Metagame:Exalted Deeds on Pioneer, Ragavan in Legacy & Brainstorm Suspended

Magic: the Gathering

Competitive

Metagame:Exalted Deeds on Pioneer, Ragavan in Legacy & Brainstorm Suspended

In this week's Metagame, we see the popularization of The Book of Exalted Deeds in Pioneer, a rise of Ragavan in Legacy, and debate the suspending of Brainstorm in Historic!

By Romeu, 07/23/21, translated by Romeu, with help from our readers

Versions:

We're back with another weekly Metagame analysis, where we see which decks stood out in tournaments this past weekend and what movement each format has throughout this week and what we can expect from upcoming tournaments and the future of each format! Without further ado, let's get straight to this weekend's results!

Standard

Saturday's Standard Challenge finished with the following Top 32: 8 Rakdos Sacrifice 7 Sultai Ultimatum 5 Mono-Green Midrange 2 Mono-White Aggro 2 Jeskai Cycling 2 Mono-Black Devotion

Ad

2 Temur Lukka 1 Dimir Control 1 Azorius Smith 1 Izzet Dragons 1 Naya Adventures 1 Mono-Red Aggro And the following Top 8: 3 Mono-Green Midrange 1 Sultai Ultimatum 1 Mono-White Aggro 1 Dimir Control 1 Rakdos Sacrifice 1 Temur Lukka On Sunday, Standard Challenge had the following Top 32: 13 Sultai Ultimatum 5 Jeskai Cycling 3 Temur Lukka 3 Mono-Green Midrange 1 Azorius Smith 1 Mono-Black Devotion 1 Naya Adventures 1 Rakdos Sacrifice 1 Mono-Red Aggro 1 Mono-White Aggro 1 Izzet Dragons 1 Naya Winota And finished with the following Top 8: 5 Sultai Ultimatum 1 Mono-Green Midrange 1 Azorius Smith 1 Jeskai Cycling
Loading icon
At this point, it's clear that absolutely nothing can take Sultai Ultimatum off the top of the format. The deck, which is commonly put in check by the aggressive archetypes that tries to go under, hardly needed any additions from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms to stay on top of the Metagame because it has all its combination of efficient Control elements and the best endgame of the format with Emergent Ultimatum, which will commonly create situations in the game that become relentless for any opponent to overcome because there are few situations that a resolved Ultimatum cannot reverse. The rise of the Sultai Ultimatum is also due to the way the rest of the Metagame has moved with the release of the new set
Loading icon
Decks that would commonly play “under” Sultai Ultimatum are an easy prey for Mono-Green Midrange, simply because the archetype's creatures are bigger and its late-game, with Ranger Class, is better than that of many other decks, without needing to stretch as far into the manabase as the Adventures decks do, which adds extra consistency to the archetype.
Loading icon
However, the arrival of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms continues to bring interesting decks, and the best list of this week was Azorius Smith, who made Top 4 in Sunday's Challenge. The list essentially functions as a Standard version of the Ensoul decks we often see on Pioneer, betting on The Blackstaff of Waterdeep to turn its evasive creatures into threats, while All That Glitters commonly serves as its Embercleave, winning the game in just one or two turns after entering the battlefield. The deck has some interesting additions: Ingenious Smith allows the deck to have a body that grows with the artifacts you play, while having an immediate impact that will often replace itself even when the creature is removed. Oswald Fiddlebender allows the deck to sacrifice artifacts to search for higher cost cards, which could mean tutoring a Glass Casket by sacrificing a mana value 1 creature, or a The Blackstaff of Waterdeep by sacrificing your Stonecoil Serpent to play it again with Lurrus of the Dream-Den. Finally, the deck uses Treasure Vault as another card that can be turned into a creature with The Blackstaff of Waterdeep and can generate a significant amount of mana advantage in the Late-Game when sacrificed to create tokens of Treasure. I don't know how far this archetype can succeed in Metagame when opponents wait for it, but definitely this deck is Standard's big highlight for this week!

