The State of Standard

Standard is a pretty healthy format at the moment.  With Nationals approaching, there are several tier 1 decks to be considered.  Wolf Run Ramp, Red Deck Wins, and Solar Flare are the big three.  Tempered steel, with its ability to steal games, is not one to be counted out, but does not have the raw power of the top tier decks.

Solar Flare is moving away from Liliana and towards Jace, Memory Adept.  I believe this is among the proper approaches to take, as Liliana is weak in the Wolf Run Ramp matchup.  Of the big three, Wolf Run Ramp seems to be the deck to beat.  The top 8 of Grand Prix Brisbane featured 4 Wolf Run Ramp, 3 UB control, and 1 WG Hero of Bladehold beatdown deck.  View the results for yourself here.  Among the UB control lists was a Tezzeret deck.  Any of the top decks that could fit it in ran Wring Flesh.  Having a 1-mana out to annoying X/1 creatures outside of red is worthy of inclusion.  Wring Flesh as a maindeck card in UB control is probably a good enough reason to avoid running Tempered Steel in the present format.  Oddly enough, the winner of the tournament was UB control.  The deck is legit.  Untapping with a Concecrated Sphinx against any deck seems good.  The card’s primary weakness is its lack of an immediate effect.  The deck’s other finishers make up for that quite nicely.  UB control’s finishers are immune to Dismember, at least if the red zone is not considered in the equation.  If the deck isn’t tier 1, it is very close.

There are other tournament results to consider.  The StarCityGames.com Standard Open brings more lists to the table.  There were a great number of innovations in the tournament, as pointed out by Mike Flores here.  For innovative Solar Flare decks, Christian Valent’s decklist takes the cake.  The deck features no planeswalkers at all.  None.  Not even in the sideboard.  The deck is a thing of beauty.  As a concession to aggressive strategies, the deck has a miser Celestial Purge, 3 Timely Reinforcements, and 2 Day of Judgment.  In the current meta, I don’t know that such a decklist would work.  Ghost Quarter is a must to deal with Kessig Wolf Run and Inkmoth Nexus.  Running lands that don’t tap for colored mana can really strain a deck working off of 3 colors.  However, switching numbers around a bit and overhauling the mana base may produce a list that has a solid chance.  The tournament saw decks that ran fewer than four Mana Leak.  Personally, I don’t like the card at all right now.  You are quite often outside Mana Leak range once you see something relevant to counter with it.

2 thoughts on “The State of Standard”

  1. Discovered your blog from one the forums I think. Good work so far!

    The cool thing about Consecrated Sphinx is it has an “almost” immediate effect. If you opponent doesn’t remove it during your turn then when during draw step you get two cards – already making contributions. Say then he o-rings it. He spent one card to remove one, but you drew two extra. Too bad that card is so expensive!

  2. Thats right… I didn’t think through that completely. There are very few sorcery speed spot removal spells in the top decks unfortunately. Still, if it sticks around for half a turn, it seems hard to lose.

    Thanks for the comment.

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