Feature: Day Two Archetype Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on October 29, 2005

By Noah Weil

19 Affinity
12 No Stick
11 PT Jank
8 The Rock
7 Goblins
6 Balancing Tings
6 Dredgeatog
4 Red Deck Wins
3 Dutch Gifts
3 Bobffinity
3 Golgari Madness
3 Zoo Too
3 G/R Beats
3 Psychatog
2 Heartbeat Combo
2 Domain
2 Mirari’s Wake
2 PT Junk
2 Red Rock
2 Tooth And Nail
1 Broodstar Affinity
1 Crazy Pedro
1 Dump Truck
1 Erayo-Bobfinity
1 Elemental Bidding
1 Gifts Domain
1 Gifts Rock
1 Giftsatog
1 Madness Tog
1 Mind’s Desire
1 R/G Beats
1 Reanimator
1 U/G Madness
1 White Rock

To the right is the list of every archetype that netted 15 points or more and made the cut to Day Two (118 players).

As expected, Affinity -- the most commonly played Day One deck -- had the most players in Day Two. While there was some variation of lists, the most common decision being Bob or no, all the Affinity lists shared the potential of blistering fast wins. However, the Affinity deck was not the day's most successful archetype. Due to a prevalence of severe sideboard hate, maindeck hate, and mirror matches, Affinity produced only a 40 percent Day Two rate. A respectable showing, but definitely not the most successful of the big archetypes.

Isochron Scepter

No Stick, or Scepter Chant, placed 12 players in Day Two out of the 18 total that ran the deck. The 67 percent success rate is quite impressive, especially when one considers it was just as expected as Affinity, and people really like have Pithing Needles nearby.

Why was this deck so successful? It turns out that Isochron Scepter is one of the less important cards to the deck. Scepter-Chant plays like a blue-white control deck that happens to run a combo kill. While there aren't too many combo decks in the field, Elemental Bidding or Heartbeat Desire decks certainly do not like seeing any counterspells, much less the 7+ No Stick runs.

The aggro decks, like Affinity or Goblins, care less about the counters. Instead, they're the ones fearing the Alpha staple Wrath of God. Mass creature kill is surprisingly useful in this modern Extended. Most creature-based decks are not built with a late game in mind. Clearing away the initial rush gives the No Stick player plenty of time to set up a Scepter + Chant or Scepter + Lightning Helix situation and mop up. These control elements coupled with the ability to get out the turn-one lock, a transformational sideboard, and (occasionally) the capacity to just burn out the opponent made No Stick a flexible and strong choice for this Pro Tour.

The other prominently successful archetype of Day One is PT Jank. Red-white aggro with 3 Kataki, War's Wages main was the perfect foil to both slower decks and Affinity. Another deck with the ability to end the game in a flurry of burn spells, this deck is all about Bears, Burn, and eight maindeck Land Destruction -- four of which double as killing Jittes or Myr Enforcers. This is one of the most consistent decks being played right now, and coming into the event, seemed very under the radar. With an auto-win against the most populous deck and the chance to again burn the opponent out of the game, Jank should end the day on a very strong note.

One archetype that deserves special mention is the red-green beats deck, which has an astounding 100 percent Day Two inclusion rate out of its three players. Once again, it was helped by a very strong game against the most popular deck and the ability to burn the opponent down to zero.

Finally, a special mention goes out to the Goblin deck, which by far had the worst showing of a major archetype. Seven players made Day Two out of 37 total, giving it a 19 percent success ratio. Not the best choice for this Pro Tour LA.

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