The Metagame Report, August 24–August 30

It was another relatively quiet weekend on the live event front with Grand Prix: “Boston” showcasing Magic 2013 Limited, which limits the only major live event to the StarCityGames Open in Denver this past weekend.

Standard

DeckTop 8Top 4FinalsWin
G/W Aggro1111
W/U Delver4210
Infect1100
Zombies1000
Mono-Black Post1000

G/W aggro won the event and came out of relative obscurity to do so. However, given the transformation of the Delver creature base to eschew creatures such as Restoration Angel, which is traditionally a strong card against green aggressive strategies, Delver has become less favorable than it has been in the past. In addition, the popularity of Birthing Pod decks has decreased, removing one of the worst matches for G/W aggro as Pod decks were capable of going over the top before they could end the game.

Delver made up half the Top 8 and continues to be among the best performing (if not the best performing) deck in Standard at the moment. Runechanter's Pike has continued to keep its place as a two-of, a trend that picked up about three weeks ago with Gindy’s Top 8 finish in SCG Open: D.C. Augur of Bolas also makes its return, but the card never seems to perform as well in practice as it looks like it would on paper. As decks such as Esper midrange become less and less popular, Delver decks can more safely play Moorland Haunt over Cavern of Souls.

Mono-green infect made Top 8 again, but the list remains almost completely unchanged (there’s really not much to do with it) compared to other weeks.

For some reason I will never understand, people proclaim at the release of every set that mono-black control is back. Mono-black control will probably never, ever be a top-tier deck again (unless Wizards of the Coast decides to reprint Cabal Coffers), so it’s time to get over it. People also seem to have a huge thing for Trading Post, another obsession I don’t really understand. Therefore, this deck is basically the fulfillment of various fetishes hidden away in the Magic community and should probably be kept in private.

Legacy

DeckTop 8Top 4FinalsWin
W/U Control1111
Belcher1110
R/U/G1100
Reanimator1100
Maverick1000
Show and Tell1000
Esper Stoneblade1000
UR Delver1000

For the first time since I started this column, a Top 8 has eight different archetypes in it. The metagame of Legacy is apparently still somewhat diverse even though it appeared to be stagnating due to the presence of R/U/G keeping new and interesting decks out of the metagame. Also surprising is the fact that no Merfolk make Top 8, especially given its solid performance in earlier Legacy Opens since the release of Magic 2013.

Belcher hasn’t been seen performing well in ages, and every time it does perform, it’s just proof that if you flip enough coins, you’ll eventually make it to a patch where you see seven or eight heads in a row.

Omni Tell has, at least for the time being, replaced Sneak and Show as the Show and Tell deck of choice. The deck avoids a number of common hate cards (such as Gilded Drake and Bone Shredder) that are normally good against Show decks, as it can just put Omniscience onto the battlefield instead. The deck is slightly modified from Simon Goertzen’s list from the last Legacy Grand Prix, but it’s nothing particularly new.

The last deck is a bit of a mystery to me, as I don’t see any benefit of being straight U/R compared to R/U/G. Grim Lavamancer is all right at killing other creatures in the virtual mirror, but R/U/G generally excels at dealing with or outclassing such small creatures. The deck seems to have given up Tarmogoyf for Chain Lightning, and that just doesn’t seem to be the most well-thought-out change.

Chris Mascioli
@dieplstks on Twitter