Last weekend, around 400 players gathered in the great city of Vancouver to fire spells at each other, and, given the metagame, it was indeed fire that was being cast. When it was all said and done, Joel Larrson took his Mono-Red Aggro list into the finals against Mike Sigrist’s Blue Red Robots deck, and Joel emerged victorious.
The theme of this tournament seemed to be old versus new. Starting with the old, the most played archetype on day 2 was Green Red Devotion. This was essentially just a stock list for most teams, the only real innovation seeming to be Nissa, Vastwood Seer in the maindeck, and Gaea’s Revenge and Seismic Rupture in the sideboard for more grindy matchups.
Paul Jackson Green Red Devotion
The second most played archetype, but the old archetype that had changed the most, and evolved with Magic Origins the best, was the Red Aggro deck. Now a far cry from the tokens based lists of a few weeks ago running between 6 and 8 Dragon Fodders and Hordeling Outburst, and also Goblin Rabblemasters, the red deck has become more burn centric with additions of Exquisite Firecraft, Abbot of Keral Keep, and the addition of Searing Blood to the maindeck.
Joel Larrson Red Aggro
The third most played archetype was another old one, Abzan Control. Same as the Green Red Devotion list, this was just the star-studded pack of cards that had been Sieging players with Rhinos since Khans was released. Again, the innovations were simple, Nissa, Vastwood Seer and Languish in the main, and because of Languish, a move back toward Tasigur, the Golden Fang, and a move away from maindeck Fleecemane Lions.
Matthew Sperling Abzan Control
So that’s a total of 42.04% of the day 2 field made up of these three major older archetypes. Given the release of Magic Origins wasn’t a rotation, so the old decks didn’t get really any worse, and this can be seen from the appearance of the Abzan Aggro archetype showing up on day 2 with 2.86% of the field, an archetype that most people wrote off with the introduction of Languish to the black control decks of the format, but it appears that archetype can still game.
The biggest innovation from the Pro Tour was actually the Blue Red Ensoul Artifact deck. For those that haven’t seen this deck yet, it’s much like the Ensoul Artifact decks that were floating around when Magic 2015 was released, but it’s more tuned now, and actually got a lot with the artifact support cards in Magic Origins.
Mike Sigrist Blue Red Ensoul Artifact
This deck is right up my alley and if it wasn’t going to be leaving the format in about 2 month’s time, I’d go all in on it. As a Tinker/Goblin Welder kind of guy that also grew up playing Affinity with Shrapnel Blasts, this deck is really sweet. It can make a 5/5 on turn 2, given it’s a 2 card combo, so if it’s dealt with, you’re down on cards, but you can follow that up with a couple of Shrapnel Blasts or a go wide strategy with thopter tokens. Five damage is a large amount of damage, and can really surprise your opponent given you have 8 ways of chucking out the damage.
While there was a good amount of innovation at the Pro Tour, I was kind of surprised at the lack thereof. It seems that the teams at the Pro Tour played it relatively safe on the whole in the standard portion of the event, and focused more on doing well in the draft portion. This means that there is possibly a ton more innovating that we’ll see in the next two months on the open series from players on different circuits, and the Pros left us with a fun format with enough new goodies to keep us interested in brewing, but the format is far from solved.
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