Metagame Breakdown, Part Uno

Currently Standard is just a big ole mess. Right now the options are endlessor so we believe. After a couple of weeks of tournaments, the metagame has been broken down and it seems you can’t just play what you want. Let me tell you why.

[deck title=B/g Devotion, Andrew Tenjum, 1st Place, SCG Open Cincinatti]
[Creatures]
*4 Pack Rat
*4 Lifebane Zombie
*4 Desecration Demon
*4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Thoughtseize
3 Devour Flesh
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Hero’s Downfall
4 Underworld Connections
1 Vraska the Unseen
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Temple of Malady
2 Golgari Guildgate
4 Mutavault
4 Overgrown Tomb
11 Swamp
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Dark Betrayal
2 Erebos, God of the Dead
2 Pharika’s Cure
1 Devour Flesh
2 Golgari Charm
2 Doom Blade
4 Duress
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

New formats mean new cardsor again, so we thought. This list contains four new cards, and they are wonderful lands. I was wrong. Mono-Black Devotion is still the best. All hail the king.  In all seriousness, if you don’t have a good matchup against this deck, don’t play in tournaments if you are trying to win.

I love almost everything about this deck. But now that the metagame is fully developed, we can be a little bit more aggressive about our card choices.

-1 [card]Vraska the Unseen[/card]

+1 [card]Abrupt Decay[/card]

The reason this is correct is [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] has almost the same effect as [card]Vraska the Unseen[/card]. And in most matchups, Vraska tends to come down, kill one [card]Detention Sphere[/card] or similar card, then sit around doing nothing. We aren’t talking about corner caseswe are talking about what happens most of the time Vraska comes down. [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] has mostly the same effect, except it doubles as removal and allows you to gain a couple percentages in your not-so-good matchups. Going forward, I believe this is a four-of in any devotion decks.

[deck title=U/W Control, Eric Rill, 2nd Place, SCG Open Cincinatti]
[Creatures]
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Azorius Charm
1 Syncopate
1 Elixir of Immortality
1 Negate
2 Celestial Flare
4 Dissolve
1 Banishing Light
4 Detention Sphere
4 Supreme Verdict
4 Jace, Architect of Thought
2 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
1 Jace, Memory Adept
4 Sphinx’s Revelation
[/Spells]

[Lands]
4 Temple of Enlightenment
1 Temple of Deceit
1 Temple of Silence
4 Azorius Guildgate
3 Mutavault
4 Hallowed Fountain
5 Island
5 Plains
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Nyx-Fleece Ram
1 Deicide
2 Celestial Flare
1 Aetherling
1 Blind Obedience
1 Dispel
1 Negate
1 Pithing Needle
2 Gainsay
3 Last Breath
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Blue and white! [card]Jace, Architect of Thought[/card] and [card]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/card] are still the tag-team masters of the world if you ask me. This deck is very, very good. Once you stop everything that your opponent has tried to do, you value them out with Jace or just ultimate a Elspeth and end the game. You can’t be greedy and you need to play very tight. If you think that’s something that you are into, I recommend taking this list and not putting it down till the end of the season. This deck now has access to a lot of card’s that allows you to have game in every matchup.

The changes i would make to the list are very subtle. With the metagame being this defined, you don’t need to make a lot of change to be successful.

-3[card]Last Breath[/card]

+1 [card]Nyx-Fleece Ram[/card]

+2 [card]Reprisal[/card]

Blitz decks are coming and every single game that I have played against them with [card]Nyx-Fleece Ram[/card] hasn’t been close. Every aggro deck must overextend to have a chance to beat this card. If they don’t, they can’t win. And if they do…well, they still can’t win. This card doesn’t allow aggro to nickel and dime you out of a game.

As for the others, I don’t know if people have forgotten about [card]Reprisal[/card], but this card is the real deal. With the Junk deck seeing more play, you need a way to deal with all the troublesome cards in that deck. It is threat dense and you can’t rely on being able to counter everything that they do.

[deck title=Junk, Jeff Hoogland, 3rd Place, SCG Open Cincinatti]
[Creatures]
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Courser of Kruphix
1 Lifebane Zombie
3 Scavenging Ooze
2 Archangel of Thune
2 Blood Baron of Vizkopa
1 Obzedat, Ghost Council
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Hero’s Downfall
2 Banishing Light
2 Underworld Connections
4 Advent of the Wurm
2 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
[/Spells]
[Lands]
1 Mana Confluence
1 Swamp
2 Forest
3 Temple Garden
3 Godless Shrine
4 Overgrown Tomb
3 Temple of Malady
4 Temple of Plenty
4 Temple of Silence
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Bile Blight
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
2 Lifebane Zombie
2 Sin Collector
1 Obzedat, Ghost Council
1 Underworld Connections
2 Golgari Charm
2 Thoughtseize
2 Putrefy
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

This deck is a nightmare for the top two decks in the format. That being said, I don’t know how it fares against the random decks in the format. If you know you are going to a tournament with a ton of Spikes in attendance, this deck should be in the forefront of your mind. The threat count of this deck is off the charts. Almost any one of the creatures in this deck can swing the game in your favorand that’s why the top two decks have trouble executing a game plan against this one.

-1 [card]Lifebane Zombie[/card]

+1 [card]Abrupt Decay[/card]

Looking at this deck, it seems well thought out and very strong in the current metagame, so you don’t need to change much until the format shifts. [card]Lifebane Zombie[/card] is a fine card, but I don’t think this is a deck that wants a ton of this type of effect in the 75. [card]Archangel of Thune[/card] is the number one reason i don’t believe you need Lifebane versus RG Monsters. The deck is set up very well. It has plenty of game versus every single midrange and control deck in the format. You really just want to be able to start deploying your threats before you die.

Knowing the Format

This format is about knowing your deck and playing well. This isn’t a format where you just choose a deck and go to a tournament and win. You need to know what the cards your deck can’t deal with and find ways to not lose to those cards. You may believe that these decks are old, but I believe that you don’t need to fix what’s not broken. After some research, I think these are the best decks for this metagame.

Let me know what you think about this series. My plan is that about every two weeks, I will be doing a breakdown of the Star City Games Standard series. Many people consider me to be an expert in the Legacy community, so if you guys want to hear about that format, let me know. I will also be in the Reddit comments replying to everything I get a chance to. Thanks for reading and don’t be afraid to follow me on Twitter—I try to respond to every question.

@Deshaunbaylock3

About the Author
DeShaun is an above-average guy always trying to win. He has made top eight of two SCG Opens and one Legacy Grand Prix. He also has a PTQ win under his belt. He's a Spike of all Spikes.

2 comments on Metagame Breakdown, Part Uno

  1. I really like the breakdown DeShaun. looking at B/G breakdown doesn’t Vraska also kill Planeswalkers in your U/W and U/W/x match-ups? Kinda seems like not only is it a fourth abrupt decay, but a fifth hero’s downfall. Just feels like with a field full of control it might be just a bit more of an edge, or maybe it’s just a misconception of mine because of lack of play. Would love to hear your thoughts.

    1. Deshaun says:

      From my side of the match the decay hits a lot more things and you don’t have to try to find the right place for it to resolve. Vraska always lands on a turn when your opponent has mana open more times then from my experience. With the high number of counter spells being run it’s a little two risky to tap 5 and get nothing out of it from the black green side.

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