The Arena Open is once again upon us, and thankfully we have an absolutely fascinating format ahead of us. It was touch or go around when they announced it, but after a couple weeks it feels pretty safe to say that this Standard at least has longevity. There are decks that have come and gone, but nothing has been too strong for more than a week or two.

If you've been playing this format, in a lot of ways we've entered a world that we haven't seen for quite some time: if you know a deck and play it well, you have a reasonable chance of success in the tournament. If you're an expert at an archetype, you're going to be well served by sticking to what you know and tuning the deck based around what you think people are going to play. The best Rogues players should likely keep playing Rogues, because experience and thorough understanding of the matchups will carry them far, as we've seen nearly every week the deck has done well.

For those of us who jump around and don't play the same deck every week, though, this tournament is fairly unique. For the first time with one of these events, they've split Day One of the event. There will be two queues: one for best-of-one, and one for best-of-three. The option for individuals to play the format that they prefer or fits their schedule best is excellent, but likely has metagame considerations as well.

Best-of-one, if you've played in that queue or in the previous first day of the Arena Open before, frequently has more decks that occupy the extremes of the format, from very fast to very slow. Midrange decks, which frequently accept a bit worse game one matchup for greater flexibility in sideboarding plans, do not tend to do as well.

Because this format is being split, however, I expect that we're going to see more enfranchised, competitive players entering the best-of-three queue. While there are some good aggressive decks for best-of-three, the other queue naturally advantages aggressive players. True control decks have not been doing great in best-of-three, but players who prefer that style will gravitate to best-of-one.

I expect the best-of-three queue will be overpopulated by midrange decks like Rakdos, Golgari Adventures, and Dimir Rogues. All of these decks can be built to beat either aggro or control, but generally not both at the same time. A card like Liliana, Waker of the Dead in Rakdos might be excellent in mythic right now, but it's boarded out pretty frequently in the aggressive matchups. If I'm expecting to play against either Mono-Green Aggro or Esper Doom Foretold, I'm not going to show up with a deck that has to play Bloodchief's Thirst and Liliana, Waker of the Dead in the maindeck.

Because of that, I have three recommendations for the queues this weekend: one for best-of-one, one for Saturday's best-of-three, and the final for Day Two.

For Best-of-One: Gruul Aggro

My recommendation for this queue is to play a deck that is reasonably aggressive, but with slightly bigger creatures, or other natural advantages against other aggro decks. The idea is that against most of the format, you want to be the aggro deck and get them dead while they're not ready. Against aggro decks, though, having the better creatures lets you transition to playing the slightly slower game and winning by creating a larger board. In this way, you effectively play like a best-of-one midrange deck, because your cards can serve as both offense and defense in any one game.

In Standard, if there's one card more than any that screams "aggressive brick wall" to me, it's Lovestruck Beast. On offense it hits hard, on defense few things attack through it. And the deck that takes advantage of it best in this capacity is none other than Gruul Aggro.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Gruul Midrange by Nick Prince

'Gruul Midrange' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Nick Prince

Event:

Rank:

Standard

Market Price: $201.98

Cards

Edgewall Innkeeper

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198999_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a creature spell that has an Adventure, draw a card. (It doesn't need to have gone on the adventure first.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/198999/magic-throne-of-eldraine-edgewall-innkeeper

Fabled Passage

Market Price: $4.61

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215556/magic-core-set-2021-fabled-passage

Cragcrown Pathway

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $2.99

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221845_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {R}.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/cragcrown-pathway

Ox of Agonas

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206651_200w.jpg

When Ox of Agonas enters the battlefield, discard your hand, then draw three cards.
Escape—{R}{R}, Exile eight other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)
Ox of Agonas escapes with a +1/+1 counter on it.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/206651/magic-theros-beyond-death-ox-of-agonas

Phoenix of Ash

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206851_200w.jpg

Flying, haste
{2}{R}: Phoenix of Ash gets +2/+0 until end of turn.
Escape—{2}{R}{R}, Exile three other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)
Phoenix of Ash escapes with a +1/+1 counter on it.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/206851/magic-theros-beyond-death-phoenix-of-ash

Vivien, Monsters' Advocate

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $5.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/211993_200w.jpg

You may look at the top card of your library any time.
You may cast creature spells from the top of your library.
+1: Create a 3/3 green Beast creature token. Put your choice of a vigilance counter, a reach counter, or a trample counter on it.
−2: When you cast your next creature spell this turn, search your library for a creature card with lesser mana value, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/211993/magic-ikoria-lair-of-behemoths-vivien-monsters-advocate

