Hello and welcome back to Metagame Mentor, your weekly guide to the top decks and latest Constructed developments on the path to the Pro Tour. As last weekend featured major events in Standard, Modern, and Pioneer, I'll provide a metagame roundup and deck highlight for each of these formats. Let's dive right in!
Standard Trends Hold at the South American Regional Championship
This past weekend, Francisco Benitez from Uruguay won the South Amercia Regional Championship, earning an invitation to represent his region at World Championship XXIX. Congratulations! In addition, all top 4 players qualified for Pro Tour March of the Machine. You can catch Top 8 video coverage here, and you can find the Top 8 bracket, photos, and more on the South America Regional Championship coverage page.
Con ustedes el campeón del Regional Championship de la 2da Ronda de la South America Magic Series: Francisco Benítez de Uruguay. Nuestras felicitaciones por un torneo muy bien jugado y una competencia realmente genial #SouthAmericaMagicSeries #magicthegathering @PlayMTG pic.twitter.com/9ugQ7NxWZ1— South America Magic Series (@smagicseries) April 2, 2023
Before highlighting the winning Domain Control deck, let's look at each archetype's metagame share and win rate (in non-mirror, non-bye, non-draw matches) for this tournament.
|Archetype||Percentage of Field||Match Win Rate|
|1. Grixis Midrange||18.5% ↓↓||40.0%|
|2. Rakdos Midrange||18.5% ↑↑||52.0%|
|3. Mono-White Midrange||16.2% ↑↑||52.0%|
|4. Esper Legends||13.8%||47.7%|
|5. Mono-Red Aggro||6.2%||39.0%|
|6. Azorius Soldiers||4.6%||47.4%|
|7. Selesnya Toxic||3.8% ↓↓||63.6%|
|8. Domain Control||3.1%||70.4% ✓✓|
|9. Grixis Reanimator||2.3%||52.6%|
|10. Mono-Blue Tempo||2.3%||50.0%|
|11. Boros Midrange||2.3%||65.0%|
In this table, each archetype name hyperlinks to a well-performing decklist close to the aggregate of that archetype, and the arrows represent the biggest changes compared to the previous weekend of Regional Championships. The "Other" category, continuing the descending order, contains Orzhov Midrange, Jund Midrange, Rakdos Reanimator, Rakdos Aggro, Mono-White Control, Mono-White Aggro, Golgari Fight, and Selesnya Enchantments.
Over the course of the current Regional Championship cycle, the Standard metagame has been developing constantly. We can expect to see a different distribution of decks at this weekend's Regional Championship in the U.S.A. than at the start of the cycle. As confirmed by the South American Regional Championship, the key Standard trends are are follows.
Rakdos Midrange is supplanting Grixis Midrange
At the South America Regional Championship, Grixis Midrange was on the decline with a poor win rate, while Rakdos Midrange was on a meteoric rise. Supported by a good win rate, I wouldn't be surprised if Rakdos Midrange takes over the crown at Dreamhack San Diego this weekend. Cards like
Selesnya Toxic Solidifies as a Top Aggro Deck
At the start of the Regional Championship season, it appeared that aggro players mainly had a choice between Azorius Soldiers and Mono-Red Aggro. Although these decks are still around, Selesnya Toxic has become a popular alternative, offering additional options and diversity in Standard. Selesnya Toxic had an excellent win rate at the South America Regional Championship, and it remains a serious contender. Based on the third-place finishing list,
Lay Down Arms Shows its Depth
The finals of the South America Regional Championships pitted together two
Modern Rallied Over 1,000 Players in Prague
Having seen the return of the Pro Tour and driven by the thrill of high-level tabletop competition, many players want to qualify for the next cycles of Regional Championships. Each regional organizer chooses their own qualifier structure, and Legacy Events in Europe regularly holds so-called Grand Open Qualifiers, which are open to anyone and award 32 Regional Championship slots. This past weekend in Prague, a whopping 1,055 players gathered for such a Grand Open Qualifier, marking the largest European Magic tournament in years!
There was a great buzz in the hall, and many players traveled halfway through Europe for the opportunity to test their mettle. Competition was fierce, with Hall of Famers and Pro Tour champions in attendance, and the large turnout indicates that competitive Magic is blooming. Andrea Mengucci summed it up well: "These events are the reason why I live for, traveling with friends in foreign countries to play Magic and meet the gathering." You may see interviews with a few people who made this event so special in a few weeks in The Week That Was, and the weekend belonged to Markus Leicht.
Congratulations @RespectTheCat90 for being our GOQ Winner at #LMSPrague with his deck "Five-Color Elementals"! 🏆— Legacy European Tour 🔜 LMS Valencia (@LegacyEUTour) April 2, 2023
See you in Athens, Markus! 🏛️ pic.twitter.com/JRrOT4JM04
Before discussing the winning decklist, let's combine the data from the Grand Open Qualifier Prague with the data from two other huge Modern Regional Championship Qualifiers: past weekend's 386-player MXP Oakland Modern 20k RCQ and the preceding weekend's 281-player NRG Series $10K Trial Chicagoland. With over 1,600 available decklists and full round-by-round results, I determined the raw metagame share and win rates for these massive RCQs combined. My algorithms relabel all archetypes from scratch for accuracy.
