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4 Oko-less Decks to Play once Field of the Dead is Banned

Wizards of the Coast has announced that there will be a special, accelerated Ban and Restricted list announcement on October 21. This comes a mere two weeks after the last announcement, and nearly a month earlier than the original scheduled date. Adding fuel to the fire(s of invention), the updated B&R date was announced very close to the deadline for the Mythic Championship V decklist submissions. Field of the Dead decks will make up nearly 50% of the metagame this weekend, and is a clear sign that a shakeup is needed.

For the majority of competitive Standard players, this all but confirms what we have been waiting for since Eldraine released: Field of the Dead is going to be banned.

Today, I want to talk about where the format goes after Field goes away. At first glance, it appears that we may see another card rise to the same levels of ubiquity: Oko, Thief of Crowns.

The card is insane, and you HAVE to have a plan for it in the new Standard format. Oko is nearly always a 4-of, and as a new and extraordinarily powerful Mythic, there is a large percentage of players who either do not own him or do not want to play decks with him in it. If this is you, read on!

Below, you’ll find four sweet decks that have serious game against the meta and do NOT include Yono Oko (Or Fires of Invention, for that matter). The decks range from hyper-aggressive Rakdos to the incredibly sweet, but very plodding UW Draw-Go. General sideboard ideas are included, but keep in mind that deck configurations will adjust to the removal of Field of the Dead.

Rakdos Aggro

Maindeck

  • 4 Gutterbones [RNA#76]
  • 8 Mountain [ANA#64]
  • 4 Knight of the Ebon Legion [M20#105]
  • 4 Dreadhorde Butcher [WAR#194]
  • 10 Swamp [ANA#63]
  • 4 Robber of the Rich [ELD#138]
  • 4 Bonecrusher Giant [ELD#115]
  • 4 Murderous Rider [ELD#97]
  • 4 Rotting Regisaur [M20#111]
  • 3 Rankle, Master of Pranks [ELD#101]
  • 4 Spawn of Mayhem [RNA#85]
  • 4 Blood Crypt [RNA#245]
  • 1 Castle Locthwain [ELD#241]
  • 2 Shock [M19#156]

Sideboard

  • 4 Duress [M19#94]
  • 4 Lava Coil [GRN#108]
  • 1 Legion's End [M20#106]
  • 3 Noxious Grasp [M20#110]
  • 3 Experimental Frenzy [GRN#99]

Rakdos Aggro has a very simple goal: get the opponent dead, ASAP. It has great aggression; the 1-drops hit hard, its 2-drops have haste, its 3-drops have great value, and its 4-drops are “must answers”. It plays well and crunches hard.

Synergy notes: Gutterbones works great with Rankle’s creature sac, Murderous Rider can be used with a Blood Crypt to put a counter of Knight of the Ebon Legion, and Robber of the Rich can steal topped cards from an opponents’ scry.

Sideboard Plans

Simic Oko

  • -4 Rotting Regisaur
  • +3 Noxious Grasp
  • +1 Duress

Regisaur looks alright, but in practice they’ll get in an attack that will be chumped by a goose or a 3/3 Food token, and after you discard it will get bounced by Teferi or turned into a 3/3, and then you’re way down on value. Grasp gives you a clean answer to Oko, Krasis, Teferi, and Nissa while allowing your other creatures to beat down.

Jeskai Fires

  • -4 Bonecrusher Giant
  • -2 Shock
  • -1 Rankle
  • +4 Duress
  • +3 Experimental Frenzy

Early Duresses and late-game Frenzies allow us to take the war of attrition to the Jeskai deck. Cards like Spawn of Mayhem and Regisaur can go out of control in this matchup if a key piece of removal can be Duressed.

Golgari Adventures

  • -4 Regisaur
  • -1 Robber of the Rich
  • +4 Lava Coil
  • +1 Legion’s End

This deck makes a lot of 1/1s, some of them have Deathtouch, and they render Regisaur fairly useless. Lava Coil gives us bigger removal and a Legion’s End as a backup answer.

