In a Standard format with as many different strategies as this one it isn't actually easy to choose the 10 top decks. The format is unique because there are many strong decks, a great sign that also means that it is healthy. This list is a combination of my own opinions and raw data based off recent results. Expect these rankings to fluctuate from week-to-week as the metagame and decklists shift. Also keep in mind that this format is still new, and there is an upcoming Mythic Championship in a couple weeks.
There are arguments that can be made for what the tenth best deck in Standard is right now. I feel pretty confident about the top nine, but the last one is a bit of a toss-up. I have chosen a deck that sees a reasonable amount of play and has impressed me quite a bit. There are a few different ways to go about building Temur Reclamation, though generally you are reliant on getting a Wilderness Reclamation into play, drawing a bunch of cards and just burning out the opponent.
Expansion Explosion is amazing in this deck as a win condition, in fact there is even a copy of Electrodominance for an additional Fireball. Primal Amulet is a card this deck doesn't need to play but is certainly a reasonable inclusion as another powerful noncreature permanent. The deck simply doesn't need to rely on creatures to win, though after sideboard you do want to consider more power with Murmuring Mystic and Niv-Mizzet Parun.
As it turns out there are multiple ways to build Esper decks, and this is a strategy that has caught on. Wyatt Darby had been streaming this deck and then was able to take it to the Open and finish in the Top 8 with it as well. The deck is definitely good and is specifically fueled by the power of Hero of Precinct One and a bunch of multicolor spells. It is very different from the controlling version of Esper, as this is very much creature-based.
The creatures it plays happen to be flexible cards, many of which are from Ravnica Allegiance. Basilica Bell-Haunt is card advantage and the lifegain is really important in any type of race. Deputy of Detention is a great way of finding removal in a multicolored threat. There are a bunch of subtle choices the deck makes that add up so that everything synergizes well together. I'm not confident this deck is actually better than Esper Control, but certainly there is a debate to be had there.
There are a couple different directions to go in when building around Gates. The first question to ask is how many colors to play, but at this point it seems that most versions are going four colors and ignoring black. With the amount of fixing and Gates in the deck, the mana ends up working out alright, though naturally there are lots of lands that come into play tapped. The other question is to be more of a creature deck or work in a Nexus of Fate plan.
Personally, I prefer getting a chance to play with as many of the Gates-matter cards as possible, as they do get really good once you are playing this many. A lot of them are creatures, and we see Gatebreaker Ram and Gate Colossus as ways to easily kill the opponent. Archway Angel can also provide a huge life cushion which is pretty great against any aggressive matchup. This is one of the most fun decks to play with in the format.
Izzet Drakes is actually pretty low on this list, though I see plenty of potential for it to move up. Pteramander fits really nicely into what this deck is trying to do, as there are ways to get lots of instants and sorceries into the graveyard. The Drakes deck has been moving away from Arclight Phoenix and Goblin Electromancer – instead there are the maximum number of Drakes so you can consistently play large flyers even if the first one dies.
The Izzet Drakes deck has actually become somewhat similar to Mono-Blue Aggro; it uses cards like Dive Down and Spell Pierce to protect its creatures. The decision of Lightning Strike versus Lava Coil is interesting, though if you are expecting lots of mirrors Lava Coil is important. Lightning Strike being okay against control is definitely important though.
I am cheating a little bit here, lumping Nexus of Fate decks together. I personally still think the Bant Nexus version has an edge on the others, though the Gates version, Temur version and straight Simic version all have some merit. Nexus of Fate is a card I personally don't particularly like, but it's in the format and we have to deal with it. Taking lots of turns can be sweet, and by playing white you provide yourself an easy win condition with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria.
The Bant Nexus deck is generally very good game one, but then gets much worse for sideboarded games. Discard and countermagic is very good against this deck, and those are some of the most popular sideboard cards. You are relying on casting a seven-mana sorcery and finding a way to actually draw extra cards in order to continually cast a Nexus of Fate each turn, which is a lot to ask if the opponent has a good amount of disruption. Wilderness Reclamation allowed this deck to reach another level as it works to start casting Nexus of Fate on earlier turns.
I wouldn't mind seeing Nexus of Fate banned, at least for online play. While I don't think this is the best deck in the format, I'm not sure if it is something that is healthy for a Standard environment. Actually killing the opponent takes many turns, and the loops can end up taking a pretty long time. I have seen matches essentially go on indefinitely, I wonder if Wizards is seriously considering the ban option.
Mono-Blue Aggro isn't that different than it used to be, but the addition of Pteramander is quite nice. This allows the deck to have access to another big flyer like Tempest Djinn to close games out, and it's another one drop to put a Curious Obsession onto. The deck is essentially doing the same things it always has been, which happens to be good when there are lots of slower decks being played.
We see Mono-Blue Aggro getting a lot of play online, and oftentimes the online metagame can be a week or two ahead of paper. This is definitely a deck to keep an eye on, and don't forget that Essence Capture is strictly better than Essence Scatter here as well.
Ah yes, good old Mono-Red Aggro. This deck got significant improvements from Ravnica Allegiance in the form of spectacle. Skewer the Critics is essentially another Lightning Strike, but the real standout addition is Light Up the Stage. In a deck like this that turns spectacle on so easily, it can be viewed as a one-mana way to draw two cards. While it isn't quite that good, it is pretty close. Being able to have a cheap form of card advantage gives the deck access to finding more burn spells to close out the game.
There are some aspects about the list that I can take or leave. Experimental Frenzy had been previously viewed as the single most important card in Mono-Red Aggro, but I no longer see it that way. Light Up the Stage provides lategame and there is more main deck enchantment removal like Mortify running around now, so many lists have been moving away from it. The sideboard is where you want the cards that can gain you card advantage to grind through potential lifegain.
This is the new way to play white aggro decks. Splashing blue is made easy by the recent addition of Hallowed Fountain, and having access to Counterspells out of the sideboard is huge. Deputy of Detention is good as creature-based removal that can still work well alongside pump effects like Benalish Marshal and Venerated Loxodon. The deck is still very similar to the Boros and Mono-White Aggro variants we saw leading into this Standard format, but splashing for blue makes more sense than playing Heroic Reinforcements, especially in a format with a lot of control and combo decks. Azorius Aggro is aggressively placed on this list due to its recent win at the Open, and the deck seems to be trending upwards.
This is the deck I have played the most recently and have talked about the most, which is why I am using my own list. The deck is in my opinion the top option for control players right now. It has everything you could possibly want, including a new Wrath effect that is really good. The early results are there – in fact this was the top performing deck at the most recent Open.
We have reached the top deck in the format. Call it what you will – Golgari Blue, Sultai Krasis or Sultai Midrange – the deck is very real. This is a better version of Golgari, and Golgari was already the best deck. The explore creatures create a very powerful core of card advantage and threats in one, and then Hydroid Krasis is a great way to make use of the excess lands.
There are a few different variations of the deck, although I can't help but be a fan of the recent addition of Karn, Scion of Urza. The removal suite can be played around with a bit, but right now prioritizes versatility with cards like Assassin's Trophy. Hostage Taker is another interesting option that we have started to see one or two copies of. The Thief of Sanity sideboard plan is going to make life very difficult for decks that are naturally light on removal. This deck isn't going anywhere.
Thanks for reading,