Extended Metagame Breakdown and Rogue Decks

Posted in Event Coverage on October 14, 2007

By Bill Stark

With the largest Constructed Pro Tour of all time on our hands and Dredge rumored to be the deck to beat coming into the weekend, more than a few people were surprised to see the diversity within what players actually chose to run. If Pro Tour–Valencia has been anything, it has been creative. From figuring out what to do with the event during a weather disaster to handling an LCQ not able to reach its climax, everyone here has been forced to use their thinking caps in one way or another. The players, of course, are no different and the archetypes represented during the three rounds of Swiss on Sunday are numerous. Nearly thirty different deck types are represented amongst the Day Two competitors, with Gifts Rock, Goblins, and Enduring Ideal the overall favorites. Overall, we pegged the archetype count approaching 40 when you take into consideration decks that didn’t make Day Two.

(Note: This count shows only 418 out of the 424 decks. Chalk up the missing decklists to the end of a very hectic weekend.)

Deck TypeOverallDay OneDay TwoDay Two %
Ideal Ideal3830821.1%
RDW (with black and green splashes)2723414.8%
Scepter Chant222029.1%
Gifts Rock2011945.0%
Aggro Rock/Flow201915.0%
Counterbalance Goyf138538.5%
Cephalid Breakfast118327.3%
Aggro Loam98111.1%
Blue-green Tron74342.9%
Tings Ideal (Balanduring)5500.0%
Blue-white Tron53240.0%
Tooth Rock202100.0%
Green-white Aggro2200.0%
Blue-black Tog21150.0%
Monoblue Control1100.0%
Elf Opposition1100.0%
Monoblack Control1100.0%
Staff of Domination combo1100.0%
Draco Explosion (Dragon Quest)1100.0%
Blue-Green Goyf Tog101100.0%

Dredge was one of the more popular choices on the weekend with a full 34 players running it without making Day 2. Affinity was also a very popular choice clocking in with 35 players, which may explain while the dealers at the venue were completely sold out of Hurkyl's Recalls by Saturday night. Scepter Chant saw a surprising 20 entrants with the combo deck, but its turnover to Day Two was not very high and its 20 supporters may be surprising only because it is often underrepresented on Magic Online due to the high prices of some older cards from Invasion Block which are used in the deck.

There were a few surprises nestled within the numbers as well. A few brave souls opted to give their pet decks a try. Giles Reid ran a deck similar to the Blue-green Opposition lists that sprang up during last Extended season's PTQs. This time he added an extra element to the arsenal: Intruder Alarm and Sprout Swarm. The combo allows the deck to make "infinite" tokens once it has reached five creatures in play (provided at least one of them is green). He credited Stuart Wright with the deck's design.

Giles Reid

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Another crew running an innovative list, oddly reminiscent of their U.S. Nationals Standard Deck, were Ben Rubin, Gerard Fabiano, and Antonino De Rosa. Ben's version of the deck looked like this:

Ben Rubin

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While the American trio was busy innovating with an entirely new deck, other players focused on innovating pre-existing archetypes. One such pioneer was Bastien Loddo who managed to find the room to squeeze an Opposition engine into his Goblins list.

Bastien Loddo

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Finally, we'd like to present one of the more interesting rogue strategies from Pro Tour-Valencia. Samuel Korsell chose to play a BG deck capable of producing infinite mana. How was he able to do so? Through a combination of Cabal Coffers, Staff of Domination, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, and Natural Affinity. By playing Natural Affinity Korsell could turn his Coffers into a creature. That in turn made it a legitimate untap target for the Staff of Domination, and the Coffers, powered up by all of Korsell's lands being Swamps thanks to Urborg, could then tap to make enough mana to untap both itself and the Staff of Domination. The end result? Death for the opponent!

Samuel Korsell

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While the nature of these decks (all ended play on Day One, failing to advance) leaves their continued viability in question, one thing is certain: their designers were certainly thinking outside the box. Considering Pro Tour-Valencia as a whole, that seems pretty much par for the course.

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