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Standard metagame

The Metagame and Win Rates from Twitch Rivals’ Post-Ban Standard

On November 18, Standard was shaken up by the bans of Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon a Time, and Veil of Summer. This opened the door to a ton of new strategies.

On November 19 and 20, we got a first look into post-ban Standard with Twitch Rivals; they invited 275 streamers for a $75,000 MTG Arena tournament that showcased the new Standard metagame after the bannings. Day 1 featured six rounds of modified Swiss, with the Top 32 advancing. Day 2 featured a single-elimination playoff.

Unfortunately, the Twitch Rivals website was not meant for coverage of Magic tournaments, as seeing any player’s decklist required finding and clicking their name on the standings page and then glancing at a decklist screenshot. But to analyze the tournament, I did exactly that: I archetyped all 275 decklists and put all Day 1 and Day 2 win-loss records into a useful spreadsheet.

The Standard Metagame and Win Rates from Twitch Rivals

I ran the numbers, and here is how the tournament shook out.

Deck archetypePercentage of Day 1 FieldTotal W-L Record and Win Rate
Jeskai Fires12.4%111-85 (57%)
Golgari Adventure9.1%73-64 (53%)
Temur Reclamation8.0%47-59 (44%)
Rakdos Knights7.3%67-47 (59%)
Jund Sacrifice7.3%64-53 (55%)
Gruul Aggro5.1%30-38 (44%)
Rakdos Sacrifice4.4%22-34 (39%)
Mono-Red Aggro4.4%32-31 (51%)
Esper Doom3.3%21-25 (46%)
Simic Flash3.3%24-24 (50%)
Esper Control3.3%21-26 (45%)
Azorius Control2.9%22-21 (51%)
Golgari Sacrifice2.5%19-16 (54%)
Bant Ramp2.5%14-20 (41%)
Simic Ramp1.8%16-12 (57%)
Mono-Black Sacrifice1.5%14-10 (58%)
Izzet Flash1.5%16-9 (64%)
Abzan Sacrifice1.5%10-11 (48%)
Gruul Adventure1.1%7-8 (47%)
Mono-Blue Flash0.7%9-4 (69%)
Mono-Black Aggro0.7%4-6 (40%)
Golgari Henge0.7%6-5 (55%)
Dimir Reanimator0.7%4-5 (44%)
Selesnya Tokens0.7%5-6 (45%)
Izzet Phoenix0.7%10-4 (71%)
Boros Knights0.4%4-2 (67%)
Grixis Control0.4%4-2 (67%)
Mono-White Aggro0.4%5-2 (71%)
Dimir Control0.4%4-2 (67%)
Mono-Green Stompy0.4%4-2 (67%)
Izzet Draw-two0.4%4-2 (67%)
Other/Unknown10.5%29-87 (25%)

Before looking at the decks that overperformed, let me point out two popular decks that underperformed: Gruul Aggro and Temur Reclamation. The weak performance of Gruul Aggro can be easily attributed to the loss of Once Upon a Time, which greatly weakened the manabase consistency. For Temur Reclamation, the loss of Veil of Summer may have similarly hurt their chances against blue or black decks post-sideboard.

Judging by both metagame shares and win rates, four decks stand out as the Decks To Beat in post-ban Standard.

The Best Decks in Post-Ban Standard

  • Jeskai Fires
  • Golgari Adventure
  • Rakdos Knights
  • Jund Sacrifice

Jeskai Fires

Zvi Mowshowitz, 6-1 at Twitch Rivals

3 Castle Vantress
3 Fabled Passage
4 Hallowed Fountain
2 Island (335)
2 Mountain (343)
1 Plains (331)
2 Sacred Foundry
4 Steam Vents
3 Temple of Epiphany
3 Temple of Triumph
3 Bonecrusher Giant/Stomp
4 Cavalier of Flame
4 Cavalier of Gales
4 Sphinx of Foresight
1 Kenrith, the Returned King - Collector Pack Exclusive
4 Deafening Clarion
1 Drawn from Dreams
4 Fires of Invention
3 Shimmer of Possibility
4 Teferi, Time Raveler
1 Time Wipe

Sideboard
4 Legion Warboss
4 Mystical Dispute
2 Aether Gust
2 Devout Decree
2 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Solar Blaze

Jeskai Fires did not lose any cards in the bans, and the strategy is still powerful. It was 12.4% of the Day 1 field, and the deck had a 57% win rate (plus or minus 7%, based on a 95% confidence interval under the normal approximation). The deck has sweepers to deal with aggro decks, and it can overpower anyone by effectively doubling its mana with Fires of Invention. Any time you cast both Cavalier of Flame and Cavalier of Gales on the same turn and still have mana up for a Cavalier of Flame activation is hard to lose.

