DAY 2 METAGAME BREAKDOWN

Posted in GRAND PRIX NEW JERSEY 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on November 16, 2014

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

What does it take to make Day 2 of the largest Legacy Grand Prix in Magic history? It's a tough question with great answers: This is the complete Day 2 metagame breakdown for Grand Prix New Jersey.

Archetype Count
Blue-Red Delver 89
Jeskai Stoneblade 44
Death and Taxes 31
Jeskai Miracles 25
Ad Nauseam Tendrils 21
Sultai Delver 21
Sneak and Show 19
Elves 17
Jeskai Delver 17
Reanimator 16
Omni-Tell 14
Burn 11
Temur Delver 10
Esper Deathblade 9
Jund 8
Lands 8
Merfolk 8
Dredge 6
MUD 6
Affinity 5
Infect 5
Tezzeret 5
Blue-Red Burn 3
Dark Depths 2
Shardless Sultai 3
White-Blue Stoneblade 3
Blue-Red Landstill 2
Goblins 2
Maverick 2
Punishing Maverick 2
Show and Tell 2
White-Black Stoneblade 2
Abzan 1
Abzan Maverick 1
Ad Nauseam Tentrils 1
Bant Stoneblade 1
Black-Green Rock 1
Blue-Green Delver 1
Blue-Red Control 1
Blue-Red Pyromancer 1
Charbelcher 1
Dark Maverick 1
Deathblade 1
Enchantress 1
Food Chain 1
Four-Color Loam 1
Grixis Tempo 1
High Tide 1
Jund Midrange 1
Locus Ramp 1
Manaless Dredge 1
Mardu Deathblade 1
Shardles Sultai 1
Slivers 1
Smallpox 1
Sneak Attack 1
Stoneforge Control 1
Sultai Tempo 1
White-Blue Control 1
White-Red Painter 1

That's... an unwieldy list of decklists. Let's try a slightly smaller summary.

Archetype Percent Count
Blue-Red Delver 20% 89
Jeskai Stoneblade 10% 44
Death and Taxes 7% 31
Jeskai Miracles 6% 25
Ad Nauseam Tendrils 5% 21
Sultai Delver 5% 21
Other 48% 215

Only six decks represent more than 5% of the field on Day 2, with the runaway winners being both Blue-Red Delver and Jeskai Stoneblade. Both decks benefit from the push of Khans of Tarkir on the format, with Blue-Red Delver adding Monastery Swiftspear and Treasure Cruise to its arsenal of pressure, while Jeskai Stoneblade decks favor the card selection Dig Through Time can provide in an instant. It's also the reason Jeskai Miracles found its footing among the top decks, beefed up by better control over the top of its library.

Jeskai Stoneblade is also home to another one of Magic's newest cards, Containment Priest. It's a card custom built to stymie Commander cards like Genesis Wave but works equally as well against Legacy staples such as Show and Tell and Sneak Attack.

Just two of the top decks seem to be ignoring the train of new cards steaming into the format. Ad Nauseam Tendrils is one of the go-to ways to kill opponents with style, bypassing attacking with creatures to instead set up an ultimate turn of spells-into-victory on the back of Cabal Ritual, Tendrils of Agony, and other fast mana and storm spells. Death and Taxes is a deck that builds delays into it's aggressive plays. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben turns the efficient spell repertoire common across decks – Brainstorm, Lightning Bolt, and others – into slower actions. With Wasteland and Rishadan Port to attack opponents mana and Flickerwisp to undo any resistance laid down, the monowhite deck is surprisingly potent in a format where it's often Islands and Mountains as far as the eye and see.

So what about the rest of the decks? Half the format is made up of slices too small to cover in one article. Everything from red Burn decks – with and without a splash of blue for Treasure Cruise, the surprisingly less popular option on Day 2 – to forgotten gems like Food Chain speak to the diversity of the format. Even summing up all of the Delver and Stoneforge Mystic (without any accompanying Delver) decks didn't shift the numbers much:

Day 2 Archetypes Percent Count
Delver (All Types) 31% 138
Stoneblade (All Types) 13% 56
All Other 57% 252

However, compared to the counts of undefeated decklist revealed an interested trend to start the day.

Day 1 Undefeated Percent Count
Delver (All Types) 31% 5
Stoneblade (All Types) 25% 4
All Other 44% 7

Stoneforge Mystic decks had a significant lead in undefeated decks at the expense of the rest of the non-Delver field. Popularity might be the simplest explanation given the small numbers, but it's a suggestive nudge we'll be following as the day progresses.

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