Field of the Dead is banned in Standard. We knew it was going, but we didn't know it would go alone. It's now time to dig into what's left of the format and sort out what wins and loses in that exchange. It's only Monday evening, so I can't tell you what to play for the Mythic Championship Qualifier Weekend, but I will go over the format and talk about each deck in the new context. Let's start with the decks I think are actively good choices going forward.
Simic Food is the clear frontrunner for the most powerful deck in the format now that Field of the Dead-based ramp decks are gone. Gilded Goose, Oko, Thief of Crowns and Nissa, Who Shakes the World are a powerful curve and Hydroid Krasis is one of the best cards to ramp into. Wicked Wolf only gets better when people are playing decks with real creatures instead of Zombie tokens. Oko is going to define what creatures and artifacts are allowed to be played in Standard, and the life gain is no joke either. This is the "good stuff" midrange deck going forward, and it's going to be one of the most popular because it already commanded such a large metagame share.
While Deputy of Detention is less necessary without hordes of Zombies, I do think that there's a lot of potential still for Bant Food going forward. The deck keeps Gilded Goose, Oko, Thief of Crowns and Nissa, Who Shakes the World, but unlike the Simic version it gains access to Teferi, Time Raveler and sideboard cards like Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves and Glass Casket. It's possible that these decks will want Prison Realm going forward now that Deputy of Detention loses a bit of stock, but Deputy is also a powerful answer to token creatures and aggressive decks like Mardu Knights that lack removal to punish the card.
Selesnya Adventure is the deck that was the most held down by Golos strategies. The combination of board wipes and Zombie tokens was the real killer. Decks that just had board wipes were often decks Selesnya Adventure could out-grind with Edgewall Innkeeper, Castle Ardenvale and Shepherd of the Flock.
The real sell for this deck is a great matchup vs. Oko decks, as many of its starts are capable of completely outpacing the archetype and almost nothing in the deck is weak to Oko's +1. Selesnya Adventure is also very capable of beating up other small creature decks just by virtue of having more bodies thanks to Edgewall Innkeeper and March of the Multitudes. This is my most likely pick for the MCQW this weekend, and I think it will be one of the stronger decks going forward.
The other adventure deck. Golgari Adventure was more popular and well-positioned before the ban because of the better matchup against Golos decks, but I'm not sure how well it does post-ban. Legion's End loses a lot of luster, and Oko will drive people to play decks with higher action economy instead of singular high-impact cards. This makes Murderous Rider a lot worse, though there's only so bad Murderous Rider can be against the Oko/Nissa decks. Questing Beast goes back to just being a stat stick with a bit of evasion, and remains very strong against most planeswalkers, but I don't think that this deck remains quite as strong in its current form.
That said, there's a lot of room to customize this deck, and Noxious Grasp doesn't get any worse. I think that players who are able to correctly update this deck in the next few days are going to be rewarded at the MCQW.
Those are the decks that I think are best positioned for the new format at the offset. What about the remaining decks?
There's no gentle way to say this, but this deck only had one good matchup. And that matchup just got banned. This deck is far too all-in against most other strategies and often relied heavily on being ahead of the opponent on tempo, which I don't think will happen very often in this new format. Opponents will now be playing to the board before turn four much more often and are likely to have more interaction than just board wipes.
The natural prey for this heavily metagamed deck is gone and it will suffer as a result. Register at your own peril.
I'm not certain where the Jeskai Fires decks lie. The Cavalier versions can have issues against Oko, and the planeswalker versions can struggle against Questing Beast. Both versions can play into Disdainful Stroke, though Teferi, Time Raveler can help with that to an extent. Deafening Clarion does get much better though, and if Questing Beast trends down this deck may be well-positioned against opponents playing to the board early.
I think the planeswalker-based versions will likely be rewarded for their additional consistency and access to a wishboard, as the Cavalier decks were mostly a reaction to needing to slam the door against Golos. I almost wonder if these decks should ditch Fires and just have access to board wipes on the opponent's turn again.
