We are currently living through a renaissance of Standard in Magic: the Gathering. Between the current Regional Championship Qualifier season and the reintroduction of Standard Showdown, there are a ton of reasons to play Standard alongside your local community at Owl Central Games. The format has a diverse number of decks to play, and with Standard rotation extended to three years, you can play your choice of deck for even longer. Let’s examine just some of the most popular Standard Magic: the Gathering decks and highlight their strengths and weaknesses.

Domain Control/Ramp
standard mtg domain atraxa
standard magic the gathering ramp spell topiary stomper
mtg standard and modern staple leyline binding

At the very beginning of the current RCQ season, Domain was by far the most popular deck. Despite a ton of innovation over the past few weeks, Domain remains a top-tier choice. The deck combines the long game strategies of your typical Control deck with the power of big mana Midrange decks that play major threats like Atraxa, Grand Unifier. This deck maintains a fairly linear strategy, which can be a touch repetitive if that is a major factor for you. It’s also the “boogeyman” of the format, so expect most decks to pack a more robust sideboard plan against you if you choose this deck.

Proven Deck With An Established Decklist
Strong Late Game Inevitability

Opponents Will Be Prepared For You

Rakdos Midrange
standard mtg rakdos midrange sheoldred
magic the gathering standard thoughtseize on a body

Rakdos Midrange is a deck that has been gaining popularity as of late. Acting like the old school Jund decks from Modern’s past, this deck utilizes a combination of hand control, efficient removal, and creatures that gain card advantage to put itself in a winning position. Its recent additions of Deep-Cavern Bat and Preacher of the Schism play well alongside format staples like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse to create an insurmountable amount of card advantage over your opponent. It’s a little light on board wipe effects though, meaning that it can struggle with decks that can go much wider.

Great at Winning the Card Advantage War
Has Excellent Attackers AND Blockers

Can Struggle With Extremely Wide Boardstates
The Most Expensive Deck in the Format

 Bant Poison
standard mtg skrelv
standard magic the gathering march of swirling mist
mtg standard bitterblossom but toxic

Many popular Standard Magic: the Gathering decks have some form of built in lifegain. Whether it’s Atraxa, Sheoldred, or one of the many small creatures with Lifelink, lifegain is not unheard of in this format. Bant Poison ignores these incidental lifegain effects by fighting on a whole different axis. Bant Poison combines an aggressive Toxic based combat strategy, with a potential non-combat victory through proliferate. Its creatures are some of the smallest in Standard, which can make combat tough without the help of Skrelv, Defector Mite. However, you get to play toxic Bitterblossom in Standard, so why wouldn’t you?

Has Many Ways to Protect Creatures From Removal
Has Non-Combat Ways to Close Out Games

Creatures are Individually Very Weak
Can Be Stonewalled By Creatures in Combat

Boros Convoke
standard mtg convoke warden of the inner sky
standard mtg boros convoke

Unlike the previous decks, Boros Convoke is a new deck that has been gaining popularity among Standard MTG brewers and Spikes alike. This deck had been theorycrafted from many new cards out of Murders at Karlov Manor. So far, early testing has shown this deck to be lightning quick, allowing you to build into huge boardstates around lethal threats like Warden of the Inner Sky and Regal Bunnicorn. This deck also leans on anthem effects, like the new Warleader’s Call, to turn your growing army of 1/1’s into lethal attacks. The deck is still very much a new contender, with much to be proven before it occupies the same space as the decks mentioned above.

Extremely Fast Gameplan Gets Underneath Slower Midrange and Control Decks
Has Plenty of Ways to Gain Card Advantage

Very Unproven
Weak to Boardwipes

Dimir Tempo
standard magic the gathering schooner
standard mtg dimir gix
standard magic the gathering ertai

I’ve saved my personal favorite for last! This UB deck has incredibly impressive aggressive draws, a powerful mid-game, and can still play well in the late game against the big midrange decks. One and two mana threats, followed up by Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor to refuel, and then a robust suite of removal and stack interaction to clear the way or protect your attackers, gives you the most flexible game plan in the Standard format.

If you can’t get the job done with combat early, the deck has a ton of reach too. Restless Reef and Subterranean Schooner make you less vulnerable to sweepers. I’ve won stalled out games by milling my opponent out or by forcing my opponents to draw cards while my Sheoldred is in play.

A requirement for success with this deck is a deep knowledge of the Standard format, being able to anticipate your opponent’s possible play patterns, and having an impeccable ability to understand the board state and perform accurate threat assessment.

Extremely Flexible Strategy
Great Matchup Spread Across the Format

Highly Skill Intensive
Drawing the Wrong Answers for the Wrong Threats

So, what deck are you building for Standard Showdown and this current RCQ season? There are still a bunch of Standard Magic: the Gathering decks that I didn’t even touch on. This means that there’s a deck out there that fits your playstyle, just waiting for you to sleeve it up. So what are you waiting for?

Need some cards to finish up your deck? Make sure to check out our huge inventory of Magic singles available right now at our Game Center. This includes brand new Murders at Karlov Manor cards that are sure to throw off your unsuspecting opponent. Shop now and have the cards available for pick-up in store, or shipped anywhere in the United States.