I’m going to cut to the chase. I know a lot of you out there are big into what decks are making a splash here at the Grand Prix, and I’m here to give you what you want. First up, we have a detailed breakdown of the 128 decks that survived to play on Day 2.
|Mostly Black Golgari Devotion||4|
|Mostly Red Boros Devotion||4|
|Mostly White Boros Aggro||4|
|Mostly White Orzhov Aggro||4|
|Mostly Red Gruul Devotion||2|
|Mostly Red Boros Burn||1|
|Mostly Blue Azorius Devotion||1|
|Mostly Blue Dimir Devotion||1|
|Mostly Green Simic Devotion||1|
|Mostly White Selesnya Aggro||1|
This breakdown includes individual tallies for all of the different variants seen in the field. Still, there might be a bit of confusion as to what makes something “Mostly Blue Dimir Devotion” instead of just “Monoblue Devotion.” These variations fall under the same general umbrella (Monoblue Devotion), but the splashes definitely make them distinct decks.
Beginning with the Monoblue Devotion variants, we have the Azorius and Dimir Devotion variants. These decks splash black and white respectively, dipping into those colors for some of the more powerful spells they offer. The Dimir version of the deck is touching blue for Thoughtseize and Heroic Downfall, while the Azorius version is going for Sphinx's Revelation and Supreme Verdict out of the sideboard.
Next up is the Monoblack Devotion variant touching green for Abrupt Decay and Golgari Charm out of the sideboard. These cards give the deck a bit more play against the mirror match, as well as serving an excellent role against the big threat Monoblue Devotion poses right now. Abrupt Decay is great at dealing with early creatures, such as Nightveil Specter and Pack Rat, while also being flexible enough to deal with cards like Underworld Connections. Golgari Charm has a small amount of utility as enchantment removal, but serves a major role in controlling the aggressive white decks in the field, effectively working as a Shrivel with upside.
Monogreen Devotion decks are among the most varied of all of the major umbrellas, extending to include the Colossal Gruul deck (it almost always keys off of green mana rather than red), as well as an interesting variant splashing blue for cards like Prophet of Kruphix, Prime Speaker Zegana, and Cyclonic Rift. We’ve seen blue splashes in this deck before, but this Simic version of the deck goes a bit deeper into blue than the simple Cyclonic Rift we’ve seen previously. This blue splash also allows for more variation in the sideboard, providing access to cards like Aetherling, Gainsay, and even Bident of Thassa. You know what, I like this list enough I’m just going to put it up for you guys.
It may not be the best of the Monogreen Devotion variants, but it excites me more than the others do.
Next up are the many Monowhite Aggro variants. There are three major players in this category, and which is the best has been hotly debated over the past weeks. First, you have the “pure” version, eschewing a splash. Then, you’ve got the Boros versions. Boros Charm is a great way to get around Supreme Verdict, as well as providing some reach, and cards like Lightning Strike and Chained to the Rocks give the deck a bit of additional removal, ensuring that Precinct Captain strikes true. The Orzhov versions of the deck opt for a very light splash, usually touching black only for the versatile Orzhov Charm. Acting as either removal or a one-drop creature, the Charm is never a dead card.
This is a good point to offer a bit of distinction between these white-based aggro decks and the Selesnya Aggro decks listed above. The Selesnya decks feature green much more prominently, running cards like Experiment One, Voice of Resurgence, and Advent of the Wurm. In fact, these lists look incredibly similar to the deck Craig Wescoe used to win Pro Tour Dragon’s Maze a few months ago. This is a far cry from the very light splashes shown by these white-based decks, which is why I chose to separate the archetypes.
There are a couple of different Monored decks in the field, as well. In addition to the traditional Monored Devotion deck, featuring nothing but actual red spells, there is a version similar to the one championed by Team Channelfireball at Pro Tour Theros, dipping into green for Domri Rade. There are also versions of the deck that opt to touch white for additional safety, using cards like Boros Charm and Chained to the Rocks in the same manner as described above.
Finally, there are two distinct classes of blue/white-based control decks. The first, and more established of the two, is the Esper Control deck. We’ve seen variations on this theme since Return to Ravnica. Based around the blue/white pillars of Sphinx's Revelation and Supreme Verdict, the Esper deck dips into black for, what many players were calling the defining cards of Standard, Thoughtseize and black removal spells like Doom Blade. While Doom Blade has fallen out of favor thanks to the rise of Monoblack Devotion and cards like Nightveil Specter, the principle still applies. Ultimate Price, Hero’s Downfall, and Devour Flesh have stepped up to fill the role once assumed by Doom Blade, lending more variety and utility to the black removal of Esper. On the other side, the recent emergence of UW Control has been nothing except meteoric. Coming from virtually nowhere to assuming a portion of the field equaling Esper, and even putting up stronger results, the straight UW version eschews this black toolbox, opting for a stronger permission suite and adopting Last Breath as the removal spell of choice, ideal for dealing with pesky Nightveil Specters. Seth Manfield’s 9-0 list is a perfect example of what this deck is trying to do.
With all of this in mind, here’s a condensed version of the metagame breakdown, consolidating each of these variants into the broader archetype to which they actually belong.