most powerful decks ever

  • #1
    I just wanted to know what people think are (or were) the most dominant decks on any standard format, not just the standard now but throughout the history of the format
    decks:

    legacy
    burn

    edh:

    current:
    Kaalia
    Wrexial
    Geth
    vorel

    Standard
    jund midrange

    legacy:
    burn

    casual
    blue black control (I'll post eventually)
  • #2
    Consistently according to tournament results:

    Valakut Ramp
    U/w Control
    Jund (People were sick of this deck for a long time)
    Faeries (These are still competetive in Extended and Legacy, which really says something)
    Red Deck Wins (Been around for a long time)
    5 Color Control (Maybe?)
    Bant Conscription (This was a force to be reckoned with for a while I beleive)
    Elves and Merfolk during Lorwyn

    That's as far back as I know.
    Type 2

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  • #3
    Aside from that...

    Ice Age = Necropotence was incredibly dominant
    Ice Age = U/W land tax control was the only deck that could handle Necro if I remember correctly

    Urzas Saga = Memory Jar combo was ridiculous. So ridiculous it had to be banned.

    Apocalypse = Fires of Yavimaya from what I'm aware was really dominant.

    Mirrodin = Ravager Affinity (still is a potent legacy deck)

    Lorwyn = Faeries

    Shards of Alara = Jund

    Zendikar = Valakut Titan / Mythic Conscription
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  • #4
    Affinity and Faeries are the first recent two that come to mind.


    Standard:
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  • #5
    Rav had some fun with Angel/Solar Flare/Fire
    and Timespiral had everyones favorite turn 1 win with dragonstorm
  • #6
    what time scale are we talking about? Conrad just listed decks from about the last two years. of the decks on that list i would only select Faeries as being powerful enough to credibly make the all-time list.

    how far back should we go? i've been playing for a long time, i can dig back 16 years if you like, though my memory may be at fault for certain things.

    The most overpowered deck I've ever played with was Tolarian Academy Combo during the Tempest+Urza's era. that was the only Standard deck i've ever played with consistent turn 2 kills. alot of cards had to be banned to keep that under control.

    The second most overpowered deck I've ever played with was Trix (i.e. Necropotence powered Illusions of Grandeur + Donate combo). but that wasn't a Standard deck, Donate was never in the same type 2 pool as Ice Age. it was extended. but still, outrageously overpowered.

    as far as Standard legal Necropotence decks, they were all pretty ridiculous during the Ice Age + Mirage block standard era. that entire year was dominated by Necro Decks. most of them were just mono-black decks with some mix of creatures, removal, discard, drain life and Necro. i played a version that splashed red for Firestorm. that was kinda broken. one-sided wrath at will with the side benefit of nailing your opponent's dome for alot of damage.

    later on during the Tempest/Mirage era there were some pretty sick decks based on Survival of the Fittest. the most broken one i ever played was the combo version that used Recurring Nightmare and Palinchron to make infinite mana. i can't remember exactly. i think they did end up banning Palinchron and all those other "untap your lands" creatures. those guys were nothing but trouble. later versions of the deck just used Living Death instead of an infinite combo, but they were still extremely powerful.

    im Masques block some would say the Rebels deck was overpowered. i would disagree. I would mostly just say that Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero was overpowered and the rest of the set was so bad that there weren't any good alternatives. this era did have the most powerful version of Red Deck Wins i've ever played though. the mana lockdown provided by Tangle Wire and Rishadan Port combined was retarded.

    fast forwarding a few years I'm sure everyone will agree that Ravager Affinity was disgustingly overpowered. even ignoring what the deck was like with Skullclamp (truly stupid, and banned almost immediately) the deck was still using retarded cards like Aether Vial and Disciple of the Vault and was super overpowered before those were banned.

    everything from the Kamigawa and Ravnica era was totally fair. its one of the reasons people like Ravnica so much. it was interesting without being overpowered. Kamigawa was also well balanced but it was just not interesting. failure of a set because its mechanics were very forgettable.

    more recent stuff i'm sure other people will be able to talk about. i'll leave it there. i'd say that Magic since Ravnica block has been much better balanced on the whole though. its less swingy and more about board position and incremental advantage. the game has changed alot. some complain about this and call it "dumbing down" but i like it better this way.
  • #7
    Affinity, for sure. You either played affinity, or affinity hate. Talk about format-warping.

