Standard Analysis: Dragon’s Maze & New Jersey

The Standard Metagame

Here is a breakdown of the deck archetypes that have finished in the Top 16 of a major tournament over the last thirty days.

Competitive Standard took a week off for prerelease fun, so these results contain one fewer tournament than normal. Jund Midrange and Junk Reanimator are still neck and neck battling it out for the top deck of the metagame with Esper Control, The Aristocrats, and UWR Tempo as the main challengers.

Tournament Review

Here are the Top 16 decks from StarCityGames Open: New Jersey. The graphs display the colors and most-played archetypes of the Top 16.

Place Deck Colors
1 Reanimator
2 Jund Midrange
3 UWR Tempo
4 Bant Auras
5 Jund Midrange
6 Jund Midrange
7 Reanimator
8 Reanimator
9 Reanimator
10 Esper Control
11 Bant Auras
12 Bant Control
13 BR Dragon Zombies
14 Naya Humans
15 Jund Midrange
16 Jund Midrange

New Jersey gave us our first look at the metagame with Dragon’s Maze included, and, well, it’s much the same in terms of archetypes. This isn’t surprising for a smaller third set with limited time to test. We may see some new decks break out in the next two to three weeks.

Dragon’s Maze cards have found their way into the established archetypes of the format, and the rest of this article will highlight the new cards that saw play in New Jersey.

Card Catalog

The charts and graphs below provide some information about what creatures and removal saw the most play in the Top 16 decks of SCG Open: New Jersey so that you can build and plan accordingly.

Welcome to Standard, Sire of Insanity and Voice of Resurgence! Our new Demon 6-drop found its way into all five Jund Midrange decks as a new Rakdos’s Return that works every turn, is usually cheaper, and has a 6/4 body to bash in or block. A Jund Midrange pilot can play this creature into an already superior board position and will probably keep it. It’s also quite good against Sphinx’s Revelation. The Top 16 Jund decks played a mix of Sire and Rakdos’s Return in their mains and sideboards.

Voice of Resurgence found its way into five decks, including both Bant Auras lists, where it serves as an additional 2-drop alongside Invisible Stalker, replacing Strangleroot Geist.

Card Archetype Average Avg Main Avg Side
Thragtusk Jund Midrange 4.0 4.0 0.0
Reanimator 4.0 3.8 0.3
Avacyn's Pilgrim Bant Auras 4.0 4.0 0.0
Jund Midrange 4.0 4.0 0.0
Reanimator 4.0 4.0 0.0
Restoration Angel Bant Control 2.0 2.0 0.0
Esper Control 2.0 2.0 0.0
Jund Midrange 4.0 4.0 0.0
Reanimator 3.7 3.7 0.0
UWR Tempo 3.0 3.0 0.0
Arbor Elf Bant Auras 2.0 2.0 0.0
Jund Midrange 3.5 3.5 0.0
Reanimator 3.3 3.3 0.0
Huntmaster of the Fells Jund Midrange 3.8 3.8 0.0
Sire of Insanity Jund Midrange 2.6 2.0 0.6
Reanimator 3.0 2.0 1.0
Angel of Serenity Jund Midrange 1.0 1.0 0.0
Reanimator 3.5 3.3 0.3
Voice of Resurgence Bant Auras 3.0 3.0 0.0
Bant Control 4.0 0.0 4.0
Reanimator 2.5 0.0 2.5
Olivia Voldaren Jund Midrange 2.8 2.8 0.0
Acidic Slime Reanimator 3.3 1.5 1.8
Geist of Saint Traft Bant Auras 4.0 4.0 0.0
UWR Tempo 4.0 4.0 0.0

The only new addition for removal is Putrefy, a reprint in Dragon’s Maze that was included in all five Jund Midrange decks. The ability to destroy any artifact or creature for {1}{B}{G} is very versatile and not difficult to achieve in Jund.

