Mat Bimonte: The Best Decks Not Being Played

It’s really no secret at this point that the Energy focused decks are some of the most powerful things you can be doing right now in Standard.

I expect to see a bunch of you to be playing them at the NRG Championship Trial tomorrow, which by the way, yours truly and Jeff Hoogland will be doing commentary at. However, I also expect a lot of you to be attacking what I perceive to be a two-deck dominated metagame (Energy decks and Mono Red).

Where do we begin if we are trying to attack the “Big Two”?

In our quest to relearn the format, my co-host and I have been combing through finding a few decks that looked interesting, and that could possibly attack the format in a unique way. We loaded up these three archetypes and got to work: Green-White Aggro, Mono-Black Aggro, and Blue-Black Midrange.

Green-White Aggro


While this deck certainly looked like a pile of junk to me, we absolutely destroyed the Energy decks we played against. The Green/White deck takes advantage of Lifelink, making a lot of bodies, and then “combo killing” your opponent with Oketra the True combined with Appeal // Authority, or one of your many utility lands with your wide board. We didn’t play against Mono Red in any of our league matches, but you can imagine how good the bodies we have access to are against them. Sacred Cat is one of the most annoying cards for Mono Red to beat. With double-striking creatures and lifelinking Vampires you look to be pretty far ahead in that matchup.

Perhaps the most undervalued plan of attack this deck has is swapping from a creature combo deck to a more controlling deck in the post board games. Playing cards like Ixalan’s Binding, Settle the Wreckage, and Fumigate really let you go over the top of the Energy decks nicely, as there should be no way they are bringing in the Negate/Spell Pierce package in against your creature-based deck.

This deck needs a little bit of work, but I will attach Willy Edel’s sideboard notes we used as a baseline to start with.

Next on the docket was some Mono-Black Aggro.

Mono-Black Aggro


While we only got to play a match with this deck, I actually took the time out to play something fairly similar to this at my local Friday Night Magic last week, and the power level is actually pretty high on this deck. I think a lot of people have forgotten just how absurd Heart of Kiran is. Couple this with something like Night Market Lookout, and we are casually chunking our opponents for 5 a turn.

This deck is leveraging a nice mix of mana consistency, unblockable/flying creatures, graveyard recursion, and drawing extra cards to really bury your opponents. Most of the Temur/Sultai Energy builds are very light on early interaction and flying creatures so you are able to run them down rather quickly.

This deck is a little bit weaker against the Big Two, but better against random decks that you might come across, as it is much more aggressive than Green-White is. It could use a little bit of tuning, but it was good enough for Frank Skarren to Top 8 the SCG Classic last weekend, so if you value mana consistency and aggression, I think this is a deck to look towards if you aren’t playing Mono Red.

Lastly is my personal choice for what I would playing if I was to not play Temur Energy this weekend: Blue-Black Midrange.

Blue-Black Midrange


While we didn’t run through a league with this, I played this pretty extensively the last couple weeks. This deck attacks Temur Energy with a bunch of Deathtouch creatures. Also, it’s playing the best card in Standard, which I haven’t mentioned yet in this article. Did we forget about The Scarab God somehow?

This is objectively the most powerful deck I’ve talked about in this article. It’s also the most frustrating to play against, which to me is always a big boon in a tournament setting. Tournaments are long, and waiting for an opponent to make a mistake is one of the best ways to gain small edges, especially in a format like Standard. This deck lets your opponents make mistakes in attacking with how much Deathtouch you have access to, Champion of Wits being in the graveyard isn’t exactly a detriment to your deck either.

You midrange harder than any deck in the format with The Scarab God, and are pretty good against the aggressive decks as you have early removal and blockers. Where this deck struggles is against Control decks like Approach of the Second Sun style decks. If you expect a lot of those to be around, I’m not sure you can tune your deck to beat them unless you find a better way to be aggressive.

I also like that the U/B deck is fairly customizable in the Main Deck. If you want to beat Mono Red you can play a pile of Essence Extraction in the Main, if you want to beat the Temur Decks you can swap those for more Walk the Plank or Vraska’s Contempt. Once again, this is my top billing for the weekend if you are not playing Temur Energy and are looking for a way to beat the best decks in the format.

Not only are these decks a ton of fun to play, but they are also attacking the metagame in a fairly unique way. There is always a small edge in playing something like this at a tournament as you can be sure most players aren’t lining up to test against these decks in their gauntlets. If you like to try and metagame, these are certainly great choices for the weekend! Also, be sure to stop by and visit with me this weekend at Nerd Rage Gaming and let me know what you are playing, and if you can’t make it out, be sure to check us out here on Saturday: Can’t wait to see you all in a couple of days!

Thanks for stopping by,

Mat Bimonte

Mat Bimonte first picked up the game during Theros block, but already has a Modern 5K championship under his belt, as well as a number of smaller Standard tournament wins. Based out of Bloomington, Ill., Mat is a commentator for the NRG Championship Series. 

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Mat Bimonte