How to Beat the Standard Deck that is Taking the Meta by Storm!

Learn strategies to defeat the dominant Standard deck sweeping the MTG meta. Tips, counters, and tactics for turning the tides in your favor.

"Temur Rage Ramp" as many are calling it, is beginning to take over the Standard best of three Meta. It is hard to play a few matches on MTGArena without at least facing that deck once. If you haven't played against it on the ladder, it is also difficult to peruse MTG Youtube or any website with decklists and not see this at least once. Creators are all chomping at the bit to make their own version of it, and create content around it. The deck is resilient, grindy, can come back for a one turn kill out of nowhere, and can even have the versatility of throwing a bunch of creatures on the board and using a planeswalker to overrun what you have on your side of the table in a lethal swing. To figure out how we want to gameplan against it, and ultimately give our decks favorable matchups against this behemoth post-sideboard, we have to identify the cards that really make the deck tick, and then identify the tools we have at our disposal to deal with them. The reason I felt so compelled to share this information is that there are two colorless artifacts that effectively shut down this deck. I thought it would be neat to demonstrate how anyone could run these cards in the sideboard of any one of their decks to bolster their chances at winning. First, let's take a look at the cards that make the Temur Ramp deck so relevant.

Total Cards:

Powerful, and Often Overlooked Cards in Temur Ramp

Magic the Gathering Card - Worldsoul's Rage - MTG Circle

It's no secret that this card drew a bit of attention when it was printed. We can go face and put a bunch of lands from our graveyard onto the battlefield? Feels like it was only a matter of time until someone figured out how to abuse it. This card feels like it would take forever to amass enough resources to smack someone for a lethal shot, but the deck has centered itself around producing nearly infinite amounts of mana. 

Magic the Gathering Card - Virtue of Strength - MTG Circle

This card was considered an afterthought when Eldraine came out. Everyone was mainly only using the black and white virtues, as they easily appeared to be the most powerful. Everyone can agree that producing three mana from the tap of one land is great, but spending seven mana to do so in Standard was too clunky, and probably only had a place in fringe jank decks. Because of the ability of this deck to gain life and wipe the board with really good value, it is often able to hold of most aggressive decks until it is safe to resolve this card and untap to use it for it's full potential.

Magic the Gathering Card - Aftermath Analyst - MTG Circle

This card has a very unique activated ability, and the Temur deck has masterfully found a way to get maximum value from it. Not only does it get all of the lands back from the graveyard, but it also allows the opponent to gain a ton of life because of using all of the sacrifice and fetch lands from New Capenna that gain one life per land. Couple this ability with the ability from Worldsoul's Rage, and the opponent is gaining a ton of life. The decks also run thirty lands on average, so you can expect that they will draw plenty for what they need.

There are some other cards like Nissa, Resurgent Animist and Tail The Suspect that allow the opponent to generate additional resources, but the first three cards mentioned are the ones that we really want to be mindful of. We may not be able to eradicate or cut off all of them from the deck, but we have tools available to make them a lot less broken, and usually allow us to win the game before the grand explosion.

Effective Sideboard Cards Against Temur

Alright, we have identified what the problems are, and we now want to know how to deal with them. The three-year Standard Meta that hasn't rotated since Midnight Hunt has left us with a couple of relevant colorless artifacts that will get the job done for us. If that doesn't sound enticing enough, I'll sweeten the pot a bit and let you know that both of these cards are only one mana - thus making them easily castable in any deck.

Magic the Gathering Card - Soul-Guide Lantern - MTG Circle

This card is incredibly relevant because we can exile the graveyard when the opponent either resolves a Worldsoul's Rage that isn't for lethal, or activates the Aftermath Analyst ability, attempting to bring back all of their lands. In some scenarios, you can also influence the opponent's gameplan, causing them to abandon their normal win conditions. Sometimes they flat out discard the analyst or other relevant spells that may help them win. Once we do this, and it appears we are in the clear, Soul-Guide Lantern will even be so kind as to let us draw a card by paying one mana and sacrificing it. It's hard to find much more value than that from an artifact.

Magic the Gathering Card - Pithing Needle - MTG Circle

If you have read some of my other articles, you know that this card has become somewhat of a best of three special in Numbskull decks. It shuts down planeswalkers, manlands, and anything else that is activated in MTG. When we use this card, we are often looking to call Aftermath Analyst to shut down the activated ability. There are very opportune times to resolve the spell too. A lot of the time they may play the analyst on turn two, hope to untap, then play a land untapped and activate the ability for four mana. If we can resolve it right after they play the spell on turn three, we can force a really bad mana trade for the opponent, and in a way we almost timewalk them. If it is our turn three and we are on the draw, we could play a two mana creature, or hold up removal, etc. 

Seeing the Cards in Action

In the video referenced here, you can see that the opponent actually beats us in game one and effectively pulls off their combo. They grinded out the match, even with me resolving many of my relevant creature spells. Game two, with having the lantern boarded in, we are able to force a turn three concession because they know they are effectively locked out of the game. The deck does run Boseiju, but not to worry - we have a second lantern in hand just in case. In game three we were also fortunate enough to get the lantern onto the battlefield. The opponent decided to play it out this time, and we had a pretty exciting game three. While pretty deep into game three, the opponent has boarded in their Abrade and ends up removing my lantern. The issue for them here was that the game had already advanced pretty far and they were never able to execute their combo. This allowed me to develop a pretty advanced board state with plenty of threats, and even more to come in hand. It caused the opponent to concede, because they realized that they would not be able to amass enough mana to defeat me before I killed them with powerful creatures. What we can take away from this is that we may not always stop their combo completely, but if we can delay it long enough, there are also paths to victory from that method. You will see here that I used a Mono Black deck (surprise, surprise) but as previously mentioned, you can add these useful artifacts to any deck that you are running. Hopefully this guide was helpful, and we'll catch you next week!

I am a Magic The Gathering competitive player, and streamer. I specialize in homebrew decks. My favorite formats are: Standard, Pioneer (Explorer on Arena), and EDH. I first started playing MTG in 2001, and have played on and off since then.