    I'm aware necropotence was a similar pair of shoes, but affinity was not quite as long ago and the memories are still quite vivid =)

    ~Sylv
  • #8
    Affinity is all I used to hear about -- and Faeries is obviously one of the more powerful decks. Reveillark? I'm not sure if that was ever good in standard.

    Also Valakut shouldn't be on this list. It is not nearly as dominant as those decks were, and it's only been popular for a little while now (and it's not even the best deck of its standard era.)

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  • #9
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  • #10
    Urza block's monstrosities. Jist imagine four copies of Yawg Win, Bargain, and other super broken cards. They could give most Legacy decks a run for their money, maybe even Vintage decks.

    Skull decks were pretty nutso too, as was the Ravager and his vault ninja.

    As far as "normal standards" go, U/G Madness is probably the most resilient, and powerful Standard deck ever printed, staying close to Tier 1 throughout all the time Odyssey block was legal.
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  • #11
    Lorwyn - Umm I have less trouble facing faries because of Cloudthresherin my B/G elf deck,but anyways Faries was the most OP atm

    Zendikar - U/G,U/W control
    Legacy : U/W/R Delver
    Modern: Mono Black Devotion (...I hate this format)
    EDH : Ghaves , Atheros
  • #12
    Pre-DCI rules:

    20 Black Lotus
    20 Ancestral Recall
    20 Lightning Bolt

    Which is kind of cheating because the "Standard" of the day was Beta-only. As far as modern "Type 2" and "Standard" go, then either Urza block combo (home of "the winner of the game is the one who wins the die roll", otherwise known as "all the combo, none of the Force of Will") or Mirrodin block Ravager Affinity before the bannings. The latter was so powerful that even without one of is star cards, Skullclamp, it's a viable tier 2 Legacy deck to this day with very few if any changes. So powerful that it was the top deck of the format even when every other deck would basically run pre-sideboarded against it.

    Sure, both were due to Wizards' mistakes (and Urza block had the design team collectively yelled at), but you've got to admit there's something fascinating about Standard decks which are so degenerately powerful that there's no point in playing decks specifically created to beat them because the mirror match is a worse matchup for them.

    And yes I know I'm exaggerating both decks but come on, it's for effect and for nostalgia.
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  • #13
    academy decks in urzas block, i dont even think there was any other deck in that format lol
  • #14
    These are the cards that many decks were built around:

    'Tog Decks using Psychatog, he was really considered borked.

    Astral Slide was popular and fun

    Wildfire

    Necropotence as stated before fueled tons of decks.

    Tinker after memory jar this became rampant

    Yawgmoth's Bargain+Academy Rector was popular back after urza's destiny came out

    Dragonstorm was really good post TSP

    doran rock relied on Tarmogoyf and Doran, the Siege Tower during lor/tsp

    Tooth and Nail was really big after affinity. Death Cloud to a lesser extent.
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  • #15
    I know people have mentioned Necropotence, but I'm surprised no one has specified Trix. I mean, how do you fight a deck that gains 20 life and makes you lose 20 life. Counter my Illusions? HA! FORCE OF WILL.
  • #16
    Powerful standard decks of the past that I can remember:

    Masques-Invasion: U/R/B control (Fact or Fiction, Counterspell, Undermine, Urza's Rage, all that good stuff), R/B Aggro, Fires of Yavimaya

    Odyssey-based standard: U/G Madness, U/B Tog, Mono Black Control (Mutilate, Nantuko Shade, Innocent Blood, etc.), Mirari's Wake, Mudhole Control (not a real deck, but should have been)

    Mirrodin-based standard: Affinity, Green Anti-Affinity, Big Red, Tooth and Nail

    Kamigawa-based standard: Gifts Ungiven Control, White Weenie, Enduring Ideal, Jushi Control

    Ravnica-based standard: Ghost Dad, Zoo, Owling Mine, U/R Wildfire/Magnivore, Ghazi Glare
  • #17
    Quote from Conrad Buff
    Consistently according to tournament results:

    Valakut Ramp
    U/w Control
    Jund (People were sick of this deck for a long time)
    Faeries (These are still competetive in Extended and Legacy, which really says something)
    Red Deck Wins (Been around for a long time)
    5 Color Control (Maybe?)
    Bant Conscription (This was a force to be reckoned with for a while I beleive)
    Elves and Merfolk during Lorwyn

    That's as far back as I know.


