Top 10 Best MTG Arena Decks That Wreck Hard! (Feb 2020)

Best MTG Arena Decks February 2020
Eldraine brings new cards and a new meta

After the recent bannings, what are the best decks in MTGA?

With the recent bannings of Oko, Once Upon a Time and Veil of Summer, the Standard meta has once again shifted. New decks are entering into the meta and if you aren’t careful, you may find yourself staring at a loss screen with no clue why. 

Arm yourself with knowledge! The recent Twitch Rivals event has given us a small glimpse into what the meta could look like. Here are the top 10 best MTG: Arena decks and their game plans.

10. Izzet Phoenixes

Arclight Phoenix, the never-ending eye ball pecker.

Izzet Phoenixes only had 2 players in Twitch Rivals and ended with a 10-4 (71%) record, with Inove getting 5-1 on the first day and qualifying for the top 8. This deck hasn’t made too many appearances after Rivals, but since it made top 8 with a pretty positive winrate, I think it’s still worth discussing.  

If you aren’t familiar with Phoenix decks, their game plan is to get 3-4 Arclight Phoenixes into the graveyard, then cast 3 spells, return them all the field and start swinging with their fliers.

What’s Good About this Deck?

  • Recurrable threats through Phoenixes
  • Besides Reclamation, this is the next spellsling heavy deck
  • Great control and draw options

How to Play This Deck Effectively

  • Turn 1, you want to hold off on casting spells. That first Opt will rarely be important unless you need a land or a specific set up for your turn 2. 
     
  • Turn 2, the ideal play here is to cast Goblin Electromancer. This goblin will make your turn 3 easier to go through and also act as a 2/2 beater.
     

    • If Goblin Electromancer isn’t in your hand, then you can also just play Thrill of Possibility to start digging to get a Phoenix into your graveyard.
       
  • Turn 3, this is the turn where you should start really digging for phoenixes. With Electromancer on the board, your Thrill of Possibilities are now only 1 mana. The ideal line to take here is to play 3x Thrill or Discovery, discard 3 Phoenixes, and then enter combat and swing for 9. 
     

    • While that may be the most ideal, it’s not the most likely. You should play a Thrill of Possibility here and at least get 1 phoenix into the grave. After that, you can figure out a way to either keep digging or just recur the phoenixes you do have. 
       
    • If you’re up against a slower deck, you could also try casting the Royal Scions to help you dig for phoenixes and then, once your phoenixes are on the board, you can buff them. 
       
  • Turn 4, if you didn’t go off with your spells last turn, you can try that this turn. However, if everything hasn’t gone according to plan and your phoenixes or your graveyard was removed, then you can play Crackling Drake as a backup plan

Cards

Deck

4 Arclight Phoenix (GRN) 91
3 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39
4 Crackling Drake (GRN) 163
3 Discovery // Dispersal (GRN) 223
4 Goblin Electromancer (GRN) 174
9 Island (ELD) 254
4 Lava Coil (GRN) 108
8 Mountain (ELD) 262
4 Opt (XLN) 65
2 Radical Idea (GRN) 52
4 Shock (M19) 156
4 Steam Vents (GRN) 257
3 The Royal Scions (ELD) 199
4 Thrill of Possibility (ELD) 146

Sideboard
3 Aether Gust (M20) 42
3 Fry (M20) 140
4 Improbable Alliance (ELD) 193
3 Negate (RIX) 44
2 Redcap Melee (ELD) 135

 

 

9. Izzet Flash

Brineborn Cutthroat, slayer of players.

Izzet Flash ended Twitch Rivals with a 16-9 (64%) record. Its best player was Percsalot with a 5-1 record on day 1. Recently in an MTGO Standard League, maybenextime got a 5-0 record with Izzet flash as well.

Izzet Flash plays similarly to its Simic counter part- you want to play everything on your opponent’s turn to either buff Brineborn Cutthroat or to control your opponent so your board of Bonecrusher Giants can swing for lethal.

 

What’s Good About This Deck

  • Very control heavy
  • A lot of counterspells. If you like countering stuff, then this is the deck for you.
  • Bonecrusher Giant and Shock can help bring some burn in a pinch

How To Play This Deck Effectively

  • Turn 1, you could play Opt or Shock, but unless you really need the card draw or the creature removal, then I would suggest holding on to these spells since they will be more useful on Turn 3. 
     
  • Turn 2, wait and see what your opponent will do. If they play anything hugely threatening then you can Stomp, Quench, or Brazen Borrower it. However, the important play here is to get Brineborn Cutthroat onto the board so you can start growing him. 
     
