Coming into the weekend, it was a “two-horse race” between Black-Green Delirium and White-Blue Flash—nothing else mattered. “Standard is stable,” had been a common refrain. But there’s been rumblings throughout the hotel lobby, the tournament hall, and the bathrooms after the first day: There’s something different afoot in Kaladesh Standard.
It might not reflect completely today, but a few decks are poking through and challenging the top racers in the second leg of the format. They look like dark horses this weekend, but they might come into the light soon. Let’s look at the top decks from the first day—7-2 record or better—and see what’s happening.
|Temur Energy Control||3||1.7%|
|Black-Red Zombie Madness||1||0.6%|
|Blue-Red Fevered Burn||1||0.6%|
|Grixis Fevered Zombies||1||0.6%|
Obviously there are tons of things going on here, and it’s a little difficult to parse fully. But this is the granular archetypes we work with to understand much of the building distinctions—e.g., “Vehicles” play more than just Smuggler’s Copter, “Humans” plays cards like Thalia’s Lieutenant, and “Spirits” plays Mausoleum Wanderer and Rattlechains.
But there is something very big from this, and it gets even bigger with just a little kajiggering. Look again at the top of the chart:
|Top Archetypes (>5 players)||#||%|
Firstly, Red-Green Aetherworks is a deck. It’s a real deck. People had been saying this would be a flash in the pan, but that’s not true at all. In addition, there’s something else. “Temur Aetherworks” is functionally the two-color build with Whirler Virtuoso and counterspells in the sideboard. So if you combine those two, the Aetherworks number jumps to 34. It becomes the second best performing deck, only trailing White-Blue by one!
So much for a “two-horse race.”
Other fun decks to check out from this list—the East-West Bowl White-Blue Panharmonicon deck. Third-ranked Seth Manfield is the top pilot right now, undefeated after the first day. We already gave it a deck tech yesterday, and it basically seems like the most fun thing on the planet. But it’s in planet-topping-fun-level competition with the currently 8-1-1 Metallurgic Summonings deck. Check that out on the stream.
The “Angels” demarcation is for the decks that play Thalia’s Lancers and various Angels to search up—including Gisela, the Broken Blade and Bruna, the Fading Light, to merge as Brisela, Voice of [autocard]Nightmares[/autocard], and to tool box for other Legendary things like Thalia, Heretic Cathar.
It’s also nice to see various “Zomb-Emerge” decks showing up again. These decks get creatures on the board that you’re quite fine sacrificing, then emerging a bigger threat out—Elder Deep-Fiend, Distended Mindbender, or Wretched Gryff. The Grixis version uses the Haunted Dead–Prized Amalgam package for sacrifice outlets, while the Blue-Red uses Advanced Stitchwing and Stichwing Skaab.
So what does this overall picture look like? After doing a very large collapsing of the archetypes, here are the top four:
|Collapsed Archetype, Partial||#||%|
|All Aetherworks Marvel||39||22.4%|
Note: Aetherworks decks include Red-Green, Temur, Naya, and Black-Green.
This ends up being a great breakdown of the “New Standard”—and the Archetypes could basically be retitled “Combo,” “Tempo,” “Midrange,” and “Aggro” without really missing a beat. (Arguments about either (a) “Is White-Blue Flash Tempo?” and (b) “What is tempo, really?” aside.)
We’ll see what decks can take this strong Day 1 and make it to the Top 8, but regardless, these pilots are having success with a litany of decks, and even if Black-Green and White-Blue are still the top dogs, the rest of the pound is growing fast, rounding out a divergent set of well-performing decks.