Meta Snapshot

Posted: April 01, 2018

It’s been two weeks since the NDA lift, and with hundreds of games played by our group, it’s time to look at the most popular decks of Kaladesh-less metagame. Decks are listed by popularity based on our somewhat limited data pool, where majority of the games has been played in Gold, and our own decks have been taken out of the equation. The order of popularity is not surprising, but the meta is relatively diverse (tho anecdotal evidence suggests RDW and swarm decks become more prevalent towards Diamond and the popularity of UB drops significantly). The two most popular decks are within a % of each other and comprise the same chunk of the meta together as the next 5 archetypes combined.

Below you will find all the decks with sample decklists. Some of the decks come with guides and budget builds.

An extremely efficient and fast deck meets little opposition in a Bo1 and is most vulnerable to bad draws. Its immensely favourable matchup in UB, the 2nd most popular deck of the format, its quick games and fast paced playstyle contribute most to its popularity and strength.

Deck: Red Deck Wins {r}
14Mountain 2Abrade {1}{R}4Ahn-Crop Crasher {2}{R}
4Ramunap Ruins 4Lightning Strike {1}{R}2Captain Lannery Storm {2}{R}
4Sunscorched Desert 3Magma Spray {R}1Daring Buccaneer {R}
2Dire Fleet Daredevil {1}{R}
4Earthshaker Khenra {1}{R}
4Fanatical Firebrand {R}
2Glorybringer {3}{R}{R}
2Goblin Trailblazer {1}{R}
4Hazoret the Fervent {3}{R}
4Rampaging Ferocidon {2}{R}
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The undisputed champion in popularity throughout the first week, due to its power in full standard format and the attraction of the Scarab god, the best control deck in the current meta gave up its throne. UB control will gain a lot with the option to sideboard in Bo3 and especially with the addition of Kaladesh.

Deck: UB Control {u}{b}
1Arch of Orazca 1Admiral's Order {1}{U}{U}4Champion of Wits {2}{U}
4Drowned Catacomb 1Censor {1}{U}2Glyph Keeper {3}{U}{U}
2Evolving Wilds 2Countervailing Winds {2}{U}1Nezahal, Primal Tide {5}{U}{U}
2Field of Ruin 2Essence Scatter {1}{U}2Ravenous Chupacabra {2}{B}{B}
2Ifnir Deadlands 2Golden Demise {1}{B}{B}1Tetzimoc, Primal Death {4}{B}{B}
3Ipnu Rivulet 3Moment of Craving {1}{B}3The Scarab God {3}{U}{B}
5Island 2Negate {1}{U}1Vizier of Many Faces {2}{U}{U}
7Swamp 1Search for Azcanta {1}{U}
3Supreme Will {2}{U}
3Vraska's Contempt {2}{B}{B}
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Wx Vampires are by far the most budget of all decks. Their lifelinking and swarming abilities make them difficult to take on for RDW and UB Control alike. They are vulnerable to board wipes but otherwise sticky and fast.

Deck: Budget BW Vampires {w}{b}
1Field of Ruin 4Call to the Feast {2}{W}{B}2Champion of Dusk {3}{B}{B}
2Forsaken Sanctuary 2Cast Out {3}{W}4Dusk Legion Zealot {1}{B}
1Ifnir Deadlands 2Ixalan's Binding {3}{W}4Legion Lieutenant {W}{B}
7Plains 2Legion's Landing {W}3Martyr of Dusk {1}{W}
4Shefet Dunes 3Moment of Craving {1}{B}2Skymarcher Aspirant {W}
9Swamp 4Queen's Commission {2}{W}
4Radiant Destiny {2}{W}
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Tokens generally come in two non-vampire variants: WG, using tribal cats, Tendershoot Dryads and sometimes Path of Discovery to quickly swarm the board and finish off their opponents. The second, more popular variant is uW. Using the white’s token package and Anointed procession this deck focuses on controlling the board, and uses the blue cards to refill its hand and dig/tutor for threats and answers.

Deck: UW Tokens {w}{u}
2Field of Ruin 3Anointed Procession {3}{W}2Adorned Pouncer {1}{W}
4Glacial Fortress 2Cast Out {3}{W}1Angel of Sanctions {3}{W}{W}
1Ipnu Rivulet 2Ixalan's Binding {3}{W}3Anointer Priest {1}{W}
2Irrigated Farmland 2Negate {1}{U}4Champion of Wits {2}{U}
4Island 1Pull from Tomorrow {X}{U}{U}1Glyph Keeper {3}{U}{U}
9Plains 1Search for Azcanta {1}{U}2Regal Caracal {3}{W}{W}
2Shefet Dunes 3Strategic Planning {1}{U}4Sacred Cat {W}
1Sunscourge Champion {2}{W}
1Vizier of Many Faces {2}{U}{U}
3Vizier of the Anointed {3}{U}
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The most popular archetype in Ixalan block has lost a lot in popularity due to the collection reset and powerful new cards introduced with Amonkhet block. This archetype is only now regaining popularity as it requires a lot more mythics and rares to function properly than any of the more popular decks above. GRx Midrange focuses on creating a lot of hard-to-deal-with pressure early on, through the use of large, powerful, removal and burn.

