The goal of this article is to go through archetypes that are currently popular, going into the addition of Dragons of Tarkir to the format. I'm not talking about fringe archetypes, but I will be going over what I consider to be the fourteen most popular Standard decks right now, and then analyze how they will be affected with Dragons of Tarkir in the format. There will be suggestions on what cards to add in order to update a given archetype with Dragons of Tarkir, rather than propose a completely new list for each deck.


Red/White Tempo

Red/White Tempo is one of, if not the most played deck in Standard right now. Here is a list played by Bitflipher on Magic Online:

DECKID=1232802

This is a deck that just about everyone familiar with Standard over the past couple months has seen, and is very similar to the list Ben Stark took to a second place finish at Grand Prix Memphis. It seems that now most Red/White Tempo lists are gravitating towards playing Seeker of the Way alongside Soulfire Grandmaster.

What cards does this deck gain from Dragons of Tarkir:

There aren't any cards that are obvious adds to Red/White Tempo but there are certainly some options. As far as four-drop creatures both Ojutai Exemplars and Thunderbreak Regent are good choices, which provide the deck a bit more top end. If this deck wants a one-drop, it may be worth adding some copies of Zurgo Bellstriker. Roast is a removal spell worth considering, though it is competing with a number of other solid removal spells in red and white, and Roast doesn't Deal Damage to players. This isn't the right deck for Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit because there are so few creatures, and Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit doesn't work with tokens from Hordeling Outburst. Some sideboard options include Radiant Purge, Surge of Righteousness, and Rending Volley.

The Verdict:

Red/White Tempo is a deck that is still a good choice right now, though it is unclear which cards from Dragons of Tarkir should be in the deck. I expect as the format develops Red/White Tempo will start seeing a bit less play as Dromoka's Command being a maindeck card which deals with Chained to the Rocks or Outpost Siege is a major issue.


Abzan Aggro

Here is Andrew Boswell's list from the Top 8 of Grand Prix Miami: DECKID=1232181

This particular list is a bit different from typical lists, since it plays more three-drops, with both Boon Satyr and Brimaz, King of Oreskos, yet there are no five-drops at all.

What cards does this deck gain from Dragons of Tarkir:

The cards that immediately comes to mind is Dromoka's Command. This is a maindeck option, and I expect to see two to three copies in the main moving forward. This Command is going to have a significant impact on the format, whether just as a removal spell that pumps your creature, dealing with an opposing Chained to the Rocks, or nullifying a Stoke the Flames. Self-Inflicted Wound is going to be a powerful sideboard card in the mirror, which can deal with a Rakshasa Deathdealer or a monstrous Fleecemane Lion. Other cards worth considering are Surrak, the Hunt Caller for another big creature or Ultimate Price as another removal spell.

The Verdict:

Abzan Aggro isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I think you can comfortably add a couple Dromoka's Commands to this deck, and be all set. This might be the most popular deck in Standard in the first couple weeks of Standard after Dragons of Tarkir is released.


Green/White Devotion

Here is the hottest deck in Standard right now, played by Corey Baumeister:

DECKID=1232178

What cards does this deck gain from Dragons of Tarkir:

Deathmist Raptor is a card that could fit perfectly into this deck, with both Mastery of the Unseen and Whisperwood Elemental to create plenty of potential for flipping up creatures. It is hard to figure out what to cut though as there are a lot of slots that are already accounted for. Deathmist Raptor can provide late game advantage, though this may not be the deck that needs additional re-occurring threats, since you already have Mastery of the Unseen.

The Verdict

Abusing Mastery of the Unseen is still a legitimate thing to be doing in Standard, and this is the deck that does it the best. However, I do expect this deck to start seeing less play moving forward, as there are other appealing options for Devotion as well.


Abzan Control

Here is a list played by emar8 on Magic Online, with a little bit of a twist, as he has two maindeck copies of Reclamation Sage:

DECKID=1232792

What cards does this deck gain from Dragons of Tarkir:

Unlike Abzan Aggro, which is a deck that can fully utilize Dromoka's Charm, because Abzan Control has less creatures Dromoka's Command is a bit less effective, as the "fight" mode will be the most used mode. This doesn't necessarily mean that Dromoka's Command is not good here, as if nothing more it is probably better than boarding Erase. Ultimate Price is a removal spell worth looking at, as it is less taxing on the mana than some of the other removal. Overall this deck won't change too much though.

