This week in Magic: Looking at Khans in Standard


This past weekend was the first time Khans showed its ugly face in Standard. There were three major events and each one holds a clue as to what next deck you should play at FNM this week. So let’s take a quick look at the top 8 for each event.



First up is the SCG Open Series that took place in Edison, NJ:


  1. Jeskai Midrange
  2. Mardu Midrange
  3. Gruul Aggro
  4. Mono Green
  5. Mono Green
  6. Jeskai Midrange
  7. Boros Control
  8. Mono Green


As you can obviously see, there is quite a lot of green. However, I wouldn’t take this as a fact that green is here to stay. In fact, if I remember correctly, this is what happened when Theros first debut in Standard. Green was just a solid choice in the beginning because it had some pretty big monsters. Once people realized how to play against it, the deck quickly disappeared and eventually evolved into GR Monsters and would later become Jund Monsters.


I’m surprised there wasn’t more Mardu going around that day. I had stayed up the night before and watched the stream that Tomoharu Saito has at his game shop in Japan, and Mardu was played by about 80% of that field. Every time a feature match made its way onto the camera, you found yourself watching a mirror match of Mardu.


Going forward, don’t be surprised if more of these decks show up. Butcher of the Horde is a very popular card in general and, sitting at only 4cc, it’s really easy to get out into play. Typically, players will play a Mardu Charm on turn three to get blockers out, and then by turn four, they’ll have enough fodder on the board to sacrifice to the Butcher. Added aggro and removal, and this deck has potential to become an early powerhouse in the format.


Jeskai was the overall winner. Is anyone shocked at this result? I guess the answer would be “not really.” A big reason may be due to the ever popular Mantis Rider. I still wish this thing was a Lightning Angel, but it’ll have to do for now. One thing I am surprised about is how this card was not a $8-10 card to begin with. it started at a low $2 in most markets, and thanks to the recent success, it shot up over the weekend.





Can someone tell me why there were two Open Series going happening on the same weekend? After looking at these results, they may have well been the same even. The only difference here is that there was no Jeskai in the Top 8. Let’s take a look:


  1. Abzan Graveyard
  2. Abzan Midrange
  3. Mono Green
  4. Gruul Midrange
  5. Mono Green
  6. Mono Green
  7. Jund
  8. Naya Planeswalker


Once again Mono Green seemed like a safe bet. However, let’s take closer look at the multi-colored decks.


Abzan Graveyard is a terrible name for deck. Can we just call it Junk Reanimator again? The deck looks pretty simple. You either delved your way to a Necropolis Fiend or reanimated something via Whip of Erebos. Thanks to four Siege Rhinos in the deck, you could handle the early onslaught of a lot of weenie decks that failed to make the Top 8, but could be found in either Top 16 or Top 32 lists. In the past, I compared the Siege Rhino to a miniature version of Tragtusk. Some people disagreed, and rightfully so – you don’t even get a beast token. However, this thing comes down on turn four and causes a six point life swing. The Siege Rhino might get just as annoying as Thragtusk.


Abzan Midrange does away with the graveyard shenanigans and plays the control game. It utilizes Standard’s best removal spells in Hero’s Downfall and Utter End, and then lays down some heavy hitters in Brimaz and the new Wingmate Roc. To add insult to injury it also has no problem playing Elspeth. Hope you don’t get to the late game against this deck because your chances of winning are slim to none if you’re another aggro deck.


Gruul Midrange is just a faster take on the Mono Green decks. It adds red for more aggression in the form of burn spells. Jund and Naya Planeswalkers round out the Top 8. Jund is just an evolution of it’s old counterpart from when Return to Ravnica was still in Standard. Naya Planeswalkers basically takes all of the powerful planeswalkers from those colors and forces them to work together. Playing against it is almost like taking on four other players at the same time.


TCG 5K Waco, TX

I think out of all three, this event said the most. Here’s a look at the Top 8:


  1. Temur Midrange
  2. Esper Control
  3. Abzan Reanimator
  4. Temur Midrange
  5. Mono Back Aggro
  6. Mardu Midrange
  7. GB Devotion
  8. Boros Burn


This Top 8, I feel, is how Standard will eventually pan out to be. Look, there are even control decks that make an appearance. I find it odd that there wasn’t even one deck that was near the top at the SCG events.


Termur Midrange is exactly how I pictured it would be. A RUG deck that took advantage of some of the major bombs to make their way into Standard – Sarkahn, the Dragonspeaker and Savage Knuckleblade. However, in a field with little to no removal, it’s hard to tell how well a deck like this will do in the future. One thing it does have going for it, at the 3cc mark and onward, every creature is a threat. With early mana via Ravenclaw Mystic and our elvish friends, we’re looking at possibly threats hitting the board as early as turn two.


I may have been on a streak with Mono Red for a while, but it’s nice to see a control deck in the Top 8. Weirdly enough, while most people like to go the mono-colored aggro route at the beginning of a new Standard rotation, I like to go the opposite with a complicated control deck. No surprise in what’s in this deck. Replacing Jace, Architect of Thought is Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver. If Standard remains to be as aggro as it has been in the beginning, Ashiok will be a force to reckon with. If Ashiok gets to stick around long enough, you may see some of your creatures facing you down. This will be my go to card this Standard format.


Mono Black Aggro is a deck I’ve been considering running for a while now. Mainly, I just want to play with my promo Pain Seers. However, this deck can just win out of no where and can severely punish your opponent for making early mistakes or hiccups. The deck’s curve tops off at three. If there was any better opportunity, now would be the time for Pain Seer to shine. The new Bloodsoaked Champion makes it’s debut in this deck and really shines. It may not be able to block, but that’s not the point of this deck. Be prepared to be all-in when playing this.




Well, that’s it for now. I know we didn’t get into detail about the decks, but I hope this gave you some insight as to what may come in the upcoming months. If you want, you can really try out one of these decks or one of your own creations at the GPT in Plainville this weekend. Hope to see you there!


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


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