I'm going to start off this article with a bold statement: I believe Gruul to be the overall best deck in Standard. Looking at the past weekends results from the MPL and Rivals League play, we saw a huge number of copies of Gruul, compared to the rest of the field.

I myself chose to play Gruul, to a winning record, and it's one of the best aggressive decks we've seen in Standard in a very long time. This deck has efficient creatures, amazing top end plays, and an unexpectedly reasonable mana cost.

Here's what I chose to play:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Gruul by Seth Manfield

'Gruul' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Seth Manfield

Event:

Rank:

Standard

Market Price: $202.36

Cards

Embercleave

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $11.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198755_200w.jpg

Flash
This spell costs {1} less to cast for each attacking creature you control.
When Embercleave enters the battlefield, attach it to target creature you control.
Equipped creature gets +1/+1 and has double strike and trample.
Equip {3}

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Fire Prophecy

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212611_200w.jpg

Fire Prophecy deals 3 damage to target creature. You may put a card from your hand on the bottom of your library. If you do, draw a card.

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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227277_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Cragcrown Pathway

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $2.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221845_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {R}.

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Brushfire Elemental

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221944_200w.jpg

Haste
Brushfire Elemental can't be blocked by creatures with power 2 or less.
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Brushfire Elemental gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

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Rimrock Knight // Boulder Rush

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199534_200w.jpg

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Ox of Agonas

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.82

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206651_200w.jpg

When Ox of Agonas enters the battlefield, discard your hand, then draw three cards.
Escape—{R}{R}, Exile eight other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)
Ox of Agonas escapes with a +1/+1 counter on it.

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Thrashing Brontodon

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215915_200w.jpg

{1}, Sacrifice Thrashing Brontodon: Destroy target artifact or enchantment.

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Wilt

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212274_200w.jpg

Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227269_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Edgewall Innkeeper

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198999_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a creature spell that has an Adventure, draw a card. (It doesn't need to have gone on the adventure first.)

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Fabled Passage

Market Price: $5.56

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

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Lovestruck Beast // Heart's Desire

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198578_200w.jpg

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Kazandu Mammoth

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.52

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222154_200w.jpg

Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Kazandu Mammoth gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

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The Great Henge

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $27.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199361_200w.jpg

This spell costs {X} less to cast, where X is the greatest power among creatures you control.
{T}: Add {G}{G}. You gain 2 life.
Whenever a nontoken creature enters the battlefield under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on it and draw a card.

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Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199035_200w.jpg

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The Akroan War

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206150_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Gain control of target creature for as long as The Akroan War remains on the battlefield.
II — Until your next turn, creatures your opponents control attack each combat if able.
III — Each tapped creature deals damage to itself equal to its power.

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Scavenging Ooze

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215695_200w.jpg

{G}: Exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a creature card, put a +1/+1 counter on Scavenging Ooze and you gain 1 life.

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Shatterskull Smashing

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $6.93

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222030_200w.jpg

Shatterskull Smashing deals X damage divided as you choose among up to two target creatures and/or planeswalkers. If X is 6 or more, Shatterskull Smashing deals twice X damage divided as you choose among them instead.

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Klothys, God of Destiny

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $8.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206458_200w.jpg

Indestructible
As long as your devotion to red and green is less than seven, Klothys isn't a creature.
At the beginning of your precombat main phase, exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a land card, add {R} or {G}. Otherwise, you gain 2 life and Klothys deals 2 damage to each opponent.

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Vivien, Monsters' Advocate

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $6.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/211993_200w.jpg

You may look at the top card of your library any time.
You may cast creature spells from the top of your library.
+1: Create a 3/3 green Beast creature token. Put your choice of a vigilance counter, a reach counter, or a trample counter on it.
−2: When you cast your next creature spell this turn, search your library for a creature card with lesser converted mana cost, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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This list is very close to other Gruul lists—with a few key exceptions. The biggest difference is the addition of Ox of Agonas to the maindeck. Ox of Agonas is a great card, and while it's extra great if milled into your graveyard, that isn't the reasonI put it into my maindeck. In game one, you frequently want an additional creature to refuel with.