R/B, R, or B Aggro

  • -4 Robber of the Rich
  • 4 Lava Coil

There are essentially 4 current versions of R/B Aggro combinations: Mono Red, Mono Black, R/B Aristocrats, and our Aggro deck. Out of all of them, we have the best creatures. Board out the weak link, remove what they play, and run them over.

Esper Stax

  • -4 Regisaur
  • +4 Duress

A lot of this matchup will depend on their ability to draw Oath of Kaya. An upkeep with a Doom Foretold trigger AND a Regisaur discard is backbreaking; 0/10 do not recommend.

Golgari Adventures

Maindeck

  • 4 Edgewall Innkeeper [ELD#151]
  • 4 Overgrown Tomb [GRN#253]
  • 4 Foulmire Knight [ELD#90]
  • 4 Temple of Malady [M20#254]
  • 4 Lovestruck Beast [ELD#165]
  • 4 Murderous Rider [ELD#97]
  • 2 Order of Midnight [ELD#99]
  • 4 Questing Beast [ELD#171]
  • 3 Rankle, Master of Pranks [ELD#101]
  • 2 Paradise Druid [WAR#171]
  • 2 Legion's End [M20#106]
  • 2 Nissa, Who Shakes the World [WAR#169]
  • 3 Vivien, Arkbow Ranger [M20#199]
  • 7 Forest [ANA#60]
  • 2 Fabled Passage [ELD#244]
  • 7 Swamp [ANA#58]
  • 2 Find // Finality [GRN#225]

Sideboard

  • 2 Ashiok, Dream Render [WAR#228]
  • 1 Cavalier of Night [M20#94]
  • 2 Drill Bit [RNA#73]
  • 2 Kraul Harpooner [GRN#136]
  • 1 Legion's End [M20#106]
  • 1 Assassin's Trophy [GRN#152]
  • 2 Noxious Grasp [M20#110]
  • 1 Thrashing Brontodon [RIX#148]
  • 2 Veil of Summer [M20#198]
  • 1 Massacre Girl [WAR#99]

Golgari Adventures is awesome. Let me just get that out of the way. It had great value, great engines, great sideboard options, etc. The deck is GAS, and I expect it to be a Tier 1 archetype moving forward. Find // Finality and Order of Midnight give the deck a ton of staying power. It’s possible that moving forward post-FotD, the deck may want less Legion’s End / Ashiok and possibly more general tools, like another Order of Midnight or Nissa.

Sideboard Plans

Simic Oko

  • -2 Legion’s End
  • -3 Vivien, Arkbow Ranger
  • +2 Noxious Grasp
  • +1 Veil of Summer
  • +2 Kraul Harpooner

Grasp is effective against all of their walkers, Veil against any removal, and Kraul puts a body out early and answers Krasis late.

Jeskai Fires

  • -2 Legion’s End
  • -2 Find // Finality
  • +2 Drill Bit
  • +1 Thrashing Brontodon
  • +1 Assassin’s Trophy

Discard Fire or kill it. It’s a pretty straight gameplan.

R/B Aggro

  • -2 Nissa
  • -2 Order of Midnight
  • +1 Massacre Girl
  • +1 Assassin’s Trophy
  • +1 Legion’s End
  • +1 Cavalier of Night

Order can’t block, and Nissa can potentially come down too late as the curve-topper. Massacre Girl gives you a wipe and a body, Cavalier nearly ends the game when he hits the battlefield, and the removal is very effective and cheap.

Esper Stax

  • -2 Legion’s End
  • -3 Vivien, Arkbow Ranger
  • -1 Foulmire Knight
  • +1 Thrashing Brontodon
  • +1 Assassin’s Trophy
  • +2 Drill Bit
  • +2 Veil of Summer

Obviously, speed is the goal here, as you don’t want to give the Stax deck time to land a planeswalker, its sacrifice fodder, and the Doom Foretold. Killing a Doom unexpectedly or countering / discarding a key piece of removal can give you the extra turn you need to push the final damage through.

