This weekend there were close to a dozen tournaments each with anywhere from 16 to 50ish players, save for the Red Bull Untapped tournament with 1026 players. In general each of the tournaments had the decks you’d expect to see taking the number one spot – save for one. One of the smallest, the Saturday Magic, saw its top spot taken by Rakdos Aggro. In particular, a vampire focused deck, running cards you might not immediately think of playing in Standard right now.
I feel compelled to point the deck out, if only for the fact that it plays Vampire Spawn. If you’re familiar with 17Lands and drafted much of AFR, this card is deceptive. Although it looks very middling, it had win rates far beyond what people had expected for the card with a 59.00% game-in-hand win rate. Personally, I’m not sold on the deck, but I do like seeing brews fight it out for the top spot.
Aggro players that originally felt Izzet was the best set of colours to be in changed their mind, and moved back over to Mono-White and Mono-Green Aggro.
If you’re not dead-set on playing the Izzet colours, I think that’s the right move given that the deck is only favoured against Mono-White Aggro. In addition to the decks above, two other decks seem to be gaining some traction from last week. One is Dimir Control, and the other is Temur Aggro.
Dimir Control is a deck that’s looking to try and stave off aggro with its removal, and fight the Turns decks with its counterspells and card advantage from Planeswalkers. Despite having a better manabase than Grixis Turns, it seems to be doing worse. Dimir Control sports the lowest win rate out of the most popular decks at 39.1%. I can’t say I’m surprised to see this, considering that it’s trying to fight the decks that go over and the decks that go under simultaneously. Its best win rates are around 50%, and its worst are bad – a measly 9.1%. While I’m sure the deck isn’t great, the sample size may be to blame for the extremeness of the numbers.
Temur Aggro on the other hand, is a deck I’d consider playing. Opposite of Dimir Control, it has the highest winrate of the tourney at 54.3%. It was present in the metagame share last week, and this week makes up just over 8% of the tournament. While the deck is called Temur Aggro, it’s more of a “Gruul Aggro deck with a ramp/treasure subtheme splashing Negate”, which doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as well.
While I wasn’t very high on Mono-Black last week, I do want to note that it made top-8 this week while making up less than half a percent of the metagame. However, I do think the version which won this week is more focused than last week’s decks. While still having The Meathook Massacre and Deadly Dispute for reach and card advantage, the winning deck plays Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia and Skyclave Shade which gives the deck a much more aggressive edge. With that said, the deck also has Infernal Grasp and Eaten Alive which means it has the tools to fight against the other aggro decks.
The deck I’m happiest to see in the top-8 is Jund Midrange, which honestly might be more of an “I told you so” thing than anything else. If you remember my article from last week, Jund Midrange won in one of the smaller tournaments, and I did mention that I felt we’d see more of it. While not anywhere near being the most popular deck, it has a metagame share just shy of 3% in the Red Bull tournament – more than triple of last week’s tournament share.
This deck is very similar to the Temur Aggro deck (in that it runs Sentinel, Magda, Innkeeper, and Goldspan), but drops the counterspells in blue for graveyard and hand hate in black. With black, the deck also often opts to play Immersturm Predator, and the winning version plays Graveyard Trespasser. Trespasser feels like a good meta pick, since it pressures the Turns decks while picking away at flashback cards, and in aggro matchups is solidly sized and has the ability to drain the opponent.
Continuing from last week, I expect to see the share of aggro decks increase, though redistributed. In particular, I expect to see an uptick in Mono-Black Aggro and Temur Aggro decks with the Mono-Black build that landed in the top-8 seeing the biggest jump. With the increase of aggro, I think Izzet Dragons is likely to get further pushed out, especially after its middling performance this week. Alongside that, I suspect that between the increase in Aggro and the existence of Turns decks, we’ll see fewer of the already small number of control decks.
One other thing I suspect is that Jund Midrange will pick up a few points in the next week. Right now the top 5 decks (Mono-Green, Mono-White, Izzet Dragons, Izzet Turns, and Temur Aggro) make up roughly 70% of decks played in the tournament, which means that the other 30% is distributed amongst a swath of other decks. Since aggro is more present and a midrange deck made top 8, I suspect that the deck diversity in the remaining 30% is likely to drop as the “Meta-Breakers” start to be found.
In short, I think this coming week will see less overall variety in decks as people start to move towards more proven decks. Though, while deck diversity might go down, the metagame shares of the top decks are likely to have smaller gaps between them, meaning the deck to beat becomes less clear. While I think that signals a healthier metagame, it does make choosing a deck to bring to a tournament harder.
What I’d Play
Before I continue, I think if I were to bring a deck to the tournament next week, I’d bring the Mono-White deck I suggested in last week’s article as a safe pick. However, I don’t want to simply repeat the same deck (since that would be terribly boring), so if you’re willing to take more of a risk in deck choice, here’s what I’d recommend instead.
In a Tournament
I think Mono-Black might have some legs with the make-up of its deck, it can do a good job playing both an aggro game as well as a midrange game. Against Turns and control, you play more into your aggro, while against Aggro and Midrange you play more to your midrange plan. I also believe black has some of the best sideboard options in Blood on the Snow and Go Blank.