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. Last weekend, we had the awesome MagicCon: Las Vegas, featuring Magic World Championship XXIX, the $100,000 Limited Open, and the Secret Lair Showdown among even more competitive events.
The focus of this article is an analysis of the Top 32 decklists of the Modern Secret Lair Showdown. First, however, let me briefly highlight Standard at the World Championship and Limited at the $100,000 Limited Open.
Standard at the World Championship
🌍🏆Congratulations to Jean-Emmanuel Depraz, winner of Magic World Championship XXIX!🏆🌍— PlayMTG (@PlayMTG) September 24, 2023
With this win, Depraz realized his dream of adding an individual World Championship title to his 2018 World Magic Cup win.
Congratulations again, JED! pic.twitter.com/hDydXQyKh3
Jean-Emmanuel Depraz, playing a mostly stock build of Esper Legends, took down Magic World Championship XXIX. It was a well-deserved victory for the Frenchman, who has been widely regarded as one of the strongest players in the game for years. In the finals, he defeated Japan's Kazune Kosaka, who finally got his breakout finish this weekend, playing Esper Midrange.
Although the finals was an Esper mirror featuring
Their build also had
In addition, there were several well-performing, innovative brews that heavily relied on new cards from Wilds of Eldraine. Let's take a closer look at two of them.
Alexey Paulot went 4-2-2 in Standard, ultimately finishing in ninth place, with an awesome combo deck featuring
The game plan is to exile
The difficult part is finding all the combo pieces and putting the required creatures into the graveyard. For this,
Greg Orange went 7-2 in Standard, ultimately falling in the quarterfinals, with an amazing Bant Control brew.
The standout new card in his deck is
Another unique feature of the deck is the collection of tri-lands, which allow him to exploit both
Limited at the $100,000 Open
MagicCon: Las Vegas also featured the first ever $100K Limited Open. A whopping 1501 players entered this competitive event with a prize pool of $100,000 as well as eight invites to the first Pro Tour of 2024. The multi-day event featured eight rounds of Wilds of Eldraine Sealed on Day 1, two three-round Wilds of Eldraine drafts on Day 2, and a single-elimination Wilds of Eldraine draft in the Top 8 on Sunday.
In the Top 8, Jason Ye drafted a Grixis deck featuring 3
Modern at the Secret Lair Showdown
The Secret Lair Showdown is a premiere tournament series found only at MagicCons. At MagicCon: Las Vegas, hundreds of players entered the four qualifying events on Friday and Saturday. After several rounds of Modern competition, a total of 32 players qualified for the culminating Sunday event. In this Sunday Championship, each participant receives a beautiful Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, and the winner receives an exclusive Brainstorm Secret Lair Card and an oversized card to match. After the four MagicCons held this year, there are only 128 copies of this Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and four copies of this Brainstorm in existence, making them really cool and coveted prizes.
Congratulations to #MCVegas Secret Lair Showdown winner Anuraag Das!— PlayMTG (@PlayMTG) September 25, 2023
Das played 4-Color Control, defeating Living End in the finals, to win the Secret Lair Showdown Brainstorm with art by Justin & Alexis Hernandez.
Congratulations, @anzidmtg! pic.twitter.com/BchMboBk53
Before checking out Anuraag's winning deck, let's take a step back and take a look at the Top 32 metagame. Since Modern is the format for the ongoing round of Regional Championship Qualifiers, as I explained in my recent in-depth format primer, the results of the Secret Lair Showdown Championship will be of prime interest to aspiring competitive players.
|Deck Archetype||Number of Players||Percentage of Field|
|1. Rakdos Evoke||11||34.4%|
|2. Four-Color Omnath||5||15.6%|
|3. Living End||2||6.2%|
|4. Temur Rhinos||2||6.2%|
|5. Amulet Titan||2||6.2%|
|6. Hardened Scales||2||6.2%|
|7. Izzet Murktide||2||6.2%|
|8. Azorius Control||1||3.1%|
|9. Bring to Light||1||3.1%|
|10. Boros Burn||1||3.1%|
|11. Azorius Hammer||1||3.1%|
|12. Domain Zoo||1||3.1%|
|13. Dimir Mill||1||3.1%|
There are two main take-aways from the Secret Lair Showdown Championship. First, Rakdos Evoke kept up its dominance after winning Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings, remaining the most popular deck in Modern. Second, Wilds of Eldraine introduced several new cards that boosted a variety of archetypes, including the winning deck. To reinforce these take-aways, let's take a closer look at five standout decklists.
Rakdos Evoke is a midrange deck that can evoke and return
Most lists still play six undying effects in total, but the choice for the fifth and sixth effect remains a point of contention. Some players have stuck with
The Cauldron makes all kinds of new combo finishes possible. Pretty much every creature in the deck already starts with a +1/+1 counter, so when the Cauldron exiles a creature, its activated abilities are immediately granted to most or all of your creatures on the battlefield. For example, by turning all of your creatures into
Four-Color Omnath uses at least three copies of the namesake card
Due to the way it is worded,
Naturally, we conclude the article with the deck used by the Secret Lair Showdown champion. Although it could also be called Bant Control or Four-Color Control, the splash is extremely light and Anuraag Das labeled it as Azorius Control himself. When I asked Anuraag why he chose the deck, he explained that he had been playing Azorius Control since 2014, "so it's just the vibes".
Although his list has similarities to Four-Color Omnath, including
With his victory, Anuraag not only won the coveted Brainstorm but also showed the key to success in Modern: years of experience with an archetype, combined with a few tweaks to adjust to the metagame and to incorporate the newest cards. Congratulations once again!
While last weekend was all about Standard, Limited, and Modern, the biggest events this coming weekend are Pioneer! It's the start of the first cycle of Regional Championships of the 2023-24 season, and it will kick off with the Legacy European Championship in Lille, France and the F2F Tour Championship in Calgary, Canada. The event in Europe will have live coverage on Twitch, and I look forward to learning about the impact of Wilds of Eldraine on Pioneer at a high level of competition!