Spoilers for Magic: The Gathering‘s Throne of Eldraine (ELD) set are likely just around the corner. That means a whole new Standard meta, especially with rotation coming, too
Here are the decks you should be looking at to stick around, or even take over, once ELD hits.
Magic‘s Standard set rotation happens every fall with the four oldest sets leaving alongside the addition of the one added at rotation.
Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria, and Core Set 2019 are leaving along with iconic and format-defining cards like Nexus of Fate, Goblin Chainwhirler, Llanowar Elves, and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. The “Check Land” cycle (Glacial Fortress and crew) are also checking out.
The new Standard will be Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, War of the Spark, Core Set 2020, and the newly-released Throne of Eldraine.
Here are the decks we expect to dominate the first few weeks.
Mono Red (and Cavalcade Red)
Mono Red and Cavalcade Red are two sides of the same coin but they’ll remain relatively unaffected by rotation. Both attack early and often, with the differences largely in style. Mono Red has more longevity and stronger overall plays, but Cavalcade uses the Cavalcade of Calamity enchantment to sneak in damage and pull off combos. Runaway Steam-Kin, present in both, is the biggest enabler of this deck, boosted by powerful engines like Light up the Stage and Risk Factor. All are sticking through rotation, so be prepared.
Gruul Stompy is a hard-hitting midrange deck that pushes in damage fast and furious. Most of the deck’s most powerful creatures—Skarrgan Hellkite, Shifting Ceratops, and Gruul Spellbreaker—are all sticking around through rotation. Expect to see this deck swinging your way in September. Here’s the rotation-proof decklist for Gruul Stompy.
The Air Force will remain in force after rotation with this deck largely unaffected. Early drops like Pteramander, Healer’s Hawk, and Spectral Sailor are going nowhere, and neither is the end game. M20‘s Sephara, Sky Blade. Empyrean Eagle, the deck’s main enabler, is also very new to Standard, as well as this deck’s best tempo play, Teferi, Time Raveler. Here’s a Azorius Flyers deck for anybody who’s interested.
Another flyer deck will also rotate, but this one is much more focused on combo plays. Izzet Phoenix is named after its two fireborn flyers: Arclight Phoenix and Crackling Drake. Both get more powerful with cheap spells filling up the rest of the deck and there’s no shortage of those sticking around in Standard. Izzet Phoenix, complete with Niv-Mizzet, Parun in the sideboard, is definitely going to be present post-rotation.
Feather is showing some strong results in tournaments, so it’s no surprise to see players messing around with keeping it post-rotation. Thankfully, all its combo creatures survive the culling—Feather, the Redeemed, Tenth District Legionnaire, and Dreadhorde Arcanist. Couple these with other powerful creatures and lots of self-targeting spells and you have yourself a deck.
Esper will remain a go-to and Hero of Precinct One will have plenty of multi-colored friends remaining from the various Ravnica sets. Brewers are bringing in powerful additions like Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord and Revival // Revenge to continue the beatdown. Here’s a decklist for rotation-proof Esper Hero.