Day 1 Top 100 Deck Archetype Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on March 6, 2016

By Marc Calderaro

You’ve surely read the reports coming out of both Bologna and Melbourne. The Eldrazi are trying to take over Modern. In Bologna, 39% of the Top 100 field were Eldrazi, and in Melbourne 43%. The numbers are quite similar here.

However, as we saw from Melbourne, there were three Eldrazi in the Top 8, and the rest were not. In fact, there were as many Living End decks in the Top 8 as Eldrazi. Only time will tell how the Grand Prix Detroit Day 1 numbers will bear out for Day 2, but here they are.

Archetype #
White-Blue/Bant Eldrazi 26
Abzan Collected Company 10
Red-Green Eldrazi 7
Red-Green Eldrazi Aggro 7
Infect 5
Living End 4
Blue-Red Eldrazi 4
White-Blue Control 4
Elves 4
Eldrazi Tron 3
Grishoalbrand 3
Affinity 2
Archangel Chord 2
Blue Moon 2
Green-White Hexproof 2
Lantern Control 2
Ad Nauseam 1
Esper Rally 1
Gifts Storm 1
Jund 1
Merfolk 1
Mono-Blue Tron 1
Naya Burn 1
Naya Kiki Combo 1
Red-White Burn 1
Scapeshift 1
Soul Sisters 1
Storm 1
Blue-Red Delver 1

Here’s a slightly more digestible version:

Broader Archetype #
Eldrazi 47
Abzan Combo 12
Infect 5
Living End 4
White-Blue Control 4
Elves 4
Grishoalbrand 3
Affinity 2
Blue Moon 2
Green-White Hexproof 2
Lantern Control 2
Burn 2
Storm 2
OTHER 9

Ok, so what’s going on here? The obvious number that people will jump at is “47.”

47% of the Top 100 lists are running some sort of Eldrazi list. There are, however, five distinct delineations (or six, depending on your classification system). White-Blue Eldrazi (and Bant Eldrazi, which is usually just splashing for Worldbreaker) is the current big daddy. But the newest-hotness versions are the two Red-Green varieties. One is going big, and the other is going fast. You can easily tell what the deck is going for by looking at the Worldbreaker count. Is it 4? It’s going big. Is it 0 or 1, it’s probably going fast.

Why the shift? Well, Eldrazi Obligator has proved very good, and Lightning Bolt has never had to prove anything. The deck on the outs is the Pro Tour–winning Blue-Red Eldrazi, which seems to be the “Thopters” of this Pro Tour season. It was the perfect deck for the Pro Tour, but certainly not after.

So that’s the Eldrazi. And it’s behaving like an eight-hundred-thousand­-pound gorilla, but remember, this is Modern. There are 53 decks that are not Eldrazi, and among them are more than 20 archetypes.

The Abzan combo decks are leading the rebel charge, and are overwhelmingly the Viscera Seer combo, rather than the Archangel of Thune version. Living End has seen an uptick, thanks to the presence of main-deck sweepers and Eldrazi no longer playing Chalice of the Void. And Elves is all getting a breakout. Some players are on the traditional, but a couple are playing Beck & Call and Cloudstone Curio for the funsies. Again, a lack of Chalice certainly helps out here too.

The biggest surprise for some folks is likely the low numbers of Infect, Affinity, and Lantern Control. Just a few short weeks ago, people were scrambling around proclaiming that the whole format would be Infect and Affinity (and Tron); it is clear that something has shifted since then. And people also believe that Lantern Control is a great deck against Eldrazi, and so should be doing well. It’s numbers here are slightly out-of-step with that.

Perhaps it’s the lack of appeal of the deck. Who wants to play with Lantern of Insight, when you can play with Reality Smasher? C’mon now.

The Lantern Control numbers jive with Bologna and Melbourne, but the Affinity is quite different. Affinity were 9% and 11% respectively there. Perhaps the Affinity numbers here are more statistical anomaly than anything else.

The Eldrazi numbers are large, but not insurmountable. And even if you do join the big, bad evil, there are variety types of evil to choose from.

A Day 1 like this could mean the Top 8 could look like anything really. In a few short rounds, we’ll see.

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