I know this deck just won Mythic Championship V, but I can't bring myself to think of it as well positioned. Kraul Harpooner is certainly going to be strong if more and more people pick up Gilded Goose and Hydroid Krasis, but an increase in Oko and Wicked Wolf makes me think that this isn't the right place to be this week.
Embercleave remains an incredibly powerful tool to close the game, however, so if you find yourself playing against Gruul this weekend make sure to play around that large burst of damage.
This is the other Embercleave deck in the format. I think that this version of the deck, specifically built as linearly as possible to exploit the play patterns of Golos decks, will suffer as its primary prey is removed from the format. I do think that the absence of Golos means that Knights as a tribal archetype will get to lean into its strengths again and make better use of Acclaimed Contender as a card advantage tool, but the prevalence of Oko means that The Circle of Loyalty won't be as powerful as it should be. Maybe Worthy Knight gets a chance to shine again?
There have been several versions of Mono-Red Aggro, but all of them seem to have an unfortunate Oko problem. Oko, Thief of Crowns, Gilded Goose and Hydroid Krasis are all sources of incidental life gain and that's a big deal for this deck.
I'm not sure that Experimental Frenzy-based versions are going to be good enough, but it may be time to lean on Runaway Steam-Kin and the card advantage from Experimental Frenzy to overwhelm opponents instead of relying on their inability to answer Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. I'm sure Aaron Barich will tell us what we're supposed to play in Mono-Red soon, but it's not high on my list for Saturday.
So what am I playing? Well if I had to submit right now, Monday night, I would register this 75:
It's quite possible that I should be playing more March of the Multitudes and they should be maindeck, but I want to start leaner, lower and more proactive while people are messing around. I've cut Trostani Discordant for now and would consider God-Eternal Oketra again to punish Gruul and Mardu aggressive strategies. I currently have Unbreakable Formation in that "finisher" slot so that I can have two post-board, but a lot of these slots are subject to testing. Here's how I'm currently sideboarding.
If they show Time Wipe you can also consider fitting in Gideon Blackblade. This matchup is mostly about outpacing them and combo-finishing them with March of the Multitudes if necessary.
Shepherd of the Flock is weak into opposing one-drops and the buyback mode isn't especially strong here. Glass Casket is important for clearing out opposing Edgewall Innkeeper because this is essentially a race to March of the Multitudes + pump effect. If you have God-Eternal Oketra or Trostani Discordant bring them in here, as they're both armies in a can.
I think this is a matchup we can overwhelm on board, but we need to be wary of Find // Finality and Massacre Girl. Those cards are the reason I'm not currently looking to lean into March of the Multitudes in this matchup, but that could be wrong. If you have God-Eternal Oketra she shines here—they can never truly kill her, and the sizing on her and her tokens is incredible here.
This covers Mardu Knights, Mono-Red Aggro, opposing non-adventure Venerated Loxodon decks, etc. If you have God-Eternal Oketra or Trostani Discordant I would leave those in instead of Unbreakable Formation. Most of these decks have Embercleave, The Circle of Loyalty or Experimental Frenzy, but if not you can skip on Knight of Autumn. If your opponent is playing Torbran, Thane of Red Fell or Rotting Regisaur you should also bring in Devout Decree.
This is the matchup I'm least sure on yet. I simply haven't gotten to play enough games against a specific version to call this set in stone.
Devout Decree can be good because it hits Skarrgan Hellkite, Zhur-Taa Goblin, Gruul Spellbreaker and Sarkhan the Masterless if they're playing those cards, but it's a poor exchange into Bonecrusher Giant. The main goal in this matchup is to compete on board in raw stats, taking advantage of Edgewall Innkeeper and Venerated Loxodon to get ahead and using Lovestruck Beast as a brick wall defense. Be very careful of Embercleave and Collision // Colossus when assigning blocks.
Adam "yoman5" Hernandez is a streamer, brewer and competitive player with a keen sense for what makes a deck tick. He writes about changes in the Standard metagame and the art of deckbuilding.
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