Constructed Archetypes After Day One

Posted in NEWS on October 11, 2013

By Marc Calderaro

One downside with split-format Pro Tours, though it is an amazing skill tester, is that it tends to skew Constructed archetype representation. A deck may appear to be doing well, when it is actually just doing passably and its pilots are completely rocking the draft pods. So, rather than just highlight the Constructed archetypes appearing in Day Two at all, it might be more helpful to see which decks are performing well against the field, regardless of the limited portion of the event.

Below is a table of all the archetypes that finished with a 5-0 or 4-1 record in the first five Constructed rounds (and one 3-0-2 for good measure). It is compared against the total amount of people playing the archetype. Though this method also has its flaws (for example, if you started 0-3 in draft, you will not face as-stiff competition in the Constructed rounds), it provides a stronger picture of the Constructed field. And the data is quite illuminating.

Archetype Decks 5-0 or 4-1 after Day 1 Total Number in Day 1 % of Total Played % of Top Constructed decks
Mono-Blue Devotion 17 37 45.95% 22.67%
Gruul Midrange 10 37 27.03% 13.33%
Selesnya Aggro 6 43 13.95% 8.00%
Esper 5 46 10.87% 6.67%
Rakdos Control 4 17 23.53% 5.33%
ChannelFireball Red 4 15 26.67% 5.33%
Mono-Red Devotion 3 32 9.38% 4.00%
Naya Midrange 3 30 10.00% 4.00%
Azorius Control 3 17 17.65% 4.00%
Naya Aggro 2 18 11.11% 2.67%
Golgari Aggro 2 7 28.57% 2.67%
Mono-Red Aggro 2 4 50.00% 2.67%
Boros Midrange 2 3 66.67% 2.67%
BWR Midrange 1 15 6.67% 1.33%
Orzhov Midrange 1 9 11.11% 1.33%
BWR Control 1 8 12.50% 1.33%
Dark Skies 1 7 14.29% 1.33%
Rakdos Aggro 1 5 20.00% 1.33%
Azorius Master 1 4 25.00% 1.33%
Mono-Black Devotion 1 3 33.33% 1.33%
Gruul Aggro 1 3 33.33% 1.33%
Orzhov Aggro 1 3 33.33% 1.33%
Dimir Control 1 2 50.00% 1.33%
Selesnya Auras 1 1 100.00% 1.33%
RWU Master 1 1 100.00% 1.33%


So, first and glaringly obvious: Mono-Blue Devotion is much better against the field than Red Devotion. The decks had about the same number of players, and Mono-Blue Devotion vaulted seventeen players to the top, while Red only three. If you are going for the most traditionally aggressive varieties of devotion, go with Mono-Blue. But then again, there is a 5-0 Mono-Black Devotion player Kentaro Yamamoto as well.

Another devotion and quasi-devotion strategy that has proven itself is Colossal Gruul. The deck that takes the new Stormbreath Dragon and Polukranos, World Eater to soaring monstrous heights is also putting up good percentages. More than quarter of the people who played it were at least 4-1. Right now this archetype includes Makihito Mihara's astounding deck, that looks like a mostly-green deck with the red-green planeswalkers and a bunch of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. This is not really a "midrange" deck at all, though it contains the shell of one. It functions more like a combo deck, using Voyaging Satyr to untap Nykthos and create absurd amounts of mana as early as turn four. Mihara's deck has about as much red as ChannelFireball Red has of green.

ChannelFireball Red has also put more than quarter of its players up to the top, but looking at the caliber of the players there, those percentages start to look much worse. Brian Kibler talked about the deck saying that it was the best devotion deck against Supreme Verdict, but no one decided to play Supreme Verdict. So though this deck will likely be a player once Wrath of God cards start being played again, it looks like it might not have been the best choice for this tournament.

Speaking of Supreme Verdict Esper seemed one of the biggest surprises today. Only 11% of its players finished well in Constructed, which is slightly worse than Selesnya Aggro at 14%. Even with the board-sweepers main deck, Esper might have to re-tune to beat this new aggressive, combo-hybrid meta.

Of the decks with smaller representation, it looks like Rakdos Control (often referred to as "Demons & Dragons" or "D&D"), put 4 of its 17 players near the top. And both Lukas Jaklovsky and Ivan Floch were undefeated, making it the only archetype other than Mono-Blue Devotion to have two undefeated players after the first day. Additionally, there were only four traditional Mono-Red Aggro players, and two of them went at least 4-1. If you want to play Mono-Red, perhaps the devotion angle, featuring Fanatic of Mogis, isn't the way to go.

We are about halfway into the rounds today, and to Top 8 will surely dictate the movement of the post-Pro Tour metagame, as it always does. But don't forget that you can't make the Top 8 of a Pro Tour without being a great Limited player. However, this data allows more leeway for people who specialize in Constructed.