When Wizards of the Coast moved their latest Banned and Restricted List update up to October 21st, Magic players knew that change was coming – most likely in Standard. As many suspected, Field of the Dead has earned a spot on the Standard banned list due to its warping effect on the format. Bant Golos decks thrived in midrange mirrors where they could stall out the game with legions of zombie tokens, and players had to resort to hyper-aggressive strategies (like Javier Dominguez’s Mythic Championship-winning Gruul deck) in order to beat it. For the sake of Standard’s health, Field of the Dead had to go.
With Golos decks effectively out of the picture, how will Standard evolve? Let’s look at some of the other players in the format and see where they’ll be when the dust settles.
Get Ready for a Food Fight
Simic Food was one of the most dominant decks at Mythic Championship V, and it’s an early frontrunner for best deck in the new metagame. As we saw all weekend long, this deck can ramp into threats quickly, gum up the ground with 3/3’s, and generate massive card advantage with Hydroid Krasis.
While Oko and Nissa are undeniably powerful, this deck’s composition may need to change as the format evolves. Will Questing Beast stay relevant in a world with fewer 2/2 zombies? Will Simic Food still be the most popular version of the deck, or will Bant builds with Deputy of Detention break the mirror? One thing’s for certain: expect to see lots of elk and food tokens at your next Magic tournament.
Adapting Aggro Decks
Aggro decks, such as Gruul and Mono-Red, preyed on Bant Golos, but it’ll be hard for them to maintain their standing in the new metagame. Oko’s high loyalty allows him to survive most attacks, and the food tokens he creates can buffer a player’s life total. “Deal 20 damage as quickly as possible” wasn’t the most reliable game plan last week, and it’ll be even harder now.
Instead, creature-based decks may need to take a page out of Bant Golos’s book: against Simic Food, going wide beats going fast. Green/White tokens decks are looking more competitive, so pick up a few copies of March of the Multitudes, if you need them.
More Decks to Watch
With Field of the Dead out of the picture, we also expect to see some control decks make a comeback. Here are three that we’re keeping an eye on:
Esper Dance of the Manse decks dominated early Standard, but fell out of favor as Bant Golos gained popularity. While Golos decks could rebuild instantly after a Kaya’s Wrath, the same can’t be said for other midrange decks in Standard.
Golos Fires may have lost some key pieces, but Fires of Invention + Fae of Wishes is still a potent combination. If Planeswalker battles become a hallmark of the new format, the player who can tutor for the right answers from their sideboard is likely to come out ahead.
Temur Reclamation has been gaining metagame share in the past few weeks, and the deck may be poised for a comeback. While Nexus of Fate is no longer an option, this deck can still generate boatloads of mana on the end step with Wilderness Reclamation to power out a huge Explosion. If it can answer Teferi, Time Raveler and dodge aggressive match-ups, Temur Reclamation just might be a player in the new Standard format.
The Banned and Restricted List update goes into effect on MTG Arena tomorrow and at local game stores this Friday. What will you be playing this weekend? Let us know on Twitter at @Card_Kingdom!
Hallie is the Content Manager for CardKingdom.com and editor-in-chief of the Card Kingdom Blog. Part tournament grinder, part content creator, Hallie is always looking for ways to improve her game and to share what she learns with others.