    Red Deck Wins shouldn't count as monored just evolves with the game every rotation and never "quite" goes away. It loses some toys, and gains new ones.
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  • #18


    You just gave be severe deja vu, and perhaps an aneurysm at the same time. Don't do that. :p

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  • #19
    Quote from DTC
    Red Deck Wins shouldn't count as monored just evolves with the game every rotation and never "quite" goes away. It loses some toys, and gains new ones.


    Basically this. If we let Red Deck Wins do this, then we should make up a name for U/x Control and do the same thing with that too, and etc etc for each major archetype.
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  • #20
    I've always been bothered with the name "Red Deck Wins". Why not just "Red Deck"? What do you say when it wins? "Red Deck Wins wins?"
  • #21
    Quote from Teia Rabishu
    Pre-DCI rules:

    20 Black Lotus
    20 Ancestral Recall
    20 Lightning Bolt


    weak....

    black lotus/Channel/fireball
    turn1 win for long time.

    It dominated legacy for so many years also.
  • #22
    I'd say it's important to note whether you're looking for decks that genuinely could beat anything you threw at them, or decks which were -- in terms of ability to win any given match -- on par with other top decks of their day but so massively played or overplayed that they could dominate the field just by sheer numbers. Jund is the example that comes to mind, since for much of its run in Standard it wasn't actually the best deck in terms of match-win percentage (U/W, Mythic and others all held that crown at various points). This led to the amusing situation where any given tournament would likely have at least 2-3 Jund decks in the top 8, but any given Jund player had about the same chance of making top 8 as anyone else with a good deck.

    Anyway. Going by actual quality -- ability to win any particular matchup in the meta at the time -- I'd probably rate Necro as the most "powerful" Standard deck of all time. It took the discovery and refinement of a major piece of fundamental Magic theory (the mana curve) to finally unseat Necro, which is a claim not many decks can make.

    The Urza block had occasional fits of dominance due to wildly overpowered cards like Tolarian Academy, but take away the stuff that got banned and it's not a format that's really dominated by any one deck.
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  • #23
    Prosper bloom was the number one standard deck during the Mirage block.
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  • #24
    I don't really agree with some of these. The best decks aren't always the most powerful.
    RDW is a good deck but not what I think of when I think powerful. In the recent past, I would say that something like 5cc or Grixis control would be the most powerful. Cruel Ultimatum, Cryptic Command, Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, and Jace, the mind sculptor, are in my opinion, insanely powerful cards. 5cc and Grixis weren''t the best decks, but they did play many of the most powerful cards in the format.

    For instance, Jund is a strong deck based on synergy and the format, but I wouldn't say it was the most powerful. Naya lightsaber or Boss Naya were probably more powerful decks but that didn't make them better decks.

    For historical basis, Trix and Academy decks are probably amongst the most powerful.

    EDIT: tl;dr most dominating deck =/= most powerful
  • #25
    Quote from LordByron
    weak....

    black lotus/Channel/fireball
    turn1 win for long time.

    It dominated legacy for so many years also.


    Actually it was more like 20 black lotus' and 40 a. call's because you can force your opponent to draw 3 with a. call. Seriously channel black lotus fireball? Lamest combo ever and legacy came to be in 2004 and from what I can remember is that black lotus has always been banned in legacy you're referring to modern day vintage.

    Best decks ever? Academy decks in urza's block and for extended trix was nasty. And when someone said urza standard decks could compete with legacy or vintage decks they would crush them when you can play 4x yawg's win there is no reason you should lose along with 4x yawgmoth's bargain. Those two cards alone make the decks obscene.
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