Green/Red Devotion, Bant Heroic, Red Deck Wins, Sultai Control, Abzan Control, and Abzan Rally define the Standard metagame leading into Pro Tour Magic Origins this weekend. Today I'll explore the matchups between these decks by providing a sideboard guide and a plan for each of the 36 matchups between them.


GREEN/RED DEVOTION

DECKID=1244861

Vs. Green/Red Devotion

+2 Roast
+1 Xenagos, the Reveler
+1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

-2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
-1 Hornet Queen
-1 Rugged Highlands

The Green/Red Devotion mirror is defined by mana acceleration creatures and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Whoever can get the most and biggest cards into play first, specifically Dragonlord Atarka, will win. Mana acceleration creatures are mostly safe from removal, so cut Nissa, Vastwood Seer and even Rugged Highlands.

Vs. Bant Heroic

+3 Nylea's Disciple
+2 Roast
+1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

-3 Xenagos, the Reveler
-2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
-1 Hornet Queen

This matchup is two linear decks with minimal interaction racing against each other. UW Heroic can't realistically beat a resolved Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Roast provides a way to destroy a creature, and Nylea's Disciple can buy extra turns in racing situations. Xenagos, the Reveler, faces too much pressure, and the body of Nissa, Vastwood Seer is useless. Hornet Queen is trumped by God's Willing and Aqueous Form.

Vs. Red Deck Wins/Goblins

+3 Nylea's Disciple
+2 Seismic Rupture
+2 Roast

-3 Xenagos, the Reveler
-3 Genesis Hydra
-1 Hornet Queen

The red aggro decks beat Green/Red Devotion in a foot race. Turn the Tides with Nylea's Disciple as a roadblock and source of life gain, a sweeper in Seismic Rupture, and Roast to kill problem creatures like Goblin Rabblemaster.

Vs. Sultai Control

+2 Gaea's Revenge
+2 Nissa, Worldwaker
+1 Xenagos, the Reveler
+1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

-2 Dragonlord Atarka
-4 Rattleclaw Mystic

Sultai Control is filled with efficient answers to green devotion creatures, so the best plan is to make the deck as threat heavy as possible by removing mana acceleration creatures and adding impactful planeswalkers. Rattleclaw Mystic is blocked by Satyr Wayfinder and dies to much of their removal, so cut it and retain Sylvan Caryatid. Gaea's Revenge replaces the poor Dragonlord Atarka, but one copy of the dragon is useful for catching control's planeswalkers off-guard.

Vs. Abzan Control

+1 Xenagos, the Reveler
+1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
+2 Nissa, Worldwaker

-4 Rattleclaw Mystic

Some number of mana acceleration creatures must leave the deck. Cut Rattleclaw Mystic which finds many roadblocks on offense, but retain Sylvan Caryatid which is immune to their pinpoint removal.

Vs. Abzan Rally

+1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

-1 Rugged Highlands

The best strategy in this matchup is to play the core Green/Red Devotion game plan by overwhelming the opponent before they assemble a critical mass of threats. Beware of Mogis's Marauder!


BANT HEROIC

DECKID=1244873

Vs. Green/Red Devotion

+2 Aqueous Form
+2 Disdainful Stroke
+1 Island

-4 Seeker of the Way
-1 Ajani's Presence

This is the matchup Bant Heroic is designed for, and it only gets better after sideboarding with Aqueous Form to push through blockers and Disdainful Stroke as disruption that generates tempo advantage. Mulligan into hands with an aggressive start, because Green/Devotion will win the long game.

Vs. Bant Heroic

+2 Aqueous Form
+2 Ordeal of Heliod
+1 Lagonna-Band Trailblazer

-2 Treasure Cruise
-2 Ajani's Presence
-1 Seeker of the Way

The mirror match is defined by racing. Ordeal of Heliod buys valuable time, and Aqueous Form ensures blockers don't slow things down. There is no time for Treasure Cruise and Ajani's Presence is poor because they lack much removal.

