It’s been a month since Grand Prix Shanghai showed off what Standard was up to, and in the interim the format continued to morph. While there were plenty of familiar faces making Day 2 here at Grand Prix Providence, some surprising options made their appearance as well.
This is the complete breakdown of archetypes for Day 2:
Some features of Standard have held stable since Dragons of Tarkir joined the format. Here, Abzan-focused decks account for 28% of the field. It’s not quite dominating, but it makes something packing Siege Rhino also unavoidable for players.
While the groups are more nuanced than just four categories, rolling up all of the archetypes does show something important:
Midrange is dominating the weekend. Over a third of the field is playing decks like Abzan Midrange, Red-Green Devotion, and newer flavors like Ojutai Jeskai. Megamorph decks – that is, those using the dynamic duo of Deathmist Raptor and Den Protector – range across the aggressive to more controlling spectrum, meaning seeing the two together doesn’t necessarily make the rest of the deck follow.
Another card that’s made a move this weekend is Dragonlord Ojutai. While it’s been a mainstay of the fallen-out-of-favor Esper Dragons control deck, others have taken it up as a new angle to going over the top. The Ojutai Jeskai decks use it over something like Elspeth, Sun's Champion as its top end; Bant decks generally include a copy or three to cap out its offensive potential, and seeing the white-blue Dragonlord shoehorned into Abzan builds means the Five-Color Dragons technology has trickled down into decks looking for an extra angle of attack.
On the aggressive side, Atarka Red – the mono-red deck sliding in Atarka's Commands and a copy or two of Become Immense – is in the same boat as the Heroic decks: outshined by the Abzan approach. Rakshasa Deathdealer and Heir of the Wilds alongside Fleecemane Lion is the core troops Abzan Aggro leads with, those the overlap with the megamorph package makes it a fuzzy math to tease out any exact numbers.
Standard is an interesting spot, providing a wide range of threats and plans for players to mix and match from. While that’s put a lot of pressure on control decks –often more things that need to be answered than what’s possible – it’s made the midrange bucket burst with potential. Whether that remained the case as we close in on Top 8 is the question every player is asking.