Standard Metagame Analysis – Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Week 7
This weekend saw relatively few tournaments, with only 7 to speak of, including Red Bull’s Untapped. Aside from two, the tournaments saw anywhere from 20 to 50 players. The Redbull Untapped this week only had 755 players, a sizable step down from last week’s 1026, but was still easily the largest tournament of the weekend. We’ll cover that in more detail shortly.
The other larger tournament this weekend was one from the 5CH LATAM Series, with 123 players. This tournament didn’t have any stand-out decks make top 8, but its metagame share is incredibly similar to that of the Red Bull Untapped tournament this week. As well, the top 8 of LATAM lines up with the metagame you might expect, with the top 8 having Mono-White Aggro, Mono-Green Aggro, Izzet Turns and Jund Midrange among other decks.
The big decks of last week’s Red Bull Tournament are still alive and well, and you can check out how they did last week here:
Here’s how their shares have changed over the past 3 weeks:
|Deck||Week 5||Week 6||Week 7|
Even while the Mono-White Aggro decks have been picking up meta share over the past few weeks, this week the deck didn’t fare as well as you might think. In Week 5 and Week 6, Mono-White posted winrates above 53%. This week, it’s winrate has fallen to 48.6%. While I do think there may be variance at play for it to fall so much, with the deck making up almost 15% of the metagame, there’s no doubt part of the reason is that other decks are coming prepared to fight it. However, even despite that, Mono-White took top spot in this week’s tournament.
On the other hand, Mono-Green has been a rock over the past three weeks. This week and last, it hovered around 22% of the metagame, and all three weeks it had a winrate of around 53%, while putting multiple copies into the top 8 – even coming first in Week 5. As I said in my Week 5 article, Green’s threats are incredibly resilient, meaning that it’s hard to deal with the deck with one-for-one removal alone. To put up a good fight against it you also need to be pressuring it along side the removal, or out-tempoing it completely.
While Grixis Turns and Izzet Dragons both had an uptick in meta share, neither fared particularly well in the tournament. Both decks had winrates just shy of 48%, which is not where you want to be when you make up a combined 22% of the metagame. Despite trying to play more creatures and interaction, it still seems that the aggressive decks are too fast for these Turns decks.
While those decks lagged, Izzet Turns made a comeback. While picking up less than a percent in metagame share, its winrate this week was 55.7% – a stark contrast from last week’s 52.5%. I think this can be attributed to some of the Turns decks hedging on not having to face Control decks, since Control has been slaughtered in the past few weeks. From there, they’ve opted to tech their decks to better fight aggro, and it seems to be paying off. One such example is the version of Izzet Turns which came 2nd in the tournament. This deck trims any hard counters, with only a handful of Divide by Zero to combat spells, and instead plays Unexpected Windfall and an extra Galvanic Iteration to try and combo off faster and more consistently.
Sultai Tempo is a deck that I feel was inspired by Temur Aggro. Rather than being truly Sultai, it’s mainly a Golgari ramp deck that splashes for Negate and Disdainful Stroke. Its plan is to play Emergent Sequence and Binding the Old Gods to ramp into Wrenn and Seven and Tovolar’s Huntmaster, while also having solid creatures and interaction in the early game. Some of those creatures are Tainted Adversary and Primal Adversary which can be played early, but are also good late since you can pump your extra mana into them.
This deck is mainly a Dimir Control deck that splashes for Vanishing Verse. Vanishing Verse is likely one of the strongest removal spells in the format, especially with so many mono-colour aggro decks and great mono-coloured cards being played in general. This deck differs from the previous Dimir Control lists by leaning more into creatures and tempo than removal and hard counters. Lier, Disciple of the Drowned and Sedgemoor Witch, played alongside Duress and Consider make for a powerful combination. Another powerful interaction is Divide by Zero effectively letting you counter a spell through Lier’s ability, which lets you buy time and leverage your board presence.
I said last week that we’d see the big decks soak up meta share of fringe decks. I may have jumped the gun on that prediction, as this week saw the top 5 decks take up around 70% of the meta share, just like last week. Alongside that, 2 of the top 8 decks are decks from archetypes which have low metagame shares, showing that there’s still room to brew and fight the big decks of the format. I think with enough time, the format would continue to homogenize over time, however after seeing this week’s results I don’t this will happen before Crimson Vow shakes up the format (even as the terror of Alchemist’s Gambit looms large).
Other than that, since the share of aggro remains high (and since I believe Mono-White is already showing the signs it’s working), I think we’ll see more decks come equipped with removal and sweepers. I also think that Jund Midrange is likely to see even more of a rise than it has this week, as it has the tools to fight through aggro decks, while getting under the Turns decks with a little help from the disruption it gets from being in Black.
One other thing that I think will continue to happen, and seems to be happening faster than I would have thought, is the re-emergence of Izzet Turns. As I mentioned in a previous article, Turns completely goes over the top of traditional control decks. They effectively get to play the same game as Control, but their win-condition is much more explosive and harder to interact with. However, that’s only true if the Izzet Turns decks are playing a shell that’s more invested in card advantage and countermagic. If it plays sweepers and cheap removal, most of its cards are blanks, and the control deck can simply wait and counter the cards that matter. However, with such little control (and with the control that’s left leaning more into tempo), the Izzet Turns decks are free to play a deck more tuned against creatures with little chance of being punished for it.
What I’d Play
While I think you’ll need to be aware that the Turns is making a comeback, I’m not convinced that it’s the best place to be, being the face of the format and all. I also think that there’s one decks that’s fast enough to get under it, while still being able to hold its own against the aggro decks: Jund Midrange.
In a Tournament
In a tournament setting, there’s many fringe decks and having a wide variety of options in terms of your sideboard is valuable. Ray of Enfeeblement is a card I’m not totally sold on, but since white has access to so much exile removal, I can see why it’s there. I can also see it playing out reasonably well against Mono-Green in a pinch, as -4 power takes a lot of the sting out of their creatures. That being said, Power Word Kill is likely just better against Mono-Green.
I don’t think there’s anything I’d change from the tournament version of this deck. The mainboard is flexible and resilient, and the sideboard has plenty of options to choose from – in my mind the strength of this deck.