Standard in Review: Kansas City

SCG Open: Kansas City – The Results

Here are the Top 16 decks from StarCityGames Open: Kansas City. I determined the average mana cost of the main deck and prices in dollars and Magic Online tickets by importing each decklist into the Decked Builder app. Dollars are from and tickets from The graphs display the strategies, colors, and most-played archetypes of the Top 16.

PlaceDeckColorsAvg ManaCost ($)Cost (Tix)
2UWR Tempo
4Bant Midrange
5Dark Naya Midrange
6Jund Aggro
7Esper Control
11Jund Midrange
12UWR Tempo
13The Aristocrats
14Naya Midrange
15RUG Tempo
16Naya Humans

Blue continues to be the least-played color in Standard as Junk and Jund battle for supremacy at the top tables.

Creatures of Choice

The following charts and graphs display the most-played creatures in the Top 16 decks of the tournament.

Creature# DecksAvg MainAvg Side
Restoration Angel113.10.0
Avacyn's Pilgrim73.70.0
Angel of Serenity82.81.5
Acidic Slime74.02.3
Boros Reckoner54.02.5
Centaur Healer62.32.7
Huntmaster of the Fells53.40.0
Deathrite Shaman52.02.8
Obzedat, Ghost Council61.01.3

Restoration Angel was played in eleven of the Top 16 decks, the most of any card in Kansas City.

Deck Distribution (Creatures)

Where might you find these creatures and need a plan to deal with them? Here are the decks they appeared in this week:

CardArchetypeAverageAvg MainAvg Side
ThragtuskBant Midrange4.04.00.0
Dark Naya Midrange
Jund Midrange4.04.00.0
Naya Midrange4.04.00.0
Restoration AngelBant Midrange4.04.00.0
Dark Naya Midrange4.04.00.0
Esper Control2.02.00.0
Naya Midrange3.03.00.0
UWR Tempo3.03.00.0
Avacyn's PilgrimDark Naya Midrange4.04.00.0
Naya Midrange3.03.00.0
Angel of SerenityBant Midrange2.02.00.0
Naya Midrange2.00.02.0
UWR Tempo1.00.01.0
Acidic SlimeJund Midrange1.00.01.0
Naya Midrange1.00.01.0
Boros ReckonerDark Naya Midrange4.04.00.0
Naya Humans2.00.02.0
Naya Midrange4.04.00.0
The Aristocrats3.00.03.0
UWR Tempo4.04.00.0
Centaur HealerDark Naya Midrange3.00.03.0
Naya Midrange3.00.03.0
Huntmaster of the FellsDark Naya Midrange3.03.00.0
Jund Aggro2.02.00.0
Jund Midrange4.04.00.0
Naya Midrange4.04.00.0
RUG Tempo4.04.00.0
Deathrite ShamanReanimator3.20.42.8
Obzedat, Ghost CouncilEsper Control2.01.01.0
The Aristocrats3.00.03.0

Removal Spells

The following charts and graphs display the most-played removal spells in the Top 16.

Removal# DecksAvg MainAvg Side
Searing Spear73.31.0
Abrupt Decay72.02.6
Azorius Charm44.00.0
Tragic Slip62.51.7
Supreme Verdict42.01.5
Pillar of Flame51.52.0
Mizzium Mortars51.51.0

Deck Distribution (Removal)

When should you look out for these removal spells and potentially play around them? Here are the decks they appeared in this week:

CardArchetypeAverageAvg MainAvg Side
Searing SpearDark Naya Midrange3.03.00.0
Jund Aggro3.03.00.0
Naya Humans4.04.00.0
Naya Midrange3.02.01.0
RUG Tempo4.04.00.0
UWR Tempo3.53.50.0
Abrupt DecayJund Aggro2.02.00.0
Jund Midrange2.02.00.0
Azorius CharmBant Midrange4.04.00.0
Esper Control4.04.00.0
UWR Tempo4.04.00.0
Tragic SlipEsper Control1.00.01.0
Jund Aggro2.00.02.0
Jund Midrange4.03.01.0
The Aristocrats3.02.01.0
Supreme VerdictBant Midrange4.02.02.0
Esper Control4.03.01.0
UWR Tempo3.01.51.5
Pillar of FlameDark Naya Midrange2.00.02.0
Jund Midrange2.00.02.0
RUG Tempo3.01.02.0
UWR Tempo2.01.01.0
Mizzium MortarsDark Naya Midrange1.01.00.0
Jund Aggro1.00.01.0
Jund Midrange1.01.00.0
RUG Tempo4.03.01.0
UWR Tempo1.01.00.0

