3-0 Draft Analysis

Posted in Event Coverage on February 2, 2018

By Chapman Sim

Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan kicked off with three rounds of booster draft, where 58 players achieved the perfect 3-0 record! That's better than waking up to bacon and coffee in the morning—though some would argue that without bacon and coffee, they might not have the ability to focus on the morning draft!

Anyway, to understand the format a little better, we've provided a breakdown for your viewing pleasure. First of all, let's take a look at the winner of each of the 58 draft pods, together with the color combinations of their respective decks!

Pod Name Color
1 Andrea Mengucci White-Black
2 Gary Patrick Green-White splash Red
3 Kentarou Tachibana Blue-Red splash White
4 Maxime Auger Red-White
5 Edgar Magalhaes Red-Green splash White
6 Francesco Giorgio White-Black
7 Adriano Moscato Red-White splash Green
8 Cyril Crouzet Black-Red
9 Jean-Emmanuel Depraz White-Black
10 Mancini Matteo Green-Blue
11 Timothy Thomason Red-Black
12 An Youcheng Blue-Red
13 Alexander Hayne White-Black splash Green
14 Mattia Zapparoli White-Black
15 Trent Clark White-Black
16 Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa Red-White
17 Philipp Krieger Red-White
18 Michael Lagamba White-Blue
19 Alexey Shashov Green-Blue
20 Yukio Kozakai Blue-Red splash Green
21 Paul Rietzl White-Black
22 Reid Duke Green-Blue
23 Zhang Bolun Blue-Black
24 Sebastian Pozzo Green-Blue
25 Robin Dolar Blue-Black
26 Daniel Parsons Black-Red
27 Karl Sarap Blue-Red
28 Tay Jun Hao White-Black
29 Zechariah Maples Red-Green
30 Jon Stern Red-Green
31 Guilherme Merjam Green-Blue
32 Elliot Boussaud White-Black
33 Pascal Vieren Green-Blue
34 Jonathan Sukenik Grixis
35 Lucas Esper Berthoud White-Black
36 Jarvis Yu White-Blue
37 Peter Semenov Black-Red
38 Zacharia Bishop Grixis
39 Elias Watsfeldt Red-Green
40 Oliver Tiu White-Black
41 Raphael Levy Red-Green
42 Lim Zhong Yi Black-Red splash Green
43 Mattia Rizzi Green-Blue
44 Lawrence Vess Blue-Red
45 Rob Pisano Green-Blue
46 Israel Rosales White-Black splash Green
47 Daniel Grafensteiner Blue-Black
48 Jan Ksandr Green-Blue
49 Collin Rountree White-Blue
50 Ben Stark Green-Blue
51 Artur Topeha Green-Blue
52 Sean Miller Green-Blue
53 Mark Jacobson Green-Blue
54 Toshiki Okai Red-Green
55 Craig Wescoe White-Black
56 Javier Dominguez Black-Green splash White
57 Takaaki Suematsu White-Black
58 Makis Matsoukas White-Black

Color Breakdown

From among the 58 decks, most of them were two-colored. Splashes for a third color were uncommon, and we'll only take into account the two primary colors for each deck.

Except for two Grixis Pirate decks and a small handful who splashed a third color for a couple of cards, most of the decks were two-colored.

Color Number of 3-0 Decks
White 23
Blue 26
Black 26
Red 22
Green 21

Based on these numbers, blue and black were the best-performing colors, though not necessarily together. Despite that, white, red, and green were not far behind, indicating that all colors were capable of shoring up great results.

However, that's not quite enough information, so the next thing we're going to share is the color combinations of all 58 3-0 decks!

Color Number of 3-0 Decks
White-Black 15
Green-Blue 13
Red-Green 6
Black-Red 5
Blue-Red 5
Red-White 4
Blue-Black 3
White-Blue 3
Green-White 1
Black-Green 1
Grixis 2
Total 58

Most of the White-Black decks were dedicated Vampire decks, while most of the Green-Blue decks centered around Merfolk. This was a reasonable assumption since many white and black creatures were Vampires, and many blue and green creatures were Merfolk.

You could technically end up with a White-Black deck with half Dinosaurs, half Pirates, and zero Vampires, but that was not the case this weekend. Most players wisely took advantage of tribal synergies as much as they possibly could.

If we also operate under the assumption that most of the Green-White, Red-White, and Red-Green decks were Dinosaur-centric, and that most of the Blue-Black, Blue-Red, and Black-Red decks were filled with Pirates, here was how each tribe's performance looked like side by side.

