Too Much Information – Using Baltimore to Predict the New Standard

Friday, October 1st – Standard is rotating, and our resident number cruncher predicts what will be on top! What surprising deck does Jared think is going to be a player in the new format?

Hey there, everyone, and welcome to a special rotation edition of Too Much Information. With the 2010 State and
Provincial Championships coming up and the final three StarCityGames.com Open Weekends on the horizon, the rotation of Magic 2010 and Alara block will
have some immediate impact. Those who can nail down the metagame quickly will be at a distinct advantage.

Today’s article will be focused on the new metagame. For some archetypes, that means figuring out what they stand
to lose (or gain) from the decks leaving the environment. And for the decks rotating and passing into Extended, we’ll take a look back over their
performances during their time in Standard. (If you’d like to download the complete data for Baltimore,
just click this link

Archetype Breakdown

  • Summoning Trap has shown some life, especially when paired with the Valakut Ramp decks. It seems that
    dropping a Primeval Titan for free may be all that it’s cracked up to be, as Ramp decks featuring Summoning Trap posted the best average finish of the
  • Vengevine Crabs decks have done fairly well over the last few events, especially with the integration of Fauna
    Shaman. With few losses to the rotation, this deck may be set to be a major player in the new metagame.
  • This has not been a friendly
    format for aggressive or weenie decks. Red Deck Wins has had sporadic success over the year, and Soul Sisters has shown up at a couple of events, but neither deck was able to post consistent results. Other aggro decks, such as Vampires
    and R/W Weenie, have been a niche part of the metagame, but never had much success. It will be interesting to see if the rotation of Jund and
    Sovereign Mythic will open the door for more aggressive strategies.
  • There was a surprising lack of Naya Allies decks in Baltimore, and I would be
    remiss if I didn’t mention a deck that I expect to be a player in the new Standard. Naya Allies posted some impressive results and finishes over the past six months, and it only gets
    better with the rotation of most of Tier One decks. Also, Tuktuk Scrapper fits in readily, providing repeatable artifact destruction (and extra damage)
    against the inevitable flood of metal from Scars of Mirrodin.

Jund — 14.14% of the Field — Won 58.18% of Matches

Sam Chase, 4th

Current Status: Tier One
Post Rotation: RIP
Important Losses: The entire deck — Bloodbraid Elf, Putrid Leech, Sprouting Thrinax, Blightning, Terminate,
Bituminous Blast


It’s a lock to say that Jund will be remembered as both one of the most successful, and hated, decks of this
format. Ever since Alara Reborn brought us Bloodbraid Elf, Jund has been the force to be reckoned with; every other deck was defined by its ability to combat
Jund, and yet Jund continually posted spectacular results. The little tarnish on its crown came when Rise of the Eldrazi brought us Eldrazi
Conscription, and Sovereign Mythic became a legitimate claimant to the throne.

Players will remember Jund as a menace, but I’ll remember it differently. The deck had a bull’s eye placed squarely
on its back week after week, showing resiliency against a format tuned against it. While the core never really changed, the supporting cards
were constantly in flux, and debates raged even about core pieces: No Putrid Leech? No Blightning? In June and July, it looked like the format had
finally caught up with Jund — but impressive performances in August and in Baltimore, in part due to a friendlier format post-M11, had Jund finishing
on a high note.

Jund’s final legacy is one of dominance and simplicity. There was no artifice in playing Jund; just raw power.
While it won’t go down in history with Necro or Academy decks, in its own way, it was just as dominant.

Sovereign Mythic — 12.03% of the Field — Won 59.01% of Matches

Ali Aintrazi, 1st

Current Status: Tier One
Post Rotation: RIP
Important Losses: Sovereigns of Lost Alara, Knight of the Reliquary, Finest Hour, Rafiq of the Many, Noble
Hierarch, Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Sovereign Mythic

Sovereign Mythic doesn’t have anywhere near Jund’s reputation — but for the four months that it was in Standard,
its numbers were just as impressive. Sovereign Mythic was the first real answer to Jund in a format that had been trying to beat the juggernaut for a
year. While other decks had clawed their way even with Jund, Sovereign Mythic (this event withstanding) provided Jund with its first bad match-up.

Unfortunately, due to its short time on the tournament scene, Sovereign Mythic will probably be remembered as just
another Standard deck unless it can carry its success into the new Extended format.

U/W Control — 10.55% of the Field — Won 55.98% of Matches

Lewis Laskin, 8th

Current Status: Tier One
Post Rotation: Tier One
Important Losses: Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Path to Exile, Oblivion Ring

U/W Control

In the absence of Jund and Sovereign Mythic, U/W Control is the heir apparent to the throne. While Path to Exile
and Oblivion Ring are major losses without any clear replacements, countermagic may prove to be the best elimination in the new format.