Standard 2022

We didn't have large Standard 2022 tournaments this weekend to do a comprehensive Metagame analysis of the format.

Historic

Pizza Box's 1K event had a total of 81 players, and its Top 32 was composed of: 3 Izzet Phoenix 3 Dimir Rogues 2 Dimir Control 2 Azorius Auras 2 Mono-Black Aggro 2 Temur Creativity 2 Boros Feather

Ad

2 Selesnya Company 2 Jeskai Control 1 Simic Ramp 1 Izzet Creativity 1 Rakdos Arcanist 1 Simic Stompy 1 Naya Deeds 1 Mono-Black Vampires 1 Orzhov Auras 1 Mono-White Aggro 1 Orzhov Aggro 1 Jund Food 1 Mono-Blue Tempo 1 Mono-Green Aggro And the event finished with the following Top 8: 3 Izzet Phoenix 1 Dimir Control 1 Simic Ramp 1 Boros Feather 1 Izzet Creativity 1 Rakdos Arcanist Insight E-Sports' Historic Open had 69 players and the following Top 32: 11 Izzet Phoenix 4 Azorius Auras 4 Jund Food 3 Dimir Control 3 Jeskai Control 2 Dragonstorm 1 Temur Creativity 1 Izzet Creativity 1 Bant Ramp 1 Bant Angels And its Top 8 was: 4 Izzet Phoenix 2 Jeskai Control 1 Dimir Control 1 Azorius Auras Since nothing new has happened to Historic this week, let's give some thought to the Brainstorm ban announced this Wednesday:
Loading icon
For starters, let's get to the numbers: Izzet Phoenix is ​​the main deck of the format today and makes up about 16.5% of the Metagame today, being considered the best deck of the format. Other top decks using Brainstorm are Jeskai Control with 8.8%, Indomitable Creativity decks with 4.5%, Dimir Control with 3.4% and an occasional resurgence of the Bant Ramp with 2.4%, and other lists with a share in the Metagame less than 1% and which, therefore, will not be considered. Adding these numbers, about 35% of the Historic Metagame uses Brainstorm, which can go up to 38% if we consider the smaller scale decks and probably going up to 40% if we consider decks that do not get good results, but use the card often. This essentially means that despite the diversity of decks and the fact that we see other archetypes of other colors getting results, Historic is a format predominated by blue decks, where the base of Brainstorm + Any pile of good blue cards that you want + Narset, Parter of the Veils to deal with the opponents' Brainstorm is often the best option compared to other engines in the game and offers much more consistency to the blue archetypes. Since the Strixhaven Championship, where virtually every Top 8 deck of the event used at least 3 copies of the card, it was clear that Brainstorm could eventually dominate the Metagame and dominate the format, even though it wasn't specifically a card that creates an oppressive strategy, and which merely facilitated the efficiency of the format's Blue-Based decks. With the suspension of Brainstorm, I believe it will be a matter of time before the Faithless Looting decks appear in greater numbers, as in Modern, this card has been constantly compared to the now suspended Brainstorm by enabling and facilitating various strategies. In general, I still believe that adding the Mystical Archives to Historic was an exciting decision, but without any planning and whose implementation turned out worse than expected, and it won't surprise me if we see other cards in the set being suspended or banned later this year.

Pioneer

Saturday's Pioneer Challenge finished with the following Top 32: 4 Rakdos Pyromancer 4 Boros Burn 3 Enigmatic Fires 3 Selesnya Angels 3 Gruul Legends 2 Dimir Control 2 Mono-Black Aggro 2 Bant Spirits 1 Niv-to-Light 1 Izzet Phoenix 1 Mono-Red Aggro 1 Lotus Combo 1 Four-Color Ascendancy 1 Boros Heroic 1 Izzet Aggro 1 Esper Yorion 1 Azorius Yorion And the Top 8: 2 Enigmatic Fires 1 Niv-to-Light 1 Dimir Control 1 Selesnya Angels 1 Gruul Legends 1 Mono-Black Aggro 1 Four-Color Ascendancy On Sunday, the Challenge had the following decks: 6 Niv-to-Light 3 Enigmatic Fires 3 Selesnya Angels 2 Rakdos Pyromancer