  • Turn 3, once Brineborn is one the field, you can swing with him and then pass the turn. After that, you can cast Ionize or any other counter spell to prevent your opponent from doing anything and growing Brineborn. 
     

    • If you don’t want to risk your Brineborn right now, then you can also play Bonecrusher Giant as a creature just to have a decent sized threat on the board. 
       
    • Turn 1 spells and Borrower can be played on this turn to grow your Brineborn more.
       
  • Turn 4, you still want to angle to keep your opponent’s board in check while building up your own. At this point, if you still have Brineborns then just keep protecting them. But if you need a back up plan, then Bonecrusher Giants or Brazen Borrowers can be used. 
    • An important point from this point onward is to keep in mind what your draw options are. Gadwick and Ral’s Outburst will help you get more interactions into your hand so you can keep the lock on your opponent.

Cards

Deck

4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115
4 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39
4 Brineborn Cutthroat (M20) 50
4 Gadwick, the Wizened (ELD) 48
4 Ionize (GRN) 179
2 Negate (RIX) 44
4 Opt (XLN) 65
3 Quench (RNA) 48
3 Ral's Outburst (WAR) 212
2 Shock (M19) 156
2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
10 Island (ELD) 254
4 Mountain (ELD) 262
4 Steam Vents (GRN) 257
4 Temple of Epiphany (M20) 253

Sideboard
1 Negate (RIX) 44
1 Ral's Outburst (WAR) 212
3 Aether Gust (M20) 42
3 Flame Sweep (M20) 139
3 Lava Coil (GRN) 108
2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58
1 Sorcerous Spyglass (XLN) 248
1 The Royal Scions (ELD) 199

 

 

8. Mono-Red Aggro

Torbran, adding way more damage to everything even resembling the color red.

Mono-Red Aggro appears on this list since it was both popular and successful in Twitch Rivals. It had a final record of 32-31 (51% win rate) with its best record going to runeclawbarich with a 6-0 record in Day 1.  

Mono-Red Aggro wants to vomit out its hand of creatures as soon as possible and then swing for face before its opponent can really do anything. This version of Mono-Red however also packs plenty of card advantage so its hand vomit is more of a steady stream of creatures instead of just a one-off explosion.

What’s Good About this Deck?

  • Stabilizes crazy fast
  • Flexible beats and removal through Bonecrusher Giant
  • Despite being an aggro deck, has a few ways to keep hand stocked with cards

How to Play This Deck Effectively

  • Turn 1, get any early 1-cost creature out. Both Scorch Spitter and Fervent Champion are great here. 
     
  • Turn 2, attack first and see what your opponent does. If they didn’t block with anything or if they don’t have any creatures, you could cast Rimrock Knight as a creature, Runaway Steamkin,or more 1-cost creatures to deal more damage next turn.
     

    • Keep in mind that you can hit deal damage to your opponent and then Light Up the Stage for more card advantage. If you are hungry for lands, do not play a land until you cast Light up the Stage first. 
       
  • Turn 3, if you have the mana, play Chandra before you attack. Chandra allows you to put down free attackers that can help you push for more damage. If you need it, she can also recur one of your instants and sorceries for more damage and removal. 
     

    • If you don’t have Chandra, you should attack first and see if you need to respond to anything. After you attack, you can play Bonecrusher Giant as a massive early threat so you can push for more damage next turn. 
       
  • Turn 4, ideally at this point, you use the cards in your hand to achieve the best board state possible while holding Experimental Frenzy in hand. After that, on Turn 5 or whenever you’ve emptied your hand, cast Experimental Frenzy so you can start playing cards off the top of your deck to finish the game.
     
  • If Experimental Frenzy is out, don’t forget to put a stop before your draw step so you can play a card off the top with your untapped mana.

Cards

Deck
4 Fervent Champion (ELD) 124
4 Scorch Spitter (M20) 159
4 Shock (M19) 156
4 Rimrock Knight (ELD) 137
4 Runaway Steam-Kin (GRN) 115
4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115
4 Light Up the Stage (RNA) 107
2 Lava Coil (GRN) 108
2 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame (M20) 126
2 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell (ELD) 147
2 Experimental Frenzy (GRN) 99
3 Castle Embereth (ELD) 239
18 Mountain (ELD) 262
3 Slaying Fire (ELD) 143

Sideboard
4 Embereth Shieldbreaker (ELD) 122
3 Fry (M20) 140
2 Lava Coil (GRN) 108
2 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame (M20) 126
2 Experimental Frenzy (GRN) 99
2 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell (ELD) 147

7.  Mono-Black Sacrifice

Behold! The bane of Arena's Ladder!

