Zendikar Rising Championship Meta Analysis Part 1: Standard

Into the Story

The Zendikar Rising Championship took the best players and pitted them against each other in a Standard/Historic split tournament. Each player submitted a deck in both formats with each day being split into Historic the first half of the day then Standard the second. In order to qualify for this tournament, you needed to be in the MPL, the Rivals League, or have qualified for the tournament through the MCQW, the SCG qualifiers, or other similar events.

Check out the Historic meta analysis here!

MPL and Rivals League players are playing for positioning in their respective leagues to remain at the highest levels of competitive play, and the Challengers (everyone else) are looking to qualify for the Challenger Gauntlet, where they can compete for a spot in the Rivals League and the MPL. Oh, and there’s also $250,000 in prizes, which is nothing to scoff at. Check out our recap:

Tournament Format

  • Round 1-3: Historic
  • Round 4-7: Standard
  • Round 8-11: Historic
  • Round 12-15: Standard
  • Top 8: Historic

STANDARD MATCHUP DATA

There were 8 rounds of Standard played in the tournament, and with 184 competitors, gave us a total of 917 matches to analyze.

Record (Win-Loss)

Dimir Control (80)Dimir RoguesEsper DoomGruul AdventuresMono Green FoodTemur AdventuresTOTAL
Dimir Control (80)9-107-811-1115-92-753-54
Dimir Rogues10-98-729-2715-99-896-79
Esper Doom8-77-815-169-95-461-52
Gruul Adventures11-1127-2916-1514-2522-9132-130
Mono Green Food9-159-159-925-145-1374-83
Temur Adventures7-28-94-59-2213-551-52

Win Rate (%)

Dimir Control (80)Dimir RoguesEsper DoomGruul AdventuresMono Green FoodTemur AdventuresTOTAL
Dimir Control (80)47.37%46.67%50.00%62.50%22.22%49.53%
Dimir Rogues52.63%53.33%51.79%62.50%52.94%54.86%
Esper Doom53.33%46.67%48.39%50.00%55.56%53.98%
Gruul Adventures50.00%48.21%51.61%35.90%70.97%50.38%
Mono Green Food37.50%37.50%50.00%64.10%27.78%47.13%
Temur Adventures77.78%47.06%44.44%29.03%72.22%49.51%

Dimir Control (53-54, 49.5%)

Brad Barclay UB Yorion 

Companion
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Planeswalkers
2
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
4
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Creatures
3
Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths
Spells
4
Jwari Disruption
2
Bloodchief's Thirst
2
Cling to Dust
1
Eliminate
2
Essence Scatter
4
Heartless Act
2
Negate
4
Neutralize
4
Extinction Event
Artifacts
4
Mazemind Tome
4
Solemn Simulacrum
Enchantments
4
Omen of the Sea
3
Elspeth's Nightmare
Lands
4
Clearwater Pathway
4
Crawling Barrens
4
Fabled Passage
7
Island
6
Swamp
4
Temple of Deceit
2
Zagoth Triome
Cards (80)
Sideboard (15)
1
Erebos's Intervention
1
Essence Scatter
1
Negate
1
Elspeth's Nightmare
3
Mystical Dispute
3
Shadows' Verdict
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
4
Shark Typhoon

Dimir Control didn’t have a fantastic weekend in the Zendikar Rising Championship, but it’s still a deck to talk about. The deck showed that it had game against some of the top decks, beating Food 15-9 and having roughly even matchups against the rest of the field outside of Temur Adventures (2-7). Furthermore, the deck was piloted by Champion Brad Barclay! The deck is still in its infancy and has plenty of room to improve, so control players should be delighted to pick this list up, tune it, and learn it. Furthermore, with Temur’s poor weekend, Dimir could potentially pick up some steam again with one of its harder matchups on the decline. You can read the deck guide that put this deck on the map here!

Dimir Rogues (96-79, 54.9%)

Martin Juza Rogues 

Companion
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Creatures
3
Merfolk Windrobber
4
Ruin Crab
4
Thieves' Guild Enforcer
4
Soaring Thought-Thief
Spells
3
Agadeem's Awakening
2
Bloodchief's Thirst
4
Drown in the Loch
1
Essence Scatter
2
Heartless Act
1
Didn't Say Please
3
Lullmage's Domination
3
Of One Mind
4
Into the Story
Lands
4
Clearwater Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
5
Island
3
Swamp
4
Temple of Deceit
2
Zagoth Triome
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Bloodchief's Thirst
2
Cling to Dust
3
Negate
4
Skyclave Shade
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
3
Mystical Dispute

“Dimir Rogues does not have a bad matchup”- Martin Juza. What Juza found in testing has been confirmed by the data. Rogues had a positive win percentage against every deck in the field and an extremely good matchup against Mono Green Food (15-9, 63%). Although this comes from a small sample size, it does spark some intrigue on what happened with Rogues in other tournaments. In last weekend’s SCG event, Rogues had an abysmal matchup against Food (33%), but in the hands of the best players, the matchup completely flipped. If you are playing Rogues at home and struggling against Food, you can study the play of people who took Rogues to the Championships to improve your gameplay. You can read the deck guide here!

