Pro Tour Chicago Day 1 Field

Posted in Event Coverage

By Wizards of the Coast

by Sideboard Staff

Decktype# Played% of Field
Old School U/W Control610.19
Blue Skies120.04
Mono-Blue Control40.01
Sped Red/Ponza40.01
Ankh Tide30.01
Rising Waters30.01
B/U Beatdown20.01
G/U Control10.00
Mono-White Control10.00
Green/White Control10.00
Blue/Red Control10.00

More Detail:

  • "Rebels" includes
    • Blue/White 37
    • Mono-White 23
    • White/Green 18
    • White/Black 5

    The versions that splashed blue went for permission spells. Most included just Power Sink, but some went for Counterspell and Absorb. The decks that went for green used Wax/Wane and sometimes Noble Panther. Black was usually for Tsabo's Decree for the mirror match. Lots of the rebel decks included main deck Rebel Informer (the decks labeled "white/black" all included more black cards than just the Informer).

  • "Fires" includes
    • Red/Green/White 42
    • Red/Green 30
    • Red/Green/Black 3

    The versions with white were adding that third color so they could have enchantment removal - Wax/Wane and/or Aura Mutation. Many also included Rith, the Awakener. Other Fires decks preferred the Two-Headed Dragon. The mere fact that there was a debate over which Dragon to play tells you a lot about how far the Standard metagame has come since the darkness that was Combo Winter.

  • "Blue/White Control" includes 9 decks that had Nether Spirits in them just to discard, but no other black spells.
  • "Nether Go" includes all blue/black control decks, not all of which ran Nether Spirits.
  • "Ernha-Geddon" includes all green/white creature decks that weren't Rebel decks. They were a varied lot and probably don't all deserve this label

All in all, the field seemed remarkably diverse. Three main archetypes composed a little over two thirds of the field - Rebels, Fires, and U/W Control - but each of those three archetypes includes a whole family of variations. Ernha-Geddon and Nether-Go showed up at about 10% of the field each while two other archetypes - Blue Skies and assorted Black/Red - clocked in often enough to show up on the radar. A lot of deck building decisions seemed to revolve around enchantment removal. Everyone wanted to make sure they could stop Saproling Burst from bashing him or her in the head and Wax/Wane was the most popular way to stop it. This Invasion split card is both a mini-Giant Growth and an enchantment removal spell. Green decks were adding in a splash of white and white decks were adding in a splash of green so each could take full advantage of it.

I don't think a lot of competitors expected a field where Rebels was the most popular deck. After States, the consensus seemed to be that the red/green beatdown deck centered around Fires of Yavimaya was the best deck. However, many people felt they could beat it with blue/white control and on Thursday, blue/white control was everywhere. It seemed like half the field was planning to play it and Absorbs were selling for $20 each, if you could find them at all. Thursday night, a bunch of competitors audibled into Rebels, especially blue/white Rebels, because they felt that would be good in a field full of blue/white control. The only problem is that blue/white Rebels probably isn't the best version for Rebel on Rebel mirror matches.

There weren't any huge surprises about the makeup of the field. Everyone I talked to on Thursday thought the big three were blue/white control, Fires, and Rebels. They differed on the order and the amount of variation they expected inside those families, but those were indeed the big three decks. In remains to be seen whether any of the less popular "rogue" decks are actually good. The Ankh-Tide deck that Bob Maher and Dave Williams are running is certainly worth keeping an eye on. It'll also be very interesting to see which decks actually advance to Day 2 and, ultimately, the Top 8.

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