Winota, Joiner of Forces has been banned from Magic Arena’s new Explorer format. The deck completely dominated the format and warped the meta to meet it. Now that the threat of a kill in turn three is no longer hanging over everyone’s head, other strategies are coming out of the woodwork. Here are some of the biggest winners from MTG’s new format after the Winota to prohibit:
Based on an old standard titan, this deck roared right out of Explorer. The purpose of this deck is to trick a agent of treachery and start stealing your opponent’s permanents. Make it sparkle with Yorion or copy it with fable of the mirror breaker take everything they have and fill your hand. Generally, this strategy is not fast enough to deal with the pressure offered by Winota. Transmog the effects also wear off when its targets are removed, so the game was caught in the crossfire with cards meant to take out Winota. Now that the format should be slowing down, expect to see a lot more Agents come out of nowhere and steal your land before you can cast your spells to compete with it.
Mono Blue Spirits
This deck is excellent for dismantling strategies that are a bit slower than it. Winota forced this deck into situations it couldn’t respond to properly, but the spirits were still able to keep up. Now that Winota is gone, the spirits play the same role by creating situations that the opponent cannot respond to. The ban allows this deck to play more effective cards compared to what it did when facing Winota. The list above takes this notion into account.
The most important thing for this deck is that everything flies. It might seem like a small dot, but having the ability to hover over maps like Cauldron Familiar ensures that current strategies don’t have a great way to keep up. Only time will tell, but this archetype is already dominant at Pioneer.
The other combo deck in the format now has the fastest kill available in Explorer. This means the deck can worry less about what the opponent is doing and focus more on what Greasefang wants to do.
Utilize grease fang resurrect Parhelion II from the third round. Swing for 13, leave a bunch of angels on the board and have your opponent get away with it. This strategy has two different versions, but the Mardu version has more to gain from the recent ban. If this deck becomes too dominant, cards that were there for Winota in the sideboard can turn into hate from the graveyard. If that happens, this deck will still be strong, but possibly controlled.
The biggest strength of this deck is that the combo only takes up eight slots. The rest of the game can be used to help execute Greasefang’s plan. portable hole and Thought taking can deal with any hate that might start to see playing against this deck while grinding creatures like Stitcher Supplier help find your combo pieces and get ready to bring them back.
Another deck that had a decent match with Winota, Omnath Adventures is by far the spiciest release on this list. This deck was so powerful in the pre-Innistrad standard that it single-handedly added two cards to the standard ban list. Adventure Lists excel when they can interact with and outplay their opponents by turning every card in the deck into three or four different spells with lucky clover. This deck has the tools to handle everything else on this list and can do so quite easily.
Like the Yorion Fires deck, Omnath was out by cards meant to deal with Winota. The meta will likely move away from Melee Red Beanie now that Winota is gone, making Omnath harder to kill. Decay radius will be a card that this deck continues to monitor.
The biggest draw to this deck is the Mono Blue showdown. Adventures was created at a time when Flash and Control strategies excelled as standard. Tempo synergies that rely on counterspells to maintain tempo don’t work well with a deck that copies each of its spells multiple times.
To make things even more exciting, this deck has some marginal success in Pioneer too. This version is quite different, focusing on Possibility Storm and Step into infinitybut if it can crash in Pioneer, it can crash in Explorer.
Strategies that scare this deck come from tempo jumps that the deck can’t keep up with like Nissa, who shakes the world or things they can’t interact with, like lotus field. These cards don’t have a big impact in Explorer just yet, so it’s time for this deck to shine! I recommend playing a few copies of Yasharn, Relentless Earth in the sideboard to help deal with the sacrifice.
There are other powerful strategies that are very viable in Explorer, but these are some of the best. There is now an important, but temporary, difference between Explorer’s and Pioneer’s ban lists. Will this affect the community’s opinion of Explorer? Hopefully this is really temporary and the formats become the same sooner than we think.