Standard Metagame Breakdown

Posted in NEWS on February 15, 2013

By Blake Rasmussen, Nate Price, and Josh Bennett

Standard is about to change.

While every Pro Tour brings with it some shift in the metagame either great or small, Standard Pro Tours often shape the metagame in wild and sometimes unexpected ways. New innovations from the best minds in the game poke and prod the new set until something different comes out.

Sometimes that new thing is simply adding Boros Reckoner to the Blue-White-Red (UWR) decks that have been popular since Return to Ravnica came out, but sometimes that new thing is a game changer.

We have a bit of both here in Montreal. Compiling all of the archetypes is something like thirty percent science and seventy percent "What the heck do you call this deck?", but that's what the intrepid coverage staff is here for. That and our good looks.

What we found is pretty awesome: this is one of the most diverse Standard metagames we've ever seen.

Let's take a look at the breakdown:

Deck Type # of players Percentage
UWR 43 13.1%
Esper Control 41 12.5%
Jund Midrange 35 10.6%
Gruul Aggro 22 6.7%
Naya Humans 21 6.4%
Saito Zoo 16 4.9%
Human Reanimator 14 4.3%
Jund Aggro 13 4.0%
Naya Midrange 12 3.6%
Bant Control 10 3.0%
The Aristocrats 10 3.0%
Naya Aggro 6 1.8%
Bant Auras 5 1.5%
RUG Flash 5 1.5%
Bant Black 4 1.2%
UWR Control 4 1.2%
Esper Planeswakers 3 0.9%
Junk Midrange 3 0.9%
Mono-ish Black Control 3 0.9%
Monored 3 0.9%
UW Humans 3 0.9%
4c Aggro 2 0.6%
4c Control 2 0.6%
4c Midrange 2 0.6%
Auras with Red 2 0.6%
Bore-os 2 0.6%
Boros Aggro 2 0.6%
Monored Boros 2 0.6%
4-Color Swamps 1 0.3%
4c Midrange 1 0.3%
4c Reanimator 1 0.3%
American BBQ 1 0.3%
Boros Tokens 1 0.3%
BUG Delver 1 0.3%
BW Aggro 1 0.3%
BW Tokens 1 0.3%
BWR Midrange 1 0.3%
Door Control 1 0.3%
Enchantment Control 1 0.3%
Green-Black Aggro 1 0.3%
GWB Rites 1 0.3%
GWB Trostani 1 0.3%
Jund Zombies 1 0.3%
Junk Reanimator 1 0.3%
Midnight BBQ 1 0.3%
Rakdos Aggro 1 0.3%
RUG Peddler 1 0.3%
Ruw Aggro 1 0.3%
To Infinity and Beyond! 1 0.3%
URG Midrange 1 0.3%
UW Control 1 0.3%
UW Delver 1 0.3%

Three already well-defined decks come out at the top – Esper Control, Jund Midrange, and UWR – and were the only decks to manage to make up even 10 percent of the field. UWR led the way, thanks in large part to how well Boros Reckoner slots into the space formerly held by Geist of Saint Traft.

But just behind them are a bevy of new aggressive decks made possible by the Boros and Gruul guilds joining the fray. Gruul Aggro, Saito Zoo, and Naya Humans each convinced 15 or more people to sleeve them up today. Stomping Ground and Sacred Foundry were big reasons for that, but Boros Reckoner and Burning-Tree Emissary were fantastic additions to those decks.

A little ways down the list you'll notice Naya Aggro as well, which was very close to Saito Zoo, but often lacked the trademark Gyre Sage. If you combine Naya Aggro with Saito Zoo, the numbers match up to Gruul Aggro. If you add Naya Humans to Naya Aggro and Saito Zoo, you end up with a whopping 43 variations on Naya aggro decks being played this weekend, which would put it on par with UWR.

A few new decks have popped up as well. The Aristocrats is a cheekily-named Black-Red-White deck that plays Cartel Aristocrat and Falkenrath Aristocrat alongside a bevy of fuel to sacrifice to create a synergy that only backs up what is already a powerful suite of cards.

RUG Flash takes advantage of both Stomping Grounds and Breeding Pool to combine Yeva, Nature's Herald with Snapcaster Mage and Huntmaster of the Fells.

Human Reanimator remains popular thanks to Cartel Aristocrat. The card has a fantastic Game 1 win percentage against much of the field, and the deck has adopted other interesting twists since it was re-introduced to the world a few weeks ago. Burning-Tree Emissary gives it some interesting combo-ish play while feeding its mana, and cards such as Borborygmos Enraged give it a solid backup plan.

A few other oddities:

Bore-os: Boros splashing Dreadbore and other black cards

Mono-ish Black Control: Mutilate-based control decks splashing red, usually for Rakdos' Return

Esper Planeswalkers: We qualified any Esper Control deck that had at least five Planeswalkers here. Various flavors of Jace, Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, and Sorin, Lord of Innistrad usually made the cut.

Other: Every deck that had just one copy in attendance was lumped here, but aside from the odd (and awesome) Omniscience/Enter the Infinite deck, most were variations on other known themes.

What do these decks look like? Here are a few very basic versions of the top decks (not attributed to any one player), not including sideboards.


Download Arena Decklist

Note that many players also played some numbers of Augur of Bolas, Geist of Saint Traft and Aurelia's Fury, among others.

Esper Control

Download Arena Decklist

Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, Planar Cleansing, Oblivion Ring and Victim of Night were other notables in similar lists.

Naya Humans

Download Arena Decklist

Selesnya Charm and Pillar of Flame also saw some play in these decks, but the lists were often pretty tight and packed with as many Humans as possible.

Jund Midrange

Download Arena Decklist

Midrange Jund decks were marked by the presence of Olivia Voldaren, Farseek, Thragtusk, and Garruk, Primal Hunter. Beyond that, the lists were endlessly customizable.