What to Play in Team Unified Standard

This weekend, Magic players will compete in their Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers around the world to try to qualify for Pro Tour Anniversary 25. The format will be Team Unified Standard, so today I’ll review the Standard lists that did well at Pro Tour Dominaria. I’ll be trying to put together a combination of three good decks that don’t share any cards.

I love this format. I only get to play it at the World Magic Cup, but it’s a deck building challenge—something that is often missing in Magic these days.

1) B/G Constrictor, Mono-Red, & U/W Control

This is one of the earliest combinations where you share almost nothing with each other stock list—just Aethersphere Harvester and some Walking Ballista in the sideboard. All three decks are good choices and did relatively well at the Pro Tour.

I say “relatively well” because B/G Constrictor and U/W Control didn’t exactly shine at Pro Tour Dominaria, but they are good decks that can easily finish strong.

B/G Constrictor features Llanowar Elves and Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, two cards that are especially weak when the most played card in Standard is Goblin Chainwhirler. Remember that only about 33% of the metagame will consist of red decks, so this deck will be better in such a different environment.

B/G Constrictor

Lucas Esper Berthoud

Mono-Red

Wyatt Darby, 1st place at PT Dominaria

U/W Control

Thomas Enevoldsen, 8-2 at PT Dominaria

2) Steel Leaf Stompy, Mono-Red, & Esper Control

Steel Leaf Stompy can take the green deck slot from the previous combination, and doing so allows the control deck to play Duress, Vraska’s Contempt, and Cast Down.

I believe that U/B/x Control is better than U/W Control against Red decks. Having Fatal Push and Vraska’s Contempt is definitely way better than Seal Away and Cast Out, and that’s why I opt to play Esper Control and Mono-Red over U/W Control and R/B Aggro.

On top of that, Owen Turtenwald’s R/B Aggro deck plays Heart of Kiran, and that overlaps with Steel Leaf Stompy.

The only card that the green deck and the red deck share is Aethersphere Harvester, but I don’t believe it’s a problem for either deck to cut it.

While Steel Leaf Stompy can be played as pure mono-green with just Forests, I find the version that splashes blue to be better. You get Commit // Memory and Negate, which will give you an edge against Fumigate and Settle the Wreckage—cards that are very good against green decks, and they will be popular at the Regional PTQ.

By doing so, though, you take Negate from the control deck. Negate, while being a great card in the right matchup, can be trimmed in favor for some other countermagic like Admiral’s Order. It won’t hurt the deck too much.

Steel Leaf Stompy

Pan Phimus, 8-2 at PT Dominaria

Mono-Red

Wyatt Darby, 1st place at PT Dominaria

Esper Control

Guillaume Matignon, 8-2 at PT Dominaria

3) Steel Leaf Stompy, R/B Aggro & Mono-White Approach

If you really want to play R/B Aggro over Mono-Red, and don’t want play a control deck without Negate, the third option (after Steel Leaf Stompy) can be a sweet one.

My teammate Raphael Levy worked hard on a deck that he was very close to playing at the Pro Tour: Mono-White Approach. It’s a control deck with 15 Plains that exploits Karn, Scion of Urza as a source of card advantage. It has a good green matchup, good R/B Vehicles matchup, and is okay versus Mono-Red and control.

Keep in mind that most R/B Aggro lists plays Heart of Kiran, so if you want to play Steel Leaf Stompy and Red-Black Aggro, you have to take a look at Thomas Hendriks’ list, which is the only one in the Top 8 without Heart of Kiran. There’s a small overlap in the sideboard with Karn, Scion of Urza, but you can replace it with Chandra, Torch of Defiance and it won’t make much difference.

R/B Aggro

Thomas Hendriks, Top 8 at PT Dominaria

Mono-White Approach

Raphael Levy, Test Deck

Various Combinations with Fringe Decks

If you look at decks that went 7-3 or better, you’ll find some sweet ones. I’ll try to build some combinations with them.

Mono-Black

Willy Edel, 7-3 at PT Dominaria

Hall-of-Famer Willy Edel chose to sleeve Dread Shade at Pro Tour Dominaria, but didn’t sleeve Cabal Stronghold, which might seem to be the only reason to go mono-black. But apparently having toolbox lands such as Ifnir Deadlands, Scavenger Grounds, Desert of the Glorified, and Memorial to Folly is a better option.

Mono-Black leaves a lot of doors open. You’ll play Mono-Red, since it’s the best deck in the format, and you can decide between U/W Control or Steel Leaf Stompy.

G/W Midrange

Craig Wescoe, 7-3 at PT Dominaria

White aficionado Craig Wescoe sleeved up his favorite cards and pulled out a 7-3 record.

I’m not sure if this deck can ever beat control, but I can see it performing well versus Red.

You can easily pair this deck with Mono-Red and Esper, or R/B and U/W Control, since there’s no overlap other than a single Aether Hub and some Aethersphere Harvesters.

This weekend I’ll be at GP Copenhagen, where I’ll battle Standard yet again. Good luck to everyone playing in a Regional PTQ!

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