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Neon Dynasty Championship: Most Popular Archetypes with Examples

In anticipation of this weekend’s professional-level tournament, the Neon Dynasty Championship, Wizards of the Coast published their excellent metagame preview yesterday with commentary by MTG legend Frank Karsten. Today, they put out the full list of decks that players have entered for both the Alchemy and Historic portions of the Championship.

With the Championship now getting underway, let’s take a quick look at the meta and some example decklists from each of the most popular archetypes. The tournament is featuring both the Alchemy and Historic formats this time around, culminating with an Alchemy playoff tournament on Sunday.

As a format that hasn’t yet seen much pro-level play, the Alchemy meta has some surprises in store for us. Most of the field is either playing Naya Runes or specifically trying to beat it, which has resulted in some unexpected archetypes making up the majority of the field.

We’re playing close attention to the Neon Dynasty Championship this weekend, and we’ll be keeping you up-to-date with daily updates until its conclusion Sunday evening, so stay tuned! A link to our day one coverage will be added when available, and you can also check out Wizards’ Viewer’s Guide for more information about the event or tune into their live coverage at twitch.tv/magic. In the meantime, let’s see what decks Magic’s top players are willing to bring to a tournament with a $450,000 prize pool.

Neon Dynasty Championship Alchemy Metagame

Courtesy of magic.gg
ArchetypeNumber of DecksPercentage of Field
Mono-White Aggro5323.1%
Naya Runes4218.3%
Orzhov Venture177.4%
Mardu Midrange167.0%
Azorius Control156.6%
Rakdos Sacrifice125.2%
Jeskai Hinata93.9%
Rakdos Midrange83.5%
Grixis Midrange73.1%
Gruul Werewolves62.6%
Mardu Sacrifice62.6%
Orzhov Midrange62.6%
Selesnya Ramp62.6%
Bant Control31.3%
Esper Control31.3%
Golgari Midrange31.3%
Izzet Calamity31.3%
Izzet Control31.3%
Boros Aggro20.9%
Esper Clerics20.9%
Rakdos Aggro20.9%
Bant Ramp10.4%
Izzet Aggro10.4%
Izzet Mill10.4%
Mono-Red Aggro10.4%
Selesnya Tokens10.4%

Top Alchemy Archetypes with Examples

#1 – Mono White Aggro – 23% of Field

mono-white aggro
50.6% global win rate
9.12% metagame share
Powered by
vs selesnya ramp
85.7% win rate
7 tracked matches
vs azorius control
75.0% win rate
20 tracked matches
vs naya runes
68.0% win rate
50 tracked matches
vs jeskai hinata
58.3% win rate
12 tracked matches
vs grixis midrange
54.5% win rate
22 tracked matches
vs izzet mill
50.0% win rate
10 tracked matches
vs mardu midrange
47.5% win rate
40 tracked matches
vs rakdos midrange
40.6% win rate
32 tracked matches
vs orzhov midrange
40.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs orzhov venture
39.3% win rate
28 tracked matches
vs gruul werewolves
36.8% win rate
19 tracked matches
vs mardu sacrifice
28.6% win rate
7 tracked matches
vs rakdos sacrifice
28.6% win rate
28 tracked matches
vs esper clerics
25.0% win rate
8 tracked matches

While Mono White hasn’t been all that popular on the Alchemy ladder, it has surprisingly shown up as the most popular archetype in the format at the Championship. Mono White’s popularity appears to mostly be a reaction to the power of the Naya Runes archetype – the second most popular this weekend – that has become notorious in both Alchemy and Standard for its explosive lines of play.

Archon of Emeria is showing up in a lot of maindecks along with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben specifically to slow down the enchantment-powered Naya decks. Ideally, the Mono White decks are looking to curve out with cheap creatures starting on turn one in a bid to get underneath the Naya decks as well as midrange and control decks in the format.

