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Pro Tour–San Juan Metagame Breakdown

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The letter A!nother Pro Tour is in the books, this time seeing one of the game's current and arguably all-time stars claiming his first crown. While Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa's 40-card deck was the last one standing, it was 60-card decks that did the heavy lifting in propelling him and others to the Sunday draft table. We're going to take a look at some of the decks in the Zendikar Block Constructed format and how they all fared.

Before we go any further, we need to first examine which decks were in people's suitcases. Rashad Miller has dug through all the deck lists and showed us the day 1 and day 2 metagames already. I'm using his deck characterizations in my analysis, so many thanks go out to him for making this possible. For convenience's sake, I'll simply remind you that White-Blue Control was the most played deck, followed by Devastating Red, Monument Green, Green Eldrazi, and Red-White "Koros." We'll go through each of these decks and how the field responded to them. An interesting sidenote on the metagame: only 13% of U.S. players played White-Blue, compared to 37% of Japanese players. I don't know what to make of that, but it sure is interesting.

In this analysis, I'll be excluding mirror matches and will (obviously) only be including the Constructed rounds. While reading this, please remember that there are a number of factors that go into each match that is played. I'm not trying to show you which deck you should play for your next tournament or say what the best deck in the format is. I'm trying to describe what happened at the Pro Tour and what the best decks there were at that tournament. Metagames change. If you have a question about the name of a deck I'm using, check out Frank Kasten's delve into the metagame here or if you want to check out a certain deck list I reference you can take a peek at the top deck lists here.

Archetype Win % Matches
Blue-Black Control 64.29% 45
Green-White Tokens 60.00% 5
Blue-Red-Green 60.00% 10
Monument Green 57.55% 284
Blue-Red-Green Comet Storm 56.14% 117
Green-Blue-Black Landfall 56.00% 25
Green-White-Blue Control 51.89% 107
Blue-Red-Green Landfall 51.11% 45
White-Blue Control 50.53% 480
Koros 50.31% 166
Valakut 50.00% 10
Mono-Red 50.00% 14
White Weenie 50.00% 10
Red-Green Land Destruction 50.00% 10
Green-Blue Control 50.00% 14
Devastating Red 49.22% 327
Green-White Ramp 47.12% 108
Vampires 46.03% 129
Green Eldrazi 44.62% 189
Summoning Trap 42.86% 127
White-Blue-Black Control 40.00% 10
Black-Green Landfall 40.00% 5
White Eldrazi 35.29% 17
Blue-Red Control 32.35% 34
Mono-White Control 25.00% 4
Allies 20.00% 5

Blue-Black Control is referring to the type of deck Jody Keith used with Vampire Hexmage, Abyssal Persecutor, Gatekeeper of Malakir, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor, a deck flowing with card advantage. With only 45 matches it is difficult to reach any conclusions. That won't stop us from trying, though.

Blue-Black Control Win % Matches
Blue-Red Control 100.00% 1
Blue-Red-Green Landfall 100.00% 1
Green-White-Blue Control 100.00% 1
Green-White Ramp 100.00% 2
Summoning Trap 100.00% 2
Koros 75.00% 4
Devastating Red 71.43% 9
White-Blue Control 61.54% 14
Green Eldrazi 60.00% 5
Monument Green 33.33% 3
Vampires 0.00% 2
Blue-Red-Green Comet Storm 0.00% 1
Grand Total 64.29% 45

The numbers certainly are impressive—especially the small sample against White-Blue Control and Devastating Red. With those two decks being the most played, assuming these numbers can be replicated over larger samples it is easy to see why people picked up their Creeping Tar Pits. Again, with only 45 matches there really is not much to see.

Monument Green, however, has something to show us.

