Top 100 Day 2 Players' Archetypes

Posted in Event Coverage on May 8, 2016

By Marc Calderaro

There are 26 distinct archetypes just in the Top 100 players going into the second day of Grand Prix New York. The further down you go, the more there are. Without wanting to beat a dead horse here, it’s clear that Shadows over Innistrad Standard is replete with everything you could want in a Standard format.

However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a hierarchy. Yesterday, thirteen-ranked Sam Black talked during his deck tech about the various metagaming levels of Standard—Green-White Tokens is strong, but 4C Cryptolith Rite beats that, which is in-turn beat by control decks. But without tons of data, it’s hard to get a big picture of what’s going on here in that respect.

Now, I don’t have all the data—far from it. We can’t all be Frank Karsten. But I do have the archetypes from the top 100 performers from the first day. This will paint a pretty good picture.

Archetype # in Top 100
Green-White Tokens 22
4C Cryptolith Rite 15
Bant Company 12
Grixis Control 11
Black-Green Aristocrats 5
White-Black Control 5
Mono-White Humans 4
Naya Walkers 3
Sultai Control 2
White-Blue Flash 2
White-Blue Humans 3
White-Blue Midrange 2
4C Control 1
Black-Green Aurora Control 1
Eldrazi Displacer Combo 1
Esper Control 1
Esper Dragons 1
Jeskai Control 1
Red-Green Goggles 1
Red-Green Ramp 1
Red-Green Rubin 1
Blue-Red Goggles 1
White-Black Midrange 1
Mardu Control 1
White Eldrazi 1
White-Black Eldrazi 1

What’s going on here? If we go by the “levels” we might look somewhere nestled between Level 1 and 2. The 4C Cryptolith Rite deck is a top performer for sure, but Green-White Tokens is numero uno by a long shot. Theoretically this could be because too many people played control and got beat by Green-White, but that’s not likely the case.

However, looking at the various control strategies, the analysis changes. They break down like this:

Control Archetypes # in Top 100
Grixis Control 11
White-Black Control 5
Naya Walkers 3
Sultai Control 2
4C Control 1
Black-Green Aurora Control 1
Esper Control 1
Esper Dragons 1
Jeskai Control 1
Blue-Red Goggles 1
Mardu Control 1
TOTAL 28

Perhaps the reason “control” looks more anemic in the field than the other two overall is because they are spread across a bunch of different archetypes. Combined together, control decks vault into the top of the breakdown with 28 out of 100 decks on control.

Grixis Control is leading the charge, surely thanks to Oliver Tiu’s Grand Prix Toronto Top 8, running back his deck from Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad. We haven’t quite settled on a best control deck yet, and maybe that’s part of where their power comes from. Each deck, though many leaning on Languish, have distinct answers to the questions presented. This adds variability for aggro, midrange, and combo decks to overcome.

It’s possible that more and more people will turn to Grixis Control, but that might result in even bigger control decks getting the spotlight, going over the top of decks playing spells as small as Kolaghan's Command.

If you’re going to check out a particular style of control like that, look back Sam Black’s Black-Green Aurora Control linked to earlier in the article.

Who knows how this Top 8 will shape up. Usually, at least one archetype not represented in the Top 100 skips the line and vaults themselves to the finish. This seems all the more likely here, with so many styles to choose from.

So, get to it, guys. Pick up your weapon and join the fight.

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