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 % Arch Avg # Main
Rakdos Cackler 100% 4
Stromkirk Noble 100% 4
Stonewright 92% 2
Ash Zealot 100% 4
Lightning Mauler 76% 3.7
Gore-House Chainwalker 42% 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 % Arch Avg # Main
Pyreheart Wolf 100% 3.3
Hellrider 100% 4
Zealous Conscripts 55% 1.3
Thundermaw Hellkite 54% 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 % Arch Avg # Main Avg # Side
Pillar of Flame 100% 2.6 1.1
Searing Spear 100% 3.9 0
Brimstone Volley 90% 2.5 0.2

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 % Arch Avg # Main Avg # Side
Reckless Waif 76% 0 3.8
Mizzium Mortars 97% 0.13 3
Volcanic Strength 52% 0 2.1
Thunderbolt 42% 0 2.4
Frostburn Weird 38% 0.2 1.5
Flames of the Firebrand 55% 0.4 1.9
Traitorous Blood 39% 0 2.2
Archwing Dragon 47% 0 1.8

Creatures

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 # Main Avg Main # Side Avg Side
Thragtusk 246 941 888 3.9 53 2.3
Restoration Angel 193 622 611 3.2 11 1.1
Avacyn's Pilgrim 191 750 750 3.9 0 0.0
Hellrider 174 657 657 3.8 0 0.0
Rakdos Cackler 144 570 567 4.0 3 3.0
Thundermaw Hellkite 143 329 313 2.3 16 1.6
Huntmaster of the Fells 135 520 495 3.8 25 1.5
Centaur Healer 134 401 117 3.1 284 2.6
Stromkirk Noble 131 519 519 4.0 0 0.0
Ash Zealot 131 524 524 4.0 0 0.0

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

Removal

Here is the same information for removal spells.

Removal # Decks # Copies # Main Avg Main # Side Avg Side
Pillar of Flame 288 1019 670 3.0 349 1.8
Searing Spear 231 808 798 3.5 10 1.3
Ultimate Price 158 391 308 2.3 83 1.5
Mizzium Mortars 155 452 62 1.7 390 2.9
Azorius Charm 148 485 423 3.4 62 2.1
Selesnya Charm 143 456 427 3.1 29 1.5
Supreme Verdict 135 463 364 3.1 99 1.6
Detention Sphere 129 273 207 2.0 66 1.2
Oblivion Ring 129 253 62 1.9 191 1.9
Bonfire of the Damned 127 328 264 2.4 64 1.6

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

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 # Main Avg Main # Side Avg Side
Garruk, Primal Hunter 22% 266 188 1.8 78 1.5
Jace, Memory Adept 17% 180 50 1.3 130 1.6
Jace, Architect of Thought 12% 172 166 2.3 6 2.0
Garruk Relentless 11% 136 102 2.1 34 1.6
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage 10% 82 78 1.4 4 1.0

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 # Main Avg Main # Side Avg Side
Rest in Peace 38% 528 1 1.0 527 2.3
Farseek 29% 694 694 4.0 0 0.0
Negate 28% 337 10 1.0 327 2.0
Sphinx's Revelation 23% 435 433 3.2 2 2.0
Duress 20% 319 1 1.0 318 2.7

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
@MrVigabool