Ad

2 Mono-Black Aggro 2 Bant Spirits 2 Izzet Phoenix 2 Boros Burn 1 Dimir Control 1 Mono-Red Aggro 1 Lotus Combo 1 Mono-White Devotion 1 Mono-Green Walkers 1 Azorius Yorion 1 Grixis Arcanist 1 Izzet Ensoul And its Top 8 was: 1 Rakdos Pyromancer 1 Mono-White Devotion 1 Dimir Control 1 Mono-Black Aggro 1 Gruul Legends 1 Mono-Green Walkers 1 Niv-to-Light 1 Enigmatic Fires The first thing to mention is that, apparently, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms had a lot more impact on Pioneer than it initially seemed, with The Book of Exalted Deeds appearing in more archetypes while The Bard Class is leading Gruul Legends to be a potential new competitor in the format's Metagame!
Loading icon
Starting with the decks with The Book of Exalted Deeds combo, which now not only appears in Selesnya Angels, but also found space in a list of Azorius Yorion and in a deck that was missing since the banning of [[Walking Ballista] ]: The Mono-White Devotion. Including the combo in a list that tries to abuse Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx seems almost obvious when the card costs three white mana to cast and then adds three devotion to the deck all by itself. In addition, the entire base of the deck that could be reused from the lists when the archetype followed an Aggro-Combo line with Heliod, Sun-Crowned and Walking Ballista was kept, and the cards that became useless were replaced by better options like Skyclave Apparition. The list has a sub-theme of legendary spells, reinforced by using Thalia's Lancers and Search for Glory to search for the combo pieces, while also searching for some winconditions such as Lyra Dawnbringer , Gisela, the Broken Blade, Elspeth, Sun's Champion or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, giving the deck good consistency and a great way to take advantage of the 80 cards. Finally, the list has a total of eight cards that combo The Book of Exalted Deeds, using a full playset of Mutavault and Faceless Haven to close it when it's most convenient.
Loading icon
I underestimated Bard Class in my Pioneer review and clearly went very wrong in doing so. The enchantment's ability to cast creatures for little or no cost in a deck built around legendary creatures definitely pays off your mana investment. In this list, we can see the enchantment being used in all its splendor with Mox Amber and a pack of powerful creatures and planeswalkers that have a big impact on the board when they enter the battlefield or a lot of value in the long run throughout the game, with great emphasis on Birgi, God of Storytelling, Xenagos the Reveler and Domri, Chaos Bringer, which can make the deck explode even more when used with the new enchantment of Forgotten Realms. Gruul Legends has appeared to be a potential competitor for Pioneer's future, and it's a deck you'll need to look forward to and respect in the coming weeks!

Modern

Saturday's Modern Challenge had the following Top 32: 4 Hammer Time 3 Izzet Blitz 3 Rakdos Lurrus 3 Four-Color Turns 2 Izzet Tempo 2 Boros Taxes 1 Grixis Tempo 1 Jund Shadow 1 Naya Scapeshift 1 Orzhov Stoneblade 1 Urza’s Kitchen 1 Eldrazi Tron 1 Heliod Company 1 Izzet Delver 1 Living End 1 Goblins 1 Rakdos Kitchen 1 Four-Color Scapeshift 1 Four-Color Copycat 1 Four-Color Cascade And the Top 8 decks were: 2 Rakdos Lurrus 1 Temur Cascade 1 Izzet Tempo 1 Heliod Company 1 Rakdos Kitchen 1 Four-Color Scapeshift On Sunday, the event had the following Top 32: 5 Hammer Time 4 Izzet Tempo 2 Temur Cascade 2 Living End 2 Humans 2 Four-Color Turns