The Verdict:

If a deck isn't getting better by default that can sometimes mean it gets worse. With cards like Roast and other removal spells that can deal with the primary creatures in this deck entering the format, it will be interesting to see how Abzan Control can adjust. Abzan Control is a deck that still has game versus everything, but I do expect it to lose a bit of popularity.


Jeskai Tempo

Here is Jim Davis's list as the runner-up of SCG Dallas:

DECKID=1232732

What cards does this deck gain from Dragons of Tarkir:

The first card that comes to mind is Narset Transcendent. Whether this is the best home for Narset Transcendent remains to be seen, as optimally you want to be playing upwards of 25 noncreature spells to make this card at its best. The other spell worth considering is Roast. In many ways it is a more flexible removal spell than Lightning Strike or Valorous Stance, because it can kill Fleecemane Lion, or Siege Rhino. I expect Roast to be like a two-of. As far as creatures go Ojutai Exemplars is an exciting option in a deck like this which plays enough noncreature spells to consistently trigger Ojutai Exemplars. Also, Encase in Ice is a sideboard card any deck playing blue should seriously consider playing.

The Verdict:

Jeskai Tempo is still a solid deck choice, and it is hard to say if it will gain or lose popularity with Dragons of Tarkir. This is the type of deck that is a perfect answer to the new Green-White Devotion deck, but if Devotion becomes less popular, than Jeskai Tempo might be less good in the metagame.


Monored Aggro

This is ChrRome's take on Monored Aggro, from Magic Online:

DECKID=1232772

What cards does this deck gain from Dragons of Tarkir:

If you are looking for a fully updated list of Mono Red Aggro I suggest checking out my article from last week. This may be the archetype that gains the most new cards from Dragons of Tarkir. From Lightning Berserker, to Dragon Whisper, to Zurgo Bellstriker there are plenty of options as far as creatures go. Roast is also worth considering, though in a deck playing a burn spell that can't target opposing players may be wrong.

The Verdict:

Monored got significantly better with the introduction of Dragons of Tarkir, and it should pick up popularity. It will be interesting to see if other decks adjust to beating monored with something like maindeck Anger of the Gods or Drown in Sorrow, as with all the new tools monored has gained, it is a deck that will need to be addressed.


Sultai Superfriends

Here is the latest version of Sultai Superfriends which won SCG Dallas, played by Michael Miller:

DECKID=1232733

What cards does this deck gain from Dragons of Tarkir:

Silumgar's Command is a card that could fit nicely into this deck, though it is another expensive spell. Still it is a very flexible spell, and might be the second best command after Dromoka's Command. Other than Silumgar's Command there is also Ultimate Price and Anticipate for some new cheaper spells. I expect a mix of both Bile Blight and Ultimate Price in most lists moving forward. Sideboard cards like Encase in Ice and Self-Inflicted Wound are also important, as these cards help make threats like Rakshasa Deathdealer less of an issue.

The Verdict:

Sultai Superfriends gains a couple cards but there will also be new control decks that emerge, which may hurt Sultai Superfriends in terms of its popularity. There is also the option of making this less of a superfriends deck, and play some of the new dragons.


Blue/Black Control

This is AkiHata0729's list from Magic Online:

DECKID=1232795

What cards does this deck gain from Dragons of Tarkir:

I touched on Anticipate earlier, but this is the deck that really gains the most from Anticipate entering the format. Anticipate allows this deck to cut a land or two, and it gives you a two mana card draw spell instead of a clunky five mana one like Jace's Ingenuity. Besides Anticipate there is nothing obvious to add besides some sideboard cards, and again Ultimate Price could be a fit here. The jury is still out on whether Dragonlord Silumgar is good enough in a deck like this.

The Verdict:

Blue/Black got significantly better, which is good news for control players. Anticipate is a significant gain for this deck, and that's not all that Blue/Black Control has gained from Dragons of Tarkir. This deck has been losing a little popularity, but it will be on the rise soon enough.


Blue/White Heroic

This particular version does have Temur Battle Rage, which is a relatively recent addition to the archetype, though straight blue/white is also equally as popular. Here is the list of Jason Crone from the top eight of SCG Dallas:

DECKID=1232725

What cards does this deck gain from Dragons of Tarkir:

Blue/White Heroic is one of the linear strategies in Standard so it doesn't change that much from set to set. I could see a couple copies of Narset Transcendent being good here as there are a large amount of noncreature spells, however it is a bit on the expensive side.