I can hear the groans from r/MagicArena already. This deck has been getting more popularity on the Magic ladder and, in Twitch Rivals, managed to snag a 14-10 (58%) record. Its best player was Will Hall who made it into the top 8

The way this deck works is to play Witch’s Oven and Cauldron Familiar so you can ping your opponent’s to death. Cards like Ayara and Midnight Reaper will keep giving you advantages while you sacrifice the cat. 

What’s Good About this Deck?

  • Pretty durable game plan. If your opponents try to remove Cauldron Familiar then you can sacrifice it in response to keep it safe in your graveyard.
  • Murderous Rider and Cavalier of Knight offer some solid hard removal
  • Lots of hand disruption through Yarok’s Fenlurker and Drillbit

How to Play This Deck Effectively

  • Turn 1, the best card here is Gutterbones or Cauldron Familiar. Both of them are early and recurrable bodies.
     

    • I don’t recommend an early Oven just cause it’s not optimizing your damage as well. However, it’s also okay to put this down early if you’re against a deck that could counter the oven on other turns.
       
  • Turn 2, if you want to get your recursions online then you can play Witch’s Oven and Cauldron Familiar on this turn. Be aware that some decks may have artifact removal on their turn 2. 
     

    • The safe play here is Yarok’s Fenlurker. This way you can force a discard on your opponent and get a creature on the board without any risk to your main plans. 
       
    • Priest of the Forgotten Gods and Orzhov Enforcer can also be played here if you need the bodies. 
       
    • Priest will be the better play if you can flood the board with more recurrable creatures like Gutterbones and Cauldron Familiar. Priest is also the better play if you’re against a deck that has a very low creature count. 
       
    • If you played Cauldron Familiar, you could also play Drill Bit this to get rid of a card from their hand. 
       
  • Turn 3, if you’re against a slow deck, you can swing and play Drill Bit here to force a card out of them or at least look at their plans. On board, you should have bodies already so they will be taking damage regardless.
     

    • If you’re against faster decks then more creatures are never a bad thing. Ayara, Midnight Reaper, and Murderous Rider as a creature can be used to defend yourself. 
       
    • Don’t forget that you can block with Cauldron Familiar, then sacrifice it so you can have an almost eternal blocker.
       
  • Turn 4, once the Cauldron+Oven and Ayara on the field, you can start sacrificing Cauldron Familiar for more damage against your opponent. Each Oven you play after that will add another loop to Familiar and more damage from Ayara. 
     
  • Turn 5, if you need removal and don’t mind losing a creature, you could play Cavalier of Knight this turn to get rid of any large threats on the field. 
     

    • Don’t forget that Cavalier’s death trigger can be used to bring back a creature like Orzhov Enforcer or Cauldron Familiar in a pinch.
       
  • In the late-game, you may find yourself in need of card draw. If you do, your main options are Priest of the Forgotten Gods, Ayara and Midnight Reaper.
     
  • To close the game out, use both the combat damage you have on the board and the steady drain of life from Cauldron Familiar’s recursion loops.

Cards

Deck

3 Ayara, First of Locthwain (ELD) 75
3 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241
4 Cauldron Familiar (ELD) 81
2 Cavalier of Night (M20) 94
3 Drill Bit (RNA) 73
4 Gutterbones (RNA) 76
4 Midnight Reaper (GRN) 77
3 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97
2 Orzhov Enforcer (RNA) 79
4 Priest of Forgotten Gods (RNA) 83
20 Swamp (ELD) 258
4 Witch's Oven (ELD) 237
4 Yarok's Fenlurker (M20) 123

Sideboard

3 Duress (XLN) 105
3 Legion's End (M20) 106
2 Massacre Girl (WAR) 99
4 Noxious Grasp (M20) 110
3 Revenge of Ravens (ELD) 104

 

6. Simic Ramp

Gimme all your creatures!

You thought we were free from Simic colored decks? Simic Ramp decks had a 16-12 record (57%) and even had an appearance in Top 8 with Arthur Lolos(travic) piloting it. 

The idea behind this deck is to ramp into massive spells like Hydroid Krasis, Agent of Treachery, or Mass Manipulation. If all else fails, you can switch to a midrange plan through Nissa and Cavalier of Thorns.

