Thursday, June 7th is probably the most important date for MTG: Arena thus far.
With the addition of Kaladesh and Aether Revolt, our Ranked Constructed will finally include the full paper standard card pool, a functioning Bo3 event, and the much needed banlist.
Standard is a rotating format currently containing the following sets:
- Rivals of Ixalan
- Hour of Devastation
- Aether Revolt
Core 2019 will be added in July and then we’ll finally see the rotation in October, with the release of Guilds of Ravnica and removal of the Kaladesh and Amonkhet blocks. The current banlist stands as follows:
- Aetherworks Marvel
- Smuggler's Copter
- Felidar Guardian
- Attune with Aether
- Rogue Refiner
- Rampaging Ferocidon
- Ramunap Ruins
Kaladesh is a plane is of artificial wonder. Natural mages are exceptionally rare and fire magic is even punishable by death. Magic is instead substituted by Aether fueled machines, making the block very heavily artifact themed. It’s no wonder some of the most sought after cards in the set are therefore artifacts.
The metagame in current full standard is heavily polarized. Much like the current MTGA meta, red based aggro decks with Goblin Chainwhirler are dominating, with the rest of the decks trailing more or less behind. Goblin Chainwhirler and Walking Ballista have all but prevented all the 1 toughness creatures from ever being played, making white token and green ramp strategies more or less unplayable. Midrange sees some play in full standard, mostly in the shapes of GB Constrictor and RB/WB Aggro, but they are mostly built in a way that sacrifices efficiency against control for the upper hand in aggro/midrange mirrors.
The biggest differences we expect to see between the paper and MTG: Arena metagames will be in the Best of One format. The latter is even heavier polarized towards heavy control and hyper aggro decks, as Midrange variants have trouble executing their pseudo-hybrid gameplans before sideboarding. The Bo3 event metagame will be defined by experienced players familiar with the building and use of sideboard, both difficult building skills that are hard to adopt from netdecking and guides. That will be further emphasised by the fact that MTG: Arena’s metagame will likely be a week or so ahead of paper magic and trailing slightly behind MTG: Online. The decks in preliminary snapshot are adopted from the high-finishing Pro Tour and other tournaments and credited accordingly. The decks in the upcoming full Meta Snapshot will be once again brewed by master players in MTG: Arena.
The undisputed king of MTGA for the last couple months is going to remain dominant. Goblin Chainwhirler, Hazoret and other aggressive, mana efficient creatures solidify the ironclad curve that is not only hard to disrupt on the draw, but can easily blow out its opponents on the play. The mono-red variant differs from its Rakdos cousin in its reach ability that remains scary in spite of being affected by the Ramunap Ruins ban. The addition of Shock, Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Kari-Zev more than compensate for it.
This variant sacrifices some of the speed and tenacity of Mono-Red aggro for additional control. As the mainboard rarely runs more than a few black cards, I don’t expect Rakdos to be very popular in the Bo1 ladder in MTGA, but will likely be very popular in Bo3. The addition of black opens incredible sideboard potential through hand disruption and removal, while the Scrapheap Scrounger alone justifies the addition of the black mana in the mainboard.
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is an incredible card, and the players at Pro Tour Dominaria recognized that, painting a huge target on the archetype’s back. The addition of Torrential Gearhulk, Fumigate, and Disallow are a large buff to the most popular control deck in MTGA, but whether the players will adapt and overcome the insane potency of red-based aggro decks remains to be seen. The main difference between UW in Bo1 and Bo3 is the win condition. Approach of the Second Sun is a decent card in a Bo1 environment but becomes a liability when the opponents have access to sideboard. One of the options to circumvent it is either siding them out for game two and possibly three, or only running them in the sideboard.
Dimir and Esper Control decks are quite literally the same, the latter splashing white for Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. The Scarab God and Torrential Gearhulk are generally the sole creatures in the deck, whilst the rest consists of various removals, counterspells, and card draw. Glimmer of Genius is an incredible tool to dig for your answers, while the addition of Fatal Push allows for an easier way to deal with aggressive archetypes. It’s noteworthy to consider the value of counterspells vs removal when sideboarding for game two, the former being better on the play whilst losing a lot of value on the draw.
