Feature: Standard Metagame Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on July 27, 2007

By Bill Stark

Without a doubt the French Nationals tournament has had an impact both on Australian Nationals and the U.S. Nationals. The technology of Aethermage's Touch + any creature with a comes into play ability + Momentary Blink has made its way stateside and is the most popular deck at the tournament (albeit in the blue-red-white form instead of the more traditional white-blue-black). Close behind, however, is the aggressive Rakdos, though players of the "burn 'em!" variety may find themselves hard pressed to win against some of the Blink deck's sideboard tech Aven Riftwatcher.

Deck ArchetypeNumber
URW Blink28
Solar Flare14
Project X10
WUG Blink12
WUB Blink7
BG Rack7
Korlash Control5
Wish Control (BGW)4
Martyr “tron”4
UG Pickles4
5-color Blink3
BGW Martyr1
UGW Martyr1
UG Beats1

Tenth Edition has had a significant impact on the landscape of Standard, with numerous old archetypes all but disappearing while new ones have come into existence to take their place. The ubiquitous red cards Mogg Fanatic and Incinerate are perhaps the most impactful cards to come out of the set so far, seeing play in numerous Rakdos, Gruul, and red-green-black decks. The return of Seismic Assault and its interaction with Life From the Loam has been ported from Extended to Standard with seven players running lists bent on abusing the combo and other players squeezing it into Wish Control lists.

Perhaps the most interesting impact Tenth has had on the format is not from what cards it has returned to Standard but from those it has taken away. Not a single player was willing to bring Dragonstorm this weekend, and only three decided to play a Storm deck altogether. Additionally, blue-black Teferi/Dralnu control, popular when Ninth Edition was legal, has seen its numbers drastically reduced now that cards like Rewind and Persecute have left the environment.

There are a few surprises lurking around as well. In his article two weeks ago, Frank Karsten highlighted a black-white deck which had been seeing some play online. Two decks similar in nature showed their faces this weekend, demonstrating the deck is as popular in real life as it is on MTGO. Time will tell if it can be as successful.

Some may be surprised to see a relatively high amount of Project X and Dredge lists. The latter, deemed "dead" by many due to the printing of Mogg Fanatic and the ease of hate which players can utilize to hose the graveyard, still had seven champions, a high amount considering the number of Rakdos and Gruul decks running around. Project X had a shocking ten proponents, a number rarely seen online due to the fact few players can manage the clock efficiently enough to have the time to win with the deck.

The final surprise of the weekend are the players playing Martyr "tron." The Urzatron, former namesake of the deck, have rotated out and players are left paying full price for the reanimation effects on Martyr of Sands. Still, a few brave souls gave it a shot with varied opinions on the best way in which to build the deck. Some are abusing Crucible of Worlds, some are using Rite of Flourishing, and still others are content to pay six mana for the effect in a field teeming with aggro decks.

Which players will be rewarded for their efforts? Whose technology will prove to put them over the top? You'll have to keep tuning in to find out!

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