It feels like I just wrote one of these last week.
A week is a surprisingly long time in metagame memory, and the board has shifted significantly. I’ve altered the chart a bit to remove most of the
sub-archetypes that tended to just make our data harder to manipulate, and that should the numbers make a bit more sense. Being able to more directly
compare decks like Quest and Caw-Blade based on their splash colors will give us more information, and I hope you find the accompanying
The story of the Edison Open clearly
belonged to victor Patrick Sullivan, whose Mono Red deck took home the trophy. Patrick became quite the Cinderella story, registering on a lark just
for the opportunity to play some Magic with his favorite archetype, Mono Red. That lark quickly became a burning desire for victory, and Patrick’s deck
torched RUG and Caw-Blade opponents all day. He swept through Squadron Hawks in the Top 8, and his excitement was infectious. Mono Red exposed the
underbelly of Caw-Blade, but no one has any doubt that the most dominant archetype in Standard will adapt to shore up this weakness.
Let’s move onto the matchups!
Boros — 13.92% of Field — Won 48.07% of Matches
When the most popular deck in the field fails to post even a Top 16 showing, you know it’s having a rough time. Boros managed one of the worst records
despite being the most-played archetype, and posted a losing record against every other deck on Tier 1. It’s actually kind of impressive, but the end
result is that this metagame has proven very hostile to Boros. As I pointed out in my previous article, things are getting worse thanks to Caw-Blade
and even RUG. The spot creature and artifact removal that people have begun to play is very good against this archetype, and that’s not changing
Patrick Sullivan victory with Mono Red offers you another option, but the heat that deck will begin to catch as sideboards change probably makes it
too bold a choice. Boros can be built to just about break even with Caw-Blade, but its Valakut matchup is still pretty weak, and I don’t see any great
reasons to play it.
Sparkblade — 11.17% of Field — Won 54.41% of Matches
Gerry Thompson baby had a solid weekend in Edison, although it did not manage a repeat victory. What surprised me the most was its matchup against
RUG, compared to the U/W Caw-Blade featured below. Lightning Bolt looks like an important solution to Lotus Cobra for the pairing, but that was not a
difference-maker in Edison, NJ. The loss against Valakut was sharply felt, as that percentage dipped to an acceptable disadvantage, but a disadvantage
AJ Sacher fell to Patrick Sullivan in the semifinals, and he stuck with Sparkblade in Memphis for a solid finish in that Standard Open. It’s difficult
to say whether Caw-Blade should splash, and even then it’s hard to tell which color it should be. Sparkblade did have the highest number of draws out
of any archetype, which you should be mindful of. Its popularity resulted in that quantity, as U/W Caw-Blade has a proportionately higher number of
draws compared to its representation, but that points to the same advice. Caw-Blade pilots of any color need to play at a faster clipâ€”their margins
would likely improve even more if those draws were real results, as the deck’s inevitability is incredible considering how fierce its starts can get.
RUG — 9.79% of Field — Won 56.30% of Matches
Yay! RUG picked up in Edison and posted another strong finish in the hands of Jonathan Sukenik, MTGO ringer. The matchup against both varieties of
Caw-Blade is reasonable, as are most of the archetype’s other margins. RUG is definitely a deck that glides along a coin flip most of the time, relying
on the occasional edge and the superior play of the pilot to navigate the waters of Standard. The only really interesting matchup note here is that RUG
returned to pre-Besieged levels against Valakut, where formerly it had been posting a decent percentage. In Memphis, we saw a return to the
dreaded Summoning Trap along with Cobras of its own, which may have begun in Edison as well. Those cards are certainly tough on RUG, especially
considering that Valakut is one matchup where no one likes leaving in their Lightning Bolts.
Valakut — 8.42% of Field — Won 52.66% of Matches
Best Finish: Dennis Gleason, 15th place
By now, you know that Valakut took the crown in Memphis, and the seeds of that victory were sown in Edison. Strong matchups across the board with the
exception of a significant weakness to U/W Caw-Blade made it one of the strongest choices, in spite of its failure to finish among the top. Caw-Blade
has a lot more difficulty with the Summoning Traps that Joey Mispagel ran in Memphis, and Lotus Cobra is another problem card. Uniting
the two is going to cause a lot of problems for the strictly U/W version, so that’s the direction to look if you want additional edge in that matchup.
