Pro Tour Ixalan Day Two Standard Metagame Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on November 4, 2017

By Marc Calderaro

Hey everyone! During all this Pro Tour Ixalan excitement—with Yam Wing Chun on a Pro Tour Hour of Devastation redemption run for the ages, and No. 2–ranked Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (Pro Tour Hour of Devastation Champion) at 8-1 up against Yam—I know exactly what y'all want to see: DATA TABLES!

Woooooooo! Note: I am currently running around shaking my co-workers in sheer joy, I'm so excited! They are stoically ignoring me.

All right, let's get to it. Yesterday we looked at the pervasiveness of the energy decks, and the spread of other diverse archetypes vying for their piece of the pie. How did things actually go when the round started? Well here's the Day Two decks (all 287 of them) by archetype. The last two columns are the percentage presence of the decks in Day Two and the rate at which players on that deck converted into Day Two. The par is 63%. So anything below that number is not good, and above that, well, is good.

Archetype Day Two Total Day One Total Percentage of Day Two Conversion Rate
Temur Energy 66 107 23.00% 62%
Ramunap Red 63 90 22.00% 70%
Four-Color Energy 57 89 19.90% 64%
Sultai Energy 17 23 5.90% 74%
Black-Red Aggro 13 20 4.50% 65%
Esper God-Pharaoh's Gift 9 12 3.10% 75%
Mardu Vehicles 9 20 3.10% 45%
White-Blue Approach 8 10 2.80% 80%
Blue-Black Control 7 16 2.40% 44%
Mono-Black Aggro 5 10 1.70% 50%
Mono-White Vampires 5 5 1.70% 100%
White-Blue God-Pharaoh's Gift 5 7 1.70% 71%
Abzan Tokens 4 7 1.40% 57%
Four-Color Tokens 2 3 0.70% 67%
Green-Blue Pummeler 2 2 0.70% 100%
Green-White Aggro 2 2 0.70% 100%
Blue-Black God-Pharaoh's Gift 2 3 0.70% 67%
Black-Green Energy 1 1 0.30% 100%
Esper Tokens 1 5 0.30% 20%
Grixis Control 1 2 0.30% 50%
Jeskai Approach 1 2 0.30% 50%
Sultai Pummeler 1 1 0.30% 100%
Temur Pummeler 1 1 0.30% 100%
White-Black Midrange 1 1 0.30% 100%
White-Black Tokens 1 2 0.30% 50%
White-Blue Control 1 1 0.30% 100%
Esper Approach 1 1 0.30% 100%
Red-White Approach 1 1 0.30% 100%
TOTALS 287 455   PAR - 63%

So there wasn't much movement on percentage of the metagame. The order of the top four decks stayed the same—Temur Energy, then Ramunap Red, then Four-Color Energy, then Sultai Energy. You can see that Sultai Energy's conversion rate is much higher than the others of its ilk (and a smidge higher than Ramunap Red as well). Part of this is due to its lower numbers, but there's no mincing more than ten percentage points over par. There was a Winding Constrictor–shaped hole in the metagame, and Sultai Energy filled the void perfectly.

But realistically, this chart might be more confusing than it is helpful. So check out this next one. It's arranged by conversion rate, removing any archetypes with fewer than five players on the first day.

Archetype Day Two Total Day One Total Percentage of Day Two Conversion Rate
Mono-White Vampires 5 5 1.70% 100%
White-Blue Approach 8 10 2.80% 80%
Esper God-Pharaoh's Gift 9 12 3.10% 75%
Sultai Energy 17 23 5.90% 74%
White-Blue God-Pharaoh's Gift 5 7 1.70% 71%
Ramunap Red 63 90 22.00% 70%
Black-Red Aggro 13 20 4.50% 65%
Four-Color Energy 57 89 19.90% 64%
Temur Energy 66 107 23.00% 62%
Abzan Tokens 4 7 1.40% 57%
Mono-Black Aggro 5 10 1.70% 50%
Mardu Vehicles 9 20 3.10% 45%
Blue-Black Control 7 16 2.40% 44%

Now this is a chart that makes me want to enthusiastically wave my arms around, while seated in a responsible, work-appropriate manner!

Mono-White Vampires is the winner here, converting literally everyone on the deck. It was clear to anyone in the feature match area that the deck got game, taking opponents by surprise. It's especially illuminating to compare Mono-White Vampires to the other new monochromatic aggro deck—Mono-Black Aggro. Both converted five players, but Mono-Black Aggro started with double that. Mono-White Vampires is definitely a deck to keep your eyes on. Not to mention, it was one of the highest-scoring decks in Standard, factoring out the Draft rounds. It averaged 3.5 wins out of 5 rounds. That was the highest non-outlier performance of any deck in the tournament. For scale, Temur Energy averaged 2.9 wins. So the Vampire pilots weren't just good at Draft; the deck done good.

Moving down the chart is White-Blue Approach of the Second Sun with an 80% conversion rate—by far the best control-deck conversion. That 80% means even more compared to the last deck on the chart, Blue-Black Control. These were both the control decks du jour, but it's clear which was better to bring. Perhaps Blue-Black Control is harder to play; perhaps Approach of the Second Sun nets wins in regularly unwinnable games. Whatever the reason, if you were a controller at heart, sleeving up White-Blue Approach was the way to go.

The last deck I'll talk about on this chart is third on the list: Esper God-Pharaoh's Gift. Even combining this with the white-blue variety (two slots further down), you have an archetype more than ten percentage points over par. Players here who liked their grindy, overwhelming, and oppressive combo-esque decks got their wish, too!

Lastly, more as an anecdote, I'd like to mention the one deck that averaged four Standard-round wins—Green-Blue Pummeler. With only two pilots, besties Valentin Mackl and Patrick Dickmann, its performance certainly qualifies as an outlier. But it's something I wanted to point out because both Dickmann and Mackl did very poorly in the Draft portion. Going into the Standard rounds yesterday, their backs were against the wall, and they were extra crushed because they love the deck, and just wanted to play more with it.

Well, their love was rewarded and they both earned unlikely invites by pummeling opponents to death four out of five times—better than any other deck in the tournament. So they were invited back today to play again with that beauty of a deck.

Wasn't that great?! Data for the win, folks. At least for the Pro Tour, if you want to play energy, play Sultai. If you want to play aggro, play Mono-White Vampires. Control? White-Blue Approach. And if you want to be awesome, play Green-Blue Pummeler. I calls 'em like I sees 'em.

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