Standard without Aetherworks Marvel


Wizards has announced the third standard banning in just a matter of months and hopefully this is the final one for a LONG time. Wizards argued that marvel was not completely dominating the meta, and showed data suggesting that most decks in the format had a good match up against it. What they didn’t acknowledge was just how inbred the meta was forced to become in order to try and compete with the marvel decks. They did finally ban marvel after conceding just how miserable it is to play with and against. No one wants to sit down and lose on turn four to an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, so now marvel is gone and we are left to wonder what will rise up and replace it as the best deck.

Moving Forward

So let’s start by looking at the decks and cards that marvel was holding back, maybe from there we can start to see what decks are going to be stronger after the banning. When playing against marvel you had to be very careful of tapping out the turn before they would be able to play their marvel. This meant that four drops lost a lot of potential in the format because there was not enough time to play them and be able to disrupt the marvel player. Now with marvel gone we are going to see a huge rise in the playable four and five drops from the format. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is going to be making an appearance again, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar will rise once again to claim his throne as the most dominant planeswalker in standard. We will also see more impact from Verdurous Gearhulk, Noxious Gearhulk, Ishkanah, Grafwidow, Glorybringer and Bristling Hydra. I strongly believe that the format will shift to a more midrange focused meta game, with GB delirium/counters, Temur Energy and Mardu Vehicles leading the way. Of course I expect Zombies to be the best aggro deck in the format, mainly because the deck is very resilient and capable of grinding out midrange battles with any deck.

GB Delirium

Creatures (21)
Winding Constrictor
Grim Flayer
Walking Ballista
Rishkar, Peema Renegade
Tireless Tracker
Mindwrack Demon
Verdurous Gearhulk
Ishkanah, Grafwidow

Spells (12)
Traverse the Ulvenwald
Fatal Push
Blossoming Defense
Grasp of Darkness

Planeswalker (5)
Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
Liliana, the Last Hope
Lands (22)
Hissing Quagmire
Evolving Wilds
Blooming Marsh

What about Control???

We still have UR control but now that deck can look to branch out a little bit and become less focused on defeating the marvel deck, I expect control to do poorly for the first few weeks of the new format but once the midrange meta begins to settle then UR control has the potential to be a dominant deck in the format. It is also worth watching out for some sort of Esper control deck built around field wipes and strong planeswalkers. I am also interested to see if a potential Mardu control deck is going to be viable; while it won’t be great in the control mirrors it has a great game against aggro and great potential against midrange decks.

UR Control

Creatures (4)
Torrential Gearhulk

Spells (31)
Magma Spray
Essence Scatter
Glimmer of Genius
Harnessed Lightning
Sweltering Suns
Void Shatter
Hieroglyphic Illumination
Pull from Tomorrow
Lands (25)
Aether Hub
Spirebluff Canal
Wandering Fumarole

Is Mono Red back?

Recently I played a very budget Red aggro deck at a local pptq. While I was able to make it all the way to the semi finals on the day I still don’t think that mono red will be returning to the top of the meta game for a long time. It took a lot of luck and some very tight and expertly (humble brag) played turns just to get that far. I really hope that a red aggressive deck can become viable in the future but for now it is just missing some powerful one drops and some spells to sure up the late game.

Mono Red Aggro

Creatures (25)
Soul-Scar Mage
Bomat Courier
Falkenrath Gorger
Bloodrage Brawler
Borderland Marauder
Ahn-Crop Crasher
Reckless Bushwhacker

Enchantments (4)
Cartouche of Zeal

Spells (12)
Incendiary Flow
Built to Smash
Lands (19)
19 Mountain


Good decks:

  • Mardu Vehicles
  • GB delirium/counters
  • Temur Energy
  • Zombies

Potentially Good

  • UR control
  • Mardu control (hopefully)

Bad going forward

We don’t have too long left until Hour of Devastation releases and once again changes up the meta game, so don’t worry too much if your deck changes a lot and isn’t as viable as it used to be. Just watch out for the upcoming spoilers and start planning what you might like to play next standard season. I am back to testing for modern because the next pptq season is modern so expect a few more articles on how my testing and tournaments are going.

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