The Standard metagame has been clearly established over the past few months, with Rogues, Gruul, and a handful of other decks at the top of the heap. But that could change as Kaldheim lands on our shore of the Multiverse today. How much will Kaldheim shake up Standard? We’ll just have to jump on the Arena ladder and find out!
If you’re looking for a deck to play in the Arena queues this week, I have a couple decks that I think could be exciting starting points. But first, a few disclaimers:
1. I tried to be considerate of wildcards when building some of these decks. This set is extra demanding for wildcards, especially with the Modal Double-Faced Cards.
2. I haven’t played with any of these decks yet! If you find that any of these cards aren’t working for you on ladder, by all means, make some changes. These decks aren’t built to be 100% correct; my main goal is to provide some early builds that might spark some creativity in you.
With that said, let’s get to the decklists!
Updated Mono-Green Food
Starting off our decks today is an updated list from last Standard season. Mono-Green Food was a tier 1.5 deck for the back half of Zendikar Rising Standard, and it has some new tools in Kaldheim that might help cement it as a tier 1 deck.
In Search of Greatness is a card some are calling the next Fires of Invention. While I don’t think it’s quite on that level, it does look like it can slot in nicely into these green decks. Mono-Green is often trying to curve out against opponents, so you need cards like Trail of Crumbs: good mana sinks that allow you to stay high on resources throughout the game. In Search of Greatness allows you to deploy your cards quickly, and it has the added upside of letting you scry into more gas. The scry may seem like a small upside, but in this deck, you often want to make your land drops early and keep the threat of cards going. It might turn out that this card is better in Yorion-style decks, but for now, I think Green looks to be a great home for the card.
The other big get for this deck is Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider. I talked about Vorinclex a few weeks ago and mentioned how naturally it slots into this sort of shell. As the weeks have gone by, that prediction has held true. A real strength of this card is its ability to mess with so many random cards your opponents might be playing, from Elspeth Conquers Death to The Great Henge. I’m a big believer in Vorinclex, and expect it to play a sizable role in Standard.
Blue-Red Dragon Tempo
Rogues was the only tempo deck we’ve seen in Standard for a while, but with Kaldheim’s release, we have a new deck entering the space. Blue-Red Tempo is looking to go a bit bigger than Rogues and abuse some of the more powerful and efficient cards from Kaldheim.
Goldspan Dragon is looking to be the new Nissa, Who Shakes the World in Standard. If Goldspan resolves, it’s very hard to remove from the board, especially in a deck like this. Blue-Red Tempo is flush with two-mana plays, making it very tricky for your opponents to figure out what you’re going for. We also have Gadwick as a way to use any extra treasures we built up so we have a way to refuel.
This deck also leans into a few of the better new foretell cards. Behold the Multiverse gives us a way to punish our opponents if they try to just pass the turn and waste our mana, while Saw it Coming allows for multi-spell turns as the game goes on. Four mana for a counterspell is a lot, but if you can work it in on an early turn, it allows you to build your board while holding up more answers, which is a point these decks love to get to.
This is also our first deck with “Snow matters” cards! Frost Bite is looking to be a powerful removal spell in this format. There are a lot of X/3 creatures in Standard, and a lot of rares in Kaldheim are X/3’s, too. Like Saw it Coming, Frost Bite will help you buy time and keep your opponents from doing what they want.
The other “Snow matters” card is Ascendant Spirit. This card gives us another way to use our mana on turns our opponents try not to play into our answers, and it’s also a threat that can take over the game. Spirit requires a large mana investment, but its cheap mana cost earns it an important slot in the curve and gives it some serious potential in this deck.
Our next deck is for all the aggro players out there. Red-White Warriors has received a bit of support in the last few sets, but now it’s really taking off.
Last week, in my article on the Kaldheim cards that will define Standard, I covered Resplendent Marshal and Sigrid, God-Favored — both of which will be vital to this deck. But there are a couple other Kaldheim cards I mentioned in passing that will also make this deck tick.
Usher of the Fallen has great stats and seems really necessary in Standard right now. The one-drops in Standard have been lacking a bit recently, and this card looks to be fixing that. While a baseline 2/1 isn’t something we would play on its own, Usher’s boast ability got my attention. While slightly overcosted for a 1/1, the “warrior” type will allow this creature to become a 2/2 or even a 3/3 pretty often.
The other major benefit Usher provides is flood protection. Aggressive decks can often flood out a bit in the mid-game and fall behind other decks. Usher allows us to get something on those turns, even if it’s not the most impactful thing in the abstract.
