Guilds of Ravnica Standard: A first look at some decklists from Magic Online Leagues

Hi everyone, my name is Matt Brown and welcome to my first article here on Master of Magics. I am a bronze level pro after a top 4 at GP Birmingham and a top 16 at GP Brussels. I started playing Magic in Dark Ascension but have played more competitively for the past 18 months.

Standard is always exciting with each new set release and even better after a huge rotation. I always eagerly await the first lot of 5-0 decklists to be published from Magic Online and am overjoyed to see what people have come up with. Today I will be going over 2 of the lists published in the 1st of October release that really excite me.

Firstly is the deck that I think will be a mainstay in the format and a great choice for early standard tournaments – Steel Leaf Stompy.


Creatures: (33)
Llanowar Elves
Pelt Collector
Merfolk Branchwalker
Thorn Lieutenant
Steel Leaf Champion
Thrashing Brontodon
Nullhide Ferox
Vine Mare
Ghalta, Primal Hunger

Spells: (3)
Assassin’s Trophy
Lands: (24)
15 Forest
Overgrown Tomb
Woodland Cemetery

Sideboard: (15)
Vine Mare
Assassin’s Trophy
Deathgorge Scavenger
Shapers’ Sanctuary
Sorcerous Spyglass
Vivien Reid
Vraska, Relic Seeker

Turn one Llanowar Elves on the play is going to be one of the best things going again and people need to be prepared. Steel Leaf Champion is still one heck of a Magic card even after living in the shadow of its RRR counterpart for the last 5 months, 5/4 is still a huge body and the effect could prove to be very powerful if people lean towards token decks.

Some of the new cards from Guild of Ravnica look pretty good too and could be what helps to push Forests back to the top:

  • Pelt Collector adds another thing for the deck to be doing on turn one and can act in a similar fashion to Greenbelt Rampager as it grows to be a 4/4.
  • Nullhide Ferox. This card is exciting. It does a good Carnage Tyrant impression at the low cost of 4 mana and will prove to be a huge pain to anyone playing targeted removal. Any game that you curve Llanowar Elves into Steel Leaf Champion into Nullhide Ferox will be a tough one to lose.
  • Assassin’s Trophy is a highly discussed card and you can see why. Being able to destroy anything for 2 mana is a powerful effect and slots perfectly into this deck as a catch-all for any kind of awkward permanent. The land you give to your opponent is certainly a downside to consider when casting Assassin’s Trophy and you should think about what your opponent could cast next turn with the extra mana.

Green is going to be powerful for the next few months and people should be prepared for it.

The next deck I would like to talk about is one that includes a lot of cards that impressed me at my local Prerelease.


Creatures: (8)
Doom Whisperer
Dream Eater
Ravenous Chupacabra

Sorceries: (6)
Ritual of Soot
Thought Erasure

Instants: (14)
Cast Down
Discovery // Dispersal
Moment of Craving
Sinister Sabotage
Vraska’s Contempt

Enchantments: (7)
Arguel’s Blood Fast
Dead Weight
Disinformation Campaign
Lands: (25)
Drowned Catacomb
Field of Ruin
Memorial to Folly
Memorial to Genius
Watery Grave

Sideboard: (15)
Moment of Craving
Blood Operative
Disdainful Stroke
Thief of Sanity

Again, there are plenty of cards from Guilds of Ravnica powering up this list.

  • The first card to look at in this list is Doom Whisperer. The stats on this card are insane! A 5 mana 6/6 flyer normally comes with downside but Wizards decided to give it Trample and a sweet activated ability. Surveil impressed me a lot at the Prerelease and being able to do it by paying with life makes this card very powerful and a big reason to play this deck.
  • Disinformation Campaign. This card feels oppressive in Limited and could very well make its way into Standard and this is the perfect shell to try it out in. The first time that you cast this card, it feels fine. Once you can cast this 2 or 3 times by returning it to your hand once you surveil, you just bury your opponent in card advantage.
  • Thoughtsieze is back in the form of Thought Erasure! (Sort of). Thoughtsieze dominated Standard the last time it was legal and while Thought Erasure isn’t quite at the same power level, it fills the role of early discard while not being completely dead in the late game. I think that between Thought Erasure and Disinformation Campaign, you can play a Blue Black Surveil control deck without missing Teferi, Hero of Dominaria too much.
  • Ritual of Soot gives black decks access to a sweeper that will help this deck survive against Aggro and Token-based strategies.
  • Blood Operative. This is a card that I am very excited about. As a long-term fan of Scrapheap Scrounger, this card does a good impression. The cost of 3 life is no joke, but this card will be a very powerful card going forward in the format and I expect it to see a lot of play The thing that pushes this card over the edge is being able to return Blood Operative to your hand even if it is the card that you Surveil into your graveyard.

I am super excited to play some new standard and preparing for GP Lille at the end of this month.

What decks are you excited to see in Standard?

Follow me on twitter @MattBrown_MTG and let me know!

Liked it? Take a second to support Master of Magics on Patreon!

In response...