Example:

Mono White Aggro by Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa
by Paul
Buy on TCGplayer $158.78
Alchemy
best of 3
2 mythic
38 rare
3 uncommon
17 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (2)
Artifacts (2)
2
Portable Hole
$2.98
60 Cards
$165.23
15 Cards
$79.87

#2 – Naya Runes – 18% of Field

naya runes
48.7% global win rate
9.02% metagame share
Powered by
vs izzet calamity
100.0% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs gruul werewolves
74.1% win rate
27 tracked matches
vs rakdos sacrifice
72.4% win rate
29 tracked matches
vs selesnya ramp
60.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs mardu sacrifice
57.1% win rate
7 tracked matches
vs azorius control
52.8% win rate
36 tracked matches
vs rakdos midrange
43.8% win rate
16 tracked matches
vs jeskai mill
40.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs esper clerics
33.3% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs jeskai hinata
33.3% win rate
18 tracked matches
vs mono-white aggro
32.0% win rate
50 tracked matches
vs izzet control
30.0% win rate
10 tracked matches
vs mardu midrange
23.1% win rate
13 tracked matches
vs orzhov venture
15.8% win rate
19 tracked matches

Largely considered the deck to beat in the Alchemy rounds of the Championship, Naya Runes is an explosive strategy that can “go off” with the combination of Jukai Naturalist and Runeforge Champion. With both cards on the field at the same time, Rune spells can be cast for free. Since all of the Runes draw a card when they enter the battlefield, it’s possible to rip through the deck with a good draw while building a massive board presence in the process.

Meanwhile, cards like Generous Visitor and Kami of Transience keep the pressure on as ever-growing threats, and Showdown of the Skalds helps to ensure that the deck never runs out of gas.

Example:

#3 – Orzhov Venture – 7% of Field

orzhov aggro
50% global win rate
0.10% metagame share
Powered by

Coming in as the third most popular Alchemy archetype, we have another somewhat unexpected deck: Orzhov Venture. Back at the end of January, the Venture into the Dungeon mechanic got a sweeping buff across many cards in Alchemy. Venture decks have been popular on and off on the ladder since then, but it’s still a bit of a surprise to see it getting so much play at the Championship.

The competitors have selected this deck presumably because it plays well against both Naya Runes – again, often with Archon of Emeria in the maindeck – and also Mono White Aggro. It’s an aggressive deck that can transition into more of a midrange plan, making it line up well against the Mono White decks that are primarily focused on taking down Naya anyways.

Example:

Orzhov Venture by Luis Scott-Vargas
by Paul
Buy on TCGplayer $258.71
Alchemy
best of 3
6 mythic
42 rare
2 uncommon
10 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (2)
Instants (6)
2
Vanishing Verse
$3.58
1
Infernal Grasp
$2.49
3
Hagra Mauling
$4.47
Sorceries (5)
3
Duress
$0.75
1
Emeria’s Call
$7.99
Enchantments (4)
60 Cards
$230.09
15 Cards
$133.65

Neon Dynasty Championship Historic Metagame

Courtesy of magic.gg
ArchetypeNumber of DecksPercentage of Field
Izzet Phoenix5624.5%
Azorius Control219.2%
Golgari Food208.7%
Azorius Auras156.6%
Jeskai Control156.6%
Azorius Lotus Field135.7%
Azorius Yorion135.7%
Rakdos Arcanist135.7%
Orzhov Auras93.9%
Gruul Aggro62.6%
Jund Food62.6%
Mardu Greasefang52.2%
Five-Color Niv-Mizzet41.7%
Esper Pact31.3%
Mardu Midrange31.3%
Rakdos Sacrifice31.3%
Selesnya Enchantress31.3%
Azorius Affinity20.9%
Esper Greasefang20.9%
Jeskai Creativity20.9%
Abzan Humans10.4%
Boros Tokens10.4%
Dimir Control10.4%
Dimir Pact10.4%
Esper Auras10.4%
Heliod Company10.4%
Izzet Aggro10.4%
Jeskai Lotus Field10.4%
Jeskai Yorion10.4%
Mardu Reanimator10.4%
Rakdos Aggro10.4%
Rakdos Midrange10.4%
Selesnya Humans10.4%
Simic Merfolk10.4%
Simic Paradox Engine10.4%

