MOM Standard Deck Results

March of the Machine: Standard Deck Results

Mason ClarkStandard

While all competitive eyes are looking at Pioneer for the regional championships, some players have lamented that such a great Standard format is just going to be ignored. I agree it’s a shame, so today we are taking a quick look at some of the Standard decks that have jumped out as both exciting and innovating in a big way. 

Boros Etali 

The mono-white control deck was one of the most popular decks going into the RC in San Diego. While it didn’t crack the top 8, it did put up impressive results. A few players had championed some new versions of the deck. Autumn Burchett had promoted a white-black build of the deck which looked to use Kaya to go over top of the mirrors. While Sam Black promoted a version he called “spicy mayo” which leaned into red for Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Bitter Reunion. This allowed the deck to convert the extra lands into spells and keep up the constant churn. Both good, solid lists that definitely had people thinking and was always going to open the door in the new set to expand on those ideas. Then we got a new spicy toy from March of the Machine: Etali, Primal Conqueror

This card was passed over by most in preview season. Just a card that looks amazing for  Commander and really impactful in Limited. However, some players saw just how strong this card could be in the white shell as a way to go over the top of the opponent. Etali has its powerful card advantage mode that will allow you to get meaningfully ahead in matchups where card advantage matters, and in games where both players can stall the board out, the transformation to basically a Blightsteel Colossus means this card will always win the long, grindy games. Etali is like a castable Atraxa, and this won’t be the last we see of this card this weekend! 

This deck also has another new card: Guardian of Ghriapur. This Flickerwisp variant allows for tons of value in this deck. While yes, it does wombo-combo with Etali, it also has plenty of other small synergies that allow you to get some value with this card. From Spirited Companion to the Citizens Crowbar, lots of small synergies on a solid body. 

Mono Red

Very few things are as reliable as week-one Standard results and mono-red doing well. 

This deck looks very similar to the mono-red decks we have seen before the release of March of the Machine. Just solid creatures and burn spells, a recipe for just running people over. However, this deck did get some toys that can help. 

The first is Khenra Spellspear. A creature we talked a lot about during preview season for Pioneer and maybe Modern. It’s showing up here where the removal is much more forgiving then Modern, meaning it’s ward 2 is actually a much more impactful line of text. 

Bloodfeather Phoenix is the other two-drop this deck got from March of the Machine and another one I expect to show up in Pioneer, where there are more burn spells. However, it makes perfect sense in Standard, where you might not have as many burn spells to be bringing it back but that’s okay, as games in Standard go much longer than the average Pioneer game. So you can expect it to work out where you have more time to find the burn spell you need. 

Finally the last thing here helps with the previous card in various ways: Sword of Once and Future. This card is going to not only surveil away your Bloodfeather Phoenixes, but also give you a rebuy on all your burn spells. That is some serious late game power in a Standard format. It’s also worth noting that currently in Standard Grixsis, Esper, and Rakdos are three of the best decks, all leaning on the powerful black removal spells that this sword will invalidate. While Sword of Forge and Frontier might draw you more cards, it currently just doesn’t line up as well with the colors being played, but this might all change as both the meta does and the format rotates. 

Rakdos Reanimator Etali 

Rakdos reanimator was not only the winning deck from the American RC, but also the second place deck with another copy in top 8. Needless to say, that is an impressive showing. 

This deck was excelling at taking advantage of Esper, Rakdos midrange, and Grixis midrange. The deck presented a powerful game plan backed up by the game ending power of Atraxa. While incredibly powerful, Atraxa does put some heavy restraints on your mana, and casting her in general can be a really challenging task. 

This has led to some players exploring Etali again. Here is my variation on the deck, Etali being a thing you can reanimate that is both powerful but also easily castable. Etali doesn’t take over the game as instantly as Atraxa, but does do a good job of threading the needle of high-impact and a card we can realistically cast. 

This build is also exploring more dragons to help enable Invasion of Tarkir. This Invasion has been pegged by many to be one of the most powerful, since its baseline is quite good. This deck looks like a great place to explore it. The extra dragons are both great midrange threats but also help cast our reanimate targets. Junji, the Midnight Sky is also just playing as another way to reanimate our threats or run them low on resources, but is a great card that has been under-explored and might finally be getting its time in the sun. 

End step

Standard might not be the RC format right now, but it’s still very fun, and only has more exciting cards added to the format with March of the Machine.