What’s Good About This Deck

  • Fast ramp. It’s really easy to run away with the game if your opponent is not packing enough removal.
  • Nissa and Hydroid Krasis can always keep your hand stocked with answers.
  • Pretty solid back up plan since Cavalier of Thorns, Hydroid Krasis, and Nissa can help the beat down plan.
  • Quasiduplicate and Agent of Treachery can be game-ending if your opponent pulls it off.

How To Play This Deck Effectively

  • Turns 1-3, ramp like the wind. Gilded Goose makes an ideal turn 1 play, but it’s not necessary. Turns 2 and 3 should have Paradise Druid and Risen Reef appear respectively. 
     

    • Aim to play Paradise Druid over Leafkin Druid. Ideally, you want to play Leafkin Druid after you get Risen Reef onto the board so you can get more lands and draw.
       
    • If your opponent doesn’t answer Risen Reef early, then it will run away with the game since you’ll be getting a lot of land and mana from it. 
       
  • Turn 4, you should have enough ramp to get something decently sized out at this time. If your opponent has a threatening creature you can play a Voracious Hydra, and if you need a flying beater you can also create a Hydroid Krasis. 
     

    • If your opponent wipes the board, a Hydroid Krasis for anything above 2 is a pretty solid play since you’ll get a creature on the board and you’ll stay 1 card head of your opponent.
       
  • With this deck, ideally, you want to play Nissa or Cavalier of Thorns on curve. This is to make sure they come onto the board as soon as possible and they can then help ramp you further into a large spell with an X cost. 
     

    • Cavalier of Thorns is an amazing card in this deck since it can block flying creatures and, if it is removed, you’re pretty assured to get some threat back next turn. By this point, you’ve usually ramped enough that, whatever card is returned will usually help you re-establish board control.
       
  • If your hand is running low then look for a Hydroid Krasis to help dig for Agent of Treachery or Mass Manipulation. While Risen Reef can also help with this, it will be much slower than Hydroid Krasis will be.
     
  • Once you have enough mana and it’s safe, play Agent of Treachery to take away your opponent’s win condition or the strongest creature on their board. After that, you can Quasiduplicate to take away any other threats that your opponent could have. Since it has Jump Start, you can do this again the turn after that to make sure you put the final nail in your opponent’s coffin.
     
  • If all else fails and you’ve lost the stealing options, Nissa, Hydroid Krasis, and Voracious Hydra can all be used to create a board that can swing for lethal.

Cards

Deck
2 Agent of Treachery (M20) 43
4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246
2 Castle Garenbrig (ELD) 240
1 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
4 Cavalier of Thorns (M20) 167
7 Forest (ELD) 266
4 Gilded Goose (ELD) 160
4 Hydroid Krasis (RNA) 183
6 Island (ELD) 254
4 Leafkin Druid (M20) 178
1 Mass Manipulation (RNA) 42
4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World (WAR) 169
4 Paradise Druid (WAR) 171
2 Quasiduplicate (GRN) 51
4 Risen Reef (M20) 217
4 Temple of Mystery (M20) 255
3 Voracious Hydra (M20) 200

Sideboard
2 Aether Gust (M20) 42
2 Lovestruck Beast (ELD) 165
1 Mass Manipulation (RNA) 42
2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58
1 Negate (RIX) 44
2 Questing Beast (ELD) 171
2 Shifting Ceratops (M20) 194
1 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales (WAR) 220
2 Thrashing Brontodon (RIX) 148

 

5. Rakdos Knights

This is Syr Rotting Regisaur, it likes swords.

Rakdos Knights had a record of 67-47 (59%) at Twitch Rivals and were the fourth most popular deck at the tournament. A Rakdos Knights deck got a 6-0 record and was played by fernanditouh.

Rakdos Knights uses a Knights Tribal theme to establish an early board. After that, it can put down Rotting Regisaur and attach Embercleave to it to deal 16 trample damage, usually ending the game.

What’s Good About This Deck

  • Knights Tribal makes for fast and flexible beats
  • Embercleave can create an extremely fast clock
  • Stormfist Crusader can help you draw and be an evasive beater

How To Play This Deck Effectively

  • Turn 1, Fervent Champion is the best play here since it has haste. 
     

    • If Fervent Champion isn’t in your hand then Knight of the Ebon Legion and Gutterbones can also be a good play. I would recommend Gutterbones over Knight of the Ebon Legion since it can push for 2 damage next turn and you can play Knight on Turn 2 for close to the same effects.
       
    • If you’re up against another aggro deck however, Knight of the Ebon Legion is better just to put a stop to any aggressive 1/1 beaters.
       