Vs. Red Deck Wins/Goblins

+2 Ordeal of Heliod
+1 Triton Tactics
+1 Lagonna-Band Trailblazer

-3 Ordeal of Thassa
-1 Valorous Stance

The maindeck is already well-suited for the matchup, but cutting the unnecessary Ordeal of Thassa for the backbreaking Ordeal of Heliod makes things easier. Triton Tactics can stop burn spells and surprise attackers.

Vs. Sultai Control

+2 Disdainful Stroke
+2 Treasure Cruise
+1 Stratus Dancer
+1 Island

-4 Dromoka's Command
-1 Valorous Stance
-1 Forest

Treasure Cruise allows Heroic to weather the attrition of UB Control. Disdainful Stroke is a flexible tempo play that disrupts their important plays; apply it judiciously. Dromoka's Command does very little in the matchup without anything to destroy, as does Valorous Stance.

Vs. Abzan Control

+2 Disdainful Stroke
+1 Stratus Dancer
+1 Treasure Cruise

-4 Seeker of the Way

Unlike against UBx control, Dromoka's Command is great against Abzan. Seeker of the Way is the weakest creature in the deck, so cut it in favor of disruption and Treasure Cruise.

Vs. Abzan Rally

+2 Disdainful Stroke
+2 Aqueous Form
+1 Stratus Dancer
+1 Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
+1 Island

-4 Seeker of the Way
-2 Ajani's Presence
-1 Valorous Stance

The Heroic game plan is fast enough to race Abzan Rally, so the sideboard plan of adding tempo-generating disruption to stop their key spells and Aqueous Form to eliminate their blockers is a winning combination.


RED DECK WINS

DECKID=1244868

Vs. Green/Red Devotion

+4 Roast
+2 Searing Blood
+1 Harness by Force

-4 Lightning Strike
-2 Exquisite Firecraft
-1 Lightning Berserker

Roast will eliminate any large blocker standing in the way of red creatures, specifically Courser of Kruphix and Polukranos, World Eater. Exquisite Firecraft is generally inefficient as removal, and a dedicated burn plan is poor against Nylea's Disciple.

Vs. Bant Heroic

+4 Roast
+2 Goblin Rabblemaster
+1 Harness by Force

-2 Searing Blood
-2 Firedrinker Satyr
-2 Exquisite Firecraft
-1 Lightning Berserker

The powerful Goblin Rabblemaster replaces weaker creatures, and Roast replaces less efficient removal. Harness by Force can steal a game from behind.

Vs. Red Deck Wins/Goblins

+2 Scouring Sands
+2 Outpost Siege
+2 Searing Blood
+2 Goblin Rabblemaster
+1 Roast

-4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
-2 Firedrinker Satyr
-2 Goblin Heelcutter
-1 Lightning Berserker

The mirror boils down to attrition, because creatures trade with each other and with burn spells. Neither player will be able to mount much aggression in the early game, so whoever is left with more cards will eventually overcome the opponent. Replace all of the cards that can deal you damage with removal and a card advantage engine in Outpost Siege.

Vs. Sultai Control

+2 Outpost Siege
+2 Goblin Rabblemaster
+2 Exquisite Firecraft

-2 Searing Blood
-4 Wild Slash


Cut the least powerful burn spells for highly impactful sideboard cards, including Outpost Siege to grind out their removal and an extra threat in Goblin Rabblemaster.

Vs. Abzan Control

+4 Roast
+2 Outpost Siege
+2 Exquisite Firecraft
+2 Goblin Rabblemaster

-4 Wild Slash
-4 Lightning Strike
-2 Searing Blood

None of the cheap burn actually kills relevant creatures, so cut it in favor of Roast, which destroys Siege Rhino. They lack removal for Outpost Siege, so it will win the long game with its Khans ability.

