This article covers seven Standard DEs from 5/30-6/5 that included 352 decks. When referencing “the field” I am referring to the field of 3-1 and 4-0 decks, not the entire field.

Welcome to the next installment on my series on the MTGO Standard format!

Previously, we saw RG Aggro proving itself a dominant force. It held around 23% of the winning decks. This week you’ll notice that hasn’t really changed, but a few other things have. A few new decks cropped up, some of which have caused a shift in the best performing decks as you’ll find out below!

Best Performing Decks

Red aggro relinquished a few percentage points, but it remains the best performer by a margin of 5.3%. For a bit of perspective, the average amount of winning red aggro decks per Daily Event was 10.9 out of an average of 50.3 winning decks. That’s a pretty good showing.

Including the results from the last installment, red aggro holds 30 4-0 finishes out of 132 (22.7%).

Red aggro is a totally punishing deck that requires players to prepare for it specifically. It’s been hard for me to justify playing the something else, but I’ve finally settled on avoiding it for now. I would rather beat the top deck than play it (harder than it sounds).

There are plenty of decks in the format and this one is not necessarily “the best,” but if you’re also choosing to not play this deck I’d love to hear your reasoning in the comments or on Twitter!

Last week, I included BWR Reanimator in a separate category but I’ve decided to include it here instead.

Most versions of Junk Reanimator have remained the same, but a few players opt for one maindeck copy of [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card], and others have started shaving [card]Acidic Slime[/card]s from the main deck.

While Junk Reanimator and BWR Reanimator both saw slight declines in finishes, a new Reanimator deck has presented itself which brings the archetype up to the second position. 4C Reanimator went from virtually 0 finishes to being reasonably represented. The deck seems to be a kind of mesh between its three-color counterparts, getting to play [card]Boros Reckoner[/card] and [card]Thragtusk[/card] in addition to the powerful [card]Faithless Looting[/card].

4-0 in 5/30/13 DE, as played by Zwischenzug

[deck]Main Deck
3 Blood Crypt
3 Dragonskull Summit
3 Godless Shrine
1 Isolated Chapel
3 Rootbound Crag
4 Stomping Ground
3 Sunpetal Grove
3 Temple Garden
4 Angel of Serenity
4 Boros Reckoner
1 Olivia Voldaren
4 Thragtusk
1 Voice of Resurgence
2 Blasphemous Act
4 Faithless Looting
4 Grisly Salvage
2 Harvest Pyre
3 Lingering Souls
4 Mulch
4 Unburial Rites
Sideboard
3 Abrupt Decay
1 Acidic Slime
2 Purify the Grave
2 Ray of Revelation
1 Rolling Temblor
2 Sin Collector
1 Slaughter Games
3 Voice of Resurgence[/deck]

Mana issues might seem to be a problem with this deck, but the only card that is difficult to cast on time is [card]Grisly Salvage[/card]. [card]Faithless Looting[/card] and [card]Mulch[/card] also help fix things up considerably.

I really don’t like being the aggro deck on the other side of this deck. Beating the pair of [card]Boros Reckoner[/card] and [card]Thragtusk[/card] can be hard, but beating an early [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] is usually just impossible.

Aristocrats went from a measly 5% all the way up to 12.2% to take the third slot, and that’s all thanks to the new popularity of the BWG version of the deck. I talked about the Junk version last week, and even did a video on it, at the end of which I suggested cutting [card]Blood Artist[/card] from the deck. I was probably being a little biased because [card]Blood Artist[/card] doesn’t impact the board against RG Aggro. In all fairness, the card is very powerful in the deck, and I should probably just board it out against RG Aggro if I feel that way. I’ve stopped playing the deck, but I still think it’s a good choice.

Between the rise of Junk Aristocrats and 4C Reanimator, I’ve taken a liking to [card]Rest in Peace[/card]. The card neuters the former (turns off all graveyard triggers) and slows down the latter tremendously.

Flash took a slight dip in percentage points. UWR still remains the most successful form of Azorius Control by a wide margin, though Esper Control decks are still somewhat represented (six 3-1s last time, one 4-0 and seven 3-1s this time).

There is still quite a bit of variation in UWR lists. The creatures range from [card]Augur of Bolas[/card], [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card], [card]Boros Reckoner[/card], [card]Restoration Angel[/card], and [card]Aetherling[/card], but the numbers are always different. Some versions play as few as 2-3 [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]s and 1-2 [card]Aetherling[/card]s. The burn slots are also all over the place, with varying numbers of [card]Turn // Burn[/card], [card]Pillar of Flame[/card], [card]Searing Spear[/card], and [card]Warleader’s Helix[/card]. Pillar has finally started taking maindeck slots in some lists though.

