The release of Core Set 2020 (M20) for Magic: the Gathering is here and that means its time for a new meta! Here’s what you need to know about the new (and returning) top decks of the format.
Mono Red Aggro
The red reign continues—Mountain is the best aggro card and it’s not close. Mono Red is a seeming mainstay to the format and picks up tools with every set release. M20 is no different: check out this sweet brew by “_ZNT_” from the MTGO Standard League.
The main 60 remain the same, but Chandra, Acolyte of Flame and Leyline of Combustion on the sideboard look like some great tech. Mono Red remains one of the most powerful decks in Standard (in addition to being one of the cheapest).
The go-to control deck is also returning in form, armed with a plethora of planeswalkers. The core gameplan remains the same: use the twin Teferis, Narset, and card advantage to get way, way ahead while protecting your life total with powerful removal cards.
This spec list from NotSwiss shows off some new potential additions to the deck. Brought Back gives some great recovery power, but take special note of the sideboard. Devout Decree and Noxious Grasp are great tech to bring in against specific match-ups.
Esper Hero Midrange
Esper Hero has the same colors as above, but the game plan is much different. Using Hero of Precinct One, Esper Hero players power out an army of 1/1s while using multicolored cards to control the board.
There aren’t really any new additions to this deck other than scrylands like Temple of Silence, but this list from Scalli323 features more hate cards and a single Cavalier of Gales. We’ll see if those speculative additions keep.
Simic Nexus Combo
Nexus decks are all about going infinite with turns, and the deck recently took first place at Mythic Championship III. M20 brings some more great cards, so expect this deck to remain a Best-of-Three beater.
This 5-0 MTGO list from Poles looks like a great start. Temple of Mystery is an obvious addition, but check out the two Drawn from Dreams (and two more in the sideboard) as the new go-to combo enablers. Not only does the four-mana spell dig deep into your deck, but it also gets around Narset’s oppressive passive ability.
On the rise
Another factor may be powering the return of this deck as well—the London Mulligan. Mono Blue decks typically need three cards to stay ahead: a small creature, Curious Obsession, and some form of protection. Now, Mono Blue players can get attempt to find the perfect opening hand with less consequences.
Two major pickups have fans of last set’s Boros Feather deck giddy with joy. and have fundamentally changed the deck in to a three-color monstrosity. The key to understanding Feather decks is the ability of Feather to return cheap combat tricks to your hand.
The addition of Gods Willing gives these decks a powerful new tool to protect their best creatures (often Feather). Meanwhile, Season of Growth has many players dipping into green for even higher combo potential. Check out this Naya Feather build from r/spikes for a good first take on the new Standard format.
There’s no denying it—Risen Reef appears to be the best new card from M20. In combination with other Elementals, this new deck has lots of potential and a wide amount of variety.
The core build for this deck appears to be midrange, seen in lists like this one from Samuelgraebner. Omnath, Locus of the Roil and Risen Reef combine for a jet-fueled engine of card advantage and creature power.
But there’s also aggro variants that can catch players flatfooted. Chandra, Novice Pyromancer and Creeping Trailblazer can boost up Elemental power quickly. Just add Lightning Stormkin or Scampering Scorcher to really turn up the heat!
Finally, if combo is your style, don’t sleep on the Flood of Tears and Omniscience combo deck going around. Simply use Risen Reef and Leafkin to ramp out a Flood with four nonland permanents in play, and watch your deck go infinite and end with a Jace, Wielder of Mysteries victory.
Finally, here’s a deck that will only exist through the summer. Dinosaurs from the Ixalan block have been sitting on the backburner waiting for an enabler that many thought would never come. The release of Marauding Raptor in M20 has those that held out hope roaring with glee.
Simply put, Marauding Raptor is the one thing dinosaur decks have been missing all this time, and while Ixalan is on its way out in September, this deck looks like a strong contender for the meta until then. Check this list by pro player Martin Juza for a good starting point.