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.

2Jund Midrange
3UWR Tempo
4Bant Auras
5Jund Midrange
6Jund Midrange
10Esper Control
11Bant Auras
12Bant Control
13BR Dragon Zombies
14Naya Humans
15Jund Midrange
16Jund 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.

CardArchetypeAverageAvg MainAvg Side
ThragtuskJund Midrange4.04.00.0
Avacyn's PilgrimBant Auras4.04.00.0
Jund Midrange4.04.00.0
Restoration AngelBant Control2.02.00.0
Esper Control2.02.00.0
Jund Midrange4.04.00.0
UWR Tempo3.03.00.0
Arbor ElfBant Auras2.02.00.0
Jund Midrange3.53.50.0
Huntmaster of the FellsJund Midrange3.83.80.0
Sire of InsanityJund Midrange2.62.00.6
Angel of SerenityJund Midrange1.01.00.0
Voice of ResurgenceBant Auras3.03.00.0
Bant Control4.00.04.0
Olivia VoldarenJund Midrange2.82.80.0
Acidic SlimeReanimator3.31.51.8
Geist of Saint TraftBant Auras4.04.00.0
UWR Tempo4.04.00.0

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.

CardArchetypeAverageAvg MainAvg Side
Pillar of FlameBR Dragon Zombies3.03.00.0
Jund Midrange2.80.02.8
UWR Tempo4.03.01.0
Tragic SlipBR Dragon Zombies2.02.00.0
Esper Control2.00.02.0
Jund Midrange3.02.01.0
Mizzium MortarsJund Midrange2.62.20.4
Azorius CharmBant Control4.04.00.0
Esper Control4.04.00.0
UWR Tempo4.04.00.0
Searing SpearBR Dragon Zombies3.03.00.0
Jund Midrange2.02.00.0
Naya Humans4.04.00.0
UWR Tempo3.03.00.0
Abrupt DecayJund Midrange1.30.70.7
PutrefyJund Midrange1.81.80.0
Supreme VerdictBant Control3.02.01.0
Esper Control4.04.00.0
UWR Tempo2.00.02.0
Liliana of the VeilBR Dragon Zombies2.00.02.0
Jund Midrange3.01.02.0

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!

CardTotal CopiesTotal MBTotal SB# DecksDecks
Advent of the Wurm6422Bant Auras (11th place); Bant Control (12th place)
Aetherling111Esper Control (10th place)
Blood Baron of Vizkopa111Jund Midrange (15th place)
Blood Scrivener221BR Dragon Zombies (13th place)
Deadbridge Chant222Jund Midrange (2nd and 16th place)
Far // Away111Esper Control (10th place)
Putrefy995Jund Midrange (all five)
Ral Zarek331UWR Tempo (3rd place)
Render Silent221Bant Auras (4th place)
Renounce the Guilds221Bant Control (12th place)
Sin Collector5232Reanimator (1st and 7th place)
Sire of Insanity161246Jund Midrange (all five); Reanimator (9th place)
Turn // Burn331UWR Tempo (3rd place)
Unflinching Courage882Bant Auras (4th and 11th place)
Viashino Firstblade441Naya Humans (14th place)
Voice of Resurgence15695Bant 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

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