Vs. Abzan Rally

+2 Searing Blood
+2 Goblin Rabblemaster
+1 Roast

-2 Exquisite Firecraft
-2 Firedrinker Satyr
-1 Lightning Berserker

Abzan Rally has a tough time against Red Deck Wins and must sideboard significantly. Stay the aggressive course while using burn spells to disrupt their creature synergies.


SULTAI CONTROL

DECKID=1244869

Vs. Green/Red Devotion

+2 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
+1 Disdainful Stroke
+1 Thoughtseize

-4 Den Protector

An early Ashiok, Nightmare Weave can win the game by itself. Den Protector is too slow and weak against their creatures, so rely on Dig Through Time and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy to generate card advantage.

Vs. Bant Heroic

+2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
+2 Drown in Sorrow
+1 Bile Blight
+1 Thoughtseize

-2 Dissolve
-2 Disdainful Stroke
-1 Garruk, Apex Predator
-1 Den Protector

Counterspells are poor here, but bring in all of the removal and discard. They lack removal, so Tasigur, the Golden Fang is excellent.

Vs. Red Deck Wins/Goblins

+3 Feed the Clan
+2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
+2 Drown in Sorrow
+1 Bile Blight
+1 Silumgar, the Drifting Death

-3 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
-2 Disdainful Stroke
-2 Dissolve
-1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
-1 Garruk, Apex Predator

Cut the expensive planeswalkers, the inefficient Counterspells, and the slow and susceptible Jace, Vryn's Prodigy in favor of all of the removal and robust creatures in the sideboard, along with Feed the Clan to help weather the storm of their burn spells.

Vs. Sultai Control

+2 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
+2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
+2 Negate
+1 Thoughtseize
+1 Disdainful Stroke

-3 Languish
-2 Sultai Charm
-2 Bile Blight
-1 Murderous Cut

Cut creature removal in favor of discard and Counterspells, but keep Hero's Downfall in the deck to stop Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver and Tasigur, the Golden Fang, which come in as proactive threats.

Vs. Abzan Control

+2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
+2 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
+1 Disdainful Stroke
+1 Silumgar, the Drifting Death
+1 Thoughtseize

-3 Languish
-2 Bile Blight
-2 Sultai Charm

Sideboard in all of the threats, and cut all of the removal spells beyond Hero's Downfall.

Vs. Abzan Rally

+2 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
+1 Disdainful Stroke
+1 Bile Blight

-2 Sultai Charm
-1 Garruk, Apex Predator
-1 Den Protector

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver is very difficult for them to beat. Bring in efficient disruption to help contain their board development.


ABZAN CONTROL

DECKID=1245034

Vs. Green/Red Devotion

+1 Tragic Arrogance
+1 Murderous Cut
+1 Ultimate Price
+1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
+1 Garruk, Apex Predator
+1 Read the Bones

-4 Siege Rhino
-2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer

Siege Rhino is a fine option on the play, but cutting it along with Nissa, Vastwood Seer opens up the option to turn into a dedicated control deck that wins with planeswalkers.

Vs. Bant Heroic

+1 Tragic Arrogance
+1 Glare of Heresy
+1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
+1 Ultimate Price
+1 Murderous Cut
+1 Read the Bones
+1 Drown in Sorrow
+2 Duress

-4 Courser of Kruphix
-3 Den Protector
-2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer

Bring an assortment of other removal spells to contain their board, including the backbreaking Tragic Arrogance. Duress is effective for clearing away God's Willing or their card advantage spells like Treasure Cruise. Courser of Kruphix is terrible against Dromoka's Command, Den Protector is too slow to be effective, and the body of Nissa, Vastwood Seer is useless.

Vs. Red Deck Wins/Goblins

+2 Arashin Cleric
+2 Drown in Sorrow
+2 Duress
+1 Ultimate Price
+1 Murderous Cut
+1 Dromoka's Command

-4 Thoughtseize
-4 Abzan Charm
-1 Read the Bones

Cut every spell that deals damage to you for all of the sideboard disruption and the excellent Arashin Cleric.

