Kaldheim has been out for almost two weeks, and we have the lowdown on all the best Standard decks to help you get to that Mythic top 1200 rank on the Arena ladder!
Standard looks pretty promising after all the bans. I’ve seen a good mix of decks in my play testing and the play patterns are very interesting. I’ve done my research and here are all the decks I feel good recommending.
Did I miss anything? What’s your favorite Standard deck right now? Let us know!
We’re starting our foray into the Standard format with a deck that has been around for multiple set releases and that has survived multiple bannings, Gruul Adventures.
Gruul Adventures has been one of the top decks in Standard for more than a year, and for good reason! This Red-Green deck has several things going for it: a powerful aggro plan employing under-costed and oversized creatures, a surprisingly powerful late game value engine using Adventures and Edgewall Innkeeper, and two unbeatable “I Win!” buttons in Embercleave and the Great Henge.
After the printing of Innkeeper, Bonecrusher Giant, and Lovestruck Beast in Throne of Eldraine supplied the core of the deck, Gruul has picked up more impressive beaters and utility cards along the way.
Goldspan Dragon from Kaldheim is the marquee addition to the deck, and it fills the role alongside Questing Beast of a hasty creature that can provide the last points of burst damage when your opponent thinks they’ve stabilized.
Gruul is an excellent choice if you’re looking to ladder to Mythic and make Top 1200. Thanks to Embercleave and the Dragon, it can win games out of nowhere as soon as turn 5, and Innkeeper can stall the game until you draw your win conditions.
It might struggle against a well-tuned Control or Rogues list playing extra removal spells. But with a new set just dropping, control mages might still be finding their feet in an uncertain format. It’s the perfect time to Gruul smash!
Dimir Rogues debuted as a competitive Standard deck with the release of Zendikar Rising. Since then, it has overperformed in high Mythic matches and at the top tables of Arena tournaments like the Star City Games Tour Online series and the Magic Pro League.
Like Gruul, Rogues can win by attacking with efficient one and two-mana creatures. Each creature contributes to milling your opponent a little, which helps Soaring Thought-Thief and Thieves’ Guild Enforcer become their best selves.
Thanks to Ruin Crab, you can win games you had no business winning just by making land drops and dodging removal. Of course, your opponent will be heavily incentivized to use their removal on attackers, setting you up for the sneaky mill win!
A flexible removal suite complements the deck’s tempo plan, but the real star of the show is Into the Story. Maneuvering the game into a place where drawing four cards helps you deliver the knockout punch is how you want to approach Dimir Rogues.
The deck is pretty tricky to play, however. Sometimes, it can be correct to sit back instead of attacking, especially when your opponent has mana in play and creatures with Escape in their deck. Dimir Rogues is probably the Standard deck most rewarding to master.
Izzet Tempo is the first new Standard deck on this list. It mashes up value Adventure creatures from Throne of Eldraine with hyper-efficient Behold cards from Kaldheim and Goldspan Dragon to come up with a deck that can take advantage of every land it plays.
Come to think of it, the list also uses the MDFCs from Zendikar like Shatterskull Smashing, and it plays Snow Basic Lands to power up Faceless Haven and Frost Bite. So really, this deck is a showcase for all the sweetness Standard on Magic Arena has to offer!
Izzet Tempo will often start out slow, foretelling cards on the first few turns or using two-mana Adventure spells to keep the board clear. It’s important to recognize which threats need an answer, and when it might be better to cast a Behold the Multiverse instead.
Then, a Goldspan Dragon will come down on turn 5 and produce a Treasure Token. This token is essential to the deck’s gameplan, because the two mana it produces thanks to Dragon can cast Saw it Coming to protect your threat.
If you untap with a Goldspan Dragon and not much else on either side of the battlefield, you’ve basically won the game. All your cards kill things or draw cards, and many of them do both!
Mono Green Food
Mono Green Food is a strange deck. At first glance, it resembles the Green Stompy decks that have existed in Standard in the past. These decks try to get out ahead on board early and end the game quickly using huge beaters and combat tricks.
You can play this deck a little like a Stompy deck thanks to creatures that get gigantic like Scavenging Ooze and Wicked Wolf, but Mono Green Food is secretly the best control deck in Standard.
Wicked Wolf, Elder Gargaroth, and Feasting Troll King keep the board tipped in your favor while dealing with pesky creatures and Planeswalkers. The Food engine of Gilded Goose and Trail of Crumbs make it so that you never run out of cards to play. And Great Henge rounds out the deck, providing that extra helping of card advantage, mana, and stats to bury your opponent.