Inferno Titan, of course, has earned widespread adoption as well.
Valakut was a good deck to run with following Edison, provided you had the right buildâ€”Joey Mispagel proved that. The question is, will it remain as
viable now that it has an Open Series under its belt? Probably not, given its history.
Caw-Blade — 7.04% of Field — Won 59.02% of Matches
The PT Paris archetype hasn’t changed much since, with the counter suite and a few tech cards rotating here and thereâ€”Mortarpod has been performing
very well for a lot of players, as an answer to Lotus Cobra and a strong card against Boros and the mirror. The U/W version posted a winning percentage
against virtually everything, falling short against Sparkblade and Mono Red, mostly in the hands of Patrick Sullivan. It seems likely that U/W is the
better deck if you believe you’re going to either dodge or beat all the other Caw-Blade pilots in the room. Given how unlikely that is, turning to
Sparkblade for an edge in the mirror might very well be the answer, even if you give up an edge against other decks.
When you’re willingly killing your matchups against other decks for edge in the mirror, one has to wonder if Caw-Blade is “too good.” I don’t think
that’s the case given the results of the past couple weekends, but it is food for thought. You can read Mike Eisenhauer tournament report if you’re interested
in his Edison performance.
A few other decks are probably worthy of your attention as Ft. Worth approaches, even if they aren’t the most popular ones in the room.
U/W/b Caw-Blade — 2.23% of Field — Won 57.87% of Matches
Sample List: Gerard Fabiano, 56th place
I did a Deck Tech on this little brew that Gerard and Ben Lundquist
came up with. Ben actually finished higher, but his deck didn’t make it into our database. The idea is soundâ€”beat the mirror by using disruption to
strip away their Swords after they Mystic while playing all of the same cards they do. Go for the Throat and Doom Blade are both strong removal options
that can take down a Titan or a Lotus Cobra, and Geth, Lord of the Vault is a very cool answer to Sun Titan, in addition to being unblockable in the
mirror. To top it all off, Creeping Tar Pit is the most efficient manland when it comes to wielding the Sword of Feast and Famine. What’s not to like?
Gerry Thompson piloted his take on this list to a Top 8 finish
in Memphis, and there’s probably still a lot of room to evolve. The correct disruption suite, the mana base, the right removal spellâ€”these are all
difficult decision that vary from week to week. This archetype may wind up being one of the best in the field, so keep an eye on potential additions.
G/W Aggro — 1.37% of Field — Won 55.45% of Matches
Last, but not least, the little beatdown deck that almost did. The G/W Aggro deck piloted by Harrison Greenberg, Lewis Laskin, Michael Pozsgay, Nick
Spagnolo, and others looked like it would be an early contender, but a lack of Caw-Blade matchups contributed to their early demise. The “Jumanji” deck they played was designed to
attack Caw-Blade with Vengevines and Lead the Stampedes while utilizing Overwhelming Stampede and Fauna Shaman as weapons against slower decks. While
sound in theory, I suspect the deck has some kinks that need to be worked out. When you’re wandering the room and begging for Khalni Hydras, you know
that you might be in trouble! That said, Vengevine is one of the best ways to attack Caw-Blade of all shapes and sizes, and we’ll certainly see a
successful brew doing so soon.
That wraps up this installment of Too Much Information. I’m busy preparing for the Dallas/Ft. Worth Open Series right now, and can’t wait to see what
players show up with this weekend. I’m combining the metagame data following this weekend with Memphis in order to catch us back up, and hopefully
we’ll be back on schedule completely after that thanks to some useful software developments. The Twitter hashtag for the DFW Open is #SCGDFW, of
course, so please follow along at home. Of course, you’ll also be able to view the event on SCGLive, with hosts Gavin Verhey and Joe Panuskaâ€”enjoy!
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