Welcome to What We’d Play! With the SCG Invitational at SCG CON right around the corner, 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.
Gerry Thompson — Izzet Dragons
Although you can reasonably defend any deck choice in Standard, this decision isn’t difficult for me. Izzet Dragons is still the best deck to play and it’s not close.
The metagame has shifted. Once you adapt, Izzet Dragons looks better than ever. Once you prepare for Mono-White Aggro❄, you’re happy with your matchup spread again. Focus on cheap removal (especially Cinderclasm), lower your mana curve, and the Mono-White matchup becomes much more palatable. Ditch the mediocre-against-everything Divide by Zeros and pick up some extra sideboard slots, and you gain some extra percentage points as well.
Izzet Dragons is proactive, plays some of the strongest cards in the format, and has the best means of interaction. As long as you’re well-prepared for the metagame, I can’t imagine playing anything else.
Bryan Gottlieb — Mono-White Aggro❄
- 4 Luminarch Aspirant
- 4 Usher of the Fallen
- 1 Reidane, God of the Worthy
- 4 Elite Spellbinder
- 3 Stonebinder's Familiar
- 2 Brutal Cathar
- 4 Intrepid Adversary
- 4 Sungold Sentinel
- 3 Adeline, Resplendent Cathar
Did I lock in my Standard deck for SCG CON a couple of weeks ago when I realized I was going to have to give myself enough time to actually procure 75 of 75 cards? Yes.
Did I double down on that choice and make it almost impossible to change course and order the entire deck in foil? Also yes.
Am I a smart man? Decidedly no.
But even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes, and it’s fitting that nut comes with the strongest nut draw in Standard. Mono-White’s best games feel decidedly unbeatable, and I think it gets some bonus points in a metagame where people are just dipping their toes back into paper Standard. Your Mono-Green matchup is great, I’m built for the mirror, and Izzet pilots have been routinely cutting back on sweepers.
Look, I’m an utter degenerate when it comes to buying Magic cards, and I didn’t even want to shell out for a paper copy of Izzet Epiphany. I can’t be the only one who feels this way, and in that world, I love Mono-White Aggro❄’s chances.
Ryan Overturf — Izzet Dragons
I haven’t seriously played Standard since the release of Core Set 2020 given how low my opinion of the format has been, but I’ve really been enjoying it lately. I’ve been on some version of Izzet Dragons since Todd Anderson Tweeted a list for the Standard Metagame Challenge on Magic Arena. I’m still not really sure what that event is supposed to be, but I did win a lot of boosties. I was delighted, but not surprised, to see Yuta Takahashi win Magic World Championship XXVII with the archetype. You’re in more capable hands to copy his decklist, but this is the build that I’ve laddered up to Mythic with on Arena, adjusted a bit more to my sensibilities.
I’m slightly heavier on lands than most players, with the loudest divergence being my preference for four Spikefield Hazard. I basically never want to miss a land drop with this deck, there are lots of windows where it’s fine if the land enters tapped, and Spikefield Hazard offers serious utility in multiple matchups. The single best use is for fighting over Malevolent Hermits, and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to catch one on Turn 2 or when your opponent has otherwise left the shields down and you actually get to exile the card. Beyond that, I really like having high access to the card against the white decks and the occasional Magda, Brazen Outlaw. I’ll admit that Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass is a much better land, but Spikefield Hazard’s efficiency regularly rewards me in early-game spots which is where the deck can otherwise struggle the most.
Demon Bolt is also a bit unusual, with other players reaching for different versions of four-damage spells. I actually rather like the turns you can set up with a foretold copy as well as the guessing game this can generate with Alrund’s Epiphany. The other options absolutely have their merits; this is just the one that I’ve liked best. Mostly I believe that there are several slots in the deck that are worth exploring your own configurations of, and the raw power of the archetype as subsidized by Goldspan Dragon, Smoldering Egg, and Alrund’s Epiphany matters most week in and week out.
These cards are all incredible hammers and the rest of the deck gives you a ton of agency in how you want to engage with your opponent. I’m a firm believer in Izzet Dragons in Standard.
Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa — Izzet Epiphany
Right now, I think Mono-Green Aggro❄ and Izzet Epiphany are the two best decks in the format, with Mono-White Aggro❄ in third place and nothing else really coming close. Of those decks, I think Izzet Epiphany is the slightly better one, but that can change based on the metagame you expect. Right now, it seems that the aggro decks are actually more popular than the Izzet decks, which means people will tune their decks to beat them, which makes me want to play Izzet Epiphany even more; if everyone starts playing the Lier version, for example, I want to be playing the more combo-centric version to beat them.
The build is based on what I thought was the best version of the deck at Magic World Chanpionship XXVII from Stan, Arne, and Ondrej, but with a couple of changes. First, I have two Disdainful Strokes over two Test of Talents, because I think being able to counter Goldspan Dragon is very important right now. Second, I have two maindeck Cinderclasms. Cinderclasm is your best card against Mono-White Aggro❄, because costing three instead of five means you can cast it even through Reidane, God of the Worthy and Elite Spellbinder (and sometimes it even does work for one mana). It’s not as good against Mono-Green Aggro❄, but when your deck has four Galvanic Iterations, it’s very easy to cast double Cinderclasm on their turn, and that’s very good since it also kills Esika’s Chariot and Faceless Haven.
