Hello everyone. Thanks to the surprise bannings a little over a week ago, you might be struggling to find a new deck to play. I'm here to help you this week with a few mono-colored decks that all performed very well this past weekend in the Magic Online (MTGO) Standard Challenge. Let's get started.
We'll get started this week by taking a look at the deck that came in 21st place. It was piloted by Edel, who has been known to play similar Mono-Green decks very well. Let's take a look at it.
Mono-Green Stompy | M21 Standard | EDEL, 21st Place Standard Challenge #12192339 on 08/08/2020
- Creatures (28)
- 2 Gemrazer
- 3 Crystalline Giant
- 3 Questing Beast
- 4 Barkhide Troll
- 4 Lovestruck Beast
- 4 Pelt Collector
- 4 Scavenging Ooze
- 4 Stonecoil Serpent
- Planeswalkers (3)
- 3 Vivien, Arkbow Ranger
- Sorceries (4)
- 4 Primal Might
This deck is good at getting out big threats. Start off by playing Pelt Collector or by making a Human creature token with the Heart's Desire adventure of Lovestruck Beast. Follow that up with either Barkhide Troll or Scavenging Ooze. Next, mutate a creature with Gemrazer, and you're firing on all cylinders. Finish the game off by casting Questing Beast and attack even if your opponent has larger blockers thanks to its deathtouch.
Gemrazer has become one of my favorite creatures in Standard. Not only does it likely improve the base stats of whatever creature it mutates from into a 4/4, but it also destroys an opponent's enchantment or artifact when it mutates. That can help you avoid sacrificing one of your nonland permanents if your opponent has Doom Foretold in play. It can also help you avoid taking unblockable damage from an opponent's Gingerbrute. Gemrazer also offers both reach and trample, so you'll be able to block if your opponent has flying threats as well as attack in the face of chump blockers. Gemrazer becomes an even bigger threat if the creature that it mutates from has any +1/+1 counters.
Scavenging Ooze is another unspoken hero in this deck. Since it has the ability to eat cards from your opponent's graveyard, you can negate the threat that an opponent's Zenith Flare would normally have by exiling cards with cycling from their graveyard. You can also exile an opponent's Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath before it has the chance to be played for its escape cost. While your opponent will get the initial benefits from playing it, you can make sure that it never gets to get cast for its escape cost unless they do it immediately after it hits the graveyard. Plus, Scavenging Ooze has the ability to become huge as the game goes on, due to the +1/+1 counters it can accumulate. By giving Scavenging Ooze trample with the +1 loyalty ability of Vivien, Arkbow Ranger, you can attack through an opponent's blockers and deal some major damage.
The next deck I have for you this week was piloted by MomsBasementStreams and came in 3rd place. Let's take a look at the deck.
Mono-Black Aggro | M21 Standard | MomsBasementStreams, 3rd Place Standard Challenge #12192339 on 08/08/2020
- Creatures (25)
- 2 Murderous Rider
- 3 Rotting Regisaur
- 4 Gutterbones
- 4 Kitesail Freebooter
- 4 Knight of the Ebon Legion
- 4 Spawn of Mayhem
- 2 Rankle, Master of Pranks
- 2 Tymaret, Chosen from Death
- Sorceries (2)
- 2 Duress
- Enchantments (4)
- 4 Demonic Embrace
Knight of the Ebon Legion has been a major part of Standard for the past year. It has the ability to be an effective threat at all points of the game, from the very first turn all the way to the end. Thanks to being able to boost its stats, if you attack and are not blocked you can dish out a lot of damage. Since this ability also grants Knight of the Ebon Legion deathtouch, it can effectively block any creature on the ground. For flying threats, you'll need a different plan.
That plan can be to enchant Knight of the Ebon Legion with Demonic Embrace. Demonic Embrace is from Core Set 2021, and hasn't seen much play due to its restrictive mana cost. It will turn the enchanted creature into a Demon, give it flying, and boost its stats by +3/+1. One of the best things about Demonic Embrace is the fact that you're able to cast it from your graveyard, which allows you to continuously have large threats in play.
Speaking of large threats, this deck them in droves. I've already mentioned how Knight of the Ebon Legion has the potential to become big by spending mana on it. The deck also features a couple of big flying creatures. The smallest is Rankle, Master of Pranks. While it's only a 3/3, I still consider it to be a big creature due to the fact that it has flying and an ability that requires it to be blocked if your opponent doesn't want you to benefit. You also have a full playset of Spawn of Mayhem, which has the potential to eliminate your opponent if you've gotten their life total low enough. Finally, the last big threat in this deck is Rotting Regisaur, which can end up being a 10/7 with flying if you enchant it with Demonic Embrace.
The final deck I have for you this week is the deck that won this tournament. It's a Mono-Red deck that was piloted by O_danielakos. Let's take a look at it.
Mono-Red Aggro | M21 Standard | O_danielakos, 1st Place Standard Challenge #12192339 on 08/08/2020
- Creatures (29)
- 1 Phoenix of Ash
- 2 Rimrock Knight
- 4 Bonecrusher Giant
- 4 Fervent Champion
- 4 Robber of the Rich
- 4 Runaway Steam-Kin
- 4 Scorch Spitter
- 2 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
- 4 Anax, Hardened in the Forge
As a fan of Mono-Red decks, I'm happy to see that this deck took first place. This version of Mono-Red basically has been around for quite a while and has no updates from Core Set 2021. While I've written about this type of deck many times in the past, I think I can muster up some words to describe this deck with.
Start the game off by sticking a small threat on the battlefield. If possible, you'll want to cast Runaway Steam-Kin as early as possible. Doing so will allow you to add additional Red mana multiple times during the game. This allows you to dump the contents of your hand onto the battlefield very quickly, flooding the battlefield with threats. At some point, you'll be able to attack with four creatures, which allows you to cast Embercleave for two Red mana. Embercleave allows you to trample over any blockers, and the double strike it provides means that the equipped creature will be tough for your opponent to block effectively. The carnage you bring only gets better when you have a copy of Torbran, Thane of Red Fell in play.
Torbran also allows your creatures to become better blockers as well. Since this deck doesn't have a ton of removal, you'll need to rely on the power of your creatures to deter your opponent from attacking. Stomp, the adventure portion of Bonecrusher Giant, and Shock are your only removal spells, but they each only deal two points of damage when used. Because of this, if your opponent has creatures with a high toughness, you might be better off holding these spells in order to target your opponent directly with them. With a few early attacks, you can often finish off your opponent with a well-timed Shock or Stomp, especially if you have Torbran, Thane of Red Fell on the battlefield.
If you were like me and had a few of your decks invalidated on Magic Arena because of this latest round of bannings, you might be able to create one of these decks by using fewer wildcards than if you were to create a different deck. I'm planning on checking out all of these decks.
Also, let me know what you think of these decks in the comments section below. I'll see you next week when I switch back to looking at Standard decks.
- Mike Likes