Lovestruck Beast // Heart's Desire

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198578_200w.jpg

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/throne-of-eldraine/lovestruck-beast

Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196478_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/196478/magic-commander-2019-forest-300

Kazandu Mammoth

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222154_200w.jpg

Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Kazandu Mammoth gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/kazandu-mammoth

The Great Henge

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $42.48

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199361_200w.jpg

This spell costs {X} less to cast, where X is the greatest power among creatures you control.
{T}: Add {G}{G}. You gain 2 life.
Whenever a nontoken creature enters the battlefield under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on it and draw a card.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/199361/magic-throne-of-eldraine-the-great-henge

The Akroan War

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206150_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Gain control of target creature for as long as The Akroan War remains on the battlefield.
II — Until your next turn, creatures your opponents control attack each combat if able.
III — Each tapped creature deals damage to itself equal to its power.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/206150/magic-theros-beyond-death-the-akroan-war

Questing Beast

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $7.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198763_200w.jpg

Vigilance, deathtouch, haste
Questing Beast can't be blocked by creatures with power 2 or less.
Combat damage that would be dealt by creatures you control can't be prevented.
Whenever Questing Beast deals combat damage to an opponent, it deals that much damage to target planeswalker that player controls.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/198763/magic-throne-of-eldraine-questing-beast

Embereth Shieldbreaker // Battle Display

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198550_200w.jpg

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/throne-of-eldraine/embereth-shieldbreaker

Klothys, God of Destiny

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $6.62

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206458_200w.jpg

Indestructible
As long as your devotion to red and green is less than seven, Klothys isn't a creature.
At the beginning of your precombat main phase, exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a land card, add {R} or {G}. Otherwise, you gain 2 life and Klothys deals 2 damage to each opponent.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/206458/magic-theros-beyond-death-klothys-god-of-destiny

Brushfire Elemental

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221944_200w.jpg

Haste
Brushfire Elemental can't be blocked by creatures with power 2 or less.
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Brushfire Elemental gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/221944/magic-zendikar-rising-brushfire-elemental

Shatterskull Smashing

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $3.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222030_200w.jpg

Shatterskull Smashing deals X damage divided as you choose among up to two target creatures and/or planeswalkers. If X is 6 or more, Shatterskull Smashing deals twice X damage divided as you choose among them instead.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/shatterskull-smashing

Scorching Dragonfire

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215894_200w.jpg

Scorching Dragonfire deals 3 damage to target creature or planeswalker. If that creature or planeswalker would die this turn, exile it instead.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215894/magic-core-set-2021-scorching-dragonfire

Evolving Wilds

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/253706_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Evolving Wilds: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/253706/magic-innistrad-crimson-vow-evolving-wilds

Scavenging Ooze

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.56

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215695_200w.jpg

{G}: Exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a creature card, put a +1/+1 counter on Scavenging Ooze and you gain 1 life.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215695/magic-core-set-2021-scavenging-ooze

Embercleave

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $5.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198755_200w.jpg

Flash
This spell costs {1} less to cast for each attacking creature you control.
When Embercleave enters the battlefield, attach it to target creature you control.
Equipped creature gets +1/+1 and has double strike and trample.
Equip {3}

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/198755/magic-throne-of-eldraine-embercleave

Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215722_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215722/magic-core-set-2021-mountain-269

Primal Might

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215456_200w.jpg

Target creature you control gets +X/+X until end of turn. Then it fights up to one target creature you don't control.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215456/magic-core-set-2021-primal-might

Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199035_200w.jpg

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/throne-of-eldraine/bonecrusher-giant

While I don't love its positioning in a three-game set, the deck fits all of my criteria for best-of-one. It gets to play almost entirely aggressive creatures, Embercleave, and The Great Henge to go long in a way that both aggressive and controlling decks will have trouble with. Bonecrusher Giant functions as both a threat that's annoying to deal with and spot removal, letting the deck utilize many of its card slots in these dual roles.

Most of the lists are fairly similar, and have settled on a pretty reliable maindeck configuration that I think works well for best-of-one. Three Embercleave and two The Great Henge seems preferable, because it's more likely the deck will want to find 'cleave than Great Henge in most matches. With all the spot removal running around, Questing Beast feels a bit unnecessary, even if it's decent in a lot of matchups.

This deck largely rewards fundamentals of aggressive Magic, but it's not the most simple deck to pilot. Make sure to get some reps in, because the mana isn't terribly forgiving, and properly evaluating your mulligans and knowing how to sequence your land drops is important.

