Day Two Archetypes

Posted in Event Coverage on February 22, 2015

By Marc Calderaro

There were over a thousand players battling to make the second day, and now the field has narrowed to about one tenth of that number. Players coming back today have at least 21 points under their belts, so it’s safe to say their decks—or at least their piloting skills—have some merit. There are 28 different archetypes with at least one advocate in second day, and 17 with at least two. No one ever said Modern wasn’t diverse.

What does the metagame for the second day look like? I’m glad you asked:

Archetype # of Players % of D2 Field
Abzan 21 17.65%
Splinter Twin 19 15.97%
Affinity 13 10.92%
Burn 12 10.08%
Infect 9 7.56%
Merfolk 5 4.20%
White-Black Tokens 4 3.36%
Wilt-Leaf Abzan 4 3.36%
Living End 3 2.52%
Scapeshift 3 2.52%
Temur Twin 3 2.52%
Amulet Bloom 2 1.68%
Hexproof 2 1.68%
Jund 2 1.68%
White-Green Tron 2 1.68%
White Weenie 2 1.68%
Naya Zoo 2 1.68%
Black-Green Death Cloud 1 0.84%
Mono-Blue Tron 1 0.84%
Dredgevine 1 0.84%
Elves! 1 0.84%
Grixis Delver 1 0.84%
Jeskai Control 1 0.84%
Martyr of Sands 1 0.84%
Mono-Green Devotion 1 0.84%
Norin Sisters 1 0.84%
Red-Green Devotion 1 0.84%
Storm 1 0.84%

The first two things you notice are unsurprising. Abzan decks are the #1 most represented deck—however none of their pilots are undefeated. They make up about 18% of the field, which is much less than at Pro Tour Fate Reforged. Though, if you fold in the Wilt-Leaf Abzan variant (I wouldn’t), that number goes up to about 21%. And if you collapse those archetypes, Miguel Sumulong’s Wilt-Leaf Abzan does give Abzan one perfect record.

But Wilt-Leaf Abzan is it’s own thing. It’s a stone cold Abzan killer. The discard spells from Abzan are meaningless at best and suicidal at worst against a deck with a suite of Loxodon Smiter and Wilt-Leaf Liege. Not to mention, the Liege pumps the Lingering Souls tokens, so regular old Abzan can’t even win in the air.

There is a likely reason for the downtick in Abzan percentage points—Splinter Twin. Jumping from basically no representation at Pro Tour Fate Reforged to the #2 slot here, Splinter Twin has found more friends since it took two pilots to the Pro Tour Top 8 lights.

Most pros said Splinter Twin wasn’t well positioned in Modern, and it’s actual match-win percentage wasn’t good in Washington, D.C. But apparently players learned the wrong lesson, and learned it well. The top Day 1 finisher with the deck is Dan Lanthier at 8-0-1. So perhaps the pros didn’t have quite the handle on the metagame they thought; or maybe the Grand Prix field is just a totally different beast.

After those first two big things, again, Affinity, Burn, and Infect are neck and neck and neck as the “aggro/combo” deck of choice. It’s easy to tune a sideboard to beat either two of those guys, but the third is tough, so all three decks benefit.

The next four archetypes are the decks with the most room to grow in upcoming Grand Prix events. Merfolk, White-Black Tokens, Wilt-Leaf Abzan, and Living End all have fierce advocates and seem to be gaining steam. The Stanislav Cifka tokens build that Team Well Played brought to the Pro Tour might have been a little ahead of its time then, but winning the Lingering Souls war, while keeping constant pressure on an opponent, might be the future of Modern. If it is, expect to see that number go up and up in the coming months.

It’s also good to see Living End with some representation. About as many players made Day 2 with the deck as people even brought to the Pro Tour. Apparently the power of a three-mana, instant-speed, mass-reanimating Wrath of God is decent in the format.

There are tons of archetypes here—Norin the Wary has shown his face in Day 2, and there is at least one transformational Gifts Ungiven sideboard floating around. Abzan and Splinter Twin are fighting for the top two spots, but they both have weak points. Which deck will reign supreme in Vancouver? We’ll find out over the next few rounds!

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