Top 5 Aggro Decks in Dominaria Standard


Standard is in a pretty rough spot right now. After Pro Tour Dominaria, the format looks solved. Goblin Chainwhirler is the new boogeyman and Red decks are everywhere. So, Rodrigo decided to take a look at Aggro in Standard and ranked his top 5 Aggro decks in Dominaria.

There were no surprises during the Pro Tour weekend; Red is the best color in Standard, period. It has the best under-costed creatures, powerful four-drops like Hazoret, the Fervent, Rekindling Phoenix and Chandra, Torch of Defiance, and a format-defining card in Goblin Chainwhirler.

Although we could spend an entire article discussing whether or not to ban the ominous three drop, today I would rather prefer to dive in into some other aggressive strategies that performed well in the past few weeks in addition to highlighting the newest black-red and mono red list at Grand Prix Copenhagen, so let's start our ranking:

5. Mono Black

Willy Edel went 7-3 in the Standard portion of the Pro Tour with this awesome mono black deck full of 2-for-1s such as Gonti, Lord of Luxury, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Noxious Gearhulk, plus, quite a few utility lands that give the deck more interaction in the mid to late game.

Knight of Malice Memorial to Folly Dread Shade

Knight of Malice and Dread Shade are the main additions from Dominaria alongside Cast Down and Memorial to Folly. The Knight is great against W/U decks thanks to his hexproof from white while Dread Shade is very reminiscent of the good old Nantuko Shade, hard to kill with the direct damage red decks pack once you have enough swamps in the battlefield.


4. Steel Leaf Stompy

Another notable 7-3 list direct from the Pro Tour was piloted by Panagiotis Papadopoulos. This is a slightly different take on mono-green stompy which tries to be more resilient to Goblin Chainwhirler archetypes, with only 4 Llanowar Elves making up their one-toughness package.

More interestingly, it adds a blue splash to play Commit // Memory, which helps to counter board sweepers and a way to get rid of problem permanents like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, giving the deck a little more reach to close the game before control decks can stabilize.

Llanowar Elves Commit to Memory Territorial Allosaurus

Territorial Allosaurus debuts on this shell as a big daddy in order to provide a huge body to reduce Ghalta, Primal Hunger's cost and also be able to deal with other creatures in the late game, if it gets kicked. 

3. White-Black Benalia

Direct from Martin Hansen's Top 16 in GP Copenhagen, we have this fresh list built around the Legendary Saga from Dominaria. For starters, it has 8 creatures that can be crushed by Chainwhirler, like of Toolcraft Exemplar and Walking Ballista, but you can always play around it and hold your Ballistas until they are at least 2/2.

This archetype is capable of very aggressive starts, similar to old school Mardu Vehicles - Turn 1 Toolcraft into Turn 2 Heart of Kiran and Turn 3 Scrapheap Scrounger to attack for 7.

Toolcraft Exemplar Heart of Kiran Scraheap Scrounger

Both Gideon of the Trials and Karn, Scion of Urza provide aggressive abilities while also being more than capable of crewing the Hearts. Post board, it can push the curve up a bit with more Karns and some Fumigates against more aggressive decks, allowing the deck to play defense when it needs too.

One thing worth considering is the low creature-density of the list for Scrapheap. Perhaps M19 will provide some other valuable creatures to make your scroungers more resilient.

2. Black-Green Constrictor

The enegy based deck from Kaladesh block continues to be a strong contender, although it's currently outmached by red decks. This list comes from the Pro Tour as well with a 7-2 record, piloted by Forrest Kamperman, as no B/G Constrictor list made the Top 8 in GP Copenhaguen.

There are more energy cards in this shell, at least when compared to other versions seen shortly after Dominaria's release. Some cards have resurfaced, like Bristiling Hydra and Rishkar, Peema Renegade leaving Merfolk Branchwalker to the side in order to face less pressure from Chainwhirlers.

Bristling Hydra Rishkar Renegade

Adventurous Impulse and Woodland Cemetery are the main inclusions from Dominaria since Karn is no longer in the main deck, but rather a one-of in the sideboard alongside Thrasing Brontodon, which is also very narrow in a field full of Red decks. Aethersphere Harvester is becoming more and more common in these kinds of shells too.

1. Mono Red Aggro / Black-Red Aggro

Red Deck Wins by Tobias Maurer

Rackdos Aggro by Francisco Sanchez

Chainwhirler decks are a defining feature of the entire Standard meta, so they obviously are the best aggro deck in the format. There are several variants though, and it's up for debate as to which is the best.

The lists you see above are from GP Copenhagen where mono-red defeated black-red in the finals, similarly to the Pro Tour. Both rely on the sweet synergy between Chainwhirler and Soul-Scar Mage as well as Bomat Courier, Hazoret, the Fervent, and Rekindling Phoenix.

Hazoret the Fervent Rekindling Phoenix

Mono Red represents the faster strategy, with a lower curve, ten one-drops, only 7 four-drops and no Glorybringers in the main. Ahn-Crop Crasher and Earthshaker Khenra are the defining cards that differentiate the deck from its black-red brothers. Both are hasty threats that prevent opposing creatures from blocking effectively.

The sideboard has the tools to go bigger with Chandra and Glorybringers to face grindy matchups. Although mono-red is favored against blue-white, its matchup against black-red is worse, since black-red decks run more removal and late-game threats than mono-red.

Black-red aggro, on the other hand, has access to some other tools like Unlicensed Desintegration and Doomfall, giving a wide, more powerful range of removal options to help interact with opposing decks.

Only eight dual lands alongside some Aether provide for the black splash. Scrapheap Scrounger has proved himself worthy as a recurring threat that can also crew Heart of Kiran. Chandra, Torch of Defiance is another main deck haymaker than allows you to go big and cast multiple spells on the same one turn, crew Hearts, and potentially even ultimate for the win.

Doomfall Duress

Again, black opens some spicy options in the sideboard starting with Duress against control decks and some expensive threats like Angrath, the Flame-Chained or Siege-Gang Commander.


So, this brings us to the end of this article. Currently it might feel like there's not much room for innovation in Standard, but you can always tune your deck of choice to improve your percentage against it.

Goblin Chainwhirler

Regarding a Chainwhirler ban, I think it's worth waiting since we have a new set coming soon and a debilitating rotation just after the summer, so let red mages enjoy their last hurrah before the format changes dramatically. If Chainwhirlers continue to show their dominance after that, it's worth considering dropping the hammer, but, for the time being, we will have to wait and see.

Thanks for reading.

Rodrigo Martin.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.


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