange 2 Mardu Midrange 2 Esper Midrange 1 Grixis Vampires 1 Gruul Aggro 1 Mono Black Aggro 1 Mono Red Aggro 1 Izzet Delver And the Top 8 was composed of: 3 Rakdos Midrange, 1 Mono Black Midrange, 1 Orzhov Midrange, 1 Grixis Vampires, 1 Rakdos Anvil and 1 Mardu Midrange. So, the first thing we can conclude is that

Black-Based Midrange

is extremely popular, which was expected since most of the base that composes it remained in the format, and Dominaria United brought a variety of high-quality cards, such as Evolved Sleeper and, of course, Liliana of the Veil.
Loading icon
Unlike the Innistrad-Return to Ravnica format, where a Metagame with Thragtusk, Voice of Resurgence and Loxodon Smiter was extremely hostile to Liliana, the current format makes her incredibly well-positioned: Not only we have more ways to add value with Tenacious Underdog and keep resources coming with Evolved Sleeper, the Planeswalker shines primarily in attrition matchups against other Midrange archetypes — represented in abundance in the first week of the new season. Betting on a multitude of 2-for-1 effects to stay ahead with your resources with efficient removals and powerful draws, basically all Black-Based from the current Standard can further improve Liliana in their lists.

Rakdos Midrange

Loading icon
Loading icon
Loading icon
The most famous archetype of this week, with approximately 23% of the Metagame was the

Rakdos Midrange

, which boils down to the most effective use of the best cards of that color combination. There is variance between late-game slots, but its core is made up of the following cards:
Loading icon
These are its main threats, and they are typically supplemented by Graveyard Trespasser, Sorin the Mirthless, Ob Nixilis, the Adversary, Jaya, Fiery Negotiator and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse — each offering unique qualities compared to the others.
Loading icon
Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is a powerful threat, as it blocks a variety of creatures well, doesn't die easily to Bloodtithe Harvester and dodges Voltage Surge, in addition to offering the inevitability of turning each opponent's draw into a Shock, while delaying their clock each turn.
Loading icon
A card that is also heavily played in most Black-Based Midranges is Invoke Despair for its ability to offer a 3-for-1 that responds simultaneously to a creature, a Planeswalker, and often to Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, making it one of the most powerful spells in the current Metagame.

Rakdos Anvil

Loading icon
Loading icon
Loading icon
The other variant of the Rakdos archetypes relies less on the individual value of each card and bets on the interaction between them with Oni-Cult Anvil alongside Experimental Synthesizer and The Meathook Massacre to have the inevitability of winning the game, 1 damage at a time.

Ad

Loading icon
While notably less powerful when it comes to individual raw power, Rakdos Anvil has more attack angles and manages to play well around the opponent's Liliana of the Veil and keep their most important creatures in play. Also, triggers from multiple copies of Oni-Cult Anvil easily get out of hand, and the list still manages to abuse Braids, Arisen Nightmare quite well, turning her into a mini-Invoke Despair at every upkeep.
Loading icon

Mono Black Midrange

Loading icon
Loading icon
Loading icon
Trading the variety of answers for consistency and the possibility of running some utility lands, the

Mono Black Midrange

is the archetype with the most consistency to cast Invoke Despair at the right time without relying too much on variance.
Loading icon
However, the mono-colored variant of these strategies doesn't leave much to be desired because most of the high-value permanents are precisely of that color, making it a strong competitor in the Metagame and opening up space for a variety of more narrow answers in the Maindeck and Sideboard.
Loading icon

Orzhov Midrange

Loading icon
Loading icon
Loading icon
The Orzhov Midrange, however, relies on two more distinct strategies: one is entirely creature-oriented and operates close to what an Aggro would, but with each threat generating a 2-for-1 effect while turning a Serra Paragon into a value engine.
Loading icon
Other versions, however, seek to take more advantage of the black core to establish an efficient late-game plan with Planeswalkers, while Reckoner Bankbuster allows recurring draws while being a threat, and Farewell is the perfect answer to the most varied threats in the format.
Loading icon
In addition, white also provides access to some of the best removals on Standard today, such as March of Otherworldly Light and Fateful Absence, essential for dealing with Planeswalkers at a low cost in a format that feels like it's being dictated by them.
Loading icon