  • Turn 2, attack first and see what your opponent will do. After that, play a creature. If you just want to put down beats, then Stormfist Crusader is the best card to play. Alternatively, if you were able to deal damage, you can also play a 1-cost creature and then Drill Bit to get rid of a future threat from your opponent’s hand.
     

    • If you are rushing to get Embercleave out as soon as possible then you want to play two 1-cost creatures on this turn. That way you can attack with 3 creatures on Turn 3 and then flash in Embercleave.
       
  • Turn 3, you can either get Embercleave down this turn by attacking with three creatures or, you can attack then play Rotting Regisaur so you can threaten lethal the turn after if your opponent doesn't deal with Regisaur. 
     

    • If you ever want to get rid of a blocker or attacker, don’t forget that you can flash in Blacklance Paragon to give another knight Deathtouch. 
       
    • If you just need a body on this turn, you can also play Bonecrusher Giant since a 4/3 body is going to be hard to ignore this early.
       
  • Turn 4, you should be able to swing and continue pushing through damage this turn. If you haven't played Embercleave yet, then you should have enough creatures to get it down this turn. Ideally, you would play it on Regisaur so your opponent is stuck between losing their board or dying. 
     

    • If you’re off by a little bit of damage, Stomp is a great way to make up 2 damage. 
       
  • Since Regisaur can deal 16 damage by itself, getting your opponent down to 16 should usually be your goal.

Cards

Deck
4 Knight of the Ebon Legion (M20) 105
4 Fervent Champion (ELD) 124
4 Blacklance Paragon (ELD) 79
4 Rotting Regisaur (M20) 111
4 Embercleave (ELD) 120
3 Gutterbones (RNA) 76
3 Stormfist Crusader (ELD) 203
3 Drill Bit (RNA) 73
3 Oathsworn Knight (ELD) 98
3 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115
2 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241
8 Swamp (ELD) 258
7 Mountain (ELD) 262
4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245
4 Tournament Grounds (ELD) 248

Sideboard
2 Duress (XLN) 105
2 Legion's End (M20) 106
2 Noxious Grasp (M20) 110
2 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97
2 Massacre Girl (WAR) 99
1 Drill Bit (RNA) 73
4 Leyline of the Void (M20) 107

4. Azorious Control

Teferi, ruiner of plans and destroyer of board states.

Azorious Control is next with a tied winrate of 51%, but a smaller record of 22-21. Its best record during Twitch Rivals was 5-1 set by RobAJG. The reason why it’s ranking higher than Mono Red is cause in a recent MTGO Standard League, Azorious Control took home a 5-0 record from zer1997.

This deck wants to control the board until it has enough mana to play Agent of Treachery or Mass Manipulation.

What’s Good About this Deck?

  • A tool for most situations
  • Removal is cheap, and it has enough cheap counterspells to stall Embercleave decks
  • Lots of card draw so you can get the tools you need to stall in the late game

How to Play This Deck Effectively

  • Turn 1-2, you’re probably going to play lands and pass. Let’s also be honest here, as a control deck, this is the perfect life. No one does anything. If they try to do anything, you have Aether Gust, Brazen Borrower or Dovin’s Veto. Sometimes you counter things to keep things off the board, other times, it’s just to send a message.
     
  • Turn 3, if your opponent made the horrible choice of playing more than one creature, you should send their largest threat to the Prison Realm. This will also allow you to scry and set up your next turn.
     

    • If you’re playing against a deck that doesn’t have haste creatures and your opponent only has one creature on the board, you can play Teferi to send that creature back to their hand and give yourself a draw. 
       
    • Remember, your happy place as a control player is to make sure your opponent achieves absolutely nothing with their life. Ruined dreams are what Control victories are built on, and as long as your opponent has blank board, then you’re good.
       
  • Turn 4, continue stalling with spells. If you can tick up Teferi, then do so since you want him back at 4 counters as soon as possible. Ideally, you pass here and keep counterspells and bounces in hand so you can answer whatever your opponent throws at you and keep Teferi safe. 
     

    • If your opponent did absolutely nothing, then you can play Chemister’s Insight on their end step to draw two cards.
       
  • Turn 5 and 6, if your opponent managed to flood the board, you can use Teferi to play Time Wipe on their end step  However, if you don’t have Teferi, there’s nothing wrong with just sitting and seeing what your opponent will do and playing reactively.
     
  • Turn 7+, you’ve bided your time, and on this turn, it’s time for it to pay off. Agent of Treachery is here and he can steal your opponent’s best creature. After that turn, Mass Manipulation or another Agent of Treachery can take over and help make sure that your opponent’s only remaining permanent is the concede button. 
     
