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. Today, I'll cover the first weekend of the second cycle of Regional Championships, which featured tournaments for the Japan/South Korea, Australia/New Zealand, and South East Asia regions in the Standard format.
Top eligible players from these Regional Championships earned an invitation to Pro Tour March of the Machine, held during MagicCon: Minneapolis on May 5-7. But you don't have to be qualified for the Pro Tour to enjoy this festival, as it offers something for everyone—immersive experiences, exclusive play opportunities, cosplayers, artists, panels, the incredible Secret Lair Showdown, and more. The event celebrates all things Magic: The Gathering, and tickets are on sale today!
Congratulations to the Three Regional Champions!
🎉Congratulations to the winner of the ANZ Super Series in Melbourne: Zen Takahashi (@mtgzen), from New Zealand!🎉— Good Games (@GoodGamesAus) March 5, 2023
Zen has locked up his invitation to the World Championship later this year, and is now qualified for the next Pro Tour, in Minneapolis.
GGWP Zen! 🇳🇿 pic.twitter.com/bGa3YzQwpH
Zen Takahashi, a Kiwi superstar with five Grand Prix Top 8s, won the Australia/New Zealand Regional Championship with Grixis Midrange. Like all Regional Championships, his triumph comes with an invitation for World Championship XXIX, to be held at MagicCon: Las Vegas on September 22–24. "I'm really excited!" Takahashi said.
You can find the Top 8 bracket, photos, and more on the Australia/New Zealand Regional Championship coverage page.
Takahsahi's winning Grixis Midrange deck is a relatively stock version of what many Standard players consider to be public enemy number one. Indeed, across all Regional Championships, Grixis Midrange was the most popular choice by a lot. It contains a great suite of answers for almost any matchup, and Phyrexia: All Will Be One even improved the mana base. As Takahashi put it: "The printing of the fastlands made Grixis' manabase much smoother."
【お知らせ】毒カウンターを華麗に操り、見事日韓の頂点へ。「チャンピオンズカップファイナル サイクル2」、優勝はセレズニア・ポイズンを使用した佐藤レイ選手でした！おめでとうございます！— マジック：ザ・ギャザリング (@mtgjp) March 5, 2023
⬇イベントカバレージhttps://t.co/wlTepjZS77 #mtgjp #マジックチャンピオンズカップ pic.twitter.com/aDjBwglFUr
In Yokohama, former Magic Pro League member Rei Sato won the Japan/South Korea Regional Championship with Selesnya Poison, one of the spiciest decks in the room. In the finals, he defeated Kenji Sego, playing Esper Legends. Both finalists earned a qualification for Magic World Championship XXIX.
You can find the Top 8 bracket, photos, and more on the Japan/South Korea Regional Championship coverage page.
Sato's winning Selesnya Toxic deck, which uses a powerful curve of cheap toxic creatures to give the opponent 10 poison counters as quickly as possible, is the biggest breakout deck from the first Regional Championship weekend. It's blazingly fast, and if opponents spend their early turns on
Selesnya Toxic performed very well against Grixis Midrange at the Japan/South Korea Regional Championship, largely because it is resilient to their spot removal spells. The deck taxes them with
Impressively, Sato's 75 contains zero mythic rares, and every single nonland card in his main deck stems from Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Since nothing of significance rotates out in the fall, this deck may turn into a Standard mainstay for the next one-and-a-half year.
However, it did hold the advantage of surprise last weekend, and opponents may not have constructed their sideboard plans with Selesnya Toxic in mind. In the coming weeks, I expect sweeper effects such as
Finally, John Daroen Sahagun, a 35-year-old player from Rizal, Philippines, won the South East Asia Regional Championship and the corresponding World Championship XXIX invite with a spicy deck that I dubbed Domain Control.
You can find the Top 8 bracket, photos, and more on the South East Asia Regional Championship coverage page.
This deck uses the domain mechanic to maximize the effectiveness of
Supporting the domain spells requires many tri-lands, but the resulting mana base makes it easy to cast
Four copies of
All in all, with midrange, aggro, and control deck winning the three Regional Championships, the current Standard environment appears to have the right tools for a health, dynamic metagame.
