Mythic Championship Cleveland (neé Pro Tour Ravnica Allegiance) is almost upon us, giving us coverage (finally!) of our competitive scene post-esports announcement. Now that we no longer have PPTQs and MagicFests no longer have video coverage, we are entering the very first Mythic Championship with a lot more questions than the last Pro Tour.

I’m here to be your guide on the decks you’re most likely to see at Mythic Championship Cleveland this weekend. And don’t forget that you can draft your favorite cards or players in one of our Thousand Leagues Mythic Championship Cleveland public leagues—where you could win a sealed Ravnica Allegiance Mythic Edition—or create your own league and invite your friends!

10. Aristocrats (RB or RWB)

A combo/aggro deck that originated in the times of Innistrad and Return to Ravnica limited, the Aristocrats archetype is hugely popular due to its aggressive nature and combo-style finishes.

The lynchpin of the deck is Rakdos’ guild champion—Judith, the Scourge Diva. Leveraging cheap aggressive threats such as Hero of Precinct One, Gutterbones, and Midnight Reaper, Judith, the Scourge Diva makes any attempt to interact in combat incredibly difficult. Her ability to pump creatures’ power helps push through damage or make the difference between trading and not trading with an opposing creature. When combined with drawing cards off of Midnight Reaper‘s ability and the recursion from Gutterbones, you get a neat engine that is very difficult to stop.

Key Cards: Judith, the Scourge Diva, Priest of Forgotten Gods

9. Mono-White Aggro

A mainstay of Standard since the printing of Benalish Marshall, Mono-White has fallen down the list due to the fact that Standard manabases are extremely consistent right now. Even a triple White card is not a problem in a multi-color deck in this Standard, enabling you splash other colors for powerful effects. While the deck still did gain cards with the release of Ravnica Allegiance, the likes of Tithe Taker and Unbreakable Formation, they simply pale in comparison into what could be gained from a second color. White Aggro will definitely appear at the Mythic Championship—but probably not in it’s Mono-White form.

Key Cards: Benalish Marshall

8. Gates

Gates in Standard are an odd fit in Standard, with your first thought being, “Why would I want a bunch of taplands when I can use shocklands and basics?” However, when you start to look a little bit closer, you start to see the power of these taplands.

Guildgates originated in the Return to Ravnica block, with that version of the Gates deck utilizing Maze’s End as its win condition, alongside some ramp and fog effects. In our current Standard, though, we have two versions of the Gate decks: One is a four-color control deck using Nexus of Fate to take infinite turns and win using a Hydroid Krasis; the other is closer to a ramp deck using powerful creatures with Gate synergies such as Gatebreaker Ram and Gatekeeper Colossus.

While those are the differences, there are many similarities amongst the decks, too. Gates Ablaze is the best damage-based sweeper since Blasphemous Act and gives the deck a huge boost, being able to recover from almost any board while always being able to keep your Gatebreaker Ram alive. Combined with Guild Summit and Circuitous Route doings it’s best Explosive Vegetation impression, drawing cards by playing lands is a close to uninteractive card draw as it gets. Both are extremely powerful decks but both suffer from issues and almost always have to play from behind.

Key Cards: Gate’s Ablaze, Guild Summit, Circuitous Route

7. Mono-Red Aggro

How the mighty have truly fallen! Mono-Red Aggro gained a lot from Ravnica Allegiance in the form of Light up the Stage and also Skewer the Critics, but the downfall of Mono Red has been that other decks in the format actually gained more. Hydroid Krasis is the big, splashy mythic that is keeping Mono-Red down, with lots of decks splashing for the uninteractive life gain and card draw.

Mono-Red can never fully be written off, though, with its good draws being close to unstoppable. It still has its incredible card drawing engine in Experimental Frenzy, but the deck’s main issue boils down to being unable to consistently cast its spells for their Spectacle costs.

Key Card: Experimental Frenzy

6. Sultai Midrange/BG Krasis

The BG menace of Guilds of Ravnica Standard is of the decks that actually gained close to zero Black or Green cards from Ravnica Allegiance. Instead, the deck has begun to add Blue to it’s mana base in order to cast Hydroid Krasis, greatly improving the deck’s ability to gain card advantage. Players have also Cut down on the number of planeswalkers they was running and have removed Carnage Tyrant in favor of the flying Jellyfish as their new finisher of choice.

The deck is likely to appear in large quantities at the Mythic Championship due to it’s solid game plan against the field. Sultai may have some unfavourable matchups in Standard but none of them are unwinnable. The deck is defined by the user’s skill and will be the tool of choice for many.

Key Card: Hydroid Krasis

5. Esper Control

Esper Control was the deck that many knewwould gain the most from Ravnica Allegiance since the set features both the Azorious (UW) and Orzhov (BW) guilds. The set introduced both Hallowed Fountain and Godless Shrine and promised plenty of other goodies.