  • If you ever need more cards then you can play Gadwick to help refill your hand and get a body on the board.

Cards

Deck

3 Absorb (RNA) 151
2 Aether Gust (M20) 42
2 Agent of Treachery (M20) 43
2 Castle Ardenvale (ELD) 238
3 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
4 Chemister's Insight (GRN) 32
3 Dovin's Veto (WAR) 193
4 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
1 Gadwick, the Wizened (ELD) 48
4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251
6 Island (ELD) 254
2 Mass Manipulation (RNA) 42
1 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58
4 Plains (ELD) 250
3 Prison Realm (WAR) 26
1 Tale's End (M20) 77
4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221
4 Time Wipe (WAR) 223
4 Tranquil Cove (M20) 259
2 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39
1 Narset, Parter of Veils (WAR) 61

Sideboard
2 Aether Gust (M20) 42|
2 Apostle of Purifying Light (M20) 6
4 Deputy of Detention (RNA) 165
1 Devout Decree (M20) 13
1 Finale of Glory (WAR) 12
3 Glass Casket (ELD) 15
2 Sorcerous Spyglass (XLN) 248

 

3. Jeskai Fires

One of your horsemen of the Apocalypse

Jeskai Fires was one of the most popular decks in Twitch Rivals, making up 12.4% of the total decks in the tournament. Its record for the tournament was 111-85 (57%). Sam Rolfo represented the deck in the Top 8

This deck also got a 5-0 record in a recent MTGO Standard League thanks to Brokenwingss.

The deck has a pretty straight forward game plan - control the board, then play Fires of Invention. Once Fire sticks, play Drawn from Dreams for free. After that, play both Cavaliers or Kenrith to swing for ~15 damage.

What’s Good About this Deck?

  • Strong late-game plan through both cavaliers and value from Fires of Invention. Turn 5 can have this deck deal up to 15 damage in a single attack phase.
  • Flexible early game plan through Deafening Clarion, Bonecrusher Giant, and Teferi to keep opponent’s board clear of threats.
  • Strong match up against decks that run a bunch of small, weak creatures.

How to Play This Deck Effectively

  • On turns 1-3, you’re going to be using Deafening Clarion and Bonecrusher Giant to control the board. During this time, figure out which threats you can live with, and which threats you can’t. If you’re against an aggro deck, it may not be a bad idea to wait for them to dedicate their hand into the board before you Deafening Clarion. 
     

    • Bonecrusher Giant in these early turns can also help establish a board presence and dissuade your opponent from attacking you freely.
       
  • On turn 4, play Fires of Invention and then Drawn from Dreams so you can get either more control or both of the Cavaliers. If the board is looking safe, get both Cavaliers.
     
  • Turn 5, an ideal play here is to play both Cavaliers for free, then tap 4 of your lands to use Cavalier of Flames’ ability to buff both creatures with +2/+0 and haste. Then, attack for 15 damage. 

    • Knowing which Cavalier’s ability to do first can be a huge asset when piloting this deck. Sometimes, you want to use Cavalier of Gales to draw the top 3 cards and then put important cards back into the deck. After that, you can play Cavalier of Flames, discard all of the junk cards in your hand and then draw the cards you need. 
       
  • From Turn 6 onwards, you want to control the board and prevent your opponent from doing anything meaningful.
     

    • The Cavaliers and Drawn from Dreams can help you find whatever card you need for the situation.
       
    • Teferi, Clarion, and Realm-cloaked Giant will help you control the board.
       
    • Bone-Crusher can help you burn for lethal
       
    • Aether Gale can get rid of pesky permanents. 
       
    • Kenrith can help you draw cards, gain life, and give all of your creatures trample and haste. You can also use Kenrith as an additional Cavalier of Flame.

Cards

Deck
2 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221
4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115
4 Cavalier of Flame (M20) 125
4 Cavalier of Gales (M20) 52
1 Realm-Cloaked Giant (ELD) 26
4 Deafening Clarion (GRN) 165
3 Drawn from Dreams (M20) 56
2 Aether Gust (M20) 42
2 Opt (XLN) 65
2 Sorcerous Spyglass (XLN) 248
4 Fires of Invention (ELD) 125
3 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
4 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251
2 Island (ELD) 254
2 Mountain (ELD) 262
1 Plains (ELD) 250
2 Sacred Foundry (GRN) 254
4 Steam Vents (GRN) 257
3 Temple of Epiphany (M20) 253
3 Temple of Triumph (M20) 257

Sideboard
1 Realm-Cloaked Giant (ELD) 26
2 Aether Gust (M20) 42
1 Sorcerous Spyglass (XLN) 248
1 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221
3 Devout Decree (M20) 13
2 Disenchant (M20) 14
2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58
2 Narset, Parter of Veils (WAR) 61
1 Prison Realm (WAR) 26

 

2. Jund Sacrifice

This is Korvold. He eats people.

