You Should be Playing Jeskai Hinata
This week I’m going to be talking about what many people, including myself, believe to be the top deck in Standard right now, Jeskai Hinata. This is a deck that has existed in the format for a while now, but recently has gained a lot of traction during the New Capenna Championship, where Jan Moritz Merkel won the tournament with the deck.
This is the deck I have personally been using to play with on the MTG Arena ladder as well, so let me share my latest list:
The list is extremely similar to that of Jan Moritz Merkel, with a few minor changes. More recently the deck has also been crushing the Standard Challenged on Magic Online as well, so it really is doing well everywhere.
What Makes Jeskai Hinata So Good?
This deck has one of the best lategames in the format, and certainly the best two card combo, which is Hinata, Dawn-Crowned in conjunction with Magma Opus, to allow your Magma Opus to cost as little as two mana. Getting to cast Magma Opus tends to swing a game, even if you are casting it in a position where you were far behind before resolving the Magma Opus. This deck also plays Goldspan Dragon to be able to generate lots of mana, which is often needed in the absence of Hinata, Dawn Crowned.
Since Magma Opus is such a good lategame spell, you can afford to use a number of slots in the deck to protect yourself in the early game. Jwari Disruption and Make Disappear are conditional counterspells that work very nicely in the deck, when the opponent is trying to kill you before your lategame is fully online.
Also, it turns out Hinata, Dawn Crowned isn’t that easy to kill. Not only does the deck play protection spells in the form of countermagic, and March of Swirling Mist, but Vanishing Verse can’t deal with it either. Players are adjusting their removal suite to try and answer Hinata, Dawn Crowned, because of how powerful the card is when it hits play.
This deck also has a flexible sideboard which allows it to go in many directions. It can load up on cheap removal against aggressive strategies, or become a full on Jeskai Control deck with even better lategame, and more card advantage. After sideboard opponents generally have more answers to creatures like Goldspan Dragon and Hinata, Dawn Crowned, so relying on raw card draw in the slower matchups, with Memory Deluge and Reckoner Bankbuster makes sense.
Why is Jeskai Hinata So Good All of a Sudden?
This is perhaps a puzzling question for a lot of players. If Jeskai Hinata was so good, how come it wasn’t dominating Standard events before New Capenna. In fact, it plays very few cards from New Capenna. Perhaps the most important addition to the deck came in Neon Dynasty, which was Fable of the Mirror-Breaker.
I think there are a couple factors that play into this, the first being that this particular version of Jeskai Hinata was played by very talented players. Sometimes you need top tier talent to pick up a deck and tune it in order for it to reach its full potential.
More importantly however, we have had a significant shift in the metagame. The current Standard format is dominated by midrange. It seems almost all the most popular decks are midrange based, meaning they aren’t winning the game very quickly, and also don’t have an insanely good lategame. This is perfect for Jeskai Hinata, which can prey on midrange strategies, by simply going over the top.
If the format were to shift towards more aggressive decks like Mono Green and Mono White Aggro rising in popularity, I do think Jeskai Hinata would have a tough time. These are decks it has historically struggled against, that have fallen in popularity in recent weeks. Perhaps we will see a bit of a shift, and if aggressive decks do rise in popularity it would force Jeskai Hinata to react to that, by likely adding in more removal to the maindeck.
Thanks for reading,