Top 100 Player Archetypes

Posted in Event Coverage on February 28, 2016

By Marc Calderaro

The presumed question coming into this event was, “Is 4-Color Rally as dominant as people have been saying?” After a look at the Top 100 archetypes, the answer is a resounding “No.”

The big talk all of yesterday was the green and white Hardened Scales deck that was the worst kept secret among the pros. Many recognizable names showed up with the synergistic strategy. It’s an exciting deck, and terribly fun to play. Putting fifteen or so +1/+1 counters on your things in a series of a turn or two is glee inducing. Even the most cynical of the pros were converted to its joyous ways.

Along with 4-Color Rally and Hardened Scales is a third deck right at the top, Bant Collected Company. Harnessing the power of Reflector Mage—which matches up fantastically against Rally’s Nantuko Husk—Collected Company has also been making a strong showing this weekend.

Here’s the breakdown of the Top 100 players’ decks from the first day.

Archetype #
Hardened Scales 14
Bant Collected Company 13
4-Color Rally 11
Jeskai Dragons 7
Blue Abzan 6
Dark Jeskai 5
Red-Green Eldrazi Ramp 6
Grixis Control 4
Abzan Aggro 3
Atarka Red 3
Black-Red Dragons 3
Esper Dragons 3
Green Mardu 3
Mono-Blue Eldrazi 3
Grixis Dragons 2
Grixis Pulse 2
Red Abzan 2
4-Color Collected Company 1
Black Eldrazi 1
Blue-Red Eldrazi Midrange 1
Dark Jeskai Dragons 1
Dark Naya 1
Mardu 1
Mardu Aggro 1
Red-Green Landfall 1
White-Blue Displacer 1
Light Grixis 1

There is a clear Top 3. Scales, Rally, and CoCo make up 39% of the Top 100. With these three decks, they are the only version of it in the archetype. There is one Rally the Ancestors deck, one Hardened Scales deck, and (almost) one Collected Company deck (the 4-Color Collected Company just splashed Red for Mantis Rider).

Other archetypes have split off into different factions. There are various different Dragon, Eldrazi, Abzan and Mardu decks, for example. If we lump the data a bit, flattening the archetypes, here’s what the Top 100 looks like.

Flattened Archetypes #
Hardened Scales decks 14
Collected Company decks 14
Dragon decks (non-Esper) 13
Eldrazi decks 12
Abzan decks 11
4-Color Rally decks 11
Control decks (incl. Esper Dragons) 9
Dark Jeskai (& Light Grixis) 6
Red Aggro 5
Mardu 5

Viewed this way, 4-Color Rally looks even more crestfallen. Both the powerful midrange Dragon decks and the various Eldrazi decks pass it in number.

As Meghan Wolff wrote about the different flavors of Eldrazi, only time will tell which Eldrazi version proves the great uniter of the archetype (like 4-Color Rally did for the Rally the Ancestors). But just by the percentage of Eldrazi at top tables, they are certainly an archetype to watch. Otherwordly monsters aren’t just for Modern anymore.

Another interesting note is seeing how decks like Blue Abzan, Dark Jeskai, and Atarka Red, former all-stars in the format, are no longer de rigueur. This doesn’t mean they aren’t powerful, they’ve just fallen out of fashion. The decks that are powerful cards jammed together have been outmoded by the synergy-laden top percenters.

There’s still a lot of Magic to be played before the Top 8 this weekend, but we’ve got plenty of metagame info, and great ideas for what to bring to your next local tournament. We’ll soon see what can make it to the top.

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