Less than a week after Field of the Dead was banned from Standard, it appears that the format has a new dominant card: Oko, Thief of Crowns.

Over the weekend, 68 of the 102 players (exactly two-thirds) that made it to Day 2 of the Mythic Championship Qualifier Weekend (MCQW) registered Oko decks. He was concentrated in the very popular Food archetypes (Sultai, Simic, and Bant), which made up over 60% of the Day 2 metagame.

Oko is almost always combined with the powerful Gilded Goose, which allows the Food archetypes to ramp out a Turn 2 Oko that can take over the game by himself. But Oko can also help fuel the Gilded Goose by creating Food tokens to turn into more mana, allowing these decks to play Nissa, Who Shakes the World ahead of schedule and ramp into a huge Hydroid Krasis.

On top of all that, Food decks also get to play Once Upon a Time, which appeared in 77 of the 102 (75.4%) of Day 2 deck lists. Once Upon a Time is a cheap (sometimes free) spell that can dig for either a land early on or a creature (Gilded Goose on turn one to ramp or later Hydroid Krasis). It was the most-played card at both Mythic Championship V and last weekend’s MCQW.

The Day 2 metagame shows that only eight of the 102 decks didn’t play Green, which is clearly the most powerful color in Standard. The full metagame broke down as follows:

  • 36 x Sultai Food
  • 22 x Simic Food
  • 8 x Golgari Adventures
  • 6 x Bant Food
  • 6 x Gruul Aggro
  • 4 x Temur Reclamation
  • 3 x Golgari Lucky Adventures
  • 3 x Simic Flash
  • 2 x Bant Ramp
  • 2 x Jund Aristocats
  • 1 x 4c Planeswalker Fires
  • 1 x Azorius Control
  • 1 x Esper Dance
  • 1 x Grixis Fires
  • 1 x Izzet Flash
  • 1 x Jeskai Fires
  • 1 x Mardu Knights
  • 1 x Rakdos Aristocats
  • 1 x Selesnya Adventures
  • 1 x Temur Superfriends

(The full deck lists can be found here and here.)

Oko’s rise to 66.6% of the Day 2 metagame at the MCQW is a dramatic rise from the already astonishing 30 of 64 decks (46.8%) at Mythic Championship V that played the card. Though at the Mythic Championship, 19 of those decks (29.6%) were Food archetypes dedicated to using Oko, Thief of Crowns, with the rest being Golos decks that included him in their sideboard.

Golos made up over 40% of the field at Mythic Championship V, which helped get Field of the Dead banned the Monday after the tournament. While Golos dominated both MTG Arena and Magic Online’s Standard queues for nearly a month, which helped bolster the case for a ban; it’s extremely alarming that Food archetypes rocketed to over 60% of the Day 2 metagame share at a premiere Standard event.

Oko hasn’t limited his dominance to Standard, either, and has spread to almost every other format. In Pioneer, Magic’s newest format, a Sultai deck won the first Pioneer Challenge with three Okos in its maindeck. In Modern, six of the Top 8 decks at SCG Atlanta played Oko: five Whirza decks included him in their maindeck and one Devoted Druid deck had him in the sideboard. In Legacy, there were two Okos in the sideboard of the RUG Delver deck that won this weekend’s Legacy Challenge. And in Vintage, two Okos were featured in the maindeck of the RUG Xerox deck that won the Vintage Challenge over the weekend.

Many people argued that Oko, Thief of Crowns would rise to dominate Standard if it wasn’t banned alongside Field of the Dead. But banning a powerful mythic rare from Magic’s most recent set is a tough pill to swallow, and Wizards chose to ban only Field of the Dead, leaving Oko legal in Standard.

One week’s worth of results aren’t enough to justify a ban, even if a ban would save us from the current flood of bad Elk jokes. But with Mythic Championship VI coming up on November 8-11, 2019—one month after Mythic Championship V was dominated by Golos—you can be sure that Wizards will be keeping a close eye on the health of the Standard format. The next Banned and Restricted announcement is scheduled for November 18, 2019, a week after Mythic Championship VI. It would take an obviously broken Standard format for Wizards to make an emergency ban before then.

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