It turns out there are many more than five viable Standard decks, which is a common misconception at the moment. We have guild-based strategies as well as mono-colored and three-color decks doing well. When players think of Mono-Red in Standard they think aggressive Wizards, and this is indeed a very different take on the color. You still get to play Goblin Chainwhirler – and that's great news – but some of the smaller creatures and burn spells in the aggressive version are low-impact later on in games.

By playing this midrange version, the deck has a lategame and that means it isn't gambling on getting a card like Experimental Frenzy in play in order to win. Lots of the creatures produce card advantage or in the case of Rekindling Phoenix are very tough to kill. Considering we faced off against Jeskai Control multiple times, the cards that overperformed were certainly Arch of Orazca and Treasure Map, fueling us with gas late in games. Here is the current version of the deck.

After playing with the deck and looking at the decklist it isn't immediately obvious what matchups are bad, or if there are in fact bad matchups. Some of the matches like Jeskai definitely felt close, but the lategame of this deck was impressive. Banefire also provides you that way to easily close out a game if you have been able to get in a bit of chip damage earlier on. Dire Fleet Daredevil provided some value every time we cast it.

Even though Dire Fleet Daredevil is a two-drop, we never wanted to play it on turn two because we wouldn't get the additional value from it. Most of the time it seemed like grabbing an Opt for some card advantage or Lava Coil as removal out of the opponent's graveyard was the play that made the most sense. The deck doesn't play Runaway Steam-Kin because you are normally casting one spell a turn in the early game, and that limits the cards potential. Goblin Cratermaker is a bit underwhelming but it provides some nice flexibility.

I am going to continue testing this deck, as I am preparing for the World Magic Cup in a few weeks, as the United States team needs to register three different unique Standard decks. We didn't get a chance to play against Golgari in this set of matches, though I do believe that to be a close matchup. In fact, the Standard format is in a really nice spot, as there are lots of close matchups across the board no matter where you are looking, and plenty of decisions within the games themselves.

Thanks for reading.

Seth Manfield