Although Golgari aggro/midrange variants didn’t perform incredibly well, they remain the best shell for the green mages and are showing a lot of promise in MTG: Online. This archetype was not uncommon in MTGA prior to the addition of Kaladesh, but is one of those that benefits the most with it. Winding Constrictor doesn’t only play well and ties together the +1/+1 counter synergy, but more or less sends it into overdrive. Walking Ballista, Verdurous Gearhulk, and the ability to sideboard ungodly amounts of premium removal make this deck a real pain for other midrange and aggro decks to deal with, and the Blossoming Defense assists greatly against control.
This stompy deck remains largely the same as it was in the last month of Dominaria, although it does get a couple sexy new toys. Heart of Kiran and Blossoming Defense improve the matchups against Control, and allows them to stand up against Red-based aggro a little better. Much like GB Constrictor, this deck can have some difficulty ending games against control archetypes, but always threatens a quick blow-out with a decent hand.
White-black aggro was all the rage in the first few weeks after Dominaria’s hit, and rightfully so. With a very fast curve, efficient early game and powerful removal, these aggressive midrange decks use a combination of Dominarian Knights and Kaladesh Vehicles to pressure the opponent and use Karn, Scion of Urza and his Constructs to not run out of steam and seal the game. The sideboard gives Orzhov vehicles a lot of room for answers to anything they might run into, and allow for an almost full transition into a control deck.
UB midrange has all but disappeared from MTGA’s metagame towards the end of May, but will likely gain back a lot of popularity with the addition of Fatal Push, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, and Gifted Aetherborn. Not only do they improve the matchup against aggro by a ton, these cards allow UB to create real pressure versus control. The deck is much faster, meaner and resilient than it was, and Scarab Daddy finally reunite with his Torrential friend, allowing them to wreak havoc in both Bo1 and Bo3. Sideboard allows them to defend against control with Negate, hand disruption, and Sorcerous Spyglass, without having to concede game one to aggro.
The Simic artifact deck was definitely one of the highlights of the Pro Tour for me personally. The deck itself functions very similar to Orzhov vehicles, using the synergy between Karn’s constructs and other artifacts. Instead of the premium removal offered by white and black, this archetype focuses on card advantage through artifact recursion using Scrap Trawler and the +1/+1 counter synergy with Walking Ballista. The deck is definitely a work of art and personally reminds me of the Modern Eggs in some obscure way.
God-Pharaoh's Gift finally got access to all its support cards. The best available variant is ironically no longer one of the red-based ones, but rather the UW Refurbish version. Angel of Invention and Minister of Inquiries are the two biggest additions to the archetype other than Refurbish. This variant can consistently dig and tutor for their key cards whilst filling the graveyard simultaneously. The deck is somewhat resilient to disruption and has several ways to refill their life total in both mainboard and sideboard. That said, it remains vulnerable to extreme aggression and denial of key pieces. It’s relatively easy to hate on after the sideboard, and will therefore be a lot more popular in Bo1 than in Bo3.
Selesnya decks were somewhat scarce in MTGA, and most likely won’t make a comeback with Kaladesh. That said, they will likely find their niche in hunting for red aggro. Shalai, Voice of Plenty, Blossoming Defense and Walking Ballista alongside early ramp allow this deck to put up a decent fight against control while maintaining an edge against aggro, especially Aethersphere Harvester and Lyra Dawnbringer providing a way to regain life and provide a resilient defense. White removal and Green artifact/enchantment/counterspell denial provide excellent sideboarding capabilities allowing the deck to stay relevant in both, Bo1 and Bo3 environments.
|Meta Snapshot: Kaladesh - June 17th||Snapshot I||June 17, 2018||v727_633495|
|Preliminary Snapshot: Kaladesh - June 7th||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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