The Standard(T2) Metagame in December

Written by derflippi on January 07, 2010

Players always want to figure out a good way to win. One part of this is the deck choice, which usually depends on the metagame. The Standard(T2) metagame of magic-league is what I was able to analyze.
In my last analysis, I collected the data of our big tournaments  and with that, explained why a metagame changes in a specific way from day to day.
This time, the popularity of the Standard(T2) abates and  Extended (T1.x) is gaining interest and relevance to the competitive Magic: The Gathering scene.
On the feedback I got, I got asked to collect the data of the table from a wider basis. So I looked not only at the Trials and Masters, but also at every Standard(T2) tournament hosted on in December.

If you wish to look at the complete table, you can download it here. This is especially useful in case you want to compose an article about your own thoughts on the metagame, or want to re-evaluate my following points.

First, it will be interesting to see the percentages of the metagame

Sorted by number of played decks:
Jund 14,93
Mono Red 12,92
Gwb Aggro 7,39
Naya 4,67
Boros Bushwhacker 4,41
Es un Trappa 4,38
UW Control 4,1
Vampires 3,98
Milldeck 3,72
Bant 3,67
Mono White Mid 3,64
Grixis Control 3,5
Spread em 3,44
Owl 2,98
UWR Control 2,69
Eldrazi Green 2,46
MWC 2,38
Other Decks 14,74

We had a very diverse metagame in December. Players are trying new and different decks everyday. The 3 clearly most played decks are Jund, MonoRed and GWb Rock. Since jund and monored are not new to the scene, there is no need to talk about those lists any further.
The top 3 decks make 35% of the metagame. 50% of the decks are decks which I here consider as Tier2 decks: decks that are played here and there, win here and there and should be acknowledged by a competitive player.

A rather new deck is GWb Aggro:

GWb Rock by OilSlick
Main Deck Sideboard
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Arid Mesa
5 Forest
3 Plains
3 Swamp
2 Sunpetal Grove
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Marsh Flats
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Lotus Cobra
4 Knight of the Reliquary
3 Emeria Angel
1 Thornling
2 Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
3 Baneslayer Angel
4 Maelstrom Pulse
3 Path to Exile
2 Oblivion Ring
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
2 Behemoth Sledge
3 Vines of Vastwood
3 Great Sable Stag
3 Dauntless Escort
3 Duress
2 Identity Crisis
2 Deathmark
2 Disfigure

One issue people had with my November analysis was that it didn't say anything about strengths or weaknesses of a deck. It didn't provide the competitive player with any useful evaluation on a deck, it featured nothing but a description of which decks where played when. This time, I have some more comprehensive information. For example, how many tournaments where won by which deck. A tournament counts as "won" if a deck placed in the top eigth (12,5%) of the tournament. This way, I also account for the good finishes at trials and masters, making a 3-0 in a trial (or better) as worth as a mini (8-man) win.

sorted by won tournaments
Mono Red 16,76
Jund 14,01
Gwb Aggro 12,09
UW Control 6,32
Vampires 5,49
Boros Bushwhacker 4,67
Mono White Mid 4,4
Es un Trappa 4,4
Naya 3,57
MWC 3,3
Eldrazi Green 2,75
Grixis Control 2,75
Bant 2,47
Spread em 2,2
W Jund 1,92
Owl 1,92
UWR Control 1,65
Other Decks 9,33

If every deck were as good as the other, the rankings of the decks would be the same for played and won tournaments. But some decks are of course, without looking at specific matchups better than others. For example, Mono Red was played less than Jund (13%), yet won more tournaments than Jund (20%). The rank-improvement is outstanding for Naya in a negative way(played by 4,67%, won only 3,57%), and in a positive way for Vampires (played by 3,98%, won 5,49%) and UW Control (played by 4,1%, won 6,32%) So, there are few obvious notes: Naya is not a good choice, while UW Control and Vampires are very promising.

Here an example of UW Control:
UW Control by Ludz
Main Deck Sideboard
5 Island
7 Plains
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Sejiri Refuge
2 Kabira Crossroads
3 Baneslayer Angel
4 Knight of the White Orchid
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
2 Sphinx of Jwar Isle
4 Fieldmist Borderpost
4 Flashfreeze
4 Path to Exile
2 Martial Coup
4 Jace Beleren
3 Essence Scatter
2 Mind Spring
4 Day of Judgment
1 Mind Control
1 Mind Control
4 Celestial Purge
4 Luminarch Ascension
4 Negate
2 Telemin Performance

More recently, the quantities of clean UW control lowered and players tend to splash Black for Rise from the Grave and, more important, Esper Charm. In my table, I call this new idea "Esper Control".

So we know we can extract some information about decks by just looking at the percentages of how often a deck was played and how often it won.

Merging the WinPercentages with the Metagame table produces a conversion rate for each deck. If the conversion rate of a deck is exactly 1, then it won every 8th 8-man tournament it played in. A metagame with 8 different decks that each have a conversion rate of 1 consists of equally good decks.
A conversion rate of 0 means the deck has not won a tournament yet.