Monument Green Win % Matches
Green-White Tokens 100.00% 1
Red-Green Land Destruction 100.00% 2
Green-Blue Control 100.00% 1
Blue-Red Control 83.33% 6
Summoning Trap 77.78% 9
White-Blue-Black Control 66.67% 3
Mono-Red 66.67% 3
Valakut 66.67% 3
White Eldrazi 66.67% 3
Blue-Black Control 66.67% 3
Blue-Red-Green Landfall 66.67% 6
White-Blue Control 65.82% 81
Blue-Red-Green Comet Storm 63.64% 12
Green-White Ramp 61.54% 14
Green-White-Blue Control 60.00% 15
Green Eldrazi 57.14% 21
Vampires 55.00% 20
White Weenie 50.00% 2
Green-Blue-Black Landfall 50.00% 4
Devastating Red 41.30% 46
Koros 37.50% 26
Mono-White Control 0.00% 1
Blue-Red-Green 0.00% 2
Grand Total 57.55% 284

A 57% win percentage against the field is a very strong number, especially when a third of the matches are against the most popular deck and those are at 65%. The only concern I would start to mention here is against hyper-aggressive red decks—both Koros and Devastating Red. I imagine that red burn spells clearing all the smaller mana critters off of the battlefield makes things more difficult for those with Forests.

What these numbers do not show, though, is that there were different flavors of the deck which had very different results.

Monument Green Subtypes Win % Matches
Jace 72.00% 25
Beastmaster 66.33% 100
Blue-Red-Green 53.85% 41
Standard 48.28% 118
Grand Total 57.55% 284

The alleged "normal" build of Monument Green actually underperformed compared to the field by a small margin. It was the other three varieties that propped up the deck's overall good showing. Decks that dipped into blue for Jace, the Mind Sculptor did the best overall, though that was only three players and was highlighted by Ben Hayes's 10-0. The other two players went a combined 8-7 with the deck.

The true story of the PT, at least with regards to Block Constructed, is Beastmaster Ascension. With thirteen people running the deck (including two Hall of Famers) there were enough matches to draw some concrete conclusions on the deck's viability, and it did not disappoint.

Beastmaster Green Win % Matches
White-Blue-Black Control 100.00% 2
Blue-Red-Green Landfall 100.00% 3
White Weenie 100.00% 1
Red-Green Land Destruction 100.00% 1
Blue-Red Control 100.00% 1
Summoning Trap 100.00% 2
Blue-Black Control 100.00% 2
Green-Blue-Black Landfall 100.00% 1
Blue-Red-Green Comet Storm 75.00% 4
Green-White Ramp 71.43% 7
Devastating Red 69.23% 13
White Eldrazi 66.67% 3
Green Eldrazi 66.67% 6
White-Blue Control 65.52% 30
Vampires 62.50% 8
Green-White-Blue Control 60.00% 5
Mono-Red 50.00% 2
Koros 16.67% 7
Blue-Red-Green 0.00% 2
Grand Total 66.33% 100

There are a whole lot of small samples in there, with the White-Blue Control match being the only with even close to enough matches to call it, so we can't point to any particular matches to explain why Beastmaster did so well. What we can say, though, is that against the overall metagame at the Pro Tour, Beastmaster was exceptional.

Devastating Red Win % Matches
Blue-Red Control 100.00% 2
Green-Blue-Black Landfall 100.00% 1
White Eldrazi 100.00% 2
Mono-White Control 100.00% 1
Blue-Red-Green 100.00% 2
Green Eldrazi 73.68% 38
Summoning Trap 68.42% 19
Valakut 66.67% 3
Green-Blue Control 66.67% 6
Blue-Red-Green Comet Storm 66.67% 16
Vampires 63.16% 19
Monument Green 58.70% 46
White-Blue-Black Control 50.00% 2
Red-Green Land Destruction 50.00% 2
Green-White Ramp 50.00% 21
Koros 45.83% 25
Blue-Red-Green Landfall 33.33% 9
Blue-Black Control 28.57% 9
White-Blue Control 27.59% 88
Green-White-Blue Control 14.29% 14
White Weenie 0.00% 2
Grand Total 49.22% 327

Devastating Red decks, the de facto beatdown deck of the format, were just worse than being a coin flip. Its ability to handle small green creatures was on display with a 58% against Monument decks and its speed was too much for Eldrazi decks. White-Blue Control, however, was a distinctly different story. This is one of the worst matchups I've seen over that many matches. A 72% loss rate is complete domination. If White-Blue is going to continue to be popular, Devastating Red does not stand much of a chance in this format without some adaptation.

