Meta Snapshot: Kaladesh - June 17th

If Kaladesh’ standard meta was the lyrics to a Rolling Stones song, the song would end at “I see a red…”. As we’ve predicted in the preliminary snapshot, the metagame in large mimics the paper standard with a few noticeable differences. We’ve decided to track the Ranked ladder and Competitive Constructed alone (and separately) to provide us with the most accurate results.

As always, the Top 10 decks are ordered by their popularity in the Ranked ladder. Unsurprisingly, the hyper-aggressive red is the most popular deck of the format (unlike paper, where the midrange Rakdos dominates in numbers). Together they take up roughly 42% of the metagame (as opposed to roughly 34% in paper) and are definitely the decks to beat. As predicted, the meta share of control has increased significantly as well. UW control decks are the most popular on their own, though the combined numbers of Esper and UB (9% and 4% respectively), put them slightly ahead. Along with various less popular control variants (GPG, Mono Black, Grixis, Jeskai…), Control decks now make up a whooping 31% of the metagame. What’s interesting is the amount of experimentation going on at the lower end of the popularity spectrum. The 10 following archetypes after the most popular take up roughly 15% of the meta-pie.

The data for the Competitive Constructive is slightly less reliable, as we’ve “only” managed to collect ~250 series. The meta game doesn’t differ significantly from the Bo1, and the 4 most popular decks take up roughly the same percentage, while the distribution of the rest of the decks is a lot flatter (no doubt in part due to the relatively low sample size).

Top 10 - Popularity

Although second in popularity in the paper meta, this hyper-aggressive deck boasts a wide range of fast, efficient and resilient creatures, reach in form of burn spells and incredible curve-toppers that push the deck into overdrive. Goblin Chainwhirler single handedly pushes certain decks out of the meta and punishes opponents for running any x/1 creatures. Being able to refill one’s hand with Bomat Courier makes this deck force to be reckoned with.

Sideboard (15)
3 Chandra's Defeat
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Aethersphere Harvester
2 Glorybringer
3 Fight with Fire
1 Rekindling Phoenix
2 Dire Fleet Daredevil

: 10     : 23     : 15     : 3    

This slightly slower variant of red-based aggro is the more popular of the two in paper. It sacrifices some of the mono-colored variant’s speed for a higher curve and better sideboard options. As the latter is irrelevant in Bo1, the benefits don’t compensate for the downsides there, but make up for it in Bo3.

Sideboard (15)
2 Glorybringer
1 Angrath, the Flame-Chained
3 Doomfall
3 Chandra's Defeat
1 Abrade
2 Aethersphere Harvester
1 Siege-Gang Commander
2 Duress

: 9     : 33     : 12     : 3    

The two archetypes are basically the same; a Dimir based control deck where the Esper variant splashes white for Teferi, Hero of Dominaria while sacrificing some of the mana efficiency of the two color version. This archetype relies on abundance of premium removal and excellent sideboard options. It’s arguably the better control deck vs Aggro, but tends to fall a little short in the matchup against UW control.

Sideboard (15)
1 Cast Down
1 Negate
1 Arguel's Blood Fast
1 Doomfall
3 Duress
2 Fungal Infection
4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
1 Settle the Wreckage
1 Torrential Gearhulk

: 11     : 31     : 14     : 10    

Although strengthened by the addition of certain Kaladesh block cards, UW remains the same at its core. Excellent exile-based removal, counterspells and Teferi make up the bulk of the deck. Though arguably worse than alternative win conditions, Approach of the Second Sun remains a popular win con in the MTGA metagame, more than partially due to the length of the games without it.

Sideboard (15)
1 Authority of the Consuls
1 Cast Out
1 Forsake the Worldly
1 Glyph Keeper
2 Lyra Dawnbringer
4 Negate
2 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Settle the Wreckage
2 Gideon of the Trials

: 11     : 24     : 15     : 11    

Snek decks are having a few difficulties in the current meta. Llanowar elves and Glint-Sleeve Siphoners have a terrible time against Goblin Chainwhirler, the vehicles and Gearhulk are easily dealt with by Abrades, and the deck is just a bit too slow to consistently threaten control decks. Nevertheless, Constrictor remains the most popular non-red Aggro deck in MTG: Arena. For now.

Sideboard (15)
4 Duress
1 Vraska, Relic Seeker
1 Fatal Push
1 Lifecrafter's Bestiary
2 Doomfall
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
4 Thrashing Brontodon
1 Blossoming Defense

: 6     : 30     : 21     : 12    

Facing some of the same difficulties the Constrictor decks do, Stompy is the only Aggro deck that can race red, and can be very difficult for control to handle with nutty starts. That said, the deck is quite draw dependant, and can have difficulties creating pressure with suboptimal openings. I expect the “Mono-Green” to slowly overtake Constrictor in terms of popularity once the novelty factor of the latter has worn off. The newest variants tend to splash black for better sideboard and Scrapheap Scrounger.

