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Players Tour Finals Day Two Metagame Breakdown

July 26, 2020
Corbin Hosler

After 145 players battled in Day One at the Players Tour Finals, 74 earned enough match points to come back for Day Two. After the first seven rounds of competition were absolutely dominated by Temur Reclamation, how would Day 2 shake out?

Here's how things looked moving from from Saturday to Sunday.

Deck Archetype Day One Day One % Day Two Day Two % Conversion Rate
Temur Reclamation 57 39.3% 29 39.2% 50.9%
Four-Color Reclamation 22 15.2% 16 21.6% 72.7%
Bant Ramp 17 11.7% 9 12.2% 52.9%
Mono-Green Aggro 9 6.2% 3 4.1% 33.3%
Mono-White Aggro 8 5.5% 4 5.4% 50.0%
Jund Sacrifice 7 4.8% 3 4.1% 42.9%
Rakdos Sacrifice 6 4.1% 2 2.7% 33.3%
Azorius Control 3 2.1% 2 2.7% 66.7%
Esper Midrange 3 2.1% 1 1.4% 33.3%
Mono-Red Aggro 2 1.4% 0 0.0% 0.0%
Sultai Ramp 2 1.4% 1 1.4% 50.0%
Other 9 6.2% 4 5.4% 44.4%

The key takeaways:

  • At a high level, not much changed from Day One to Day Two. With the exception of green and red aggressive decks, the Day Two field looks largely similar in numbers to Day One.
  • Wilderness Reclamation dominated, but maybe not exactly how you'd expect. It was actually the Four-Color Reclamation build that was the most successful Day One archetype, with nearly 73% of pilots advancing to Day Two.
  • Sacrifice decks underperformed as a whole. Players were prepared for Witch's Oven and Cauldon Familiar.
  • Mono-White Aggro may have overtaken Mono-Green or Mono-Red for the premier aggressive deck of the format, as both red and green struggled while four of the eight Mono-White Aggro players made Day Two.
  • Rogue decks have a chance by attacking the metagame. Even in a Reclamation-dominated field, several players did well with completely off-meta decks.

All About the Mirror

It should come as no surprise that a tournament filled with the best in the world piloting Wilderness Reclamation would come down to who could find an edge in the mirror. After seven rounds, it seems quite clear that the way to do so was with Four-Color Wilderness Reclamation, which leveraged access to white for cards like Teferi, Time Raveler and Dovin's Veto to give opposing Wilderness Reclamation players fits.

Teferi, Time Raveler Dovin's Veto

The 73% conversion rate for Four-Color Reclamation was especially impressive in a tournament structure in which just under half of the competitors advanced to Day Two. The more traditional Temur Reclamation builds perfectly nearly exactly as expected and stayed constant at 39% of the field.

Less Pelt Collector, More Hunted Witness?

Core Set 2021 has been very good to fans of mono-white creature decks, and with the addition of Selfless Savior, Seasoned Hallowblade and Glorious Anthem, the classic archetype is suddenly viable again. The deck is extremely resilient to sweepers, and between Glorious Anthem, Venerated Loxodon and Unbreakable Formation, the deck's creatures get large in a hurry.

Half of the players on the deck advanced, outperforming both Mono-Green and Mono-Red Aggro.

Go Fast or Go Big

At a high level, Standard has broken down into two opposites: aggro decks of various flavors trying to kill as fast as possible, and big-mana decks that seek to leverage either Wilderness Reclamation or ramp enablers like Growth Spiral and Nissa, Who Shakes the World (or both) to power out giant threats ahead of schedule.

In that context, it makes sense to see midrange decks like Jund and Rakdos Sacrifice struggle comparatively. Jund Sacrifice has moved to a Bolas's Citadel endgame to try and keep up, but just five of the thirteen Sacrifice players in the field made it through Day One.

On the Ramp end of the spectrum, Bant Ramp performed about average, slightly increasing its metagame share from Day One to Day Two. Meanwhile, two of the three Azorius Control players also advanced to Day Two, with Hall of Famer Raphael Levy leading the way at 5-2. To the dismay of control deck fans everywhere, fellow French all-star and Magic Hall of Famer Gabriel Nassif—famous for playing the deck—was knocked out early on Day One.

The "Others" Doing Well

The often overlooked "Other" category of decks includes brews and one-ofs that don't fit anywhere else in an established metagame. In the Players Tour Finals, with such a clear set of top decks to attack, several players found success going rogue.

None more so than Michael Jacob, who finished at 6-1 as the only player to bring Winota, Joiner of Forces to battle. The longtime streamer wasn't afraid to take a risk in this tournament, and it paid off nicely on Day One.

Or maybe you prefer a little less combo in your beatdown deck? Look no further than Riku Kumagai, who made it to Day Two with Mono-Black Aggro.

Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God also made an appearance, as Bolun Zhang included the villain in his Four-Color Planeswalker deck that advanced to Sunday.

And, of course, Magic Pro League member Ken Yukuhiro advanced to Day Two doing what he does best: winning with something nobody saw coming. If anyone is going to find success smashing together Rotting Regisaur and Teferi, Time Raveler, it would be Yukuhiro.

You can get a little more of Yukuhiro and the Esper Midrange story in the Players Tour Finals Day One highlights.

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