The Verdict:

Unfortunately for Blue/White Heroic with new edict effects just being printed, Blue/White Heroic may have a tough time in the new metagame. Blue/White Heroic is still a deck that will see some play, but it seems to be on the decline.


Green/Red Devotion

Here is a recent list by RedWorld from MTGO:

DECKID=1232804

What cards does this deck gain from Dragons of Tarkir:

Dragonlord Atarka is another option at the top end of Green/Red Devotion, and I expect it to start getting the nod instead of some of the other expensive threats. This deck could go in the direction of adding Rattleclaw Mystic as one of the mana producers, so as to also be able to include Deathmist Raptor. Avatar of the Resolute is certainly a powerful card, but this deck may need to become more aggressively oriented, with less mana producers, in order to incorporate Avatar of the Resolute.

The Verdict:

Dragonlord Atarka is one of the most powerful cards to come out of Dragons of Tarkir, so I do expect Green/Red Devotion to compete with Green/White Devotion for being the top devotion deck. This deck has lost a bit of popularity in the past couple weeks, but it is certainly going to be a player.


Red/Green Midrange

This is the deck Richard Anderson played at SCG Philadelphia to a Top 16 finish:

DECKID=1226279

What cards does this deck gain from Dragons of Tarkir:

Red/Green Midrange can incorporate Thunderbreak Regent to go along with Stormbreath Dragon, to have a full eight dragons. Even Dragonlord Atarka isn't unreasonable, though seven mana is certainly a lot. As far as removal, this is a perfect home for Roast, so I expect there to be multiple cards from Dragons of Tarkir added to Red/Green Midrange.

The Verdict:

This is a deck that currently doesn't see a ton of play, but with the new tools in Dragons of Tarkir, it will become significantly more popular. There is a lot of buzz around Thunderbreak Regent, and this seems to be the best home for that card. This deck may want to be Temur though, in order to make use of Sarkhan Unbroken.


Jeskai Tokens

Here is Luis Scott Vargas's unique take on Jeskai Tokens:

DECKID=1231704

What cards does this deck gain from Dragons of Tarkir:

This is the perfect home for Narset Transcendent, as not only are there a ton of noncreature spells, there are also a number of good Rebound targets. One creature that could be good here is Ojutai Exemplars, though this deck is very selective with its creature, so it may not be good enough. There are also a couple new token generators in both Dragon Fodder and Secure the Wastes, which potentially could allow this deck to play only token generators for creatures. Finally, there is of course Roast to deal with the deadly Siege Rhino.

The Verdict:

Jeskai Tokens has gotten multiple tools, and may become one of the top decks moving forward. It remains to be seen exactly how this deck should be constructed. The only issue is that Jeskai Ascendancy is even more vulnerable, with the printing of Dromoka's Charm.


Mardu Midrange/Tempo

Here is a recent Mardu list by mrkristopher:

DECKID=1230360

What cards does this deck gain from Dragons of Tarkir:

Mardu has become very similar to straight red/white, except that it has access to Crackling Doom and Butcher of the Horde. By going into black though you do get access to sideboard cards like Self-Inflicted Wound, or maybe Kolaghan's Command.

The Verdict:

Mardu won't be a big deck, as Dragons of Tarkir seems to encourage more two color decks, since there are not any three color cards. Crackling Doom may not be quite as good as it has been, though the card is still very powerful.


Sultai Reanimator

The last archetype I will be talking about is Sultai Reanimator. There are certainly multiple reanimator decks but this seems to be the most popular one at the moment. This is Shahar Shenhars list that won him the World Championships:

DECKID=1223301

What cards does this deck gain from Dragons of Tarkir:

Sidisi, Undead Vizier is the card that immediately jumps to mind here. This deck often has a Satyr Wayfinder lying around to sacrifice, and the deck may want to play more singletons to be able to search for.

The Verdict:

Whip decks have recently been falling out of favor, but Sidisi Undead Vizier is one hell of a magic card, and should be enough to keep these types of decks in the format.


Wrapping Up

There are certainly decks and cards that didn't get covered, but I tried to cover as much as possible. Of course these are the current popular decks, but there should also be brand new archetypes that emerge from Dragons of Tarkir. Expect some lists that include cards from Dragons of Tarkir next week!

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield