The Brothers’ War has now had enough time to make its presence fully known in Standard. This past weekend saw a major Magic Online Standard tournament, and we’re starting to get a clearer picture of what the competitive landscape is going to look like.
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 thirty 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. Jund Midrange
I’m thrilled to see Jund back on the scene. You can’t go wrong with Black Midrange, and you can’t go wrong playing with Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, so it was really only a matter of time before players landed on a Jund deck that could be successful.
Jund has been upgraded with Brothers’ War cards including Phyrexian Fleshgorger, Rootwire Amalgam, and Llanowar Wastes.
9. Rakdos Sacrifice
Rakdos Sacrifice is an existing archetype that’s been powered up by the many great artifacts of Brothers’ War. It uses Oni-Cult Anvil and other sacrifice synergies to inexorably gain resource and life total advantage as games drag on.
Of many possible ways to use Standard’s red and black cards, Rakdos Sac didn’t seem to be the most popular this past weekend. Still, I recommend keeping a close eye on this deck, especially the version run by Cabezedebolo here.
8. Esper Midrange
Esper Midrange was the most popular and successful Standard deck for much of 2022. Now it stays steady in the #8 position.
This is yet another archetype that had a slow weekend, but which you shouldn’t count out as the Standard season moves forward. Raffine, Scheming Seer remains one of the most deadly creatures out there, and Esper can run away with games early, but can also grind people out in the long run.
7. Esper Legends
In the #7 position, Esper Legends is an alternative take on the popular and successful color combination. This version is much more creature-centric, often leveraging Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Adeline, Resplendent Cathar to overwhelm the opponent before they ever get their feet underneath them. To help with the mana, you can play more copies of Plaza of Heroes and go heavy on the many powerful legendary creatures that Standard has to offer.
Esper Legends was picking up steam at the tail end of the old Standard format, and now seems to have surpassed traditional Esper Midrange in popularity. Bless_Von’s recent 5-0 version of this list is highly recommendable and can be found here.
6. Mono-Black Midrange
I already liked Mono-Black in the old format, and it’s picked up a lot of great weapons in the new set. Among them are the powerful Misery’s Shadow and Phyrexian Fleshgorger. I find that Standard success hinges heavily on your ability to come out smoothly in the first three turns of the game, so a mono-colored deck with all painless, untapped lands and plenty of efficient cards is highly appealing.
5. Rakdos Midrange
In writing these Power Rankings, it becomes difficult to deny that black is the single most successful color in competitive Standard, and that black/red is the most successful color pair. As the cleanest, simplest way to leverage these overpowered midrange cards, Rakdos has a lot of appeal. Curve the best disruption and removal that black has to offer in Bloodtithe Harvester, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, and Sheoldred the Apocalypse and you’ll find yourself winning quite a lot of games.
4. Mono-White Midrange
The color white has many powerful options right now. While Mono-White Aggro is a classic Standard archetype, “bigger” versions of Mono-White are probably even better right now. Ambitious Farmhand, The Restoration of Eiganjo, and Reckoner Bankbuster power the deck and bridge you into gamewinning angels and planeswalkers.
I wasn’t sure whether or not Mono-White Midrange would stand the test of time, but it’s even risen in the rankings for this installment. Check out Arne Huschenbeth’s updated Deck Guide.
I once called this “Mono-Blue Delver,” but players have wised up to the fact that this archetype can succeed with or without the one-drop creature. It’s heavy on card drawing and disruption, while using just a small handful of potent creatures lo win the game. With so many game-ending threats out there, it’s appealing to sit back on counterspells and never leave yourself vulnerable.
One major appeal of sticking to one color and lots of basic Islands is Thirst for Discovery, which gives you an influx of resources and helps you dig to your best cards. I’m also super excited to try out Flow of Knowledge, which is a huge weapon for games that go long.
Soldiers is Standard’s big new tribal deck with Brothers’ War. This archetype can pair multiple tribal lords including Valiant Veteran and Harbin, Vanguard Aviator with existing all-stars like The Wandering Emperor. This deck will always include the colors blue and white, but a third color is possible and I’ve seen Bant versions having some success.
Soldiers has cemented itself as the format’s default aggro deck, and makes a decent run at being the best deck overall.
1. Grixis Midrange
That said, the #1 position again goes to Grixis Midrange, which was dominant in last weekend’s Magic Online Standard Showcase.
Grixis gets all of the best removal and disruption across blue, red, and black. It’s a brewer’s paradise, with any reasonable configuration of cards within these colors feeling like it can result in a competitive deck. For top end options, you can choose Invoke Despair, Sol’kanar, the Tainted, Evelyn, the Covetous, or any of a number of other creatures or planeswalkers.
Grixis won the World Championship in the hands of Nathan Steuer. It became exceptionally popular and successful right at the end of Dominaria United Standard, and hasn’t slowed down with the release of Brothers’ War.