The Metagame Report, July 12–July 19

The first large Standard events with Magic 2013 are in the books, and the metagame is quite a bit different than how it was before. Due to having such a small number of events, the Magic 2013 cards in each archetype will be highlighted to show the impact on the metagame.

TCGPlayer Open

Top 8Top 4FinalsWinner
Frites1111
Esper Midrange111
R/G Aggro11
Solar Flare11
Naya Pod1
Zombies1
Delver1
Wolf Run1

The winning Frites deck has two cards from Magic 2013 (and probably the cards that will have the most Constructed playability in the long run): Thundermaw Hellkite and Oblivion Ring. Other than the new additions, the Frites list is essentially the same as those that were doing well last month, and a lack of graveyard hate has allowed the deck to perform well again (there are zero Grafdigger's Cages in the Top 8 sideboards, although there was one Nihil Spellbomb).

The runner up Esper midrange and Top 4 Solar Flare lists have both added a few Oblivion Rings, but given how little room for change the pre-Magic 2013 lists had for tuning, this isn’t very surprising. The deck that benefitted the most from Magic 2013’s legality is R/G aggro, which gained Rancor, Thundermaw Hellkite, and Thragtusk.

Although the deck performed well, Bonfire of the Damned is less well-positioned post-rotation due to the presence of an increased number of control and reanimation strategies. Notably absent from this deck is Beast Within, which becomes markedly better with the presence of Rancor in the format. It’s also a fairly good answer to reanimation strategies—it kills the primary targets.

None of the other decks from this Top 8 were particularly new or innovative (although the Delver deck did have four Augur of Bolas in it), but it had just slight modifications (if any at all) compared to pre-Magic 2013 versions.

SCG: St. Louis

Top 8Top 4FinalsWinner
Naya Pod1111
Naya Aggro111
Mono-Green Aggro11
Mono-Blue Aggro11
G/W Aggro1
Bant Pod1
Naya Humans1
Esper Midrange1

The other major (and larger) Standard event this past weekend was the StarCityGames Open taking place in St. Louis. The event was won by Caleb Durward’s Naya Pod deck, but I think the most important deck in terms of future metagame implications is Adam Prosak’s mono-blue aggro deck.

The primary new inclusion in Adam’s deck is Talrand, Sky Summoner, which helps to give the Delver deck a more solid endgame—if left undisrupted, it will create an inevitability the deck did not previously possess (or that was only gained through sideboard options such as Consecrated Sphinx). The Equipment package has reverted back to Swords, and the Restoration Angels have been moved to the sideboard in order to accommodate Talrand.

Mono-green aggro also has evolved since Carrie Oliver’s World Magic Cup Qualifier win, and it placed in the Top 4 with the following list:

As mentioned above, Beast Within seems like a solid inclusion with the addition of a full set of Rancors, but the combination of aggressive and uninteractive creatures along with some of the best-quality pump spells ever available is bound to be a successful combination.

No Battle of Wits deck placed in the money at either event. Sad face.

Chris Mascioli
@dieplstks on Twitter