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Final Pre-Rotation MTG Standard Power Rankings

Welcome to the very last Standard Power Rankings of this season! Since it’s the last installment, I’ve put slightly more weight on historical success, and slightly less on what performed best this week. As we look ahead to Dominaria United and the massive rotation, I’ll add a few thoughts about what the future might hold for each deck in the next 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.
  • 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. Mono-White Aggro

Hopeful InitiateLuminarch AspirantThalia, Guardian of Thraben

Mono-White has held steady as a “Tier 2” or “Tier 3” strategy for the duration of the Standard season. I don’t think it ever held a great position in the metagame, but it’s full of powerful cards, and could always give somebody that puncher’s chance, at any level of experience and competition. 

The most common build is plain old Mono-White, but I’ve seen people splash blue, and one bold player who splashed both blue and black. In any case, the core involves Hopeful Initiate, Luminarch Aspirant, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and a variety of excellent three-drop options to pressure and disrupt the opponent. 

White-based aggro is a pretty tried and true strategy, and tends to exist in most formats in one form or another. However, the loss of Luminarch Aspirant will hurt dearly, and I’d like to see some new weapons in Dominaria United in order to be excited about Mono-White.

9. Jeskai Treasures

Goldspan DragonLier, Disciple of the DrownedShow of Confidence

Jeskai Treasures – also known as Goldspan Dragon combo – was absolutely huge in the middle period of this Standard season. It had a breakout performance at the New Capenna Championship, and put up a lot of great results in its wake. However, it eventually went extinct because the #1 deck has a lot of the same strengths as Jeskai Treasures, but with fewer vulnerabilities.

This deck will not survive in any form, because it can’t function without Goldspan Dragon to facilitate comboing off. 

8. Naya Runes

Jukai NaturalistRuneforge ChampionShowdown of the Skalds

Likewise, Naya Runes remains on the Power Rankings mostly due to a legacy of strong finishes. It was arguably the deck to beat in the early stages of the format, perhaps because it was a successful holdover from the time before Streets of New Capenna. I still have a lot of respect for this archetype, and expect it to do well whenever someone is brave enough to buck popular opinion and bring it to a tournament. It uses Jukai Naturalist and Runeforge Champion to power out enchantments, and generates huge turns with Showdown of the Skalds.

Losing Showdown of the Skalds and Runeforge Champion means that this deck will no longer exist in its current form. However, I won’t be surprised if some W/G-based strategy using Jukai Naturalist and the enchantment synergies from Neon Dynasty continues to thrive. 

7. Jund Midrange

Riveteers CharmFable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-JikiEsika's Chariot

Jund Midrange is one more deck that was an early leader in the new format, but seems to have petered out as of late. I’m still a huge fan of Riveteers Charm, and it’s hard to go too wrong sleeving up cards as powerful as Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Esika’s Chariot

I think we’ll be able to successfully build within any of New Capenna’s three-color combinations after rotation. Jund might be particularly strong due to Riveteers Charm, and the fact that Fable of the Mirror-Breaker is almost certain to be one of the strongest cards in the new format. This is probably where I’ll start on day one of Dominaria United’s release.

6. Grixis Vampires

Bloodtithe HarvesterCorpse AppraiserEvelyn, the Covetous

Grixis Vampires was a tougher sell than Jund in the early days of the format, but seems to have stood the test of time a little better. This was the deck my teammates and I brought to the New Capenna Set Championship. It’s one of the best decks for taking advantage of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, and it accesses all of the best removal and disruption across black, red and blue. 

Again, this is a three-color combination that’s well supported in Streets of New Capenna, and which has access to Fable of the Mirror-Breaker.

5. Orzhov

Wedding Announcement // Wedding FestivitySorin the MirthlessThe Wandering Emperor

The Orzhov Midrange shell was #1 prior to Streets of New Capenna, but was somewhat quiet after the release of the new set. More recently, it’s been making a huge comeback, and has climbed all the way to #5. It’s one of the best black midrange decks, in a format where black midrange decks are remarkably strong. 

In a world of “fair” Magic, Orzhov can sometimes be king. Vanishing Verse and Rite of Oblivion offer answers to everything, including planeswalkers and giant creatures. Sorin the Mirthless, Lolth, Spider Queen, The Wandering Emperor and a wide range of other powerful threats give the Orzhov shell a steady, reliable stream of card advantage.

Orzhov loses Luminarch Aspirant and everything from the Strixhaven expansion. Still, it will have Wedding Announcement, Sorin the Mirthless and The Wandering Emperor, so it can’t be a bad place to start.

4. Mono-Green Aggro

Werewolf Pack LeaderOld-Growth TrollEsika's Chariot

People had been sleeping on Mono-Green Aggro. Now it’s putting up a big sprint to the finish line, and gets my respect as the fourth best deck of this Standard season. It was probably the single most successful deck for the two week period that this installment of the Power Rankings covers. Personally, I love a consistent, monocolored aggro deck, and this one is positioned to smash Izzet and Esper players with giant, punishing monsters. 

I’m not optimistic about Mono-Green surviving rotation, since Werewolf Pack Leader, Old-Growth Troll, Blizzard Brawl and Esika’s Chariot are all leaving, and they are the best cards in the deck.

3. Boros

Kumano Faces Kakkazan // Etching of KumanoSunrise CavalierThundering Raiju

After huge results in the past two months, Boros has become Standard’s go-to aggro strategy. Kumano Faces Kakkazan and Luminarch Aspirant curve brutally into Thundering Raiju, giving Boros high individual card quality, plus a strong modified theme built in. The “reach” offered by haste creatures and burn spells gives Boros an angle of attack that some of the other beatdown decks lack. 

Like Mono-White, Boros will greatly suffer from the loss of Luminarch Aspirant. However, I’ll be very interested in where to put premium red cards like Kumano Faces Kakkazan in the new Standard format.

2. Esper Midrange

Raffine, Scheming SeerObscura InterceptorKaito Shizuki

Esper has never budged from the top two positions for the entire duration of this Standard season. It’s the quintessential midrange deck, being well-rounded, with high card quality and great sideboard options.

Esper is another great place to look on day one of new Standard, since Raffine, Scheming Seer is so punishing to anyone who can’t immediately kill her on turn three. 

1. Hinata

Hinata, Dawn-CrownedGoldspan DragonMagma Opus

Jeskai Hinata is the #1 deck of this Standard season, and everything else was simply fighting for second place. This archetype uses Hinata, Dawn-Crowned and Goldspan Dragon to power out Magma Opus. It was a sleeper deck going into the New Capenna Championship, but it’s now impossible to deny that it came out as the most successful archetype. 

The namesake card survives rotation, and will probably find a decent home. However, losing Goldspan Dragon, Magma Opus and Expressive Iteration means this archetype and color combination will have to evolve and find some new tricks very quickly if it wants to stay competitive. 

I, for one, will be happy for a breath of fresh air. What are you most looking forward to after rotation?

 

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