DAY 1 METAGAME BREAKDOWN

Posted in PRO TOUR MAGIC 2015 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on August 1, 2014

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.

Standard is finally complete. The addition of Magic 2015 to the format has pushed its size to the biggest it's been in years, and the addition of this year's Pro Tour synced with it means we get to see how the game's greatest handle it.

Coming into the weekend there were months of Standard events to look at to find the top performers. The monster on everyone's mind was Black Devotion, the powerful deck that drains life with Gray Merchant of Asphodel and can splash in powerful non-black cards such as Elspeth, Sun's Champion. The deck's resilience and power kept it near the top of Top 8 representation at Grand Prix, and in the sights (and hands) of this weekend's players.

Of course, decks like Blue Devotion (featuring Master of Waves and a previous Pro Tour victory this season), White-Red Burn (a recent standout capable of overwhelming devotion and control decks alike), White-Black Midrange (another standout deck from the previous Standard Pro Tour this year), and every flavor of White-Blue Control and Red-Green Monsters you can imagine have been discussed as well.

This is what the players decided to bring today:

Row Labels Total
Black Devotion 61
White-Black Midrange 39
Blue Devotion 32
Esper Control 31
White-Red Burn 24
White-Blue Control 23
Green Devotion 18
Jund Monsters 17
White-Green Aggro 16
Jund Planeswalkers 10
Rabble Red 9
Red-Green Monsters 8
Red Aggro 7
White-Red Aggro 7
Black-Green Midrange 6
Naya Hexproof 5
Bant Control 4
Black Aggro 4
Naya Monsters 4
Naya Aggro 3
Naya Midrange 3
Naya Planeswalkers 3
Slivers 3
Black-Green Aggro 2
Blue-White Control 2
Jund Midrange 2
Red Burn 2
Red Devotion 2
White-Black Aggro 2
Bant Midrange 1
Black-Green Reanimator 1
Black-Red Burn 1
Green-White Tokens 1
Junk Reanimator 1
Maze's End 1
Red-Green Aggro 1
White-Green Midrange 1
White-Blue-Red Control 1
Black-Green Stockpile 1

However, just a dump like this isn't as helpful as seeing contextual percentages and grouped archetypes. Fortunately, we've got you covered:

Archetype Subtype Total % of Field
Black Devotion Splash White 3 0.8%
Splash Green 8 2.2%
Splash Red 1 0.3%
Base 49 13.6%
Total 78 21.7%
White-Blue Control Esper 31 8.6%
Bant 4 1.1%
White-Blue-Red 1 0.3%
Base 23 6.4%
Total 59 16.4%
Aggro Rabble Red 9 2.5%
Red 7 1.9%
White-Red 7 1.9%
Black 4 1.1%
White-Green 16 4.5%
Naya 3 0.8%
Other 3 0.8%
Total 49 13.6%
Midrange White-Black 22 6.1%
Black-Green 6 1.7%
Naya 3 0.8%
Jund 2 0.6%
Other 2 0.6%
Total 35 9.7%
Blue Devotion Splash Red 2 0.6%
30 8.4%
Total 32 8.9%
Red-Green Monsters Jund 17 4.7%
Naya 4 1.1%
Base 8 2.2%
Total 29 8.1%
Green Devotion Splash Black 6 1.7%
Splash Red 3 0.8%
Splash Blue 2 0.6%
Base 7 1.9%
Total 18 5.0%
Planeswalkers Jund 10 2.8%
Naya 3 0.8%
Total 13 3.6%
Burn White-Red Burn 4 1.1%
Red Burn 2 0.6%
Black-Red 1 0.3%
Total 7 1.9%
All Other 39 10.9%
Total 39 10.9%
Grand Total 359 100.0%

There's variety to be found here for sure, and the texture of the field is different than what you may have thought:

Overwhelmingly, Black Devotion took the top slot in decks. With over 17% of the field to its name, the powerhouse will be something most players face at some point this weekend. It's also adapted with Magic 2015, adding Sign in Blood and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to its mix of ways to gain every advantage across games.

Close behind was White-Blue Control and its flavors. The core of the White-Blue deck are Supreme Verdict, Sphinx's Revelation, and some combination of Jace and Elspeth. With the option to add in more removal (Esper) or card advantage (Kiora, the Crashing Wave), players could tailor the control deck to what they wanted or expected to face.

Aggro is another major representative, though it's both White-Green and Red featuring Goblin Rabblemaster that's really the story there. Various heroic and mono-flavored attackers always find their way into Standard events, and it was just over a year ago a White-Green Aggro deck was the last deck standing.

With all of the decks rolling up as Midrange covering the spectrum of colors, it's the potent White-Black variety players will likely face. With the same removal package as the Black Devotion decks and even more answers and power from white, such as Banishing Light and Blood Baron of Vizkopa, its ability to stonewall and overpower everything else is to be respected.

Both Blue Devotion and Red-Green Monsters (including it's Naya and Jund cousins) make up respectable pieces of the field. There's nothing unusual here as all of these decks have seen plenty of play over the past months, but if there's any innovation it will take several rounds of play to prove out.

There are two decks making an exciting splash this weekend. Green Devotion, leveraging Nissa, Worldwaker to power up the returning-to-Standard Chord of Calling, calls on an array of creatures to interfere and overwhelm opponents. The other deck is what can best be called Planeswalkers decks: Eschewing the monsters that make up the Red-Green Monsters decks, both the Jund and Naya versions play multiple copies of multiple planeswalkers. By creating tokens every turns, these decks both defend themselves well while providing pressure both in replaceable attackers and Purphorus, God of the Forge triggers.

Burn, in any variety, is almost missing in action. After its performances at several large tournaments it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect it to show up here but that wasn't the case.

Of course, there are always a handful of decks that defy common classification. When your deck is the only one built to reanimate creatures, abuse Necromancer's Stockpile, wins by tapping Maze's End, or plays plenty of Slivers, it's clear you're trying something a little different. We'll be wait to see if any do well enough to note.

Which deck will you be watching throughout the weekend?

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