Day 2 Top 100 Archetypes

Posted in GRAND PRIX OAKLAND 2016 on January 10, 2016

By Marc Calderaro

Most are familiar with the Battle for Zendikar Standard field. There's some Jeskai, some Abzan, some Esper, some Rally. The metagame allows you to play to your proclivities. But where the rubber meets the road is which deck is better for a given tournament, and which 75 cards are positioned the best to make it all the way to the Top 8.

Here's the breakdown of the Top 100 players' archetypes going into Day 2.

Archetype #
Abzan Aggro 18
Dark Jeskai 13
Esper Dragons 11
Rally the Ancestors 11
Black-Red Dragons 7
Atarka Red 6
Mardu 5
Esper Tokens 4
Blue Abzan 3
5C Bring to Light 2
Abzan 2
Grixis Control 2
5C Midrange 1
Bant Megamorph 1
Esper Control 1
Esper Enchantment Control 1
Grixis Thopters 1
Jund Dragons 1
Mardu Dragons 1
Mardu Rhino 1
Red Abzan 1
Red-Green Landfall 1
Red-Green Tokens 1
Temur Dragons 1
Temur Ramp 1
White-Black Aggro 1
White-Black Tokens 1
4C Collected Company 1

There's no huge surprise as to which archetypes are near the top. The big three—Abzan, Jeskai, and Esper—are all represented around the top, as is Rally the Ancestors.

The biggest change is the rise of Black-Red Dragons, and the falling of Atarka Red. Though only rounding up the top five, a straight two-color, get-you deck performing well in a field of greedy four-color-like Painful Truths–style decks is a sign of the emergence of proactive midrange strategies.

If you collapse the sub archetypes, the table starts to look more like this:

Archetype #
Abzan 24
Esper 17
Dark Jeskai 13
Rally the Ancestors 11
Red Aggro 8
Black-Red Dragons 7
Mardu 7

Here you can see how little Black-Red Dragons is truly bending the metagame, which is not too much. But it, along with the Mardu strategies are on the rise in the format. There's still a lot of play in the format.

Another thing to pull from these tables is that though Rally the Ancestors is very hard to play, it is just as good as people say it is. I've had Pros come up to me and talk about missed triggers and missed lines of play for the win. This four-color Rally the Ancestors strategy is pretty darn optimized.

But don't count control out. Esper Dragons, Esper Control, Grixis Control, Five-Color Bring to Light can still get there.

The biggest whiff seems to be any real Ramp strategies. Though they are in fact represented in Day 2, they will have to fight their way uphill against these main six or seven decks, of which it seems clearly not a part.

But the number of decks does not necessarily represent the Top 8 split. Hunter Cochran's Grixis Thopters, Brian Kibler's Temur Dragons, and even Frank Lepore's Mardu Rhino are all in the running, and seem to have good matches against much of the field.

Only the next few rounds will tell who will make it to the elimination rounds. And no amount of archetype data crunching will tell the specific future of the tournament.