Ad

2 Four-Color Creativity 1 Jund Company 1 Dimir Mill 1 Heliod Company 1 Elementals 1 Eldrazi Tron 1 Four-Color Shadow 1 Grixis Shadow 1 Amulet Titan 1 Rakdos Lurrus 1 Enchantress 1 Izzet Blitz 1 Jeskai Control 1 Jund 1 Boros Blitz And the Top 8: 1 Jeskai Control 1 Temur Cascade 1 Jund 1 Dimir Mill 1 Izzet Tempo 1 Living End 1 Heliod Company 1 Boros Prowess This week's Modern seemed to have the most established deck presence based on what we've been seeing in the last few weeks in the format: Hammer Time had the most decks, followed by Izzet Tempo and several other archetypes tying between the third and fourth most present decks of the events From this, we can conclude that, ironically, a deck with Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and a deck with Urza’s Saga are at the top of the format today and will possibly establish themselves that way for some time. This is further proof of the impact Modern Horizons II has had on the format, and how this set has been hugely successful in directly and significantly impacting the formats it was designed to affect. It's just not possible to play Modern without considering if some Modern Horizons II card isn't better than some option you currently use on your list.
Loading icon
Look at this Jund list for example. It has everything that any 2016 Jund player would find quite viable for the archetype: Tarmogoyf, Liliana of the Veil, Bloodbraid Elf, Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek, Lightning Bolt, Kolaghan's Command, it's all in the deck. However, some cards like Dark Confidant look like obsolete options when compared to Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer or Dauthi Voidwalker while cards like Scavenging Ooze or Kalitas, Traitor of Geth have simply been replaced by much better mana and efficiency options like Wrenn and Six, Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger or Grist, the Hunger Tide. The deck also opts for some efficient cards on the Sideboard, such as Endurance as a good creature against graveyard decks while also serving as a good threat against Tempo decks, and Void Mirror as an answer to a one of the worst matches in the entire history of Jund, Tron. This list is further proof that no matter what your deck is and what year you played Modern, your deck probably needs Modern Horizons II cards to stay relevant in the current Metagame.
Loading icon
On the other hand, what happens when you combine all the best cards in the set into a single archetype? That's essentially what this Rakdos Food list tries to find out. The combination of Urza's Saga, The Underworld Cookbook, Ovalchase Daredevil and Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar is already very well known in the format and made room for several variants, among the Golgari versions with Feasting Troll-King, the Dimir or Grixis versions with Urza, Lord High Artificer and now the Rakdos version which basically works as a huge Goodstuff of the best MH2 cards. In addition to the game plan involving the four-card combination already well known in the format, this variant uses Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer as a powerful threat that interacts very well with the Construct tokens created by Urza's Saga, while Dragon's Rage Channeler doesn't have much trouble hitting Delirium on this list while its Surveil ability makes it easier to throw cards like Ovalchase Daredevil and Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger to the Graveyard, or to cast Kroxa quickly. These two cards allow the deck to have another angle of attack without necessarily giving up the interactions that make The Underworld Cookbook decks what they are, and also make the archetype less susceptible to hate.

Ad

This list still seems to need some refinement, but it presents itself as one more new option in Modern's competitive scenario.