Sideboard (15)
2 Vraska, Relic Seeker
2 Crushing Canopy
2 Nissa, Vital Force
2 Doomfall
3 Hour of Glory
2 Lifecrafter's Bestiary
2 Cartouche of Ambition

: 10     : 34     : 13     : 8    

Selesnya decks combine the speed and ramp potential of green with the power of white’s angels. They thrive on their decent matchup against red-based aggro and the ability to take games from control decks through the use of raw force and Shalai. The main disadvantage of the archetype is its inability to refill its hand and relative draw dependency. It’s gained quite some popularity in since it’s “debut” at PR Dominaria and is the only archetype that’s nearly twice as popular in MTG: Arena as it is in paper Magic.

Sideboard (15)
3 Baffling End
1 Heroic Intervention
2 Karn, Scion of Urza
1 Nissa, Vital Force
2 Prowling Serpopard
1 Sentinel Totem
2 Thopter Arrest
1 Lifecrafter's Bestiary
2 Ixalan's Binding

: 12     : 23     : 23     : 4    

A control deck that’s actually a reanimator deck and runs no counterspells? GPG is rather strong in the Bo1, but can be easily hated after sideboard. It’s popularity in Bo3 will likely decline as people learn to sideboard against it, but will remain a factor in Bo1 where it’s solid game plan and toolbox-type build can really shine. You can find a detailed guide on UW GPG here.

Sideboard (15)
2 Baffling End
1 Ixalan's Binding
4 Negate
2 Regal Caracal
2 Settle the Wreckage
2 Sorcerous Spyglass
2 Search for Azcanta

: 5     : 24     : 23     : 8    

Mono-Black received a plenty of new tools and toys to tinker with in Kaladesh, and its popularity spiked in part due to its decent matchup against red-based aggro. Mono black has several means to take games from Control decks - especially in Bo1. The deck uses a ton of premium removal in combination with hand hate to make it to the late game, where they take advantage of their strong, uncontested finishers.

Sideboard (15)
1 Arguel's Blood Fast
3 Cast Down
2 Crook of Condemnation
1 Demonlord Belzenlok
1 Duress
1 Doomfall
1 Noxious Gearhulk
2 Ravenous Chupacabra
3 Essence Extraction

: 2     : 18     : 39     : 8    

Orzhov midrange is another victim of the Chainwhirler-effect. Toolcraft Exemplar, is an amazingly powerful one drop and more or less carried the deck pre-Dominaria, but is now often a liability. Nevertheless, Orzhov Vehicles remains a powerful archetype that sees play in both Bo3 and Bo1.

Sideboard (15)
2 Ixalan's Binding
2 Sorcerous Spyglass
2 Arguel's Blood Fast
2 Vraska's Contempt
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
1 Doomfall
4 Duress
1 Invoke the Divine

: 15     : 26     : 16     : 5    

Compleat Tier List

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. Tier list focuses on the Bo3.

Tier 0:

What's left to say? Red-based aggro is clearly ahead of everything else. If we are to differe between the other decks at all, these two need to be taken off the scale.
Tier 1:

These are the best decks/decks to beat in the meta. They have very few if any bad matchups, and can reliably compete against the metagame. The three control decks of the current format are close in terms of power, and have a decent shot at beating the red-based aggro given they either get a little lucky pr the opponent starts slow. UW has a slight edge against the other two when facing eachother, and UB/Esper can be argued to have a slight advantage facinng red relative to UW.
Tier 2:

These decks are solid and coherently built. They are often tuned to target one or multiple tier one decks but have significantly unfavorable matchups against a decent share of the meta pool. The second meta tier essentially consists of the best non-red aggro and the best non-t1 control. Both decks have proactive game plans and means to compete with t1/0 decks post sideboard.
Tier 3:

Decks that can take games off tier 1 and 2 decks, but are either not consistent enough or have a very bad matchup against a significant share of the meta. Although the lowest tier seemingly suggests otherwise, these are not bad decks. They are generally not popular enough for us to heave a clear understanding of their power, are too inconsistent or simply too vulnerable to one or more of the top tier lists.


Title Category Published Patch
Meta Snapshot: Core Set 2019 Meta Snapshot II August 05, 2018 v786_640159
Meta Snapshot: Core Set 2019 Meta Snapshot July 22, 2018 v786_640159
Preliminary Meta Snapshot: Core Set 19 Preliminary Snapshot July 12, 2018 v786_640159
Meta Snapshot: Kaladesh Snapshot II July 01, 2018 v744_635428
Meta Snapshot: Kaladesh Snapshot I June 17, 2018 v727_633495
Preliminary Snapshot: Kaladesh 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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