Complete Day 2 Metagame Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on June 5, 2016

By Marc Calderaro

Recently at Grand Prix we've had to settle for a “Top 100” breakdown of the second day's metagame. With the inclusion of all players with 18 points or more, rather than 21 points, the usual size of the second day is now way too much data to gather.

However, because the Grand Prix Costa Rica attendance cap was set at 500—less than some other Grand Prix's Day 2—there are only 151 players who came back today to compete. That's sounded ripe for a full metagame breakdown. So here it is in all its glory.

Archetype # %
Green-White Tokens 32 21.2%
White-Black Control 26 17.2%
Bant Humans 15 9.9%
Bant Company 12 7.9%
Grixis Control 9 6.0%
4C Cryptolith Rite 7 4.6%
Black-Green Seasons Past 7 4.6%
Mono-White Humans 5 3.3%
Red-White Humans 5 3.3%
Red-Green Ramp 4 2.6%
Blue-Red Flash 3 2.0%
Sultai Seasons Past 3 2.0%
White-Blue Midrange 3 2.0%
Abzan Seasons Past 2 1.3%
Bant Cryptolith Rite 2 1.3%
Black-Green Aristocrats 2 1.3%
Esper Dragons 2 1.3%
Jeskai Dragons 2 1.3%
Naya Midrange 2 1.3%
Naya Walkers 2 1.3%
Blue-Black Prison 1 0.7%
Blue-Red Eldrazi Control 1 0.7%
Blue-Red Goggles 1 0.7%
Red-Green Goggles Ramp 1 0.7%
Sultai Midrange 1 0.7%
Temur Tentacles 1 0.7%

The first information to glean is the existence of the big “three” decks: Green-White Tokens, White-Black Control, and “Bant decks with Collected Company.” Together, those three make up over 56% of the entire Day 2 field. This is big news for a Standard metagame that has been “wide open” for a very long time.

It's certainly still open, with 17 different archetypes out of 151 players, but there are clear decks yours must to beat to expect success in the format.

And despite some insistence that Green-White Tokens is concentrated on the lower tables, or that the “Top 3” count too many players with three losses, going higher up the chain the data replicates. The Top 3 are always more than 50%, and Green-White Tokens hovers are between 21–23%. The biggest change is that White-Black Control takes the top spot with players with at least 22 points—by one player. See for yourself:

Players with ≥ 21 Points # %
Green-White Tokens 13 22.8%
White-Black Control 12 21.1%
Bant Humans 6 10.5%
4C Cryptolith Rite 5 8.8%
Bant Company 4 7.0%
Black-Green Seasons Past 3 5.3%
Abzan Seasons Past 2 3.5%
Grixis Control 2 3.5%
Mono-White Humans 2 3.5%
Blue-Black Prison 1 1.8%
Blue-Red Eldrazi Control 1 1.8%
Blue-Red Flash 1 1.8%
Jeskai Dragons 1 1.8%
Naya Walkers 1 1.8%
Red-Green Goggles Ramp 1 1.8%
Red-Green Ramp 1 1.8%
Red-White Humans 1 1.8%
Players with > 22 points # %
White-Black Control 6 26.1%
Green-White Tokens 5 21.7%
Bant Humans 4 17.4%
4C Cryptolith Rite 3 13.0%
Bant Company 3 13.0%
Black-Green Seasons Past 1 4.3%
Blue-Black Prison 1 4.3%

Back to the big chart, there is one other way to look at the data that changes the perspective—collapsing the human decks. If you take the Red-White Humans, Mono-White Humans, and Bant Humans and roll them together, that makes up 25 decks—about 16.5% of the metagame. But do you see why this could be misleading?

Look at the second and third charts of the higher-placed players. Neither Mono-White Humans, nor Red-White Humans are doing that well. There are certainly arguments to configure the data that way—Humans is still a very real deck to prepare for. But to me, that obscures my favorite data point from all these numbers. Bant Company is coming back!

Bant Humans has been all the rage, but after the rustlings and rumors whispered that, “You know, Bant Company might be good this weekend...” Company is on the rise. Two of the undefeated players are on Bant Company—Eighteenth-ranked Brad Nelson and Brian Braun-Duin—and that gives pretty good odds of at least one breaking through to the Top 8.

On the control side, though there are certainly other viable control decks—Grixis, Green-Black, and Sultai the chief among them (both with and without Tireless Tracker in Green-Black's case)—it's clear that White-Black is the control deck of choice. Most certainly because there are so many different ways to build it. Some are Eldrazi-ing many aren't. Some are concentrated with metagame spells like Hallowed Moonlight, some aren't. White-Black is a control brewer's paradise.

This is the time in the format where it's all about refinement. There are a few interesting decks in the field that I will cover today, but if you're looking to win at your local tournaments, know the decks with the highest numbers inside and out.

Happy hunting, everyone!

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