Pauper

Saturday's Pauper Challenge had the following Top 32: 12 Affinity 6 Rakdos Storm 6 Burn 2 Dimir Faeries 2 Elves 1 Izzet Faeries 1 Mono-Blue Delver 1 Dimir Delver 1 Orzhov Pestilence 1 Abzan Sisters And its Top 8 was: 4 Affinity 2 Storm 1 Abzan Sisters 1 Burn On Sunday, Pauper Challenge finished with the following Top 32: 8 Affinity 5 Rakdos Storm 5 Dimir Faeries 3 Mono-Blue Delver 2 Dimir Delver 2 Elves 1 Tron 1 Burn 1 Izzet Faeries 1 Dimir Serpentine 1 Jeskai Ephemerate 1 Mono-Black Control 1 Mono-White Soul Sisters And the Event finished with the Top 8: 3 Storm 1 Affinity 1 Dimir Faeries 1 Tron 1 Mono-Blue Delver Another week with no changes on Pauper. The format is still dominated by Affinity and Storm, and we didn't even get a mention of Pauper in Wednesday's announcement. If you want to understand a little better what's going on with the format and why immediate action needs to be taken on it, you can check it out here.
Loading icon
That said, this week we saw an increase in Burn's presence in Challenges, as the deck features a clean and practical game plan for trying to deal with the predominant decks: try to beat them before they beat you.
Loading icon
Another thing that stood out this week is the return of Mono-Blue Delver, which, with its cleaner manabase and potentially more agile game plan than Dimir decks, manages to prey on the windows of opportunity offered by Affinity while it has an incredibly good matchup against Storm. The most interesting part of this list is the inclusion of a Spell Pierce playset in the Maindeck, to interact against the main spells of these archetypes in the initial turns.
Loading icon
The big news of the week for Pauper was the updated version of the Abzan Sisters, which bets on using Celestial Unicorn and Blood Researcher to quickly win non-interactive matches, while accumulating card advantage with Winding Way and Lead the Stampede. I made a deck tech from this list, and you can check it out here. Unfortunately, I have nothing more to say about Pauper today. I'm disappointed with the Banned and Restricted announcement, I'm disappointed that there wasn't even a mention of the current state of the format, and unfortunately in this situation I don't have anything productive to add.

Legacy

Saturday's Legacy Challenge had these decks in the Top 32: 5 Izzet Delver 4 Jeskai Tempo 4 Snow Miracles 2 Aluren 2 Reanimator 1 Cheerios 1 Elves 1 Sneak and Show 1 Selesnya Depths 1 Esper Vial 1 Doomsday 1 Sultai Delver 1 Karn Echoes 1 Omni-Tell 1 Cloudpost 1 All Spells 1 Colorless Stompy 1 Grixis Painterstill 1 HollowVine 1 Dimir Delver And the event finished with the following Top 8: 2 Izzet Delver 2 Jeskai Tempo 1 Miracles 1 Cheerios 1 Elves 1 Sneak and Show On Sunday, the Legacy Challenge's Top 32 was: 9 Izzet Delver 3 Miracles 3 Jeskai Tempo 2 Death and Taxes 2 Doomsday 2 Lands 2 Izzet Painter 2 Dimir Delver 1 The Epic Storm 1 Selesnya Depths 1 Reanimator 1 Maverick 1 Slivers 1 Cloudpost 1 Temur Cascade And the Top 8 was composed of: 3 Izzet Delver 2 Miracles 1 Jeskai Tempo 1 The Epic Storm 1 Selesnya Depths This weekend at the Legacy showcased Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer's potential in all its glory, with the card appearing in 4 of the top 8 decks on both days and being the most present creature in the Top 32 of both events.

Ad

Although these are numbers to consider and there are a significant number of players who are dissatisfied with the albino monkey and with Urza's Saga, it is important to closely monitor this movement in the format to assess whether this predominance will be repeated in the next few weeks or whether the archetypes that keep the format's Tempo decks in check will be able to do their job, and for how long.
Loading icon
As we can see again this week, Jeskai Tempo continues to grow in the Metagame and has already proven itself as one of the main archetypes of the post-Modern Horizons II format. Legacy's new “good card tribal” has delivered increasingly significant results, with good responses to pretty much all the format's strategies today and taking advantage of most of the best cards that MH2 has brought to the format. This deck is now the second most present deck in the Legacy Metagame, with 5.6%, and second only to Izzet Delver, with 9.5%. Also, to add an interesting observation is that, today, the decks that use Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer together make up about 19% of the Legacy Metagame, and this is a number we should consider in the coming weeks, as the card is second only to Endurance at 23%.
Loading icon
That said, the big news for the Legacy this week was the appearance of Dimir Delver in the Top 32 of both days, a variant of Delver that I hadn't particularly seen in the format before. Commonly, Legacy's Dimir Tempo decks are lists of Death's Shadow that run a Delver base, including Delver of Secrets itself, but this list leaves behind the idea of ​​using a suicidal gameplan, which is bad against Izzet Delver, in favor of a strategy that bets on discard spells, disruptions and threats with Delve as Murktide Regent and Ethereal Forager to win the game. Including black on the list also allows you to use Darkblast as a recurring answer to various threats such as Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Ice-Fang] Coatl, among others. While Hymn to Tourach still presents itself in the format as a great solution against Combo decks, especially those that can't resort to Veil of Summer.

