Top 16 Standard Decks Entering SCG Philly

McLaren is a Pro Tour Champion because he follows the metagame trends! And yeah, we’re early, but these rankings are foolproof! If you’re battling Standard at SCG Philadelphia or beyond, here’s where things stand! Agree or disagree?

Standard is back!

After a couple (or four) much needed bans, Standard is once again looking
interesting and diverse.

With Rivals of Ixalan out and


in the books we have plenty of new decklists to pore over.

Emphasis being on: There are a lot of different decks.

It might just be a symptom of it being week one, but hey, at least the
format isn’t solved after one week. That’s already a good start.

is this weekend, and there’s plenty to see in Standard. That’s why today
I’m not just picking my top 8 decks, I’m doubling it and picking my top 16 decks from the past weekend as we move forward.

Drumroll pleaaaaase!

Starting with: NUMBER SIXTEEN!


This deck continues to entice me. You get Settle the Wreckage and Fumigate
to deal with aggro and Countervailing Winds to disrupt combo and control.
What could possibly go wrong?

The classic problem is having a deck full of card draw and few actual cards
that have a big impact on the game. You aren’t putting pressure on your
opponent quickly, and you’re not guaranteed to draw your answers. It’s
going to be difficult keeping up with an aggro deck if you don’t find
Settle or Fumigate in time.

Charles Lancaster added a black splash to the deck for some spicy win
conditions that appeared to pay off. Archfiend of Ifnir is a little slow to
cycle, but great if you just cast it and it survives, since every card you
cycle from then on shrinks your opponent’s team. The Scarab God acts as a
win condition and can even reanimate a cycled Archfiend of Ifnir. Profane
Procession is an inevitability engine as well that guarantees you’ll crush
creature decks if you can survive until the late game.


I like the idea behind the B/R Midrange deck Jason Cornell cooked up. It’s
simple – two colors with plenty of removal and just powerful cards to
punish creature decks.

Tetzimoc, Primal Death has loads of potential. It’s the Ravenous
Chalupa-cabra Supreme.

Tetzimoc, Primal Death works as a six-drop Wrath of God effect if you have
extra time, life, and mana to set it up, which pretty much your entire deck
is built to do. But even later in the game, once you have a ton of mana,
you can topdeck Tetzimoc, then put a prey counter on all your opponent’s
creatures, and cast it in the same turn. This isn’t a “once each upkeep”
type of ability like forecast was.

The drawback to B/R Midrange is that it’s going to run into massive issues
against combo and control. The sideboard is essentially fourteen
anti-control cards and Hour of Devastation.

I’d like to see more copies of Angrath, the Flame-Chained to bridge the gap
of versatility against control and aggro while giving you another
planeswalker win condition that shouldn’t be difficult to protect.

I’m putting it lower on the list since it might be a little too flimsy to
hold up in a more advanced metagame, but if aggro is king, it could end up


Next we have Abzan Tokens piloted by Hal Brady, which ran a whopping zero
cards from Rivals for Ixalan! Hooray! Just a reminder that this
deck is still around and still looking good.

Standard lost a decent chunk of power because of the bans, so I see no
reason that Abzan Tokens shouldn’t be able to adapt to an aggressive
metagame even if it didn’t get many new tools. The issue being that Abzan
Tokens was designed to try and beat Temur Energy and Ramunap Red, so if
Approach of the Second Sun and God-Pharaoh’s Gift (namely versions with
Angel of Invention) become prevalent, it runs into some issues.


Dinosaur fans, rejoice! There’s an actual deck focused on them. Sean
Joyce’s version is essentially capable of doing everything. It’s the rare
full hybrid of all the archetypes: It’s an
aggro/ramp/midrange/control/combo deck.

The combo aspect being Regisaur Alpha giving haste to Ghalta, Primal Hunger
to stomp over your opponent for fifteen plus damage. At least that’s how a
Dinosaur deck combos: by bashing you in the snout.

It’s not that difficult getting Ghalta to cost two mana, and casting it
alongside Regisaur Alpha on the same turn for seven mana only requires one
measly Drover of the Mighty to get you up to ten power.