|Archetype||Percentage of Field||Match Win Rate|
|1. Izzet Murktide||11.5%||49.5%|
|2. Hammer Time||8.5%||51.0%|
|3. Indomitable Creativity||8.0%||57.6% ✓✓|
|5. Rakdos Undying||7.0%||50.4%|
|7. Four-Color Omnath||3.9%||54.7%|
|8. Amulet Titan||3.9%||50.1%|
|10. Jeskai Breach||2.7%||53.3%|
|11. Jund Midrange||2.6%||47.0%|
|12. Azorius Control||2.4%||55.8% ✓✓|
|13. Living End||2.2%||55.1%|
|14. Domain Zoo||2.1%||47.5%|
|15. Mono-Green Tron||2.1%||42.9%|
|18. Hardened Scales||1.4%||51.0%|
|19. Izzet Prowess||1.4%||49.6%|
The "Other" category includes such decks as Eldrazi Tron, Death & Taxes, Ponza, Mono-Red Obosh, Jund Reanimator, Grixis Shadow, Dredge, Devoted Druid, Infect, Shift to Light, and so on.
While the Modern metagame remains diverse,
Indeed, these cards were used by both finalists in Prague. In the end, Marco Cammilluzzi's Rhinos deck, with main deck
It was a well-deserved trophy for Markus "RespectTheCat" Leicht, a streamer and Youtuber from Austria, whose dedication paid off. After championing his innovative build on stream for weeks, he can now say that he has won the largest European tabletop Magic tournament since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. I've referred to his deck as Four-Color Omnath for consistency, but his own descriptor of Five-Color Elements is also apt, given that he relies on
Another standout in his deck are two copies of
Pioneer is the Format for the Next RCQ Season
The Regional Championship Qualifier season for the third cycle of Regional Championships, which offered stores a choice between Limited, Standard, Pioneer, and Modern, ended last weekend. The next RCQ season, which will take place from April 22 through August 20, introduces format matching. That is, in this soon-to-start season, in-store RCQs are required to be either Pioneer or Limited, and they will qualify for a Pioneer Regional Championship later in the year.
As Pioneer will become the most important format for aspiring competitive players in the coming months, let's set the stage by looking at the data from the three largest RCQs over the past three weekends: the Hunter Burton Memorial Open, NRG Series $5K Trial Chicagoland, and MXP Oakland Pioneer $5K RCQ. The last-mentioned one was held at the inaugural show for a new West Coast Magic Series, which drew large crowds.
Day 2 of #MXPOakland is a full house!— LaughingDragonMTG (@LaughingMtg) April 2, 2023
Our judge staff is working to fit everyone in the space, which is a good problem to have (also thanks, everyone, for your patience on this.)
We can't thank you all enough with how awesome of an event thus has been. One more day to go! pic.twitter.com/S1VQdZcYZc
With over 470 available decklists and full round-by-round results, I determined the raw metagame share and win rates for these three RCQs combined. It's not the biggest sample size, but it provides a useful glimpse.
|Archetype||Percentage of Field||Match Win Rate|
|1. Rakdos Midrange||11.6% ↓↓||56.1% ✓✓|
|2. Abzan Greasefang||7.4% ↑↑||51.3%|
|3. Azorius Control||7.0%||58.0% ✓✓|
|4. Izzet Creativity||6.1%||47.7%|
|5. Mono-Green Devotion||5.5% ↓↓||52.0%|
|6. Lotus Field Combo||5.5% ↑↑||45.7%|
|7. Mono-White Humans||4.9%||46.7%|
|8. Izzet Phoenix||4.7%||44.3%|
|9. Atraxa Neoform||3.6% ↑↑||52.5%|
|10. Enigmatic Fires||3.4%||50.6%|
|11. Omnath to Light||3.4%||55.1%|
|12. Selesnya Angels||3.0%||53.2%|
|13. Gruul Vehicles||3.0% ↓↓||46.2%|
|14. Rakdos Sacrifice||2.5%||50.0%|
|15. Mono-Blue Spirits||2.3%||55.7%|
|16. Selesnya Auras||2.1%||32.7%|
The "Other" category includes such decks as Dimir Control, Azorius Spirits, Esper Greasefang, Mono-Red Aggro, Mono-Black Midrange, Jund Transmogrify, and so on.
As indicated by the arrows in the table, this Pioneer metagame is different from the the metagame at Pro Tour Phyrexia. While well-performing combo decks like Abzan Greasefang, Izzet Creativity, and Lotus Field Combo have established a strong foothold, archetypes like Rakdos Midrange, Mono-Green Devotion, and Gruul Vehicles have dropped. Nevertheless, Rakdos Midrange posted solid win rates in the RCQs I analyzed, indicating that it remains a solid choice.
Yet the biggest development since the Pro Tour was the emergence of a brand new archetype, as brewers found a way to break
The plan with this hot new Pioneer deck is to fill your graveyard, delve out a six-cost creature, sacrifice it to
A key card in the deck is
To put all the tournaments into perspective, the following infographic provides a visual overview of all Regional Championships and their qualifying seasons in 2023.
Next weekend, April 8-9, the current Regional Championship cycle concludes with the one in U.S.A. There will be live coverage on the DreamHackMagic Twitch channel, scheduled to start at noon PST on Saturday and at 10:30 a.m. PST on Sunday.
The top 48 competitors earn an invitation to Pro Tour March of the Machine at MagicCon: Minneapolis on May 5-7, with slots of already qualified players passing down. But there's plenty to do at the MagicCon besides the Pro Tour. The tournament schedule is up, featuring Pro Tour Qualifiers and the Secret Lair Showdown. and pre-registration is open!