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Lowry’s Top 10 (Standard)

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, FNM, Standard

Last weekend was a busy weekend for Standard. While I didn’t attend a major event, I did get to win a pretty awesome Commander’s Arsenal tournament with a UW Control deck, which I’ve since converted to a Bant deck. I’ll give you my decklist at the end of the article, until then here’s a breakdown of the three major events this weekend:

Grand Prix Bochum (Top 16)

3 Jund
1 Bant Control
2 Craterhoof Reanimator
2 R/B Aggro
1 U/W Delver
1 U/W/R Midrange
1 U/W Flash
2 G/W Aggro
2 U/W Aggro
1 G/W Midrange

Grand Prix Charleston (Top 8)

2 U/W Flash
1 Bant Control
2 R/B Aggro
1 Junk Tokens
1 Four color Reanimator
1 G/W Aggro

SCG Seattle Open (Top 16)

1 Bant Control
1 U/W Humans
1 B/G Aggro
1 Junk Reanimator
1 Esper Midrange
2 Mono Red Aggro
1 Jund
1 Four color Reanimator
2 G/W Aggro
1 U/W Flash
1 Naya Aggro
1 R/B Aggro

Looking at all of these archetypes, one thing is obvious. You can play any deck that you want to if you’re willing to put in the time to making it as good as can be. Don’t let anyone else ever tell you otherwise. Learning the ins and outs, and taking the time to get skilled with whatever you’re piloting will get you much further than just picking the flavor of the week and piloting it blind (unless you’re Morgan Chang!). The diversity, depth, and overall progress of Standard is so high, that even if there was a “best deck” in the format, it wouldn’t be by much. Yes, Thragtusk is a card, but the aggro decks have adjusted, and they still must be respected. If you think that Thragtusk is the only card you need to win, then do more, because that’s what aggro decks are doing, more. Plan accordingly, tune, work on what you want to work on. I promise you that you’ll be fine. If you don’t think that you can pilot an archetype that you like well, then you aren’t giving yourself enough credit. I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable I was piloting a dedicated control deck at the Commander’s Arsenal tournament, regardless of how well I would have done. All you have to to is have sound reasoning for your decisions, and make those decisions confidently.

Standard Top 10

Based on last weekend’s results I’ve made a list of the top 10 cards in Standard. These are the cards that you can expect to battle against tonight at FNM and in the coming weeks.

10. Craterhoof Behemoth

Hoofs R Us, Get Hoof’d, Hoof, There it is! Whatever you wan to call it. When you want to go bigger than Thragtusk, Thundermaw Hellkite, and even Angel of Serenity, this is the card. Brad Nelson’s ‘Hoof deck has my vote for coolest and most explosive deck of the weekend. Utilizing the previously underused Somberwald Sage to power out a Craterhoof Behemoth, turning measly spirits and mana dorks into game enders.

9. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Last weekend aggro decks came back with a vengeance, and the white based ones utilized Thalia to her fullest potential. A resolved Thalia is staggering against control decks because they have been tuning to beat mirrors matches and midrange decks. She’s a mainstay in any white aggro strategy, regardless of what your second (or third!) color may be.

8. Angel of Serenity

Angel of Serenity has fallen behind recently due to the immense power of Craterhoof Behemoth, Thundermaw Hellkite, and synergy with Restoration Angel. I certainly do not think she will stop seeing play, but she is no longer as big of a trump as she was before.

7. Unburial Rites

This is the key card in making reanimator decks work. Unburial Rites is here to stay, and so are the fatties they choose to bring back from the dead.

6. Thundermaw Hellkite

Red based aggro decks needed a way to push through a Thragtusk, Centaur Healer, and various other lifegain spells. Thundermaw Hellkite is now seeing play in red aggro decks, red midrange decks, and even in some red control decks. The hasty dragon will be crunching life totals for the rest of this season.

5. Snapcaster Mage

While seemingly not as powerful as before, Snapcaster Mage is still a primary piece in many blue-based midrange and control decks. The sheer versatility of what Tiago Chan brings to the table is what earns him the fifth spot in my book, as he’s almost never bad.

4. Cavern of Souls

Lets face it, if you want to resolve a creature, then you play Cavern of Souls. That’s all there is to it, really. When the control decks are making room for Caverns just to slam their Thragtusks in mirror matches, you need to find other ways of dealing with them.

3. Restoration Angel

More powerful than ever right now, the pseudo Mistbind Clique has the perfect stats at the perfect mana cost, and her synergy with Thragtusk, Thundermaw Hellkite, Snapcaster Mage, Centaur Healer, and a plethora of other creatures makes her worth at least a consideration in almost any white midrange or control deck.

2. Sphinx’s Revelation

I don’t know what’s more surprising, the fact that people are just now realizing the power of this card, or the fact that people doubted this card in the first place. If there was a single card that overperformed this weekend, it was Sphinx’s Revelation. What makes this card so ridiculous is that casting one is not only really good but it helps you get to your second one. Casting your second one makes your third one unbeatable. Not to mention it allows you to cut down on win conditions and save deck space (since you’re going to draw most of your deck throughout the course of a game anyway). Expect this card to be played in every single U/W midrange and control deck from here on out.


Still atop the format, Thragtusk is the Baneslayer Angel of…Wait, no. Thragtusk is better in this format than Baneslayer Angel ever was in hers. That’s how influential this beastly 5/3 has become. He is in no way unbeatable, but if you don’t keep him in mind when building, tuning, or playing a deck, then expect to get completely crushed by value.

HM. Garruk, Primal Hunter

Honorable mention to what I believe is the best planeswalker right now. Many green midrange and control decks have adopted big Garruk to their decks primarily because of Thundermaw Hellkite and Sphinx’s Revelation. Jace, Architect of Thought isn’t as powerful as he was before because it can get incredibly awkward when facing down threats that can one shot him through his +1. This forces Jace to become a four mana, draw your best of three cards. While this isn’t always the case, Garruk provides more raw card advantage, being a five mana Harmonize at worst. His +1 is respectable enough since it trades with Thragtusk, and is a reasonable clock. Expect to see more Garruk in the coming weeks.

Bonus Decklist

I won’t go into too much detail about this build, but I built this based on the UW deck that I played at Commander’s Arsenal tournament. This is completely untested, but I’d start with something like this, and work from there. All in all, I love the fact that I can pretty much build any deck with a cohesive plan, and have a good shot at doing well. The results from the larger events happening around the world this past weekend were indicative of this. Let me know what you think of this build in the comments.

I wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving. My next big event will be SCG Baltimore, I hope to see you guys there!

Thanks for reading


@aulowry on Twitter

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