Day 2 Archetype Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on November 1, 2015

By Marc Calderaro

The Day 2 archetypes have all been compiled. What can we learn from it? Last week at Grand Prix Quebec City we saw the emergence of the Eldrazi deck, more shifting of the Esper versions, and Bant things doing well. What changed this time? Is something going to dethrone Dark Jeskai as the go-to deck? Let’s run some numbers.

Archetype # %
Dark Jeskai 27 21.10
Abzan 25 19.50
Atarka Red 12 9.40
Green-White Megamorph 8 6.30
Red-Green Eldrazi 8 6.30
Esper Tokens 7 5.50
Esper Control 6 4.70
Red-Green Landfall 6 4.70
4C Rally Ancestors 5 3.90
Bant Megamorph 4 3.10
5C Bring to Light 3 2.30
Other 17 13.28

Dark Jeskai in the top slot isn’t surprising, but goes against some of the speculation we’ve heard. The weapon of choice against the Mantis Rider/Crackling Doom hybrid appears to be the Abzan deck. It has been modified lately to maximize ways to go against that turn-two Jace, Vryn's Prodigy—the claimed “best card in the format.” The young Jace has been the card to beat, and it still looks like it’s keeping hold at the top for the time being.

Some of these numbers are surprising because most of our players to watch in the first day were running decks like Bant or Green-White Megamorph and the Esper variants, but its Abzan that got many more players through into the second day. Though the number of overall Siege Rhinos has dipped significantly in the last month, believe it or not, it’s still a pretty sweet card.

After rolling up the archetypes a bit tighter, the list looks something like this:


Once everything rolls together, it’s Abzan that ekes above Jeskai, but it’s clear that these two are still the decks to beat. The “Blue Abzan” decks are different flavors—one plays Dragonlord Ojutai in the maindeck, and the other adds counterspells to deal with problematic big spells—but they are definitely using the power of the Abzan synergies. Perhaps yet more combining of the Dark Jeskai and Abzan will show the future of the format.

Now, this isn’t everything going on in the second day. The “Other” category in the first chart is a tad reductive. Because I know you’d like to see it, here are all the smaller-played archetypes that still have staunch defenders trying to push through to the end. And just because there’s only one copy doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a good chance to Top 8. For example, the Bant Hardened Scales deck was undefeated through Round 9.

Rolled Archetype # Clarifying Notes % of D2 Fied
Abzan 30 2 Blue Abzan 23.44
Jeskai 28 27 Dark, 1 Reguar 21.88
Red Aggro 18 12 Atarka, 6 Landfall 14.06
Esper 14   10.94
megamorph 12   9.38
Eldrazi 9 1 Black-Green 7.03
Other 17   13.28

The White Temur deck—sometimes referred to as “Temurai”—is a Temur Midrange deck, with Savage Knuckleblade and the like, but steals from Dark Jeskai for Mantis Rider and other Jeskai friends.

The field is winnowing, and there are clear standouts, but there’s still plenty of innovation going around the tables. Can the Red-Green Eldrazi deck prove its staying power? The numbers may have thinned out in the second day, but perhaps that’s just thinning the herd.

The Top 8 is only a few rounds away. The amount of decks being played is one thing, but the important numbers when the Head Judge calls the last eight players are the wins and losses. We’ll see what actually stacks up soon enough.

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