It's been only a few weeks since Javier Dominguez took Gruul Aggro to victory at Mythic Championship V, but the Standard metagame has gone through substantial changes since then. Most notably, after the ban of Field of the Dead, Oko, Thief of Crowns started to dominate. Here is what the field at Mythic Championship VI in Richmond looks like.
Oko decks are 69% of the metagame
A mind-boggling 69% of the players ended up registering Oko, Thief of Crowns main deck or sideboard, which represents an unprecedented level of metagame dominance. I have been at Pro Tours and Mythic Championships for 20 years, and I have never seen this level of dominance. It is unprecedented. Even at the Mirrodin Block Constructed Pro Tour, Affinity decks were less than 50% of the metagame. This event will go into the historical record books as Mythic Championship: Oko.
I labeled the vast majority of these Oko decks as "Food" decks. Their core is generally comprised of Gilded Goose; Oko, Thief of Crowns; Wicked Wolf; Paradise Druid; Nissa, Who Shakes the World; Hydroid Krasis; and Once Upon a Time. Given this green-blue core, several color combinations are possible:
- Simic Food: These decks are typically rounded out with Brazen Borrower and Aether Gust to play a good tempo game. The two-color mana base is relatively painless.
- Sultai Food: This version is the most popular one because it maximizes maindeck answers to opposing Okos. Black offers maindeck Noxious Grasp; Vraska, Golgari Queen; and Casualties of War.
- Bant Food: The key reason to splash white is Teferi, Time Raveler, which is great against countermagic or Wilderness Reclamation. In addition, most Bant Food decks also contain a few Aether Gusts and several copies of Mass Manipulation, which is particularly good when paired with Teferi – Mass Manipulation can then be cast it at instant speed, and Veil of Summer is invalidated as an answer.
- Four-color Food: Only three players are on this version. It stretches the mana base but gains both Noxious Grasp and Teferi, Time Raveler.
While a consensus on the optimal color combination or Food build is lacking, a large part of the field agreed that building around Throne of Eldraine's Food engine in a green ramp shell is the best way to succeed in Standard.
In addition to the 63% Food decks, there are 5% other decks with main deck Oko:
- Sultai Sacrifice and Four-Color Sacrifice: Eighteen players ran Oko in a deck built around Cauldron Familiar, Witch's Oven and sacrifice payoffs like Trail of Crumbs or Mayhem Devil. Although these decks generally run Gilded Goose and Wicked Wolf as well, the sacrifice theme is more prominent.
- Temur Planeswalkers: Two players registered this deck. They can turn Oko and a variety of other planeswalkers into Dragons with Sarkhan the Masterless.
- Bant Ramp: Only two players are playing this deck. It resembles Bant Food, but it lacks Wicked Wolf and instead exploits Arboreal Grazer and Time Wipe.
- Simic Adventure and Simic Quasiduplicate: These singleton deck choices don't rely on the full Nissa-plus-Hydroid-Krasis package, but instead exploit Edgewall Innkeeper with Lovestruck Beast or Quasiduplicate with Cavalier of Thorns. Therefore, they play out slightly differently than Simic Food.
Finally, by including the few Simic Flash decks that merely run Oko in their sideboards, the rounded number of Oko decks jumps up to 69%. Nice.
Golgari Adventure is the most-played non-Oko deck
Among players who did not want to play Oko, Golgari Adventure is the most popular choice, at 6.7% of the field. The deck is fueled by the power of Edgewall Innkeeper, which will draw cards when you cast Foulmire Knight, Murderous Rider, Lovestruck Beast, and/or Order of Midnight. The remaining maindeck slots are often some combination of Paradise Druid; Rankle, Master of Pranks; and Noxious Grasp.
Besides Golgari Adventure, the next four most popular non-Oko decks are as follows. Together, they comprise about 13% of the metagame:
- Temur Reclamation: This deck aims to use the mana from Wilderness Reclamation for an enormous, game-ending Explosion in the end step.
- Jeskai Fires: Fueled by Fires of Invention, the deck tries to overpower opponents by casting multiple spells per turn for free, especially spells that draw into more cards.
- Azorius Control: This deck says no to spells with Absorb, no to creatures with Time Wipe, and eventually locks up the game with massive X-spells like Mass Manipulation.
- Rakdos Sacrifice: The best card in this deck is Mayhem Devil, which pings when you put a Cat in the Oven or bring a Cat back from the dead, when you sacrifice creatures to Priest of Forgotten Gods, or even when your opponent sacrifices Fabled Passage.
Given that everyone expected Oko to be dominant, many players chose these decks in the hope that they would have a slightly favorable matchup against the Food decks.
These beliefs make sense in theory. For example, Temur Reclamation may be able to go over the top in the lategame, and Rakdos Sacrifice can take advantage of the relative lack of removal in the Food decks. But we'll have to see whether it all plays out like that in practice.
The 7.3% "Other" category contains some spice
The "Other" category from the metagame table is a mashup of the following:
- Four-Color Food: 3 players
- Gruul Adventure: 3 players
- Izzet Flash: 3 players
- Simic Flash: 3 players
- Sultai Elementals: 3 players
- Bant Ramp: 2 players
- Esper Control: 2 players
- Mono-Red Aggro: 2 players
- Temur Planeswalkers: 2 players
- Boros Aggro: Andreas Hofverberg
- Boros Knights: Eric Gray
- Drowned Kethis: Jake Durshimer
- Four-Color Fires: Dan Ward
- Golgari Sacrifice: Ryan Leek
- Grixis Amass: Jheng Yu Jhang
- Grixis Midrange: Alex Khanin
- Mardu Knights: William Araujo
- Mono-Black Aggro: Gary Abel
- Orzhov Control: Jody Keith
- Simic Adventure: Peter Strauch
- Simic Quasiduplicate: Michael Anthony Kilberry
- Temur Midrange: Ruey-Jer Yeh
Overall, there are plenty of spicy brews to root for. All decklists (for now without quantities of sideboard cards) are available here.
There are more Breeding Pools than Mountains, Plains, and Swamps combined
The most-played cards among all maindecks and sideboards break down as follows.
|Card name||Total number of copies||Maindeck copies||Sideboard copies|
|Once Upon a Time||1397||1397||0|
|Oko, Thief of Crowns||1373||1357||16|
|Nissa, Who Shakes the World||1282||1276||6|
|Veil of Summer||1224||90||1134|
|Vraska, Golgari Queen||364||337||27|
|Temple of Mystery||333||333||0|
|Teferi, Time Raveler||292||215||77|
|Liliana, Dreadhorde General||200||132||68|
|Casualties of War||178||142||36|
The battle lines are drawn, and now two questions remain to be answered: What is the best Oko deck, and are there any decks that can beat the Food menace? We'll have 10 rounds of Standard with some of the best players in the world to find out, and I will share my analysis throughout the weekend.
Check back tomorrow to see what decks make the cut to Day Two, and of course, check out the action live at twitch.tv/Magic!