Winners If Oko Is Banned In Standard...Everything & Everyone
(UPDATE: Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon A Time and Veil of Summer are banned in Standard. This article was written before the B&R announcement on 10/18/19.)
While I’m writing this, we are still waiting with bated breath to see if Oko, Thief of Crowns will be banned when Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) release the Banned & Restricted Announcement on 11/18/2019. I know we all have our fingers crossed.
What decks or card can come to power without Oko messing up the meta? That’s what we’re going to look at now.
Public Enemy Number One
Fight The Power!
First things first, the biggest winner is Golgari Adventures. This is a deck that has existed and, at moments, thrived even in a Simic and Sultai dominated metagame. All of the cards within are even better positioned if the scourge of standard is removed.
I do believe the build of the list in the wake of a banning changes. Questing Beast may not be needed in high numbers, or in the main deck at all depending on how other decks shake out.
Vraska, Golgari Queen has seen a recent uptick in main deck inclusion since Oko usurped the standard throne. There’s a joke there somewhere I’m sure. There is a direct correlation here; Vraska’s -3 ability reads “Destroy nonland permanent with a converted mana cost 3 or less”. Oko, Thief of Crowns is a 3-mana planeswalker, you see where I’m going here. While Vraska does answer a lot of the other threats in the format I see her in main deck numbers dropping as an outcome of a ban
“If they cut off one head, two more shall take its place...” - Johann Schmidt/Red Skull, Captain America: the First Avenger.
There are concerns about what will happen when and if Oko gets the ban hammer. Oko, Thief of Crowns gained significant footing with the removal of Field of the Dead from Standard. It stands to reason that this is something that could occur again. There are two notable heads that may rise in a bannings wake; Teferi, Time Raveler and Nissa, Who Shakes the World.
Teferi, Time Raveler was a major player in the format before the release of Throne of Eldraine and he will be if Oko is removed.
Esper Dance was the first breakout deck on the current Standard format after taking first place in the first Fandom Legends Magic Arena tournament piloted by Bryan Gottlieb.
The difficulty that Teferi decks faced when it came to Oko and his supporting cast of characters was quickly apparent and the decks lost favor. If you reach a point where WOTC makes the decision (the correct decision) to ban Oko, Thief of Crowns then Teferi is primed for a resurgence.
In a similar vein, Niss, Who Shakes the World was and remains a Standard powerhouse. Assuming that green decks are not going to lose anything other that Oko, Nissa based decks and green decks in general, remain very powerful. The likes of Gilded Goose, Wicked Wolf, and Once Upon A Time are a trio of the most powerful cards in the format. Maybe this doesn’t make Nissa a clear winner in the light of a banning, maybe she’s just a Standard stalwart.
Phenomenal Cosmic Power!
This next deck that I believe is a winner, if we give Oko the boot, is Temur Reclamation. Yes, this deck does contain one of my favorite cards printed in recent memory.
That’s it besides the point, he’s not even in the main deck...for now.
There are some innovations here that I have been playing with after a recent artic