Gruul Adventures Leads November Zendikar Rising League Weekend Metagame

Check out the metagame breakdown for the second League Weekend of the 2020-2021 season.

The Zendikar Rising Standard decklists are in for the second 2020-2021 League Weekend and Gruul Adventures is the most played deck by a considerable margin.

The first League Weekend saw the majority of the MPL and Rivals League players favor Azorius Blink (Yorion) or Dimir Rogues, but this month two other decks take the top spots. More than 45% of the field is on Gruul Adventures while 18% sided with Esper Doom Foretold (Yorion). Azorius Blink almost completely fell out of contention and Dimir Rogues dropped to the third and fourth most played decks when factoring in lists with and without Lurrus of the Dream-Den.

ArchetypeTotal Copies
Gruul Adventures33
Esper Doom Foretold (Yorion)13
Dimir Rogues (Lurrus)5
Dimir Rogues4
Mono-Green Food4
Selesnya Blink3
Mardu Doom Foretold (Yorion)3
Jeskai Control1
Izzet Control 1
Azorius Blink (Yorion)1
Orzhov Doom Foretold (Yorion)1
Esper Doom Foretold1
Four-Color Cycling (Lurrus)1
Temur Ramp1

It’s no surprise to see Gruul Adventures rise in popularity after its strong performance in the first League Weekend, including the leader, Rei Sato, going 11-1 with the deck. Many pros have called Gruul Adventures the deck to beat in the format, with some players opting for a different deck just to avoid playing mirror matches.

Gruul Adventures continues to do well by combining the engine of Edgewall Innkeeper with adventure creatures like Bonecrusher Giant and Lovestruck Beast while also getting to play two incredibly powerful artifacts, Embercleave and The Great Henge. The deck can lean into its aggressive draws with solid curves that kill early with Embercleave or play a midrange game where it out-values the opponent thanks to The Great Henge and Edgewall Innkeeper. It also gets to play eight DFCs in Kazandu Mammoth and Shatterskull Smashing to fix early draws or avoid flooding late in the game. Players can build the deck with more interaction in mind like Sato’s version this week or go all-in on its own gameplan and include more adventure creatures in the form of Rimrock Knight like Grzegorz Kowalski.

Esper Doom Foretold (Yorion) is the next most popular deck and replaces the previous build of Azorius Blink as the go-to Yorion, Sky Nomad deck. A controlling deck packing plenty of spot removal and permanents that create value, Esper Doom Foretold also has a prison style gameplan that puts the opponent in a pinch of fighting Doom Foretold without over-extending into mass removal spells like Shatter the Sky and Extinction Event. Once in the mid-game, Yorion can come down and recoup cards and life while creating a considerable battlefield. Elspeth Conquers Death and Elspeth’s Nightmare team up to clear threats, disrupt the opponent, and recur threats while keeping the opponent from attempting the same.

The 80-card deck also leans into Treacherous Blessing for more card advantage and threats like Dream Trawler and Archon of Sun’s Grace, while having a game-ender in Emeria’s Call. Esper Doom Foretold can also be built as a 60-card deck, keeping the deck slim with all four Yorions in the maindeck and leaning on Dance of the Manse to wrap up games quickly.

Dimir Rogues is up next with five players opting for builds with Lurrus as the companion and four players ignoring the companion to play cards like Shark Typhoon or Zareth San, the Trickster. The Rogues deck can operate as a tempo or control deck depending on its draw and place in the matchup, giving the pilot plenty of decisions and spots to steer the trajectory of the game. It was a strong choice to battle the Yorion decks in the first League Weekend and was the deck with the biggest target at the time. How will the deck perform in a week where it isn’t considered the biggest threat?

Mono-Green Food is the other deck with four copies and is an interesting choice after no players registered it in the first League Weekend. Unlike Mono-Green Aggro, Food is a midrange deck looking to leverage food makers like Gilded Goose, Wicked Wolf, and Witch’s Oven to enable Feasting Troll King and Trail of Crumbs. Trail of Crumbs can be a tough engine to combat as the game goes late and Feasting Troll King can end games quickly if an opponent doesn’t have the correct answer at the ready. Wicked Wolf and Kogla, the Titan Ape can fight down opposing creatures while also allowing The Great Henge to enter the battlefield early to set up another engine.

Selesnya Blink and Mardu Doom Foretold (Yorion) both clock in with three pilots each, showing two very different ways to play with Yorion. Jacob Wilson and Matt Nass are back on Selesnya Blink after picking up eight wins in the first League Weekend with the deck and will be joined by Corey Burkhart this week. A 60-card deck with Yorions in the maindeck, Selesnya Blink is a removal-heavy midrange deck that plays fifteen cards that kill creatures and can double up on the effect with the help of Yorion or Charming Prince. It can also use Trail of Crumbs to grind in longer games while setting up haymakers like Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate or Emeria’s Call.

Mardu Doom Foretold (Yorion) is very close to Orzhov Doom Foretold, dipping into red for Omen of the Forge. Lithoform Blight functions as a mana-fixer and a non-blue Omen of the Sea.

The remaining decks are represented by a single pilot, including unique builds of Izzet Control, Jeskai Control, Temur Ramp, Four-Color Cycling (Lurrus), Orzhov Doom Foretold (Yorion), Esper Doom Foretold, and Azorius Blink (Yorion). The only player sticking with their deck from the last League Weekend in this group is Simon Goertzen on the Cycling deck, after notching seven wins in the first set of matches.

The two traditional control decks are being played by Andrew Cuneo on Izzet and Shota Yasooka on Jeskai. Cuneo is loaded up on counterspells and removal, while making room for three copies of Midnight Clock and a single copy of Kiora Bests the Sea God. Yasooka’s deck ignores the previous builds of Jeskai that tried to use Transmogrify or Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast to present early Dream Trawlers, and is focused more on managing the battlefield and using Ox of Agonas to refuel.

Lastly, Shintaro Ishimura is on Temur Ramp this time after giving a Rakdos Control deck a shot previously, sticking to his strategy of putting Ugin, the Spirit Dragon on the battlefield early and often. Along with Cultivate, Ishimura is using Beanstalk Giant’s Fertile Footsteps and Migration Path as his main ramp spells, ditching Lotus Cobra altogether. Ishimura has Fire Prophecy as his removal spell of choice and has a single copy of Glimpse of Freedom as additional card drawing.

The second League Weekend kicks off at 11 am ET/8 am PT tomorrow. MPL and Rivals players will be playing matches on Saturday and Sunday with an official stream on twitch.tv/Magic while individual members of the leagues will also be streaming their perspectives.

View all 72 decklists for the November Zendikar Rising League Weekend.