Friday, 5 p.m.: Standard Metagame Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on August 19, 2011

By Dan Barrett

Based in London, UK, Dan is responsible Magic’s community across Europe. He loves cats, running, and attacking for 2.
Archetype Count %
Caw-Blade 41 22.28%
Valakut 28 15.22%
Mono Red 21 11.41%
Birthing Pod 21 11.41%
UB Control 20 10.87%
Tempered Steel 8 4.35%
Tezzeret 8 4.35%
UR Twin combo 6 3.26%
RB Vampires 6 3.26%
Mill 5 2.72%
UR Pyromancer Ascension 3 1.63%
Eldrazi Green 3 1.63%
Mono Black 3 1.63%
Other/Rogue 11 5.98%
Total 184

Coming into this event, Caw-Blade seemed the obvious "deck to beat" in Standard, and this is certainly reflected in it being the most played archetype here today, with 22% of players equipping various Swords to Squadron Hawks, and calling upon their Timely Reinforcements. The second most played deck is Valakut, the powerful Zendikar land attracting 15% of players, and then three different decks are seeing play by around 11% of players: Birthing Pod decks of various colour combinations (RUG No-Twin, RUG Twin, WUG, and others), the format's most popular aggressive deck, Mono Red, and UB control decks similar to that of US Nationals winner, Ali Aintrazi.

Previously popular decks seeing perhaps less play than expected include Tempered Steel, Splinter-Twin, and Vampires, each of which comprises under 5% of the metagame. The "Other/Rogue" includes a variety of fringe archetypes, including singleton appearances from Grand Architect, RB Vengeance, RB Destructive Force, GR Blade-breaker, UG Snakeblade, Mono-U Illusions, and Runeflare Trap. Popular deck designers named on decklists include Patrick Chapin, Michael Jacob, Ali Aintrazi, Conley Woods, and @smi77y, as well as at least ten Harry Potter references!

Looking at the first Standard portion, we see 11 players undefeated – but do the decks sitting 4-0 fall into line with the percentages mentioned above? Two Caw-Blade players feels about right, as does one each for Birthing Pod and UB Control decks. However, Valakut is perhaps under-represented with a single showing, and Mono-Red has the same number of undefeated as Caw-Blade, despite having half the number of players overall.

The real story is in the other four decks: Vampires, UG Mill, UG Snakeblade, and Eldrazi Green – despite having only a handful of players between them – have emerged unscathed from the first four rounds of Standard. Is a rogue revolution underway here at GB Nationals? Stay tuned the rest of this weekend to find out...

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