Deck: Big Green/Red {r}{g}
6Forest 3Abrade {1}{R}1Ahn-Crop Crasher {2}{R}
4Hashep Oasis 2Magma Spray {R}4Earthshaker Khenra {1}{R}
8Mountain 2Struggle // Survive {2}{R}//{1}{G}4Glorybringer {3}{R}{R}
4Rootbound Crag 4Jadelight Ranger {1}{G}{G}
4Sheltered Thicket 4Merfolk Branchwalker {1}{G}
1Prowling Serpopard {1}{G}{G}
4Rekindling Phoenix {2}{R}{R}
3Resilient Khenra {1}{G}
2Rhonas the Indomitable {2}{G}
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The little mermen are a lot less popular than they were in the previous meta as well. They are the deck that got the least with the addition of Amonkhet, and the UB decks with 2-3 Golden Demises have pushed them on the edge of the meta. Nevertheless, Merfolk swarm fast, grow big and offer explosive finishes that will often blow your opponents out of the game.

Deck: UG Merfolk {u}{g}
8Forest 4Deeproot Waters {2}{U}4Deeproot Elite {1}{G}
3Hashep Oasis 1Hadana's Climb {1}{G}{U}2Jadelight Ranger {1}{G}{G}
8Island 1Spell Pierce {U}4Kumena's Speaker {G}
3Unclaimed Territory 2Unsummon {U}2Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca {1}{G}{U}
3Merfolk Branchwalker {1}{G}
4Merfolk Mistbinder {G}{U}
2Mist-Cloaked Herald {U}
2River Sneak {1}{U}
2Seafloor Oracle {2}{U}{U}
4Silvergill Adept {1}{U}
1Tempest Caller {2}{U}{U}
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Magma Spray, Hour of Devastation and Nicol Bolas. You were asking why Grixis over straight up UB control right? The first two improve the RDW and swarm matchups immensely, while the second improves control matchups and raises the deck swag by 200%. Why is not more popular you ask? The mana base to run 3 colors is hard to pool at best of times, and Grixis sacrifices a lot of consistency for raw power.

Deck: Grixis Control {u}{b}{r}
2Canyon Slough 3Abrade {1}{R}3Champion of Wits {2}{U}
3Dragonskull Summit 2Cancel {1}{U}{U}3The Scarab God {3}{U}{B}
2Drowned Catacomb 1Commit // Memory {3}{U}//{4}{U}{U}
2Evolving Wilds 3Essence Scatter {1}{U}
2Fetid Pools 1Golden Demise {1}{B}{B}
5Island 2Hieroglyphic Illumination {3}{U}
4Mountain 1Hour of Devastation {3}{R}{R}
6Swamp 1Liliana, Death's Majesty {3}{B}{B}
2Magma Spray {R}
2Moment of Craving {1}{B}
1Negate {1}{U}
2Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh {4}{U}{B}{R}
1Search for Azcanta {1}{U}
1Supreme Will {2}{U}
1Sweltering Suns {1}{R}{R}
4Vraska's Contempt {2}{B}{B}
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RDW has a little brother. It’s meaner, showers rarely and likes to steal other people’s stuff. While Pirates are a fun, budget deck, splashing black lowers the consistency of the deck, slows it down a great deal and offers very little in terms of compensation.

Deck: Pirates {b}{r}
2Dragonskull Summit 4Lightning Strike {1}{R}2Captain Lannery Storm {2}{R}
6Mountain 2Magma Spray {R}4Daring Buccaneer {R}
4Ramunap Ruins 2Supernatural Stamina {B}4Dire Fleet Captain {B}{R}
2Sunscorched Desert 3Dire Fleet Daredevil {1}{R}
8Swamp 2Dire Fleet Neckbreaker {2}{B}{R}
2Dire Fleet Poisoner {1}{B}
3Fanatical Firebrand {R}
2Goblin Trailblazer {1}{R}
2Kitesail Freebooter {1}{B}
1Rampaging Ferocidon {2}{R}
2Rigging Runner {R}
3Ruin Raider {2}{B}
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I’m sure everyone’s lost a game against a UW deck that didn't’ take a single point off their life total, just to realise their opponent casted their second Second Sun. This heavy control deck is incredibly vulnerable to aggressive strategies, and can have some difficulties defeating control decks playing around the impressive white spell-finisher. Nonetheless, Approach of the Second Sun is a viable control option for those wanting something different.

