The Best Decks from the First Week of Standard with Guilds of Ravnica

A new Standard is upon us, and it’s one of the most exciting weeks of the year for Magic players!

We just had an SCG Open, but unfortunately it was a team event, so in order to have an accurate read from the past weekend we’ll have to take a long look at the Magic Online PTQ.

That PTQ showcased Demanding Dragon, which has been bugged for a couple of weeks now on MTGO. You couldn’t take 5 damage if you controlled a creature, but were forced to sacrifice. Even though the card was bugged, nothing prevented players from registering the card at the PTQ. That is, once again, very poor management from MTGO. They could have easily banned the card until it was fixed.

Luckily, the Dragon didn’t win the whole thing and hopefully the bug will be fixed as soon as possible. In the meantime, remember to request reimbursement every time you play against the card because people are still exploiting it, and that should never happen.

But let’s get back to business, and start exploring the winning decks from last weekend:

Golgari Midrange

Yamakiller, 1st place at MTGO PTQ – 10/06/2018

I’ve seen B/G brews in the past weeks, some of them with Wildgrowth Walker + explore guys, some of them with Gruesome Menagerie, some of them with Stitcher’s Supplier + Molderhulk, and some of them splashing white for Knight of Autumn and exploiting Find // Finality.

There are a lot of ways to build a Golgari deck, but after 12 rounds, this one reigned supreme. It earned a victory in the hardest PTQ of the year—week 1.

This deck features seven planeswalkers with three copies of the freshly printed Vraska, Golgari Queen. That card is hard to rate. It’s cheap and comes in with a high loyalty, but it’s hard to make it work properly, especially here, since you lack creatures you’re happy to sacrifice, like Stitcher’s Supplier.

I’m not sure that you need three copies of the Golgari Queen, as she looks better in the late game than she does in the early game.

Four Assassin’s Trophy, two Plaguecrafter, and two The Eldest Reborn means that this deck could cut Vraska’s Contempt since it’s already geared to beat Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. In the meanwhile, they have three Ravenous Chupacabra, three Vraska, Relic Seeker, and one Vivien Reid to deal with Lyra Dawnbringer and Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice.

Find // Finality didn’t find itself in Yamakiller’s 75, and that surprises me since that card has really overperformed in my testing. It’s versatile and strong in different scenarios. Their deck relies on card advantage from planeswalkers and on three copies of Golgari Findbroker, which can return any permanent, even the three Dead Weight in the sideboard.

Going forward with this deck, I recommend adding some Vivien Reid in the sideboard since I expect way more Experimental Frenzy, and this deck doesn’t have that many ways to deal with it.

Grixis Midrange

Tetezinho, 2nd place at MTGO PTQ – 10/06/2018

U/B Midrange was one of the best archetypes in past Standard, mainly because of The Scarab God. That card isn’t legal anymore, but Doom Whisperer isn’t far off. It’s a huge evasive threat that guarantees you will draw good cards to take over the game.

Thief of Sanity is the new Glint-Sleeve Siphoner. It’s easy to deal with, but if left unchecked it will snowball out of control.

Lazav, the Multifarious, while unimpressive on his own, is a fine 2-drop to stop red creatures or white tokens, and a good draw in the late game since it can be anything you want.

Tetezinho decided to also splash red for Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, one of the best M19 cards that will certainly see a lot of play in the new Standard, but keep in mind that the freshly printed Nullhide Ferox has an ability to keep Nicol Bolas, the Ravager in check, so if your opponent leads with Pelt Collector, think very carefully before playing Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, and preferably don’t play it until very late in the game.

Jeskai Control

Limitedpower, 3rd place at MTGO PTQ – 10/06/2018

A good old control deck had to be one of the best decks, since Teferi, Hero of Dominaria isn’t going anywhere for some time. This deck is quite different from what we’ve been seeing, though. It doesn’t rely on red burn spells and it’s mainly blue-white.

Azor’s Gateway is the biggest innovation here. It’s good in the mirror to recycle your dead removal spells, and incredible once flipped into Sanctum of the Sun, so you can cast your Explosion for a ton and win the game. (Note that if you exile Expansion // Explosion under the Azor’s Gateway, it will count as 6 for converted mana cost.) This might seem too cute but I believe that it’s a powerful engine a control deck can exploit.

Boros Angels

Alicoco, 8th place at MTGO PTQ – 10/06/2018

The last deck I want to take a look at is a Boros Midrange deck that heavily relies on 4- and 5-drops.

This deck reminds me of R/B Midrange, as you have aggressive elements such as Adanto Vanguard and Knight of Grace, as well as mythic bomb rares to take over the game like Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice and Lyra Dawnbringer.

There are a bunch of things I don’t like about this deck, such as the nombo between Knight of Grace, Resplendent Angel, History of Benalia. and Deafening Clarion. The metagame isn’t that aggressive to justify playing Deafening Clarion in the main deck, and even though that card offers an option, giving your creature lifelink isn’t something to be excited about against midrange or control decks.

I like the idea of the deck, but I would like to see something different in those slots in the main deck. Even more removal spells might do the trick.

I also wouldn’t sleep on Rekindling Phoenix. While new cards like Lava Coil have been printed, the card is still a powerhouse, and if Golgari decks move toward cutting Vraska’s Contempt entirely, it might be a great time to bring back the mythic rare that dominated the previous Standard format.

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