Preliminary Meta Snapshot: Core Set 19 - July 12th

Is there anything quite as exciting and invigorating as a new set release? The seemingly endless deck building possibilities, new archetypes, old archetypes with new toys and just generally a breath of fresh air in what often seems like a stale format.

To be honest, the last two weeks of Dominaria standard brought quite some experimentation to the MTG: Arena ladder. Temur Ramp, WB Tokens, Jeskai Control and Indomitable Creativity are just some of the decks I’ve seen pop up more than once. Now, with the release of Core Set 2019 I am hoping to see even more of new archetypes and old ones with new techs.

We’ve decided to split the lists between established (some, but not all of which are packing new techs and toys) and new, experimental archetypes that will have to prove their worth in the coming weeks. A full Meta Snapshot with a Tier List and a comprehensive analysis of the meta will be available on the 22nd of July.

The Export Codes will be added with a full snapshot release. The majority of preliminary Meta Snapshot is sampled from MTGO Competitive Standard League and will be updated to MTGA brews with the full release.

Established Archetypes


There’s not a whole lot of new cards being added to the established archetypes. They mostly remain unchanged from the last few months, but might evolve in response to new archetypes or recognition of a sleeper card/synergy with the upcoming paper tournaments. More as a reminder than anything else, here are the established archetypes of MTG’s standard format:

While mono-red aggro doesn’t really get anything with M19, its position as the top dog of the format should remain intact in Bo1 due to its speed and consistency. That being said, decks have already adapted to its dominance and its meta share has dropped significantly in the last days of Dominaria. Are we finally on the brink of its fall from grace?


Sideboard (15)
2 Fight with Fire
2 Glorybringer
4 Chandra's Defeat
3 Heart of Kiran
2 Pia Nalaar
2 Aethersphere Harvester

: 12     : 22     : 14     : 3    



There are generally two ways to deal with Chainwhirler. Either go over it or under it. This variant of mono-red does the latter. Hyper-aggressive by definition, The Flame of Keld aims to unload its hand as quickly as possible and refill it with The Flame of Keldd and/or Bomat Courier.


Sideboard (15)
3 Abrade
3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
3 Banefire
3 Chandra's Defeat
3 Aethersphere Harvester

: 3     : 21     : 17     : 12    



A third red-based aggro on the list trades some of its consistency and speed for a better mid game and sideboard options. The original Rakdos midrange will likely remain unchanged. We've chosen to show a Grixis variant of the list that opts to splash blue for Nicol Bolas, the Ravager and The Scarab God.


Sideboard (15)
2 Hour of Glory
1 Arguel's Blood Fast
1 Magma Spray
2 Negate
3 Chandra's Defeat
3 Jace's Defeat
3 Duress

: 9     : 38     : 16     : 7    



This deck focuses on one-for one trading to slow down creature based decks in the early game, and multiple ways to gain card advantage and establish dominance in the mid-game through The Scarab God and Torrential Gearhulks. The Esper variant splashes white for Teferi, Hero of Dominaria.


Sideboard (15)
1 Fumigate
2 Approach of the Second Sun
2 Arguel's Blood Fast
2 Negate
1 Forsake the Worldly
1 Hieroglyphic Illumination
1 Cast Down
3 Duress
2 Settle the Wreckage

: 9     : 37     : 14     : 8    



The draw-go control list of the format aims to survive the early game through 1-for-1 trades until it stabilizes, generally through a board wipe in the mid game. After establishing a lockdown with Teferi, the deck generally wins through Gideon, Lyra or Torrential Gearhulk beatdown, or especially in Bo1, Approach of the Second Sun.


Sideboard (15)
1 Glimmer of Genius
1 Forsake the Worldly
3 History of Benalia
2 Lyra Dawnbringer
2 Torrential Gearhulk
4 Negate
2 Sorcerous Spyglass

: 11     : 23     : 17     : 9    



Winding Constrictor lays coiled at the heart of this deck. With the possibility of extremely explosive starts, solid mid game and even late game potential, this deck remained a viable aggro/midrange option all throughout the Dominaria Standard. It’s main issues are the vulnerability to board wipes and the counter-synergy it has with Soul-Scar Mage/Goblin Chainwhirler Combo when facing Red-based aggro.


