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Going Solo in Standard

The past few weeks I've gone over decks in both shard colors and wedge colors that have been performing well on Magic Online (MTGO). But what if you're the type of player that has a favorite color and likes to stick with it? Well, fear not. Over the next couple of weeks I'll be taking a look at some mono-colored decks that have gone 5-0 in leagues. Let's get started.

White

We'll begin by taking a look at a Mono-White deck that attempts to control the game early on while it builds up enough mana to cast its win condition. Here's Mono-White Approach.


The plan for Game 1 is to control the number of creatures your opponent has via the use of your enchantments and board sweepers. Keep in mind that all threats are not created equal. If you're low on answers for your opponents' creatures in your hand, sometimes the best thing to do is to hold your removal until a threat is played that will win your opponent the game quickly. It’s okay to leave a 1 or 2 power creature for a few turns since you will be able to gain life once you cast Approach of the Second Sun. This is one of the things I have the most difficulty with when playing a deck like this, as I have a tendency to want to remove every threat my opponent plays as soon as possible which usually comes back to haunt me.

Once you're able to play it, casting Approach of the Second Sun should help catch you back up and creates a clock for your opponent. Every card you draw after that removes one more second from that clock, which is counting down to your inevitable victory. This might make your opponent play much more aggressively as they know they only have a limited amount of time left to defeat you. Sometimes aggressive plays can lead to mistakes, which you should be on the lookout for so you can use those mistakes to your advantage.

For sideboarded games, generally you'll want to remove Approach of the Second Sun in order to board in some of the threats you have in the sideboard. I would be very aggressive in taking out some of the removal or sweepers in order to jam in as many threats as I could for Game 2. It's likely that your opponent will sideboard out some of their creature removal since it was useless for them in Game 1. Because of that, the more threats you have sideboarded in, the more likely that you'll be able to amass a decent offensive force.

Black

The next deck I have for you is a little less controlling than the Mono-White deck was, but not by much. Let's take a look at Mono-Black Midrange.


This deck has a lot of tools to allow it to reign supreme against other decks. First of all, it is running full playsets of both Fatal Push and Vraska's Contempt. These are great tools to use virtually any creature your opponent plays. It also has a full playset of Ravenous Chupacabra which act as both additional creature removal as well as an offensive threat for you. Ifnir Deadlands is another card you have the full four copies of that allows you to shrink an opponent's threats so they are more manageable. Finally you have two copies of Walking Ballista which allows you to deal direct damage to an opponent's creatures.

For your offensive threats, Gifted Aetherborn is a creature your opponent will need to deal with quickly otherwise your life total will grow too large for them to be able to win easily. You also have Glint-Sleeve Siphoner which is difficult to block thanks to Menace and is also a potential source of card drawing. It's not the most reliable at this though since the only way you have to gain additional energy is through attacking. You also have three copies of Gonti, Lord of Luxury. I know firsthand how bad it feels to have Gonti played against me, and it is no fun to get beaten down by your own cards.

This deck also runs a full playset of Liliana, Death's Majesty. She can act as a great way to maintain pressure on an opponent by creating a steady stream of Zombie tokens by using her +1 loyalty ability. Then, once you have a few creatures in your graveyard, you can activate her -3 loyalty ability to bring a creature from your graveyard onto the battlefield. This seems especially good to do with a Ravenous Chupacabra, but any creature except for Walking Ballista will do.

Red

The next deck I have for you is a deck that's been around for quite a while now. I like to call it Hazo-Red.


Mono-Red Aggro is one of the strongest decks in the current metagame. The creature base for this deck generally runs a full playset of Bomat Courier, Earthshaker Khenra, Ahn-Crop Crasher, and Hazoret the Fervent. That's the creature curve you'll usually want to see when playing this deck. The other creatures are included to provide you with evasive threats or with ways to deal additional damage to your opponent once the battlefield makes attacking difficult.

If you find that you're having trouble getting enough mana later in the game, you could consider swapping Pia Nalaar for Captain Lannery Storm. The treasure she provides when she attacks could be all you need if you consistently find yourself a mana short.

Green

The final deck I have for you today is Mono-Green Ramp. Let's take a look at it.


Here's a deck that doesn't mind if its creatures with Explore reveal a land when exploring, as it plays Wayward Swordtooth which allows you to play multiple lands per turn. Combine that with a powerful ramp spell like Hour of Promise and you can quickly outpace your opponent. The goal is to be able to cast more relevant threats than your opponent, and potentially use those threats to crew the vehicles in this deck. Heart of Kiran is a powerful flying attacker that also has Vigilance, so it can be used defensively as well even if you attack with it. Skysovereign, Consul Flagship can be put to good use each turn attacking your opponent for 6 while dealing 3 points of damage to an opponents' creature or planeswalker. Without specific artifact removal, it can be difficult to deal with once you start attacking with it.

One card that would be interesting to include in this deck is Ramunap Excavator. While being a Mono-Green deck is limiting on the types of desert cards you can play, the ability to continually recur them from your graveyard while still being able to play additional lands with Wayward Swordtooth gives you a way to gain a tactical advantage on the battlefield. This would work well with cards like Hashep Oasis which boosts up one of your creatures into a must-answer threat, or with Cradle of the Accursed to be able to build up a horde of Zombie tokens. It could also work with Grasping Dunes to repeatedly shrink your opponent's creatures.

Wrapping Up

Those are the four decks I have for you this week. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find a Mono-Blue deck to include, which must mean that Blue is more of a supporting color in the current Standard environment. Let me know what you thought of these decks by leaving a comment below or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!

—Mike Likes


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