Standard is a constantly evolving format, but I want to embrace the challenge of coming up with the Top 10 decks for this week. This list will be very different from what you would have expected from a week or two ago, but hey that is Standard! The most recent tournament results have the strongest effect on tomorrow's metagame. With that let's get to the decks!
1) Abzan Aggro
How crazy is it that the first deck on the list is a deck that wasn't very popular before the past weekend. Abzan Aggro recently changed, most noticeably by adding Hangarback Walker. Here is the winning list of Fabrizio Anteri from GP London:
There is obvious synergy when putting counters on your Hangarback Walker with Abzan Charm, Anafenza, the Foremost, or Dromoka's Command. Hangarback Walker has essentially taken the place of Rakshasa Deathdealer. For a long while Rakshasa Deathdealer was a staple in this deck, but I think the printing of Languish significantly hurt Rakshasa Deathdealer. On the other hand Hangarback Walker laughs in the face of Languish, as playing a sweeper and then having the opponent have a bunch of thopters still in play isn't fun for the control side.
This deck has game against pretty much every known quantity in the format, and is much more resilient because of the four Den Protectors in the maindeck and the Hangarback Walkers. This list could change by a few cards but I expect the Hangarback Walkers to stay. The deck absolutely dominated GP London, and it will be very popular moving forward.
2) Green/Red Devotion
Green/Red Devotion was the most popular archetype at Pro Tour Magic Origins, and its popularity has continued after the Pro Tour. While I wouldn't say Green/Red Devotion has been extremely successful lately it remains a very solid and consistent deck choice, which people are familiar with. Here is Andrew Quinn's Top 16 list from GP London:
The core of Green/Red Devotion remains the same, though there are some new cards in the mix, when looking at this particular version. The one Reclamation Sage in the maindeck has been popular recently and this is of course because of how popular artifacts and enchantments currently are. However, I could definitely see it being a flex slot that could become something else very easily. Another card that I like but has gone in and out of the deck is Crater's Claws. In a format where you are often racing Crater's Claws really shines, and it can also deal with annoying planeswalkers or creatures. This is a versatile spell that is nice to have access to especially in an unknown or midrange based metagame, just be aware that Dromoka's Command can stop a Crater's Claws.
Green/Red Devotion is a deck that most players have played against quite a few times before, and it will be a deck until the next Standard rotation.
3) Abzan Control
Here is another deck that has been a staple of Standard forever. This is the list Paul Rietzl made Top 4 with in San Diego:
Abzan Control is still a deck that has game against just about every deck, and has the widest variety of sideboard cards to choose from. Abzan Aggro might be better positioned at the moment because of the fast clock that deck has and its ability to race the combo decks. The other small vulnerability of this deck is that because of how popular Dromoka's Command is, Courser of Kruphix is less likely to stay in play. This is a deck that does make good use of Nissa, Vastwood Seer as the games often go long, which allows Nissa, Vastwood Seer to flip. Paul's list has a copy of Dragonlord Dromoka which has actually become the standard recently, because some decks just don't have an answer for it.
Overall Abzan Control is a good choice for those that already have a lot of experience with it, and feel comfortable sideboarding with it. As far as power level goes Abzan Control seems like a deck that you really need to play well or it becomes very easy to fall behind against a more aggressive start from another deck.
4) Green/White Aggro
The Top 4 decks in the format are all green! This should say something about the format, but when thinking about the most powerful cards in Standard so many of them have green mana symbols, so this shouldn't be too surprising. Since Pro Tour Magic Origins Green/White Aggro has been on a bit of a tear, putting up solid results and continuing to rise in popularity. The reason why the deck isn't further up is that the recent Abzan Aggro list is actually pretty similar to Green/White Aggro, and it could be that adding black to the deck is the right way to go. Here is what Green/White Aggro looks like in the hands of Jacob Wilson:
This is another Dromoka's Command beatdown deck. The great thing about this deck is not only are the creatures very good but the manabase is as well. This deck is the most popular archetype that does make use of the Deathmist Raptor and Den Protector combination. In fact this deck goes one step further by also running Hidden Dragonslayer. The deck also has a lot of powerful sideboard tools, and I speak from experience when saying that this deck is also very difficult to board against. This is a deck that is seeing plenty of play right now, but it remains to be seen whether or not it will remain in the spotlight.
5) Monored Aggro
Monored Aggro was one of the top deck choices for Pro Tour Magic Origins. Since then the metagame has become more hateful and prepared for Monored Aggro, making the deck a little less strong. Here is Pat Cox's Top 8 list from Pro Tour Magic Origins:
This is the list that I believe is currently the most popular, as it relies on cheap but difficult to deal with creatures, and a large variety of burn spells. Monored Aggro remains a deck that is great when players aren't prepared for it, but the sideboard options are so hateful that the power of the deck is very much based on the metagame. Currently the metagame is trending towards Hangarback Walker and Dromoka's Command decks, which are generally not great matchups for Monored Aggro, and is a large part of the reason this deck isn't further up on the list.