Sideboard (15)
2 Shapers' Sanctuary
1 Vraska's Contempt
3 Lifecrafter's Bestiary
1 Aethersphere Harvester
4 Duress
2 Fatal Push
2 Vraska, Relic Seeker

: 6     : 31     : 16     : 12    



The aggressive cousin of UB Control was left on the sidetracks in the early Dominaria Standard but literally exploded in popularity after its performance at GP Pittsbourgh. Relying on its aggressive starts and incredible mid-late game, Dimir Midrange can pose a threat to Aggro and Control Decks alike. It’s slightly less reliable in Bo1 as two of the stars of the deck (Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Champion of Wits) are absolute bombs against control and a huge liability against Goblin Chainwhirler. With an abundance of ways to splash red, Nicol Bolas will inevitably find its home in this deck as well.


Sideboard (15)
2 Cast Down
1 Never /// Return
1 Arguel's Blood Fast
2 Yahenni's Expertise
3 Gifted Aetherborn
3 Negate
3 Duress
2 Essence Extraction

: 12     : 33     : 19     : 5    



Not unlike Dimir Midrange, God-Pharaoh’s Gift gained in popularity after its GPG victory in Singapour and Top-8 in Pittsburgh. This reanimator-style control deck performs exceptionally well in Bo1, especially after Abrades lost on popularity in red-based aggro.


Sideboard (15)
2 Authority of the Consuls
1 Fumigate
2 Exclusion Mage
1 Search for Azcanta
2 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
3 Negate
2 Jace's Defeat
2 Lyra Dawnbringer

: 8     : 28     : 27     : 0    



Mono-Green in Bo1 and Golgari in Bo3, Stompy is one of the few aggro decks that can race the mono-red. Based around Ghalta, Primal Hunger, Llanowar Elves and Steel Leaf Champion, this deck has an immense blow out potential but sometimes falls victim to removal and bad draws.


Sideboard (15)
1 Swamp
2 Hour of Glory
2 Naturalize
4 Deathgorge Scavenger
4 Doomfall
2 Nissa, Vital Force

: 6     : 30     : 20     : 6    



Increasingly more popular towards the end of Dominaria Standard, Jeskai Control is basically an Izzet control with a white splash for Teferi. It trades some of the power in control mirrors for quick and reliable answers to creatures in form of burn spells, Sweltering Suns and Hour of Devastation. It can prove to be a tough nut to crack even for dedicated creatureless control post-board as well.


Sideboard (15)
2 Vizier of Many Faces
2 Abrade
3 Walking Ballista
2 Negate
2 Chandra's Defeat
2 Jace's Defeat
1 Forsake the Worldly
1 Seal Away

: 7     : 27     : 26     : 7    



An ever-evolving archetype grow vastly in popularity after it’s solid performance at the US nationals, and will hopefully see a lot more play come M19. Hour of Promise, Sifter Wurm, Spring /// Mind and Grow from the Ashes are the core of the deck, alongside red removal. The deck has several different ways to take the game; be it Wurm beatdown, Zombie Swarm or even milling through Ipnu Rivulet.


Sideboard (15)
3 Glorybringer
3 Carnage Tyrant
3 Magma Spray
3 Sorcerous Spyglass
2 Negate
1 Chandra's Defeat

: 3     : 32     : 16     : 12    





Experimental Archetypes


This section I am rather excited about. Although some of these might be returning archetypes from pre-Dominaria days, I am no less thrilled to tinker with them and watch them evolve into what I hope will be a couple solid standard decks.

I’ve always had a thing for MTG Zombies and it’s no wonder I was as giddy as a puppy with sausage when Death Baron and Graveyard Marshal were spoiled for Core 19. I’m certain with the addition of them and Diregraf Ghoul, zombies will be chomping some brains both in MTG: Arena and the upcoming paper tournaments.


