It’s been nearly two weeks since the release of Dominaria United and a major rotation in Standard. Let’s see what decks are looking good in the early days of the new format.
Here are the resources I use to inform all Power Rankings, leaning more heavily on what applies best to the given format:
- Magic Online results. This includes Preliminaries, Weekend Challenges, Super Qualifiers, and MOCS Events.
- MTGMelee results. I typically look at all of the events with at least 30 players.
- Large tabletop events. When applicable.
- Untapped.GG stats.
- Previous rankings. Just because a deck didn’t make a top 8 over the weekend, doesn’t mean it’s suddenly a bad deck.
- Public opinion. I discuss things with my teammates, and take a look at what’s getting a lot of attention on Twitch, Twitter, YouTube, podcasts and written content.
- My own instincts and experiences.
10. Rakdos Sac
Rakdos Sacrifice has all of the strengths of the other black midrange decks, but while also tapping into the synergies of Oni-Cult Anvil. This archetype is resilient to removal, and has an amazing ability to bleed the opponent out from a high life total, without ever needing to attack!
9. Mardu Midrange
Mardu Midrange takes everything great about Rakdos, plus everything great about Orzhov, and mashes it all together into one deck. Between Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Wedding Announcement and The Wandering Emperor, it’s very difficult for any other midrange deck to match the raw card quality of Mardu. The only thing holding Mardu back from being even stronger and more consistent is the lack of an on-color tri-land.
8. Grixis Vampires
Right now, I’m using the presence of Evelyn, the Covetous to distinguish Grixis Vampires from other versions of Grixis, but I may decide to change my classifications as we begin to get a clearer picture of the new format. Non-Evelyn versions of Grixis seemed to perform better this week, but Grixis Vampires remains a good choice, and is one of the most direct hold-overs from the previous format.
Bloodtithe Harvester and Corpse Appraiser are some of the very best creatures to pair with Fable of the Mirror-Breaker. This archetype also accesses all of the best removal and disruption across black, red and blue.
7. Orzhov Midrange
The Orzhov Midrange shell has been winning tournaments since even before Streets of New Capenna. It’s one of the best black midrange decks in a format where black midrange decks are remarkably strong.
Liliana of the Veil, Sorin the Mirthless, The Wandering Emperor and Elspeth Resplendent give Orzhov one of the strongest planeswalker suites of any color combination. Combined with a wide range of other powerful threats including Wedding Announcement, Orzhov has a steady, reliable stream of card advantage.
6. Invoke Justice
Invoke Justice is a reanimation strategy that can come in the form of either Naya or Mono-White. The goal is to discard a game-winning creature like Sanctuary Warden or Titan of Industry using connive, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Cathartic Pyre or The Restoration of Eiganjo. From there, Invoke Justice will give you such an overwhelming advantage so quickly that winning the game is a foregone conclusion.
The Elder Dragon War is a new Saga from Dominaria United which brings this archetype to an entirely new level.
Arne Huschenbeth called Jund Reanimator “The Midrange Killer.” When you consider the 10 decks that made this week’s Power Rankings, it’s almost impossible to come up with a better sales pitch than that!
The key card for this strategy is The Cruelty of Gix. It can be played straight up on chapter one to accumulate value over the course of three turns. But you can also read ahead to stabilize the battlefield immediately by reanimating a Titan of Industry.
I love both the color combination and the strategy of this deck, and could easily see myself choosing it for a Standard tournament.
Grixis, or Maestros, is one of the well-supported three-color combinations from Streets of New Capenna. It’s a brewer’s paradise, with any reasonable configuration of cards within these colors resulting in a competitive deck.
Like Grixis Vampires, non-tribal versions of Grixis get all of the best removal and disruption across blue, red and black. For top end options, you can choose Invoke Despair, Sol’Kanar the Tainted or any of a number of other creatures or planeswalkers.
The Power Rankings have been dominated by black midrange decks, and Rakdos is one of the simplest and most effective of them. It capitalizes on Bloodtithe Harvester, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and the excellent removal and disruption of black and red. Invoke Despair is one approach players can take, while simply playing more planeswalkers like Sorin the Mirthless and Jaya, Fiery Negotiator is another.
The #1 deck from last week stays strong at the #2 position. Mono-Black Midrange can be built slightly more aggressive or slightly more controlling. While there’s plenty of flexibility, the key cards you’ll always see include Evolved Sleeper, Tenacious Underdog, Graveyard Trespasser and Invoke Despair.
1. Esper Midrange
Another one of the Streets of New Capenna supported color combinations. Esper Midrange was a top archetype of the previous format, and looks to be a top archetype in Dominaria Standard as well. Since Raffine, Scheming Seer remains one of the most deadly creatures out there, Esper is always going to be a solid choice that can run away with games early, but also grind people out in the long run. A few new weapons include Cut Down, Evolved Sleeper and Serra Paragon.