Day Two Standard Metagame Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on August 7, 2016

By Marc Calderaro

Oh boy howdy, did we learn a lot from the first day! We came in looking at all the new decks that could do well, but also at the potentially scary Bant Company numbers—nineteen percent as a distinct archetype, with 24% of total decks using Collected Company.

However, the numbers have borne out and the results so far are in. Before we look at the big chart, let's just look at one line:

Archetype # in Day 2 # in Day 1 Conversion Rate
Bant Company 31 58 53.4%
PAR 185 302 61.3%

Bant Company did atrociously. As did Green-White Tokens, though from an admittedly much smaller sample size.

Archetype # in Day 2 # in Day 1 Conversion Rate
Green-White Tokens 6 14 42.9%

PAR

185 302 61.3%

Even the old standard, White-Black Control, barely eked out par.

Archetype # in Day 2 # in Day 1 Conversion Rate
White-Black Control 13 21 61.9%
PAR 185 302 61.3%

All right, no more hiding the ball. If these decks performed poorly, what performed well? Here's the graph.

Archetype # in Day 2 # in Day 1 Conversion Rate
Black-Green Delirium 32 37 86.5%
Bant Company 31 58 53.4%
Four-Color Emerge 13 17 76.5%
White-Black Control 13 21 61.9%
Blue-Black Zombies 11 19 57.9%
Temur Emerge ("Temurge") 11 17 64.7%
Jund Delirium 10 12 83.3%
Black-Green Midrange 7 12 58.3%
Red-Green Ramp 7 8 87.5%
Green-White Tokens 6 14 42.9%
Legendary Naya 5 6 83.3%
Sultai Control 5 6 83.3%
Bant Spirits 4 6 66.7%
Red-Green Delirium Ramp 4 5 80.0%
Blue-Black Madness 3 4 75.0%
White-Blue Spirits 3 7 42.9%
Bant Eldrazi Rites 2 3 66.7%
Green-Blue Emerge 2 2 100.0%
Mono-White Humans 2 4 50.0%
Zomb-Emerge 2 4 50.0%
Abzan Control 1 2 50.0%
Abzan Seasons Past 1 1 100.0%
Bant Humans 1 2 50.0%
Black-Green Seasons Past 1 2 50.0%
Blue-Red Fevered Visions 1 3 33.3%
Esper Control 1 1 100.0%
Legendary Red-White 1 1 100.0%
Mono-Blue Engulf 1 2 50.0%
Mono-Red Aggro 1 1 100.0%
Mono-Red Eldrazi 1 1 100.0%
Mono-Red Goggles 1 3 33.3%
Red-White Goggles 1 1 100.0%
Total / Par 185 302 61.3%

There is a lot going on here for certain. And a lot to break down, into what this all means. So let's start at the top.

Black-Green Delirium

The best-performing deck by far was Black-Green Delirium—the deck that looks to dump a bunch of cards in the graveyard, recur them (usually with Liliana, the Last Hope), and often end with a giant Emrakul, the Promised End. They come in many stripes, but where to split the hairs is a mite difficult. Some are bigger, some are lower to the ground. Certainly a big divide is those that play Grim Flayer and those that play Grapple with the Past. But even then, the more "aggressive" versions are running creatures like Sylvan Advocate and Den Protector—not exactly the get-on-in-there grapplers of aggro fame.

 

There were 23 Black-Green Delirium decks with Grim Flayers, and nine without. It looked like both the Team East-West Bowl deck (though some were also on Temur Emerge or, yes, "Temurge") and the Face to Face Games deck had the Flayers. While the bigger versions—usually with just Ishkanah, Grafwidow; Nissa, Vastwood Seer; and maybe some Mindwrack Demons as creatures (outside of the giant Emrakul, the Promised End, of course)—opted for the more durdley Grapple with the Past.

This also comes in the Jund variety—which also did quite well—that is usually splashing for things like Fiery Impulse in the main and other red goodies in the sideboard.

Which version will prove the better, we're yet to see, but the versions combined are dominating the Pro Tour in general. They have a combined conversion rate of 85.7%.

Four-Color "Emerge"

The next breakout is the deck that's currently called Four-Color Emerge. This is admittedly an imperfect title, and here's why—nailing it down to a simple essence is difficult, and not everyone is running the same thing. Though most of the players seem to be on long-lost Australian Dan Unwin's version of the list, a few are running lists inspired by mad genius Akira Asahara's deck from a tournament last week in Japan. The story goes that Asahara scratched down the deck, then registered it never having played a game with it. He then only lost one game in the Swiss rounds—to a deck registration error.