There are also two copies of Rimrock Knight and two copies of Fire Prophecy in the main. I don't think 8 adventure creatures is enough for an adventure deck, and you can't go wrong with Rimrock Knight. It gives you a good reason to play Edgewall Innkeeper on turn one as well. In the case of Fire Prophecy, it mostly serves as an upgrade to Scorching Dragonfire. There are times where you do want to point a removal spell at a planeswalker or exile a creature, but the fact that you can essentially loot with Fire Prophecy is huge.

If you take a look, you'll find that there are quite a few different takes on Gruul on the scene right now. Personally, I recommend running something pretty darn close to the deck above. It's extremely aggressive, but also has the ability to win longer, more drawn out games.

My question is, can the deck actually be beaten? How do you attack it?

A week or two ago it was clear that Gruul was an amazing deck choice, because it wasn't being super heavily targeted. Now however, it seems that many decks' first order of business is trying to beat Gruul. While you do need to make different card choices to successfully attack this deck, like adding more removal and cutting moderate- or low-impact cards, it's not an impossible mission. Still, because of how good Gruul is, no single deck is a perfect match against it.

Mono Green Food

This deck gained some popularity before recently falling out of favor—that is, until some players picked it up in the MPL and Rivals leagues. I didn't play the deck enough to be able to fully evaluate it until now. My initial assumption was that it had a bad matchup against decks like Esper Doom Foretold, but I have to admit, it has impressed me. Ken Yukuhiro in particular put on a show with the food deck, achieving eight wins and only three losses this past weekend. (One of his wins was a very close match against me.) He also dispatched multiple Esper players, so indeed, a very impressive showing with this deck:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Mono Green Food by Seth Manfield

'Mono Green Food' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Seth Manfield

Event:

Rank:

Standard

Market Price: $151.85

Cards

Scavenging Ooze

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215695_200w.jpg

{G}: Exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a creature card, put a +1/+1 counter on Scavenging Ooze and you gain 1 life.

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Trail of Crumbs

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198868_200w.jpg

When Trail of Crumbs enters the battlefield, create a Food token. (It's an artifact with "{2}, {T}, Sacrifice this artifact: You gain 3 life.")
Whenever you sacrifice a Food, you may pay {1}. If you do, look at the top two cards of your library. You may reveal a permanent card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.

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Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Market Price: $18.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215338_200w.jpg

+2: Ugin, the Spirit Dragon deals 3 damage to any target.
−X: Exile each permanent with converted mana cost X or less that's one or more colors.
−10: You gain 7 life, draw seven cards, then put up to seven permanent cards from your hand onto the battlefield.

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Primal Might

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215456_200w.jpg

Target creature you control gets +X/+X until end of turn. Then it fights up to one target creature you don't control.

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Tangled Florahedron

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221925_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {G}.

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Kazandu Mammoth

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.52

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222154_200w.jpg

Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Kazandu Mammoth gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

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Witch's Oven

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198898_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice a creature: Create a Food token. If the sacrificed creature's toughness was 4 or greater, create two Food tokens instead. (They're artifacts with "{2}, {T}, Sacrifice this artifact: You gain 3 life.")

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Wicked Wolf

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198764_200w.jpg

When Wicked Wolf enters the battlefield, it fights up to one target creature you don't control.
Sacrifice a Food: Put a +1/+1 counter on Wicked Wolf. It gains indestructible until end of turn. Tap it.

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Gilded Goose

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $2.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198394_200w.jpg

Flying
When Gilded Goose enters the battlefield, create a Food token. (It's an artifact with "{2}, {T}, Sacrifice this artifact: You gain 3 life.")
{1}{G}, {T}: Create a Food token.
{T}, Sacrifice a Food: Add one mana of any color.

