Return to Ravnica Metagame: Week 3

Another week down, and another week closer to to GP Nagoya. How was everybody’s Game Day? Did anybody top 8? I came very close both days with my new GWB Token Populate deck, going 2-2-1 on Saturday, and 3-2 on Sunday. My Token deck has finally hit its stride and I feel like very soon it will be be near the top of the metagame in Nagoya. Starting this weekend there are going to be GP Trials in Nagoya, and if you decide to go I think it would be well worth it. For starters, you get a good multiplier that adds to your planeswalker points. If you reach 400 seasonal points before the GP, you will be awarded a free bye round, and if you get 750, you get 2 byes. I’m currently sitting at 207 points, but after doing the PTQ Gatecrash qualifer this weekend, as well as the Nagoya GP Trial, I should be very close to 400 points. A month of GP Trials in November should put me very close to 750 if I can get top 8 in any of those. Come on out if you can or take part in a trial near where you live!

Moving on to the metagame, there is tons of information from last week since I went to multiple events.

Sunday, 10/21, Big Magic – WG aggro (lost 1-2), Esper control, WGB tokens, mono black aggro, UWR control, Bant aggro (lost 0-2. Just too damn strong. Couldn’t get enough power on the board to stop Geist and Smiter), GW Beatdown, BW tokens (won 2-0), 5 color control (lost 0-2), GW midrange, BR control (won 2-1)

The turn out at Big Magic this Sunday wasn’t as big as it usually was since many people were over at Amenity Dream doing the GP Taipei trial. Both places had about 26 people participating. I only managed 2 wins this day, but this was a much better result than 2 weeks ago when I didn’t win a single game. My deck won against a BW Token deck, and a BR Control deck. While I wasn’t running my current WGB Token build, it was still really strong against control. I needed a bit of mana fixing, and that’s the reason why I lost against the WG aggro deck.

Bant aggro was extremely powerful and I felt helpless against it. I kept a bad hand and was overwhelmed by Stranglroot Geist, Loxodon Smiter, and in the games where I could force a longer game, I didn’t have enough finishers to deal with his cards like Angel of Serenity and Armada Wurm. My games went pretty long so I didn’t have a chance to get a good read on the other decks being played, but it did seem like a lot of players were migrating towards aggro and midrange decks this weekend. I also forgot to find out who the winner was because I was anxious to check out the GP trial happening just down the road.

Sunday, October 21st, GP Taiwan trial – TOP 8 : UWR beat control, WGB aggro, Bant control, UW human Beatdown, GW aggro, JUND  zombies, JUND control, WGB reanimator

The strongest players in Nagoya were at the GP Trial, and these results are more important than the other ones I thin. The winner was a UW human beatdown that has become popular as of late. It’s extremely aggressive, using cards like War Falcon, Champion of Parish, Knight of Glory, Silverblade Paladin, and Sublime Angel. It is a great deck in the current metagame that plays control or midrange because there is a VERY good chance that you can kill them on turn 4. If you’re playing first, especially against a deck like UW control that would use Supreme Verdict, you can take out the player before they can do a single thing. I haven’t seen all of the deck, but I guess the blue is in there for cards like Azorius Charm, which are pretty useful if you need to take out their lone flyer so a Silverblade Paladin soulbounded Sublime Angel can deal lethal on turn 5. 

At this point it was hard to gauge the metagame because there are a lot of types represented, but I’m going to stick by my view that aggro/beatdown/midrange decks are the most popular.

Saturday, Amenity Dream, 10/27RTR Gameday  – 4 color control (won 2-0) WG token aggro x2, JUND control (lost 1-2. Kept a bad hand and didn’t side in for Curse of Deaths hold), Bant control (tied 1-1-1), Rakdos aggro, UW human Beatdown (lost 0-2) Jund zombies, Bant control x2, GW aggro x2, grixis control (won 2-1)

Top 8: GW aggro, JUND control, UWR midrange, UWR aggro, Azorius humans (WINNER), GWB reanimator, GWb aggro (2nd), GWB reanimator

I made some drastic adjustments to my GWB token deck, adding in late game cards like Angel of Serenity, card draw with Garruk, Primal Hunter, and I also threw in some Keyrunes to give me a mana boost and some beat. There is a great balance between tokens and regular cards, and it can be very versatile when it needs to be. But I won’t talk about it too much here. I’ll post my new list in a separate post in the near future so you can take a look at it and give me your feedback on it.

I beat a Grixis Control deck and a 4 color control deck this day, and it definitely proved my point in my article that tokens are great against control decks. My deck can take on both beatdown and control roles, which makes it great against the metagame. Cards like Call of the Conclave on turn 2 absolutely destroyed these decks, and with minimal presence you can put a lot of pressure on your opponent, forcing them to use up their removal very quickly. Once it’s gone, you can flash back your Lingering Souls, or bust out the Thragtusks and beat your opponent down. I should have also beat the Bant control player, but I made a stupid mistake of tapping out, leaving my tokens open to a Supreme Verdict when I had a Rootborn Defense in my hand to save them and end the game the next turn.

My two losses came at the hands of the top players in the prefecture. One was running Jund control (Curse of Death’s Hold is nasty! If you’re playing a beatdown deck, be sure you can take out this enchantment, because it can shut you down right when you’re about to end the match), and the other was using Azorius Humans. The UW Human player eventually ended up winning the event of 25 people, and it was very tough to play against. a Turn 2 Thalia made my life a living hell since I have a lot of token effects that cost 2-3 mana. If I’m on the draw, I’m doomed. Cards like Druid’s Deliverance are great at stalling these decks until you can stablize, but if you can’t cast them cause of Thalia you’re F’ed in the A.