Pillar of Flame is back on top of the removal list due largely to the expected appearance of Voice of Resurgence. Pillar handily mitigates the reproductive Elemental.

Card Archetype Average Avg Main Avg Side
Pillar of Flame BR Dragon Zombies 3.0 3.0 0.0
Jund Midrange 2.8 0.0 2.8
UWR Tempo 4.0 3.0 1.0
Tragic Slip BR Dragon Zombies 2.0 2.0 0.0
Esper Control 2.0 0.0 2.0
Jund Midrange 3.0 2.0 1.0
Reanimator 1.7 0.0 1.7
Mizzium Mortars Jund Midrange 2.6 2.2 0.4
Azorius Charm Bant Control 4.0 4.0 0.0
Esper Control 4.0 4.0 0.0
UWR Tempo 4.0 4.0 0.0
Searing Spear BR Dragon Zombies 3.0 3.0 0.0
Jund Midrange 2.0 2.0 0.0
Naya Humans 4.0 4.0 0.0
UWR Tempo 3.0 3.0 0.0
Abrupt Decay Jund Midrange 1.3 0.7 0.7
Reanimator 1.8 0.0 1.8
Putrefy Jund Midrange 1.8 1.8 0.0
Supreme Verdict Bant Control 3.0 2.0 1.0
Esper Control 4.0 4.0 0.0
UWR Tempo 2.0 0.0 2.0
Liliana of the Veil BR Dragon Zombies 2.0 0.0 2.0
Jund Midrange 3.0 1.0 2.0

Leading Indicators – Dragon’s Maze

In this section, I shine the light on cards that were included in a Top 16 deck last weekend but that have seen little to no play in Standard Top 16 decks prior to then. This week, it is unsurprisingly all Dragon’s Maze!

Card Total Copies Total MB Total SB # Decks Decks
Advent of the Wurm 6 4 2 2 Bant Auras (11th place); Bant Control (12th place)
Aetherling 1 1 1 Esper Control (10th place)
Blood Baron of Vizkopa 1 1 1 Jund Midrange (15th place)
Blood Scrivener 2 2 1 BR Dragon Zombies (13th place)
Deadbridge Chant 2 2 2 Jund Midrange (2nd and 16th place)
Far // Away 1 1 1 Esper Control (10th place)
Putrefy 9 9 5 Jund Midrange (all five)
Ral Zarek 3 3 1 UWR Tempo (3rd place)
Render Silent 2 2 1 Bant Auras (4th place)
Renounce the Guilds 2 2 1 Bant Control (12th place)
Sin Collector 5 2 3 2 Reanimator (1st and 7th place)
Sire of Insanity 16 12 4 6 Jund Midrange (all five); Reanimator (9th place)
Turn // Burn 3 3 1 UWR Tempo (3rd place)
Unflinching Courage 8 8 2 Bant Auras (4th and 11th place)
Viashino Firstblade 4 4 1 Naya Humans (14th place)
Voice of Resurgence 15 6 9 5 Bant Auras (4th and 11th place); Reanimator (7th place); Bant Control (12th place)

A total of sixteen cards from Dragon’s Maze, eighty copies in total, found a place in a Top 16 deck in New Jersey. All but one deck, the eighth-place Reanimator list, had a new card in it. Not bad for the debut week of a new set.

The third-place UWR Tempo deck piloted by William Eads played two Dragon’s Maze cards, including the newest planeswalker Ral Zarek and one of the more intriguing new split cards: Turn // Burn.

Ral Zarek’s +1 can help Geist of Saint Traft attack more safely or can untap your land or tap an opponent’s to deny him an instant-speed spell. Shooting Lightning Bolts for −2 loyalty is also undeniably attractive in a deck already sporting plenty of burn.

The Close

That’s it for this week’s article on SCG Open: New Jersey. Join me next week as I track the metagame and impact of Dragon’s Maze at SCG Open: Charlotte. Thanks for reading!

Nick Vigabool

Order Dragon's Maze singles and boxes today!