The Standard Metagame is a Circle

Last week I wrote that I believed the best deck for the past weekend was Mono-Green Stompy, which did in fact win the SCG Open in the hands of Steve Noga.

Mono-Green Stompy

Steve Noga, 1st place at an SCG Open in Philadelphia, 07/23/2018

The list is straightforward and not that far from what Andrew Jessup played last week. He already broke this archetype and there’s not much to be improved. The only thing you need to do at this point is ask yourself: “Will Mono-Green Stompy still be the best deck next week?”

Standard isn’t like Modern or another format where you can pick up a deck and stick with it forever. Sometimes an archetype gets pushed out of the metagame, so it’s important to keep following the results on a weekly basis.

That was the case for Goblin Chainwhirler, who dominated the tables a few months ago, and was nowhere to be found last week.

Now I believe the Goblins and their chains are due to come back any day now, as we are looking for a way to prey on green, and who does that better than Rekindling Phoenix, Glorybringer, and Goblin Chainwhirler?

Rekindling Phoenix in particular is insane because it kills anything in combat and never dies. On top of that it’s an unblockable threat when you decide it’s time to race.

Goblin Chainwhirler is also a house. Not only does it eat Llanowar Elves for breakfast, but it stalls the board against Vine Mare and any 2-drops.

Steve has access to three copies of Hour of Glory, which will have to deal with Rekindling Phoenix, Glorybringer, and maybe Hazoret the Fervent, but it’s still too little interaction for a deck with this many threats.

Red-Black Midrange

Matthew Voltz, 2nd place at SCG Open Philadelphia 07/23/2018

“So you’re just saying that the best way to beat Mono-Green Stompy is with Red-Black? That’s it?”

This might be tough to swallow but yes, the best deck versus Mono-Green Stompy is indeed Red-Black, and all that metagaming we’ve done in this month is just coming back in a circle to the one and only Goblin Chainwhirler.

Matthew Voltz finished 2nd in the SCG Open, losing in the finals to Steve Noga. Despite that, I firmly believe R/B is a favorite in the matchup, especially the list Matthew brought to the tables with four Rekindling Phoenix and three Glorybringer between the main and sideboard.

R/B isn’t anything new, and Owen Turtenwald showed us how well the deck could perform at PT Dominaria, the 3rd of June, and one month after, the 1st of July at U.S. Nationals.

Though a new set came out in the meantime, and while R/B didn’t get any new cards, Mono-Green Stompy got Vine Mare, which was enough—or nearly enough—to push out black-based removal decks like U/B Midrange. On the other hand, U/B Midrange got a boost from the existence of Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, who is an insanely good threat for just 4 mana.

The problem with the deck is Vine Mare, as there’s very little you can do other than counter it, especially when you pair Vine Mare with a deck with counters.

We saw Chris Turnbull in the feature match of round 12 destroying Andrew Tenjum’s Grixis Midrange with a curve of Vine Mare turn 4, Verdurous Gearhulk turn 5, and Verdurous Gearhulk turn 6. There was very little Tenjum could do about it and he died to a 13/11 unblockable, hexproof creature.

So where to go from here?

Just let the circle continue. R/B beats Mono-Green, what beats R/B? U/W Control happens to have a lot of tools to beat on Mono-Green too (Settle the Wreckage and Fumigate, above all).

And so on and so forth. We have a healthy Standard format right now full of balanced decks, where it’s important to read the metagame correctly and always be ready for the next move!


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