Tribe Number of 3-0 Decks
Vampires 15
Pirates 15
Merfolk 13
Dinosaurs 11
Others 4
Total 58

Vampires and Pirates had the best results, while Dinosaurs were the “worst-performing” of the lot, but not by far. Even if you did not draft around a particular tribe (I'm looking at you, White-Blue and Black-Green), it was still possible for any combination to achieve the clean sweep at your draft table.

Before we advance to the Standard portion, let's take a look at some of the top draft decks of the day!

Jonathan Sukenik's Grixis Pirates

Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan – Draft 1 (3-0)
Download Arena Decklist

At Pod 34, Jonathan Sukenik surprised his opponents by defeating them all with a Grixis Pirates deck, complete with Captain's Hook, Pirate's Cutlass, Captivating Crew, and even Form of the Dinosaur.

Despite having a couple of Merfolk and Vampires here and there (and a Chupacabra too!), Sukenik managed to stretch his mana base with the help of Treasure tokens and "dual lands" to play the most powerful cards he drafted.

Marc Jacobson's Green-Blue Merfolk

Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan – Draft 1 (3-0)
Download Arena Decklist

Over at Pod 53, Marc Jacobson (fresh off another Grand Prix Top 8 at London) demonstrated mastery of the format by starting out the day at 3-0. Green-Blue Merfolk had previously been one of the top decks to draft in the format, and this trend continued with the addition of Rivals of Ixalan.

In addition to Deeproot Warrior, Tishana Wayfinder, and Waker of the Wilds, Jacobson supplemented the beatdown plan with double Mist-Cloaked Herald, double Jade Bearer, double Jungleborn Pioneer, and double Merfolk Mistbinder! He even had Ghalta, Primal Hunger to finish off his opponents, just in case he felt that his Merfolk were too tiny!

Mark Jacobson of Massdrop East drafted a powerful Merfolk deck, which served him well in his first three draft rounds at Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan

Jean-Emmanuel Depraz's White-Black Vampires

Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan – Draft 1 (3-0)
Download Arena Decklist

Jean-Emmanuel Depraz might not have been able to pick up any Legion Conquistadors or Anointed Deacons this time, but he made do with triple Dusk Legion Zealot.

The innocuous-looking 1/1 played a central role in his White-Black Vampires deck. It provided an early body ready to be enhanced by Voracious Vampire and Sanguine Glorifier, and also contributed towards the Vampire count for Champion of Dusk. Captain's Hook and Arch of Orazca were other paths to victory.

"I had really solid removal spells [Impale, Luminous Bonds, Slaughter the Strong, Walk the Plank, Vanquish the Weak, Skulduggery] and I was able to control the game while eventually grinding it out.”

Edgar Magalhaes's Naya Dinosaurs

Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan – Draft 1 (3-0)
Download Arena Decklist

Edgar Magalhaes demonstrated in Pod 5 how to draft a great Dinosaur deck. Starting with "ramp" spells such as Thunderherd Migration, Atzocan Seer, New Horizons, and double Knight of the Stampede, his opponents were in for numerous nasty surprises. With eleven Dinosaurs in his deck, Frank Karsten was "almost certain" that Magalhaes could always reliably cast Thunderherd Migration on turn two, which could result in a turn three Knight of the Stampede. To deal with pesky creatures, Magalhaes had Bombard and four Hunt the Weaks, which worked splendidly with his angry dinos!

Most importantly, Magalhaes was actually able to create an infinite amount of Polyraptors! If he managed to have both Bellowing Aegisaur and Forerunner of the Empire on the battlefield, not only will his creatures not die to the damage triggers, they also become arbitrarily huge. You could just attack with a 1000/1000 creature and have 1,000 Polyraptors as blockers!

Colin Rountree's White-Blue Ascend

Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan – Draft 1 (3-0)
Download Arena Decklist

Last but not least, let's take a look at a White-Blue deck with an ascend theme. Collin Rountree cleaned out Pod 49 by unlocking the Secrets of the Golden City, finding the Orazca Relic, and took to the skies with Resplendent Griffin and friends.

Conveniently, Luminous Bonds and Waterknot served as removal spells while contributing to his permanent count, while Squire's Devotion not only helped Rountree pull ahead in the damage race but also get close to ascend. He also made sure to draft sturdy creatures such as Skyblade of the Legion, Everdawn Champion, Sun-Crested Pterodon, and Exultant Skymarcher such that they stick around longer! Rountree knew exactly what to do to gain the city's blessing quickly!

After reviewing some statistics and learning a thing or two from these esteemed drafters, are you ready for your next Rivals of Ixalan booster draft?

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