Let’s Metagame – Week One Showdown

Dominaria is here! Well… Not for another few days, but it’s basically here!

Week one in any Standard format is essentially the wild west. Who knows what spiciness someone’s going to throw down across from you?

Well, there will also be some staple decks making the transition from Rivals to the new Dominaria format too. So, let’s go over what you could expect to see week one. I can’t say undoubtedly that you won’t see something I don’t cover, but at least you’ll have a general idea. Because, everything’s out in the open right now. With no defined meta yet, let’s dive into what could be lurking out there.

Mono Red

Alright, this deck needs no introduction. I know we’ve all sat across from a Hazoret, the Fervent at least several dozen times. This deck continues to put up results regardless of how the meta shifts over a few weeks.

Gan Yan – 1st Place GP Seattle 4/7/2018

Creatures (27)
4 Bomat Courier
4 Ahn-Crop Crasher
4 Earthshaker Khenra
4 Fanatical Firebrand
4 Rekindling Phoenix
4 Hazoret the Fervent
2 Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
1 Pia Nalaar

Lands (24)
18 Mountain
3 Grasping Dunes
3 Scavenger Grounds

Spells (9)
2 Abrade
4 Lightning Strike
3 Shock

2 Aethersphere Harvester
1 Key to the City
2 Dire Fleet Daredevil
2 Glorybringer
2 Abrade
2 Magma Spray
1 Pia Nalaar
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 Kari Zev’s Expertis

Like I said, we all know this deck and what it does, so I don’t think I need to go over it much. This deck puts the beatdown on and doesn’t stop. Hard to handle threats, like Hazoret, paired with pseudo-indestructible/recursive creatures like Rekindling Phoenix makes the deck super difficult to deal with. I would be generally surprised if someone doesn’t sleeve this up as their week one deck of choice.

Ways to combat Mono Red:

  1. Timely removal and exile effects are a great way to turn off their hyper-aggro starts. They run out of cards reasonably fast without Bomat Courier, so try your best to avoid letting it consistently swing in and stack cards underneath it.
  2. Any sort of lifegain is a tremendous swing in your favor. Pairing that with removal can get you into the mid to late game, where you have a better chance of stabilizing.


God-Pharaoh’s Gift



Grayson Roberts – 2nd Place GP Seattle 4/7/2018

Creatures (32)
4 Bomat Courier
4 Walking Ballista
4 Champion of Wits
4 Combat Celebrant
4 Fanatical Firebrand
4 Minister of Inquiries
2 Trophy Mage
2 Vizier of Many Faces
4 Warkite Marauder

Lands (22)
3 Island
5 Mountain
4 Aether Hub
2 Field of Ruin
4 Ipnu Rivulet
4 Spirebluff Canal

Spells (6)
4 Gate to the Afterlife
2 God-Pharaoh’s Gift

3 Silent Gravestone
3 Abrade
1 Jace’s Defeat
2 Negate
2 Spell Pierce
2 Padeem, Consul of Innovation
2 Sweltering Sun

In short, God-Pharaoh’s Gift decks win by filling up their graveyard with value creatures, then bringing them back as 4/4 tokens of themselves (with haste), and getting value from their ETBs.

The two versions you will most likely see are the U/W and the U/R versions, and they both operate with similar, but different approaches.

U/W wants to fill their graveyard up with creatures (as both decks do), along with a GPG or two, and then cast Refurbish to get GPG on the field. Their first target is usually Angel of Invention, that way they can begin to stabilize and gain back a ton of life, then just get a lot of flying damage in.

U/R on the other hand, wants to be slightly faster than the U/W version. They fill their graveyard up as usual, then sacrifice their Gate to the Afterlife to get their GPG on line. Once they’ve set up, they want to combo off by reanimating as many Combat Celebrants as they can to beat you on the spot. Now, this doesn’t happen as often as they want, but be wary of multiple Combat Celebrant or a Vizier of Many Faces in the graveyard before you send all your creatures in on turn 3 or so.

