What’s The Deck To Beat In Standard 2022?

Standard 2022 continues to see interest on MTG Arena, but what would the World Champion play there? Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and four other SCG creators share their picks.

Esika’s Chariot, illustrated by Raoul Vitale

Welcome to What We’d Play! With the arrival of Standard 2022 on Magic Arena, many are looking for options on to approach the format. 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 Standard 2022 event!

Dom Harvey — Naya Tokens

You can’t go wrong playing the obvious Mono-Green Aggro❄ or Izzet Dragons❄ shells in Standard 2022, but I wanted to see if a fan favourite from this Standard could make the leap into the future. Players have to load up on spot removal for Mono-Green Aggro and clunky or indirect removal for cards like Goldspan Dragon and Iymrith, Desert Doom at the expense of sweepers, leaving them vulnerable to a go-wide strategy. Every threat in this deck generates multiple permanents or has some lasting impact against removal — Showdown of the Skalds embarrasses anyone hoping to trade resources and is my early but safe pick for best card in Standard 2022.

This list is inspired by a template from Grzegorz Kowalski that featured Paladin Class, which I overlooked at first but grew on me more as I thought about the deck. The Level 1 static ability makes it harder for Izzet Dragons❄ and Dimir Control to use their interaction effectively and the Level 2/3 pump effects help your random creatures become serious threats. It’s tough to find good one-drops to trigger Clarion Spirit without Edgewall Innkeeper and friends, so Paladin Class helps there too.

Building decks for Standard 2022 is a fun exercise but it feels like an artificial one without a Best-of-Three queue. Hopefully this is added soon and we can get a head start on a Standard format that finally isn’t defined by Throne of Eldraine and other nonsense that outstayed its welcome long ago. 

Autumn Burchett — Selesnya Teleportation Circle❄

I’ve historically not been that partial to brewing, but Standard 2022 has really inspired me in that direction and I’ve been loving making my own decks in the format as a result. The card pool is small enough such that restriction ends up breeding creativity, the decks end up feeling very fair due to the format’s modest power level, and the games are just a lot of fun.

Of the decks I’ve made these last couple weeks, Selesnya Teleportation Circle❄ has felt like the most powerful to me. For a start Portal itself is just ludicrous in this shell, letting you tear apart your opponent’s hand with Elite Spellbinder, exile their whole battlefield one-by-one with Skyclave Apparition, assemble all four copies of Faceless Haven with Spirit of the Aldergard, or just draw lots of cards with Professor of Symbology. Most potently of all however there are many match-ups where assembling Portal and Esika’s Chariot feels like a Splinter Twin Situation™ as you teleport in a never-ending army of kittens.

Even when you don’t draw the deck’s namesake, it still presents a very solid mixture of beatdown and value. I’d consider Esika’s Chariot and Faceless Haven to both rank within the Top 5 cards of Standard 2022, and you draw a lot more Faceless Havens than most people do thanks to Spirit of the Aldergard, which has impressed me more than I could have ever expected.

I’m loving Standard 2022, and am excited to keep exploring the format’s possibilities, but for now this is my favourite deck in the format.

Michael Majors — Selesnya Midrange❄

While there are a lot of incentives to be playing monocolor in Standard 2022 with its relatively poor mana and Faceless Haven, I’ve found the power level of this Selesnya deck to be well worth the squeeze. I mostly started from wanting to play with Paladin Class + Cave of the Frost Dragon — an extremely potent “Fireball” combination — and working backwards to incorporate it into the shell that made the most sense to me.

This deck has an extremely low curve and upwards of 35 cards that make mana, yet it never runs out of things to do with it, which is basically the dream scenario for me when I’m building decks.  Ranger Class + Paladin Class are extremely powerful and allow you to grind, go way over the top of opponents, and also win from very small bases.  Felidar Retreat similarly is another huge appeal to be Selesnya over Mono-Green❄, generating huge battlefield presences and closing out games quickly.

The supporting cast are all top-notch too, Clarion Spirit and Loyal Warhound are some of the strongest two-drops in the format that scale well later into the game, while Reidane, God of the Worthy might be my pick for second-best creature in the format behind Goldspan Dragon — putting a real hurt on the greedy snow-based Izzet decks.