The Metagame and Win Rates
Based on all decklists from the Regional Championships held last weekend, I determined the combined metagame share of every archetype. I also calculated their non-mirror, non-bye, non-draw match win rates. I used my own algorithms and definitions to assign archetype labels, thereby sidestepping any potential mislabeling on MTG Melee. Let's take a closer look!
|Archetype||Percentage of Field||Match Win Rate|
|1. Grixis Midrange||29.0% ↑↑||49.5%|
|2. Mono-White Midrange||10.0% ↓↓||47.0%|
|3. Esper Legends||7.6% ↑↑||55.0%|
|4. Mono-Red Aggro||6.6%||55.4%|
|5. Azorius Soldiers||5.1% ↓↓||50.6%|
|6. Mono-Blue Tempo||5.1%||44.0%|
|7. Rakdos Reanimator||4.6%||52.4%|
|8. Jund Midrange||3.7%||50.0%|
|9. Grixis Reanimator||3.7%||52.8%|
|10. Jund Reanimator||2.4%||56.2%|
|11. Domain Control||2.4%||63.3%✓✓|
|12. Azorius Midrange||2.2%||38.8%|
|13. Esper Midrange||2.0%||40.0%|
|14. Mardu Midrange||2.0%||38.9%|
|15. Rakdos Midrange||1.2%||55.6%|
|16. Selesnya Toxic||1.2%||64.9%✓✓|
|17. Mono-Black Midrange||1.0%||51.6%|
|18. Dimir Poison||1.0%||17.6%|
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 my February metagame roundup. The "Other" category included such deck archetypes as Izzet Tempo, Esper Control, Four-Color Legends, Poison Ivy, Dimir Midrange, Boros Reanimator, Rakdos Powerstones, Jeskai Midrange, Azorius Mindsplice, Bant Toxic, Azorius Control, Jund Hellraiser, Abzan Legends, Jeskai Mindsplice, and Selesnya Modified.
Grixis Midrange was nearly one-third of the field. As a result, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the most-played non-land cards across all main decks and sideboards were
Despite their popularity, midrange decks had middling win rates, and many black midrange decks performed worse than their reanimator equivalents. For example, the win rate of Grixis Reanimator was higher than Grixis Midrange, and the win rate of Jund Reanimator was higher than Jund Midrange. The sample sizes are insufficient to draw strong conclusions, but these early numbers support the formidable power of using
In terms of win rates against the field, Domain Control and Selesnya Toxic stand out. I've already highlighted the Regional Championship winning decklists, but it wasn't just the champions—the group of ten Domain Control players and five Selesnya Toxic players put up excellent numbers collectively. As these exciting new archetypes make the most out of the Phyrexia: All Will Be One cards, I expect them to rise in popularity in the coming weeks. Another deck that had a great, promising weekend was Esper Legends.
Esper Legends was not very popular last month, but it surged to a 7.6% metagame share at the first Regional Championship weekend, with a 55.0% win rate. These are great numbers overall, and Kenji Sego earned a World Championship invite by finishing second at the Japan/South Korea Regional Championship. Sego also recently finished 28th at Pro Tour Phyrexia, so he's quickly making a name for himself.
The distinguishing feature of Esper Legends is its mana base. Thanks to
From Phyrexia: All Will Be One, Esper Legends gained not only
Besides innovations like Selesnya Toxic and Domain Control that won their respective Regional Championships, several other spicy builds also earned a Pro Tour invite last weekend. Let's take a closer look at two of them.
Mono-Blue Tempo is a relatively well-established archetype in Standard, but Keisuke Naitou made the Top 4 of the Japan/South Korea Regional Championship with a unique list. His version shaved
There are many flavors of Jund. Some go more aggressive with
Grixis Midrange remains the number one deck to beat in Standard, and I don't expect that to change soon. Meanwhile, Mono-White Midrange is on the downswing, while Selesnya Toxic, Domain Control, and Esper Legends put up solid, promising results. These novel decks will likely tick up in the coming weeks as the metagame evolves and Regional Championships happen across the globe.
The schedule for the remaining Regional Championships (RCs) in this second cycle is as follows:
- March 11-12: Europe/Middle East/Africa, West Canada, Brazil, and Chinese Taipei. The Europe/Middle East/Africa RC will be streamed live on the LegacyEuropeanTour Twitch channel, starting at midnight PT / 9 a.m. CET / 5 p.m. JST both days.
- March 18-19: Mexico/Central America/Caribbean. For livestreams of this RC, keep an eye on the channels and social pages of Magic After Office and The Mana Vortex, who are working with the organizer to provide Spanish-language coverage.
- March 25-26: East Canada and China. Day Two of the East Canada RC will be streamed live on the FaceToFaceGames Twitch channel, starting at 6 a.m. PT / 3 p.m. CET / 11 p.m. JST on Sunday. The China RC may be streamed on Bilibili as well.
- April 1-2: South America.
- April 8-9: U.S.A. This RC will be streamed live on the DreamHackMagic Twitch channel, provisionally estimated to start at noon PT / 9 p.m. CET on Saturday and at 10 a.m. PT / 7 p.m. CET on Sunday.
See you all at the European Championship in Naples, Italy!
Don't miss the live streaming 👇https://t.co/J9K6ZPsVF9— Legacy European Tour 🔜 LEC Naples (@LegacyEUTour) March 3, 2023