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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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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