In fact, the dearth of ways to deal with Planeswalkers actually strengthens U/W Control, as it has access to the
best Planeswalkers in the format. U/W has a ready-made way to abuse Venser, the SojournerWall of Omens — to create a card drawing engine that turns
into an unstoppable late-game threat. While Venser is getting a lot of casual attention, he might be too good a fit to ignore.

I expect U/W Control will start out as the top dog in the format, until players start to get a grip on it. One deck
to watch out for is Pyromancer Ascension, which has proven to be a tough matchup in the past… But even then, the combination of early card
drawing, counterspells, and the most powerful cards in the format should keep U/W Control solidly Tier One.

Fauna Naya — 7.17% of the Field — Won 50.99% of Matches

Jorge Iramain, 27th

Current Status: Tier Two
Post Rotation: No longer Naya
Important Losses: Knight of the Reliquary, Noble Hierarch, Bloodbraid Elf, Qasali Pridemage, Ajani Vengeant

Fauna Naya

While the shell of Fauna Naya remains intact — Fauna Shaman and Vengevine — it’s yet to be seen whether the Naya
color mix is the way to go for Fauna Shaman builds. Given that so many of the reasons to pair red and white with the Fauna core are rotating out, it may
be time to explore other options rather instead of trying to port the current deck. (Bant versions have also been doing well, but they lose just as
many pieces.)

Fauna Shaman is an excellent card that

find a place in the new format. However, the shell that
survives into the new format is small; looks like it’s time to find new supporting pieces. The great thing about a toolbox is that it works just as well
with new tools…

Red Deck Wins — 5.91% of the Field — Won 49.41% of Matches

Bardinelli, 20th

Current Status: Tier Two
Post Rotation: RIP (Current Version)
Important Losses: Hellspark Elemental, Hell’s Thunder, Ball Lightning, Earthquake

Red Deck Wins

Let me be clear: I’m

saying that there won’t be a Red Deck Wins variant in the new environment. I’m
just saying that it’ll look a lot different than it does now. With most of its creatures and one of its finishers (Earthquake) rotating, the current
version of Red Deck Wins is moving on to Extended.

However, much like the monarchy — Red Deck Wins is dead! Long live Red Deck Wins! — I fully expect to see


sort of Red Deck Wins in the upcoming environment. The obvious route to pursue is Devastating Summons which showed some promise just after the
release of Rise of the Eldrazi, but faded in popularity, especially after Mana Leak was printer in M11. With Red having the best access to artifact
destruction, and new toys like Koth of the Hammer and Kuldotha Phoenix, I expect new builds will show up quickly.

Pyromancer Ascension — 5.27% of the Field — Won 54.17% of Matches

Axel Jensen, 3rd

Current Status: Tier Two
Post Rotation: Tier One?
Important Losses: Ponder, Time Warp, Polymorph (Sideboard Plan)

Pyromancer Ascension

If you’ve been reading the last couple of installments of Too Much Information, what I am about to say may surprise
you: I think that Pyromancer Ascension could be a major player post-rotation. Ponder is clearly the biggest loss, since it gave Pyromancer
Ascension amazing redundancy… but the bottom line is that the core of the deck survives the rotation.

The key is that the matchups that have been major problems Pyromancer Ascension will not survive the rotation. This
deck has handled presumptive new top deck U/W Control very well, and handled Fauna Naya in Baltimore. A couple of tweaks and Pyromancer Ascension
can continue to be a player in the new format.

There’s no Under the Radar deck this week, as there was nothing close to the top tables that legitimately survives
the rotation. Instead, let me give you a quick run-down of the other decks and whether they survive:

  • Soul Sisters — Dead without Soul Warden
  • Valakut Ramp — Tier One — Loses only Rampant Growth,
    Bloodbraid Elf and Siege-gang Commander. This deck will be a player.
  • Esper Control – Dead
  • Super Friends —
    Dead – Loses Ajani Vengeant, turning it into U/W Control.
  • Vengevine Crabs — Tier Two — Core still intact. Is this
    the new home for Fauna Shaman?
  • Destructive Force — Tier Two — Maybe this needs to be folded into Valakut Ramp? Is
    there enough space?
  • Eldrazi Green — Tier Two — Eldrazi Monument is still one of the most powerful cards available
    in Standard. Perhaps this turns into the Infect deck?
  • Polymorph — Tier Three — Has to convert to Mass Polymorph. As
    we’ve learned before, six mana is usually too much to pay to win the game.
  • Vampires — Tier Three — Vampire
    Nocturnus is a huge loss, but many builds weren’t even playing him.
  • Eldrazi Ramp — Hasn’t made a splash yet. Maybe
    it just needed mana Myr?

We have the 2010 State and Provincial Championships coming up on October 9th
and in Virginia, we kick
off the Pro Tour Qualifier season with a bang October 2nd
in Roanoke and October 10th
in Richmond. I am planning to compile the data
from those two events, so let me know in the forums what information you feel would be useful about the new Sealed format.

Good luck to everyone in the new format — and look for the TMI Legacy Open next week!