Can Anything Stop Mono-Green Aggro’s❄ Dominance In Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Standard?

Mono-Green Aggro❄ has been running rampant in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Standard, so we asked a few of SCG’s finest if they’ll beat it or join it.

Kazandu Mammoth, illustrated by Grzegorz Rutkowski

Welcome to What We’d Play! With the arrival of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, many are unsure what they’d play in Standard. That’s where we come in and let you know what we’d play and why we’d play it. Hopefully this advice aids in your decision making for your next Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Standard event.

Ross Merriam — Izzet Epiphany

Izzet Epiphany is the most powerful deck in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Standard. It’s just a matter of finding the right build. Right now that means beating monocolored aggressive decks. I like the cheap interaction in this list, especially the maindeck copies of Burning Hands, which is great against Mono-Green Aggro❄ and still serviceable against Mono-White Aggro❄. I would like to see a second copy of Burn Down the House in the maindeck, but you still need to be prepared for mirror matches.

That’s part of the reason I like Smoldering Egg, which allows you a way to put pressure on your mirror match opponents in the early-game, making them blink early if they aren’t prepared with a four-damage removal spell. It also plays solid defense against the various three-power creatures from the aggro decks, so I don’t mind giving some Game 1 removal spells a target. If anything, it makes you more difficult to sideboard against.

When you play Izzet Epiphany, the devil will be in the details. Starting here will provide a good base, but you’ll need to stay ahead of the metagame, test a wide range of cards to gain a good understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, and trust your instincts when you finalize your list for the weekend. But I have no doubt that a well-built version of Izzet Epiphany is the best choice for Standard.

Shaheen Soorani — Dimir Control

With the wave of aggro that overtook the leaderboards this past weekend, my control resolve is still strong.  The SCG Tour Invitational at SCG CON at the end of this month will be my return to live play, where I can defend the honor of this archetype in the arena once again.  I enjoy play testing online; however, I have never had a passion for online tournaments.  It may be the boomer in me, but I enjoy the comradery and experience of playing with cardboard and it will likely be with Dimir Control in Standard.

Esper Control is another project of mine, which I will be doing a write-up on this week, but I think Dimir Control is better positioned for the aggressive start we all see.  The mana is better, the removal is clean, and the consistency is vital for surviving the sea of Mono-Green Aggro❄ and Mono-White Aggro❄.  I have edited this deck slightly since my last article, with an additional maindeck sweeper and some extra help in the early-game.  I cut down on a Siphon Insight, changed a few removal spells around, and modified the sideboard to better match what we’re seeing out there.

I highly recommend this deck moving forward, especially to those control fans out there that hate to see high-end results from a bunch of one and two-drop decks.

Todd Anderson — Izzet Epiphany

This past weekend has shown us what this format really is. Alrund’s Epiphany shoves out all the midrange nonsense that usually beats aggro, so aggro has moved in and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. The main culprit is Mono-Green Aggro❄, which is why we’re loading up on all manner of targeted removal that puts an end to their shenanigans. Burning Hands is nothing new, but running four maindeck is a statement, and one I’m willing to make right here and now and continue making until Mono-Green Aggro❄ is under control.

I’m splitting the draw slot with Behold the Multiverse and Memory Deluge because Behold the Multiverse is quite strong with Galvanic Iteration, where Memory Deluge is a dud. I think it’s clear that Memory Deluge is the better card overall, but playing a copy spell alongside it creates awkward points where you’re flooded with cards that don’t actually have functionality. The split is a concession to make Galvanic Iteration better, which goes a long way when you don’t have the time to copy Alrund’s Epiphany in the early turns.

Smoldering Egg is not great against Mono-Green Aggro’s❄ interaction. Blizzard Brawl actually having a target is a nightmare. However, against the rest of the field, I’ve found Smoldering Egg to be our most valuable asset. Without Smoldering Egg, Divide by Zero (and the Lessons) get significantly worse. Alrund’s Epiphany isn’t all that great without some form of pressure on the battlefield or Galvanic Iteration to double up, and Smoldering Egg is the perfect threat to fill that gap.

Our sideboard is pretty heavy on Cinderclasm to fight the rise of Mono-White Aggro❄, though it doesn’t do that much against Mono-Green. In the Mono-Green fight, we’ll be siding out Smoldering Egg in favor of Burn Down the House, which is an all-timer against that matchup. While Mono-Green Aggro❄ is somewhat favored against Izzet Epiphany (according to this weekend’s results), I’m confident we can build in such a way that gives us a slight leg up, and we’ll also have a bye against anyone trying to play decks that beat Mono-Green. Those midrange strats just get beat up by Alrund’s Epiphany, which is kinda how we got to this point in the first place.

Dom Harvey — Mono-Green Aggro❄

The Green Machine™ is back and better than ever! After a round of pearl-clutching over Alrund’s Epiphany (which I do still think is a problem), we have all acknowledged what we knew this whole time: Esika’s Chariot is the real deal. Mono-Green put up absurdly dominant results this weekend in the SCG Tour Online Championship Qualifier and this list is inspired by aggro expert Simon Nielsen, who unsurprisingly won the whole thing with his take on the archetype. In my article I mentioned that the common accelerants in Lotus Cobra and Tangled Florahedon were both fine but uninspiring. Simon opted for an actual common in Sculptor of Winter, which has better stats while helping the snow synergies in the deck. In the sideboard, Tajuru Blightblade is a great find as a way to trade with more expensive threats on the draw in the mirror. 

The speculative card in my list is Blessing of Frost, a similar effect to Unnatural Growth that can snowball faster, fills your curve out nicely with or without Esika’s Chariot and is still a fantastic draw on a stalled battlefield later. Imagine a basic use of Turn 3 Old-Growth Troll into Turn 4 Blessing making it a 8/8 and drawing a card or Turn 2 Werewolf Pack Leader and Turn 3 Kazandu Mammoth setting up Turn 4 Blessing, drawing two cards and setting up a good attack with both creatures (drawing a third card with Pack Leader). I could easily see the correct number being zero or four — for now, I want to try it out and see how it performs.

Brad Nelson — Mono-White Aggro❄

In a two-deck world, odds are you should pick one of them. Sometimes though, and especially early on, a third choice is justifiable if it beats the other two. I believe that’s the world we currently live in with Izzet Epiphany and Mono-Green Aggro❄ clearly dominating the metagame share of Standard. Both are exceptional strategies and each share one bad matchup — Mono-White Aggro❄.

Now I’m not the most sold on this list, but I do like a lot of what it’s doing. Brutal Cathar and Skyclave Apparition are amazing at dealing with Mono-Green Aggro’s❄ most sizable threats while Adeline, Resplendent Cathar and Elite Spellbinder are great at putting pressure on Izzet Epiphany to perform. I don’t have the most faith in lists like this against the rest of the Azorius Control and Mono-Black Control❄ decks that you’ll run into on the ladder from time-to-time, but would be happy playing this in any competitive tournament.