6) Blue/Red Ensoul Artifact
Perhaps the biggest surprise of Pro Tour Origins was the Blue/Red Ensoul Artifact deck which Mike Sigrist took to a 2nd place with in the tournament. Here is his list:
Blue/Red Ensoul Artifact is actually in a very similar spot to Monored Aggro as far as the metagame is concerned. The deck was a great choice for Pro Tour Magic Origins, but since then there has been a lot more hateful sideboard cards like Unravel the AEther running around. In addition, the top decks play Dromoka's Command which is a card that can both deal with Ensoul Artifact and prevent a Shrapnel Blast. Even the best matchups like Monogreen Devotion seem to be more difficult to beat than before. However the deck is inherently a good one and, while it has its nut draws involving Ensoul Artifact, it can also play a more grindy game too. This is a deck that, since it peaked at the Pro Tour, has been declining somewhat, but as players start to cut artifact removal, the deck should pick up more popularity.
7) Blue/Red Mill
This is a tough one to accurately place. The archetype is one of my personal favorites, as well as having won a recent Standard Grand Prix in the hand of Michael Majors. Last week I talked more extensively about the archetype, and you can find that article here.
Blue/Red Mill is a deck designed by Andrew Cuneo for Pro Tour Magic Origins, and since then deck has surged in popularity on Magic Online. Now after Michael Majors success with the deck there are also more players running this deck at major Standard tournaments. Here is the decklist:
When simply looking at the deck admittedly it does look gimmicky, since the only legitimate win condition is Sphinx's Tutelage, though ultimating Jace, Telepath Unbound is also possible. For those that have played the deck though it is apparent that there is real power behind it. Since there is so much card draw it becomes pretty easy to find a Sphinx's Tutelage to get going. I have certainly heard complaints that the deck is vulnerable to Dromoka's Command and enchantment removal, but in reality I have seen Blue/Red Mill beat even the most hateful strategies. It is often possible to play a Sphinx's Tutelage and then mill the opponent for a large chunk of their deck before they even untap. Treasure Cruise goes a long way in this deck, and it is hard to play around all the interactive spells, so some decks will just fold to a single Anger of the Gods.
8) Jeskai Tempo
Jeskai Tempo is another deck that has long been a staple of Standard, and continues to show up, and occasionally do well at events. Now this archetype has added Jace, Vryn's Prodigy to help solidify the late game, and make use of the variety of noncreature spells the deck can flashback with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. This is the list that Ben Weitz made the Top 8 of GP San Diego with:
The core creatures remain the same, other than Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. Mantis Rider and Goblin Rabblemaster are the classic three-drop tempo creatures, and Soulfire Grand Master is a good card alongside a host of burn spells, and powerful spells to re-use later in the game. There are also a couple copies of Dragonlord Ojutai to provide yet another win condition. This is a classic example of a deck that can win quickly or slowly, and could be a good metagame call if decks like Green/Red Devotion continue to be popular.
9) Green/White Constellation
While there was a version of Abzan Constellation in the Top 8 of GP San Diego, personally I believe that straight Green/White is the way to go, and it seems to be more popular than the Abzan version. This is the Green/White Constellation deck that Eugene Hwang got 9th place on breakers with in San Diego:
This is another deck that came out of Pro Tour Magic Origins. However it is actually quite good against Monored Aggro and Blue/Red Ensoul Artifact, which were big at that tournament. Since then the deck has gained popularity on Magic Online. This is an archetype that is extremely synergistic and has a very strong late game because of Eidolon of Blossoms and Kruphix's Insight. This is a deck that does suffer a bit from enchantment removal, but a single enchantment removal spell won't beat this deck, it is mass removal like Tragic Arrogance that is the real problem.
10) Bant Heroic
Choosing the last deck for this list was tough, as there are a few archetypes that could have gone here, and if there was an 11th best deck I would choose Green/Red Dragons, Rally the Ancestors, or a Blue/Black type of control deck, but hey there are only ten slots. Bant Heroic has been doing particularly well at SCG tournaments and is another archetype that actually uses Hangarback Walker and Dromoka's Command to great effect. This is Todd Anderson's Bant Heroic:
Hangarback Walker is not just good with Dromoka's Command, it also goes very well with Ordeals. Ordeals were already a major part of the deck, and this is just another synergy with Hangarback Walker. In addition, Hangarback Walker helps provide protection against edict effects like Fleshbag Marauder or Foul-Tongue Invocation, which are usually a big problem for heroic. I do like adding the green for Dromoka's Command rather than playing the straight blue/white version. Heroic is still a strong deck choice, which has made a couple adjustments, and now fits right into the current metagame.
Thanks for reading,