Thunderherd Migration and Drover of the Mighty help you ramp, especially
into juicy four-drops like Rekindling Phoenix and Ripjaw Raptor; Sweltering
Suns fields the control element by clearing out puny creatures; and Nissa,
Steward of Elements and Commune with Dinosaurs help you find pretty much
whatever you need.

Nissa, Steward of Elements also acts as a nice ramp outlet to burst your
opponent with her ultimate for ten damage. Achievement unlocked if you get
her to twelve loyalty and flip Ghalta onto the battlefield with her zero
ability instead, though.


You know it! You love it! It’s U/B Control!
Jose Rios piloted a more traditional looking Grixis Control
(without any Rivals cards) that works as well for this category.

Matthew Garner went all out with the full four Ravenous Chupacabra main
deck, the other new cards for U/B Control being Moment of Craving and
Tetzimoc, Primal Death. Ravenous Chupacabra provides a nice speed bump and
gives you some premium fuel for The Scarab God. It also means you have a
lot of hard removal. The downside is real though, compared to Vraska’s
Contempt, since you have to tap out on your turn for it and it doesn’t


Path of Mettle? So much for banning Ramunap Ruins! This Ramunap Ruins also
only costs two to activate and doesn’t even make you sacrifice a land!

Every creature in the deck helps flip Path of Mettle, but you don’t have to
go that far out of your way to be doing so, since most of the creatures in
the deck are what you’d already find in Mono-Red.

The non-aggressive sacrifice ability on Metzali, Tower of Triumph might not
be what the deck is looking for, but it’s actually potentially quite
beastly as well. If your opponent is foolish enough to try attacking you,
say with something juicy like Hazoret the Fervent or Aethersphere
Harvester, you can just make them sacrifice it. It’s going to make racing
incredibly difficult.

Path of Mettle provides difficult to disrupt inevitability once your
opponent is low enough so be sure to put the pedal to the Mettle and keep
your foot on the floor.

I like Relentless Raptor as well, because when are you going to not want to
attack or block? This thing’s a 3/3, and that’s practically the biggest
creature there’s ever been.


Same category as
G/R Monsters,
just splashing for Negate, Spell Pierce, and River’s Rebuke, instead of
Scrapheap Scrounger.

I do like the blue splash since the deck’s curve is low, and you’re
otherwise going to be struggling against Approach of the Second Sun decks.

The deck is essentially just packed full of great creatures and some
removal. Glorybringer and Rekindling Phoenix are a potent pair of powerful
punchers. They are both potentially two-for-ones if your opponent isn’t
sitting with the right answer, and sometimes even more.

I’m not in love with Thrashing Brontodon, but a few might be good for
diversity of removal. Maybe change a couple copies into Chandra, Torch of
Defiance, Merfolk Branchwalker, or Heart of Kiran.


Merfolk is a real deck and surprise, surprise, it runs a bunch of Merfolk.

Hashep Oasis is sweet alongside your unblockable buddies and helps mitigate
your flood.

Not running some Curious Obsession when you have Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca,
Merfolk Mistbinder, and such a low curve seems borderline criminal to me,
but the deck is already packed to the gills full of fish. I’d probably cut
at least some Jungleborn Pioneer for them.


B/G Constrictor has a lot going for it, specifically some great two-drops
and a rock solid manabase.

Jadelight Ranger joins the cast of cards that work well alongside Winding
Constrictor. It’s not quite as explosive on turn 3 compared to Rishkar,
Peema Renegade and the Snake, but it’s less susceptible to removal.

I do have some issues with it though. It’s much less versatile than
previous versions of B/G. There’s a lack of stickiness and card draw
without Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Tireless Tracker, which allowed the
deck to transition into playing a control game with ease. Jadelight Ranger
is good, but it doesn’t allow you to snowball an advantage. Now the deck is
much more slanted towards aggression with less wiggle room.

