Day Two Modern Metagame Breakdown

Posted in PRO TOUR FATE REFORGED on February 7, 2015

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

While the metagames at Pro Tours are always a little skewed, given the clustering of elite players from around the world, taking a look is always an interesting exercise. From our first glance yesterday we discovered several things:

  • Abzan came in force, pulling in nearly thirty percent of decks all players brought and existing in several distinct flavors.
  • Fast, aggressive decks followed up behind the Abzan menace: Burn, Affinity, Infect, Zoo, and others hovering at ten percent or less. Rolling up all Splinter Twin varieties showed some modest resurgence of the blue-red combo in the wave of Delver of Secrets decks falling away.
  • Combo decks, like Pyromancer Ascension and Scapeshift, were decidedly unpopular.

Making the cut for Day Two for a player isn't just performance in Modern, however. Looking at the breakdown of all archetypes means the Draft rounds influenced the counts, but this is what players will be facing:

Archetype Count % of Metagame
Abzan 73 28.30%
Burn 32 12.40%
Infect 19 7.40%
Affinity 17 6.60%
Zoo 14 5.40%
Blue-Red Twin 13 5.00%
Red-Green Tron 8 3.10%
Scapeshift 8 3.10%
Jund 7 2.70%
Storm 6 2.30%
White-Black Tokens 6 2.30%
Amulet Bloom 5 1.90%
Grixis Twin 5 1.90%
Jeskai Control 5 1.90%
Living End 5 1.90%
Merfolk 5 1.90%
Faeries 4 1.60%
Jund Loam 3 1.20%
Black-Green 2 0.80%
Mono-Blue Tron 2 0.80%
Soul Sisters 2 0.80%
Tarmo Twin 2 0.80%
Green-White Hatebears 2 0.80%
Ad Nauseam 1 0.40%
Doran 1 0.40%
Dredgevine 1 0.40%
Elves 1 0.40%
Four-Color Control 1 0.40%
Four-Color Zur 1 0.40%
Hexproof 1 0.40%
Martyr of Sands 1 0.40%
Sultai 1 0.40%
Sultai Delver 1 0.40%
The Aristocrats 1 0.40%
Through the Breach 1 0.40%
White-Blue Control 1 0.40%
TOTAL 258 100.00%

At a glance some things emerge:

  • Abzan, while still the largest chunk of the field, was flat across days. Most other played-by-at-least-several-players decks, such as Burn, Affinity, Infect, Scapeshift, Tron, and Twin of all varieties combined maintained their presence.
  • Zoo fell a full percent, perhaps indicating it's the weakest of the aggressive archetypes players tried to fit under the Abzan menace.
  • The biggest losses came in the variety of one-of or two-of player choices. While the Modern metagame is wide, pressure from more popular (and arguably more powerful) decks squeezed out more esoteric options.

Rolling things up makes this clear:

Archetype Count % of Metagame
Abzan 73 28.30%
Burn 32 12.40%
Twin 20 7.80%
Infect 19 7.40%
Affinity 17 6.60%
Zoo 14 5.40%
Other 83 32.20%

Of course, what's also fascinating is how archetypes performed as groups through the five Modern rounds yesterday:

Archetype Count Match Win Rate
Doran 1 80.00%
White-Blue Control 1 80.00%
Amulet Bloom 5 72.00%
Tarmo Twin 2 70.00%
Infect 19 69.50%
Living End 5 68.00%
Grixis Twin 5 64.00%
Burn 32 63.80%
Affinity 17 63.50%
Soul Sisters 2 63.30%
Abzan 73 62.60%
Blue-Red Twin 13 61.00%
Black-Green 2 60.00%
Dredgevine 1 60.00%
Four-Color Zur 1 60.00%
Hexproof 1 60.00%
Martyr of Sands 1 60.00%
Mono-Blue Tron 2 60.00%
Scapeshift 8 60.00%
Sultai Delver 1 60.00%
The Aristocrats 1 60.00%
Through the Breach 1 60.00%
White-Black Tokens 6 60.00%
White-Green Hatebears 2 60.00%
Red-Green Tron 8 57.50%
Faeries 4 56.70%
Jeskai Control 5 53.30%
Storm 6 53.30%
Zoo 14 52.90%
Merfolk 5 52.00%
Jund Loam 3 48.90%
Jund 7 45.70%
Four-Color Control 1 40.00%
Sultai 1 40.00%
Ad Nauseam 1 20.00%
Elves 1 20.00%

The average win rate of everyone in Day Two across the Modern rounds is sixty percent, so looking above and below that line is where eyebrows begin to waggle towards conclusions:

  • Zoo, indeed, underperformed as an archetype group on Day One. Historically popular Jeskai Control also looked weak against the field. Jund, once the premier disruption deck, similarly underperformed here.
  • Of the aggressive decks (with enough players to confidently say something), Infect pulled in almost a 70% match win rate. Being the deck of choice for one of the powerhouse teams of the weekend certainly helped that number, however.
  • Splinter Twin decks in general are also doing well, with Tarmogoyf and Tasigur, the Golden Fang variants pulling ahead of the traditional configuration.
  • Living End, a deck off the radar, and Amulet Bloom seem to be flourishing. With players testing and deciding Golgari Grave-Troll didn't change the graveyard game, Living End is preying on a reduced focus of sideboard answers. Amulet Bloom didn't need any of the cards that fell off the format and demonstrated surprising performance to make it to the final of Grand Prix Omaha a few weeks ago.

With the race to Top 8 closing in, we can only watch as the players sort out the final answers with the last Saturday rounds of Pro Tour Fate Reforged.

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