What Does Standard Look Like With The Arrival Of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt?

What’s the deck to play in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Standard? Six top SCG minds share their best lists to take on tournaments or the MTG Arena ladder.

Wrenn and Seven, illustrated by Bram Sels

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.

Brad Nelson — Bant Festival

When I was a senior in high school I was motivated by only two things: Magic and never taking a book home to study. This, of course, caused problems, as I’m not the “sharpest tool in the shed.” One of the only ways to survive was to copy my friends’ homework, changing just a few things each time to make sure the teachers wouldn’t catch on. Today that person is me, as I’ve also submitted a complete primer on Bant Festival, the deck I would play!

Seriously though, this deck has been amazing for me. I’m in love with Storm the Festival, but I despise what others are doing with the archetype. To me this deck is a ramp strategy first, but that doesn’t mean everything involved needs to be thematic. Brutal Cathar, Mind Flayer, and Glasspool Mimic combine to slowly whittle away at battlefield stalls that other green-based decks don’t have access to. After sideboard, counterspells and Ranger Class go hand-in-hand at playing the game you want to play against these pesky Izzet decks.

All-in-all, I’m very proud of this deck, and urge you to give it a shot.

Todd Anderson — Izzet Dragons

Card advantage is no longer king, which makes bounce spells all the rage. In a world where spot removal sucks because every creature gains value when cast or killed, sending them back to their owner’s hand is our only recourse. In this instance, we’re also putting that time gained to good use, building mana and damage with Goldspan Dragon while sealing the deal with Alrund’s Epiphany.

Smoldering Egg is an excellent addition to Izzet Dragons. A cheap threat that transforms much more easily than you might expect thanks to Divide by Zero, Smoldering Egg plays defense well against the more aggressive opponents. It closes games with lightning speed, and just so happens to transform when you hard-cast Alrund’s Epiphany. Coincidence? I think not.

Speaking of Alrund’s Epiphany, it is my contender for Best Card in Standard™, and I think it foolish for anyone to play a deck that isn’t jamming four of this monstrosity. When it was first previewed last year, I knew it was going to be excellent. I’m glad it ended up being one of the pillars of Standard, because it encourages my favorite kind of Magic: creating pockets of time to use to your advantage. Instead of an emphasis on raw resources, we’re instead valuing cards and game states based on potential and not on raw resources won or lost. Cards like Alrund’s Epiphany shine in a format where card advantage doesn’t matter because the focus of the game is on big swings instead of chip damage.

This build of Izzet Dragons is quite different from what I’m used to seeing, but I’ve loved every second of my time playing this deck. If you’re an old-school fan of Thing in the Ice, you’re gonna love Thing in the Egg.

Autumn Burchett — Mono-Green Aggro❄

It’s still early on in this Standard format’s lifespan and tough to know how things are going to shake out long-term, but I’ve seen no convincing arguments for not playing four copies of both Esika’s Chariot and Wrenn and Seven in your deck. Both cards would be among the strongest cards in Standard individually, but combined things get incredibly silly thanks to Chariot copying Wrenn’s Treefolk tokens.

People have been trying to go over the top of each other, building their green decks to have bigger and more powerful end-games. This approach does have merit but it’s hard to talk me down from handling things more simply. Sure, casting and flashing back Storm the Festival is all very exciting, but what if we just killed our opponent instead? Werewolf Pack Leader and Ranger Class are two of the most impressive green two-drops we’ve seen in a while, Blizzard Brawl creates truly disgusting swings with how efficient it is, and getting to play so many creature-lands really helps you keep the pressure flowing.

On the note of creature-lands, I really like having the full eight. It’ll occasionally cause some awkwardness for you but not as often as you’d expect, and having so many of them makes you very resilient to decks that are trying to interact with you. Creature-lands are also just better in this deck than most other decks thanks to the second mode of Ranger Class threatening to permanently power them up. This list also plays no copies of Jaspera Sentinel; I’m unsure if this is correct or not, as it does play reasonably with the one-mana interactive spells, but my experience with the card has been that it has felt fairly mopey overall and I’m happy to have more cards that can be good on their own instead.

Corey Baumeister — Izzet Turns

Week 1 of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Standard is in the books and we have a clear standout champion, Esika’s Chariot. Now when it comes to Week 2 of a fresh Standard format, it’s all about adjusting in a strong way to the deck to beat. Izzet Turns is that deck to fight all these midrange powerhouses.

It turns out that the strongest way to fight Esika’s Chariot is to just stop trying to kill your opponent. This deck’s whole plan is to stop your opponent from gaining too much ground and then going way over the top with Galvanic Iteration and Alrund’s Epiphany or stabilize the battlefield with Battle of Frost and Fire.

One really impressive line that this deck offers is combining Galvanic Iteration with Alrund’s Epiphany and one Hall of Storm Giants for the clean 22 damage against a tapped-out opponent. That combination only requires eight mana and is essentially Splinter Twin in Standard!

Izzet Turns can be closely compared to combo-control and that has always been one of the most powerful strategies in the history of Magic. This deck is here to stay! 

Dom Harvey — Mono-Green Aggro❄

I get why people want to dream big. The first Alrund’s Epiphany is already backbreaking — why not copy it with Galvanic Iteration? If casting Storm the Festival twice wasn’t enough somehow, get it back with Rootcoil Creeper and try again! You want to do ridiculous things? This Standard format lets you do that.

If you just want to win, you play Esika’s Chariot. It’s still the best card in Standard with no real counterplay — the only question is what shell is best for it and Saturday’s Standard Challenge on Magic Online gave the clearest answer possible with Mono-Green Aggro❄ taking all of the top four slots and showing up everywhere in the Top 16/32. Green has the best threats in general and a Mono-Green manabase gives you a great three-drop in Old-Growth Troll, the best removal spell in Blizzard Brawl, and the best creature-land in Faceless Haven as part of the cleanest possible manabase. What else do you need?

The main point of disagreement in these successful Mono-Green lists is which five-drop to focus on. The combination of Wrenn and Seven and Esika’s Chariot has already become obnoxious, but some of these lists dream big in the most literal sense with Unnatural Growth. I’ve gone for Wrenn in the maindeck as the more proven and consistent card that doesn’t require you to be ahead already, but the ceiling on Growth is very high and it surely led to some absurd battlefield states of its own over the weekend. 

Shaheen Soorani — Dimir Control

Standard has been a blast to play thus far. As many of us expected, all it took was a rotation to fix most of the problems that plagued the format. The powered-down sets that have hit the shelves recently brought us to a place where control can compete. Three-mana counterspells and one-for-one removal can fend off the big threats of the format, which is why I’m battling with Dimir Control in the new Standard.

I have almost refined Esper Control to a competitive state, with the decent mana and higher-strength mid- to late-game spells, but am still working out some of the kinks.  There’s always upside to cutting down to a two-color strategy, choosing to go with Dimir Control being no different.  We have to weigh the added power against the drop in consistency, which leads me to playing two-color at this moment.

The disruption, card draw, and win conditions are good enough to tango with the best of Standard, so Dimir Control is an option that leaves me confident in this metagame.