Jund Midrange

Loading icon
Loading icon
Finally, one archetype that has stuck after the rotation is Jund Midrange, now looking to harness one of the most powerful creatures in Dominaria United — Soul of Windgrace.
Loading icon
The advantage of Soul of Windgrace is that it transforms every land in your hand into some other more useful effect while allowing you to ramp up during combat, turning it into a must-answer threat which adds extra value every turn and helps accelerate the cast of the largest bomb available in Standard today, Titan of Industry.
Loading icon

Ad

In addition, Llanowar Loamspeaker is a powerful mana dork that also turns your lands into threats and helps you cast Soul of Windgrace or Unleash the Inferno a turn earlier than expected, as well as correcting the mana.
Loading icon
An interesting tech from one of the lists is the addition of Diregraf Rebirth to reanimate your creatures if they're discarded by Liliana, having a brutal synergy alongside Titan of Industry to bring it into play as early as turn 4.

Sunday Standard Challenge

On Sunday, the Top 32 of the Standard Challenge was made up of the following decks: 9 Mono Black Midrange 5 Rakdos Midrange 5 Jund Midrange 3 Rakdos Anvil 2 Boros Reanimator 2 Mono White Reanimator 2 Mono Red Aggro 1 Esper Midrange 1 Rakdos Aggro 1 Orzhov Midrange 1 Gruul Aggro And the Top 8 was composed by: 3 Mono Black Midrange, 1 Esper Midrange, 1 Boros Reanimator, 1 Mono White Reanimator, 1 Rakdos Midrange, 1 Jund Midrange.

Esper Midrange

Loading icon
The Challenge winning list already demonstrates a tendency for the format to evolve and adapt to Liliana of the Veil in seeking to mitigate the impact of her abilities on Midrange mirrors, something done with excellence through Resolute Reinforcements, Serra Paragon and especially Ao, the Dawn Sky — all of them punishing the opponent for giving the option to choose what to sacrifice with the Planeswalker's ability, and with the two-drops helping to protect the archetype's main threat, Raffine, Scheming Seer.
Loading icon
Counterspells also help keep greedier decks in check by punishing them for tapping out to cast a bomb, while Disdainful Stroke is the best answer to Sheoldred, the Apocalypse and Invoke Despair.
Loading icon
Between the high-quality cards, the ability to adapt and respond effectively to the other Midranges and the strategy that manages to take a more proactive course, I believe that Esper Midrange will become the best positioned archetype in this Midrange universe in the future.

Boros Reanimator

Loading icon
Loading icon
However, in a world of Midranges, it's not always the best option to play fair, and there are times when your best route is to get gigantic creatures into play as quickly as possible - that's the idea of ​​the

White-Based Reanimators

.
Loading icon
Sanctuary Warden and Titan of Industry are hard to kill if you can keep the board stable to minimize a Liliana's -2, and have a massive immediate impact with their shield counters — if you can get them into play a turn or two earlier than expected, you'll be way ahead of your opponent, and for that, we have Invoke Justice that not only puts them into play, but turns them into a 3-turn clock.
Loading icon

Ad

To enable this strategy, the archetype has a huge variety of spells that allow its controller to "recycle" their own hand, helping to find combo pieces while placing creatures in their graveyard or getting rid of unwanted spells or lands. Each of them also has another ability that makes them relevant in the game, mostly as creatures, removals, or both.
Loading icon
Since most of its enablers are creatures, Boros Reanimator also works as an excellent Midrange that capitalizes on The Wandering Emperor's abilities, allowing for a "fair" game while looking to cheat on mana with Invoke Justice, making it a solid option in the format today.
Loading icon
The Mono-White version forgoes a more combo-centric plan in favor of an aggressive approach, with quality two-drops that also operate as discard outlets, taking better advantage of the Planeswalker and the distribution of +1/+1 counters from Invoke Justice.

