The renowned Waterbury TMD Open and Richmond double Power 9 tournaments are now a matter of record and, due to a family emergency and a missed flight, I was not in attendance for any of them. As such, I was forced to quietly sit in front of my laptop watching the results pour in, my hands tented as I accumulated statistics to further my evil plan to take over the Vintage world (cue evil laughter)… but then I decided to write a massive statistical analysis article that everyone can enjoy.
Our journey begins at the largest of the three tournaments, as 184 players sat down in Waterbury Connecticut in the hopes of fabulous prizes, and the eternal fame and respect that comes from winning a Waterbury… just ask Rich Shay and Jason Zheng and Travis Laplante, and all those other guys who won a Waterbury whose names escape me at the moment. At the beginning of the day I don’t believe anybody could have foretold the Psychatog versus Gro-A-Tog Final that would later transpire. Let’s have a look at the metagame from which this unlikely final match arose…
(Note: I attempted to break down all the decks into basic archetypes. In some cases the category in which these decks fit was hazy, but I think these numbers are accurate on the whole. Those that could not be placed were put into the "Other" category. I further broke down the archetypes into more specific decks, with the number of decks of each type that were present. I also listed what percentage of the decks of that particular archetype made the cut, as well as what percentage of the metagame that archetype accounted for. An asterisk next to a specific deck indicates a top sixteen appearance by that deck.)
Waterbury TMD Open
Aggro Hate: (36 decks) (8.33% made Top 16) (19.57% of the metagame)
Bird Sh** 5*
RG Beats 3*
B/G/W Dredge 1
Mountain Wins Again 5 (A R/W Sligh deck that has seen some regional success)
Sui Black 3
U/R Tempo (Similar to a U/R Fish deck, but with some notable differences)
Random: (33 decks) (0% made Top 16) (17.39% of the metagame)
U/R/B Control 1
Friggorid 1 (A vintage attempt at the extended Ichorid/Tolarian Winds/Dredge Cards Combo deck)
Workshop Slaver 1
Three-Color Control 1
Cerebral Assassin 3 (A deck that uses Welders and animate spells to speed a Sundering Titan into play)
Scepter Chant 1
Turboland Stax 1
U/B Control 1
Every combo ever 1
Sneak Attack 1
Drain Dragon 1
TT Confidant 1
Fish: (22 decks) (4.5% made Top 16) (11.96% of the metagame)
U/W Fish 13*
WTF 1 (U/G Fish, the acronym stands for "Worse Than Fish")
U/R Fish 4
U/B Fish 2
U/W/B Fish 1
U/R/W Fish 1
Dragon: (5 decks) (20% made Top 16) (2.72% of the metagame)
Psychatog was clearly the most successful archetype, putting 50% of the folks playing Dr. Teeth in the finals. Not just the Top 16, but the finals. The only explanation I can offer is that people weren’t prepared to play against Psychatog, and the low turnout of Slaver.
Storm Combo also made a strong showing, given the relatively low number who turned up with that archetype. The Ill-Gotten Gains deck that made the Top 16 looks terrible on paper, but clearly put up strong results at this tournament.
Drain decks had a remarkably low turnout for this event, fighting the stereotype that the Northeast is always loaded with Mana Drains. Nevertheless, they performed consistently, landing a strong percentage of those playing into the Top 16.
Workshop based decks arrived in large numbers and to say they performed poorly would be an understatement. Even the reigning world champion was left well below the cut to Top 16.
Aggro Hate decks arrived in huge numbers but still only managed to place a small number of decks in the Top 16.
Dragon again barely shows up to a major tournament, but still manages to land somebody in the Top 16. These results were almost identical to the SCG Rochester tournament preceding Waterbury. Underplayed, maybe?
A little foreshadowing here… a relatively unknown combo deck manages to land multiple people above the cut in "Drain TPS," a very respectable showing for this deck.
Many of the decks that couldn’t be placed in the random category were uncompetitive. It’s a rather unique feature of Vintage to have approximately 15% of the field show up with an uncompetitive deck.
Oath showed up almost entirely in the Akroma/Spirit of the Night/Razia form, with only a single Salvagers Oath deck showing up, and not a single Gifts Oath deck making an appearance. Much like Workshop decks, it fared very poorly.
A number of Fish variants showed up to Waterbury, but they were still heavily slanted towards the U/W build. This archetype also performed poorly.
Interesting to note…
Top 5 Popular Archetypes:
1) Aggro Hate
2) Workshop Decks
3) Drain Decks
4) Fish Decks
5) Oath Decks
The 5 Worst Performing Archetypes at Waterbury:
1) Workshop Decks
2) Fish Decks
3) Oath Decks
4) Aggro Hate
5) Drain Decks
Seems like a fairly strong correlation between popularity and poor performance. Perhaps the advantage of being the unexpected variable when a deck choice is made or a sideboard created is underrated.
Let’s flash forward a few weeks to the more recent StarCityGames Power 9 tournament.
Slaver came roaring back, taking home 1st place on both days.
Let’s take a look at the statistics from Day 1.
