The Monday Metagame (March 26th)

Hey everyone! This is going up a bit late since I was very busy on Tuesday so I’m writing it now! The metagame for this Monday was a little more varied than it has been in which past though interestingly the results were similar. The green black based midrange decks still rose to the top with Doug and Stefan facing off in a finals in a BUG mirror where Doug’s ability to go slightly larger with cards like primeval Titan and his active attacking of Stefan’s mana netted him the victory. These green black decks continue to over power many of the other midrange decks with their powerful card advantage engines and suite of removal. Combatting these decks is still proving to be challenging for many players the decks do not have one area in which they are particularly vulnerable though at times their mana has looked like the thing to attack.

There was a distinct increase in the amount of aggressive decks this week with mono red and green red aggro putting in reasonable performances. These decks trade out value for redundancy and speed. In a metagame where people continue try to go larger and larger planning to simply goldfish a turn 4-5 kill against most people and being capable of doing this consistently seems like an excellent place to be. The other interesting aggressive deck that appeared on Monday was the mono blue skies deck that Riley played. This deck’s principle plan was to play a 3 power evasive creature and have some kind of mana disruption in the form of cards like trinisphere, sphere of resistance, chalice of the void, or back to basics. It is capable of doing thee things quite quickly too with cards like mox diamond and ancient tomb. I’m not exactly sure what Riley’s record was but he beat me in two quick games and the deck seemed quite powerful against decks lacking explosive starts.

Combo made a bit of a resurgence this week with a variety of decks appearing in the meta. Storm continues to perform though it has yet to put a truly dominant performance. Time Vault also continues to be a potent archetype and Garret is beginning to consistently perform well with the deck. Noel put away his green cards for a week and decided to play blue cards this week, managing a 3-1 performance with his Esper reanimator deck. These three different types of combo decks have all continued to have success in the metagame and will likely to continue to do so unless tempo decks become more popular.

Speaking of tempo decks, there has been a complete and utter lack of tempo in the metagame for the last two weeks. Besides Jeremy’s UWR tempo deck this week there were almost no other tempo decks in the room. Tempo struggles against aggro but has a good match up against most of the other decks in the format. The large departure from tempo might partly be because aggro was more popular previously however in the current metagame it is less present. Potentially tempo decks are the answer to these midrange decks as they have the potential to interact with the midrange deck enough to keep them off kilter.

The spicy deck of the week award goes to Riley for his mono blue skies deck. Riley was inspired by Brett who sent him a sweet list fairly similar to this. As I mentioned above this decks aggressive evasive creatures plus its hateful permanents can often keep its opponent off balance enough to end the game. There are some especially spicy choices in the deck as well such as Timetwister and Windfall as cards to refill after playing some fast disruption.

As usual here is the metagame!

Continue reading The Monday Metagame (March 26th)

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The Monday Metagame (March 16th)

This Monday I’m reporting on two different metagames. Highlander for staples happened on the day before Monday night Highlander this week which resulted in an interesting shift in the meta. Stefan Bard took down the staples event with his BUG control deck and then successfully ran it back on Monday to take a huge lead in the year long race with three qualifier points. Stefan’s deck choice is emblematic of the recent Victoria metagame; players are either playing GBx decks, or they are trying to find ways to go under or over those decks. In general those strategies haven’t been able to counteract these GB strategies. The GB decks take advantage of the fact that they are almost always going to be acquiring more value than their opponents. Whether they are of the junk variety and use white cards to disrupt the opponent and play quality removal or splashing blue for counter spells and card draw the deck is very efficient and its individual card quality is usually higher than the opposing decks’.

The decks that have had a good match up against these value decks are the combo decks. Both High Tide and Storm went 3-1 this week and Mono Green Combo had a reasonable showing as well. These decks are either fast enough or interactive enough to get around the discard spells that many of these GB decks play. The one deck that these decks still struggle against is the blue version of the GB deck which potentially demonstrates the true genius of Stefan’s metagame decision.

Lost in these midrange and combo decks are the aggro and control decks. The few aggro decks that people played at the staples event did okay with both Matt and Pat Berdusco making their way into the top 8 with goblins and jund aggro. On Monday however aggro was less present and many of them struggled. Control on the other hand is almost always present due to how attractive it is to experienced players who can gain some advantage out of outplaying their opponents. Alistair Norman made it all the way to the finals on Monday piloting Esper control and Nick Picard also piloted a BUG midrangy control deck to a 3-1 record.

In the current metagame most archetypes are reasonably healthy with the exeception of aggressive decks. They are currently having some issues with the GB decks with a lot of removal and good creatures. Possible directions that the aggressive decks could go in to improve their match up against those decks likely include playing more green based creatures and trying to attack the mana bases of these other midrange decks. Even the straight GB decks play a lot of non basic lands and be vulnerable to cards like wasteland and blood moon. In addition to this these decks are fairly reliant on spending a lot of their mana each turn in order to play their large effective spells. Attacking that mana with cards like Armageddon has the potential to be extremely potent.

The spicy deck of the week award this week goes to Stefan Bard. His BUG control deck is simply too powerful to be ignored. There have been other attempts on this archetype in the past but Stefan has enjoyed particular success of late. The strength of this deck lies in the fact that it maintains all of the benefits that a typical GB shell has such as strength against creature decks while compensating for it’s major weakness, it’s struggle with combo decks, with the blue counter spells. Hopefully we’ll have a deck tech on that deck soon enough!

