Naya decks shine in a post-League Weekend environment

The archetype is evolving.

Image via WotC

Adventures-based strategies remained at the top of the Standard field coming out of the February Kaldheim League Weekend, the first major Standard event that included the new Kaldheim cards.

Adventures has been a top-tier deck in Standard since Omnath, Locus of Creation was banned. A recent innovation, thanks to the pathway lands from Kaldheim, is the addition of white to the deck. This allows these strategies to run Showdown of the Skalds which is one of the best card advantage tools in Standard.

According to data by MTG Data, Naya Adventures was the most played deck in the Rivals League and Magic Pro League with 15 entries. Naya decks are split between a traditional value build and an explosive combo deck. The combo deck had 11 entries compared to the four non-combo strategies. Both decks had strong games against the field with over 50 percent win rates. 

Recently two more variations on the Naya theme have crept into the metagame. Naya Spirits and Naya Runes have shown up at qualifier events during the first week of March. Both strategies lean into various synergies to give them a different flavor than the traditional adventure builds. Naya Spirits takes advantage of spirits to fill the board with dangerous, evasive threats. Naya Runes uses the Kaldheim rune cycle with Runeforge Champion to create one massive threat. The deck is similar to Azorius Auras in Historic.

The Kaldheim Championship on March 26 to 28 will have Historic and Standard rounds. If either of the new Naya innovations continue putting up strong results expect them to make an appearance in some players’ entries.

Sultai Ultimatum was another major winner during the League Weekend and continues its impressive run through competitive Magic. Part Yorion Control deck and part explosive combo deck, Sultai Ultimatum uses Emergent Ultimatum to stick two powerful threats to the board and looks to end the game shortly after. The deck will primarily look for Tibald, Cosmic Imposter and Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider as its finishing blow. However, there are plenty of solid options that are showing up in decklists.

Sultai Ultimatum put up a 55 percent win rate with a strong matchup against Naya Fury and an even one with both mono-colored aggro decks. The control build had sub-50 percent win rates against Gruul Adventures and Temur Adventures. Both decks can end the game quickly but also have late-game staying power with The Great Henge.

Mono-Red aggro had a rough weekend with a 29 percent win rate. The numbers are skewed, especially with Martin Juza going 0-11 with the list. Over the first week of March, Mono-Red Aggro is performing better than Mono-White Aggro with a 51 percent win rate, but due to its poor performance over the League Weekend pros might remain hesitant.

Dimir Rogues wasn’t shown a lot of love at the League Weekend with only three players entering the aggressive control deck. Despite the widespread skepticism, rogues put up a solid 18-13 record over the weekend. At recent qualifiers it appears Dimir Rogues is making a comeback. The strategy put up a 51 percent win rate through multiple tournaments. There are still holes in the strategy, namely a rough matchup against Mono-Red Aggro and Cycling.

Standard is still evolving and it will be difficult to predict what the metagame will look like at the Kaldheim Championship. There are three decks that will show up which are Sultai Ultimatum, Naya Fury, and Mono-Red Aggro. These lists have consistent representation at qualifier events and will be a popular choice in a large field tournament.

Outside of that, there are a wide variety of viable decks that are putting up results. Many MPL and Rivals players generally stay away from Cycling, but its results are consistently impressive. Mono-White Aggro has slipped, but still has all the pieces to be a strong build. 

The Kaldheim Championship’s Standard rounds will shape the metagame going into Strixhaven in April. The decks that put up good results will be the first to be experimented with when the new cards drop.