Jund has fallen from the second position, with a loss of 6.2% in results. The drop is likely due in part to the rise of additional Reanimator strategies. Jund has always had a weakness to Junk Reanimator (hence the maindeck [card]Ground Seal[/card]s), and I don’t think the new four-color version could be much better of a matchup.

Despite the format evolving, most Jund deck lists have remained very similar. Hell, it seems to have been about the same throughout the GTC and DGM formats. If it’s going to remain a good deck, I think Jund has to start evolving too.

The Remaining Field

The top five decks (and their variations) make up 72.4% of the winning decks field. The remaining archetypes look like this (rounding has occurred):

Last time Bant Auras held 5.3% and managed its way into the fifth position. This time Naya Midrange, a deck that was barely represented before, held 6% of the field and only took the sixth position. The deck has started catching on since Willy Edel got second place in GP Guadalajara. A lot of lists heavily resemble his, but I think the more interesting version is one that’s just started catching on:

4-0 in 6/2/13 DE, as played by Laduree

[deck]Main Deck
1 Cavern of Souls
4 Clifftop Retreat
1 Forest
3 Rootbound Crag
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Stomping Ground
3 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
4 Boros Reckoner
4 Huntmaster of the Fells
4 Loxodon Smiter
4 Restoration Angel
4 Thundermaw Hellkite
4 Voice of Resurgence
4 Domri Rade
4 Mizzium Mortars
Sideboard
3 Boros Charm
2 Garruk, Primal Hunter
3 Ground Seal
2 Ray of Revelation
2 Searing Spear
3 Selesnya Charm[/deck]

This no-nonsense version forgoes [card]Flinthoof Boar[/card] in favor of the powerful [card]Huntmaster of the Fells[/card]/[card]Restoration Angel[/card] combo. Boar is a solid 2-drop, but it gets blanked easily.

The deck also features all four copies of [card]Mizzium Mortars[/card], which I really like. That enables you to throw one away early and still have a good chance of blowing your opponent out later on. [card]Selesnya Charm[/card] is certainly more versatile, but overall it’s underwhelming.

Esper Control apparently hasn’t completely died out. It made a small showing in both reviews, but the deck lists haven’t been similar at all. This is the one version that held a 4-0 finish:

4-0 in 6/5/13 DE, as played by stikfas

[deck]Main Deck
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Glacial Fortress
3 Godless Shrine
4 Hallowed Fountain
1 Island
3 Isolated Chapel
3 Nephalia Drownyard
4 Watery Grave
2 Augur of Bolas
1 Obzedat, Ghost Council
1 Snapcaster Mage
4 Azorius Charm
2 Detention Sphere
1 Devour Flesh
2 Dissipate
2 Forbidden Alchemy
2 Jace, Architect of Thought
2 Liliana of the Veil
4 Lingering Souls
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
3 Sphinx’s Revelation
3 Supreme Verdict
1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
1 Think Twice
1 Ultimate Price
Sideboard
1 Blind Obedience
1 Curse of Death’s Hold
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Duress
2 Negate
1 Oblivion Ring
2 Rest in Peace
1 Snapcaster Mage
4 Terminus
1 Ultimate Price[/deck]

There are a lot of things that make Esper a difficult deck to get right. [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card] is a big one. It makes [card]Devour Flesh[/card] and [card]Azorius Charm[/card] into jokes. There are numerous situations where you could Verdict and end up taking 6 damage the following turn. That’s not a good feeling.

You’ll see that the only cards included as all four copies are [card]Azorius Charm[/card] and [card]Lingering Souls[/card]. Souls are notoriously good at chump blocking, but in this format they are generally very bad at trading and there’s always [card]Ghor-Clan Rampager[/card] to worry about when chumping.

I’m a huge fan of [card]Augur of Bolas[/card], seeing as it blocks really well and is a crucial 2-drop that you’ll never be unhappy to cast. Of course, it requires that you play specific cards so it’s hard to get to work correctly. This version only plays two Augurs but it only manages to squeeze in 21 targets. That’s two less than I’d like to see, but sacrifices have to be made if you want to play that amount of planewalkers and [card]Detention Sphere[/card]s.