Here's the list of all relevant decks played on magic-league and their conversion rates:

Meta Convers Deck
7,39 1,64 Gwb Aggro
4,1 1,54 UW Control
2,38 1,39 MWC
3,98 1,38 Vampires
12,92 1,3 Mono Red
3,64 1,21 Mono White Mid
2,46 1,11 Eldrazi Green
4,41 1,06 Boros Bushwhacker
4,38 1 Es un Trappa
14,93 0,94 Jund
3,5 0,79 Grixis Control
4,67 0,76 Naya
3,67 0,67 Bant
2,98 0,65 Owl
3,44 0,64 Spread em
2,69 0,61 UWR Control
3,72 0,37 Milldeck

We still have to add some additional information: If a deck was played 5 times and won 5 times, it'd have a conversion rate of 9,5%. What I'm saying is the conversion rate should be looked at for comparison of decks for decks that are played roughly the same time. That way, it can be ensured that it's played by a wide range of players, with less and much skill, players with experience with the deck and some without experience playing the deck. Sedraxis Jund for example does not have a big-enough sample-size, yet a conversion rate of 3%. Since it wasn't played much, we cannot give a detailed statement about it.

So, the one about the decks that were played contains valuable information:

Deck Conversion
Gwb Aggro 1,64
UW Control 1,54
MWC 1,39
Vampires 1,38
Mono Red 1,3
Mono White Mid 1,21
Eldrazi Green 1,11
Boros Bushwhacker 1,06
MBC 1,01
Es un Trappa 1
W Jund 1
Jund 0,94
Grixis Control 0,79
Naya 0,76
Bant 0,67
Owl 0,65
Spread em 0,64
UWR Control 0,61
Milldeck 0,37

Jund has a quotient of less than 1. But that, in the case of Jund, does not imply it'd be a "bad" deck. Since Jund is played by more than 12,5% (1/8), there have to be a few Jund decks that don't win the tournament, since only one of them can do it. This way, the normed conversion rate of Jund is most likely above 1.
If you have an idea how to touch this Jund-problem, you're welcome to suggest a solution to me.

For decks that were played by roughly the same amount of players, however, we can tell which deck is better than another. For the decks played by more than 2% (that means a deck was played more than 70 times out of the 3500 collected decks), here's their conversion rates.

Deck Conversion
UW Control 1,54
MWC 1,39
Vampires 1,38
Mono White Mid 1,21
Eldrazi Green 1,11
Boros Bushwhacker 1,06
MBC 1,01
Es un Trappa 1
W Jund 1

Grixis Control 0,79
Naya 0,76
Bant 0,67
Owl 0,65
Spread em 0,64
UWR Control 0,61
Milldeck 0,37

Leaving GWb Aggro, Monored and Jund aside, we can now compare the decks. Grixis Control, Naya, Bant and Owl are not a good choice for the average player. The Milldeck is the worst of all decks in that table, by far. It won only 3,85% of the tournaments it played. A good deck wins 12,5% or more.

So what is the point of this article ?
Looking at Jund, Monored and GWb Aggro, the best deck is GWb Aggro. Looking at all other decks, UW Control is the best deck, followed by Mono White Control and Vampires. Jund is overrated as is Naya.
If you want a suggestion on what deck to play, I suggest you choose from MonoRed, GWb Aggro, UW Control and MWC.

Owl and Spread Em were meant as metagame choices, but can't survive in this diverse metagame.

Now, the Extended season is starting, so this will be my last Standard(T2) article for a while. For January, I will compose a similar overview about the Extended(T1.x) format. I'm always happy to work on my articles with feedback I get. Send an email to with any suggestions or questions on my analysis.

Until next time, play on, and become a better player.

Back to Magic: the Gathering Articles

by Lynolf on 2010-01-07 23:31 CET

I stopped reading when I saw the symbol "%". Also, the letter is very small, and the boards with the decks and their numbers of something aren't well organized.

I also suggest, since you mentioned that WU Control, Mono-Red Aggro, Mono-White Control and BGW Rock as being "very good to play at the moment", you make a board with the amount of wins they have against decks like Jund or Naya. I understand this gives out a lot of work, but it would help players to check for decks that can be useful for a particular metagame. For instance, if suddenly the meta becomes low on Jund decks and high on Control variants, we could, looking at the board, know which deck would be more suitable to play at the moment. Also because this is about the month of December and the metagame keeps changing, that would leave more room for people to think about the future in a metagame change, rather than what happened with it in the last month. :)

by kburts on 2010-01-07 23:59 CET

MWC!!!! gogogo

And It's A Trap is AWESOMENESSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by GoneBananas on 2010-01-08 00:04 CET

i invented mwc... sorta well not really but i owned at states with it

by kburts on 2010-01-08 00:18 CET

urm... andre-2008?

by derflippi on 2010-01-08 00:44 CET

At this point, i'd like to thank DARKING for his effort on the trial metagame breakdowns.

And for Gfo for fixing formatting last time :) Got lost somehow..wwweee..

by DaWorm on 2010-01-08 14:57 CET

Don't know why but this page is SMALL.

Using Firefox

Something is broken. Fix it ;) .

by mr_thompsom on 2010-01-08 16:43 CET

If u are using firefox just do Ctrl + "+" and it will get bigger... ¬¬

by Epic-Juzam37 on 2010-01-08 17:10 CET


by mchosa on 2010-01-08 17:36 CET

the commas are really annoying

by Araeliz on 2010-01-08 18:59 CET

Ctrl + + ftw.

by derflippi on 2010-01-08 22:05 CET

I have a small problem. How can I make it smaller again?

by DaWorm on 2010-01-09 07:54 CET

strg "+" -> bigger
strg "-" ->smaller

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