Here is the metagame!

Continue reading The Monday Metagame (March 16th)

The Monday Metagame (March 9th)

Welcome back to the Monday Metagame! This week the metagame shifted slightly further towards midrange. In addition to moving even more towards midrange the metagame is also starting to shift away from blue decks and towards more green based decks.  Fewer players showed up with combo decks this week as well which meant that many of the midrange decks rose to the top of the standings. Alasdair Howie made yet another run to finals this week as his green black midrange was able to overcome many of the other middling strategies. He however lost in the finals this week to me. I was playing a Bant aggressive deck with some pretty heavy disruptive elements attempting to disrupt other decks mana. This deck’s combination of powerful green creatures and disruptive white and blue elements meant that it was able to over come both aggressive red decks and slower control decks.

This week there were even fewer combo decks in the room than usual. There were no mono green combo decks and only three Academy decks and one Oath of Druids deck. Outside of these three decks there were a few other decks that contained combos in them but were not all in on these strategies. Combo seems like it’s in an incredibly powerful position in the metagame currently. Many of the mid range decks struggle to put a clock on their opponent quickly and are instead looking to acquire significant amounts of value and eventually grind their opponents out of the game. Many of the combo decks in the format can deliberately choose to ignore this value game and instead execute their own game plan efficiently. Furthermore the lack of fast clocks in the format means that many of these decks will be given a significant amount of time to set up before they are forced to go off. Classically tempo has been the hardest match up for combo decks but with many of the tempo decks forced out by midrange combo could be in a very good place right now.

Lastly we have the spicy deck of the week! This weeks award goes to Jeremy for his 4 Colour Oath deck. This deck is extremely well positioned in the metagame currently as there very few decks not playing creatures meaning that triggering Oath is not very difficult. Furthermore the bulk of midrange creature are basically dead to most Oath targets as they have a hard time beating both Emrakul and Griselbrand.

I’ll have a deck tech of Chris Sutherland’s RUG deck and my Bant deck coming out this week.

Also there is a Highlander for staple event this weekend so expect some coverage and deck lists from that!

The meta as always!

4 Colour Graveyard Synergy

Infect

Goblins

4 Colour Artifact Combo

Time Vault Combo

2 Bant Aggro

UWR Control

2 UR Control

BUG Tempo

BG Rock

2 Junk Midrange

2 Junk Pod Combo

4 Colour Oath

UG Tempo

Mono Red Aggro

Bant Midrange

Esper Control

BUG Control

RG Midrange

Esper Prison

RUG Midrange

UR Tempo

Jund Midrange

Thanks as always!

-Liam Coughlan

The Monday Metagame (March 2nd)

It was the week of combo in sunny Victoria this week as Josh Layne took down the tournament playing Academy combo. He was not the only combo deck at the top tables however; There were several other combo decks of both the mono green and Academy variety sitting near the top tables by the end of the night. A common elements of these combo decks that have made them the most successful and powerful combo decks is that they are very density based and have a lot of redundant interchangeable pieces that all do similar things. The Academy decks play a large amount of mana rocks and land tutors in order to generate large amounts of mana which they then convert into a reasonable number of business spells that all have the capability of winning the game. The mono green deck is looking to do much of the same thing, generate a ton of mana from its creatures and high impact cards like Gaea’s Cradle and then use that mana to cast large threats that can in some instances instantly win the game. Since all the pieces in these decks are so interchangeable it is very difficult for some decks to disrupt them as some tempo and aggressive decks rely on using one or two pieces of disruption in order to slow their combo opponent down. Since these combo decks possess no real key combo pieces these disruptive elements are far less impactful than they might typically be. The story of combo doing so well this week is not only related to the power of big mana combo but also to the rise of mid range decks in the meta. Even the blue based mid range decks like the RUG mid range deck that Chris used to win last week are fairly soft to combo decks which potentially explains the results from this week. Though these midrange decks are weak against combo they have all but pushed aggro completely out of the format. This has led to a fairly interesting conundrum in the meta. The control decks in the format are forced to play more counter spells and cards specifically designed to combat the combos like stony silence (potentially unadvisable). In turn playing those cards they hurt their chances against aggro decks and also give up some cards for the midrange match ups. So what does one play right now? The combo decks out race many of the mid range and control decks, the mid range decks crush the aggressive decks, and the aggressive decks pressure the control and combo decks. This next week will be very interesting in terms of how the meta reacts. Lastly this weeks spicy deck of the week goes to Chris Sutherland for his RUG midrange deck! He has been working with this RUG shell for quite a while and took the tournament down last week! We’ll have two deck techs coming out this week as I no longer need to prepare for a legacy tournament! Here’s the exact metagame break down as usual. UG Sorenson 3 Mono Green Combo RUG Midrange GB midrange 2 Academy Combo Esper Control 2 UWR Control 2 UWR Tempo Goblins Mono Black Aggro RG Ramp BUG Tempo Bant Midrange Grixis Time Vault Esper Stax BUG Midrange Grixis Control Junk Pod Mono Blue Thanks again for reading a please don’t hesitate to leave a comment! -Liam Coughlan