Day Two Modern Metagame Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on February 22, 2014

By Nate Price

A longtime member of the Pro Tour and Grand Prix coverage staff, Nate Price now works making beautiful words for all of you lovely people as the community manager for organized play. When not covering events, he lords over the @MagicProTour Twitter account, ruling with an iron fist.

Day One is in the books here at Pro Tour Born of the Gods! If you've been paying attention to the coverage, you know that only Michael Hetrick and his Living End deck ended up undefeated after a full day of play. There were a number of surprises on Day One, but Hetrick's rise to the top of the standings was not among them. After the banning of Deathrite Shaman, many of the graveyard-based decks in the format got a much needed reprieve and are well-positioned in the current view of Modern. Hetrick has been streaming Living End for the better part of a year, so he is very familiar with the deck. The combination is a recipe for success, as is evidenced by his incredible Day One run.

Beyond Hetrick, the rest of the Living End players in the room had a spectacular run as well. Of the fourteen players on the deck at the beginning of the tournament, a whopping twelve of them made it through to Day Two. That's among the best percentages of the decks that made Day Two. Here's the list of decks that made it through to play today:

Archetype Day Two # Day One #
Zoo 44 64
Twin 23 45
Melira Pod 21 33
W/U/R Flash 19 29
Hexproof Auras 18 24
Scapeshift 13 14
Affinity 12 22
Living End 12 14
Jund 10 27
Storm 9 12
Blue Moon 7 8
Kiki Pod 7 10
Merfolk 7 8
Burn 6 15
Infect 6 7
Tron 5 8
Amulet 4 5
W/U Control 3 5
Faeries 3 6
Other 22 30

There are some clear stars on the table above. First, the combo decks appear to have done incredibly well. Scapeshift had the highest number of players make it through to Day Two, and Living End was right behind it. Amulet decks helped four of their five pilots to Day Two berths as well, including Matthias Hunt, who picked up his first loss in the tournament during the final round of play yesterday. Merfolk and Infect had strong performances too, with only one player failing to make it through for each of those archetypes.

There were also a few negative movers in the transition to Day Two. The biggest loser on Day One was Jund, which should come as no surprise. It is an incredibly strong statement about the importance of Deathrite Shaman to the deck that a whopping 17 of 27 Jund players failed to make the cut. Affinity took a similar hit, with roughly half of the players playing the deck watching from the sidelines today. Burn and Splinter Twin also took massive hits, losing half of their pilots over the course of the day.

This data is a little skewed by the Limited rounds, which are almost certainly a big reason that Scapeshift had such a strong performance. It was one of the decks championed by Team ChannelFireball, which sports some of the best Limited players in the world. In fact, removing the Limited rounds from the equation actually makes a much worse case for Scapeshift.

Here are the win percentages for the decks in Day Two:

Archetype Win %
W/U Control 75.6%
Faeries 73.3%
Storm 69.9%
Blue Moon 65.7%
Twin 64.6%
Burn 63.3%
Living End 62.8%
W/U/R Flash 62.5%
Hexproof Auras 62.2%
Affinity 61.7%
Melira Pod 60%
Merfolk 57.1%
Infect 56.7%
Scapeshift 55.4%
Kiki Pod 54.3%
Jund 54%
Zoo 50.6%
Amulet 50%
Tron 48%

As you can see, Modern appears to be very kind to Island decks. W/U Control was one of the biggest winners on Day One. Though it only managed to put three of the five players piloting it into Day Two, those three players picked up a massive 75.6% win rate on their way. Faeries was another big surprise winner. Only three of the six Faeries players made it to Day Two (Shouta Yasooka, Joel Larsson, and Alex Sittner), but they did so with a resounding number of wins. Most of the teams appeared to write Faeries off, but this trio is showing why that might not have been the best idea.

The deck that most of the players in the tournament did settle on as one of the best actually ended up as one of the worst performers: Zoo. Admittedly, Zoo is a victim of a large sample pool, but it still ended up with one of the worst win percentages over the course of the day. It compromises a similar percentage of the field to what it did on Day One, but it looks like most of the players who ended up cracking the Day Two barrier with Zoo limped their way across the finish line.

Another surprising number from the bottom of the table is the laughable performance by Tron. Five players managed to make it through to Day Two, and they almost certainly did so by virtue of having done well in Limited. They ended up with records of 3-2, 3-2, 2-3, 2-3, and 2-3, totaling the lowest win percentage of any deck in the field. This is unsurprising considering the role of the deck in the format. Tron was always one of the checks and balances to Jund's dominance in the field, as it was one of the few decks that actually had a favorable match-up against Jund. Now that Jund is, shall we say...weaker, Tron has correspondingly gotten weaker. In addition, Tron's worst match-ups, the fast combo decks, actually got better with the decline of Jund. This combination appears to have resulted in Tron being a somewhat questionable choice for this event.

Here are a few other interesting tidbits from the Day Two data:

Highest Win Percentage (of decks with more than one pilot):

Ad Nauseum (4.5 wins 5-0, 4-1)

Lowest Win Percentage (of decks with more than one pilot):

Tron (2.4 wins 3-2, 2-3, 2-3, 2-3, 3-2)

Interesting "Other" Decks That Made Day Two:

B/G Obliterator (Reid Duke and Matt Costa)

Gifts Control (Nico Bohny)

Krark-Clan Ironworks (Taisuke Ishii)

MonoBlack Control (Arjan van Leeuwen)

Restore Balance (Alfonso Barcelona Cabeza)

W/R Planeswalkers (Alexandre Aurejac)

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