For Best-of-Three: Rakdos Midrange

For best-of-three, I think Rakdos is one of the best-positioned decks. The format is likely to be a bit open, except for the decks that Rakdos struggles against the most: the fastest and slowest decks. When it comes to midrange mirrors, the deck with Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger is still advantaged even with Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath gone from the format.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Snackdos by Nick Prince

'Snackdos' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Nick Prince

Event:

Rank:

Standard

Market Price: $194.63

Cards

Fabled Passage

Market Price: $4.61

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215556/magic-core-set-2021-fabled-passage

Temple of Malice

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/254440_200w.jpg

Temple of Malice enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Malice enters the battlefield, scry 1.
{T}: Add {B} or {R}.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/254440/magic-commander-innistrad-crimson-vow-temple-of-malice

Heartless Act

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212369_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Destroy target creature with no counters on it.
• Remove up to three counters from target creature.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/212369/magic-ikoria-lair-of-behemoths-heartless-act

Rankle, Master of Pranks

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198584_200w.jpg

Flying, haste
Whenever Rankle, Master of Pranks deals combat damage to a player, choose any number —
• Each player discards a card.
• Each player loses 1 life and draws a card.
• Each player sacrifices a creature.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/198584/magic-throne-of-eldraine-rankle-master-of-pranks

Ox of Agonas

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206651_200w.jpg

When Ox of Agonas enters the battlefield, discard your hand, then draw three cards.
Escape—{R}{R}, Exile eight other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)
Ox of Agonas escapes with a +1/+1 counter on it.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/206651/magic-theros-beyond-death-ox-of-agonas

Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $20.80

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206855_200w.jpg

When Kroxa enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless it escaped.
Whenever Kroxa enters the battlefield or attacks, each opponent discards a card, then each opponent who didn't discard a nonland card this way loses 3 life.
Escape—{B}{B}{R}{R}, Exile five other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/206855/magic-theros-beyond-death-kroxa-titan-of-deaths-hunger

Agonizing Remorse

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207044_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it or a card from their graveyard. Exile that card. You lose 1 life.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/207044/magic-theros-beyond-death-agonizing-remorse

Shadowspear

Market Price: $17.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206978_200w.jpg

Equipped creature gets +1/+1 and has trample and lifelink.
{1}: Permanents your opponents control lose hexproof and indestructible until end of turn.
Equip {2}

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/206978/magic-theros-beyond-death-shadowspear

Savai Triome

Color Identity:B,R,W

Market Price: $9.86

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212693_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}, {W}, or {B}.)
Savai Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/212693/magic-ikoria-lair-of-behemoths-savai-triome

Scorching Dragonfire

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215894_200w.jpg

Scorching Dragonfire deals 3 damage to target creature or planeswalker. If that creature or planeswalker would die this turn, exile it instead.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215894/magic-core-set-2021-scorching-dragonfire

Duress

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248314_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/248314/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-duress

Liliana, Waker of the Dead

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.69

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215353_200w.jpg

+1: Each player discards a card. Each opponent who can't loses 3 life.
−3: Target creature gets -X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number of cards in your graveyard.
−7: You get an emblem with "At the beginning of combat on your turn, put target creature card from a graveyard onto the battlefield under your control. It gains haste."

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215353/magic-core-set-2021-liliana-waker-of-the-dead

Bloodchief's Thirst

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221776_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{B} (You may pay an additional {2}{B} as you cast this spell.)
Destroy target creature or planeswalker with mana value 2 or less. If this spell was kicked, instead destroy target creature or planeswalker.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/221776/magic-zendikar-rising-bloodchiefs-thirst

Shatterskull Smashing

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $3.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222030_200w.jpg

Shatterskull Smashing deals X damage divided as you choose among up to two target creatures and/or planeswalkers. If X is 6 or more, Shatterskull Smashing deals twice X damage divided as you choose among them instead.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/shatterskull-smashing

Skyclave Shade

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222127_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{B}
Skyclave Shade can't block.
If Skyclave Shade was kicked, it enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it.
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, if Skyclave Shade is in your graveyard and it's your turn, you may cast it from your graveyard this turn.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/222127/magic-zendikar-rising-skyclave-shade

Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215721_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215721/magic-core-set-2021-swamp-268

Pelakka Predation

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221852_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a card from it with mana value 3 or greater. That player discards that card.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/pelakka-predation

Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199035_200w.jpg

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/throne-of-eldraine/bonecrusher-giant

Mire Triton

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215956_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
When Mire Triton enters the battlefield, mill two cards and you gain 2 life.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215956/magic-jumpstart-mire-triton

