Over the past year, players have competed across the three Championships in MTG Arena's premier competitive formats: Standard and Historic. We've seen these formats evolve with each release, building up to an epic postseason kicking off with the Challenger Gauntlet. To get ready, let's take a look at the latest news on each format, as well as some of the decks players may choose to bring.
Standard is always in an interesting place when the summer expansion rolls around. Sets from the previous year and half have had plenty of time to be explored, innovated on, and solved. There is a perpetual level of uncertainty regarding how much of an impact one expansion can have on a format like this, with the answer usually varying from year to year.
Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms upholds the tradition of the summer expansion. Despite not revolutionizing the format, it did reinvigorate some forgotten archetypes and boost existing ones.
Winota decks were not missing much to break back into Standard, always existing on the outside looking in. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms was kind to Winota, providing the deck with quite a few new tools and marking its return to the spotlight.
The most notable additions to the deck are
This deck is explosive, powerful, resilient, and not to be taken lightly. I expect Naya Winota played a heavy role in many players' preparation processes for the Challenger Gauntlet.
Mono-Green Aggro decks of old had a notable lack of exciting two mana plays, one of the primary weaknesses of the deck. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms does an excellent job of addressing that with newcomers
Gruul Adventures has been a staple of the Standard metagame for quite a while now, but that hasn't stopped the deck from adapting with each new expansion. The latest version of the deck slots in the all-star
This deck also features both
It's no surprise to see an expansion with heavy Dragon themes benefit the existing Dragon deck in nearly every category. One of the biggest changes to the deck from past iterations is the abandoning of the snow mechanic. The deck no longer has a need for
In terms of interaction,
As for threats,
Prismari Dragons has all the tools it needs to succeed in Standard but will need to find the right metagame to truly prosper.
The Importance of Choice
For the Challenger Gauntlet competitors, there is a higher emphasis put on Standard. Although Competitors will need success in both formats to make it through the Swiss portion of the tournament, they will need to rely on their Standard deck to get them through the Top 12 playoffs to secure that all-important World Championship invite. Weighing these deck options against format mainstays like Sultai Ultimatum, Dimir Rogues, and Jeskai Mutate will be critical as a good read of the Standard metagame could decide the fate of these players.
The story of Standard may be Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, but in Historic that immediately became old news when the
The breakout Historic deck of the Kaldheim Championship, Orzhov Auras was in excellent shape to become a Historic mainstay before the release of the Mystical Archive. The heavy discard-based aggressive strategy suffered quite a bit due to
Jund Food really fell out of favour post Strixhaven: School of Mages as it seemed like the rest of the format was just doing more powerful things. Although
Another deck benefitting from the
It'll be very interesting to see how players decide to approach Historic for this event. The tight time frame to test and understand the new format may lead to some safe deck choices, but players who are able to quickly get a good read on the post-suspension metagame will likely be able to pick up some extra all-important Swiss wins and make the path to the Standard Top 12 playoff bracket a bit easier.
Throwing Down the Gauntlet
For 24 hopefuls, the Challenger Gauntlet is their shot at qualifying for World Championship XXVII. To get there, they will have to once again prove their mastery of both the Standard and Historic formats. It won't be easy in a field this stacked, but it will certainly be exciting to watch. I can't wait to see who comes out on top as I help bring you all the action from the analyst desk on twitch.tv/magic!