Mirror

  • -2 Paradise Druid
  • -4 Questing Beast
  • +1 Massacre Girl
  • +2 Noxious Grasp
  • +1 Assassin’s Trophy
  • +1 Cavalier of Night

The mirror is much more about value than ramping or quick kills, making Druid’s impact smaller. Likewise, Questing Beast may have no profitable attacks at all when it comes down, as it may be staring down a 5/5 that came down the turn before. Board in more value and board out the haste and ramp.

Esper Stax

Maindeck

  • 3 Murderous Rider [ELD#97]
  • 1 Island [ANA#57]
  • 4 Teferi, Time Raveler [WAR#221]
  • 1 Plains [ANA#56]
  • 4 Watery Grave [GRN#259]
  • 3 Dance of the Manse [ELD#186]
  • 4 Thought Erasure [GRN#206]
  • 4 Kaya's Wrath [RNA#187]
  • 4 Golden Egg [ELD#220]
  • 4 Guild Globe [WAR#239]
  • 1 Wishclaw Talisman [ELD#110]
  • 4 Oath of Kaya [WAR#209]
  • 4 Doom Foretold [ELD#187]
  • 1 Castle Vantress [ELD#242]
  • 3 Fabled Passage [ELD#244]
  • 4 Godless Shrine [RNA#248]
  • 4 Hallowed Fountain [RNA#251]
  • 4 Temple of Silence [M20#256]
  • 1 Castle Ardenvale [ELD#238]
  • 2 Swamp [ANA#58]

Sideboard

  • 1 Despark [WAR#190]
  • 1 Disenchant [M20#14]
  • 2 Dovin's Veto [WAR#193]
  • 3 Duress [M19#94]
  • 3 Noxious Grasp [M20#110]
  • 2 The Elderspell [WAR#89]
  • 1 Unmoored Ego [GRN#212]
  • 2 Devout Decree [M20#13]

Esper Stax is a very cool deck. It wants to play a war of attrition, wearing down its opponents board, hand, and will to live. It can win through eventual knight beatdown or Oath of Kaya burn recursion. This is a deck for people who hate aggro and their opponents equally.

Synergy notes: Murderous Rider at instant speed can alter your opponent’s sacrifice options for Doom Foretold. You can use Teferi to bounce a used Wishclaw Talisman back to your hand, thus giving you an extra card and more tutoring. Set a stop in your upkeep with Doom Foretold on the field and use Castle Ardenvale to make a token for sacrifice.

Sideboard Plans

Simic Oko

  • -2 Kaya’s Wrath
  • -1 Wishclaw Talisman
  • +3 Noxious Grasp

(Consider going for Duress instead on the Draw, as a turn 2 Oko is devastating)

Removing Oko is the key to this entire matchup. Doom Foretold and Oath of Kaya do the majority of the heavy lifting, but you need to remove Oko immediately to prevent a stream of food tokens than make Doom Foretold a downside rather than a win condition.

Jeskai Fires

  • -4 Kaya’s Wrath
  • -1 Wishclaw Talisman
  • +1 Despark
  • +1 Disenchant
  • +1 Unmoored Ego
  • +2 Dovin’s Veto

Do your absolute best to keep Teferi off the board, and deal with Fires as it comes down. You have free reign on their turn to kill everything and make Fires the only sac option to Doom Foretold. Ego targets are Fae of Wishes, Fires, or even Sarkhan.

R/B Aggro

  • -2 Thought Erasure
  • +2 Devout Decree

This is a great matchup, as our removal and lifegain line up very well against almost any aggro deck.

Golgari Adventures

  • -1 Wishclaw Talisman
  • -4 Thought Erasure
  • +3 Noxious Grasp
  • +2 Devout Decree

Golgari has a good amount of cheap additions to the board, so use some cheap removal to keep the board pretty clear for your Dooms and Oaths. Be careful of cards like Assassin’s Mark or Brontodon out of the board; targeted hate for Fires of Invention can hurt you as well.

Mirror

  • -4 Kaya’s Wrath
  • -1 Oath of Kaya
  • +3 Duress
  • +2 Dovin’s Veto

This is not only a battle to land a Doom Foretold, but to keep it on the board and keep the opponent’s board clear. Board out the situational board wipes and board in some meaningful interaction.

