Rant about current Standard open play


Well-known member
I play a lot in the open Standard room on mtgo. Basically each and every day a couple hours. That's what I do, that's what I like. I play Standard. Not for a living, but because I like to brew within a rather small card pool (unlike Vintage, Legacy, Modern or even Pauper and Pioneer). I usually enjoy the Standard format and I usually tend to try to get at least 1 copy of every card in the format within a reasonable time. I like to play powerful cards. I like to play the underdogs of the sets. I like to try out all the things the new sets have to offer (melding Urza was my first check box in the new set and I lost 80 tix on buying the playset on release day... but that's a topic for a different day). Back in the days I was a huge fan of Block constructed, as well.

But this season, standard noticeably changed.

A lot of regular jank lords like me in the open standard might feel the same at this point of standard season... I'm sick of it... mono U Djinn.dec seems to be everywhere. Especially newer players tend to stumble upon this deck rather quickly. And for good reason. It's dirt cheap. The only cards of value it plays are those 4 namesake Haughty Djinns (oh boy, lategame 10/4 fliers for 3 mana are obviously a good deal).

I really loved the good ol' Serendib Efreet when it was still in print in Revised Edition, don't get me wrong... I like me some undercosted hard hitting blue fliers. But this... it's not even that the Djinn is too good, or the Tolarian Terror is the all dominant threat when it hits the board. You know what it is?

The sheer endless boredom this deck brings with it, when you play against it. The play patterns are more than stale. Turn 1 consider, turn 2 impulse or counter your thing... rinse and repeat until you hit 5 or 6 lands so you can protect your threat. Win or (more often than not) lose with the deck. Play again. Worst part is, playing against mono U opponents drains a lot of time, as a lot of people who pick up on this deck take their time to get used to the client. The deck isn't even THAT great that it could claim a 70+ win percentage. There's a lot of answers to the the few threats it has, their interaction is mostly pure 1 for 1, etc. It is just soooooo boring to play it over and over and over again.

I'm always willing to invest some time to chat with newer players, show them the ins and outs of the client (where to trade, what to avoid, etc... you know the drill). But this... playing the same boring deck over and over and over again... urgh.

I get the appeal to play the deck, it's fun for a while, but it gets very repetitive after just a couple games. Playing the same boring deck over and over and over again...

And you know why decks like this (mono red aggro, mono U Djinn, green stompy, GW enchantments, etc...) become so popular with newer players, besides being rather budget friendly? The lack of powerful sideboard hosers against single-minded strategies.

Really missing the chokes and chills, the boils, the back to nature and basics that helped to keep those strategies from becoming what feels like 80% of the metagame. Sick of control taking over? Add a couple stone rain effects to the format. Sick of Aggro taking over? Where's my Pyroclasm? Mono U dominating your local meta? Greet them with Maindeck Chokes and Boils. Ah well... old man yells at clouds, I guess.

Anyways... feeling better after this rant into the void. Feel free to share your thoughts about the current state of Standard.


you can write notes in open play, right? Have you tried requesting players bring decks other than mono blue djinn?


Well-known member
Yupp…. and it works fine.

But chances are, if I don‘t rule 0 Djinn decks, that more than 50% people join games with this deck or with a deck designed to beat mono U Djinn.

And I feel this is a bad spot in a metagame where a new set just rotated in and should usually shake things up a bit.

You can see it in the total set values of standard legal sets as well. After the first 3 days of hype almost every card in BRO lost value. It‘s so bad this time, that the total value of BRO is listed at this moment on goatbots at 106 tix.

In comparison prices for complete sets as of Dec 10th 2022:
DOM 126 tix of which Sheoldred alone makes up 75 tix
SCN 76 tix
NEO 150 tix (again, with Boseiju, Fable and Emperor making up a total of around 100 tix)
VOW 50 tix
MID 97 tix

The Djinn deck is very cheap to build that‘s obviously an incentive to build the deck for a lot of players. In addition standard becomes a widely unpopular format, due to constant rotation and urge to keep up. But seriously, just look at the set prices. You can get a complete set of DOM without Shelly for 50 tix. Same with VOW, same with NEO when you leave out the 3 most expensive cards (you can even leave out Hidetsugu Consumes All to save another 10 tix, a card that does see no standard play).

Even the BRO posterchilds (Urza and Mishra melds) lost value within hours after release. Only few people play them, and it‘s not because they are too expensive or bad cards. It‘s probably because no netdeck out there with it that scored tens of 5-0s or won 3 challenges in a row. My point is, there are a lot of cheap alternatives and Djinn isn‘t even an unbeatable deck. It is just boring to play against the same 60 card pile (literally card by card) over and over again. People just became too lazy to brew up their own ideas.

Probably a lot of people feel that they need to bring either their most expensive stuff to the table or a highly competitive cheap deck that beats those expensive cards. There‘s not much of true innovation to be had in such an environment. I like winning as much as the person next to you, but I also like to have fun while playing a recreational game.

I watch quite a few so called content creators on the youtubes who play mostly Arena standard ladder best of one; so basically the same format as standard open play on mtgo. Yet, ladder on mtgo at least in the games I see has a far less percentage of mono U Djinn. Which is quite surprising, as it is widely regarded as a deck that wins by a lot of players (as you might have read between the lines, I regard it as a deck that can be beat, but usually after a long drawn out boring game, combined with usually very slow playing opponents).

Basically it boils down to the question, why is this standard regarded as a bad environment and what needs to be done to fix it.

There‘s always the issues of:
- too expensive cards price people out (Shelly, Boseiju which doesn‘t even see playin standard, Fable of the Wallet Breaker, Ledger Shredder, Hearse… see a trend? some of those expensive cards aren‘t even needed in standard, but prices are driven by Pioneer and Modern).
- too powerful cards like Shelly, Fable, Emperor, Wedding Announcement, that are widely regarded as the pillars of competitive deck building.
- cards that are powerful enough to keep a lot of other cards out of the format (and eventually get banned for that like Meathook)
- constant powercreep (in order to sell our new set we net an even better cards. Graveyard Trespasser anyone? Oh wait… let’s one up that one by putting in Phyrexian Fleshgorger, but let‘s make it Mythic as well, so we can sell the set…)
- sets rotating in so fast, a lot of powerful cards from previous sets never get the chance to be tested properly (when is the last time you saw a Windgrace on the table? Ob Nixilis? Jetmir? Biting-Palm Ninja??? again, the list goes on and on… a lot of cards fade into obscurity after a very short time of hype if they are even lucky enough to get it).
- constant hype-train and fear of missing out driving pre-release prices sky high only to turn 98% of a set a week after release into bulk.
- mana slots are crowded with good options (3 mana slot in black decks can choose between Liliana, Trespasser, Fleshgorger, Gix, Braids, the list goes on…). Unfortunately, a lot of the interesting stuff gets priced out by other cards that are more powerful.

And this list can most likely be extended even further.

Not sure what can be done to fix it, but as it is, no wonder that Standard has the reputation of slowly dying.