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Exploring Off-Meta Decks

Arena Standard Standard 
By: MTG_Joe - 16 Aug 2019
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With the current Standard meta littered with Teferi, Vampires and various Field of the Dead decks, I thought it would be to fun explore some less featured decks. Many of these decks would fall in the category of Tier 2-2.5, due to consistency issues or collectively weaker collection of cards compared to their Tier 1 counterparts. These decks are a mix of my own brews or fringe strategies where I try to build on I try to play objectively playable cards within these decks, while focusing on combining them into other shells.

First up is a variation of the deck I featured in my rotation proof series, Simic Leyline Ramp.

Simic Leyline Ramp

Main 60 cards (17 distinct)
Creature (25)
$0.25€0.11
$3.60€2.47
$21.52€19.77
$0.35€0.16
$0.20€0.07
$1.78€0.95
$1.50€0.81
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (7)
$1.15€0.49
$12.62€7.95
$1.58€1.15
Land (22)
$5.23€4.00
$16.98€13.50
$0.12€0.04
$2.22€1.73
$0.12€0.04
Planeswalker (6)
$5.31€3.52
$1.52€1.07
Side 15 cards (7 distinct)
$0.95€0.46
$3.75€2.83
$0.25€0.13
$0.16€0.07
$4.04€2.28
$4.96€3.97
$4.56€3.95

Simulating MTG Arena Best of 1 starting hand
(Simplified, true algorithm in MTGA not revealed by Wizards yet)

DeckHub DeckHub Twitch Extension

The DeckHub Twitch extension is used by Twitch streamers to display their currently played deck in the video overlay. After a quick install you can select any public deck on AetherHub to be displayed in your overlay, here is how you set it up:

How to install

Open your Aetherhub Profile editor
  • Select "My Account" top right corner, then "Edit Profile". Click the "Copy" button where it says "Twitch Secret"
Install DeckHub Twitch extension on Twitch.tv
  • Install DeckHub on Twitch by clicking this link
Configure App
  • After install click the app and select "Configure" put in Aetherhub Username and the Twitch Secret, click "Connect".
  • Make sure the Extension is active! Go back to Extensions, you will see a list of your installed extensions. Set it is set as an Active Component overlay and put it on the far left side and on the top for the best experience. If you only use one extension you can set it as Overlay 1 instead of Component
You are done!
  • Clicking the Twitch button on any public deck will now set it as your current Deck in the extension

Gameplay for Simic Leyline Ramp

The deck looks to start off with some number of Leyline of Abundanceimage in your opening hand to play out at the start of the game for free. From there, any of the mana dorks in the deck tap for an additional green mana (including Nissa Elemental tokens). This can lead to explosive opening draws such as 2x Leylines + Llanowar elf turn 1 means a turn 2 Nissa. Leyline also has the built-in mana sink where we can spend 8 mana to add +1/+1 counters to the team. With any green ramp deck, Nissa, Who Shakes the Worldimage is the real engine to generating massive mana advantage.

Similar to many other Simic based ramp strategies, Hydroid Krasisimage is used to refill our hand after it was initially play out.  Voracious Hydraimage can serve as removal in the deck, while Mass Manipulationimage can dramatically swing board states in our favor. Finale of Devastationimage was a card I wanted to test out as a Craterhoof Behemothimage style of effect. The deck doesn't have a real top end creature, however when we cast it for X=10+ all the onboard creatures will get +X/+X which should be enough to close out the game.

Since playing this deck on stream I've been toying with a few variations swapping in a couple of Nexus of Fateimage in place of Voracious Hydraimage and finale . This allows us to gain some set up turns or the extra turn needed to close out the game through attacks. However, I’m still fine tuning that one, and will share it once the kinks are ironed out.

UW Blink (infinite mill combo)

Main 60 cards (17 distinct)
Creature (27)
$0.15€0.04
$0.34€0.17
$0.29€0.19
$0.35€0.11
$0.25€0.10
$4.00€4.25
$5.39€4.11
$0.59€0.41
$1.75€0.60
$0.23€0.11
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (5)
$0.15€0.06
$0.15€0.05
Land (24)
$4.09€3.87
$9.64€7.52
$0.12€0.04
$0.14€0.05
Planeswalker (4)
$15.95€15.56
Side 15 cards (7 distinct)
$1.59€1.52
$1.83€1.64
$1.00€0.96
$0.99€0.46
$0.60€0.35
$1.99€1.93
$1.00€0.78

Simulating MTG Arena Best of 1 starting hand
(Simplified, true algorithm in MTGA not revealed by Wizards yet)