UW Draw-Go Control

Maindeck

  • 3 Teferi, Time Raveler [WAR#221]
  • 6 Island [ANA#57]
  • 4 Plains [ANA#56]
  • 3 Gadwick, the Wizened [ELD#48]
  • 3 Finale of Glory [WAR#12]
  • 3 Time Wipe [WAR#223]
  • 2 Absorb [RNA#151]
  • 4 Chemister's Insight [GRN#32]
  • 2 Dovin's Veto [WAR#193]
  • 4 Opt [XLN#65]
  • 4 Quench [RNA#48]
  • 2 Sinister Sabotage [GRN#54]
  • 3 Prison Realm [WAR#26]
  • 1 Castle Ardenvale [ELD#238]
  • 3 Castle Vantress [ELD#242]
  • 4 Fabled Passage [ELD#244]
  • 4 Hallowed Fountain [RNA#251]
  • 4 Tranquil Cove [M20#259]
  • 1 Mystical Dispute [ELD#58]

Sideboard

  • 2 Dovin's Veto [WAR#193]
  • 4 Devout Decree [M20#13]
  • 3 Narset, Parter of Veils [WAR#61]
  • 4 Aether Gust [M20#42]
  • 2 Mystical Dispute [ELD#58]

This deck is just…so..freaking sweet. With Teferi seeing a slight downtick in popularity and usage, it’s time to bust out the old standby. This deck uses countermagic and cards like Prison Realm to stave off early aggression, then draws back up with Gadwick before resetting with Time Wipes for more Gadwick card draw. Once it’s good and ready, it finishes the game with a flurry of Angels and Knights with Finale of Glory. It’s simple, but oh so tasty.

Synergy Notes: The obvious Gadwick + Time Wipe. Nearly two thirds of my opponents concessions with the deck have come with a Gadwick out and a Time Wipe on the stack. Teferi + Finale is an instant speed, protected win condition.

Sideboard

Simic Oko

  • -2 Sinister Sabotage
  • -2 Absorb
  • -1 Time Wipe
  • +2 Mystical Dispute
  • +2 Aether Gust
  • +1 Dovin’s Veto

Mystical is your best bet for dealing with a turn 2 Oko. The deck doesn’t put a ton of aggro pressure on your, but an early Oko can turn into a huge board quickly. Try to save a piece of interaction for a huge Krasis if that is the most likely way that you would lose. Be wary of Negate out of the board.

Jeskai Fires

  • -3 Time Wipe
  • -4 Quench
  • +2 Dovin’s Veto
  • +3 Narset
  • +2 Mystical Dispute

Their main wincon is making a huge board on their turn with Sarkhan, so Time Wipe loses much of its appeal. They can also play around Quench fairly easily after seeing it in game 1, but Mystical Dispute is still something they typically have to just power through. Ration your counterspells and only use them on things that matter. It can be really hard to parse this out in practicality, but Sarkhan, Fires, and Fae of Wishes are what matter most typically.

R/B Aggro

  • -2 Sinister Sabotage
  • -2 Chemister’s Insight
  • +4 Devout Decree

Staying alive, staying alive, AHH AHH AHH AHHHHHHHH.

Golgari Adventures

  • -1 Prison Realm
  • -1 Mystical Dispute
  • +2 Aether Gust

I think the Golgari Adventures matchup is one of the main reasons to play this deck. It’s absurdly good, and we don’t need to make sweeping changes in the board. Keep it simple.

Esper Stax

  • -3 Prison Realm
  • -2 Quench
  • +2 Dovin’s Veto
  • +3 Narset

The goal in this matchup is simple. Counter Teferi and Doom, get down your own Teferi, and win with a Finale in their end step. The deck packs a ton of sweepers, so just wait them out and win in one go.

That’s it! I hope you’re as excited for a post-field format as I am. I think there are tons of options for what to play, and while Oko may be everywhere, he can be beat with a smart gameplan and some super sweet decks. Let us know what decks you’re excited to try out in a Field-less landscape!