Finally, I cut some Frostboil Snarls because I hate that card with a passion, and instead I added some extra modal DFCs — Spikefield Hazard, in particular, doubles up as a very strong card against Mono-White Aggro while also being powerful against blue matchups after sideboarding because of Malevolent Hermit. Adding all of that plus the four Smoldering Eggs in the sideboard, I think this deck has a very reasonable matchup versus the aggro builds that are so popular right now while not losing out much against the other Izzet decks.
Shaheen Soorani — Dimir Control
It ‘s finally here! The SCG Invitational is my favorite event to attend by a significant margin. It may be the fierce competition, the multi-deck structure, seeing my pals in Roanoke, or maybe it’s my five consecutive Top 8 finishes in the past. Whatever the reason may be (it’s the last one), my excitement level is off the chart. I’ll be taking a control strategy to bat, Dimir Control in this case, for the Standard portion of the tournament.
With all the Izzet-based decks in expected attendance, the Duress and Go Blank duo answer the call. The amount of value that resides in this deck, with Lier, Disciple of the Drowned to bring it all back, creates a nightmarish scenario for opposing blue decks. This Dimir Control deck does a great job of keeping that disruption level high, while not giving in to Mono-Green Aggro❄ and shortchanging the removal. The healthy mix is here, and I hope to draw the best possible portions of the deck against my corresponding matchups.
Hopefully I can channel a little of that 2013 energy, and luck, to do it one more time.
Todd Anderson — Mono-Green Aggro❄
I got absolutely pummeled over the last two weeks trying to play Izzet in this aggressively slanted format. I tried Smoldering Egg. Lier, Disciple of the Drowned. No creatures and four copies of Burn Down the House. I tried so many different iterations and nothing seemed to stem the bleeding against Mono-Green Aggro❄ except for Lier. Similarly, Smoldering Egg was the only saving grace against Mono-White Aggro❄. Neither threat was good against the other, and neither threat was particularly good in the mirror. Finding that balance is something I usually enjoy, but it’s much less interesting in such a solved format.
Every other deck has to warp their plan to beat Mono-Green. If opponents start maindecking Negate and Disdainful Stroke again, the aggro decks in the format will get a bump. There’s a chance I end up playing four Snakeskin Veil maindeck to fight Izzet, as I believe most of the experienced players in the room will be on Izzet, so I’d like to get a small edge there if possible.
I think all three decks in the format are viable, and can punish the others when built properly. Each one can be teched to defeat the others, but the Mono-Green deck seems right up my alley. I’ve played a ton of Mono-Green and a lot of Infect, so you can guess why I love Snakeskin Veil so much. I’m going to play Mono-Green Aggro❄ with zero games under my belt. I paid cash money and bought it straight-up.
I mean, if Cedric Phillips can win $2000 with it, it has to be good, right?
Brad Nelson — Izzet Epiphany
I’m going to play something similar to this at the SCG Invitational. Now I’d love to give you my final list, but I don’t exactly know what that’s going to be just yet. I just think it’s by far the best archetype in the format, and these Smoldering Egg / Lier builds have completely flipped the aggressive matchups around. I originally gave up on this deck because I couldn’t beat aggro consistently, but now I think they’re your best matchups. You do give up some equity in the “mirrors,” which is what I’m trying to fix before the tournament itself.
One of the options I’m working on is trying to incorporate these black hand disruption spells to the sideboard simply by playing eight black Pathways. Now you could play some slowlands, but I’m just not a fan of them as you really can’t afford to not use two mana on Turn 2 against aggressive decks. I’m also a huge fan of Shatterskull Smashing in the Mono-White Aggro❄ matchup, so playing snow lands often forces you to play one on Turn 3, costing you precious life and a potential spell later on.
As for the spells themselves, they do some really interesting things for this deck. The problem I’m running into though is that sometimes you draw too many creatures (Smoldering Egg and Malevolent Hermit) and not enough lands and draw spells. In those situations the hand disruption isn’t even good when an opposing Izzet Epiphany player draws answers to your creatures and card draw spells. Velocity is key in the mirror so the black splash might just be good in the non-Egg versions of the deck.
In the end though, there are tons of different ways to build this deck, which is fascinating to me. I wish we had more time with Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Standard to find the deck’s “final form,” but I’m probably in the minority there. I’m guessing most of you can’t wait for a new set to get us out of this Faceless Haven versus Alrund’s Epiphany metagame.
Ari Lax — Izzet Epiphany
<Brad’s list here>
This week I think it would be a great idea to play <Brad’s archetype here>. I know people have been really trying to find an edge against <Tier 1 deck here> with <Tier 2 probably aggro option here> to some success, but Brad has just built a good deck that plans to beat good players. By adding <techy game breaker here>, Brad fundamentally changes what the matchup is about. Instead of <previously unbeatable effect here>, Brad shifts the games <up/down> a level and leverages <tech card> to build a complete second gameplan. In addition, this makes his deck better against <Tier 2 aggro option> almost accidentally.
What can you say, it’s <current year here> and Brad Nelson is still on top of the Standard metagame! Keep an eye on his latest content to see what late developing sideboard changes you need to make before <important upcoming event here>!