Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica Metagame Breakdown - Day One

Posted in Event Coverage on November 9, 2018

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.

Guilds of Ravnica came with rotation for Standard, shifting all eyes forward into the multicolor world of guilds—and the power of the gold cards that come with it. With big Magic Online, Grand Prix, and other premier competitive events yielding a new winning deck each week, players had their hands full picking a deck for Atlanta.

Here's where they ended up.

Archetype Count % of Meta
Golgari Midrange 113 22.2%
Red-White Aggro 81 15.9%
Izzet Drakes 66 12.9%
Mono-Red Aggro 64 12.5%
Jeskai Control 56 11.0%
Boros Angels 19 3.7%
Boros Aggro 18 3.5%
Mono-Blue Tempo 16 3.1%
Selesnya Tokens 13 2.5%
Dimir Control 9 1.8%
Grixis Control 9 1.8%
Turbo Fog 9 1.8%
Selesnya Midrange 8 1.6%
White Weenie 8 1.6%
Esper Control 5 1.0%
Abzan Midrange 3 0.6%
Jeskai Midrange 2 0.4%
Rainbow Lich 2 0.4%
Big Red 1 0.2%
Black-Red Aggro 1 0.2%
Green-White Aggro 1 0.2%
Jund Midrange 1 0.2%
Naya Angels 1 0.2%
Naya Ramp 1 0.2%
Red-Green Dinosaurs 1 0.2%
Sultai Control 1 0.2%
Sultai Midrange 1 0.2%

The greatest number of players opted for Golgari Midrange, followed closely by a range of aggressive strategies.

Although the top four decks represent two thirds of the field, they were far from the only options for the weekend.

  • Jeskai Control was the most popular flavor of control decks. While most builds opted for a variety of different counterspells, removal, and board sweepers, all the decks were built with a core of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria; Deafening Clarion; Settle the Wreckage; and Syncopate. The choice between stopping relevant threats with Ionize or going big with Expansion // Explosion ensures no two decks are exactly the same, but the plan to mop the field and stick Teferi is always there.
  • Boros Aggro is another aggressive flavor, this one focused on the ideal Boros curve of mentor cards. Boros Challenger, Legion Warboss, and Tajic, Legion's Edge are more challenging to cast than either curve in the more popular white- or red-based aggro decks, but the payoff of an army far larger than anything opponents play early can be worth it. Of course, access to Lightning Strike and other cards shared with other aggro decks rounds out a similar consistent package.
  • Jeskai Midrange also showed up, albeit in far lower numbers than its control cousin. While Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is still in the plan, a pile of creatures instead of control spells back up everyone's favorite white-blue planeswalker. Lyra Dawnbringer, Rekindling Phoenix, and Tocatli Honor Guard are all solid to overwhelm opponents. Then, depending on the removal cards of choice to back them up, they might be enough to get the job done without Teferi stealing the show.
  • Boros Angels had a moment in the spotlight during Grand Prix New Jersey, and it shines here too. Packed with amazing Angels—from Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice to Resplendent Angel and Lyra Dawnbringer—and powerful cards like History of Benalia, Boros Angels can race past opponents stuck on the ground.
  • Mono-Blue Tempo made a small splash, showing that speedy aggression isn't limited to red and white options. Siren Stormtamer and Mist-Cloaked Herald dodge right by most blockers other decks offer, and Curious Obsession, Dive Down, and Wizard's Retort as backup to refuel and protect attacking creatures lets this deck win before opponents can stabilize.
  • Selesnya Tokens takes a page from recent events too, and plays cards found nowhere else. Many of the white- and red- decks share a few powerful cards, even across aggressive, midrange and control strategies, Selesnya Tokens is almost all its own. Emmara, Soul of the Accord starts creating creatures early alongside Thorn Lieutenant and Saproling Migration, then Trostani Discordant and Shalai, Voice of Plenty arrive later to shore up the wide army. Of course, Selesnya still taps into some powerful cards other decks use too—Legion's Landing and History of Benalia are just too good to ignore.

Beyond these 10 decks lay many more surprising options to round out the remaining 10% of the metagame

  • Turbo Fog is still around. Nexus of Fate and Root Snare are still fiends thanks to the power of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria to loop forever.
  • Esper Control and Dimir Control offer different takes on control strategies. Focusing on powerful black cards like Vraska's Contempt or adding the threat of Nicol Bolas, the Ravager gives these decks plans others may not be prepared for.
  • Selesnya Midrange mixes tokens, Tyrants, and Angels together. As in a typical tokens deck, you'll find March of the Multitudes and similar token-friendly cards—but this deck also piles in things like Lyra Dawnbringer, Carnage Tyrant, Vivien Reid, and other mid-size creature power.
  • White Weenie is the classic white aggro trope. For more consistency than Red-White Aggro, cutting the red altogether makes a lean mana base that's easy to rely on. It also means trading off the reach and Boros-themed options red provides, which is something most aggro players opted not to do this weekend.
  • Rainbow Lich is perhaps the strangest—and most fun—deck in the room. Lich's Mastery opens up whole avenues of gameplay, including taking advantage of Chance for Glory to be more Time Walk than game loss. Playing everything from Gift of Paradise and Search for Azcanta to Settle the Wreckage and Discovery // Dispersal makes this deck both colorful and challenging to pilot. But when it fires on all cylinders, it's a sight to behold.

We'll check in against before Day Two kicks off tomorrow, but the field is full of decks that can close out a 5-0 Standard record for players today.

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