Mono Red Aggro

Loading icon
Loading icon
Mono-Red is back, and with access to different variants, where both bet on dealing as much damage as possible in a few turns, but both builds were made considering that the games will likely end up extending, and soon resort to spells that generate some value.
Loading icon
Squee, Dubious Monarch is another

excellent

answer against Liliana of the Veil and 1-for-1 removals, as well as facilitating the recast of Phoenix Chick, with this one being another excellent response against the Planeswalker and Sorcery-Speed removals
Loading icon
Another excellent interaction is Electrostatic Infantry with cheap self-replacing spells like Reckless Impulse and Ancestral Anger, operating as a pseudo-prowess similar to what we see in Pauper and in other formats. However, this interaction is extremely fragile against removals, making the dwarf a bad topdeck in this strategy.

Gruul Aggro

Loading icon
Speaking of Aggro, Gruul is still present in the format, and thanks to the ramp provided by Llanowar Loamspeaker and Gala Greeters, the archetype can cast Defiler of Vigor early and, from there, transform its creatures into a mighty army.
Loading icon
Also, some of the core that constituted this strategy in past Standard remains, especially cards like Halana and Alena, Partners and Moonveil Regent, plus early-game additions that forces and punishes opposing reactions, like Quirion Beastcaller.
Loading icon

Conclusion

These were the highlights of the first Challenges weekend after Dominaria United. Other interesting strategies have also appeared in online events, such as

Mono Black Aggro

,

Mono White Aggro

,

Izzet Delver

,

Azorius Tempo

,

Dimir Control

and

Four-Color Domain

, but they didn't do any expressive results so far and likely need more refinement to compete in the current Metagame.

Ad

By the way, given the notorious growth of Black-Based Midranges in this early season and the importance of Planeswalkers in them, it's a good time to evaluate targeted answers to these strategies, such as effects to mitigate their value engines, ways to play "over the top" like a Big Mana or Combo deck, resorting to Pithing Needle to stop planeswalkers and especially ways to get value even in the face of a Liliana of the Veil on turn 3. The Week 1 is always a bit polarized based on the tests that were already done before the start of the season, and we need to wait some time to assess the format's health before we hit the panic button — let's allow time to do its natural work. Thanks for reading!
Sign in and join the conversation
User profile image

Be the first to comment

Profile Main Image

Romeu

Journalism student, writer and translator for Cards Realm. Plays virtually every Magic: The Gathering competitive format and is a lifetime Final Fantasy fan.

Social Facebook brands iconInstagram Brands iconTwitter Brands icon

Same Author

Pauper: Dimir Terror Deck Tech & Sideboard Guide

Pauper Dimir Terror

Pauper: Dimir Terror Deck Tech & Sideboard Guide

If you like Tempo strategies and powerful threats at low cost, Dimir Terror is probably th...

Pauper: The New Bans, PFP's Communication & Accepting Reality

Pauper

Pauper: The New Bans, PFP's Communication & Accepting Reality

My thoughts on the latest Pauper bans, the media adopted by the Format Panel, and the ardu...

The Pioneer Metagame in 2022

Pioneer in 2022

The Pioneer Metagame in 2022

A compilation of the main Pioneer archetypes in 2022 and their respective strategies!

Standard: Azorius Heroic (Best of One) Deck Guide

Azorius Heroic Deck Guide

Standard: Azorius Heroic (Best of One) Deck Guide

With Black-Based Midranges dominating Best of Three, the option for other strategies is to...

Pauper: Taking the Initiative on the Competitive Metagame

Pauper and The Initiative

Pauper: Taking the Initiative on the Competitive Metagame

The Initiative has finally arrived in Magic Online, and its impact on the competitive land...

More from same author

Most read articles today

X
Hi