Tymaret Calls the Dead

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206625_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I, II — Mill three cards. Then you may exile a creature or enchantment card from your graveyard. If you do, create a 2/2 black Zombie creature token.
III — You gain X life and scry X, where X is the number of Zombies you control.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/206625/magic-theros-beyond-death-tymaret-calls-the-dead

Castle Locthwain

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.98

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199388_200w.jpg

Castle Locthwain enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Swamp.
{T}: Add {B}.
{1}{B}{B}, {T}: Draw a card, then you lose life equal to the number of cards in your hand.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/199388/magic-throne-of-eldraine-castle-locthwain

Embereth Shieldbreaker // Battle Display

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198550_200w.jpg

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/throne-of-eldraine/embereth-shieldbreaker

Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215722_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215722/magic-core-set-2021-mountain-269

Elspeth's Nightmare

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207053_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Destroy target creature an opponent controls with power 2 or less.
II — Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.
III — Exile target opponent's graveyard.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/207053/magic-theros-beyond-death-elspeths-nightmare

Robert Lee (DoggertQBones on Twitch) has been playing 74 of the 75 cards here on stream the last few days and recommended it to me. The list is well built for the metagame, and it can adjust remarkably well for most all opponents after sideboard. The only truly problematic card it runs into is The Great Henge, while everything else feels beatable.

The biggest reason I support this deck in particular for day one is I expect there to be a lot of Rogues players. It's a deck that has done well consistently, the best players play it, and it's fairly wildcard-intensive to craft. Playing Rakdos against Rogues is practically a bye. Yes, you can lose the game. Sometimes they're able to get Into the Story going repeatedly and the game slips away. That said, every game they win is hard fought, while most of the time Rakdos is on autopilot and winning anyway. There are certain cards that the deck needs to play around like Cling to Dust, but with nine different cards post-board that can be "drawn" from the graveyard, it turns out milling the Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger deck is not a good idea.

Possibly there's a build of Rogues that can board out Drown in the Loch and Into the Story and try to win without the reliance on mill, but until they figure one out, Rakdos will dominate Rogues players.

For Day Two: Mono-Red Aggro

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Mono-Red Aggro by Nick Prince

'Mono-Red Aggro' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Nick Prince

Event:

Rank:

Standard

Market Price: $73.12

Cards

Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215722_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215722/magic-core-set-2021-mountain-269

Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.70

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199556_200w.jpg

If a red source you control would deal damage to an opponent or a permanent an opponent controls, it deals that much damage plus 2 instead.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/199556/magic-throne-of-eldraine-torbran-thane-of-red-fell

Castle Embereth

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.34

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199286_200w.jpg

Castle Embereth enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Mountain.
{T}: Add {R}.
{1}{R}{R}, {T}: Creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/199286/magic-throne-of-eldraine-castle-embereth

Phoenix of Ash

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206851_200w.jpg

Flying, haste
{2}{R}: Phoenix of Ash gets +2/+0 until end of turn.
Escape—{2}{R}{R}, Exile three other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)
Phoenix of Ash escapes with a +1/+1 counter on it.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/206851/magic-theros-beyond-death-phoenix-of-ash

Fireblade Charger

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222150_200w.jpg

As long as Fireblade Charger is equipped, it has haste.
When Fireblade Charger dies, it deals damage equal to its power to any target.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/222150/magic-zendikar-rising-fireblade-charger

Rimrock Knight // Boulder Rush

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199534_200w.jpg

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/throne-of-eldraine/rimrock-knight

Embercleave

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $5.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198755_200w.jpg

Flash
This spell costs {1} less to cast for each attacking creature you control.
When Embercleave enters the battlefield, attach it to target creature you control.
Equipped creature gets +1/+1 and has double strike and trample.
Equip {3}

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/198755/magic-throne-of-eldraine-embercleave

Soul-Guide Lantern

Market Price: $2.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206867_200w.jpg

When Soul-Guide Lantern enters the battlefield, exile target card from a graveyard.
{T}, Sacrifice Soul-Guide Lantern: Exile each opponent's graveyard.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Soul-Guide Lantern: Draw a card.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/206867/magic-theros-beyond-death-soulguide-lantern

Shadowspear

Market Price: $17.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206978_200w.jpg

Equipped creature gets +1/+1 and has trample and lifelink.
{1}: Permanents your opponents control lose hexproof and indestructible until end of turn.
Equip {2}

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/206978/magic-theros-beyond-death-shadowspear

