Pro Tour Born of the Gods Modern Metagame Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on February 21, 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.

The Deck lists have been finalized, and the numbers have been tabulated. Here's the Pro Tour Born of the Gods-edition Metagame Breakdown!

With a total of 396 players checking in, there are an absurd 42 different archetypes represented in the field, some being run by a maverick pilot, others with the support of half a continent behind them. Before I get into breaking them down, here are the numbers:

Archetype Number of Players Percentage of the field
Zoo 64 16.16%
Twin 45 11.36%
Melira Pod 33 8.33%
W/U/R Flash 29 7.32%
Jund 27 6.81%
Hexproof Auras 24 6.06%
Affinity 22 5.55%
Burn 15 3.78%
Scapeshift 14 3.53%
Living End 14 3.53%
Storm 12 3.03%
WUR Control 10 2.52%
Kiki Pod 10 2.52%
Merfolk 8 2.02%
Blue Moon 8 2.02%
Tron 8 2.02%
Infect 7 1.76%
Faeries 6 1.51%
Amulet 5 1.26%
W/U Control 5 1.26%
Other 30 7.57%

As you can see, Zoo is the biggest deck in the field, and that comes as a surprise to absolutely no one. Already a deck likely to see a reasonable amount of play in Modern, the reintegration of Wild Nacatl into the deck once again pushes it into that elite tier status, and players have been desperately awaiting the chance to play their kittens in Modern. There are three major variants of the deck being played this weekend, and here is the breakdown of their appearance:

Archetype Number of Players Percentage of the field
Naya 34 53.12%
Domain 24 37.5%
CounterCat 6 9.38%

It's a neck-and-neck race between the spectrum of pure Naya decks and those brave souls opting to dip into a fourth or fifth color. The basic tri-color build has a narrow edge, but it remains to be seen whether consistency or power was the proper way to go. Bringing up the rear is the anachronistic CounterCat deck, something we haven't seen since the early days of Modern. One of the big reasons for CounterCat's near extinction is the resurgence of Merfolk, which attacks the format in the same way, but happens to be much stronger due to Master of Waves and Thassa, God of the Sea.

The second biggest deck in the field actually is a bit of a surprise: Splinter Twin. Now, this isn't to say that Twin isn't one of the best decks in the format (it is), or that it doesn't belong near the top (it does), it's just that the smart money coming into this event was that one of the Pod variants would be more played than Twin. As is usually the case in things like this, the smart money was clearly wrong. Here's the breakdown of the Twin variants being played here:

Archetype Number of Players Percentage of the field
U/R/W 22 48.89%
U/R 20 44.44%
U/R/G 2 4.44%
U/R/B 1 2.22%

In addition to the traditionally-seen U/R and U/R/w versions of the deck, there are a few brave souls thinking outside of the box. The version splashing green is touching it for Tarmogoyf, among other things, presenting a shell very similar to the Next Level Blue decks of several years ago. The black version is actually a Grixis control shell that has wedged the Twin combo into it as a win condition.

Past these decks, the story is pretty much as expected. Melira Pod and W/U/R Flash are obviously big players. Jund is proving that it has some supporters despite the loss of its best card in Deathrite Shaman. Hexproof Auras is seeing a spike in popularity after Reid Duke's amazing success with the deck at the World Championship this last year. All of the other major players are still there.

The one additional interesting wrinkle in this list is the incredibly cool Blue Moon deck being piloted by many members of Team MTG Mint Card. Running a basic U/R control shell, the deck is aggressively attacking the mana bases of the format with cards like Blood Moon and Spreading Seas. In addition to the already vulnerable mana bases present in Modern, the resurgence of Zoo yields yet another deck that can easily fall prey to the efforts to attack its mana. To follow these control elements up, Master of Waves and Batterskull provide the offense needed to finish the game. This is one of the most innovative new decks that Modern has seen in a while, and it will be interesting to see if it has what it takes to be a major player in Modern moving forward, or if its appearance here at the Pro Tour is a flash in the pan.

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