Feature: Standard Metagame Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on November 19, 2009

By Bill Stark

Archetype Count
Jund* 143
Boros Bushwhacker 62
Junk 38
Bant * 33
Eldrazi Green 31
Naya * 13
Dredge 11
4cControl * 11
Green-White Aggro 8
White-Blue-Red Control 8
Monored 6
White Weenie 6
Pyromancer Ascension 5
Vampires 4
Ranger Zoo 4
Esper Control 3
Grixis Control 3
White-Blue Aggro 3
Blue-White Control 3
Red-Green Valakut 3
Monowhite Control 3
White-Red Control 2
Turbo Fog 2
Owling Mine 1
RGB Accel 1
Time Sieve 1
Black-White-Red Aggro 1
Total 409
*Contains sub-archetypes, see table below

The talk of the town headed into the Standard portion of the 2009 World Championships was just how good Jund was. Many of the game's best, including Kai Budde, planned on playing the black-red-green giant, and the numbers bear that out. Over a third of the field chose to play one variation of the deck or another.

In second place for most-popular deck was they hyper aggressive aggro deck Boros Bushwhacker. Featuring the best landfall has to offer in Steppe Lynx and Plated Geopede, the deck uses its land drops to increase the size of its powerful creatures. It has a late game plan of Ranger of Eos to find Goblin Bushwhacker and another one-drop, or to simply burn out the opponent. With multiple ways of killing the opponent as early as the third turn, it's no wonder why so many players opted to run the strategy.

In third place is an old Extended favorite: Junk. The black-green-white deck generally features the best green and white has to offer backed by black's removal, most often in the form of Maelstrom Pulse. It has grown in popularity on Magic Online as a counter strategy to Jund, but it remains to be seen whether the players playing it can wade through the sea of decks in the field.

Rounding out the top five in fourth and fifth are Bant and Eldrazi Green. Featured amongst Bant's numbers are both aggressive strategies as well as more Wrath-reliant control strategies. Eldrazi Green is a relative newcomer to Standard, seeing more play after Kali Anderson used it to win a large tournament in Nashville, Tennessee. With Ant Queen, Garruk Wildspeaker, and a host of fun token generators, it's no surprise the deck struck a chord with players.

Of course, like any Pro Tour, Worlds is filled with rogues trying to make their mark. The Dredge deck, which has gained some popularity of late, uses Traumatize to fill its own graveyard with unearth creatures, then unearths all of them at once for a huge attack step fueled by Crypt of Agadeem. A contingent of American players, including Mark Herberholz and Patrick Chapin, opted to play a four-color control deck with powerful spells like Cruel Ultimatum. But will any of these innovative strategies be the story of the weekend? Or will Jund ruin everyone's day?

Sub-archetype Breakdown

Archetype Count
Jund 103
Siege-Gang Commander Jund 25
Junk Jund 7
Nighthawk Jund 7
Sedraxis Jund 1
Naya 6
Naya Harrow 4
Naya Control 2
Naya Excel 1
Bant 30
Bant Control 2
Trap Bant 1
4cControl 10
4cControl no blue 1

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