Deck: UW Approach {w}{u}
4Glacial Fortress3Approach of the Second Sun
4Irrigated Farmland3Baffling End
9Plains4Cast Out
3Essence Scatter
2Farm // Market
2Hieroglyphic Illumination
2Search for Azcanta
4Settle the Wreckage
4Supreme Will
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Another titan of Ixalan block that struggles to compete in the mummified world. BG explore focuses on a single mechanic, and is thereby vulnerable to engine removal (Lurking Chupacabra, Wildgrowth Walker…). If the engines stick and the deck stabilizes, it can easily blow even the toughest opponents out of the game.

Deck: BG Explore {b}{g}
9Forest 2Duress {B}2Carnage Tyrant {4}{G}{G}
3Hashep Oasis 2Liliana, Death's Majesty {3}{B}{B}1Deadeye Tracker {B}
2Ifnir Deadlands 4Vraska's Contempt {2}{B}{B}2Deathgorge Scavenger {2}{G}
10Swamp 3Vraska, Relic Seeker {4}{B}{G}4Jadelight Ranger {1}{G}{G}
4Merfolk Branchwalker {1}{G}
3Ravenous Chupacabra {2}{B}{B}
2Resilient Khenra {1}{G}
2Seekers' Squire {1}{B}
1Tetzimoc, Primal Death {4}{B}{B}
4Wildgrowth Walker {1}{G}
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God-Pharaoh’s Gift is a 7 mana artifact that allows you to exile a creature from your graveyard and put a 4/4 token copy of it with haste onto the battlefield at the beginning of combat during your turn. It’s probably one of the most fun decks out there, using different cycling and looting options to fill their graveyard with creatures and use it as a tool box for their reanimator engine.

Deck: Esper Gift {w}{u}{b}
1Cascading Cataracts 2Cast Out {3}{W}1Azor, the Lawbringer {2}{W}{W}{U}{U}
4Drowned Catacomb 2Chart a Course {1}{U}4Champion of Wits {2}{U}
2Fetid Pools 4Gate to the Afterlife {3}2Dusk Legion Zealot {1}{B}
1Glacial Fortress 2God-Pharaoh's Gift {7}2Hostage Taker {2}{U}{B}
1Ifnir Deadlands 1Search for Azcanta {1}{U}2Kitesail Freebooter {1}{B}
4Ipnu Rivulet 4Strategic Planning {1}{U}1Ravenous Chupacabra {2}{B}{B}
2Irrigated Farmland 3Regal Caracal {3}{W}{W}
2Island 4Sacred Cat {W}
4Plains 2Seekers' Squire {1}{B}
2Swamp 1Zetalpa, Primal Dawn {6}{W}{W}
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The last deck to have made the meta list is the blue-red tempo deck, landing early enigma drakes nad burning/counterspelling everything their opponents throw at them to secure victory. With a plethora of eternalize and embalm cards, other counterspells and incredibly beefy creatures, the deck struggles to find its ground, but oh boy is it fun when it works.

Deck: Izzet Tempo {u}{r}
1Arch of Orazca 3Abrade {1}{R}1Bloodwater Entity {1}{U}{R}
1Evolving Wilds 3Admiral's Order {1}{U}{U}2Champion of Wits {2}{U}
1Field of Ruin 4Censor {1}{U}2Cryptic Serpent {5}{U}{U}
4Highland Lake 1Essence Scatter {1}{U}4Enigma Drake {1}{U}{R}
2Ipnu Rivulet 1Fling {1}{R}3Glorybringer {3}{R}{R}
8Island 2Hieroglyphic Illumination {3}{U}1Glyph Keeper {3}{U}{U}
5Mountain 2Magma Spray {R}1The Locust God {4}{U}{R}
2Ramunap Ruins 1Negate {1}{U}
2Opt {U}
1Search for Azcanta {1}{U}
2Supreme Will {2}{U}
 Display deck statistics

This covers the 12 most popular decks right now. The list is bound to change up a bit in the coming weeks as the collections grow and people get to experiment with new and refined decks. If you wish to find out more, join the discussion on our Discord server.


Title Category Published Patch
Preliminary Meta-Snapshot Preliminary/Snapshot April 01, 2018 v607_604597


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