Robber of the Rich

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.85

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198777_200w.jpg

Reach, haste
Whenever Robber of the Rich attacks, if defending player has more cards in hand than you, exile the top card of their library. During any turn you attacked with a Rogue, you may cast that card and you may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast that spell.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/198777/magic-throne-of-eldraine-robber-of-the-rich

Shatterskull Smashing

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $3.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222030_200w.jpg

Shatterskull Smashing deals X damage divided as you choose among up to two target creatures and/or planeswalkers. If X is 6 or more, Shatterskull Smashing deals twice X damage divided as you choose among them instead.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/shatterskull-smashing

Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199035_200w.jpg

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/throne-of-eldraine/bonecrusher-giant

Anax, Hardened in the Forge

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206843_200w.jpg

Anax's power is equal to your devotion to red. (Each {R} in the mana costs of permanents you control counts toward your devotion to red.)
Whenever Anax or another nontoken creature you control dies, create a 1/1 red Satyr creature token with "This creature can't block." If the creature had power 4 or greater, create two of those tokens instead.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/206843/magic-theros-beyond-death-anax-hardened-in-the-forge

Fervent Champion

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198973_200w.jpg

First strike, haste
Whenever Fervent Champion attacks, another target attacking Knight you control gets +1/+0 until end of turn.
Equip abilities you activate that target Fervent Champion cost {3} less to activate.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/198973/magic-throne-of-eldraine-fervent-champion

Shock

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215884_200w.jpg

Shock deals 2 damage to any target.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/215884/magic-core-set-2021-shock

Shredded Sails

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212051_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Destroy target artifact.
• Shredded Sails deals 4 damage to target creature with flying.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/212051/magic-ikoria-lair-of-behemoths-shredded-sails

Thundering Rebuke

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222195_200w.jpg

Thundering Rebuke deals 4 damage to target creature or planeswalker.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/222195/magic-zendikar-rising-thundering-rebuke

Redcap Melee

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199300_200w.jpg

Redcap Melee deals 4 damage to target creature or planeswalker. If a nonred permanent is dealt damage this way, you sacrifice a land.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/199300/magic-throne-of-eldraine-redcap-melee

The Akroan War

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206150_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Gain control of target creature for as long as The Akroan War remains on the battlefield.
II — Until your next turn, creatures your opponents control attack each combat if able.
III — Each tapped creature deals damage to itself equal to its power.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/206150/magic-theros-beyond-death-the-akroan-war

To pull back the curtain a bit, this article's deadline is Thursday morning and it's going up Friday morning. With two days before the start of the tournament, and the ability to switch decks before day two, it's not a given that my thoughts and ideas will stay identical tomorrow. Sometimes what's true on Monday is true by Sunday—other times the metagame shifts completely in one week.

This one is a bit of a metagame call, but I'm prepared to stand by it as of right now. The decks that feel like they're rising in popularity are Dimir Rogues, Rakdos Midrange, Gruul Adventures, and Golgari Adventures. Lovestruck Beast decks aren't great for the same reasons that one is my best-of-one recommendation: the Beast is a brick wall that can put the red player under a ton of pressure quickly. Those decks don't feel nearly as popular as Dimir Rogues and Rakdos Midrange right now, and those matchups are good enough to make up for the worse matchups elsewhere.

Against Dimir Rogues, Mono-Red Aggro combines the pressure from the Gruul decks with the problematic escape mechanic that punishes mill in the form of Phoenix of Ash. When the escape creature also dodges Thieves' Guild Enforcer, they're continuously under pressure to trade removal or countermagic for one. Eventually all the creatures add up, and the Rogues players can't keep up.

Rakdos Midrange, on the other hand, relies a lot on small blockers to gum up the ground and buy time so that Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger can take over. It doesn't have much traditional card advantage, relying instead on recursive threats to generate pseudo-advantage over their opponents. Their naturally drawn removal will slow red down, but their bad mana and mostly small creatures won't get them there. This has been my experience playing the deck on ladder and is supported by data from last weekend: Rakdos has trouble against fast decks.

For the bad matchups, I didn't have a great solution until I ran into someone playing an old favorite in the sideboard of a unique Rakdos deck: The Akroan War. Other lists I'd seen tried Soul Sear to solve the Lovestruck Beast problem, but the card was incredibly lackluster. The Akroan War forces green-based decks to make a bad attack into their stolen 5/5 before Mono-Red bashes them in the face for most of their life total. Without a turn or two to hold down the fort, Mono-Red's creatures can actually get the job done, and The Akroan War creates that opportunity.