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Kogla, the Titan Ape

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.55

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212082_200w.jpg

When Kogla, the Titan Ape enters the battlefield, it fights up to one target creature you don't control.
Whenever Kogla attacks, destroy target artifact or enchantment defending player controls.
{1}{G}: Return target Human you control to its owner's hand. Kogla gains indestructible until end of turn.

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Lovestruck Beast // Heart's Desire

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198578_200w.jpg

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Bonders' Enclave

Market Price: $1.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212685_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{3}, {T}: Draw a card. Activate this ability only if you control a creature with power 4 or greater.

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Ram Through

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212717_200w.jpg

Target creature you control deals damage equal to its power to target creature you don't control. If the creature you control has trample, excess damage is dealt to that creature's controller instead.

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The Great Henge

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $27.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199361_200w.jpg

This spell costs {X} less to cast, where X is the greatest power among creatures you control.
{T}: Add {G}{G}. You gain 2 life.
Whenever a nontoken creature enters the battlefield under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on it and draw a card.

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Vivien, Monsters' Advocate

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $6.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/211993_200w.jpg

You may look at the top card of your library any time.
You may cast creature spells from the top of your library.
+1: Create a 3/3 green Beast creature token. Put your choice of a vigilance counter, a reach counter, or a trample counter on it.
−2: When you cast your next creature spell this turn, search your library for a creature card with lesser converted mana cost, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227269_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Castle Garenbrig

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $2.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199288_200w.jpg

Castle Garenbrig enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Forest.
{T}: Add {G}.
{2}{G}{G}, {T}: Add six {G}. Spend this mana only to cast creature spells or activate abilities of creatures.

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Feasting Troll King

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198776_200w.jpg

Vigilance, trample
When Feasting Troll King enters the battlefield, if you cast it from your hand, create three Food tokens. (They're artifacts with "{2}, {T}, Sacrifice this artifact: You gain 3 life.")
Sacrifice three Foods: Return Feasting Troll King from your graveyard to the battlefield. Activate this ability only during your turn.

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Thrashing Brontodon

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215915_200w.jpg

{1}, Sacrifice Thrashing Brontodon: Destroy target artifact or enchantment.

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Chainweb Aracnir

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206802_200w.jpg

Reach
When Chainweb Aracnir enters the battlefield, it deals damage equal to its power to target creature with flying an opponent controls.
Escape—{3}{G}{G}, Exile four other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)
Chainweb Aracnir escapes with three +1/+1 counters on it.

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This deck seems to be favored against Gruul, so let's talk about why. The first thing that makes this deck attractive is the manabase. Being a monocolored deck with a ton of untapped lands, it's going to give you an edge in consistency compared to the two or three color decks that are out there. You get to play both Kazandu Mammoth and Tangled Florahedron, so while these are potentially taplands, much of the time they'll be getting cast as a creature. These cards give the deck some nice flexibility, and help prevent getting manascrewed. The other helpful aspect of the manabase is being able to play Bonders' Enclave and Castle Garenbrig.

Bonders' Enclave gives the deck some late game card advantage, but to me the most impressive land in the deck is definitely Castle Garenbrig. Notice how many six mana creatures the deck plays, between the full set of Feasting Troll Kings, and Kogla, the Titan Ape. These creatures are the key to beating Gruul, so you want to get one into play as quickly as possible. Castle Garenbrig allows that to happen ahead of schedule.

Early in the game, this deck always wants to start on a Gilded Goose. There aren't actually that many ways to produce food in the deck, and Ken sides out his Trail of Crumbs against Gruul, because the card is too slow. Gilded Goose is another card that can help get a six drop into play faster, while also fueling your Wicked Wolf. Playing a ramp creature on the first couple of turns is important—though it's also key for the Gruul deck to use removal to kill these early creatures on sight.

So how does this food deck protect its creatures? The answer is an oven—specifically, Witch's Oven. At first, I didn't think much of playing it in this style deck, but soon realized how great it can be. Sacrificing a creature in response to a Stomp or Fire Prophecy is really nice, but you can also give yourself insurance against The Akroan War, to stop your creatures getting stolen.

