Pro Tour–Berlin Feature: Day 2 Archetype Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on November 1, 2008

By Bill Stark

When the tally of the Pro Tour–Berlin field came in on Friday, the results were both expected and surprising. Zoo, the much heralded archetype that picked up platinum hits from Shards of Alara like Akrasan Squire, Wild Nacatl, and Ranger of Eos, was one of the most played archetypes in the history of the Pro Tour. Nearly a third of the field decided to run the aggressive strategy, with 126 players seeking Top 8 fame and glory on the backs of efficient creatures and burn spells.

While those results were predicted by many headed into the weekend, by far the biggest surprise hit has been the Elves! deck, a return of the Elfball strategy that seeks to utilize massive mana generation from efficiently costed mana Elves in order to combo players out by some means or another. So far this weekend the coverage staff has seen kills ranging from Chord of Calling for a ginormous Predator Dragon, Grapeshot, Brainfreeze, and arbitrarily large Elves on the back of Mirror Entity. Elves! will clearly be a real contender come the Extended PTQ season.

But after eight rounds, how did the archetypes fare? We set Tim Willoughby to task on crunching the numbers for Day Two, and here's what he came up with.

Next Level Blue159.4%
Death Cloud Rock116.9%
All-In Red63.8%
Tezzeret Control31.9%
Bant Aggro21.3%
Swans Combo21.3%
Hulk Combo10.6%
Life from the Loam Rock10.6%
Bant Control10.6%
Martyr Proclamation10.6%
Second Breakfast10.6%
White-Blue Tron10.6%
Black-Green Rock10.6%
Mono-Blue Control10.6%
Blue-Black Tron10.6%

So who were the big winners and losers? Elves! and Zoo are still the top two decks proportionally, but their positions as first and second are inverted from Friday. That means the tiny forest dwellers had a higher percentage rate of putting people into Day 2 compared to Zoo. Outside of the top two spots is where things get really interesting.

In third place are 15 variants of Next Level Blue, a deck many predicted would be dead after the banning of Sensei's Divining Top. Still, pros love their control decks, and a number of them came packing some form of counters, Tarmogoyf, and Vedalken Shackles. Of the 32 players who played the deck Friday, enough to make the deck the fourth most common archetype, nearly half of them cleared the cut to play on Saturday. With a few high final finishes, the new incarnations will no doubt firmly plant Next Level Blue as a real contender in the new Extended format.

Death Cloud

Faeries moved up two spots from Friday to comfortably sit at the fourth most common archetype present today. Some big names are championing the flying hordes, with Pro Tour–Philadelphia winner Gadiel Szleifer seen running Bitterblossoms and Ancestral Vision repeatedly in the feature match area. The 11 players running the deck today represent 44% of the total number who played the deck on the weekend, brave souls who have successfully ported the Standard deck into the wild wild west of Extended.

Rounding out the top five are 11 brave souls running Death Cloud Rock, a version of the popular black-green strategy from many years past that gets added mileage out of the powerful sorcery from Darksteel. On Friday the final deck in the top five most common archetypes was a Rockish deck in the form of Junk, the historically black-green-white creation that now plays hits like Loxodon Hierarch and Doran, the Siege Tower but is considerably more aggressive than the generally controlling strategy of traditional Rock. That deck suffered a pretty poor transition rate of players qualifying for Saturday play, and the Death Cloud crowd was all too happy to make up the difference.

Of course, that's just the top five. The weekend is still young, and we've got a lot of exciting developments left yet to cover. Will the Swedish Tezzerator control featuring Tezzeret the Seeker play spoiler on the weekend and reveal itself to be an epic new archetype to add to the Extended testing gauntlet? Will the Austrian Dredge creation bring that dreaded mechanic roaring back to the front and center of the Extended format? Whatever happens, you can count on your coverage team to bring you all the updates right here on!

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