Monday, August 26, 2019

A Weekend of Winner's Metagames

A Look at the August 24 MTGO MCQ & August 25 Challenge

It was quite the weekend for Pauper. August 24 saw a 9 round (plus Top 8) Mythic Championship Qualifier on Magic Online and the cream certainly rose to the top. Sunday saw a much more reasonable Challenge (7 rounds plus Top 8). Considering that nothing was banned in today's announcement, it is going to pay to study these results.

Let's start, then, with the MCQ. At 9 rounds, the break even point for Win+ was a 5-4 record, which didn't take place until outside the Top 32. This was a massive event and the additional rounds helped the best decks rise to the top of the standings. While there was only one Tron deck in the Top 32 it made Top 8, as well as 5 of the 17 Jeskai decks. Still, the day was won by Hexproof (featuring four copies of Arcum's Astrolabe). 
When taken as a whole, the Jeskai macro performed extremely well while Stompy did fine. Every other deck that placed in the Top 32 also did at least average with regards to Win+.
At the end of Saturday, Jeskai cemented itself as the deck to beat and Hexproof provided a blueprint on how to do that, building off of the work that Stompy has done this season.

Jeskai is very good at handling singular small threats. While Stompy can go tall, it can still fall prey to a timely Skred. Savage Swipe can turn a tempo profit, but better than going up on tempo is blanking opposing cards. Slippery Bogle is quite good at that. As a result, Hexproof can simply go around Jeskai's main mode of interaction. While the deck is fairly easy to hate out, the archetype should be further explored as a way to attack Jeskai.

What about Sunday? There were more archetypes in the Top 32, as well as 8 different archetypes in the Top 8. There were two Jeskai decks, and this time the one featuring Trinket Mage won the whole thing. The metagame seemed to adjust to the success of aggressive strategies, as indicated by the relatively poor performance of Stompy. At the same time, singular threat go tall decks - Heroic and Hexproof - both made Top 8. When taken together, the Ethereal Armor decks are out performing Affinity, Burn, and Elves. 
Does that mean you should run the card next week? Probably not! Hexproof and Heroic are both highly susceptible to Chainer's Edict style effects, which just so happen to be well positioned in the metagame. That being said, properly constructing these decks could catch the metagame by surprise. That means lessening your reliance on Auras - we see you Leave no Trace. This is easy enough to do in Heroic. In Hexproof it could mean adopting Travel Preparations.

While the best Jeskai deck isn't known, the fact is Jeskai is currently the best deck in the metagame. It's time to put a target on the archetype and work taking it down a notch. How are you planning on melting some snow?

2019 is going to be a banner year for Pauper. I want to continue to be at the forefront of the metagame. If you like the work I do, please consider becoming a Patron. Thank you!

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