DeckHub DeckHub Twitch Extension

The DeckHub Twitch extension is used by Twitch streamers to display their currently played deck in the video overlay. After a quick install you can select any public deck on AetherHub to be displayed in your overlay, here is how you set it up:

How to install

Open your Aetherhub Profile editor
  • Select "My Account" top right corner, then "Edit Profile". Click the "Copy" button where it says "Twitch Secret"
Install DeckHub Twitch extension on Twitch.tv
  • Install DeckHub on Twitch by clicking this link
Configure App
  • After install click the app and select "Configure" put in Aetherhub Username and the Twitch Secret, click "Connect".
  • Make sure the Extension is active! Go back to Extensions, you will see a list of your installed extensions. Set it is set as an Active Component overlay and put it on the far left side and on the top for the best experience. If you only use one extension you can set it as Overlay 1 instead of Component
You are done!
  • Clicking the Twitch button on any public deck will now set it as your current Deck in the extension

Gameplay for UW Blink

One of my favorite cards from Ravnica block is Lumbering Battlementimage. I have variants of these Enter the Battlefield/Blink decks in Mardu, Jeskai, Esper and Naya looking to abuse loops with Lumbering Battlement. With recent set printings, we have gotten a card pool of solid cards in Azorius to build a dedicated Blue-White Blink deck. The goal of the deck is to play a bunch of early creatures with ETB effects that either draw more cards or have relevant effects on the board state. From there we would exile a number of them under a Lumbering Battlement. From here we can either attack with a large creature or blink it or exile it under another Lumbering Battlement to get all the creatures ETB effects again.

The deck looks to gain card advantage through cards like Fblthp, the Lostimage and Elite Guardmageimage to get ahead. From there we can disrupt the opponents board through Exclusion Mageimage and Deputy of Detentionimage. This can drag the game out until we can start recycling ETB effects by either blinking with spells like justiciar’s portal or exiling our creatures under a Lumbering Battlement .

This deck also features a janky infinite mill combo. Basically you need a Wall of Lost Thoughtsimage and some combination of 3 Lumbering Battlementimage/Spark Doubleimage. The combo line goes as such

1)           Have a Wall out and a Lumbering Battlement (A )

2)           Cast either a Battlement (B) or spark double copying original Battlement (A) and then exile the Wall and Battlement (A)

3)           Cast a 3rd Battlement (C ) or Spark Double and exile Battlement (B). From here original Battlement (A) and Wall come into play, milling the opponent 4 cards. When Battlement (A) enters, you exile the wall again and Battlement (C) getting back Battlement (B) creating a loop where you can keep getting the wall to enter the Battlefield until you mill out the opponent.

You can check it out in action here.

Orzhov Knights

Main 60 cards (17 distinct)
Creature (21)
$0.25€0.12
$0.25€0.12
$0.29€0.13
$5.39€4.11
$4.27€2.98
$0.29€0.13
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (12)
$0.37€0.32
$2.00€1.61
$0.15€0.06
$0.25€0.12
Land (24)
$3.93€3.06
$3.66€3.40
$12.28€8.62
$1.72€1.49
$0.14€0.05
$0.15€0.05
Planeswalker (3)
$1.74€1.45
Side 15 cards (9 distinct)
$5.79€4.94
$0.25€0.11
$0.66€0.42
$0.24€0.08
$0.42€0.17
$0.50€0.23
$1.00€0.62
$4.56€4.03
$1.00€0.78

Simulating MTG Arena Best of 1 starting hand
(Simplified, true algorithm in MTGA not revealed by Wizards yet)

DeckHub DeckHub Twitch Extension

The DeckHub Twitch extension is used by Twitch streamers to display their currently played deck in the video overlay. After a quick install you can select any public deck on AetherHub to be displayed in your overlay, here is how you set it up:

How to install

Open your Aetherhub Profile editor
  • Select "My Account" top right corner, then "Edit Profile". Click the "Copy" button where it says "Twitch Secret"
Install DeckHub Twitch extension on Twitch.tv
  • Install DeckHub on Twitch by clicking this link
Configure App
  • After install click the app and select "Configure" put in Aetherhub Username and the Twitch Secret, click "Connect".
  • Make sure the Extension is active! Go back to Extensions, you will see a list of your installed extensions. Set it is set as an Active Component overlay and put it on the far left side and on the top for the best experience. If you only use one extension you can set it as Overlay 1 instead of Component
You are done!
  • Clicking the Twitch button on any public deck will now set it as your current Deck in the extension

Gameplay for Orzhov Knights

One of my favorite decks from Standard seasons past was Orzhov Knights/Midrange. With M20 we were given a number of interesting aggressive knight cards in knight of ebon legion and Corpse Knightimage. For this variation of the deck I decided to go more aggressive version as I felt it was the best option for success. Due to this I opted to not include Cavalier of Dawnimage or cavalier of knight as the top end, instead going with a couple God-Eternal Oketraimage as help generate tokens.

