Top Standard decks after the first week since Dominaria release
14/09/2022 · 8 min read
Hello everyone! My name is Rapsolo. I'm a content creator on Twitch, I organize tournaments and I play Standard most of the time on Arena and MTGO. In this article we are going to see how the meta and the decks have developed in the biggest, until now, Standard weekend of play since the release of Dominaria. There were more than 1000 players if we group all these competitive tournaments.
Gathering all the data
This weekend has been packed with Standard tournaments, but if we have to choose the top tournaments based on the number of players, then we have to go to 3 main references:
- Japan Open 2022 standard 10/09/2022 (787 players)
- Standard Challenge 10/09/2022 (top 32 players)
- MTG Sea Malaysia Open 10/09/2022 (52 players)
We're going to focus on the Japan Open 2022 because it has a larger number of players.
Next, I'll break down the tournament by metagame, decks, and final results of the Top 8.
NOTE! The information I provided about the top 8 is based on the results and matchups I studied. There are several websites, including Mtgmelee, that have not correctly placed the top 8 finalists.
Let's start with some graphic material.
Japan Open 2022 archetypes win rate matrix
You can access the full table here: Japan Open 2022 archetypes win rate matrix .
Most popular decks in the tournament
Most played cards
Top 8 decks analysis
1ST - SHIKI KIRASHAGI - ESPER MIDRANGE
No Lianas, no Sheoldreds. The mana curve is so compact at CMC3 that there's no room for Liliana's discard strategy. Esper Midrange seeks card advantage to overcome the current trend around discard abilities in the current metagame. That is also the key behind running the classic "pack" with Kaito, Reckoner, Raffine, and Wedding, which brings the extra cards needed to keep our hand full and with access to the key cards vs each matchup.
Kirashagi's secret sauce is including Destroy Evil in the deck. It is a versatile card in the meta above Valorous Stance, since we can kill with it the same as with Valorous (Sheoldred, Titan, Ao, Raffine, Windgrace...), but it can also destroy the opponent's oppressive enchantments, like Wedding in the mirror or Fable against RB, Grixis or Mardu.
1 Serra Paragon to be able to retrieve the cards with CMC3 or smaller back to the battlefield.
In other words, a list that provides control, card advantage, and oppression all in one.
2ND & 3RD - OKIHAI NOZOMI & TOMORINI HIRAMI - MONO BLACK
Both of these decks have a similar core, but differ in a few key ways.
Nozomi wants to have more control over the mid and late game, with his more oppressive set of Sheoldreds (4) and Concealing Curtains, to have access to more discard effects. He also includes an extra Meathook Massacre.
Since turn 1, Hirami has adopted a more aggressive version with her Evolved sleepers. A creature that, in my opinion, has a lot of potential in mid-game or late-game, where you can draw 1 card for 3 mana without any limit on the number of times or speed of response.
Both Sorin and the Reckoners in the deck are MVPs, providing a discard effect and card advantage.
Yes, Mono Black is here to stay and proclaims itself the best deck in the format.
4TH - LLUL N - JUND MIDRANGE
There are several notable versions of Jund, including Reanimator or Midrange, both of which have the same game plan and are capable of reanimating with Cruelty of Gix or Junji. However, there are versions with a deeper focus on this mechanic to win in the late game, and this is one of them.
I've been seeing Soul of Windgrace in this archetype lately, but Lull decided not to include them in his list.
We're looking at a Midrange version, with a game plan that can be adapted to the opponent. It has the slow mana base, perfect for this metagame, and able to answer our opponents threats from turn 2 against more aggressive decks.
4 Harvesters, 4 Titans of Industry, 4 Fable of the Mirror, and 4 Ziatora Proving Grounds form the basis of any Jund deck. 4 copies of Cruelty of Gix to be able to search for what we need in our deck or reanimate one of our huge Titans alongside Junji's ability.
We're looking at the most configurable archetype in Standard. It's able to adapt to the metagame very fluidly as the weeks go by, thanks to its having access to removal, board-sweepers, graveyard removal, discard, and... huge creatures!
