Strixhaven Championship: Standard Metagame Preview

The Strixhaven Championship is nearly upon us, and all of the Rivals League and MPL members have submitted their decks for the upcoming showdown. Although we don’t yet have access to the full lists, Wizards of the Coast has provided us a snapshot of the metagame and top archetypes via magic.gg. The Strixhaven Championship is the largest competitive event since the Kaldheim Championship, and the $250k prize pool is sure to have Rivals and MPL members bringing their best. We’ll be able to check out all of the decks and the players who will be piloting them when the tournament kicks off this Friday, June 4, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at the bigger picture.

Courtesy of magic.gg
ArchetypeNumber of PlayersPercentage of Field
Sultai Ultimatum5321.2%
Izzet Dragons4116.4%
Naya Adventures239.2%
Dimir Rogues176.8%
Gruul Adventures176.8%
Cycling176.8%
Mono-Red Aggro166.4%
Mono-White Aggro166.4%
Jeskai Mutate156.0%
Temur Adventures93.6%
Mardu Sacrifice41.6%
Boros Winota31.2%
Sultai Control31.2%
Dimir Control31.2%
Mono-Green Aggro31.2%
Rakdos Sacrifice20.8%
Four-color Blink20.8%
Sultai Titans’ Nest20.8%
Azorius Blink20.8%
Rakdos Midrange10.4%
Naya Fury10.4%

Most played nonland cards:
Bonecrusher Giant (456 copies)
Mystical Dispute (420 copies)

Most played Strixhaven cards:
Expressive Iteration (173 copies)
Elite Spellbinder (159 copies)

The meta that has taken shape for the Strixhaven Championship is bound to look familiar to anyone who has been following Standard tournaments over the last few months. All of the top archetypes are decks that we’ve seen before, although the meta continues to shift around in terms of representation. Sultai Ultimatum, which has been down in the meta in recent tournaments, comes soaring back to the top of the chart- a strong statement that many of the best players in Magic still believe Sultai to be the best deck in the format. Although Sultai Ultimatum hasn’t been putting up the best win percentages in other recent events, it may be well positioned to make a comeback given the dramatic rise of Izzet Dragons and relative decline of Mono Red and Mono White in favor of midrange decks like Naya Adventures.

Speaking of Izzet Dragons, the archetype has been performing quite strongly, so players who have chosen to run Sultai or other over-the-top decks will surely have a plan for beating Izzet built into their decks. Izzet Dragons, also known as Izzet Tempo or Izzet Midrange, has proven itself to be a very strong deck in the best-of-three competitive scene. Effective sideboard plans allow the deck to be well prepared with removal for the aggressive decks of the format as well as counterspells for Sultai Ultimatum and other control decks that rely on resolving big spells to win the game.

Meanwhile, we find some other familiar archetypes returning to the forefront of the meta. Naya Adventures, which has posted some very solid tournament results in the past, has risen above the other aggressive archetypes to be the third most represented deck overall at the Strixhaven Championship. Mono Red has been very popular in competitive archetypes over the last few months, but a poor matchup with Izzet among other factors has pushed it down in the meta. We can see that Gruul Adventures has overtaken the mono-colored aggro builds as well, instead choosing to put treasure synergies with Magda, Brazen Outlaw and Goldspan Dragon to the test. Clearly, the pros seem to believe that the extreme value provided by the adventure creatures and Edgewall Inkeeper is needed to keep up with the removal-heavy decks of the format like Izzet and Dimir Rogues.

On that note, Dimir Rogues is yet another example of a deck that had been largely pushed out of the Standard meta in recent tournaments but is showing up in force to the Strixhaven Championship. Indeed, at the recent Insight Esports Tier 1 Invitational– a hybrid Standard/Historic tournament with a $5,000 prize pool- Dimir Rogues had higher representation in Historic than it did in Standard. Perhaps players are returning to the archetype in an attempt to out-tempo the Izzet decks. Perhaps they were just sick of the deck given its status as the “boogeyman” of the format and its sustained prevalence on the MTGA ladder, not wanting to play it at tournaments with lower stakes. Either way, we’ll get to see the archetype go toe to toe with Izzet and the other top decks at Magic’s highest levels.

Tomorrow, June 3rd, Wizards will be releasing the metagame data for the Historic portion of the Strixhaven Championship, so be sure to check back with us here on MTGA Zone for the details. In the meantime, if you would like to see more information about each archetype as well as samples of what the decklists might look like, be sure to read the full article on magic.gg written by MTG Hall-of-Famer Frank Karsten.

Paul

Dude from Vermont who likes to play Magic and Escape from Tarkov. Musician, writer, and gamer.

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