Jund Sacrifice had a final record of 64-53 (55%) at Twitch Rivals. Its best record was 6-0 by Sandoiche who would also make it all the way to the finals. 

It also has taken 5-0 at an MTGO Standard League where it was played by JacksonHicks1.

Jund Sacrifice’s gameplan is just to create creatures and permanents that it can then sacrifice for value. Usually it will have an outlet like Mayhem Devil to take advantage of all the sacrifice, or in Sandioche’s case, Trail of Crumbs.

What’s Good About this Deck?

  • Sacrifice and recursion galore. If you like watching creatures die for your benefit, then this deck will entertain you to no end.
  • Sacrifice engines and Mayhem Devil allow for strong board control
  • Creatures that do their effects when they enter the board or are in graveyard means they can get elk-ed by Oko and still be useful.

How to Play This Deck Effectively

  • Turn 1, if you have the option between ramping through Goose or playing Familiar/Oven, I’d recommend ramping instead of playing Cauldron Familiar. While Familiar can be a great early play, setting yourself up with more mana for later turns will be more useful.
     

    • Familiar is at its most useful when it’s out with Cauldron on the board. Since that’s only a two-mana combo, you can do that next turn and only lose out on 1 point of damage.
       
  • Turn 2, I’d suggest ramping with Paradise Druid or more Gilded Geese to make sure you have all of your colors up and running. If you haven’t played Familiar/Oven together, then you can set that up now. Familiar can also act as a great early blocker since you can declare it as a blocker, then sacrifice it to the Oven and return it later. If Gilded Goose was played earlier, then you can use the extra food token for another Familiar recursion.
     

    • Playing more Ovens isn’t a bad idea either. Each Oven adds an additional loop to Familiar’s recursion.
       
    • Mayhem Devil can also be played on this turn, but be careful since your opponent can play Oko or Murderous Rider on their Turn 3 to get rid of it. Familiar and Oven are a safer bet since it’s more resistant against creature removal. If those cards are already on the field, then using Mayhem Devil on this turn to deal 1 extra damage can be helpful.
       
    • Midnight Reaper can run into the same problems as Mayhem Devil, but its saving grace is that, against a deck with creature removal, you’ll at least get a card draw out of Midnight Reaper if it dies.
       
  • Turn 3 - 5, if you have the mana and creatures set up for it, then play Korvold. He’ll enter the battlefield, create a sacrifice trigger, draw you a card, and be a 5/5 flier. This is also going to be an even better play if you have Mayhem Devil on the board already.
     

    • Wicked Wolf can be used to remove creatures here if you have multiple food tokens and multiple means of making food tokens. This way you can buff Wolf and keep a food token around in case you need to sacrifice Familiar to something that isn’t Oven.
       
    • Vraska can also be used once you’ve established a board. Be aware that the sooner you get Vraska down, usually the better since most of the creatures on the field during Turns 3 and 4 will be below a casting cost of 3.
       
  • The version of Jund Sacrifice used in Twitch Rivals replaces Korvold with Trail of Crumbs which can give a lot of value.

Cards

Deck

2 Vraska, Golgari Queen (GRN) 213
4 Cauldron Familiar (ELD) 81
4 Gilded Goose (ELD) 160
3 Korvold, Fae-Cursed King (ELD) 329
4 Mayhem Devil (WAR) 204
4 Midnight Reaper (GRN) 77
2 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97
3 Paradise Druid (WAR) 171
1 Angrath's Rampage (WAR) 185
2 Legion's End (M20) 106
4 Witch's Oven (ELD) 237
3 Trail of Crumbs (ELD) 179
4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245
2 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241
3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
3 Forest (ELD) 266
1 Mountain (ELD) 262
4 Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253
4 Stomping Ground (RNA) 259
3 Swamp (ELD) 258

Sideboard
1 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97
1 Angrath's Rampage (WAR) 185
1 Trail of Crumbs (ELD) 179
4 Duress (XLN) 105
1 Flame Sweep (M20) 139
3 Lovestruck Beast (ELD) 165
2 Massacre Girl (WAR) 99
2 Thrashing Brontodon (RIX) 148

1. Golgari Adventures

Foulmire Knight has the magic touch.

