We were talking long and hard about whether to prepare a Snapshot this week, as we are but a few days away from the expected Kaladesh update that will finally sync MTG: Arena with the real standard. In the end we’ve decided it would be nice to archive one last meta state and talk about if it briefly.
We’ve managed to collect nearly two thousand games this time, the slight majority of which was collected in ranked. The meta distribution in both modes is surprisingly similar, and the order of deck popularity is the same, albeit more polarized in QC. There are a few noticeable trends that can be recognised in the data:
- Popularity of midrange decks decreased in favor of Aggro and Control
- Popularity of RDW decreased slightly in favor of other Aggro Decks
- Popularity of UW and UB Control decreased slightly in favor of mono-black, Esper and Grixis control decks
No significant new archetype made its waves in the final stretches of pre-Kala metagame, but there were three that saw a significant jump in popularity; Sultai Reanimator, Mono-U Aggro and Izzet Wizards all clocked in just slightly under the 3% metagame share that granted UW Tokens the spot at the tail of the Top 10.
All decklists chosen have been played with success at Master Tier level and have completed Quick Constructed event at 7-x. Some of the card choices are influenced by the meta or the personal preference of the deckbuilder and might not be perceived as optimal by everyone.
Mono Red Aggro continues to dominate the Bo1 bracket of Quick Constructed and Ranked ladder. Nearly unbeatable on the play, this hyper-efficient aggro decks combines it’s hasty, evasive creatures with a plethora of burn spells and curves out with either Hazoret or Rekindling Phoenix. The list remains largely unchanged with the addition of Dominaria, though some players are opting for Goblin Chainwhirler over Rampaging Ferocidon
Approach of the Second Sun decks are likely the biggest winners of the Dominaria changes in MTG Arena. With a plethora of new toys to play with, UW control shot rapidly in popularity from the bottom of the snapshot to the very top. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, new counterspells and most importantly Seal Away have put this deck, and the entire UW color combination at the front of the pack. Some lists have started moving away from Approach of the Second Sun as the wincon as it's relatively weak, but the majority of players stick by it due to the sheer conveniance of ending the games early.
The merry fish-folk of Ixalan continues to sail the meta even without the support of Dominaria cards other archetypes have received. An extremely important addition to the Merfolk decks people often tend to overlook is the
Hinterland Harbor. In a swarm deck such as this a single tapped mana or color screw can be the difference between victory and defeat. The merfolk have continued to
gain in poplarity in the last two weeks, and have made their way to the most popular three.
A very peculiar variant of Merfolk that omits the Deeproot Elites
and focuses on evasion has seen quite some play in QC and Ranked ladder this past two weeks, as it's incredible in a best-of-one grind.
Gruul and Naya midrange decks were held back mostly by it’s insane rare/mythic count. As our collections grew, so did the meta share Monsters took. With the introduction of real money purchases to the Arena, the popularity of these aggressive, creature based decks soared in the first
two weeks of the Dominaria.
Unfortunately the midrange decks are just too slow compared to its aggressive mono-red/green counterparts, and very vulnerable to control. Nevertheless, GR Midrange regained some popularity in the last two weeks and ended up right below the most popualr three decks of the format.
2 Hashep Oasis
4 Rootbound Crag
4 Sheltered Thicket
3 Magma Spray
3 Struggle // Survive
3 Carnage Tyrant
4 Earthshaker Khenra
4 Jadelight Ranger
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Rekindling Phoenix
2 Resilient Khenra
2 Rhonas the Indomitable
2 Thrashing Brontodon
Vampires are one of the decks that’s dropped in popularity with the introduction of Dominaria, in part due to their matchups against the UW control, and in part due to the novelty of new decks such as White Weenie. They have seen a treemendous resurgence in the last two weeks, as their strength against the mono red deck, and the early pressure versus control keep them relevant in the best of one. The most important new card for the Vampires is the Isolated Chapel, allowing the deck a more reliable early aggression, and efficient new removal in Seal Away and Cast Down. The creature core hasn’t changed due to its tribal nature and remains Ixalan focused.
1 Arch of Orazca
2 Ifnir Deadlands
4 Isolated Chapel
4 Shefet Dunes
4 Unclaimed Territory
4 Call to the Feast
2 Cast Down
3 Legion's Landing
3 Queen's Commission
4 Radiant Destiny
2 Vraska's Contempt
2 Champion of Dusk
4 Dusk Legion Zealot
4 Legion Lieutenant
2 Martyr of Dusk
2 Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle
2 Sanctum Seeker
2 Skymarcher Aspirant
UB control is one of the decks struggling heavily in the Bo1 format. With the rise in popularity of UW control decks with Approach of the Second Sun, ongoing popularity of RDW and the onset of new, efficient aggro decks, UB control is an even worse spot than before Dominaria has landed, yet that doesn’t reflect in its popularity. In the last week we've seen a more aggressive, midrange variant stir the pot with Duress, Doomfall and more aggressive gameplan that can disrupt the UW control and midrange decks alike. Either way, the popularity of UB continues to decline, dropping whooping 5% of meta-share since the last snapshot.