Esper Doom (61-52, 54%)

Andrea Mengucci Esper Doom 

Companion
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Creatures
4
Skyclave Apparition
3
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Spells
4
Emeria's Call
2
Dance of the Manse
2
Eliminate
3
Heartless Act
2
Negate
4
Extinction Event
Artifacts
3
Golden Egg
Enchantments
4
Omen of the Sea
4
Elspeth's Nightmare
2
Omen of the Sun
3
Treacherous Blessing
4
Doom Foretold
4
Elspeth Conquers Death
Lands
4
Brightclimb Pathway
4
Clearwater Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
4
Island
4
Plains
1
Raugrin Triome
3
Swamp
2
Temple of Deceit
4
Temple of Enlightenment
2
Temple of Silence
Cards (80)
Sideboard (15)
2
Cling to Dust
1
Heartless Act
2
Heliod's Intervention
2
Negate
4
Mystical Dispute
3
Archon of Sun's Grace
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad

While Esper Doom looks like it had a strong performance this weekend against the popular decks in the format, it was only up or down 1 match in every matchup. For an established archetype, this isn’t where you want to be. People are still preparing for this deck, and being strong against non-meta decks doesn’t matter when you can’t reliably beat the other strongest archetypes. Esper’s strong win rate may have been a function more of the caliber of the pilots rather than a testament to the deck’s strength. You can read the deck guide here!

Gruul Adventures (132-130, 50.4%)

Autumn Burchett Gruul Adventures 

Creatures
4
Kazandu Mammoth
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Brushfire Elemental
3
Embereth Shieldbreaker
2
Scavenging Ooze
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Lovestruck Beast
3
Questing Beast
Spells
4
Shatterskull Smashing
1
Primal Might
Artifacts
4
Embercleave
2
The Great Henge
Enchantments
1
The Akroan War
Lands
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
8
Forest
4
Mountain
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Fire Prophecy
2
Wilt
2
Phoenix of Ash
2
Soul Sear
1
Garruk, Unleashed
2
The Akroan War
2
Ox of Agonas
2
Vivien, Monsters' Advocate

Gruul Adventures, despite having a 50% win percentage, had a really good weekend. It put multiple players into the Top 8, including Autumn Burchett, arguably one of the best active players, if not of all time. The deck didn’t have a bad matchup outside of Food and performed really well against Temur Adventures. The deck is still the premier aggro deck in the format, and that likely won’t change. With Food’s poor performance in the highest echelons of play, I would expect it to go down in popularity, which is really good news for Gruul. You can read the deck guide here!

Mono Green Food (74-83, 47.1%)

Tomas "Daninja" Pokorny Monogreen Food 

Creatures
4
Kazandu Mammoth
4
Tangled Florahedron
4
Gilded Goose
2
Ilysian Caryatid
4
Lovestruck Beast
4
Wicked Wolf
4
Feasting Troll King
2
Kogla, the Titan Ape
Artifacts
2
Witch's Oven
4
The Great Henge
Enchantments
3
Trail of Crumbs
Lands
2
Bonders' Enclave
4
Castle Garenbrig
2
Crawling Barrens
15
Forest
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Chainweb Aracnir
1
Witch's Oven
2
Ram Through
2
Scavenging Ooze
2
Sorcerous Spyglass
3
Wilt
1
Garruk, Unleashed
2
Vivien, Monsters' Advocate

Food was around for Thanksgiving, and it looks like there are still some leftovers. Despite its low win percentage, the deck put 3 players into the Top 8, with Gabriel Nassif going undefeated with his list. Some players, like Martin Juza, are pointing to the low win percentage as a reason to move away from the deck. Juza tweeted “Monogreen Food is super overhyped and only beats Gruul.” Others like Tomas “Daninja” Pokorny, the 4th place finisher at the event, want to stick with the archetype and adapt it, saying “I still like MonoG Food, it’s a very good deck, but it also depends on what meta you are expecting. Gruul was the most played deck in the PT, which was a great place to be with Food, it’s not so great if there’s a lot of Temur or Rogues, though you can still win those matchups if you build your deck with them in mind.”. Moving forward, I would be cautious with picking this as your deck, but if you expect a lot of Gruul, I would snap this up. If you expect the other archetypes to rise in popularity, it’s not the worst option as you still have some play against them, but if you aren’t confident in your play with Food I would move somewhere else.

Moving forward, I would be cautious with picking this as your deck, but if you expect a lot of Gruul, I would snap this up. If you expect the other archetypes to rise in popularity, it’s not the worst option as you still have some play against them, but if you aren’t confident in your play with Food I would move somewhere else. However, if you’re still a fan of this strategy, you can read the deck guide here!

Temur Adventures (51-52, 49.5%)

Corey Burkhart Temur Adventures 

Companion
1
Obosh, the Preypiercer
Creatures
2
Kazandu Mammoth
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Brazen Borrower
4
Lovestruck Beast
4
Terror of the Peaks
4
Beanstalk Giant
Spells
4
Cultivate
4
Genesis Ultimatum
Artifacts
2
The Great Henge
Lands
4
Cragcrown Pathway
2
Fabled Passage
4
Forest
3
Island
4
Ketria Triome
3
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
Cards (60)
Sideboard (14)
3
Scorching Dragonfire
4
Mystical Dispute
3
The Akroan War
2
Ox of Agonas
2
Vivien, Monsters' Advocate

Temur Adventures didn’t have a great weekend and its good matchup looks to be on the decline. In order for Temur Adventures to succeed, it needs a meta dominated by Food (13-5, 72%) and Dimir (7-2, 77%) to thrive, and with both of those decks having underwhelming performances this weekend, I wouldn’t expect this deck to be a good choice moving forward. There is no doubt that this deck can do powerful things, but it looks to be relegated to tier 2 meta reliance. If you want to learn more about the deck, you can read the deck guide here!

STANDARD CONCLUSION

The meta is still in flux and Rogues seems to be on the rise. With several different builds, the archetype still has room to improve, which is fantastic news for a deck that already had a great performance this past weekend. Standard looks to be in a very healthy place right now, and that’s something I’m super excited for. Hopefully we can see more in the coming weeks!

Terence

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