1123 players have enrolled for yet another event of the Red Bull Untapped series – a string of tournaments leading into the Red Bull Untapped Finals later this year. Qualifier 4 took place over the course of two days, with 8 rounds of Swiss play on Saturday, followed by the Top 64 single-elimination playoff on Sunday.
- Source: MTG Melee.
Standard has been blown wide open by this week’s unexpectedly radical bans, and the variety of archetypes registered in the tournament is off the charts. The six most represented archetypes – Sultai Ramp, Temur Adventures, Mono Red Aggro, Temur Elementals, Mono Green Aggro and Mardu Winota have accounted for half of the playing field combined. This is obviously night and day when compared to the state of the metagame of the weeks prior, when the same 50% quota was designated exclusively to just Reclamation decks.
Below are all of the 22 (!) archetypes with at least 10 decks registered, and their winrates (excluding mirrors):
|Archetypes||% of the field||Match Win %|
It looks like Sultai Ramp has solidified itself as the early frontrunner of the renewed Standard format. Although it did lose Growth Spiral, it was Bant Ramp and Temur Reclamation who have suffered a much crueler fate, losing format-defining staples of Teferi, Time Reveler and Wilderness Reclamation. Sultai have dominated both the Swiss and playoff parts of the Red Bull Qualifier 4: best four decks of the Round Robin AND best four decks of the Day 2 are all Sultai Ramp decks.
With Expansion/Explosion no longer being a concern, it seems that there’s no deck that can consistently go over the top of what Sultai Ramp can do. Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Hydroid Krasis have returned to their forgotten glory – and hey – Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath is another super-powerful card that escaped a ban (which is its whole flavor thing, so I guess it’s expected). The tournament-winning decklist by Kazune Kozaka runs full playsets of each of those staples, adding sweet interaction pieces like Heartless Act, Eliminate and Extinction Event (for creature decks) and Thought Erasure with Casualties of War (for slower matchups).
Temur Adventures was the second most popular choice of the weekend. The deck did well on Day 1, scoring a very high 58,6% winrate, but failed to advance past Top 32 on Sunday. This is the unique archetype that has been around since Throne of Eldraine, but was completely pushed out of the meta for a longest time – until this weekend. It relies on Lucky Clover and Edgewall Innkeeper to take advantage of the numerous Adventure cards. The most notable one of those is Fae of the Wishes, which can pull any card from your ‘toolbox’ of a sideboard. The deck is unstoppable once it has set up its engines succesfully, but can be a bit prone to variance – with Clover being such a huge part of the archetype’s gameplan.
It is also worth to highlight another two quite fresh lists that made it into a Top 8. A Temur Flash deck by Eric Ausseil has a good chance against anything in the meta, as it splashes some efficient red removal (Bonecrusher Giant, Scorching Dragonfire) in your classic Simic Flash deck, also adding Nissa to enable some huge Sharks and Krases. Shota Takao has brought a sweet Izzet Spells build to the table. It relies on Stormwing Entity and Dreadhorde Arcanist supported by a bunch of 1-mana cantrips and Shocks. These also an Orzhov Yorion list that fought its way into Top 8 – an archetype that has always lurked in the shadows, ever since its inception during Players Tour earlier this year.
It has been a disappointing weekend for aggressive strategies though – neither Mono Red nor Mono Green were able to show up with good winrates, while the anti-Reclamation tech of a Mardu Winota archetype has lost its food source and has been outright beaten down by the competition. Things have looked good on paper for both red and green aggro decks leading to the weekend, with Aether Gust no longer being an ever-present maindeck inclusion. And yet, the powers of Embecleave and Questing Beast have not quite delivered.