The June 1, 2020 Banned and Restricted announcement shook Standard.
So what does the new Standard metagame look like? Last weekend's Red Bull Untapped Online Qualifiers for Germany and Spain gave us a first taste. In total, 414 Standard decklists were registered: 157 for the Germany Qualifier and 257 for the Spain Qualifier. After eight rounds of Swiss, 8 players advanced to Day 2 in the Germany Qualifier, and 16 players advanced to Day 2 in the Spain Qualifier. The combined metagame breakdown is shown below. Each archetype name links to the highest-placing decklist of that type.
|Archetype||Companion||% Field on Day 1||% Field on Day 2|
|All That Glitters||2.4%|
Three quick methodological notes:
- The numbers are based on adding up all Day 1 and Day 2 decklists from both events, and then dividing by 414 and 24, respectively.
- For consistency, I verified archetypes and made some corrections from what was originally reported for the breakdown above.
- I subdivided decks based on the use of a companion. For example, Boros Cycling with Lurrus is listed as a separate archetype from Boros Cycling without a companion.
In total only 24% of the players used a companion, which represents a huge decrease compared to a few weeks ago. For example, most Rakdos Sacrifice players dropped
To define the new Standard metagame, let's go over the seven most popular decks according to Day 1 percentage.
Temur Reclamation – 16.7%
Before the June 1 Banned and Restricted announcement, Temur Reclamation was already a top-tier deck, capable of finishing games with
The deck was not only popular but also successful. Temur Reclamation was the deck chosen by one-third of the players who made Day 2—a very strong conversion rate. What's more, it took down both events.
Tellingly, the nonland part of their main decks was only two cards apart. Stefan Günther had one copy of Storm's Wrath instead of 1
Jund Sacrifice – 9.4%
Jund Sacrifice exploits
Jund Sacrifice was already strong a few weeks ago and emerged completely unscathed from the changes to Standard, so its popularity does not come as a surprise. The deck also had an excellent conversion rate, putting 6 players in Day 2. Jund Sacrifice is the second "Deck To Beat" in Standard right now.
Mono-Red Aggro – 8.9%
No matter the format, there will always be a Mono-Red Aggro archetype with cheap creatures to pressure an opponent's life total and burn spells to finish them off. Mono-Red appears reasonably well positioned in the metagame right now because, due to the
What stands out is that
Azorius Control (Yorion, Sky Nomad) – 5.8%
After three archetypes without a companion, we finally get to the first one with. Azorius Control, as always, still wants to counter, destroy, bounce, and nullify opposing threats. Winning is an afterthought, and when you're in control of the game and have all the time in the world, the difference between a 5-mana and an 8-mana
Obviously, Yorion has gotten worse as a result of the companion rule change. But the deck building restriction is still relatively easy to adapt to, especially with the high power level in Standard. The power level disparity is small, and there isn't a huge gap between your 30th and 80th card. For a good stuff control deck, sacrificing a little bit of consistency for an expensive win condition that still provides inevitability and value in the late-game remains worthwhile.
Boros Cycling (Lurrus of the Dream-Den) – 4.8%
Cycling decks are here to stay. With
Temur Adventure – 4.8%
Temur Adventure is still the best home for
The deck's positioning in the metagame is a little questionable because it used to prey on Jeskai Lukka, which has now disappeared, while struggling against Temur Reclamation, the new top dog. Nevertheless, the core of Temur Adventure remains intact and solid as ever.
Bant Ramp (Yorion, Sky Nomad) – 3.9%
Bant Ramp did not draw as many
It's noteworthy that
The seven archetypes I highlighted, which together represent over half of the field at the Red Bull Untapped Online Country Qualifiers, form an early gauntlet for the newly changed Standard. In terms of Day 2 conversion rates, Temur Reclamation and Jund Sacrifice were the frontrunners,and it's clear that companions are no longer the dominant force in the format.
Overall, this metagame looks very similar to the Standard we had right before the release of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths with a few new twists:
- Temur Reclamation gained
Shark Typhoonto solve its vulnerability to Teferi, Time Raveler; Fires of Inventionwas banned, eliminating Jeskai Fires as an archetype;
- Azorius Control now plays 80 cards;
- And Boros Cycling emerged as a brand new archetype.
By and large, it's like the clock was rewound two months.
The next question is "How do we attack this metagame?" Should Temur Reclamation be attacked with aggro strategies, with
These and other questions will be on the minds of Players Tour competitors this week.
Indeed, on Saturday June 13, the first pair of online Players Tour events will take place on MTG Arena, with a $150,000 prize pool per event. I'm excited to see what decks the competitors will bring, and I'll be back next week with an analysis of the Standard metagame developments that emerge from the first Players Tour Online weekend.