Another important new card for Warriors is Rally the Ranks: a classic anthem card that this deck can maximize. Rally allows us to spend the early turns dumping our hand on the board, then taking big damage swings. It isn’t the flashiest card in the world, but it’s a solid workhorse and a big reason why this deck is even worth considering. The deck has other ways to buff the team with Resplendent Marshal and Kargan Warleader, but these creatures are both easier to remove than something like Rally. (Remember all those X/3 creatures we talked about earlier?)
This deck also gets to use two powerful cards from Zendikar Rising that haven’t seen much play yet. Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients hasn’t had much support in the past few months, but now the kor warrior creature tokens she creates will be much more valuable. Nahiri also allows us to find our second ZNR sleeper card: Maul of the Skyclaves. This equipment stands near shoulder to shoulder with Embercleave, if streamer Ashlizzlle’s success in this season of the Venus and Mercury League is any indication. Its ability to give our creatures evasion is one that this deck really needs, and the fact that it’s easier to cast than Embercleave is another huge point in its favor.
Warriors seems is one of the decks that is easiest to throw together, but it will take some time to refine it and figure out the optimal threats and numbers. That being said, this is a deck I’m keeping my eyes on as this format develops.
Blue-White Yorion Control
Yorion is a card that seemingly gets better with every set added to Standard’s card pool. After all, more cards means less filler and more impactful options.
Blue-White Yorion was a deck that we saw at the beginning of the last season, but it fell off for a few reasons. The deck had a bit too much air and not great mana, but Kaldheim is fixing both of those problems. Now, Blue-White Yorion will have Hengegate Pathway to fix its mana, as well as an excellent foretold package that includes Saw it Coming and Doomskar.
We’ve talked about the most popular new foretell cards a bit in previous weeks, so today, I want to draw attention to an underrated foretell spell for this deck: Ravenform. I expect this card to be a big player in Standard, as it allows us to turn many problematic threats into birds. Great Henge about to out-card your control deck? Turn it into a bird. Embercleave about to hit you for a bunch of damage? Fly away, Embercleave — your opponent has a bird now. Lurrus about to give your Rogues opponent a ton of card advantage? You get the idea.
This deck also gets access to Niko Aris. I wrote about the potential of this card in this shell a few weeks ago, and the more I think about Niko, the more excited I am to play it as a one- or two-of in this deck. The only question you need to ask is, “How many times do you need to flicker a couple key cards before your opponent has no chance of catching up?” I’m fairly certain that three times is often the death knell.
Finally, the sideboard of this deck gets cards like Glorious Protector. While it usually won’t save more than one or two creatures from a board wipe or removal, those one or two creatures are probably vital to your plans. Imagine if you got to rescue Archon of Sun’s Grace and Yorion, and reuse Yorion’s ETB trigger all over again. Sorry, opponents! If nothing else, Glorious Protector gives us a way to switch roles and be the aggressor in certain match-ups. A 3/4 with flash and flying is nothing to laugh at.
Mono-Green Snow Aggro
Rounding out the decklists today is a budget build of Mono-Green Snow. While green midrange decks have seen the most play in Standard recently, it wasn’t too long ago that Mono-Green was an aggro deck. This week, I’m attempting to bring Mono-Green back to its roots by adding aggressive cards like Jorn to the deck. Jorn is a fantastic card in an aggro deck: its ability to untap your lands lets you play pump spells to push through your opponent’s board, or you could just deploy your hand and quickly take over the game.
This deck also gets to play Snakeskin Veil, which is a real upgrade over Ranger’s Guile. Not only does the extra power and toughness stick around, but the counter also blanks any copies of Heartless Act that your opponents may have. And given how prevalent Heartless Act is in Standard these days, Snakeskin Veil is liable to be a real thorn in many of your opponents’ sides.
Mono-Green also gets access to Toski, Bearer of Secrets. Toski hasn’t gotten a lot of love, but it’s a nice threat to have against removal-heavy decks. Anything can block Toski, but your opponents may have few ways to stop it from drawing you cards.
Mono-Green Snow is a simple beatdown deck that won’t break the bank, but it may break your opponents backs as your creatures trample over.
Show Us Your Standard Decks
That’s going to do it for today’s decklists. Hopefully these decks will help you climb the ladder or inspire your next deck-building project.
But I don’t just want to share my decklists with you today — I also want to hear from you! Do you have a favorite Standard deck that you’ll be hitting the ladder with this weekend? Share it with us via this entry form and you’ll have a chance to win $15 in Card Kingdom store credit, plus a chance to have your deck featured in next week’s article! Check out the full terms and conditions here.
Our deck submission contest will be open until Monday, February 1st at 12:00 PM PST. In the meantime, head to MTG Arena and try out some new cards in Standard, and don’t forget to preorder Kaldheim from Card Kingdom!
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.