Metagame Breakdown: The Dawn of Modern

Posted in Event Coverage on September 2, 2011

By Rashad Miller

Splinter Twin7016.79%
Pyromancer Ascension276.47%
Infect Combo204.80%
Hive Mind122.88%
Death Cloud71.68%
Living End61.44%
Birthing Pod40.96%
Barely Boros30.72%
Ad Nauseam20.48%
Goryo's Vengeance20.48%
Mythic Conscription20.48%
Next-Level Blue20.48%
Four-color Aether Vial10.24%
Cruel Control10.24%
Esper Aggro10.24%
Hate Bears10.24%
Land Destruction10.24%
Mono-white Control10.24%
Open the Vaults10.24%
Restore Balance10.24%
Through the Breach10.24%

Four hundred seventeen players were in a Philadelphia. They were ready to play Magic. They were here to play Modern Constructed. This would be the first time this format had been taken on by the pros at a professional level event. Here is the breakdown of the archetypes played in the Modern Constructed portion of PT Philadelphia.

12-Post topped the list with 82 players. Most players expected to see a great deal of Cloudpost, Vesuva and Glimmerpost fueled Primeval Titans and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Green-red was the most popular color combination for this deck with some players adding Through the Breach for the chance of a turn-three "annihilation."

The second most popular choice on the day was Splinter Twin with 70 players. This two-card combination had made its name in Standard decks by combining Splinter Twin with Deceiver Exarch. In the past, decks had used the similar one-two punch of Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Pestermite to achieve the same goal. In this Modern format the Splinter Twin decks had access to both duos, adding to consistency.

Third on our list sat Zoo. With Modern came an opportunity to play the Ravnica dual lands. These lands had always been vital to the success of Wild Nacatl and his gang. The most efficient creatures available paired with the most efficient removal was enough to convince 65 players to give Tarmogoyf and Lightning Helix another go-around. Gaddock Teeg proved very important in putting up resistance versus the many combo decks in the room.

Fourth and fifth were Affinity and Pyromancer Ascension, with 32 and 27 players respectively. Even with five of the six artifact lands being banned, Affinity decks still managed to find a way to build a manabase that allowed the same explosive starts we were accustomed to see in the past. Pyromancer Ascension gained some new inexpensive spells with the new Phyrexian mana spells from New Phyrexia. A full complement of Gitaxian Probes made it into most list while some even added Noxious Revival.

These were only the top 5 archetypes here in Philadelphia. Two decks accounted for slightly under 5% of the field, including Infect Combo and Storm decks. Two more decks—Elves and Hive Mind—came in at around 3%. Then we get to the 31 archetypes making up the 77 rogue lists, which we counted as anything played by less than 10 people. This was quite the diverse field here on Day One. Will this diversity carry on through Saturday? Or will one deck rule them all? Find out in Saturday's coverage.

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