Top Alchemy Archetypes with Examples

#1 – Izzet Phoenix – 24% of Field

izzet phoenix
50.5% global win rate
15.33% metagame share
Powered by
vs dimir rogues (lurrus)
100.0% win rate
8 tracked matches
vs rakdos arcanist (lurrus)
85.7% win rate
7 tracked matches
vs esper greasefang
80.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs azorius control
71.2% win rate
73 tracked matches
vs mono-red burn
66.7% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs rakdos goblins
66.7% win rate
9 tracked matches
vs azorius lotus field
65.4% win rate
52 tracked matches
vs 5c niv-mizzet
63.6% win rate
44 tracked matches
vs simic merfolk
62.5% win rate
16 tracked matches
vs other
61.0% win rate
82 tracked matches
vs dimir control
60.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs selesnya aggro
60.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs orzhov auras (lurrus)
57.9% win rate
19 tracked matches
vs rakdos arcanist
57.7% win rate
104 tracked matches
vs jeskai control (yorion)
57.1% win rate
7 tracked matches
vs azorius control (yorion)
56.8% win rate
44 tracked matches
vs Tainted Pact
56.5% win rate
23 tracked matches
vs jeskai control
55.0% win rate
60 tracked matches
vs mardu greasefang
50.0% win rate
10 tracked matches
vs jund food
50.0% win rate
26 tracked matches
vs mono-red goblins
50.0% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs esper control
50.0% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs azorius auras
49.2% win rate
132 tracked matches
vs mono-red aggro
45.0% win rate
20 tracked matches
vs heliod company
43.8% win rate
16 tracked matches
vs rakdos sacrifice
42.9% win rate
14 tracked matches
vs orzhov midrange (yorion)
40.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs selesnya humans
39.4% win rate
33 tracked matches
vs gruul aggro
38.1% win rate
21 tracked matches
vs golgari food
36.3% win rate
204 tracked matches
vs rakdos midrange
25.0% win rate
8 tracked matches
vs azorius affinity
24.6% win rate
57 tracked matches
vs selesnya enchantress
21.2% win rate
33 tracked matches
vs jeskai creativity
18.2% win rate
11 tracked matches
vs mono-black aggro
14.3% win rate
7 tracked matches

We had some unexpected archetypes showing up in numbers in Alchemy, but surprising absolutely nobody, Izzet Phoenix is the most popular Neon Dynasty Championship Historic deck – and it’s not close. Izzet Phoenix is an archetype that has survived multiple bannings at this point, and has been around throughout all of the nonsense that’s happened in the format.

Example:

Izzet Phoenix by Andrea Mengucci
by Paul
Buy on TCGplayer $401.53
Historic
Tempo
best of 3
6 mythic
20 rare
13 uncommon
21 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (15)
2
Sprite Dragon
$0.98
2
Crackling Drake
$0.70
4
Arclight Phoenix
$21.96
1
Ox of Agonas
$1.29
Instants (14)
4
Opt
$1.00
1
Spell Pierce
$0.29
3
Unholy Heat
$0.75
4
Consider
$5.96
Sorceries (11)
2
Pillar of Flame
$0.50
Lands (20)
1
Island
$0.25
1
Mountain
$0.25
4
Spirebluff Canal
$87.96
4
Steam Vents
$87.96
60 Cards
$366.06
Sideboard
1
Brazen Borrower
$11.99
1
Crackling Drake
$0.35
1
Negate
$0.25
1
Abrade
$0.25
2
Fry
$0.70
2
Pithing Needle
$1.98
15 Cards
$27.07

#2 – Azorius Control – 9.2% of Field

azorius control
47.1% global win rate
3.87% metagame share
Powered by
vs jund food
85.7% win rate
7 tracked matches
vs mardu greasefang
83.3% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs jeskai creativity
80.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs 5c niv-mizzet
77.8% win rate
9 tracked matches
vs azorius lotus field
70.0% win rate
10 tracked matches
vs azorius affinity
66.7% win rate
9 tracked matches
vs rakdos sacrifice
66.7% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs selesnya enchantress
66.7% win rate
9 tracked matches
vs gruul aggro
60.0% win rate
10 tracked matches
vs other
57.9% win rate
19 tracked matches
vs jeskai control
45.8% win rate
24 tracked matches
vs golgari food
42.1% win rate
38 tracked matches
vs azorius control (yorion)
41.2% win rate
17 tracked matches
vs azorius auras
39.1% win rate
23 tracked matches
vs rakdos arcanist
35.0% win rate
20 tracked matches
vs izzet phoenix
28.8% win rate
73 tracked matches
vs mono-red aggro
0.0% win rate
6 tracked matches

Trailing quite a bit behind Phoenix in terms of metagame share, we’re seeing Azorius Control as the second-most popular deck in the Historic portion of the Championship. Azorius Control decks have been around in Historic for a long time, but they received a few interesting new tools from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty.

