Standard Metagame Data

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After DC, I knew I didn't want to wing it again. I decided to do my homework for the upcoming SCG Open in Memphis in order to select my deck properly this time. Time to break out the spreadsheet and analyze the metagame!

You can download it and change the relative score of SCG events relative to MTGO Dailies - it's all controlled by that one set of cells, so it should be fairly easy to make changes. There are blank columns which leave you room to do more calculations if you prefer something like a logarithmic formula.

The MTGO Dailies sheet features a considerably less arbitrary calculation, but is limited to a homogenous set of events.

The 5 most-played decks online are Valakut, Boros, Caw-Blade, Vampires, and Angry Birds (red Caw-Blade), in that order. The 5 best-performing decks online (with a minimum of 20 appearances) are Vampires, Caw-Blade, Valakut, Angry Birds, and RUG, in that order.

Looking first at the Daily Events, we see that Valakut is the single most-played deck to a position of success, which isn't much of a surprise given its prior data. However, now a solid 24% of the Valakut decks recorded are at 4-0, which is right next to the major decks. Given Valakut's massive sample size, this is fairly impressive. If you subscribe to the theory that MTGO is ahead of the metagame curve, you should probably be sleeving up Valakut this weekend. Its poor Open performance hurts the overall numbers, and if you think the past two Opens are the best indicator for Memphis, you should stay far away from this deck.

This Valakut list was played to a 4-0 finish in DE 2129899 by Krush aka Virus.

Boros is the most widely successful Aggro deck, which shouldn't be surprising when you realize that it's basically turned into Caw-Blade with all the control cards replaced with Red facesmashers. What's not to love? Well, for starters, only 11.4% of the recorded lists have gone 4-0 in Daily Events. Furthermore, it didn't put anyone in the top 16 in Edison. The data would suggest that if you want to be beating face with Squadron Hawks, you should be investigating the Green/White deck, or looking at the much more successful Vampires deck.

This Boros list was played to a 4-0 record in DE 2128632 by Greeed.

This is the green-white deck I recommend investigating first, played to a 4-0 record in DE 2128583 by Smi77y.

Caw-Blade is arguably the best deck in the format, and has recently surpassed Valakut in online results. The straight Blue-White version has 25% of the recorded decks at 4-0, which is very close to Valakut and RUG. Angry Birds isn't making it to the next level at this point in either dataset, and at this point the splash can easily be considered worse... except for one catch: the loss of Tectonic Edge makes the deck considerably worse against Valakut, and Valakut is currently in greater prominence online than in the SCG Open series. If you think Valakut is overplayed online, abandoning the Edges for red or black mana is the way to go for Memphis.

This version of Caw-Blade made a 4-0 record in DE 2128645, piloted by Ra_Po.

Heinrick_A_Payaso played Angry Birds to a 4-0 record in DE 2128637 with the following list.

DE 2128628 saw portugalovic splashing black in his Darkwing Duck variant.

The data is showing Vampires to be convincingly better than Boros, with the best 4-0 rate of any deck with more than 20 appearances in this data set. That makes it a strong consideration, despite its goose egg in the last two Opens.

DE 2129899 saw two people pilot Vampires to 4-0. The following list belongs to brantner2000.

RUG is finally putting up numbers online, and has some of the best overall numbers. Decks vary a great deal here, but the general basis of this deck is the same as it's always been - mana ramping and extremely powerful cards backed by a bit of countermagic and removal.

Red Deck Wins is fairly new and hasn't made any 4-0s online. Winning an Open is impressive, but [card Kor Firewalker]haters gonna hate[/card], and with that kind of high profile finish, you can expect people to be bringing some hate. Kor Firewalker is absurdly hard to beat, so I'd avoid this deck for now just to see if people bring the hate, and if they don't, go crush face.

Since there's no 4-0 decklist online, here's Patrick Sullivan's deck from Edison.


One of the 4-0 Vampires decks played a pair of Manic Vandals maindeck. Looking at the metagame as a whole, that's a solid call against Caw-Blade, Boros, and Tezzeret. It seems absurdly weak against Valakut and RUG (though [card Wurmcoil Engine]Wurmcoil[/card] is a target). Of course, Boros also has access to this card, but the fact that the trigger is mandatory makes it somewhat awkward in a deck with its own equipment. Vampires does seem like the best home, even with the lack of tribal synergies. The card hasn't been picked up universally, as you can see.

Red/Green midrange beats made 4-0 in a Daily Event. Fluke, or a real deck? I'm guessing the former, but the deck does look like it has a solid resistance to board sweepers.

Now would be a really good time to play Leonin Arbiter if you can find a home for it. It forces you into monowhite or an allied color pair with no fetchlands, and makes you give up Squadron Hawk and probably Stoneforge Mystic as well, but you gain advantage against literally every major deck in the metagame. You'd probably be looking at finding a way to fit it into a White Weenie shell, and it's worth noting that Honor of the Pure remains legal.

This is pretty rough, it packs it in to a Pyroclasm without Honor of the Pure or multiple Allies, and it might not have enough ability to hate people out of the game since Caw-Blade, Valakut, Boros, and Vampires all have the ability to spot kill your hate bears. A Green-White variant may be better, and it is possible to stick Arbiter in a green-white shell as a 1-of for Fauna Shaman to get. The timing makes this suspect though, since you won't even be able to stop a Stoneforge Mystic on the play.

For similar reasons, Cosi's Trickster seems well-positioned, and with the possible rise of Grand Architect there may now be a deck it can slot into. This is probably the key starting point for brewing up a new deck, or a new twist on one of the existing Blue decks. I've seen rumblings of Thada Adel, Acquisitor as an anti-Stoneforge card, but the mana cost seems highly awkward for that role.

Next week, I'll have a Memphis report for you, and I aim to make it a much more interesting one than my last two.

Joshua Justice

@JoshJMTG on Twitter

One thought on “Standard Metagame Data

  1. 4 Ratchet bombs in the sideboard for Mono Red deal with Kor Firewalker. I played a few games against Mono Red with Boros, and after sideboarding in 4 Firewalkers and even Baneslayer, the games were surprisingly close. So IMO if you are going to play that list of Mono Red, learn to utilize your burn spells and play around Kor Firewalker.( I know it sounds nigh impossible with Mono Red but it can be done. )

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