Meta Snapshot: Kaladesh - July 1st

There’s the Core 2019 release closing in fast on us, and this just might be the last Meta Snapshot before it. With that and the upcoming Banned and Restricted announcements coming tomorrow (July 2nd), the meta shake up a little bit in the future, but for now, let’s look at the past two weeks.

There were no surprises at the very top, Mono-Red and to a lesser extent Rakdos aggro decks remain dominant and run rampant through all the layers of the ladder (27,7% and 11,5% respectively). They are closely followed by the two (arguably three) most popular deck, Esper/UB Control (11,9%) and W Control (10%) The first two have a slightly better matchup against the red aggro, while the second has a significant advantage in when facing off other control decks. The third most popular aggro deck remains GB Constrictor, although some more midrange-type lists have started emerging, trading off the control matchup for a better chance against the red-based alpha dogs.

The two decks that jumped the most in popularity in the past two weeks were UB Midrange and UW GPG, whose meta share increased by roughly 230% and 150% respectively. That comes as a direct consequence of the performance of the decks at the paper standard events in the last two weeks (UW GPG taking GP Singapore and Top8-ing GP Pittsburgh, UB Midrange showing solid performance versus red decks in feature matches). GPG is the better of the two in the Bo1 environment of the ladder, as it often requires specific answers to be disrupted. UB midrange on the other hand benefits from the sideboard greatly and is arguably the better choice of the two for the Bo3 Competitive constructed.

The rest of the field remains largely unchanged. Midrange continues to struggle, and though the meta diversified slightly (the 10 most popular decks covered circa 15% less than they did in the previous two weeks) Core 19 will be a very welcome addition to the game.

Top 10 - Popularity

The mono-red aggro has been more popular than the RB variant in MTG:Arena for awhile, and the same is now true for paper meta as well. This hyper aggressive deck is consistent, fast and extremely resilient. While the deck can certainly be heavily teched against in the sideboard, achieving a high win-rate against it in Bo1 is nearly impossible without hindering our other matchups. Its not at all surprising this archetype is dominating the ranked ladder.

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    

The Rakdos variant of the red-based aggro is slightly slower and bigger than it's mean older brother. The deck splashes black for Unlicensed Disintegration and Scrapheap Scrounger in the mainboard, but the real reason for the addition of Magic's best color is the sideboard. Black opens up a new wolrd of options for the players in games 2 and 3, making it very lucrative for the Competitive Cosntructed mode. The trade off is seen in the lower consistency and speed of the deck.

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    

Excellent exile-based removal, counterspells and Teferi make up the bulk of this control deck. Approach of the Second Sun is one of the cards that benefit the most from the MTG: Arena's Best of one Ranked Ladder, as its nearly impossible to handle by slower non-blue decks. The card is often omitted in Bo3 version in favor of Torrential Gearhulks or other creatures.

Sideboard (15)
2 Lyra Dawnbringer
1 Forsake the Worldly
2 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Glimmer of Genius
4 Negate
2 Torrential Gearhulk
3 History of Benalia

: 11     : 23     : 17     : 9    

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 which although reduced in popularity, is seeing a resurgence due to the increasing popularity of GPG. Some players are resorting to slower, midrange-y decks and cutting the Constrictor due to its interaction with the Soul-Scar Mage.

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    

Unlike it’s UB and Esper control siblings, UB midrange is a relatively fast creature based deck, that runs a ton of removal and very few counterspells. The deck was bodied by Chainwhirler in the initial stages of the Dominaria standard, but players have adapted by moving Glint-Sleeve Siphoner to the sideboard, and hoping for the best with Champion of Wits. The Dimir midrange’s new found popularity is undoubtedly sparked by Oliver Tiu’s 2nd place in GP Pittsburgh.

Sideboard (15)
2 Cast Down
3 Duress
1 Gifted Aetherborn
2 Essence Scatter
2 Essence Extraction
2 Negate
1 Search for Azcanta
2 Yahenni's Expertise

: 8     : 24     : 7     : 7    

UW GPG was fairly popular before, but with Yuuki Ichikawa taking the GP Singapore, its popualrity exploded. It's meta share more than doubled in the last week, in part due to its paper success and in part due to red and RB players often opting to reduce the number of Abrades in their decks. GPG is strong in Bo1 as it requires very specific and very quick answers when it assembles all its pieces before turn four. That said, the deck can often brick and doesn't have a whole lot to do when that happens as a lot of its creatures are vulnerable to removal and its control options are fairly slow and limited.

Sideboard (15)
2 Regal Caracal
2 Settle the Wreckage
2 Jace's Defeat
1 Ixalan's Binding
2 Sorcerous Spyglass
4 Negate
2 Angel of Sanctions

: 8     : 31     : 31     : 8    

What used to be a mono-green aggro has long shifted into a Golgari aggro deck due to the sideboard options Black offers. This deck is likely the only non-red deck that can race them, and has the potential for extremely volatile starts that control struggles to contain. Without the access to Bomat Courier and Chandra their mid-late game is weaker and the Llanowar Elves are a liability against red.

In a Bo1 it's still worth considering mono-green, as the sideboard options are irrelevant and the added consistency of single color manabase provides a significant boon in the long run.

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    

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    

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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