The Wandering Emperor is showing up in decent numbers as a planeswalker that can play well on both offense and defence. Meanwhile, March of Otherworldly Light is a strong enough removal option to be seeing play in older formats like Modern, and it’s appearing as a four-of in many of the Azorius decks here as well.

Example:

Azorius Control by Brad Nelson
by Paul
Buy on TCGplayer $556.03
Historic
Control
best of 3
7 mythic
42 rare
9 uncommon
2 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (11)
Instants (17)
2
Fateful Absence
$2.98
2
Memory Deluge
$0.78
Sorceries (3)
1
Divine Purge
$0.00
1
Day of Judgment
$2.79
1
Farewell
$10.99
Enchantments (4)
1
Rest in Peace
$7.99
3
Shark Typhoon
$35.97
60 Cards
$508.13
Sideboard
1
Unsubstantiate
$0.35
3
Dovin’s Veto
$11.97
1
Memory Deluge
$0.39
1
Devout Decree
$0.35
2
Divine Purge
$0.00
1
Farewell
$10.99
1
Rest in Peace
$7.99
15 Cards
$38.05

#3 – Golgari Food – 8.7% of Field

golgari food
56% global win rate
9.21% metagame share
Powered by
vs rakdos sacrifice
100.0% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs mono-red goblins
85.7% win rate
7 tracked matches
vs jeskai creativity
85.7% win rate
14 tracked matches
vs mono-red aggro
83.3% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs simic merfolk
80.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs rakdos arcanist (lurrus)
80.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs other
72.1% win rate
43 tracked matches
vs rakdos midrange
66.7% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs izzet phoenix
63.7% win rate
204 tracked matches
vs gruul aggro
58.3% win rate
12 tracked matches
vs azorius control
57.9% win rate
38 tracked matches
vs rakdos arcanist
55.4% win rate
56 tracked matches
vs selesnya enchantress
52.0% win rate
25 tracked matches
vs 5c niv-mizzet
50.0% win rate
12 tracked matches
vs azorius auras
50.0% win rate
80 tracked matches
vs selesnya humans
47.1% win rate
34 tracked matches
vs jeskai control
46.9% win rate
32 tracked matches
vs esper control
41.7% win rate
12 tracked matches
vs azorius affinity
41.0% win rate
39 tracked matches
vs orzhov auras (lurrus)
40.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs jund food
38.5% win rate
13 tracked matches
vs rakdos goblins
37.5% win rate
8 tracked matches
vs azorius control (yorion)
36.6% win rate
41 tracked matches
vs azorius lotus field
33.3% win rate
21 tracked matches
vs dimir control
12.5% win rate
8 tracked matches
vs heliod company
10.0% win rate
10 tracked matches

A further iteration of the Jund Food decks that made for one of Historic’s early standout archetypes, Golgari Food is the third most played Historic deck at the tournament. The printing of Ravenous Squirrel in Jumpstart: Historic Horizons pushed the Golgari evolution of the deck to be one of the most important decks in current-day Historic, and while it’s not as popular as Izzet or Azorius at this tournament, it’s still a very powerful deck.

The classic Cat/Oven combo (Witch's Oven/Cauldron Familiar) combines with Squirrel, other sacrifice effects, and the additional lifedrain effect of The Meathook Massacre to make for a powerful and grindy gameplan that’s backed up with Lurrus of the Dream-Den as a companion.

Example:

Golgari Food by Tristan Wylde-LaRue
by Paul
Buy on TCGplayer $553.41
Historic
Midrange
best of 3
4 mythic
30 rare
21 uncommon
5 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (14)
4
Gilded Goose
$9.96
Instants (7)
2
Fatal Push
$4.98
4
Deadly Dispute
$9.96
1
Mortality Spear
$0.35
Sorceries (2)
2
Bone Shards
$0.50
Artifacts (6)
4
Witch’s Oven
$2.76
Enchantments (8)
4
Trail of Crumbs
$1.40
Lands (23)
1
Swamp
$0.25
2
Khalni Garden
$0.98
4
Blooming Marsh
$29.96
4
Darkbore Pathway
$21.96
4
Overgrown Tomb
$59.96
2
Phyrexian Tower
$43.98
60 Cards
$522.82
15 Cards
$80.75

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Paul
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.

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