Standard Metagame Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on August 7, 2003

By Josh Bennett

We here at Sideboard Online like to keep you, the reader, as close to the action as possible. To further that end we've had a team of scientists working overnight to bring you as accurate a picture of the Day 1 metagame as is humanly possible. The face of Standard has changed once again, this time thanks to the introduction of Eighth Edition. The decks played this weekend will be the standard by which the new format shapes itself. Be prepared.

Wake – 79

Mirari's Wake
Edging out Blue-Green for the number one spot is the cheatingest deck around, Mirari's Wake. It's commonly said about it that when you're playing it, it's like you're playing a different format than your opponent. Championed by both the Dutch and German brain trusts, Wake was not the well-kept secret they thought it was. As the players set out to their first round it looked like everyone and his qualified brother was sacrificing Krosan Verge. Nowadays the Exalted Angels are in the board, and Decree of Justice has moved up to center stage. Also, Mana Leak is a better fit for the deck than Counterspell because of its wonky mana base. Expect to see more mirrors in the Top 8.

Blue-Green – 73

The number two deck is also the favorite of players who did little preparation. With few losses thanks to Eighth Edition, the deck plays virtually the same as it always has, clumsy mana draws and all. There's no homogeneity of design, though. Decks run the gamut from textbook madness to French Threshold. Many of the players you'd expect to run with the Mongrel are doing so this weekend, including Antonino De Rosa, Jeff Cunningham, Cole Swannack and Raphael Levy. Though Blue-Green was thought to be a foil for the Wake decks that turned out in abundance, that might not be as true as the players hoped.

Goblin Bidding – 32

The Japanese design that took top honors at Grand Prix – Bangkok served as the template for this new post-Eighth Incarnation. Originally declared dead thanks to the loss of Goblin Matron and Sulfurous Springs, the deck proved too good to pass up. With Skirk Prospector, Siege-Gang Commander and Goblin Sharpshooter, Patriarch's Bidding reads "Game Over". This is doubly true with Goblin Warchief. Packing all the beatdown of Goblins along with a spectacular finish, it's no wonder this deck has replaced Red-Green as the beatdown of choice.

Red-Green – 28

Phantom Centaur
Good old rock, nothing beats that. The loss of Llanowar Elves meant little to this oft-played powerhouse. Still sporting the same powerful line-up topped by Phantom Centaur, and still running those same Elephant Guides, Red-Green showed up in deceptively large numbers. To hear reports from players, almost no-one was playing it. Still, in a shifting format it's always comforting to go with what works, and Red-Green definitely has the history to support that. It lost Compost, but thankfully black cards seem to have fallen out of favor.

Reanimator – 22

Not much has changed with this little package since it's inception on Magic Online and subsequent debut at the Chicago Masters grinder. The ability to bring out some of the game's best creatures with haste on turn four is not something to be denied. Burning Wish lends versatility to the sideboard as well as redundancy maindeck.

Slide – 15

Hoping for the Blue-Green half of the majority of the matchups, these players plan to take creature decks apart. Looking a lot like their Onslaught Block cousins, the addition of Burning Wish helps them keep pace with the rough and tumble world of Standard.

Goblins – 14

Standing in pure defiance of the Bidding archetype are these players who are with regular old mono-red goblins. Packing a suite of burn and the punch-through power of Clickslither, together with the Bidding decks they cement Goblins as a solid third in the metagame.

Tog – 8

This time, we really mean it: 'Tog is dead. The loss of Counterspell and Force Spike proved to be enough to send the format's premiere control deck to the bench. A brave few have tried to resuscitate it, with mixed results.

Zombies - 6

Dropping Duress and Corrupt hurt mono-black aggro a great deal, but the Legions of undead are a tough lot to keep down. Gabriel Nassif showed up with his unique take on the new face of the archetype.

White-Black Control – 5

Championed by Brian Kibler and doctored from Nassif's hyper-Decree deck, this deck packs a fistful of Wraths, point removal and hand disruption. The interaction between Cabal Therapy and Decree of Justice is tasty.

White-Green Control – 5

Nantuko Monastery
A bit of an enigma, these decks aim to stay alive as long as possible, then clear the board and win with Nantuko Monastery. Some of them only have forests for Verge and Monastery, but others draw on the power of Krosan Tusker and assorted other spells.

Clerics – 4

Centered on the awesome power of Master Apothecary and otherwise playing like a weenie deck, the majority of these were mono-white and packed Glorious Anthem. Poor Savannah Lions was not welcome at the party.

Mixed Bag – 20

The few, the proud, the under-represented. Among these decks you'll find Burning Bridge, White-Black Aggro, White-Green Madness, Beasts, Black-Green Cemetery, Mono-Black Control, Elves, Enchantress, Blue-White Control, and a few indescribables.

Latest Event Coverage Articles

December 4, 2021

Innistrad Championship Top 8 Decklists by, Adam Styborski

The Innistrad Championship has its Top 8 players! Congratulations to Christian Hauck, Toru Saito, Yuuki Ichikawa, Zachary Kiihne, Simon Görtzen, Yuta Takahashi, Riku Kumagai, and Yo Akaik...

Learn More

November 29, 2021

Historic at the Innistrad Championship by, Mani Davoudi

Throughout the last competitive season, we watched as Standard and Historic took the spotlight, being featured throughout the League Weekends and Championships. The formats evolved with e...

Learn More



Event Coverage Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All