Rochester Day 1
Fish (11 decks total) (7.43% of the metagame) (No Fish Players Made Top 8)
U/W Fish 5
U/R Fish 3
U/B Fish 3
Oath (8 Decks total) (5.41% of the metagame) (No Oath Players made Top 8)
Aggro Oath 6
Gifts Oath 2
Other (31 decks total) (20.95% of the metagame) (0 decks in this category made Top 8)
Mono-Blue Control 4
Confidant Control 2
Kobold Clamp 1
U/B Aggro 1
B/W Fish 2
U/B Control 1
Cerebral Assassin 1
U/R/B Tempo 1
The Dimir 1
Arcane Erayo Lab 1
B/W Control 1
High Tide 1
Sneak Attack 2
Psychatog Tendrils 1
Orzhov Guild 1
1) Intuition Tendrils clearly has a lot of potential to become a staple in Vintage. With only five people in the room playing this deck, managing to land two of them in the Top 8 is an impressive number. This could be partially due to the surprise factor that any new deck has, and now that people are more aware of the deck will play against it appropriately. Again another no-name combo deck has debuted and put multiple people past the cut. Only time will tell if this deck has what’s necessary to endure.
2) Slaver continues to be a strong performer. It has been suggested by some that Slaver decks are "dead," but I suppose a Slaver versus Slaver finals at a high profile event may prove that this deck is incredibly potent in the hands of experienced and competent players.
3) Shop decks continue to perform poorly. This dismal performance is consistent with the statistics from Waterbury. In both tourneys it was amongst the most popular archetypes on the metagame, and in both cases it performed dismally.
4) Friggorid seems somewhat unimpressive. Based on just what I had seen online, I was under the impression that very few people showed up Friggorid, but as you can see, given that there were ten people playing this deck (including a number of well known Vintage players), only getting a single player into the Top 8 – who lost in the first round of the Top 8 – doesn’t seem that impressive. This deck had everything going for it: a field full of its best matchup, solid numbers, competent players playing the deck, and the surprise factor of being a new deck… and it still only got one player into the Top 8. This pales by comparison to the strong performance of Intuition/Tendrils or Control Slaver.
5) Fish/Oath appear to be dead archetypes. Fish and Oath both showed up in large numbers at Waterbury and made a poor showing there. People seem to have got the memo, and the numbers of people playing these decks dropped significantly. These archetypes again performed poorly, not putting a single player into the Top 8.
7) Despite their impressive performance at Waterbury, Psychatog decks were still very much a minority in the metagame.
8) Aggro decks seemed to have shown up in much lesser numbers in Richmond, and those that did performed poorly.
Our final tournament of the three…
Richmond Day 2
Drain Decks (31 decks total) (26.05% of the metagame) (12.09% of Drain decks made Top 8)
Fish (6 decks total) (5.04% of the metagame) (none made Top 8)
U/W Fish 3
U/B Fish 2
U/R Fish 1
Dragon 2 (1.68% of the metagame) (none made Top 8)
Friggorid 2 (1.68% of the metagame) (none made Top 8)
Psychatog 2 (1.68% of the metagame) (none made Top 8)
Other (18 decks total) (15.13% of the metagame) (none made Top 8)
Mono Blue Control 2
TFK Control 1
Flame Vault 1
U/B Hate 1
Psychatog TPS 1
Severance Belcher (No Gifts) 2
Two land Belcher 1
B/W Control 1
Dawn of the Dead 1
Confidant Control 1
Breathstealer’s Crypt 1
1) Drain decks showed up in almost the exact same number (although making up a larger percentage of the metagame due to a lower overall turnout), and again put three Slaver decks and a Gifts deck into the Top 8. A remarkably consistent performance.
2) Workshop decks made their most respectable showing of the three tourneys, placing 10% of the Shop players into the Top 8. Taking into account that in all three tournaments Workshop decks counted for over 15% of the field, it’s overall performance was unimpressive.
3) Storm based Combo again makes a reasonably strong showing, with Intuition Tendrils claiming another Top 8 slot. Taking into account the splash it made on Day 1, opponents were likely better prepared for the deck. Despite this, Intuition Tendrils still managed to perform well.
4) Approximately the same percentage of aggro showed up to Day 2 as there had been on Day 1, and again it performed dismally. The only place this archetype seems to have found any measure of success was in Waterbury.
5) For some inexplicable reason, the number of Oath decks actually went up from Day 1 to Day 2… despite it’s poor showing the previous day. The slightly swelled numbers made little difference, as the archetype still couldn’t crack the Top 8. Between all three high profile tourneys, a single Oath deck managed to make the cut.
6) Fish has been on a serious decline, going from twenty-two Fish decks at Waterbury, to eleven decks on Day 1 Richmond, to a paltry six on Day 2. This decline is well warranted, taking into account that over the course of all three tourneys only a single Fish deck managed to make the cut to Top 8. If this archetype isn’t dead, then it’s definitely on life support.
7) Dragon appears to be entirely dead, which is unfortunate. I think if this deck arrived in greater numbers it could perform on par with the stronger decks in the format. Perhaps this deck is just too vulnerable for most people’s tastes, catching much of the "splash damage" of graveyard hate and creature removal spells intended for other targets.
8) Despite a Top 8 showing by Friggorid the day before, everybody seemed to abandon it on Day 2.
9) Psychatog decks were never able to recreate the success found at Waterbury, suggesting that this may have been a fluke. However, the relatively small showing by Psychatog decks at all three events is a bit too small of a sample size to make any such judgments.
I hope you’ve found this information helpful.