Golgari Adventure

Mike Sigrist, 10-1 (First Place) at Twitch Rivals

1 Castle Locthwain
3 Fabled Passage
8 Forest (347)
4 Overgrown Tomb
6 Swamp (339)
3 Temple of Malady
4 Edgewall Innkeeper
4 Foulmire Knight/Profane Insight
3 Order of Midnight/Alter Fate
4 Paradise Druid
4 Lovestruck Beast/Heart's Desire - Showcase
2 Midnight Reaper
4 Murderous Rider/Swift End
4 Questing Beast
2 Rankle, Master of Pranks
1 Garruk, Cursed Huntsman
1 Nissa, Who Shakes the World
2 Vivien, Arkbow Ranger

Sideboard
2 Assassin's Trophy
4 Duress
2 Legion's End
1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General
2 Massacre Girl
2 Shifting Ceratops
2 Thrashing Brontodon

Golgari Adventure did lose Once Upon a Time in the ban, which has decreased the consistency at which it can start with Edgewall Innkeeper on turn one. Nevertheless, it’s still an excellent midrange strategy, featuring excellent removal, proactive creatures across the curve, card advantage, and planeswalkers. Golgari Adventure was 9.1% of the Day 1 field, and the deck had a 53% +/- 8% win rate.

Rakdos Knights

Fernanditouh, 6-1 at Twitch Rivals

8 Swamp (339)
4 Tournament Grounds
4 Blood Crypt
2 Castle Locthwain
7 Mountain (343)
4 Fervent Champion
3 Gutterbones
4 Knight of the Ebon Legion
3 Stormfist Crusader
4 Blacklance Paragon
3 Oathsworn Knight
4 Rotting Regisaur
3 Bonecrusher Giant/Stomp
3 Drill Bit
4 Embercleave

Sideboard
1 Drill Bit
2 Duress
2 Legion's End
4 Leyline of the Void
2 Massacre Girl
2 Murderous Rider/Swift End
2 Noxious Grasp

 

The Knight theme is light, mostly revolving around Tournament Grounds, Fervent Champion, and Blacklance Paragon to get out of the gates quickly with aggressively-minded creatures. The real defining feature of the deck is the combo of Rotting Regisaur and Embercleave, which can one-shot opponents when they let their shields down. Rakdos Knights was 7.3% of the Day 1 field, and the deck had a 59% +/- 9% win rate.

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Jund Sacrifice

Sandoiche, 10-1 (Second Place) at Twitch Rivals

4 Blood Crypt
1 Castle Locthwain
5 Forest (347)
3 Fabled Passage
1 Mountain (343)
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Stomping Ground
2 Swamp (339)
4 Cauldron Familiar
4 Gilded Goose
4 Paradise Druid
4 Mayhem Devil
3 Murderous Rider/Swift End
1 Wicked Wolf
3 Massacre Girl
4 Trail of Crumbs
2 Vraska, Golgari Queen
2 Assassin's Trophy
1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General
4 Witch's Oven

Sideboard
4 Cindervines
3 Duress
4 Lovestruck Beast/Heart's Desire - Showcase
1 Noxious Grasp
2 Questing Beast
1 Ugin, the Ineffable

Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Oven form the core of the sacrifice engine for a variety of color combinations. Jund Sacrifice and even Golgari Sacrifice did notably better than Rakdos Sacrifice, which suggests that Trail of Crumbs is one of the best value engines in Standard. It took everyone some time to catch on, but by now it seems that it’s well worth playing green for. Jund Sacrifice was the most popular Cat Oven deck at 7.3% of the Day 1 field and the best-performing one with a 55% +/- 9% win rate.

Conclusion

Standard has been rejuvenated, and the new Oko-free gauntlet looks to be a nicely diverse mix: There is a control deck in Jeskai Fires, a midrange deck in Golgari Adventure, an aggro deck in Rakdos Knights, and an engine deck in Jund Sacrifice. And that’s not even mentioning the rest of the field, which includes competitive options like Mono-Red Aggro, Simic Flash, Azorius Control, and Simic Ramp.

Which of these decks do you like the best, and how do you think we can attack this new metagame? The next major Standard event will Mythic Championship VII, held on December 6-8.

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