5TH - HIROYUKI TANSEI -ESPER MIDRANGE
This deck it quite similar Kiragashi’s version, with some differences:
3 base Aos instead of 2, to make sure you draw it more often and which can take a beating and also hits back with evasion 2 copies of Reinforcements, more removal, the inclusion of 1 Sheoldred, a blinker, one more counter, and only 1 Phyrexian missionary instead of the 4 in Kirashagi's version.
There's nothing else to add to this list, it looks just as solid to me. Maybe a little more controlling, but just as effective and powerful.
6TH - SYIAN SLAYER -MARDU MIDRANGE
Mardu hasn't been too popular in the past few weeks and I don't understand why! It has the best of black and the best red card: Fable of the Mirror Breaker, and also includes a card that gets better and better against Liliana in the format: Wedding Announcement.
Adding 4 copies of Rite of Oblivion to the sideboard is a great way to exile your opponent's pesky Underdogs, or to prevent them from animating anything we don't want them to. This is definitely a list that will be adapted to the current metagame soon, we'll see how it evolves!
7TH - MASAHIDE MORIYAMA -GRIXIS MIDRANGE
The previous Standard Grixis vampires has evolved. Sol'Kanar is coming in strong and that's because, putting a 5/5 on turn 5 (or 4 with treasure) that not only hits hard, but also has very versatile abilities depending on the opponent's board, is incredible!
Its last ability can be “countered” with another Sol'Kanar or with our own removal, but if it's been on the table by then, it's sure to have been a wreck for the opponent.
As a side note, Ertai seems like a card to keep in focus. It can make really good plays in an unfavorable board, destroying an attacking creature and blocking another, or countering any spell or ability fired. An authentic madness!
8TH - イトウ, イサム -ORZHOV MIDRANGE
If you've made it this far, you'll have realized that this metagame has a lot of removal, sweepers, discard, and all kinds of answers. This deck is built to fight part of that.
Edgar, Charmed Groom doesn't die unless he's exiled, and they won't be able to get rid of him for the whole game, providing tokens, damage, life gain, and also acting as a vampire lord pumping other vampires.
Anointed Peacekeeper is the new Elite Spellbinder, and I personally think it's better. (I invite you to try it so you can see its true potential) Being able to name any card, including planeswalkers, makes it a safe bet with 4 copies in this deck.
And that's not all, it also runs the best of black, but without Lilianas, alongside one of the best removals in the format: Fateful absence, capable of killing planeswalkers for 2 mana.
Black to rule them all
Since we started seeing the Dominaria spoilers, we could see how black really stood out in the set with its special power level way above the other colors. Sheoldred, Cut Down, Liliana of the Veil, Evolved Sleeper... if we add these great cards to other great cards from the Standard set, like Tenacious Underdog, Graveyar Trespasser, Invoke Despair, Meathook Massacre, and Sorin, we've got a really powerful black.
It's no wonder that so many Mono-Black decks are dominating the meta, unlike other decks with added colors, they are more stable in terms of mana, interactions, and responses, not as dependent on lands or bi- or tri-color spells, which gives them an extra point of stability.
Despite all this, the players have been testing different alternatives and have ended up with dominant black decks with splashes of one or more colors- with very striking and powerful results!
There's still a lot of Standard to explore, but it's not surprising that the Meta Breakdown doesn't move much in the next few weeks. Here's my personal opinion on what I think may stand out in the near future.
No playing black is NOT AN OPTION if you want to play competitively or have a deck wins. While there are other options, such as the ones mentioned above in the image that can be competitive, their win rate against black is low.
I encourage you all to try out your own decks and sideboards and always adapt them to your playing style.
I'll see you in a week with the next article, where we'll go into detail about decks and sideboards, trying to break down each card and its use in the current meta.
You can find me live on Twitch Monday through Friday starting at 7pm UTC+1 at Twitch.tv/rapsolo_
Until next time, friends!
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Published: 2022-09-14 00:00:00