Of course, even if you do play the deck like a Control deck, you’ll reach that turning point where one or two attacks will win the game. Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider from Kaldheim is a new Standard powerhouse that helps you close out the game as quickly as possible.
Okay, I think by now you’ve gotten the idea: Adventure Creatures and Goldspan Dragon are good! You should play them in your Standard deck if possible.
Temur Ramp plays both pillars of the format. But it eschews the aggro creature plan in favor of just going completely over the top of the opponent. Sure, Embercleave is great, but have you tried casting Genesis Ultimatum on turn five and hitting an Ugin?
Unfortunately, Temur Ramp won’t be able to cast Ultimatum on five every game, so it plays powerful defensive options like Into the Roil, Jwari Disruption, and Fire Prophecy.
Your early game should prioritize putting extra lands into play and dealing with your opponent’s threats. Even if the board isn’t clear when you cast Ultimatum, Ugin and Goldspan Dragon can bring the board back to parity, or just win the game.
I’d be a little worried playing this deck in a field of fast aggro and tempo decks, but in format shaken up by a new set release, I do like playing the biggest and baddest threats.
Every time a new set is released on Arena, I think to myself, “great, now I won’t have to lose to Rakdos graveyard shenanigans on ladder!” I just can’t believe that Mire Triton and Tymaret Calls the Dead are playable Standard cards.
Of course, every set I’m proven wrong! Rakdos Midrange has remained a good option in Standard ever since the printing of Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger in Theros: Beyond Death.
Graveyard hate has never been common in this format, so the deck makes the most of self-mill synergy. With Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath banned, Kroxa is the premier cheap and recursive finisher. It also does a great job of restricting your opponent’s options and dealing chip damage.
One downside of this deck in seasons past is that if Kroxa is exiled, Rakdos has a difficult time winning the game. But thanks to the release of Goldspan Dragon and Egon, God of Death, this archetype has access to more finishers that synergize with the cheap removal and graveyard synergies that are so abundant in this deck.
Most of these aggressive Red and White creatures existed before Kaldheim. But it was the printing of Showdown of the Skalds that helped this menagerie of minions converge into a good deck.
Boros Showdown is an aggro deck with a pretty straightforward gameplan: attack with small creatures and cast Embercleave until the opponent is dead.
Playing the deck will reveal that it has so much more going for it than just turning things sideways. You can use Shepherd of the Flock’s Adventure spell, Usher to Safety, to bounce Showdown of the Skalds before Chapter III goes off. Robber of the Rich has some extra utility in this deck too, helping provide extra spells to trigger Showdown’s latter chapters. And Emeria’s Call and Shatterskull Smashing carry the deck into the lategame without sputtering out completely.
With this deck being so new, there are a ton of ways to build it depending on the metagame. You can play Selfless Savior to protect your utility creatures for a turn. You can run Maul of the Skyclaves alongside Embercleave to end the game quicker.
Boros Showdown is a really fun and interesting deck that can only get better as more cheap cards are printed in the next few sets.
Greedy Sultai piles are my favorite way to play Magic: the Gathering, so the release of Kaldheim did not disappoint! Sultai Ultimatum combines the most efficient card advantage and removal spells from past sets with some cool new toys from the latest expansion.
The deck’s gameplan is to cast Emergent Ultimatum and fetch Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider, Kiora Bests the Sea God, and Valki, God of Lies, Alrund’s Epiphany, or an answer card like Shadow’s Verdict.
If your opponent makes you shuffle the third card into your deck, you can lock them out of the game with Vorinclex and the Saga, because the Praetor gets you two lore counters right away. This way, you get an 8/8 with Hexproof and your opponent’s permanents are tapped down right away!
If you put the Saga back in your deck, Vorinclex combos with Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter to wreck your opponent’s board. Yes, that’s right! A rules quirk allows you to cast the back side of Valki with Emergent Ultimatum.
Most of the Ultimatum piles will win the game on the spot, but things get tricky if one of your key spells is in your hand or has been dealt with somehow. If you play this deck enough on the ladder, you should be able to find a three-card pile for any board state or situation!
This Sultai Ultimatum deck has so far slotted into the role of a grindy Control deck, and I look forward to mastering it on my way to Mythic!
Related: 5 Best Kaldheim Cards Making An Impact In Standard
Related: 7 Kaldheim Draft Strategies That Will Help You Win