Mike Sigrist (Siggy) playing Golgari Adventure was the deck that ultimately took Twitch Rivals. At the tournament, it had a 73-64(53%) record. 

This deck wants to keep playing creatures while Edgewall Innkeeper is on the field. This way, the deck can keep your hand stocked on options and more creatures to keep playing.

What’s Good About This Deck

  • Plenty of removal spells to throw a wrench in everyone else’s game plans
  • Foulmire Knight and Lovestruck Beast create a strong turn 3 board presence
  • Has recursion to help get more value out of creatures and adventures
  • Innkeepers keep your hand stocked with answers

How To Play This Deck Effectively

  • Turn 1, the priority of what to play is: Edgewall Innkeeper, Heart’s Desire, and Foulmire Knight.
     

    • Edgewall Innkeeper is the ideal play since we can then draw every time we play a creature with adventure.
       
    • Heart’s Desire is efficient because we may not use that one mana for anything else this turn.
       
    • Foulmire Knight is useful as an early body, but we ideally want to use him for a draw with Edgewall Innkeeper. Casting him later also means we have a higher chance of drawing into Edgewall Innkeeper.
       
  • Turn 2, you want to help set up for your turn 3. Play another Edgewall Innkeeper and then a Foulmire Knight to discourage people from attacking you. Playing another Edgewall Innkeeper will also help set up for Turn 3 since you will want to get Lovestruck Beast onto the field for both the draw and the massive body.
     

    • It can be tempting to play Order of Midnight, but Alter Fate is far more useful later in the game than a simple 2/2 flier that can’t block. Alternatively, if Edgewall is on the board and you need an evasive beater, then playing Order of Midnight for a flier and card draw will be more worth it.
       
  • Turn 3, play Lovestruck Beast to build a stronger board presence. If you have Edgewall Innkeeper or Foulmire Knight on the field, then Lovestruck can attack next turn.
     
  • Turn 4, the best options for this turn are Rankle for damage in the skies and a discard to keep your opponent’s options low or Questing Beast for a Deathtouch, haste Vigilance creature. If you have enough blockers, you can play Vraska to get rid of problematic permanents. 
     

    • Although, if you’re against a board that’s going wide, you can keep them in check with Massacre Girl. If you plan on doing this, then make sure you keep some creatures in your hand or on an adventure

Cards

Deck
1 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241
4 Edgewall Innkeeper (ELD) 151
3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
8 Forest (ELD) 266
4 Foulmire Knight (ELD) 90
1 Garruk, Cursed Huntsman (ELD) 191
4 Lovestruck Beast (ELD) 165
2 Midnight Reaper (GRN) 77
4 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97
1 Nissa, Who Shakes the World (WAR) 169
3 Order of Midnight (ELD) 99
4 Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253
4 Paradise Druid (WAR) 171
4 Questing Beast (ELD) 171
2 Rankle, Master of Pranks (ELD) 101
6 Swamp (ELD) 258
3 Temple of Malady (M20) 254
2 Vivien, Arkbow Ranger (M20) 199

Sideboard
2 Assassin's Trophy (GRN) 152
4 Duress (XLN) 105
2 Legion's End (M20) 106
1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General (WAR) 97
2 Massacre Girl (WAR) 99
2 Shifting Ceratops (M20) 194
2 Thrashing Brontodon (RIX) 148

Thanks for reading! Remember, this is all currently based on early results from Standard Leagues and Twitch Rivals since it was a large enough tournament to get a decent sample size. The meta is still very much in flux and people are testing out new decks all the time. 

I hope in the least I was able to bring a few decks to keep an eye out for in the future. 

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As a coffee-powered typist, Chris is an expert at playing through caffeine-powered binges and writing about what happens during those binges.
Gamer Since: 1995
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
Top 3 Favorite Games:Titanfall, Mass Effect 3, Megaman Legacy Collection
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FrostBite's picture

FrostBite 4 months 2 weeks ago

Do you have any other recommendations for the Izzett Phoenix decks that don't use the Brazen Borrower? Is it critical to the deck? I was thinking of putting Ox Of Agonas because he can be brought out pretty quickly and he can replenish your hand.

Hawkguy's picture

Hawkguy 7 months 3 weeks ago

I know that feeling. I swear, I've had to convert all of my older decks into EDH decks just so I can keep enjoying them. If you're interested in Kithkin, I think Brigid, Hero of Kinsballe is pretty fun. Just equip a Basilisk Collar to her and laugh behind your murder wall.

sTaTic_waFFle's picture

sTaTic_waFFle 7 months 3 weeks ago

I miss my old school kithkin deck, pre-plainswalker!

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