Reanimator has become popular as of late as well, but aggro bared it’s fangs again this weekend. The metagame game is definitely shifting away from control again. I finished 2-2-1, but I should have been 3-2!
Sunday, 10/28 – Game Day 2

  • (at Amenity Dream) – Jund Zombies, BR zombies, Grixis  control, UW humans, Jund aggro, GW aggro, Esper control

I just popped in to see my friend for a bit before heading to another place, but I did see some new players from the day before playing with these decks. There were only 10 players at this event. I think most were at Big Magic.

  • At Hobby Station Mei Eki  – GWB frites (lost 1-2), GR aggro (won 2-0. Druid’s Deliverance ROCKS against fast decks!), UWR beatdown (lost 1-2), BR zombies, mono black discard control (rogue) (won 2-0.), Bant control (won 2-1) Azorius human Beatdown, JUND zombies

TOP 8: UWR midrange x2, GWB frites x2, JUND zombies x2, GW aggro x2

This event was a just like the previous day’s event, with 25 participants. Considering the horrible weather we had that day, I was pretty impressed by the turnout. There were some really good players there as well, so when I went 3-2 this day I was pretty happy with myself, and my deck. I was also VERY close to going 4-1 and reaching the top 8, but missed out in my 4th match in game 3 against UWR midrange when my opponent flashed in two Restoration Angels, blinked his Thundermaw Hellkite to kill my 2/2 Spirits (due to Intangible Virtue), played a Hellkite the next turn and attacked for 16 to bring my down to 2 life, then used Jace’s -2 ability to draw a Searing Spear and kill me. The tragic thing is that I could have won the game if I had flashedback my Lingering souls since I had a Trostani in play. It would have brought me to 22 life, and then I could have cast my Angel of Serenity next turn to gain life and lock him down. For anybody playing against Midrange, keep your life high! It can end the game incredibly quick after setting up it’s board presence.

GWB Frites was my only other loss that day. Sigarda and Angel of Serenity were just too hard to power through with my deck. GWB Frites stablizes very well with Thragtusks and Angels, so I recommend taking out their graveyard or getting rid of their Angels to stay in the game. You simply won’t win a late game against any frites deck unless you can remove their graveyard while keeping their threats off the board. If you can’t do that, then you better beat them down FAST. Human decks, Zombies, and GW Aggro should do well if they can get their damage in fast enough and the frites player doesn’t draw a Thragtusk.

I can’t say I was surprised that I beat Bant control and Mono black discard control. Ever since I added in 3 Call of the Conclave, my deck has absolutely obliterated control decks in the early game. A 3/3 Centaur (4/4 with Intangible Virtue) on turn 2 is just too powerful. It also does well against decks like Zombies and GW Aggro since it can block any other 2 drop creature out there. I was kind of surprised I beat a GR aggro deck though. They were playing Strangleroot Geists and Hellriders, and I did lose game one due to that speed, but after siding in 3 Druid’s Deliverance, I never looked back. All I had to do was drop a 3/3 centaur token, then populate with Deliverance whenever he attacked me early on. By the 5th turn I could start dropping Thragtusks and after that I could cast Angel of Serenity to take out any threats he had. Selesnya Charm was also amazing against Wolfir Silverheart.

Card Brunch Kanayama, Monday, 10/29 – BR zombies, mono red aggro, GWB frites x2, Naya aggro, BG aggro, BG zombies, Jund control (winner!), WGRB frites, UWR control, GWB Seance, Esper beatdown

I stopped by after work to play a casual game and hand out with a friend, but also managed to see what people were playing. Jund control (with Olivia Voldaren, Thragtusk, and a lot of removal) won the event. Frites seems to have gained more fans lately, and aggro/beatdown decks seem to have gained even more power from the week before. If you plan on playing in any events in the following weeks, I think you’ll see a lot of the top players using:

  • GWB frites
  • UWR Midrange
  • Jund Control
  • GW Aggro

I think there might be some UW Humans thrown in there as well, but I have a feeling it won’t be long before somebody finds something better. I think JUND zombies will get big in the near future as well. 

Wrap Up

As I said up above, I definitely think that aggro decks have crawled their way back to the top of the metagame on the shoulders of GW, UWR beatdown, zombies, and Humans, and that they’ll be at the top of the metagame for the next few weeks. As far as the most popular cards in the format right now, they are:

  1. Thragtusk
  2. Angel of Serenity
  3. Geist of Saint Traft
  4. Thundermaw Hellkite
  5. Restoration Angel
  6. Olivia Voldaren
  7. Supreme Verdict

Thragtusk can be found in pretty every green deck, aggro and control alike. If you see green, you can be sure it’s in there. The Angel is also a mainstay of midrange decks like Bant aggro and Frites, but doesn’t show up too much in UWR midrange decks. Traft has shown up a lot lately in faster UWR Beatdown decks, as well as bant aggro, and even in an Esper beatdown deck I saw the other day. Thundermaw is mainly in UWR midrange, the Restoration Angel isn’t as popular as it once was but it shows up from time to time, and Olivia Warren is the finisher in decks like Jund and Grixis control.

This will probably be the last metagame report for two weeks since next weekend is the Gatecrash Pro Tour Qualifier, and I won’t be able to attending Friday Night Magic either. However, I will have another one next weekend after the first 3 Nagoya GP Trials (+ FNM). Just a reminder that if you want to do the PTQ make a reservation at Big Magic in Nagoya! Otherwise you can show up, but you aren’t guaranteed a spot. I don’t know how many people will be showing up for the trials, but on Sunday you should be able to find a spot easier than the PTQs.

They are both at Higashi Betsuin Kaikan, which is located across from exit 4 at Higashi Betsuin Station on the purple Meijo line. The tall Meitetsu TV building should be across the street, and just behind it down the road is the hall. Make sure you show up around 9am!