Vs. Sultai Control

+2 Duress
+1 Read the Bones
+1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
+1 Garruk, Apex Predator
+1 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes

-2 Languish
-2 Ultimate Price
-1 Bile Blight
-1 Tragic Arrogance

Hero's Downfall stops any potential threats, but cut the rest of the creature removal for Read the Bones, Duress, and the full suite of planeswalkers.

Vs. Abzan Control

+1 Garruk, Apex Predator
+1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
+1 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
+1 Read the Bones
+1 Glare of Heresy
+1 Dromoka's Command

-2 Languish
-2 Ultimate Price
-1 Bile Blight
-1 Tragic Arrogance

Hero's Downfall is important in the mirror match, but cut the rest of the creature removal. Bring in all of the planeswalkers, Read the Bones, and some efficient disruption in Glare of Heresy and Dromoka's Command.

Vs. Abzan Rally

+1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
+1 Murderous Cut

-1 Tragic Arrogance
-1 Read the Bones

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon can be a trump, and Murderous Cut disrupts their creature synergies. Read the Bone is too slow and Tragic Arrogance lines up poorly against Rally the Ancestors.


ABZAN RALLY

DECKID=1244874

Vs. Green/Red Devotion

+2 Hero's Downfall
+1 Murderous Cut

-1 Grim Haruspex
-1 Fleshbag Marauder
-1 Rally the Ancestors

Hero's Downfall and Murderous Cut are pinpoint removal spells for their important creatures. Rally the Ancestors is at its worst against a deck without removal, and the third Grim Haruspex isn't necessary.

Vs. Bant Heroic

+1 Fleshbag Marauder
+1 Murderous Cut

-1 Grim Haruspex
-1 Mogis's Marauder

Fleshbag Marauder is at its best here and Murderous Cut can snipe a creature, but Hero's Downfall is too inefficient. They don't have removal, so the third Grim Haruspex isn't needed, and their blockers don't seem particularly relevant, so I am comfortable cutting a Mogis's Marauder.

Vs. Red Deck Wins/Goblins

+3 Arashin Cleric
+2 Dromoka's Command
+2 Drown in Sorrow
+1 Murderous Cut

-3 Mogis's Marauder
-3 Merciless Executioner
-2 Fleshbag Marauder

Fleshbag Marauder and Merciless Executioner are poor against their cheap creatures, but Arashin Cleric is amazing with Rally the Ancestors. Bring in all of the creature removal. This matchup comes down to a grind, not racing past blockers, so cut Mogis's Marauder completely.

Vs. Sultai Control

+3 Anafenza, the Foremost
+2 Hero's Downfall

-3 Merciless Executioner
-2 Fleshbag Marauder

Fleshbag Marauder and company aren't effective against a deck with no creatures. Hero's Downfall is necessary for destroying Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver. Abzan Rally takes on the aggressive role in the matchup, so bring in Anafenza, the Foremost.

Vs. Abzan Control

+2 Hero's Downfall

-2 Merciless Executioner

Hero's Downfall deals with their planeswalkers. Not all of the sacrifice creatures are necessary here, so cut a pair.

Vs. Abzan Rally

+3 Anafenza, the Foremost
+2 Hero's Downfall
+1 Murderous Cut

-3 Merciless Executioner
-3 Mogis's Marauder

Anafenza, the Foremost trumps Rally the Ancestors, and Hero's Downfall and Murderous Cut trump Anafenza, the Foremost. Bring all of them in. Cut Merciless Executioner, leaving a pair of Fleshbag Marauder to trigger your own Liliana, Heretical Healer, and Remove the Mogis's Marauder which is weak against their many black creatures.

~

Share your thoughts in the comments, and I'll try to answer any questions.

-Adam
@adamyurchick