Leading Indicators

Here are the cards that have made their first Top 16 appearances at the tournament or that have had only a couple copies played so far.

Card# CopiesMainSideDecks
Somberwald Sage44Reanimator (9th)
Sepulchral Primordial11Reanimator (9th)
Yeva, Nature's Herald44RUG Tempo (15th)
Slayer of the Wicked11Reanimator (10th)

Somberwald Sage has been in a couple Top 16 decks way back in mid-November 2012 at Grand Prix: Bochum and at Grand Prix: Charleston, but it quickly fell off the radar. William Lies resurrected that successful Craterhoof Reanimator deck, finishing ninth, and played the full four Somberwald Sages in KC.

Yeva, Nature's Herald has had two total copies played prior to KC: one copy in the sideboard of a GB Aggro deck that finished eighth at SCG Open: Dallas and the other in the sideboard of a GW Aggro deck that finished eleventh at SCG Open: Seattle. This time, a full four copies were played in the main deck of a very interesting RUG Tempo deck that finished fifteenth:

The Standard Metagame

The following graphs track the deck archetypes with the most Top 16 finishes at major Standard tournaments. They include results from not only SCG Open: Indy but also GP: Verona and GP: Rio.

The Last Month

Reanimator continues to steadily gain on Jund Midrange with five more Top 16 finishes this week. Let’s take a look at its recent return to dominance in Standard.

This Standard Season (since rotation)

The Reanimator archetype is no stranger to success. As you can see, it is second only to Jund Midrange in total Top 16 appearances since rotation.

By the Numbers: Land Versus Enchantment

Wizards of the Coast has kicked off You Make the Card 4 and asked players to vote to decide what type of card to make. The first vote was a virtual tie between land and enchantment, and last week, they had a run-off vote that was narrowly taken by enchantment. The battle is over, but hostilities remain high between Team Land and Team Enchantment. Part of the community debate, on Twitter and elsewhere, has been on playability: What type of card is most likely to see competitive play? The conventional wisdom seems to be land, but is that true? I can help answer that for Standard!

Here is the total number of each type of card to have been played in at least one Top 16 deck this Standard season:

TypeTotal in a T16

Land may look like the right answer, but most of these—twenty-five in total—are strictly mana-producing lands such as Temple Garden, Clifftop Retreat, and Rakdos Guildgate. Only thirteen are utility lands such as Kessig Wolf Run and Moorland Haunt. If land wins the run-off vote, this is the kind of land most likely to be created. Factoring this in, there are more enchantments that have been played in competitive Standard than lands.

A sizable chunk of both categories have only seen minimal play, appearing in a very small percentage of the overall Top 16 decks since rotation. Only eleven enchantments and eight utility lands have appeared in 3% or more. Here are the top five of each.

Enchantment won the vote, and a surefire way to see play in competitive Standard seems to be to hose one or more deck strategies or serve as catchall removal. Auras are generally not played due to the unappealing risk of a two-for-one, but building in some kind of resiliency to removal could do the trick.

As for what could have been, a utility land needs to change or outright win the game through an impressive activated ability to see play. Cards like Kessig Wolf Run are so valuable because they allow you to play a pretty powerful combat trick stapled to a land. Nephalia Drownyard, in 6% of Top 16 decks, has been the sole win condition in some fairly successful strategies.

What Do You Think? Impact

Which card has had the biggest impact on Standard since rotation?

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The Close

That’s it for this week’s article on SCG Open: Kansas City. Join me next week for more Standard tournament results, metagame review, and Magic analysis. Thanks for reading!

Nick Vigabool