Day Two Archetype Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on May 3, 2015

By Marc Calderaro

There are tons of things going on in Dragons of Tarkir Standard. This time of season in the Standard format is always exciting. The main archetypes might be sketched out, but the final, evolved forms require more shuffling around. As currently undefeated Brad Nelson said, though we’ve seen the first version of this format’s “Geist of Saint Traft” deck, or “Restoration Angel” deck, we’ve yet to find that dominant, finished deck we all look back on.

After Grand Prix Krakow, many people were relating Esper Dragons to the Caw Blade deck of old. But, as many players told me, the current build of Esper Dragons is “easily beatable,” as long as you tune your deck to face it. Perhaps Grand Prix Toronto will be the remembered as the Grand Prix that quashed the Caw Blade rumors. Esper Dragons is not even the most-played archetype in the Day 2 field, but it’s close.  Speaking of, let’s take a look at the big chart:

Archetype # %

Abzan Aggro

29

15.7%

Esper Dragons

27

14.6%

Atarka Red Aggro

25

13.5%

Bant Megamorph

12

6.5%

Abzan Megamorph

11

5.9%

Abzan Midrange

7

3.8%

Mono-Red Aggro

7

3.8%

Mardu Dragons

6

3.2%

Red-Green Dragons

6

3.2%

Bant Heroic

5

2.7%

Jeskai Tokens

4

2.2%

Temur Monsters

4

2.2%

Green-White Collected Company

4

2.2%

Blue-Black Control

3

1.6%

Red-Green Monsters

2

1.1%

5C Rally the Ancestors

2

1.1%

Red-Green Aggro

2

1.1%

White-Black Warriors

2

1.1%

Green-White Devotion

2

1.1%

4C Megamorph

1

0.5%

5C Blue Dragons

1

0.5%

Abzan Warriors

1

0.5%

Abzan Whip

1

0.5%

Black-Green Metamorph

1

0.5%

Black-Red Aggro

1

0.5%

Black-Red Midrange

1

0.5%

Blue-Red Ensoul Artifact

1

0.5%

Esper Control

1

0.5%

Jeskai

1

0.5%

Jeskai Dragons

1

0.5%

Jund Dragons

1

0.5%

Naya Heroic

1

0.5%

Naya Megamorph

1

0.5%

Red-Green Atarka Ramp

1

0.5%

Red-Green Megamorph

1

0.5%

Sidisi Whip

1

0.5%

Sultai Megamorph

1

0.5%

Sultai Midrange

1

0.5%

Temur Aggro

1

0.5%

White-Blue Control

1

0.5%

White-Blue Heroic

1

0.5%

White-Blue Midrange

1

0.5%

White-Blue-red Heroic

1

0.5%

Green-White Megamorph

1

0.5%

This is a huge, cumbersome chart, so here’re the main points:

Collected Archetypes #

Red Aggro

32

Abzan Aggro

29

Esper Dragons

27

Other Abzan

20

Red-Green Decks

12

ALL Non-Esper-Dragons Control

6

Aggro is the most successful archetype by far. Combined, the top two aggressive archetypes make up one-third of the field. It’s clear that people have found a solution to the current build of Esper Dragons.

But maybe this is because many of the control decks were skewing towards the mirror matches. Some players were cutting numbers of Bile Blights and the like to get in cards like Dragonlord’s Prerogative. As Matt Costa said about that, “All day. Keep bringing them in all day.” Costa is sporting one of those aggressive strategies, as you could probably tell.

Additionally, the fact that only six control decks were not Esper Dragons, shows the state of the other control decks. The field is pushing them out, and that Hexproof card-drawer rules the controlling skies.

Here’s another story around these parts:

Megamorph Archetypes #

Bant Megamorph

12

Abzan Megamorph

11

Green-White Collected Company

4

Black-Green Metamorph

1

Naya Megamorph

1

Red-Green Megamorph

1

Sultai Megamorph

1

Green-White Megamorph

1

Total Number:

32

What we’ve been calling “Megamorph” are the decks with the Den Protector/Deathmist Raptor package—usually seen sporting the full eight copies. Green-White Collected Company also sports the package, but is skewed more towards the powerful instant, so the title is slightly misleading.

The most-established variant of the MMs had been Abzan Megamorph, but that was displaced, barely, by the Bant Megamorph deck. The new kid on the block gets to sport things like Mastery of the Unseen for the extra card-flipping goodness. And there are other variations out there. That package can go in basically every color combination that includes Forests.

This development at least partially explains the rise of Abzan Aggro, as they get to play Anafenza, the Foremost on time, all the time. Stopping Megamorph’s gross recursion engine is the key to keeping it in check.

The Esper Dragons scare has produced a very clear aggressive reaction. The coming weeks will show how the control decks can retaliate. But for today, who is best prepared for what actually happened, rather than what people thought would happen? We’ll find out by this evening.

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