Pro Tour Magic Origins Standard Metagame Breakdown

Posted in PRO TOUR MAGIC ORIGINS on July 31, 2015

By Corbin Hosler

Nearly 400 players traveled to Canada to compete in Pro Tour Magic Origins, and they all have unique thoughts and opinions on what the right way to approach the Standard metagame is. With Magic Origins shifting the format in some subtle and some not-so-subtle ways (Hangarback Walker comes to mind), the format is more open than it has been in months, and that means a wide variety of decks are making appearances in Vancouver.

Entering the event, Standard was dominated by the Green-Red Devotion decks looking to ramp to Dragonlord Atarka and Hornet Queen, battling through the omnipresent Abzan Control decks and the upstart Rally the Ancestors decks making their way into the scene.

With the influx of impact cards from Magic Origins shaking up the Standard scene, it was an opening question entering the Pro Tour as to whether the metagame would undergo a drastic shift in Vancouver.

The answer is in. Here's what you came for.

Metagame Breakdown—Day One

Deck # %
Green-red Devotion 59 15.01%
Red Aggro 54 13.74%
Abzan Control 47 11.96%
Blue-Red Ensoul Artifact 33 8.40%
Blue-Black Control 31 7.89%
Sultai Control 25 6.36%
Abzan Rally 24 6.11%
Jeskai 17 4.33%
Atarka Red 15 3.82%
Abzan Aggro 9 2.29%
Jeskai Tokens 7 1.78%
White-Blue Heroic 7 1.78%
Goblins 5 1.27%
Esper Dragons 4 1.02%
Four-Color Rally 4 1.02%
Sidisi Whip 4 1.02%
Mardu Dragons 4 1.02%
Mardu Goggles 4 1.02%
Other (three copies or fewer) 10.16%

Green-Red Devotion—59 (15.01%)

Arguably the best deck entering the tournament, the ramp strategy was the most represented on the first day of the Pro Tour. While this was one of the "fallback" strategies for many teams, there clearly is something to be said for playing an established deck that has consistently put up results.

Of course, the downside to that is that opponents enter expecting the matchup, and it remains to be seen if the tournament's most popular deck can convert its numbers into wins.

Red Aggro—54 (13.74%)

One of the primary ways to beat the Devotion deck is to be faster than it, and that's exactly what the mono-red aggressive decks are trying to do. While some went so far as to include Day's Undoing to refill their hands when needed, others opted to go bigger with Thunderbreak Regent.

Abzan Control—47 (11.96%)

Since the arrival of Siege Rhino, the quintessential Abzan deck has been a part of the metagame, and it's not surprise that it was Pro Tour Magic Origins' third most-played deck.

But the deck has continued to undergo evolutions. Origins standouts Hangarback Walker, Languish and even Tragic Arrogance all made appearances on Friday.

Blue-Red Ensoul Artifact—33 (8.40%)

The surprise deck of the format, albeit one that many teams preparing for the Pro Tour found independently. Helped along by inclusions from Magic Origins (looking at you, Whirler Rogue), the deck has plenty of raw power and a few different game plans.

The marriage of Magic 2015 and Magic Origins has led to a very powerful artifact strategy.

One build aims to be as aggressive as possible, utilizing Ornithopter and even Keeper of the Lens to pair up with Ensoul Artifact and Call of the Full Moon to dish out as much damage as quickly as possible. Other builds eschew some raw power for staying power, using Pia and Kiran Nalaar alongside Thopter Spy Network to grind out card advantage while still retaining the explosive power of Ensoul Artifact and Ghostfire Blade.

Blue-Black Control—31 (7.89%)

-With 8 Thopter Spy Network versions

Again, Magic Origins shakes up an existing archetype, adding the ability to utilize Thopter Spy Network alongside Hangarback Walker, a choice that eight of the deck's 31 pilots opted for. No matter how you build it, Blue-Black Control has newfound power thanks to Languish, and its numerous pilots looked toward the tried-and-true control deck to attack the field.

Sultai Control—25 (6.36%)

-With 5 Demonic Pact builds

A different flavor of control, the Sultai decks divided along one major fault line: to play Demonic Pact or not.

Are you willing to potentially pay the price?

Five players decided to sleeve up the powerful enchantment, and looked to Sultai Charm, Disperse, or even Invasive Species (sometimes fetched by Woodland Bellower) to return the Pact to their hand before disaster struck.

Other players opted for the more traditional route, trading late-game power for the ability to interact early with their opponents.

Abzan Rally—24 (6.11%)

The new deck on the block (at least before the Thopters showed up), Rally the Ancestors has quickly made a home for itself in Standard, and a healthy number of players sleeved it up for the Pro Tour.

With eight copies of powerful instants between Rally the Ancestors and Collected Company, a Rally deck is always just one card away from taking over the game, no matter how far behind it is. That explosive power is what drew players to it at Pro Tour Magic Origins, and it's what guarantees that we'll be seeing plenty of rallies this weekend.

Previously part of a fringe combo, Rally the Ancestors has begun to truly shine with Magic Origins.

While those are the most represented decks on the weekend, they're far from the only ones that made a h1 showing in Vancouver. When no deck occupies more than 15 percent of the metagame, there's every chance we'll see something unexpected have success this weekend, and there's plenty of pilots hoping for just that.