Pro Tour Kaladesh
After 16 grueling rounds of Kaladesh Limited and Standard, and the new top 8 system that Wizards of the Coast has implemented, Hall of Famer Shota Yasooka emerged victorious, after expertly piloting Grixis Control past Carlos Romão’s Jeskai Control in the final. This was Shota’s fourth Pro Tour top 8, and Carlos Romão’s second. The rest of the top 8 featured notable names, such as Pro Tour Theros finalist Pierre Dagen, Matthew Nass, and surefire first ballot Hall of Famer Lee Shi Tian, who piloted U/R Spells, Temur Aetherworks, and 4-Color Vehicles respectively. The rest of the top 8 featured R/W Aggro, R/W Vehicles, and U/W Flash.
That means that the top 8 had 8 unique decks, despite a few falling within the same category. Despite it only putting one copy into the top 8, U/W Flash was the most successful deck of the tournament when you look at the Standard decks with the best record. All four of the decks that were 9-1 in the Standard portion of the tournament were piloting some variation of U/W Flash. The only undefeated Standard deck was W/R Tokens, piloted by Pro Tour newcomer Makis Matsoukas.
The overall metagame was a tad unexpected. Temur Aetherworks was the most popular deck in the tournament on day 1, with a surprising 17.6%, despite not being considered a tier 1 deck entering the tournament. B/G Delirium followed closely behind at 11.8% and B/R Aggro came in third at 8.2%. The level 0 deck going into the tournament, W/R Vehicles, was the fifth most popular deck, but Vehicles decks as a whole were 9.2% of the room.
The logical followup question is “which decks over-performed on day 1 and emerged as the real winners of the tournament?” The answer to that is…none of them, surprisingly. No deck’s share of the tournament metagame changed more than 1.56% in either a positive or negative direction.
W/U Flash – This deck was not on many peoples’ radars coming into this tournament, but the four most successful Standard players in the tournament were playing this deck. That can’t be a coincidence. It’s possible that the players playing this deck had the metagame pinned correctly, and because I expect that the Pro Tour metagame will be pretty close to the metagame this weekend in Providence and Kuala Lumpur, this deck seems like a very good choice.
Temur Aetherworks – As I mentioned above, this deck was a known quantity coming into the tournament, but I think you would be hard-pressed to find someone who was not playing the Pro Tour that expected this to be the most popular deck over the weekend. Many people believe that combo decks like this one have been careful prevented from ever entering Standard by Wizards of the Coast, so when they see an incredibly powerful combo enabler like Aetherworks Marvel, they assume that the infrastructure isn’t there, and they abandon it before even trying. This deck may not be the most popular in the format going forward, as people learn to fight against it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we consider this deck tier 1 for a while.
Grixis/Jeskai Control – Control is surely not dead! As it turns out, we may not have Snapcaster Mage or a 4-mana Wrath of God in this format, but the cards this archetype does have, like Torrential Gearhulk, are good enough to compete, and perhaps dominate, in this format. I’m very excited for everyone to play control mirrors again, as we saw how exciting and interesting they can be in the final between Shota Yasooka and Carlos Romão.
Decks That Didn’t Surprise, But Are Still Around
Vehicles – The Vehicles archetype (W/R, Mardu, 4-Color) didn’t necessarily underperform at the Pro Tour, but the metagame statistics show that it was not as dominant as many people predicted and feared it would be. Going forward, Vehicles is still definitely a tier 1 deck, and removing the target off of its back will no doubt help it going forward.
R/G Energy – Another deck that many people considered to be a safe bet for a successful deck at the Pro Tour, R/G Energy slightly underperformed, if anything. Don’t expect it to go away, however. Many players over the weekend talked about how they were afraid of this deck, so we may see a resurgence this coming weekend.
The format is wide open – It is! No one deck seemed to impress over all others, but new decks emerged. For once, the Pro Tour was unable to dictate and metagame going forward. Expect the following decks to perform well this coming weekend in Providence and Kuala Lumpur: W/U Flash, Temur Aetherworks, Grixis Control, Jeskai Control, Vehicles, R/G Energy.
Shota Yasooka is a master – Holy crap this guy is an incredible player. I don’t have much more to say about it, but I just had to include this here.
Good and bad matchups still exist – Seeing the lack of metagame change from day 1 to day 2 might indicate that the matchup percentages in this format are much closer to 50/50 than ever before, but that’s not necessarily the case. Decks still have very positive and very negative matchups, but they overall balance out to somewhere around 50/50. This day 1 to day 2 metagame shift is the exception, not the rule.
This coming weekend is Grand Prix Providence and Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur, both featuring Standard. Myself and some of the Spellsnare writers will be battling in Providence, so I hope that the Weekend Recap next week will be a celebratory episode.
Until next time.
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