Standard Metagame Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on October 11, 2013

By Marc Calderaro and Nate Price

It's safe to say that Theros has shaken the Standard metagame. Thanks to the powerful devotion mechanic, the field has changed a bit more than was predicted by most of the pros. However, those same pros are the ones bringing the big, splashy new decks. It almost seems like a bait-and-switch by the community. Each team thought they were the team that had come up with the best new deck and tried to convince others into thinking there would be no changes.

Esper and Selesnya Aggro decks of varying stripes still rank atop the actual breakdown, above newcomers like Gruul Midrange (most sporting big new creatures featuring the monstrosity mechanic), and Mono-Blue and Mono-Red Devotion. But those decks are gaining fast.

Here's the list:

Archetype Number of Players Percentage of the field
Esper 46 10.77%
Selesyna Aggro 43 10.07%
Gruul Midrange 37 8.67%
Mono-Blue Devotion 37 8.67%
Mono-Red Devotion 32 7.49%
Naya Midrange 30 7.03%
Junk Midrange 22 5.15%
Naya Aggro 18 4.22%
Azorius Control 17 3.98%
Rakdos Control 17 3.98%
BWR Midrange 15 3.51%
ChannelFireball Red 15 3.51%
Orzhov Midrange 9 2.11%
BWR Control 8 1.87%
Jund Midrange 8 1.87%
Dark Skies (UB Aggro) 7 1.64%
Golgari Aggro 7 1.64%
Mono-White Aggro 6 1.41%
Rakdos Aggro 5 1.17%
Azorius Master 4 0.94%
Boros Aggro 4 0.94%
Golgari Midrange 4 0.94%
Mono-Green Devotion 4 0.94%
RWU Control 4 0.94%
Boros Midrange 3 0.70%
Gruul Aggro 3 0.70%
Mono-Black Devotion 3 0.70%
Orzhov Aggro 3 0.70%
Orzhov Control 3 0.70%
Rakdos Midrange 3 0.70%
Dimir Control 2 0.47%
Light Skies 2 0.47%
5c Control 1 0.23%
Boros Auras 1 0.23%
Boros Tokens 1 0.23%
BUG Control 1 0.23%
Grixis 1 0.23%
Jund Control 1 0.23%
Dimir Master 1 0.23%
Junk Reanimator 1 0.23%
Selesyna Auras 1 0.23%
Selesyna Midrange 1 0.23%
RWU Master 1 0.23%

The big three strategies are Control, Midrange, and Devotion. Other Aggro decks are still around, and Selesnya Aggro (featuring Soldier of the Pantheon among other aggressively costed creatures) and Naya Midrange (basically Naya decks without Soldier of the Pantheon) are still top contenders. But devotion-based aggressive strategies with either Fanatic of Mogis or Master of Waves are the top choices for the field.

Within each broader archetype and strategy, there is plenty of variation within. Esper may play a range of creatures, like Blood Baron of Vizkopa and Prognostic Sphinx, or a lone Ætherling, or completely creatureless featuring up to twelve Planeswalkers. The addition of Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver has proven to be an even more consistent way to win than the deck had before, and each color combination has representation and variety as well.

Every color but white has some devotion decks represented and often with different varieties. Some even use splashes to cast large basically off-color spells – harnessing Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx to provide large amounts of colorless mana needed to cast the splashy spells. Mono-Green uses Karametra's Acolyte to power out an obscene Mistcutter Hydra and Polukranos, World Eater, while Mono-Black does exactly what you think it would with tons of black mana symbols: make Gray Merchant of Asphodel and Abhorrent Overload, again, and again, and again.

So far it seems there's no consensus on where the metagame truly is, but we'll have more convincing evidence tomorrow, when we see which decks actually made it through to the next day.

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