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Let The Standard 2022 Brewing Begin

Standard 2022 is the hot new queue on MTG Arena. Sam Black shares his top decks for the future that is already here.

Lolth, Spider Queen, illustrated by Tyler Jacobson

I’ve begun messing around with Standard 2022 on Arena in the last few days, and I've been having fun playing Lolth, Spider Queen, but before we get to that, let's take a boarder look at the format.

Standard 2022 is post-rotation Standard, meaning Throne of Eldraine, Theros Beyond Death, Ikoria, and Core Set 2021 aren’t legal.  I’ve liked playing without Adventures and Ultimatums, but there are still definitely a few cards that really stand out in the format.

I think green is the strongest color and blue and white seem weakest.  Generating additional mana has felt great, so the colors are somewhat ranked by their ability to do that.  Jaspera Sentinel has felt amazing, but green also has Prosperous Innkeeper and various traditional ramp spells, while red and black have some Treasure generation.

I hate trying to rank Top 10 lists, but here are some cards and packages that have felt significant to me so far:

Esika’s Chariot is the bomb Kaldheim Draft led me to expect it to be.  It feels like an easy way to pull far ahead on the battlefield.

Jaspera Sentinel has felt great with creatures that make Treasure because you don’t really care about attacking with them and they’re not really worth killing, so you can freely tap them for mana.  Curving Jaspera Sentinel into Prosperous Innkeeper to get five mana on Turn 3 has felt particularly nice.

Goldspan Dragon has felt like a go-to threat for a wide variety of midrange red decks — Gruul, Rakdos, and Izzet primarily.

Rakdos has a lot of powerful things to do with Treasures between Valki, God of Lies; Orcus, Prince of Undeath; and Awaken the Blood Avatar. I like all the cheap Treasure cards. In my previous article, I underrated Foresworn Paladin, but I still mostly haven't been inclined to play it that much because I've been focusing more on fast Treasure-making and casting big spells, where I think it plays better if you deck looks more like an aggro deck than a ramp deck.

Koma, Cosmos Serpent seems worth ramping into. Without Ultimatums, it seems like the biggest thing going on —either that or Alrund's Epiphany with Dragons, I suppose, but Koma requires the least support to take over a game, which makes it a great ramp/Treasure payoff.

Werewolf Pack Leader and Ranger Class are exceptional threats, and those with Old-Growth Troll and Esika’s Chariot create a very powerful core for Mono-Green Aggro❄, one of the best decks in the format. The power of cards that cost multiple green symbols really pushes against splashing, particularly in a format where the best duals are Pathways, which are particularly bad at letting you cast spells with a lot of the same color of mana symbols in a multicolor deck.

Ranger Class is a lot more flexible, since it only costs a single green mana, and I think it's good outside of mono-green, though the other cards in mono-green might be strong enough that they're just better than the two-color aggro decks that could use Ranger Class.

Because Treasures are so good, Culling Ritual is in an interesting place in the format.  There’s a lot of potential there, but it definitely has some bad matchups.  Having only played Best-of-One, I haven’t found a great place to explore it, but it’s a really interesting tool. Currently, I'm most optimistic about it in a Sultai Control/Ramp-style deck that finished with Koma, Cosmos Serpent.

Soul Shatter is a really appealing removal spell due to ignoring ward, especially on Iymrith, Desert Doom and Goldspan Dragon’s targeting trigger, and also cleanly answering Immersturm Predator

The mana is bad enough that it creates a meaningful incentive to play monocolored even when your deck doesn't have a lot of cards with intense color requirements.  Goblins seems like a reasonable approach to mono-red, while I favor Magecraft for mono-white. Here's my current build of that:

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