Sideboard (15)
1 Liliana, Untouched by Death
2 The Eldest Reborn
1 Sorcerous Spyglass
2 Ruin Raider
2 Doomfall
1 Plague Mare
1 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
2 Cast Down
3 Duress

: 2     : 28     : 21     : 3    



Though not quite as powerful as zombies, there are now enough elves in Standard to create a tribal variant of Steel Leaf stompy. Elven Clancaller, a GG elven lord, Steel Leaf Champion and Rishkar will likely work together to summon Ghalta and simultaneously pressure the opponent. Will it be enough to go through all the trouble? We will see.


Sideboard (15)
2 Duress
2 Vivien Reid
1 Swamp
2 Naturalize
4 Doomfall
2 Hour of Glory
2 Blossoming Defense

: 4     : 33     : 15     : 12    



Leaving zombies aside, Stitcher’s Supplier was the card I was most excited to see in Core 19. This 1/1 for B might single handedly push the UB God-Pharaoh’s Gift side by side with the UW variant. Though Gate to the Afterlife is somewhat trickier to make work than Refurbish, this little bugger might just make it worth the trouble.


Sideboard (15)
2 Vraska's Contempt
4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
2 Yahenni's Expertise
3 Duress
3 Fatal Push
1 The Scarab God

: 2     : 28     : 33     : 3    



Of all the Elder Dragons, Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is the only one I was certain will find a home in constructed. A 4/4 flier for 4 that will almost always go two for one is well worth the trouble of splashing a third color. Unlike Dimir Midrange with a splash, this deck trades some of the mana consistency and speed for the absolute best of all three colors.


Sideboard (15)
1 Abrade
1 Arguel's Blood Fast
3 Negate
3 Chandra's Defeat
1 Glimmer of Genius
3 Duress
2 Confiscation Coup
1 Torrential Gearhulk

: 11     : 33     : 21     : 6    



With an abundance of new and old-new weenies (Mentor of the Meek, Militia Bugler…) that survive the big bad goblin, WW was inevitable. We will see how the deck navigates the meta, but I remain optimistic about its future.


Sideboard (15)
1 Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
2 Baird, Steward of Argive
2 Ixalan's Binding
1 Kinjalli's Sunwing
1 Dusk /// Dawn
2 Key to the City
2 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Forsake the Worldly
1 Karn, Scion of Urza
2 Seal Away

: 6     : 19     : 28     : 5    



Orzhov Knights is an archetypes that’s tried to break out a few times during the Dominaria-Standard already, but never with much success. We will see if Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants and Valiant Knight are enough to help the Benalian Cavalry break into the meta.


Sideboard (15)
1 Cast Out
2 Arguel's Blood Fast
4 Duress
1 Thopter Arrest
4 Remorseful Cleric
3 Settle the Wreckage

: 9     : 26     : 28     : 4    



Goblins share their fate with Elves. Every iteration of the deck I’ve tried simply feels like a watered down version of their goodstuff alternative, in this case RDW. Ironically, in addition to simply being worse than the RDW, goblins are weak to Goblin Chainwhirler, making them a risky choice at best.


Sideboard (15)
3 Abrade
3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
3 Banefire
3 Chandra's Defeat
3 Aethersphere Harvester

: 3     : 18     : 21     : 10    




Archives:

Title Category Published Patch
Meta Snapshot: Core Set 2019 Meta Snapshot II August 05, 2018 v786_640159
Meta Snapshot: Core Set 2019 Meta Snapshot July 22, 2018 v786_640159
Preliminary Meta Snapshot: Core Set 19 Preliminary Snapshot July 12, 2018 v786_640159
Meta Snapshot: Kaladesh Snapshot II July 01, 2018 v744_635428
Meta Snapshot: Kaladesh Snapshot I June 17, 2018 v727_633495
Preliminary Snapshot: Kaladesh Preliminary Snapshot June 07, 2018 v727_633495
Snapshot - Dominaria III Snapshot III June 03, 2018 v667_618725
Snapshot - Dominaria II Snapshot II May 20, 2018 v667_618725
Snapshot - Dominaria I Snapshot I May 06, 2018 v667_618725
Preliminary Snapshot - Dominaria Preliminary Snapshot April 26, 2018 v667_618725
Meta-Snapshot II Snapshot II April 16, 2018 v607_607936
Preliminary Meta-Snapshot Preliminary/Snapshot April 01, 2018 v607_604597

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