The sideboard is excellent though, with Duress and Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
being all stars. More Lifecrafter’s Bestiary might be the answer I’m
looking for to provide a solid card advantage engine.


Now that we have a nice clunky Standard format trying to stand up and find
its balance like a baby deer, a deck like this that is laser focused can
pounce and take advantage.

The prophecy of Jim Davis loving Cats is fulfilled, even if none of them
are Garfield thanks to Adorned Pouncer
and Sacred Cat.

Curious Obsession on Adanto Vanguard or Adorned Pouncer is downright nasty,
and Sram, Senior Edificer is going to have a good time with pretty much
every card in the deck.


There are a lot of different ways to abuse reanimation and God-Pharaoh’s
Gift right now. I like Joseph Tatum’s version for managing to fit in a
bunch of cards to increase consistency without sacrificing power when you
do get out God-Pharaoh’s Gift.

Four Ravenous Chupacabra seems like a good starting number to me. It’s
great to cast on turn 4 and to reanimate.

Dusk Legion Zealot also appeals to me. Seekers’ Squire is also powerful and
can flip a creature into the graveyard, but I’m also happy just drawing the
creature then casting it anyways.

Angel of Invention is a little hard on the mana base in terms of
hardcasting it, but ideally you’re just discarding it anyways, so I’m
willing to risk it for the power of the reanimation with God-Pharaoh’s


I’m not quite sure if this deck is a flash in the pan or the true successor
to Temur Energy. It’s incredibly strange, I have no idea what’s happening,
but I want to be a part of it.

The low end of the deck is Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Whirler Virtuoso,
giving you a potentially busted early game, but that’s not really what the
deck’s end goal is.

Your real plan is to abuse one of your late game engine cards in
Glorybringer or The Scarab God. Then if that doesn’t work out, you have
access to Glimmer of Genius and Torrential Gearhulk!

The deck is packed full of removal and ways to slowly gain advantage as the
game progresses.

It’s definitely reminiscent of Temur Energy, but more controlling and less
explosive, rather than tempo-oriented.

Energy isn’t dead yet.


This appears to be the best version Mono-Red, being a little less explosive
and a little bigger thanks to Scrapheap Scrounger and Unlicensed

Duress and Chandra, Torch of Defiance are going to be especially potent
against unprepared control opponents since you can hopefully set things up
for Chandra to go unanswered.


Control decks didn’t have an amazing first week as far as closing things
out, but I think they have the most potential as the format solidifies.

U/W Approach gets to dodge all the removal in opposing decks game 1, and it
can play as many copies of Settle the Wreckage and Baffling End as it needs
to deal with the onslaught from aggro decks. While everyone else is
fiddling around with Abrade, Unlicensed Disintegration, Fatal Push,
Ravenous Chupacabra, and Glorybringer, U/W Approach can just be winning the

I wouldn’t be surprised if U/W Approach is the deck to beat within a couple


Did I mention Energy isn’t dead yet?

I like Dan Jessup’s take on the deck, which is basically Temur Energy and
G/B Midrange smooshed together. The best part is it’s not messing around
with less than four copies of The Scarab God. That’s what’s missing from
straight B/G Constrictor. The Scarab God is the perfect way to get
advantage and turn your early pressure into a win once your opponent is on
the back foot.

Winding Constrictor and Walking Ballista are much less potent without
Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, and I like the idea of just drawing a bunch of
cards and putting on pressure with Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, Jadelight Ranger,
and Merfolk Branchwalker, then closing things out with The Scarab God.


Finally we have the initial big winner of the new format, as well as the
actual winner of the event. Mardu Vehicles is back, as it always seems to
be showing up at some point.

So what is new?

Not much! Still pretty much the same old Mardu Vehicles, which turns out is
still pretty dang good. Angrath, the Flame-Chained fits in nicely for the
sideboard control plan, but other than that the deck looks like it did
before. Mardu Vehicles is already an established powerful and tuned deck,
but I think the format can adapt to beat it as well.

As new strategies and Rivals of Ixalan cards are explored, I
expect we’ll be seeing a new deck to beat soon…