The curve of this deck can now fairly consistently go 1-2-3 drop that can all get triggered off chapter 3 bonus power of History of Benaliaimage. Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlordimage can help us race by giving our creatures lifelink along with reanimating any of our relevant creatures. The first strike and color protection Knight of Maliceimage and Knight of Graceimage can be overpowered 2 drops against certain decks.

Rakdos Superfriends

Main 60 cards (24 distinct)
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (21)
$2.49€1.76
$1.79€1.33
$0.37€0.32
$0.42€0.20
$0.99€0.64
$0.35€0.17
$3.18€2.52
$0.35€0.13
$0.39€0.21
$0.15€0.05
Land (24)
$3.00€2.62
$3.93€3.06
$11.70€9.14
$0.30€0.13
$0.18€0.07
$0.15€0.04
Planeswalker (15)
$4.52€3.16
$9.44€8.30
$4.56€3.95
$13.29€12.11
$1.22€1.01
$0.77€0.57
$6.00€4.77
$17.21€15.41
Side 15 cards (6 distinct)
$3.95€3.81
$0.15€0.06
$1.00€0.62
$0.25€0.13
$0.50€0.30
$1.00€0.78

Simulating MTG Arena Best of 1 starting hand
(Simplified, true algorithm in MTGA not revealed by Wizards yet)

DeckHub DeckHub Twitch Extension

The DeckHub Twitch extension is used by Twitch streamers to display their currently played deck in the video overlay. After a quick install you can select any public deck on AetherHub to be displayed in your overlay, here is how you set it up:

How to install

Open your Aetherhub Profile editor
  • Select "My Account" top right corner, then "Edit Profile". Click the "Copy" button where it says "Twitch Secret"
Install DeckHub Twitch extension on Twitch.tv
  • Install DeckHub on Twitch by clicking this link
Configure App
  • After install click the app and select "Configure" put in Aetherhub Username and the Twitch Secret, click "Connect".
  • Make sure the Extension is active! Go back to Extensions, you will see a list of your installed extensions. Set it is set as an Active Component overlay and put it on the far left side and on the top for the best experience. If you only use one extension you can set it as Overlay 1 instead of Component
You are done!
  • Clicking the Twitch button on any public deck will now set it as your current Deck in the extension

Gameplay for Rakdos Superfriends

The final deck is a Rakdos Control deck or “Superfriends” theme built around removal and a large number of planeswalkers. Through the gameplay on stream, I ended up tweaking the numbers in the deck until we ended up here. Effectively you are looking to control the board in the early game with a number of flexible removal spells and then gain reoccurring value from our planeswalkers.

To help offset the wrong half of the deck problem  of drawing the incorrect card of for the matchup, I tried to ensure that our removal was flexible for both creature and control decks. Cards like Bedevilimage, vraska’s contempt and angrath’s rampage all have the flexibility to deal with both creatures and planeswalkers.

To close out the game we have a number of powerful top end threats such as Sarkhan the Masterlessimage which can turn all our other planeswalkers into 4/4s. Any number of the other walkers in our deck can win the game on their own if they are able to go unchecked for a couple turns for example Chandra, Awaken Inferno or Liliana, Dreadhorde Generalimage. The biggest struggle for this deck compared to blue based control decks is card advantage. The best way we are able to achieve this in Rakdos colors is through Karn, Scion of Urzaimage and Treasure Map // Treasure Cove. Likely the easiest way to improve this is by going up to 4 interplanar beacons and a couple blue splash duals and add in a couple copies of Nicol Bolas, Dragon God.

 

You can find a bunch of other off-meta decks on my channel, but let me know if there are any other archetypes you’d be interested in seeing!

About MTG_Joe

MTG_Joe

I am a part time content creator on YouTube playing everything from budget brews to Tier 1 lists. I enjoy focusing on build guides and explaining strategy through my videos to help our newer and returning players. I am also very engaged in the Arena Subreddit community, also happy to chat MTG.

Youtube & Twitch: MTG_Joe

Twitter & Instagram: MTG_Joe2

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