Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir Standard Metagame Breakdown

Posted in PRO TOUR DRAGONS OF TARKIR on April 10, 2015

By Tobi Henke

The Dragons of Tarkir have descended upon Brussels for the Pro Tour and, as Dragons typically do, they immediately made their presence felt. Nevertheless, the top two archetypes in the field—Red Aggro and Abzan Aggro—managed to get by without any main deck Dragons at all. Immediately following that, however, we have Red-Green Dragons which, as the name kind-of implies, includes quite a number of them. By our count, this archetype alone accounts for more than 300 actual Dragon cards in the tournament's main decks.

And those aren't the only Dragons in attendance. Check out the complete breakdown of the 408 Standard decks below:

Deck Names # Played % of Field
Red Aggro 47 11.5
Abzan Aggro 41 10.0
Red-Green Dragons 36 8.8
Blue-Black Control 32 7.8
Abzan Control 25 5.9
Green-White Devotion 22 5.4
Jeskai Aggro 21 5.1
Jeskai Tokens 21 5.1
Sidisi-Whip 19 4.7
Abzan Midrange 16 3.9
Green Devotion with Red 15 3.7
Mardu Dragons 13 3.2
White-Blue Heroic 11 2.7
Green-White Aggro 11 2.7
Mardu Midrange 6 1.5
Naya Midrange 6 1.5
Red-Green Bees 6 1.5
Abzan Whip 7 1.7
Esper Control 6 1.5
Jeskai Dragons 6 1.5
Red-White Aggro 6 1.5
Chromantiflayer 5 1.2
Jeskai Ascendancy Combo 5 1.2
Atarka Abzan 4 1.0
Black-Green Constellation 4 1.0
Temur 4 1.0
Red Devotion 2 0.5
Rally the Ancestors 2 0.5
Blue-Red Dragons 2 0.5
White-Blue Control 2 0.5
Jund Dragons 1 0.2
Black-Red Aggro 1 0.2
Blue-Red Control 1 0.2
Four-Color Control 1 0.2
Sultai Control 1 0.2
Green Devotion with Blue 1 0.2
Total:  408 100.0

A couple of things to note here:

  • More than half of the Red Aggro decks, namely 24, featured a bit of green. All of these had four copies of Atarka's Command, but a few also added a single Become Immense.
  • The Blue-Black Control contingent includes five decklists with a sizeable Dragon component to get full value out of things like Silumgar's Scorn, Foul-Tongue Invocation, and-or Dragonlord's Prerogative as well as nine with a tiny splash of white for two or three copies of Dragonlord Ojutai. Two of the decks even made it into both of these categories. Decks with more white, and consequently an appreciably different game plan including way more Planeswalkers, are listed separately as Esper Control.
  • One of the Green-White Devotion decks featured a miniscule splash of red for Dragonlord Atarka.
  • Most of the decks in the Green Devotion with Red category only had five red cards and those weren't even non-green, but in fact Xenagos, the Reveler and Dragonlord Atarka. Seven of the lists, however, included a heavier red component, usually Crater's Claws, and sometimes even Lightning Strike.
  • While all of the Mardu Dragons prominently featured, well, Dragons, with some Foul-Tongue Invocations or Draconic Roars to boot, their pilots were split whether the deck should be aggressive or more of a control strategy. Five of the lists had definite markings of a control deck with Dragons being the only creatures, whereas the others went the aggro route.
  • White-Blue Heroic usually came with a small four-card splash. For seven of them, it was green and Dromoka's Command, while three dabbled in red for Temur Battle Rage.
  • Green-White Aggro includes three decks built with and around Collected Company. Another one was a somewhat more midgame-oriented affair with a tiny splash for, again, Dragonlord Ojutai.
  • Almost all of the Naya Midrange decks, five of the six, were in fact Naya Planeswalker decks, running up to twelve representatives of the card type!
  • One Black-Green Constellation deck came with a bit of red, again for Dragonlord Atarka, while another was crossing over into Abzan territory.
  • One of the Red-White Aggro decks, while clearly being aggressive, was notable for its abundance of token generators (Raise the Alarm, Hordeling Outburst, Goblin Rabblemaster, and Secure the Wastes) helped along by Dictate of Heliod and, again, four splashed Atarka's Commands.

In summary, every aggressive deck is at least looking longingly at Atarka's Command. Everyone who can cast or reanimate or cheat it onto the battlefield some other way (via See the Unwritten) wants Dragonlord Atarka, and blue players everywhere as well as some otherwise non-blue players will go to great lengths to summon Dragonlord Ojutai. The influence of Dragons of Tarkir goes far beyond Red-Green Dragons, further even than the actual Dragons of the set. Dragons of Tarkir has changed the face of Standard in lots of different ways.