If you want to feel reminiscent of old-school Selesnya Tokens where your planeswalker substitutes just happen to be the Class enchantments, I highly recommend joining the queues with this deck.

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa — Mardu Sacrifice

The way I see it, the most popular decks in Standard 2022 are Mono-Green Aggro❄ and Izzet Dragons❄. I think they’re also very likely the two best decks in the format. If you’re playing Best-of-One, Mono-Green❄ becomes better, as it doesn’t have that great a sideboard to begin with, whereas Izzet Dragons❄ can improve a lot in Games 2 and 3 so it becomes a better choice if you’re playing a tournament of some sort (currently though the Arena queues are only Best-of-One).

With that said, I would not play either of these decks. The deck I’d play is Mardu Sacrifice. I have played it a fair bit in regular Standard, but I never made the port to Standard 2022 because I assumed it wouldn’t work without the cards that steal creatures (Claim the Firstborn and The Akroan War). Once I read Brad Nelson’s article last week though, I realized that it could still be viable if you changed your focus a little bit. The deck is now more Treasure-centric and has access to some powerful cards in the form of Goldspan Dragon and Showdown of the Skalds. It’s less powerful versus creature decks, but you actually improve versus the slower decks since you don’t have as many dead cards.

I’ve been playing this deck since Brad wrote about it and I’ve found it a lot of fun. You can either just accelerate into a fast Goldspan Dragon and try to rush them out, or you can grind a very long game with recursive effects. This deck really gains a lot from playing Best-of-One, since you have a lot of access to your Lessons; I’ve played games in which I literally tutored for my entire sideboard because you can recur Eyetwitch with Extus, Oriq Overlord. I don’t know if this deck is better than either Izzet Dragons❄ or Mono-Green Aggro❄, but it’s so much more interesting that it’s currently what I’ve been playing.

Todd Anderson — Mono-Green Aggro❄

What? Todd Anderson suggesting you play a Mono-Green deck? Weird.

But seriously, Mono-Green Aggro❄ is dope. I wrote about it last week because I think it stands atop the format as the best deck. The threats are all significant on their own, but leaving any one alive for more than a turn or two should spell certain doom. The mana producing creatures allow you to be flexible and explosive. Tangled Florahedron in particular is a great card for this style of deck because it gives you a land drop when you have other things to do, but it also gives you a burst of mana when your opponent isn’t being interactive.

Dimir Control is starting to rise up in popularity a bit, which makes me want to keep playing Snakeskin Veil even if the mirrors are prevalent. Blizzard Brawl is strong in those mirrors, but I don’t know if you can afford to play both. The people who maindeck Blizzard Brawl will have a mostly dead card against their control opponents, but they will have one of the cheapest and best tools for fighting the mirror that you could ask for.

Blizzard Brawl does exist in our sideboard, and is the reason we’re playing Snow-Covered Forests instead of Forests. In matchups where you don’t need to protect your threats with Snakeskin Veil, it’s one of the easier substitutions one could ask for.

While a large chunk of the sideboard is dedicated to Gnarled Professor, I don’t know if we need stuff like Basic Conjuration rotting in that slot. Instead, I want more clean answers to problems that we’ve discovered. For example, we could be playing Tangletrap as a way to cover for Masked Vandal and Plummet, but it is less efficient than either of the other two options. Since we’re a monocolor deck, our sideboarding options are rather limited at the moment, so I’ve gone with the option of having those slots filled with the more efficient of the two choices.

This format is gaining some traction on Arena, and has garnered a lot of attention over the last week because it has a much greater emphasis on new cards. Without Throne of Eldraine and the companions looming over the format, so many cards printed in the last nine months are getting their time to shine. Turns out that people just like playing with new stuff! As this format continues to develop on Arena, I expect some organizers will keep running tournaments with this format until the Fall set is released and Standard 2022 just becomes Standard. It’s refreshing, fun, and full of new cards that might otherwise have been overshadowed by more powerful effects.

Mono-Green Aggro❄ is the perfect blend of ramp and smash, a thing that most green mages will savor.