Those goodies didn’t disappoint, with the reprint of a Ravnica staple in Mortify while also bringing Absorb to the Modern format. While we did expect a new sweeper of sorts, what we didn’t expect was for that sweeper to be back at four mana. While color-intensive, Kaya’s Wrath is exactly the card that Esper Control needed, giving the deck the ability to clear a board before it becomes too overwhelming.

The biggest question so far has been which counterspell would end up on top, as a slower meta would likely indicate the use of Sinister Sabotage over Absorb. What we have seen though is that format has sped up and Absorb has been the more relevant counterspell, as gaining three life is more impactful than being able to Surveil 1 in a fast format. The deck does occasionally stumble on its mana, since it wants to curve UUW into WWBB from Turns 3 and 4, but what we have here is the premier (conventional) control deck of the format.

Key Card: Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

4. Bant Nexus

And now for the unconventional control deck (and perhaps the boogeyman) of Standard: Bant Nexus, which plays two of quite possibly the most powerful cards in standard, Wilderness Reclamation and Nexus of Fate. The game plan is “simple”—ramp towards seven mana using Growth Spiral and Search for Azcanta, land a Wilderness Reclamation to untap your lands in your end step, and take control the game through Teferi, Hero of Dominaria while also taking infinite turns with Nexus of Fate.

Bant Nexus is extremely quick to pivot from spinning its wheels to taking control of the game and ending it. Wilderness Reclamation enables this quick transition and has pushed this deck back into the forefront. It allows you to cast Nexus of Fates earlier while still developing your mana, until you start to activate Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin multiple times in a turn and finding multiple copies of Nexus.

The deck typically has two win conditions: looping Teferi, Hero of Dominaria into your own library via his -3 ability and therefore milling the opponent out, or by using Thopters created from the Deploy side of Depose // Deploy. The deck is well-known for it’s difficulty, its ability to easily pick up warnings in games, and vulnerability to counterspells, so while it is one of the best decks in Standard, I would not expect it to appear in large numbers at MC Cleveland.

Key Cards: Nexus of Fate, Wilderness Reclamation.

3. Izzet Drakes

Standard has added a new drake with Ravnica Allegiance, helping Izzet drakes make a comeback! Pteramander‘s introduction has changed the deck in numerous ways, but the big loser has been Arclight Phoenix. It used to be included in the deck as a sort of honorary drake due to how easy it used to recur from the graveyard, but with Pteramander you can actually play more interactive cards rather than stuffing your deck full of cantrips. The biggest change in the deck spells-wise is actually the reintroduction of Dive Down. Dive Down is incredibly efficient at protecting your drakes, but can also be used to just pump toughness when trading in the mirror or against most other threats.

Izzet Drakes makes the list at #3 for a number of reasons. It’s an easy deck to build, as it doesn’t require many rares, and the deck has maindeck counterspells, which gives it an edge against a lot of decks in the format, while also having great matchups against some of the more popular decks in the field due to the evasion.

Key Cards: Pteramander, Crackling Drake, Enigma Drake

2. Azorious Aggro

I promised another White aggressive deck, and here we are. Azorious Aggro utilizes the power of the White weenie aggro deck and pairs it with Blue, which gives your sideboard some much-needed improvements by gaining access to counterspells. Some versions of the deck do not have any Blue cards in the main, while the more popular builds do have a copy or two of Deputy of Detention. The deck keeps the explosiveness of the Mono-White version, but addreses the main weakness: its vulnerabilities to sweepers. The Blue sideboard cards enables the player to have a lot more options, including counterspells for sweepers, but also options such as Curious Obsession or even Dovin Baan himself.

Key Cards: Benalish Marshall

1. Mono-Blue Tempo

Mono-Blue Tempo has been in Standard for long time and has been improving with every new set, waiting for a meta shift and enough new cards to stake its claim as the best deck in Standard. With the release of Ravnica Allegiance, it is finally Mono-Blue Tempo’s time to shine.

Mono-Blue Tempo is a deck full of evasive creatures, designed to make as many cards in the opponent’s deck as useless as possible and also being full of countermagic. A Turn 1 play Siren Stormtamer into Turn 2 Curious Obsession usually spells the end of the game even if the opponent doesn’t realize it. Passing the turn with one mana open can represent a lot of cards that match up very well with whatever card the opponent is holding.

Even when they play some of their larger threats, such as Tempest Djinn, they can typically afford to wait on casting it until they can also protect it in the same turn, with something like a Spell Pierce or a Dive Down. For any Legacy players, the deck plays as close to a Delver deck as is possible in Standard.

The deck should appear in large quantities at the Mythic Championship due to it being the most powerful deck in Standard but also being the cheapest deck in our list, meaning that you, too, could have a Mythic Championship-level of deck for around $50.

Key Cards: Curious Obsession, Siren Stormtamer

So there you have it, the Top 10 decks of Ravnica Allegiance Standard at Mythic Championship Cleveland. Will we see any surprises from the pro teams? Who knows, but with Standard being at the healthiest point in the past few years we have an exciting three days of Magic to savor this weekend.

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