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Standard Deck Archetypes

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Today we hope to start a series of posts yattering about each of the popular Magic the Gathering deck archetypes now in standard constructed. Each additional post we will provide a sample decklist representing a typical build. Standard (or sometimes still called type II) is a 60-card Constructed format consisting of the two most recent blocks and any core sets released after either of those blocks. As of the last set release (September 30, 2011), Standard consists of cards released in the following sets - Scars of Mirrodin, Mirrodin Besieged, New Phyrexia, Magic 2012 Core Set, and Innistrad. The current keywords / card mechanics that you will find in these sets are Battle Cry, Bloodthirst, Double-Faced Cards, Flashback, Imprint, Infect, Intimidate, Living Weapon, Morbid, Metalcraft, Proliferate, and Transform.

Common Decks that are being played on those Pro-Tour circuits and at your local Friday Night Magic event include the following (in alphabetical order) . . .

Birthing Pod - This is a build centered around Birthing Pod, and a variety of utility creatures, often with enters-the-battlefield abilities, to be fetched with it.
G/W Tokens - This is an aggressive build using multiple token-producing effects to swarm the opponent, often with Intangible Virtue, Gavony Township and/or Mikaeus, the Lunarch to pump token stats.

Mono-Red - A simple but effecient deck running releatively smaller creatures and a number of spells with direct damage to a target creture and / or player.

Solar Flare - This is one of the newer controll decks which uses permission and removal, combined with a heavy graveyard theme. Popular cards in this build may have flashback with additional spell plays with Snapcaster Mage. Some creature recursion is available with Unburial Rites and / or Sun Titan.

Tempered Steel - This is a quick tempo aggressive deck which uses inexpensive artifact creatures, often with evasion (flying) being pumped by the enchantment Tempered Steel.

Tezzeret - This control / aggro deck contains quite a few artifacts and the planeswalker Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. Other versions might also use Kuldotha Forgemaster as an enabler, to quickly power out mana-expensive cretures such as Blightsteel Colossus or other win conditions.

U/B Control - Classic control deck, using permission, removal and card advantage paired with a small number of win conditions.

U/W Blade - An evolution of the previous Standard season's "Caw-Blade", a midrange aggro-control deck pairing blue permission and card advantage with white removal and creatures, and Equipment.

Wolf Run Ramp - deck which uses green mana-ramp effects, particularly Primeval Titan, to produce a large amount of mana, which is then fed into Kessig Wolf Run to produce a lethal attack (often delivered by Inkmoth Nexus).

This past weekend was the 2011 Magic World Championship in San Francisco which saw a variety of the above archetypes including several rogue decks attempting to sneak into the current metagame. Altough the Top 8 builds were dominated by Tempered Steel, the winner was Junya Iyanaga's Wolf Run Ramp which beat out Richard Bland's GW Tokens to take the title.

Top 8 decks from World Championships from San Francisco

Conley Woods - Tempered Steel
Craig Wescoe - Geist Aggro
Jun'ya Iyanaga - Wolf Run Ramp
Josh Utter-Leyton - Tempered Steel
Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa - Tempered Steel
David Caplan - Mono-Red
Richard Bland - Tempered Steel
Luis Scott-Vargas - Tempered Steel


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