To try to give a glimpse as to what the deck is doing...it's a lot. Use Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, Noose Constrictor, Gather the Pack, and Grapple with the Past to fill the graveyard. Then reanimate Haunted Dead (hopefully discarding Kozilek's Return or something sufficiently spicy in the process), and get back all your Prized Amalgams.

From there, you can do anything. Sometimes you should find and emerge a Decimator of the Provinces or Elder Deep-Fiend thanks to 4 Traverse the Ulvenwalds; sometimes, you should Ishkanah, Grafwidow and recur it for tons of Spiders; sometimes you should Emrakul; sometimes, you just attack with a bunch of Zombies and Spirits.

Though the deck truly leverages Prized Amalgam, and perhaps the deck should be called "Four-Color Amalgam" (as that's also a perfect descriptor of the deck itself—a stitched-together, loosely tied collection of wonder), but a few of the decks don't even play the Amalgam!

Though we're still grappling with the future of this deck, it's clear it's made a splash here. Look for Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw's article about the deck coming later today.

Temur Emerge ("Temurge")

For those not quite as daring as the four-color chaps, perhaps Temur Emerge is more your speed. Though there are a couple different ways to do it, the main goal is to sacrifice things for value (often Primal Druid, Matter Reshaper, Pilgrim's Eye, etc.) to gain even more value (Lashweed Lurker, Elder Deep-Fiend, Wretched Gryff, etc.). Kozilek's Return is a prerequisite for this deck, though other red cards—or even Mountains—are not. Some are much faster out of the gate, only using Emrakul, the Promised End in the sideboard. Others are more all-in the Emrakul plan. Though those can win with the Wretched Gryff, it's usually just buying time for big daddy, or big mama...or big non-binary-gendered old god...or, never mind.

 

This deck did not perform as well as either of the previous two, and I've been told can be quite difficult to play, but is it fun.

Red-Green Ramp-ish

The last divide is between the Japanese players' red-green and the Pantheon red-green. The divider is the delirium angle, and a stronger commitment to "ramp" strategies. One deck plays Vessel of Nascency, Grapple with the Past, and Gather the Pack, along with Hedron Crawler and Hedron Archive to "ramp" into Emrakul, the Promised End, Worldbreaker, Dragonlord Atarka, etc.

 

The other is more committed to churning through its deck. Tormenting Voice, Chandra, Flamecaller, and a full suite of Collective Defiances fill the graveyard via red card draw, rather than with the traditional green cards.

They both performed well, despite some smaller numbers played.

Takeaways

What are the biggest takeaways from all this analysis? There is one, giant, huge, massive, hulking, ententacled one: Emrakul, the Promised End is good. Real good. Its gravitational mass has warped everything around it, and now it's up to the metagame to adjust accordingly.

Many saw this coming, as you can see from sideboards. Eldrazi Obligator, Infinite Obliteration, ad infinitum. Some people went so far as to come back around. We've even seen some Coax from the Blind Eternities to get back Emrakul when it's been exiled. Emrakul is real.

So is Ishkanah, Grafwidow. The two seem to go hand in hand. They must be friends, discussing the similarities and differences of having many legs and many tentacles.

Oh, and don't forget about Liliana, the Last Hope. This card currently does everything Standard wants it to do. It's creature removal; it's graveyard-filling; it's grinding by recurring creatures. It's just the bee's knees.

Next, it looks like Kozilek's Return has momentarily sent Company decks to the slaughter. Bant Company, though still strong and with a lot of game, doesn't appear quite as safe as it once was.

So that's the scene from here. There's always some draft-record skewing of the Day Two metagame at Pro Tours. The people in Day Two didn't always do well in Constructed, but it's certainly a strong indicator of the shape of punk to come.

For one final chart, I just organized the Top 10 most-played Day One archetypes, then arranged it by its conversion rate into Day Two. It tells a good amount of the story by itself.

Archetype # in Day 2 # in Day 1 Conversion Rate
Red-Green Ramp

7

8

87.5%

Black-Green Delirium

32

37

86.5%

Jund Delirium

10

12

83.3%

Four-Color Emerge

13

17

76.5%

Temur Emerge

11

17

64.7%

White-Black Control

13

21

61.9%

Par

185

302

61.3%

Black-Green Midrange

7

12

58.3%

Blue-Black Zombies

11

19

57.9%

Bant Company

31

58

53.4%

Green-White Tokens

6

14

42.9%

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