Magic Online Standard Review

I analyzed the decks that went 3–1 or 4–0 in a Magic: The Gathering Online Standard Daily Event from January 10 to January 23. The following is a graphical review of the metagame and the most played creatures, removal, planeswalkers, and other cards from those decks.

Online Magic Metagame

The Magic Online Standard metagame is a little like the Wild West right now: almost anything goes. Eight different deck archetypes have a 4% or greater share of the metagame.

Five more archetypes have between a 1.5% and 4% share.

Breaking Down Mono-Red

Mono-red aggro is everywhere and clearly the dominant deck in Standard Daily Events. A typical list looks something like this:

Mono-red aggro lists consist of three main components: cheap early threats to jump off to a fast start, midgame monsters to finish out a game and add reach, and burn to be used as removal and direct damage to finish off a stabilized opponent.

The following tables identify the key cards of the archetype, the percentage of mono-red aggro decks in which they appear, and how many copies are played on average.

Cheap Early Threats% ArchAvg # Main
Rakdos Cackler100%4
Stromkirk Noble100%4
Ash Zealot100%4
Lightning Mauler76%3.7
Gore-House Chainwalker42%3.1

Some versions of the deck, like this one, opt to include Gore-House Chainwalker as an additional early attacker. Those decks generally skip playing Thundermaw Hellkite but may include a couple copies of Zealous Conscripts.

Mid-Game Monsters% ArchAvg # Main
Pyreheart Wolf100%3.3
Zealous Conscripts55%1.3
Thundermaw Hellkite54%2

Almost all mono-red aggro lists play two copies of one of the two 5-drops: Zealous Conscripts or Thundermaw Hellkite. This list skips both and opts for a pair of Volatile Rigs instead.

Burn% ArchAvg # MainAvg # Side
Pillar of Flame100%2.61.1
Searing Spear100%3.90
Brimstone Volley90%2.50.2

There is almost no variation in the burn package. A couple of copies of Traitorous Blood make it to the main deck every so often, and this deck played Geistflame; otherwise, it’s the big three.

Sideboard Staples% ArchAvg # MainAvg # Side
Reckless Waif76%03.8
Mizzium Mortars97%0.133
Volcanic Strength52%02.1
Frostburn Weird38%0.21.5
Flames of the Firebrand55%0.41.9
Traitorous Blood39%02.2
Archwing Dragon47%01.8


The following graph shows the most played creatures in the Magic Online decks ranked by the percentage of decks in which they appeared. The table shows number of decks the card appeared in, number of copies played in total—in the main and side—and average number of copies played main deck and sideboard.

Creature# Decks# Copies# MainAvg Main# SideAvg Side
Restoration Angel1936226113.2111.1
Avacyn's Pilgrim1917507503.900.0
Rakdos Cackler1445705674.033.0
Thundermaw Hellkite1433293132.3161.6
Huntmaster of the Fells1355204953.8251.5
Centaur Healer1344011173.12842.6
Stromkirk Noble1315195194.000.0
Ash Zealot1315245244.000.0

Thragtusk is a mainstay in Jund midrange, Bant control, Naya midrange, and Junk Reanimator, appearing in 100% of those decks.


Here is the same information for removal spells.

Removal# Decks# Copies# MainAvg Main# SideAvg Side
Pillar of Flame28810196703.03491.8
Searing Spear2318087983.5101.3
Ultimate Price1583913082.3831.5
Mizzium Mortars155452621.73902.9
Azorius Charm1484854233.4622.1
Selesnya Charm1434564273.1291.5
Supreme Verdict1354633643.1991.6
Detention Sphere1292732072.0661.2
Oblivion Ring129253621.91911.9
Bonfire of the Damned1273282642.4641.6

Ultimate Price is a staple of Esper control, appearing in 100% of the decks in that archetype. It also has a home in 95% of the Jund midrange decks and 56% of B/R Zombies decks.


Planeswalkers can be just as big threats—or even bigger—to your game plan as creatures are. It’s best to know which ones you’re likely to face.

Planeswalker# Decks# Copies# MainAvg Main# SideAvg Side
Garruk, Primal Hunter22%2661881.8781.5
Jace, Memory Adept17%180501.31301.6
Jace, Architect of Thought12%1721662.362.0
Garruk Relentless11%1361022.1341.6
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage10%82781.441.0

Garruk, Primal Hunter appears in 97% of Jund midrange, 92% of Naya midrange, and 35% of Junk Reanimator lists.

Other Cards

Finally, here are some other cards that appeared in 20% or more decks.

Card# Decks# Copies# MainAvg Main# SideAvg Side
Rest in Peace38%52811.05272.3
Sphinx's Revelation23%4354333.222.0

Rest in Peace plays as graveyard hate of choice in the following decks: Bant control (97%), Naya midrange (96%), Esper control (82%), and Bant Auras (79%).

The Close

That wraps up my review of online Standard. If you liked it and want to see more, please let me know in the comments or on Twitter. If there is interest, I’ll look to repeat this review from time to time. Thanks for reading!

Nick Vigabool