Grand Prix Washington D.C. 2013 - Day 2 Metagame Breakdown

Posted in NEWS on November 17, 2013

Round after round two facts about Grand Prix Washington D.C. have become clear: High finishing decks from recent events are out in force, and Legacy is still the most diverse Constructed format in Magic. Coming into Day 2, this is what the metagame looked like:

Day 2 Metagame

Death and Taxes, Elves, Sneak and Show all appear, trailing behind the clear leader in RUG Delver. Decks we saw frequently in feature matches throughout Day 1 and in the undefeated bracket at its end include Esper Deathblade, Shardless BUG, Ad Nauseam Tendrils, and Counterbalance. But one other fact is readily apparent: Just over 40% of the field isn't highly represented. In fact, most these "top played decks" are themselves small fractions of the Day 2 metagame.

Archetype

Count

RUG Delver

39

Death and Taxes

18

Elves

16

Esper Deathblade

13

Shardless BUG

13

BUG Delver

11

Ad Nauseam Tendrils

10

Counterbalance

9

Sneak and Show

9

Reanimator

8

Omni-Tell

7

UWR Delver

7

Esper Stoneblade

6

Jund

6

Merfolk

6

Affinity

5

Dredge

5

Junk

5

U/R Delver

5

Bant

4

Goblins

4

Tezzeret

4

UWR Stoneblade

4

U/W Stoneblade

3

BUG Control

2

Burn

2

Legacy MUD

2

Sneak Attack

2

Charbelcher

1

Hive Mind

1

Infect

1

Lands

1

Monoblack

1

Monored

1

Painted Stone

1

Scapeshift

1

Show and Tell

1

U/G Delver

1

The fractions become clear when looking at across every deck. Individual players chose to play decks that weren't featured recently, and those players did so en masse. Even if we group flavors of archetypes together, half the field is still something else.

Archetype

Percent

Count

Delver

27%

63

Blade

11%

26

Sneak/Show

9%

21

Other

53%

125

 

Of course, even these grouped numbers can be nudged in different ways. Splicing and hybridizing decks isn't uncommon in Legacy where decks share ubiquitous, powerful cards such as Brainstorm and their manabases. The minutiae of what sets similar decks apart is an exercise much larger than what these stick counts can answer.

Does this line up with what you would have expected for the weekend? I asked Pro Tour Hall of Fame member and current Legacy standout William "Huey" Jensen what he expected to find this weekend.

This Pro Tour Hall of Fame player has been winning well in recent Legacy tournaments.

"What I think about Legacy is a lot of time you have StarCityGames Opens and Invitationals where a few pros with card access will switch around decks, a lot of players just have their deck," Jensen explained. "While people feel like there's these big metagame shifts I don't think in practice it works out that way, unlike Standard. I expected a really diverse field."

What did he think of the Day 2 numbers? "RUG Delver seems to jive with what I think. It's been around for so long a lot of people just have that deck. The field seems diverse, and Delver strategies are popular as they have been in every format. I'm guessing Sneak and Show isn't as prevalent as people thought," said Jensen. "I've found despite it getting a lot of buzz online, not a lot of people actually play it in the tournaments I've been in."

What does this mean for the race to the Top 8? "I know Cuneo is 11-0 with Elves and he's a favorite to make Top 8," said Jensen. "Based on the numbers you've shown me  I'd think a RUG Delver deck would sneak in too. Legacy has a lot of parity, and like any format play skill is very important. In Legacy I think you can learn the ins and out of a  deck against the field and you're almost always going to be better off playing what you know. I would play Sneak and Show tomorrow, but I wouldn't tell Owen or Reid to play it," said Jensen referring to his teammates Owen Turtenwald and Reid Duke, the number 22nd and 3rd ranked players in the world.