Still Swimming in Midrange
Hello everyone! Alessandro and rose-emoji here again with this week’s Standard meta guide.
Since the first week after rotation, Standard has, of course, been a very midrange-focused format. A couple of weeks have passed and it seems we are still on the same path, with midrange decks dominating the MTGO weekend tournaments and the MTGA Mythic ladder.
Personally, I love Standard at the moment. The midrange plan is very fun to me. It is interactive and it rewards each player in their skills and decisions. Taking all of this into account, I feel that Standard is on very healthy ground at the moment, and is quite open for new ideas and deckbuilders who want to break the format.
Grixis Midrange and Rakdos Anvil are the kings of this week!
Grixis Midrange maintains its crown in standard, being one of the most consistent and powerful decks this past week. It is truly a deck that can win any matchup, thanks to the flexibility in cards that can be added to the 75 and the consistency it has on his curve. Without a doubt, it will continue to be my favorite deck to compete with this weekend!
Rakdos Anvil pulled off a surprise this week, winning the September Manatraders series and occupying many of the top spots in the major tournaments last weekend.
In my last deck guide for PlayingStandard, I talked about Rakdos Anvil as an option to compete against the best decks of the moment, which is definitely what happened last weekend with Oni Cult Anvil representing a headache for everyone and being very effective at midgame turnarounds.
I would love for Rakdos Anvil to continue down this path of being an S-Tier deck, but it will all depend on the number of copies of Abrade played in upcoming tournaments. Many lists are up to four.
While Esper’s matchup against Grixis Midrange is unfavorable and the matchup against Rakdos Anvil is 50/50, it still maintains is position in S Tier this week. Esper is a deck that suffers a lot against Meathook Massacre because it has a more aggressive, wide plan than Grixis and Rakdos, and has a hard time getting up after a sweeper. Still, in the right hands, Esper is one of the top tier decks in Standard right now.
Mono-Black sticks around in A Tier this week, even as most of the playerbase seems to prefer to play a deck with more versatility of cards and more than two colors as often as possible. Mono black has the disadvantage of having a rather mediocre sideboard, due to the few options it has in one color.
Jund Midrange also remains at A Tier this week. As I mentioned last week, it is a very solid deck – very complete and with quite interesting lines of play. As we can see, it has not yet been able to take off to S Tier, largely due to the fact that it is a deck that suffers quite a bit against Make Disappear and also has no way to counter Meathook Massacre.
Mono-White Reanimator gives me a good feeling right now, after having triumphed in the Standard Challenge on Sunday. The deck has been built with a better approach to the metagame, leaving aside cards like Titan of Industry that were almost impossible to cast naturally. Sunday’s winning list has a more solid plan and a very powerful curve, without relying so much on Invoke Justice. It’s still a deck that suffers a lot against Meathook Massacre or counterspells, but either way, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this deck winning tournaments this weekend.
Bant Enchantments rose up the tier list this week, representing a gameplan that can easily spiral out of control, filling the board with heavily pumped-up creatures and a board fill of enchantments to trigger Hallowed Haunting. Like most decks, it suffers against Meathook Massacre, but gums up the ground game almost as well as Rakdos Anvil and isn’t as susceptible to countermagic as some of the other, bigger midrange decks.
Rakdos Midrange dropped to B Tier this week, as Mono-Black is really the more consistent choice if you don’t want to run three colors, and there are few reasons (outside of budget considerations) to run a two-color midrange deck in this meta.
While aggro players are struggling to find solid footing in the midrange-heavy meta, Gruul seems to have the reach and the more powerful top-end to succeed in a world where many of the midrange decks could start brewing bigger and bigger to go over the top of each other. Yavimaya Iconoclast is a powerful tool we’ve been seeing lately, and Halana and Alena, Partners and Thundering Raiju are some of the best aggressive top-ends in the format right now. I’ve been having good success with Gruul Wolves, actually, as the big midrange decks can struggle to turn night to day once it switches.