Check out this Metagame Analysis for Standard with Theros Post Pro Tour.
One of the most exciting times of the year for a Magic player is the time immediately after the Standard Pro Tour event. Usually Standard’s metagame is tumultuous and uneven until the best players in the world are able to show us the best decks they have to offer. This year has been no different, and the Theros set has provided us with a vastly different standard then we had last season. I have taken a look at all of the top decks over the last week (the top 8 at PT Theros, 4-0 on MTGO dailies and the top 8 at SCG Seattle), and I want to use it to make some observations about the meta. Here is my data:
Monoblue Devotion-18, 24%
Monoblack Devotion-14, ~18%
Monored Aggro-8, ~10%
BWR Midrange- 6, 8%
Esper Control-6, 8%
GR Devotion-6, 8%
UW Control-5, ~6%
BW Midrange-4, ~5%
GW Aggro-2, ~2%
BW Control-1, ~1%
BG Control-1, ~1%
Junk Midrange-1, ~1%
Rw Midrange-1, ~1%
Monogreen Devotion-1, ~1%
Wr Aggro-1, ~1%
Devotion Decks-39, 52%
Aggro Decks-36, 48%
Midrange Decks-26, ~35%
Control Decks- 13, ~17%
Wow! This is a very diverse metagame. Yes, I notice that Monoblue Devotion takes up nearly a fourth of the top decks right now, but there are fifteen different decks that have been taking top spots. FIFTEEN! Monoblue may be the boogyman right now, but you will need to be prepared for another handful of decks if you are looking to play in Standard right now. Having a metagame as diverse as this allows us to have options and know that playing to our strengths will not mean having a sub par deck, but it also means that we have a lot more opposing deck types to worry about.
So, let’s get down to how we can interpret this info. I’m for the most part going to ignore the decks that represent around 1% of the top decks. We need to be aware that they exist, and have a plan for them, but when making a deck choice I am going to pay more attention to decks that have shown up 5% more of the time as a top deck.
The first thing we really need to note here is how dominant Devotion based decks are right now. With 52% of the metagame, Devotion has established itself as a very strong ability. These decks share a name, but they are very different decks. The Monoblue Devotion deck is a tempo/aggro deck, GR Devotion and Monogreen Devotion represent more a stompy aggro version, and Monoblack Devotion is more midrange. The decks are only connected in their reliance on certain Devotion cards. Devotion forces these decks to either be mono colored, or nearly mono colored to operate at maximum efficiency, and as the numbers show, they are quite effective.
Next we need to note the high number of aggro decks with a relatively low number of control decks. I believe there are two factors that contributes to this. First, Supreme Verdict did not make much of a showing at the Pro Tour. Without proper board wipe, the aggro decks can feel the board up as quickly as possible without worry of fear of losing significant card advantage. Second, the aggro decks are operating at speeds, with extremely efficient cards, that are hard for the control decks to deal with. The aggro versus control match typically favors the aggro deck, and we do not see much difference in this Standard.
Midrange decks are in a good position right now, as shown by the number of Monoblack Devotion decks we have seen since PT Theros. Most of the current Midrange decks not only just go over the top of the aggro decks, they also have access to cards that give them a certain amount of reach against control, which is usually a hard match up for them. Whip of Erebos, Rakdos’s Return and Obzedat all provide hard to deal with answers to the game control is trying to play. The problem that it seems Midrange may have is the army on a stick abilities of Master of Waves, but through the proper use of removal even that weakness can be overcome.
I just do not feel that control is very well situated right now. Don’t get me wrong, Esper and UW are both strong, but it seems only in the hands of the most skilled pilots. The only control deck in the top 8 at worlds was Esper played by the control master himself Guillaume Wafo-Tapa. Two of the 4-0s by UW on MTGO were William “Huey” Hensen. I am not saying that playing control right now is impossible, I just do not think its the wisest choice.
But what does all of this really tell us? I think what it tells us is that midrange decks are on the rise. Aggro still commands a majority of the metagame, and midrange decks, the monoblack devotion deck in particular, are great against aggro. If I were to walk into a major event right now I would feel very confident in my deck choice if I took either Monoblack Midrange or BWR Midrange. Some might want to try and next level the event, by taking a control deck, with the expectation of lots of people playing midrange, but I do not think it would be wise due to the popularity of Monoblue Devotion and the flexibility of current midrange decks.
All the numbers and observations aside, this is actually a great metagame to just play what you want in. There really is no right answer right now. You can make a decision based on your own skill set most of the time and be fine going into an event. Unlike the days of Caw-Blade or UW Delver, this Standard has provided us with many right answers.