Day 2 Metagame Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on November 1, 2015

By Chapman Sim

It's a big world out there. The world of Modern, that is. Despite having only 84 players in Day 2, they collectively represent nearly thirty archetypes and variants. To further represent the data, decks have been split down even to the very finest differences.

For example, Abzan Midrange running fair cards like Siege Rhino are not grouped together with Abzan Company, who desires the infinite combo of Kitchen Finks, Viscera Seer and Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit.

Deck Archetype Quantity Percentage
Jund 12 14.29%
Affinity 8 9.52%
Green-Red Tron 6 7.14%
Merfolk 5 5.95%
Amulet Bloom 5 5.95%
Blue-Red Twin 4 4.76%
Infect 4 4.76%
Reliquary Retreat 4 4.76%
Living End 3 3.57%
Naya Burn 3 3.57%
Scapeshift 3 3.57%
Ad Nauseam 3 3.57%
Naya Zoo 2 2.38%
Grixis Twin 2 2.38%
Grixis Control 2 2.38%
Lantern Prison 2 2.38%
Abzan Midrange 2 2.38%
Grishoalbrand 2 2.38%
Abzan Company 2 2.38%
Hexproof Auras 1 1.19%
TarmoTwin 1 1.19%
Jeskai Control 1 1.19%
Jeskai Twin 1 1.19%
Green Devotion 1 1.19%
Elves 1 1.19%
Pyromancer Ascension 1 1.19%
Esper Tokens 1 1.19%
White-Black Tokens 1 1.19%
White-Green Hatebears 1 1.19%
Total 84 100.00%

This long list might be a little tough to handle, so I loosely grouped them into three categories just so you can get a better picture of the entire field! Don't be an “archetype nazi”, I've already tried my very best! =D

The Aggro Decks

Deck Archetype Quantity Percentage
Affinity 8 9.52%
Merfolk 5 5.95%
Naya Burn 3 3.57%
Naya Zoo 2 2.38%
Hexproof Auras 1 1.19%
Esper Tokens 1 1.19%
White-Black Tokens 1 1.19%
White-Green Hatebears 1 1.19%
Total 22 26.19%

Aggro decks are pretty easy to define. Their plan is to win by damage as quickly as they can, often through the use of cheap creatures, often supported by burn spells or a light touch of removal or counterspells.

Affinity is the clear leader in this category, with nearly 10% of the Day 2 metagame choosing to harness the power of Cranial Plating, Arcbound Ravager and Steel Overseer. Merfolk is surprisingly the next most popular archetype despite it being an utterly terrible matchup against Affinity. However, the combination of pressure and counters work great against the combo decks in the field.

Naya Burn and Naya Zoo occupy the next two spots, the former choosing to utilize cheap burn spells such as Lava Spike, Boros Charm and Atarka's Command, while the latter prefers a steady stream of damage from beefy creatures such as Voice of Resurgence, Loxodon Smiter and Tarmogoyf.

Together, aggressive strategies occupy 26% of the metagame, roughly a quarter.

The Midrange & Control Decks

Deck Archetype Quantity Percentage
Jund 12 14.29%
Green-Red Tron 6 7.14%
Scapeshift 3 3.57%
Lantern Prison 2 2.38%
Abzan Midrange 2 2.38%
Abzan Company 2 2.38%
Jeskai Control 1 1.19%
Green Devotion 1 1.19%
Total 29 34.52%

It is very difficult to accurately define the slower decks.

While archetypes like Affinity, Merfolk and Naya are clearly very aggressive, how do classify Jund or Abzan Midrange? Well, perhaps the crux of it is their choice to include disruption and removal spells over burn spells, such that they can switch gears and operate as a control deck when required.

Wielding the powers of Dark Confidant, Tarmogoyf and Tasigur, the Golden Fang supported by format superstars such as Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek and Abrupt Decay, the difference between Jund and Abzan players is the choice between Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile, or Siege Rhino versus Huntmaster of the Fells and Olivia Voldaren.

Green-Red Tron is definitely not an aggro deck, but neither it is really a combo deck. It is the second most popular deck of this category, and players have even updated their lists with Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger! Bring to Light failed to live up to the hype though. Only three copies of Scapeshift made it through to Day 2, and one of them didn't even run the Battle of Zendikar addition!

These slower archetypes represent around 35% of the Day 2 metagame.

The Combo Decks

Total Quantity Percentage
Amulet Bloom 5 5.95%
Blue-Red Twin 4 4.76%
Infect 4 4.76%
Reliquary Retreat 4 4.76%
Living End 3 3.57%
Ad Nauseam 3 3.57%
Grixis Twin 2 2.38%
Grishoalbrand 2 2.38%
Abzan Company 2 2.38%
TarmoTwin 1 1.19%
Jeskai Twin 1 1.19%
Elves 1 1.19%
Pyromancer Ascension 1 1.19%
Total 33 39.29%

Last of all, these are the unfair decks. The decks that kill on, or before, Turn 4 through a specific combination of cards. “Cheaty” cards such as Show and Tell and Cheatyface.

For example Amulet Bloom can win as early as Turn 2 with an explosive start involving Amulet of Vigor and Summer Bloom. Similarly, it's also possible for Infect to finish off an opponent before they can even reach their first untap step, largely due to the help of Fetchlands, Mutagenic Growth, Gitaxian Probe and Become Immense.

Reliquary Retreat is the new kid on the block, but from what we gather, a turn-three kill is the entirely possible simply by accelerating into a second-turn Knight of the Reliquary with Noble Hierarch of Birds of Paradise, before untapping and dropping Retreat to Coralhelm.

However, none of them are as fast as Grishoalbrand, who has the possibility of a TURN ONE kill even before an opponent gets to lay his first land. How? You may ask? Faithless Looting (discarding Griselbrand), double Simian Spirit Guide into Manamorphose for Goryo's Vengeance will do the trick, chaining Nourishing Shoals to tear through your entire library.

Surprisingly, Splinter Twin variants (do you count all six copies) aren't as well-represented as you might expect!

All-in-all, the unfair decks occupy nearly 40% of the metagame.

Now that you understand the metagame at Porto Alegre. What's your move?

You need to choose a side. Team Fair? Or Team Unfair.

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