I’m glad to finally see [card]Terminus[/card]. It’s really good against a few decks. Getting to miracle it is a really good feeling.

I may be inspired to try Esper myself again in the near future. We’ll see…

Interesting Statistics

I went through all seven Daily Events and checked to see how many copies of [card]Boros Reckoner[/card] and [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card] appear in main decks. These are the results:

[card]Boros Reckoner[/card] appears in a whopping 146 out of 352 main decks! What’s more is that out of all possible slots [card]Boros Reckoner[/card] could take up, it occupied 42.4%. Reckoner’s strength against creatures in a creature-based format and its ability to be played in a multitude of decks are the main causes of its ubiquity. It’s a wonder it’s not worth more.

Voice is actually seeing a little more maindeck play than I thought, but it’s still not all that high. Interestingly, it’s seeing play in three decently represented three-color decks: Junk Aristocrats, Naya Midrange, and Bant Auras.

Decks To Watch

All-in Red
3-1 in 6/2/13 DE, as played by mush27

[deck]Main Deck
18 Mountain
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Firefist Striker
4 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Legion Loyalist
4 Lightning Mauler
4 Rakdos Cackler
3 Rubblebelt Maaka
4 Stromkirk Noble
4 Dynacharge
4 Krenko’s Command
3 Pillar of Flame
Sideboard
2 Blasphemous Act
4 Boros Reckoner
2 Mountain
2 Pyreheart Wolf
3 Skullcrack
2 Toil Trouble[/deck]

This is apparently a GerryT creation even though it may not seem like one. While I’m not sure going this route is any better than just sticking to RG Aggro, this deck does have some explosive things going on. The near-ideal draw goes: [card]Foundry Street Denizen[/card], [card]Burning-Tree Emissary[/card]+[card]Krenko’s Command[/card] and [card]Dynacharge[/card], which leads to 17 damage by turn three. The deck has a lot of devastating draws like that. Don’t let this one take you by surprise.

GW Hoof
3-1 in 6/2/13 DE, as played by mush27

[deck]Main Deck
13 Forest
2 Gavony Township
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
4 Arbor Elf
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
4 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Elderscale Wurm
4 Elvish Archdruid
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Somberwald Sage
4 Soul of the Harvest
3 Wolfir Silverheart
3 Garruk, Primal Hunter
2 Oblivion Ring
Sideboard
2 Elderscale Wurm
3 Gutter Grime
2 Nearheath Pilgrim
2 Pacifism
2 Ray of Revelation
1 Rest in Peace
2 Rhox Faithmender
1 Witchbane Orb[/deck]

Reminiscent of some old-school Elf decks in that it just wants to cast something unstoppable as quickly as possible Travis Woo style. I’m a little curious about the complete lack of [card]Cavern of Souls[/card] where it seems largely free.

There are a few decks that are stone dead to [card]Elderscale Wurm[/card]. That’s never pretty.

BUG Immortal Servitude
3-1 in 6/1/13 DE, as played by Gandarion

[deck]Main Deck
4 Breeding Pool
4 Drowned Catacomb
2 Hinterland Harbor
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Watery Grave
4 Woodland Cemetery
4 Alchemist’s Apprentice
1 Augur of Bolas
4 Blood Artist
3 Bloodthrone Vampire
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Snapcaster Mage
2 Abrupt Decay
4 Forbidden Alchemy
4 Grisly Salvage
4 Immortal Servitude
4 Tragic Slip
Sideboard
2 Abrupt Decay
4 Duress
2 Far Away
2 Golgari Charm
2 Pack Rat
2 Putrefy
1 Sever the Bloodline[/deck]

This could be loosely described as another Aristocrats deck but I think it’s much cooler. It uses [card]Grisly Salvage[/card] and [card]Forbidden Alchemy[/card] to dump 2-drops into the graveyard in an attempt to combo kill the opponent with [card]Immortal Servitude[/card]. It could be more trouble than it’s worth. Assembling a lethal amount of damage seems like a challenge but it’s very cool nonetheless.

The format has proven that it’s not done evolving, yet RG Aggro remains king. Will it continue to put up sizable numbers? I think many players have come to respect it but it still preys on those who don’t. Beating the deck should definitely be on your mind while playing this format. I know it’s definitely on mine.

I’m looking for more interesting things to cover in this column. If you have any ideas feel free to comment or tweet at me!

That’s it for this week, thanks for reading!
Michael Hetrick