BIG MAGIC Season 3 Weekly Challenge: Top 8 Tournament Decklists From Japan

BIG MAGIC is one of the largest MTG event hosts based in Japan. This weekend, they put on a free entry Standard Challenge that saw over 200 participants battle it out for prizes of up to 5000 gems. The tournament took the form of six Swiss rounds, with undefeated players earning the maximum prize and an invitation to the Japan Championship Season 3 Main events.

The Japanese competitive meta is considered by some to be slightly “ahead” of the meta in the United States – sometimes, new archetypes will break out in Japan-based competitions and then prove themselves in the larger meta in the weeks that follow. Will there be any breakouts from this event? Let’s find out!

Metagame

ArchetypeNumber of DecksPercentage of FieldWinrate
Izzet Epiphany5225%56.6%
Mono-Green Aggro ❄5225%59.5%
Izzet Dragons ❄️2411.5%43.01%
Grixis Control125.8%32.4%
Bant Festival62.9%33.33%
Gruul Aggro62.9%59.3%
Dimir Control52.4%33.33%
Mono-White Aggro ❄️41.9%50%

To view the full metagame, please see the tournament’s MTGMelee page.

Izzet Turns, listed here as Izzet Epiphany, is a fairly new archetype that really came onto the tournament scene with last weekend’s Clearly Frame Advantage 2k, where the deck made up nearly 8% in the meta, and had a 62% winrate with two decks in the Top 8. Now it seems the archetype, which is based around using Galvanic Iteration to double up on Alrund’s Epiphany, is continuing to pick up steam.

Meanwhile, Mono-Green Aggro is neck and neck in terms of metagame share at this event. The two archetypes together made up a full 50% of the meta at this event, and both decks had winrates near 60%. Meanwhile, more traditional Izzet Dragons-style decks were the third most represented archetype, but only managed a 43% winrate in non-mirror matches.

The other standout here is probably Gruul, which, while only making up about 3% of the meta, managed a 59% winrate and had two examples in the Top 8 – including the deck that took 1st.

Swiss Top 8 Standings

RankPlayerDeckRecord
1Hiroaki TaniguchiGruul Werewolves6-0
2Yusaku KawamuraMono Green Aggro6-0
3yamiGruul Aggro6-0
4Sho OtaMono Green Aggro 6-0
5Hiroki YamagataGrixis Control6-0
6Takashi NaritaMono Green Aggro 5-1
7tung tuckMono Green Aggro 5-1
8哲史 松岡Mono Green Aggro 5-1

It only takes one glance at the Top 8 table above to notice something’s a bit off. Out of the archetypes that placed in the Top 8, there’s just one that isn’t some form of green aggressive deck. Green decks have been showing up in force in other tournaments as well, but this is the most lopsided result we’ve seen so far out of the tournaments we’ve reviewed since rotation.

One thing that’s interesting to note about the Mono Green decks at the top of this event is that most of the players have chosen to run some number of the new planeswalker Wrenn and Seven in the maindeck. I’m starting to feel like a broken record, but for those who haven’t been paying attention to the competitive meta, the new 5-drop planeswalker has an amazingly powerful synergy with Esika’s Chariot, since the Kitty Car can copy the massive reaching tokens produced by Wrenn.

It’s been largely undecided whether Mono Green decks want to be running Wrenns in the maindeck since its a bit clunky and slow compared to the raw aggressive power that the archetype can put onto the battlefield. It seems that, at least in Japan, most players are opting to go for the more midrange-y route of including the full combo pre-board. Some lists are even including the expensive but ridiculous enchantment Unnatural Growth to help them go over the top.

It’s worth noting that there were many other decks at the event that managed a 5-1 finish overall, and among them were plenty of Izzet decks mixed in with more Mono Green and Gruul. It’s still early in the format, and the upcoming World Championship XXVII will help cement the meta. With that being said, it looks like Mono Green and Gruul are emerging with Izzet Alrund’s Epiphany decks as some of the main contenders in the format.

You’ll find all of the decklists from the top ranked players below.

Top 8 Decklists

Paul

Dude from Vermont who likes to play Magic and Escape from Tarkov. Musician, writer, and gamer. Submit feedback or corrections to @Paul on the Discord.