Innistrad: Crimson Vow is out this Friday, but we’ve already had a week to play with the new cards on Magic Online and MTG Arena. While the Standard format is still shaping up, two decks are rising to the top of the metagame. These are decks that you must be able to beat at this point in the format’s lifecycle — or you should be playing one of these decks yourself. Let’s take a look!
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Blue-Red is back and dominating the Standard format. But this time, we’re not taking all the turns; instead, we’re rocking the boat with Hullbreaker Horror.
Hullbreaker allows this deck to stabilize and quickly close the game out against decks like Mono-Green. It also circumvents most of the hate from decks like Blue-Black and makes it hard for your opponents to resolve a spell or stick a creature. I truly think that Hullbreaker adds a whole new level of power to this deck. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s more powerful than ever before.
Of course, the deck wouldn’t be where it is today without acceleration from Prismari Command and Unexpected Windfall. Those cards did a great job in the old Blue-Red decks, but now you’re accelerating into a card like Hullbreaker, which is almost impossible to kill. It actually puts even more pressure on cards like Divide By Zero, since it’s the only answer that works for Hullbreaker on the stack. I could see more decks adopting cards like Divide by Zero for this reason.
We’re still in the early days of the format and players are just starting to adapt to Hullbreaker, but I think this card might end up breaking the Blue-Red deck.
Mono-White has been around for a while, but it got two huge buffs with Crimson Vow.
The first is Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Thalia is another solid two-drop play for this deck, which is huge for its curve. Mono-White’s one- and three-drop slots have always been full of great options, but Luminarch Aspirant was the only strong two-drop the deck had. Thalia increases your likelihood of curving out while preventing your spell-based opponents from doing the same.
The other big buff this deck got was actually the release of Hullbreaker Horror. Hullbreaker turns Blue-Red’s match-up against Green from a struggle to a bye most of the time, so Blue-Red players are going all-in on the card. But this change to their game plan makes Blue-Red more susceptible to the go-wide strategy Mono-White is trying to present. Now that they’re dropping Alrund’s Epiphany, Blue-Red decks can’t just make a few blockers and have Lier clean up the rest.
Mono-White’s match-up against Mono-Green is also looking up. The two decks have had a fairly even match-up for a while now, but Green has had slightly stronger cards. Unfortunately for Green players, many of those strong cards are noncreature spells — like Esika’s Chariot, Wrenn and Seven, and Ranger Class — and Thalia will easily get in the way. This is the worst position Green has been in for a while, and it will need to adapt or risk disappearing from the metagame.
The Standard metagame is still coming together, and the sky isn’t falling yet, even if you’re a Mono-Green player. But if you’re looking to win games of Standard in the next few weeks, these decks are public enemy number one.
Have a deck you’re dominating with? Tweet at @masoneclark and let me know — your deck might end up in a future article!
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.