Once a Feasting Troll King enters gameplay a little later, the Witch's Oven essentially seals up the game by giving you an ample amount of food, in order to bring back the Troll King as necessary. The Gruul deck doesn't have any creatures larger than Feasting Troll King, and without being able to steal it with The Akroan War, it oftentimes will win the game single handedly for the food deck. There are rare times when the Gruul deck can steal a game with an Embercleave or The Great Henge, but the food deck can answer both of those cards with Thrashing Brontodon.

Overall, the food deck seems solid, and more impressive than I first thought. I also believe that Ken had a very good version of the archetype. That said, I tested a number of matches against Javier Domnguez to confirm this isn't a perfect matchup for Gruul...and it isn't.

Esper Doom Foretold

While Mono Green Food can be a scary opponent for Gruul, there is another anti-Gruul strategy in the works. Let's take a look at where this deck currently stands:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Esper Doom Foretold by Seth Manfield

'Esper Doom Foretold' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Seth Manfield

Event:

Rank:

Standard

Market Price: $156.16

Cards

Cling to Dust

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206655_200w.jpg

Exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a creature card, you gain 3 life. Otherwise, you draw a card.
Escape—{3}{B}, Exile five other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

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Elspeth Conquers Death

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $1.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207052_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Exile target permanent an opponent controls with converted mana cost 3 or greater.
II — Noncreature spells your opponents cast cost {2} more to cast until your next turn.
III — Return target creature or planeswalker card from your graveyard to the battlefield. Put a +1/+1 counter or a loyalty counter on it.

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Skyclave Apparition

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $6.61

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221860_200w.jpg

When Skyclave Apparition enters the battlefield, exile up to one target nonland, nontoken permanent you don't control with converted mana cost 4 or less.
When Skyclave Apparition leaves the battlefield, the exiled card's owner creates an X/X blue Illusion creature token, where X is the converted mana cost of the exiled card.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222820_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Dance of the Manse

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.53

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199024_200w.jpg

Return up to X target artifact and/or non-Aura enchantment cards each with converted mana cost X or less from your graveyard to the battlefield. If X is 6 or more, those permanents are 4/4 creatures in addition to their other types.

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Heliod's Intervention

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $1.53

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207075_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Destroy X target artifacts and/or enchantments.
• Target player gains twice X life.

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Shark Typhoon

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $11.95

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212133_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, create an X/X blue Shark creature token with flying, where X is that spell's converted mana cost.
Cycling {X}{1}{U} ({X}{1}{U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Shark Typhoon, create an X/X blue Shark creature token with flying.

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Clearwater Pathway

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $3.54

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221830_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {U}.

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Fabled Passage

Market Price: $5.56

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

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Elspeth's Nightmare

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207053_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Destroy target creature an opponent controls with power 2 or less.
II — Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.
III — Exile target opponent's graveyard.

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Extinction Event

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.86

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212261_200w.jpg

Choose odd or even. Exile each creature with converted mana cost of the chosen value. (Zero is even.)

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Emeria's Call

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $4.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221952_200w.jpg

Create two 4/4 white Angel Warrior creature tokens with flying. Non-Angel creatures you control gain indestructible until your next turn.

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Banishing Light

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222662_200w.jpg

When Banishing Light enters the battlefield, exile target nonland permanent an opponent controls until Banishing Light leaves the battlefield.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227281_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Temple of Silence

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.49

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215548_200w.jpg

Temple of Silence enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Silence enters the battlefield, scry 1.
{T}: Add {W} or {B}.

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Golden Egg

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198395_200w.jpg

When Golden Egg enters the battlefield, draw a card.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Golden Egg: Add one mana of any color.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Golden Egg: You gain 3 life.

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Mystical Dispute

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.83

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198683_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast if it targets a blue spell.
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Duress

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215662_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.

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Eliminate

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.40

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215516_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature or planeswalker with converted mana cost 3 or less.

