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 CoolStuffInc.com and tickets from MTGOTraders.com. The graphs display the strategies, colors, and most-played archetypes of the Top 16.

Place Deck Colors Avg Mana Cost ($) Cost (Tix)
1 Reanimator
{W} {INVISIBLE} {B} {INVISIBLE} {G}
3.59 $560 394
2 UWR Tempo
{W} {U} {INVISIBLE} {R} {INVISIBLE}
2.71 $507 297
3 Reanimator
{W} {INVISIBLE} {B} {INVISIBLE} {G}
3.72 $606 440
4 Bant Midrange
{W} {U} {INVISIBLE} {INVISIBLE} {G}
3.54 $563 432
5 Dark Naya Midrange
{W} {INVISIBLE} {B} {R} {G}
3.39 $733 508
6 Jund Aggro
{INVISIBLE} {INVISIBLE} {B} {R} {G}
2.65 $470 321
7 Esper Control
{W} {U} {B} {INVISIBLE} {INVISIBLE}
2.71 $504 343
8 Reanimator
{W} {INVISIBLE} {B} {INVISIBLE} {G}
3.69 $570 420
9 Reanimator
{W} {INVISIBLE} {B} {INVISIBLE} {G}
3.43 $428 346
10 Reanimator
{W} {INVISIBLE} {B} {INVISIBLE} {G}
3.59 $513 402
11 Jund Midrange
{INVISIBLE} {INVISIBLE} {B} {R} {G}
2.8 $800 657
12 UWR Tempo
{W} {U} {INVISIBLE} {R} {INVISIBLE}
2.57 $594 324
13 The Aristocrats
{W} {INVISIBLE} {B} {R} {INVISIBLE}
2.39 $669 366
14 Naya Midrange
{W} {INVISIBLE} {INVISIBLE} {R} {G}
3.17 $812 582
15 RUG Tempo
{INVISIBLE} {U} {INVISIBLE} {R} {G}
2.51 $556 295
16 Naya Humans
{W} {INVISIBLE} {INVISIBLE} {R} {G}
1.85 $468 181
Average: 3.0 $585 394

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 # Decks Avg Main Avg Side
Thragtusk 9 3.9 0.0
Restoration Angel 11 3.1 0.0
Avacyn's Pilgrim 7 3.7 0.0
Angel of Serenity 8 2.8 1.5
Acidic Slime 7 4.0 2.3
Boros Reckoner 5 4.0 2.5
Centaur Healer 6 2.3 2.7
Huntmaster of the Fells 5 3.4 0.0
Deathrite Shaman 5 2.0 2.8
Obzedat, Ghost Council 6 1.0 1.3

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:

Card Archetype Average Avg Main Avg Side
Thragtusk Bant Midrange 4.0 4.0 0.0
Dark Naya Midrange

4.0 4.0 0.0
Jund Midrange 4.0 4.0 0.0
Naya Midrange 4.0 4.0 0.0
Reanimator 3.8 3.8 0.0
Restoration Angel Bant Midrange 4.0 4.0 0.0
Dark Naya Midrange 4.0 4.0 0.0
Esper Control 2.0 2.0 0.0
Naya Midrange 3.0 3.0 0.0
Reanimator 3.0 3.0 0.0
UWR Tempo 3.0 3.0 0.0
Avacyn's Pilgrim Dark Naya Midrange 4.0 4.0 0.0
Naya Midrange 3.0 3.0 0.0
Reanimator 3.8 3.8 0.0
Angel of Serenity Bant Midrange 2.0 2.0 0.0
Naya Midrange 2.0 0.0 2.0
Reanimator 3.0 3.0 0.0
UWR Tempo 1.0 0.0 1.0
Acidic Slime Jund Midrange 1.0 0.0 1.0
Naya Midrange 1.0 0.0 1.0
Reanimator 3.2 0.8 2.4
Boros Reckoner Dark Naya Midrange 4.0 4.0 0.0
Naya Humans 2.0 0.0 2.0
Naya Midrange 4.0 4.0 0.0
The Aristocrats 3.0 0.0 3.0
UWR Tempo 4.0 4.0 0.0
Centaur Healer Dark Naya Midrange 3.0 0.0 3.0
Naya Midrange 3.0 0.0 3.0
Reanimator 2.8 2.3 0.5
Huntmaster of the Fells Dark Naya Midrange 3.0 3.0 0.0
Jund Aggro 2.0 2.0 0.0
Jund Midrange 4.0 4.0 0.0
Naya Midrange 4.0 4.0 0.0
RUG Tempo 4.0 4.0 0.0
Deathrite Shaman Reanimator 3.2 0.4 2.8
Obzedat, Ghost Council Esper Control 2.0 1.0 1.0
Reanimator 1.8 0.8 1.0
The Aristocrats 3.0 0.0 3.0

Removal Spells

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

Removal # Decks Avg Main Avg Side
Searing Spear 7 3.3 1.0
Abrupt Decay 7 2.0 2.6
Azorius Charm 4 4.0 0.0
Tragic Slip 6 2.5 1.7
Supreme Verdict 4 2.0 1.5
Pillar of Flame 5 1.5 2.0
Mizzium Mortars 5 1.5 1.0

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:

Card Archetype Average Avg Main Avg Side
Searing Spear Dark Naya Midrange 3.0 3.0 0.0
Jund Aggro 3.0 3.0 0.0
Naya Humans 4.0 4.0 0.0
Naya Midrange 3.0 2.0 1.0
RUG Tempo 4.0 4.0 0.0
UWR Tempo 3.5 3.5 0.0
Abrupt Decay Jund Aggro 2.0 2.0 0.0
Jund Midrange 2.0 2.0 0.0
Reanimator 2.6 0.0 2.6
Azorius Charm Bant Midrange 4.0 4.0 0.0
Esper Control 4.0 4.0 0.0
UWR Tempo 4.0 4.0 0.0
Tragic Slip Esper Control 1.0 0.0 1.0
Jund Aggro 2.0 0.0 2.0
Jund Midrange 4.0 3.0 1.0
Reanimator 2.5 0.0 2.5
The Aristocrats 3.0 2.0 1.0
Supreme Verdict Bant Midrange 4.0 2.0 2.0
Esper Control 4.0 3.0 1.0
UWR Tempo 3.0 1.5 1.5
Pillar of Flame Dark Naya Midrange 2.0 0.0 2.0
Jund Midrange 2.0 0.0 2.0
RUG Tempo 3.0 1.0 2.0
UWR Tempo 2.0 1.0 1.0
Mizzium Mortars Dark Naya Midrange 1.0 1.0 0.0
Jund Aggro 1.0 0.0 1.0
Jund Midrange 1.0 1.0 0.0
RUG Tempo 4.0 3.0 1.0
UWR Tempo 1.0 1.0 0.0

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 # Copies Main Side Decks
Somberwald Sage 4 4 Reanimator (9th)
Sepulchral Primordial 1 1 Reanimator (9th)
Yeva, Nature's Herald 4 4 RUG Tempo (15th)
Slayer of the Wicked 1 1 Reanimator (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:

Type Total in a T16
Land 38
Enchantment 30

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
@MrVigabool