Ways to combat GPG:

  1. If you can interact with their graveyard you’re off to a good start. U/R especially cares about the amount of creatures in their graveyard because they have to have at least 6 to activate their Gate to the Afterlife. U/W doesn’t care as much because Refurbish simply grabs their GPG out of the graveyard.
  2. A well place Abrade always does the trick.
  3. Other graveyard interaction such as Scavenger Grounds or Deathgorge Scavenger can also help buy you some time

(Be aware that GPG does not target, so cards like Silent Gravestone have little impact on their gameplan)

Control Decks

Checking out recent MTGO league results, there seem to be many different variants on Control this early into the format. I’m going to touch on them altogether in this paragraph, because they’re still all Control Decks, just some have differing color combinations and do slightly different things.

First off, we have our most well known two control decks, Approach of the Second Sun and The Scarab God . We know these decks like the back of our hand, we see them time and time again. I would highly expect to see these week one, as these decks can sometimes prey on newly crafted and untuned brews.

Approach is pretty easy to explain. Essentially they want to stall you out with Fumigate and Settle the Wreckage, paired with their spot removal suite in Cast Out, Ixalan’s Binding, Baffling End, and cards like that to eventually cast their Approach of the Second Sun twice, and win the game.

U/B is a different animal, they operate more at instant speed than their U/W counterpart. They also don’t play Approach (obviously). The Scarab God, along with his buddy Torrential Gearhulk are their go to cards. Your graveyard is The Scarab God’s favorite place to go, as theirs usually doesn’t contain many creatures.

U/B Control 

REOJUND – (5-0) Competitive Standard Constructed League

Planeswalker (1)
1 Liliana, Death’s Majesty
Creature (5)
2 The Scarab God
3 Torrential Gearhulk

Instant (26)
1 Cast Down
1 Commit // Memory
4 Disallow
4 Essence Scatter
4 Fatal Push
1 Glimmer of Genius
2 Hieroglyphic Illumination
1 Moment of Craving
1 Supreme Will
3 Syncopate
4 Vraska’s Contempt

Enchantment (2)
2 Search for Azcanta

Land (26)
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Fetid Pools
3 Field of Ruin
7 Island
2 Submerged Boneyard
6 Swamp

1 Moment of Craving
2 Bontu’s Last Reckoning
2 Duress
3 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
2 Arguel’s Bloodfast
1 Doomfall
3 Essence Extraction
3 Negate

U/W Approach of the Second Sun

PIGNORTON – (5-0) Competitive Standard Constructed League

Sorcery (7)
4 Approach of the Second Sun
3 Fumigate

Instant (19)
4 Censor
4 Disallow
2 Essence Scatter
4 Glimmer of Genius
3 Settle the Wreckage
2 Supreme Will

Enchantment (9)
2 Cast Out
4 Seal Away
3 Search for Azcanta

Land (25)
2 Field of Ruin
4 Glacial Fortress
2 Ipnu Rivulet
4 Irrigated Farmland
5 Island
6 Plains
2 Scavenger Grounds

1 Cast Out
2 Crook of Condemnation
4 Negate
1 Regal Caracal
3 Authority of the Consuls
1 Gideon of the Trials
1 Nezahal, Primal Tide
2 Torrential Gearhulk

So these are the main two variants that will be making their presence known throughout the week one metagame. Please note that Esper versions of U/B have also been popping up, mixing in some Settle the Wreckage and Lyra Dawnbringer, so be wary of those.

New Kids on the Block

Be careful not to dismiss anything you haven’t seen before. Like I said at the beginning, week one Standard is an open playing field. Some people like to test out their new ideas, and this is prime time to do that.

So, I would keep these decks in the back of my mind before I sit down across from my opponent this weekend:

Mono Green Stompy, and any G/X Stompy deck in general –  definitely a thing now, Llanowar Elves makes this deck super efficient

U/W Control – this is not an Approach Deck, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is here and is ready to party.

Artifact Decks – Karn, Scion of Urza is busted and loves having a bunch of artifacts around him.

*For deeper analysis and complete decklists, please check out the MTGO Competitive Leagues*



Week one is upon us, and I can’t wait. I am very excited for this new Standard format and will be scouring the internet for info and decklists anticipating what Dominaria brings our way.

If you have any questions or would like some of my “professional” opinion (I wish), feel free to follow me on twitter at @Logan_Actual, or message me on Facebook.

Standard looks pretty fun right now, so go enjoy week one and all the newness that comes with it!

Until next time, this has been your metagame insight, thanks!

– Logan Simmons


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