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Brightclimb Pathway

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $1.91

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221817_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {W}.

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Doom Foretold

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198873_200w.jpg

At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player sacrifices a nonland, nontoken permanent. If that player can't, they discard a card, they lose 2 life, you draw a card, you gain 2 life, you create a 2/2 white Knight creature token with vigilance, then you sacrifice Doom Foretold.

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Temple of Enlightenment

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.71

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206634_200w.jpg

Temple of Enlightenment enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Enlightenment enters the battlefield, scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
{T}: Add {W} or {U}.

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Yorion, Sky Nomad

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $1.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212715_200w.jpg

Companion — Your starting deck contains at least twenty cards more than the minimum deck size. (If this card is your chosen companion, you may put it into your hand from outside the game for {3} any time you could cast a sorcery.)
Flying
When Yorion enters the battlefield, exile any number of other nonland permanents you own and control. Return those cards to the battlefield at the beginning of the next end step.

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Plains

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227283_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)

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Temple of Deceit

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $1.96

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206633_200w.jpg

Temple of Deceit enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Deceit enters the battlefield, scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
{T}: Add {U} or {B}.

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Glass Casket

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199004_200w.jpg

When Glass Casket enters the battlefield, exile target creature an opponent controls with converted mana cost 3 or less until Glass Casket leaves the battlefield.

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Omen of the Sea

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206769_200w.jpg

Flash
When Omen of the Sea enters the battlefield, scry 2, then draw a card.
{2}{U}, Sacrifice Omen of the Sea: Scry 2.

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Archon of Sun's Grace

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206838_200w.jpg

Flying, lifelink
Pegasus creatures you control have lifelink.
Constellation — Whenever an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control, create a 2/2 white Pegasus creature token with flying.

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Omen of the Sun

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206784_200w.jpg

Flash
When Omen of the Sun enters the battlefield, create two 1/1 white Human Soldier creature tokens and you gain 2 life.
{2}{W}, Sacrifice Omen of the Sun: Scry 2.

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Heartless Act

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212369_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Destroy target creature with no counters on it.
• Remove up to three counters from target creature.

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Treacherous Blessing

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206658_200w.jpg

When Treacherous Blessing enters the battlefield, draw three cards.
Whenever you cast a spell, you lose 1 life.
When Treacherous Blessing becomes the target of a spell or ability, sacrifice it.

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This is Andrea Mengucci's Esper Doom deck, also known as "Esperone." The deck has noticeably changed over the past few weeks, evolving in order to take on Gruul. Slower cards like Shark Typhoon are now relegated to the sideboard, while Golden Egg takes the place of Mazemind Tomb, to have a more mana efficient form of card draw. We see a number of removal spells in the deck as well, including a sweeper, in Extinction Event.

The Esper deck's first priority is containment of Gruul's early creatures before getting its card advantage engine going. Sideboard creatures like Baneslayer Angel or Archon of Sun's Grace serve as an alternative plan of attack. These creature threats are nearly impossible for Gruul decks to answer postboard. The Gruul deck not only needs an aggressive start—it never takes its foot off the gas.

This matchup is a close one, but overall, it feels like the Esper deck holds more control over how the matchup plays out. It can add more removal spells like Heartless Act and Eliminate, whereas the Gruul deck has a much more difficult time targeting Esper specifically. I don't love playing this as a Gruul player, simply because it feels like I'm hoping the Esper player doesn't have the right set of answers for the threats I'm able to present. If you get too aggressive, an Extinction Event can be a total blowout.

This is a healthy metagame, as the top deck has weaknesses that are exploitable, despite Gruul being incredibly good. I expect a bit of a rotation away from Gruul in the near future, because of how heavily it's being targeted at the moment, but it should still remain a widely-played deck.

It's exciting to finally have an aggro deck as the top deck in Standard. Even against Esper and Mono Green Food, Gruul has a fighting chance in these matchups, and likelihood of a decent win rate.