Season two’s Regional Championships are finally underway, and the first batch of tournaments has been concluded. One Player from each of these events is invited to the World Championships for 2023, so there is a lot on the line. The format is Standard, meaning the Grixis decks that everyone is so familiar with on MTG Arena have taken over the tournament. Even though Grixis had a massive showing and won a World Championship spot of its own, two bizarre decks that most players did not plan for managed to win World Championship spots! We’ll take a look at Rei Sato’s Selesnya Toxic list and quickly mention a new Domain Control brew that Arena players should watch out for on Ladder.
Selesnya Toxic Wins Japan’s Regional Championship!
Renowned MTG player Rei Sato managed to pilot this Selesnya Toxic list to a world championship invite. This list, constructed almost entirely out of cards from Phyrexia: All Will be One, isn’t a wholly new archetype. Still, many MTG players weren’t paying any attention to this aggressive deck before Sato managed to win big. This aggressive deck focuses on Toxic synergies present in the green and white colors. Slaughter Singer, in particular, is an excellent representation of what this deck is trying to do. The two mana payoff buffs other Toxic creatures upon attacking, dealing damage and Poison counters at the same time.
While the deck is primarily meant to be an aggressive deck with some synergies, it also runs some of the best cards in the Standard format. Skrelv, Defector Mite is an excellent creature that functions similarly to Mother of Runes. While this simply serves as a more aggressive version of the infamous protection creature (it only gives the card Hexproof and unblockable from a certain color instead of protection from it, so it cannot block those creatures), Skrelv is also capable of giving the enchanted creature Toxic 1 temporarily. While this doesn’t really matter in most aggressive builds, it’s really good here.
Notably, Skrelv rose to prominence on the secondary market after Benton’s second-place finish in Pro Tour Phyrexia. Skrelv had a fantastic showing in a Pioneer Auras list that managed to surprise players around the world. We talk more about that here.
Many professional MTG players also claim that, aside from Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Wedding Announcement may be the best Standard card in the format. Wedding Announcement doesn’t exactly lend itself to the aggressive strategy associated with this deck, but the amount of advantage this card provides is incredible and lends itself well to a go-wide strategy alongside the Hive.
Bitterblossom At-Home Done Right
Another card that has had MTG players on the fence with its performance that becomes fantastic in this shell is Skrelv’s Hive. It is incredibly easy to corrupt an opponent when all of your creatures are dealing Toxic damage, and granting your entire army Lifelink is a quick way to close games out against other aggressive strategies.
Where Skrelv’s Hive really shines, however, is against the ‘best’ deck in the format. Grixis Midrange has difficulty dealing with a turn two Hive that resolves. Sure, Invoke Despair can get the job done, but you’ll typically have a Mite issue by that time.
Results Left and Right
Rei Sato only won his tournament Saturday night by American timezone standards, but players were already picking up on his performance at the end of Day One for the Japanese tournament. As such, many MTG players picked up the Selesnya Toxic list and took it for a test drive in the Saturday Magic Online Standard challenge. The deck successfully placed three top finishes in the top eight of the event.
What does this mean? Standard players looking to participate in upcoming Regional Championships may have a meta shift on their hands. Selesnya Toxic seems to be the real deal, and, while the meta can probably easily adjust to more linear strategies like this, it does a great job of usurping where the meta was before the Japanese event. Grixis was all the rage coming into the event, but if this deck can take down that menace consistently, it may be a bad choice in the coming weeks.
The most shocking thing about this weekend is the Selesnya Toxic list isn’t the only newcomer introduced from this weekend’s events. It seems a new Domain Control list may also be a rising star in the Standard format. This is following MTG player John Dareon Sahagun’s World Championship finish in the SEA Regional Championship. While we don’t have time to talk about this archetype in detail right now, it is another deck that Arena players should keep in mind when climbing to Mythic.