Knights are a pseudo-tribe we haven’t seen in quite a while. With
Knight of Grace and
Knight of Malice, new versions of
Black and White Knight, Dominaria has shown some love to them. Aided by the
History of Benalia and
Lyra Dawnbringer, these 2 mana 3/2 first strikers, each hexproof to one of the two most powerful removal colors can efficiently trade upwards and put immediate pressure on control opponents,
while being able to hold back the onslaught of most aggressive decks.
While almost compeltely dropping off the grid in after the first week, Orzhov aggro gained a lot of popularity in MTG: Arena as its full standard variant clocked in excellent tournament results.
Llanowar Elves and Steel Leaf Champion were a clear sign that mono green aggro be a contender in the post-Dominaria meta. The deck is rather draw dependant, but a t4-5 Ghalta, Primal Hunger or Carnage Tyrant are often too much for other decks to handle.
4 Hashep Oasis
1 Scavenger Grounds
3 Adventurous Impulse
2 Savage Stomp
4 Carnage Tyrant
3 Ghalta, Primal Hunger
4 Merfolk Branchwalker
2 Ranging Raptors
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Resilient Khenra
3 Rhonas the Indomitable
1 Ripjaw Raptor
4 Steel Leaf Champion
3 Thrashing Brontodon
Mono-black is a very peculiar deck. It abuses Cabal Stronghold to produce unholy amounts of mana (pun very much intended) and dump it into one of it’s potential mana sinks; Josu Vess, Lich Knight, Torment or Dread Shade. It’s supported by some of the best non-white removal and card drawing engines like Karn and Twilight Prophet. The deck is in a weird spot due to its weak matchup against UW control and some trouble dealing with hyper-aggressive decks on the draw. It's seen a jump in popularity alongside it's full standard cousin, and due to sheer fun one can have playing it.
2 Cabal Stronghold
1 Memorial to Folly
2 Ifnir Deadlands
2 Phyrexian Scriptures
2 Arguel's Blood Fast
4 Cast Down
3 Vraska's Contempt
2 The Eldest Reborn
2 Never /// Return
2 Torment of Hailfire
4 Dread Shade
3 Kitesail Freebooter
3 Ravenous Chupacabra
2 Liliana, Death's Majesty
2 Karn, Scion of Urza
Much like UW approach, the tokens received a ton of new tools to tinker with. The lists often opt to include Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
and History of Benalia, which introduced a new way for the deck to pressure the opponent early, or finish them off in the late game. The addition of
Seal Away helps the deck stabilize against aggressive opponents, and the planeswalkers help out in the grindy midrange stalls.
Unfortunatly the last two weeks have shown that Seal Away, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Goblin Chainwhirler in nearly every other deck on the ladder just hurt the tokens too much, landing them as the last deck with a greater than 3% meta share for the second snapshot in a row.
2 Field of Ruin
4 Glacial Fortress
1 Ipnu Rivulet
1 Scavenger Grounds
2 Shefet Dunes
4 Anointed Procession
2 Cast Out
4 History of Benalia
2 Legion's Landing
2 Seal Away
1 River's Rebuke
2 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
4 Anointer Priest
4 Champion of Wits
4 Sacred Cat
2 Sunscourge Champion
4 Vizier of the Anointed
We've included all the archetypes that have encountered in more than a 2% of our matchups, so if you can't find a specific list tiered, it's most likely too rare to warrant a spot.
Decks within each tier are not ordered by strength. There are decks grouped together that differ in strength, and RDW could warrant a tier of its own while we're stuck with a Best of One format.
|Meta Snapshot: Kaladesh - June 17th||Snapshot I||June 17, 2018||v727_633495|
|Preliminary Snapshot: Kaladesh - June 7th||Preliminary Snapshot||June 07, 2018||v727_633495|
|Snapshot - Dominaria III||Snapshot III||June 03, 2018||v667_618725|
|Snapshot - Dominaria II||Snapshot II||May 20, 2018||v667_618725|
|Snapshot - Dominaria I||Snapshot I||May 06, 2018||v667_618725|
|Preliminary Snapshot - Dominaria||Preliminary Snapshot||April 26, 2018||v667_618725|
|Meta-Snapshot II||Snapshot II||April 16, 2018||v607_607936|
|Preliminary Meta-Snapshot||Preliminary/Snapshot||April 01, 2018||v607_604597|
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