Oko Banned in Standard

Chantelle Campbell Standard

Oko, Thief of Crowns? Out. Once Upon a Time? Not anytime soon. Veil of Summer? So last season. 

With Monday’s Banned and Restricted announcement, some of the biggest players in Standard have been overthrown, opening up a wide world of deck-building possibilities. Artifacts and powerful creatures that Oko has turned into elk are viable again; more aggressive strategies can better exploit decks that could previously dig for answers with Once Upon a Time. Even control strategies gain ground by not having to worry about Veil of Summer as an answer to every counterspell they cast. 

In light of these major shakeups, I wanted to break down the decks that gain the most ground (and some potential new approaches) in this bold new Standard format. 

Fires of Invention

Jeskai and Grixis Fires of Invention lists were already quite popular before the ban list updates, and they lost nothing on Monday. I anticipate that these decks will only increase in popularity — at least in the short term, until the rest of the field can find its footing against them. 

Jeskai Fires

Mythic Championship VI, (7-3) – Grzegorz Kowalski

2 Aether Gust
4 Cavalier of Flame
2 Cavalier of Gales
4 Deafening Clarion
2 Drawn from Dreams
4 Fae of Wishes
4 Fires of Invention
2 Kenrith, the Returned King
2 Prison Realm
4 Teferi, Time Raveler
1 Sphinx of Foresight
2 Time Wipe
4 Hallowed Fountain
2 Fabled Passage
2 Castle Vantress
2 Island
2 Mountain
1 Plains
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Steam Vents
3 Temple of Epiphany
3 Temple of Triumph

Sideboard:
2 Brazen Borrower
1 Casualties of War
1 Chandra, Awakened Inferno
2 Disenchant
1 Enter the God-Eternals
1 Garruk, Cursed Huntsman
3 Mystical Dispute
1 Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God
1 Planewide Celebration
1 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Time Wipe

Rakdos and Mardu Knights

Mardu Knights cleaved onto the scene at Mythic Championship V, and recent updates to the list have seen white shaved completely. With the raw power of Rotting Regisaur and Embercleave, the Knights deck has solidified itself as the aggressive strategy of the format. With Oko gone, Knights players no longer have to worry about having their Regisaurs turned into 3/3 elk; and without Once Upon a Time, opposing midrange decks are more likely to stumble.

Rakdos Knights

Mythic Championship VI, (6-4) – Willy Edel

4 Blacklance Paragon
3 Drill Bit
4 Embercleave
4 Fervent Champion
4 Gutterbones
4 Knight of the Ebon Legion
3 Oathsworn Knight
2 Rimrock Knight
4 Rotting Regisaur
4 Stormfist Crusader
10 Swamp
4 Tournament Grounds
4 Blood Crypt
6 Mountain

Sideboard:
2 Bedevil
1 Cavalier of Night
3 Duress
2 Embereth Shieldbreaker
1 Epic Downfall
2 Legion’s End
2 Massacre Girl
2 Noxious Grasp

Cauldron Familiar

We saw this cat come back the very next day (or turn) as it broke onto the scene at Mythic Championship VI alongside Witch’s Oven and Massacre Girl. Brewers continue to iterate on this deck, bringing in cards like Doom Foretold, Mayhem Devil, and even Brawl all-star Korvold, Fae-Cursed King. Massacre Girl, Cauldron Familiar, and a pantry full of food can easily clear a clogged up board, and cards that benefit from that synergy like Midnight Reaper, Trail of Crumbs, and The Great Henge will surely see play in the coming weeks. 

Rakdos Sacrifice

Mythic Championship VI, (7-3) – Fernando Avitua Varela

3 Angrath’s Rampage
4 Cauldron Familiar
2 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame
4 Claim the Firstborn
3 Gutterbones
1 Lazotep Reaver
4 Mayhem Devil
3 Midnight Reaper
4 Witch’s Oven
2 Plaguecrafter
4 Priest of Forgotten Gods
2 Rankle, Master of Pranks
6 Swamp
4 Blood Crypt
3 Castle Locthwain
7 Mountain
4 Fabled Passage

Sideboard:
2 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame
3 Drill Bit
3 Duress
4 Noxious Grasp
3 Redcap Melee

Simic Flash

Veil of Summer was a bane to the flashiest deck in the format, invalidating Sinister Sabotages and rendering Frilled Mystics all but useless. While the deck does lose some consistency with the banning of Once Upon a Time, it gains so much more in not having to constantly play around a one mana answer to all of its plans. 

Simic Flash

Twitch Rivals – Jessica Estephan

4 Spectral Sailor
4 Opt
4 Unsummon
4 Brineborn Cutthroat
3 Wildborn Preserver
4 Quench
2 Essence Capture
4 Brazen Borrower
2 Mystical Dispute
3 Sinister Sabotage
4 Nightpack Ambusher
4 Frilled Mystic
1 Castle Vantress
7 Island
6 Forest
4 Breeding Pool
4 Temple of Mystery

Sideboard:
2 Aether Gust
1 Disdainful Stroke
2 Negate
2 Return to Nature
2 Mystical Dispute
2 Pulse of Murasa
2 Questing Beast
2 Shifting Ceratops

Dance of the Manse

Dance of the Manse decks were among the many strategies that struggled with Oko, Thief of Crowns. With the troublesome trickster fae in the rearview mirror, this deck has the opportunity to shine with a deterministic game plan all its own. Doom Foretold can help keep the board clean with a bunch of eggs — Golden Eggs and Guild Globes, to be exact — to sacrifice to the enchantment. Eventually, Dance of the Manse will return those Golden Eggs, Guild Globes, and Oaths of Kaya to the battlefield as an army of 4/4 creatures. 

Esper Dance

Mythic Championship VI, (6-4) – Zach Allen

3 Dance of the Manse
4 Doom Foretold
4 Golden Egg
4 Guild Globe
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Kaya’s Wrath
1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General
3 Noxious Grasp
3 Oath of Kaya
3 Prison Realm
2 Sorcerous Spyglass
4 Teferi, Time Raveler
3 Temple of Silence
4 Watery Grave
1 Castle Ardenvale
1 Castle Locthwain
1 Castle Vantress
2 Swamp
2 Plains
1 Island
3 Fabled Passage
3 Godless Shrine

Sideboard:
2 Cry of the Carnarium
1 Dawn of Hope
2 Despark
1 Devout Decree
2 Dovin’s Veto
2 Duress
1 Ethereal Absolution
1 Sorcerous Spyglass
3 Thought Erasure

Conclusion

While we’ve covered a lot of up-and-coming decks here, there’s also plenty of room to update existing strategies. Sultai Food may be able to leverage Savvy Hunter in place of Oko, and Simic Ramp decks with Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Mass Manipulation will likely continue to be back-breaking. There are also plenty of completely new strategies that were being stomped out by Oko and Once Upon a Time. Only the coming weeks will show just how crazy and exciting this bold new world of Standard is going to be. 

**Author’s note: Sideboard quantities for Mythic Championship decklists were not published; quantities noted here are estimates.