Rogue Standard Decks for Store Championships

Ryan Normandin
December 03, 2021
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For many players, it's been a long time since they last played in semi-competitive paper events. While some lucky players made the trip out to Vegas, the return of Store Championships presents an opportunity for the rest of us to get in on the action!

Whether you're playing the Championships this weekend or just sick and tired of Epiphany and Monowhite, here are five fresh, powerful rogue options for Standard.

Wafo-Tapa UB Control

Watch his Top 8 run here!

Before we dig into this list, which Guillaume Wafo-Tapa Top 8'ed a recent MTGO Standard Challenge with (after not playing any Standard previously, I might add), I need to include the requisite disclaimer: Wafo-Tapa is way better than all of us. He is a master of control decks, so please keep that in mind if you don't have immediate success with the build.


That said, the element that immediately differentiates this deck from other control decks I've seen is the eight four-mana draw spells. And that's on top of four Consider. This deck wants nothing more than to hit its land drops, sweep the board on occasion, and stick a Hullbreaker Horror. The eight draw spells are what allow that to happen. Wafo frequently chained the Draw 2's into another Draw 2 and a land, keeping the cards flowing.

The sideboard is dedicated to dealing with Standard's two best decks: Epiphany and Monowhite. For Monowhite, there's plenty of cheap interaction that can be Flashed back with Lier, Disciple of the Drowned, and against Epiphany, there's plenty of countermagic and a Go Blank.

If you miss the old style of traditional draw-go control, give this deck a spin! You will most certainly draw more cards than your opponent, which means even if you lose the game, you've won the more important contest.

Xfile Jund Reanimator

If you want to play the bombiest bombs in Standard, look no further than this deck, which Felix Sloo (xfile on MTGO) Top 8'ed the recent MTGO Standard Challenge with.


The early game is devoted to ramping, filling the graveyard, and finding the pieces you need to do your thing – usually simultaneously. With Diregraf Rebirth serving as the reanimation spell of choice, Bloodtithe Harvester turns into a dual removal/ramp spell, and Shambling Ghast and Prosperous Innkeeper end up ramping by two each. If you're stuck with a big clunky monster in hand, eight sources of Blood tokens give you ways to put those where you want them – in the graveyard.

 

Once you've clogged up the board, you can bridge to the late game with Esika's Chariot or by naturally casting a Tovolar's Huntmaster. Toxrill, the Corrosive is the final nail in the coffin for any creature-based deck.

While the deck's Monowhite matchup looks solid, it's Epiphany matchup looks a bit more sus. Post-board, the build includes eight hand disruption spells, hoping to use Duress and Go Blank to survive long enough to close with Fell Stingers.

This deck is focused and fun, injecting a nice breath of synergy into a power-based Standard format.

Esper Midrange

A creation of LukasDusek, multiple players have Top 8'ed (including one win!) MTGO Standard Challenges recently with this build of Esper.

Typically, thoughts of Esper might conjure up something similar to the Wafo-Tapa deck discussed earlier – lots of card draw, efficient removal, and catch-all answers contributed by White. Instead, this version of Esper includes ten creatures! That might not sound like many, but true control players out there know that that's nine or ten too many.


This deck plays a more midrangey game, sort of like an aggressive control deck. While you certainly have access to a couple of counterspells and plenty of removal, you can actively pressure your opponent with your creatures. But the creatures here do a lot more than simply attacking or blocking. Graveyard Trespasser, popular in sideboards already, interferes with opposing Flashback spells and Liers, gains some life, and has a highly relevant Ward cost. It's not often you feel good about an opponent killing your creature.


Yet that seems to be a trend in this shell. Henrika Domnathi often draws a card or acts as a removal spell in a pinch. Edgar, Charmed Groom doesn't actually die when killed, and Iymrith, Desert Doom is a lovely Ojutai-Take-2.

Sideboard access to Vanishing Verse is a nice catch-all, and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben might look weird in an Esper sideboard, but hurts Epiphany opponents far more than it hurts your creature-heavy build.

This is a pretty wacky take on the Esper archetype, and it's a lot of fun to play! It's similar to the WB Control deck floating around, except the creatures are way better, and you get to play Blue.

Naya Ramp

Marco Lima Top 8'ed the recent RedBull tournament with this new take on an old favorite! Aggressive Gruul has been a powerhouse since Embercleave beat us over the head for two years. Even after rotation, the power of Jaspera Sentinel, Magda, Goldspan Dragon, and Esika's Chariot have kept the deck going strong.


In the new Naya build, the deck picks up multiple tools from Crimson Vow. Valorous Stance is a huge pickup – it was a powerhouse during its previous lifetime in Standard, and for good reason. Stance protects Goldspan for the magic cost of two-mana, which is exactly how much you'll have sitting around if the opponent tries to kill the dragon. You get that mana back immediately, which is also nice. The flip side of this is that you can also kill opposing Goldspans – and Smoldering Eggs, Liers, and Chariots.


Fateful Absence provides a further catch-all answer, and Welcoming Vampire generates card advantage, which was something that the deck didn't have much of outside of Ranger Class. But the new additions aren't isolated only to White – Halana and Alena, Partners is a powerful threat. Two +1/+1 counters a turn is nothing to scoff at, transforming otherwise innocent Prosperous Innkeepers and Jaspera Sentinels into significant threats. In conjunction with Ranger Class, the Partners threaten to dump even more counters on the other bodies.

Fundamentally, you can't really go all that wrong playing fast mana and Goldspan Dragon, and the shell around those cards has improved with Crimson Vow.

Despite the prevalence of Epiphany, there's still room to explore in Standard, which these new, successful archetypes highlight. What do you plan on bringing to Store Champs this weekend?

Ryan Normandin is a grinder from Boston who has lost at the Pro Tour, in GP & SCG Top 8's, and to 7-year-olds at FNM. Despite being described as "not funny" by his best friend and "the worst Magic player ever" by Twitch chat, he cheerfully decided to blend his lack of talents together to write funny articles about Magic.

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