Eldrazi Green Win % Matches
Mono-White Control 100.00% 1
White Weenie 100.00% 2
Green-White-Blue Control 60.00% 6
White-Blue Control 55.32% 49
Summoning Trap 54.55% 11
Koros 53.85% 13
Blue-Red-Green Comet Storm 50.00% 12
Vampires 50.00% 10
Blue-Red Control 50.00% 2
Green-Blue-Black Landfall 50.00% 2
Monument Green 42.86% 21
Blue-Black Control 40.00% 5
White Eldrazi 33.33% 3
Blue-Red-Green Landfall 33.33% 6
Devastating Red 26.32% 38
Green-White Ramp 25.00% 4
Red-Green Land Destruction 0.00% 1
Allies 0.00% 1
Green-Blue Control 0.00% 2
Grand Total 44.62% 189

If White-Blue Control is going to stay popular, though, Eldrazi decks could be the answer (of course, that would tip the balance back to Devastating Red being good .... Ahhh, the beauty of a metagame). Outside of the White-Blue matchup, there wasn't much to get excited about for Eldrazi Green, though. As fun as it is to summon gigantic fatties (OK, I know we don't summon things anymore and haven't for years, pardon my archaic parlance), this does not look to be the right format for that. At least not now.

Opposing Archetype Win % Matches
White Eldrazi 100.00% 1
Black-Green Landfall 100.00% 2
White Weenie 100.00% 1
Green-White Tokens 100.00% 1
Green-Blue Control 100.00% 1
Devastating Red 72.41% 88
Koros 66.67% 45
Summoning Trap 54.29% 36
Vampires 52.78% 38
Blue-Red Control 50.00% 6
Red-Green Land Destruction 50.00% 2
Green-White Ramp 46.15% 28
Green Eldrazi 44.68% 49
Green-Blue-Black Landfall 44.44% 9
Green-White-Blue Control 41.94% 31
Mono-Red 40.00% 5
Blue-Black Control 38.46% 14
Blue-Red-Green Landfall 37.50% 8
Monument Green 34.18% 81
White-Blue-Black Control 33.33% 3
Blue-Red-Green 33.33% 3
Blue-Red-Green Comet Storm 26.92% 26
Valakut 0.00% 2
Grand Total 50.53% 480

You may have noticed that we had not yet looked at White-Blue Control, the most popular deck at the tournament. Well, that error has been corrected. We have already talked about a lot of these, but I'll just touch on some of the lesser-known quantities. White-Blue did pretty well against Koros, Summoning Trap, and Vampires, some of the tier 2 decks in the format. In fact, with so many people playing White-Blue it would be difficult for the deck to really outperform 50% by a large amount, so we should not discount the showing. With a little bit of help against green decks (Monument and Eldrazi varieties) this could be a dominant deck.

Now that we've gone through the Constructed results I decided to take a look at how each country did in both the Limited and Constructed formats.

Country Constructed Draft Difference Matches
BEL 50.00% 39.13% -10.87% 131
BRA 52.94% 52.17% -0.77% 75
CAN 43.84% 58.97% 15.14% 114
CZE 49.15% 63.89% 14.74% 96
DEU 51.18% 39.47% -11.71% 206
ENG 53.23% 40.63% -12.60% 94
ESP 39.33% 40.48% 1.15% 131
FRA 53.38% 51.76% -1.61% 239
ITA 56.82% 52.00% -4.82% 210
JPN 53.97% 51.11% -2.86% 380
NLD 54.32% 67.35% 13.03% 134
SWE 57.75% 46.15% -11.59% 113
USA 49.36% 51.53% 2.17% 1446

I looked only at countries with at least 75 Matches. Even in doing that there are some wild swings due to sample size. USA had the most matches and showed a propensity for draft, while Japan had the second most matches and the opposite splits. Germany had over 200 matches and an almost 12% split, showing a huge gap when it came to drafting. I don't know that any of this means anything—I just always get some level of satisfaction in looking at how each country does.

If you want to dig further into any of the matchups, check out this spreadsheet (36 KB download) that details everything.

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