Imagine a world with no adventures — no Bonecrusher Giants killing your two-drops, no Brazen Borrowers unsummoning your big creatures. There are no Emergent Ultimatums to just end the game, and not a Rogue in sight. Well, it turns out this isn’t a dream — it’s real life in the 2022 Standard queues!
MTG Arena has launched a new event where you can only play with cards that will be legal in Standard post-rotation. This has been a saving grace for many players who are looking for a shakeup in Standard. It also gives us a chance to get a glimpse of cards’ power level without the high power of Throne of Eldraine overshadowing them. Today, we’re going to go over three decks you can play in the queues and some lessons I’ve learned from playing them.
But first, it’s worth noting that, at time of writing, the 2022 Standard queue only uses Best of One games. While all these decks have sideboards, you won’t be able to access those cards without the learn mechanic. These decks might struggle more in a ladder environment since they can’t pivot post-board, but they should still give you a good idea of what cards will be strong after rotation.
These decks have been doing well in the 2022 event and have established themselves as the de facto control decks of the new format . The blue-black shell has some powerful walkers to end the game, including Mordenkainen and Professor Onyx — and while they cost a lot of mana, they do take over games when they resolve on empty boards. Multiple copies of board wipes like Shadows’ Verdict and Crippling Fear make it hard for any deck to get traction. Then, you have Blood on the Snow, which serves as not only extra copies of these walkers, but a way to have a huge swing in the game. The deck is also chock full of removal spells, making it incredibly hard for opponents in the late game to stabilize via creatures.
That said, this deck seems like it will have a hard time against any other control deck or a noncreature combo deck. The format seems to be mostly about creature decks, though, and as long as that’s the angle of attack, this deck looks to be a serious player.
Well, this is awkward. Isn’t this just a Standard deck? If that was your first thought upon seeing this decklist, you’re correct! The only thing this deck really loses from rotation is some Brazen Borrowers and Bonecrusher Giants.
So, is this the best deck in the format? It’s hard to know. In situations like this, people tend to say things like, “Well, it’s a top deck that survives rotation. It must be broken.” But that’s not how Magic tends to work.
Magic is a game of context. Cards can be abstractly powerful — or powerful in a certain format — but incredibly weak in some situations. This is because cards are judged based on how they relate to and play against other cards. So while Izzet Dragons may be the best deck in current Standard, we’ll have to wait and see if it holds up once Innistrad: Midnight Hunt comes out.
That being said, there are some really strong components of this deck. Goldspan Dragon is still a great finisher that allows you to start taking over without lowering the shields too much. Expressive Iteration and Behold the Multiverse let you access cards that matter more often than other decks. Meanwhile, you have Frost Bite and Dragon’s Fire to control the board against opposing creature threats.
There are a lot of great things about this deck, but it does struggle against decks like Blue-Black Control. The threats are a little too expensive to get under them, and they have such a glut of answers. People are trying Iymrith in these decks in response, and while I’m not a huge fan, I definitely see the appeal. I think a deck like this would benefit more from another cheap flash threat; even a card like Dragon Turtle might be a great fit here, as it’s hard for most removal to answer it.
Time will tell how this deck ends up, but if you’re looking to keep playing with your Izzet Dragons cards, this deck is for you.
My early frontrunner for favorite/best deck in the 2022 format is Mono-Green. This deck does a great job of curving out, and it also has some reasonable tools to go long. This is thanks in big part to Ranger Class, which serves as both a threat and a source of card advantage in this deck.
I admit this deck doesn’t do anything too special, but that’s okay. While the deck can be weak to all the board wipes that Blue-Black Control plays, you can usually play through spot removal pretty easily.
It feels like I’m always advocating for green beatdown decks, and that’s with good reason. They are often much better than they’re given credit for, and they really put other decks in the format to the test by demanding the right answer at the right time.
2022 Standard is a fun and diverse format. We covered the most popular decks today, but there are plenty more to choose from; you’ll find everything from Mono-White Control to Rakdos Treasure Aggro. If you’re looking to play a unique format and see how some of your favorite cards play in a different context, you should give this format a try!
What have you liked the most in 2022 Standard? Tweet at @masoneclark and @card_kingdom and let us know!
Mason Clark is a grinder in every corner of the game who has played at the pro level and on the SCG Tour with Team Nova. Whether he’s competing in Standard, Historic or Modern, Mason plays with one goal in mind: to be a better player than he was the day before. Check out his podcast, Constructed Criticism, and catch his streams on Twitch.