Conclusion

That was my review of the Metagame this week It's fascinating to see Adventures in the Forgotten Realms bring new stuff to Standard and its impact on Pioneer with Gruul Legends and The Book of Exalted Deeds decks. On the other hand, the set seemed to have little impact on the other formats, with Modern Horizons II still echoing in the Metagame of Modern and Legacy, leaving little room for the most recent cards. Historic got rid of one of the cards that looked problematic for the format this week, Brainstorm, and next week we'll see what changes this will bring to the format as a whole. And Pauper... Well, Pauper remains in the same state as always as players try to find a way to create a breach to attack the two absolute best decks of the format, and the question that remains for the community is: until when? Thanks for reading!
Profile Main Image

Romeu

Writer and translator for Cards Realm. Plays virtually Magic: The Gathering competitive formats. Pauper Masters' Organizer.

Social Facebook brands iconInstagram Brands icon

User profile image

Be the first to comment

Same Author

Pioneer Set Review: Innistrad Midnight Hunt

Pioneer Set Review: Innistrad Midnight Hunt

In today's article, we'll look at what new cards in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt might impact ...

Pauper Set Review: Innistrad Midnight Hunt

Pauper Set Review: Innistrad Midnight Hunt

With the end of the spoiler season and the full set revealed, it's time to our Pauper set ...

The 16 players who will participate in the World Championship XXVII

The 16 players who will participate in the World Championship XXVII

Sixteen players from around the world will compete between October 8th and 10th for the ti...

Historic Deck Tech: Heliod Company

Historic Deck Tech: Heliod Company

Today, we dissected the Heliod Company from Historic, an aggro deck that uses Heliod Sun-C...

As a protest, Pauper Preliminary decks have only basic lands

As a protest, Pauper Preliminary decks have only basic lands

Players entered the Pauper Preliminary with lists that used only 60 basic lands, as a form...

Throwback Magic: Gabriel Nassif Standard/2009 Cruel Control deck

Throwback Magic: Gabriel Nassif Standard/2009 Cruel Control deck

In this article, which seeks to bring an analysis of decks that made history in Magic, we ...

More from same author

Most read today articles

cEDH Set Review: Innistrad Midnight Hunt

cEDH Set Review: Innistrad Midnight Hunt

With the end of the spoiler season and the entire set revealed, we made a review of Innist...

The Japanese Alternative Arts of StrixHaven's Mystical Archive cards

The Japanese Alternative Arts of StrixHaven's Mystical Archive cards

The Japanese website of Wizards of the Coast revealed the 63 arts that will only be possib...

Ask the Judge! Innistrad: Midnight Hunt's Mechanics

Ask the Judge! Innistrad: Midnight Hunt's Mechanics

In today's article, I talk about the keywords and rulings of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt!

Standard Set Review: Innistrad Midnight Hunt

Standard Set Review: Innistrad Midnight Hunt

In this article, I analyze the most promising cards from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt for Stan...

Pioneer Set Review: Innistrad Midnight Hunt

Pioneer Set Review: Innistrad Midnight Hunt

In today's article, we'll look at what new cards in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt might impact ...

15 decklists for Historic Brawl

15 decklists for Historic Brawl

We've put together 15 interesting, broken or just plain fun lists for you to play Historic...

Pauper Set Review: Innistrad Midnight Hunt

Pauper Set Review: Innistrad Midnight Hunt

With the end of the spoiler season and the full set revealed, it's time to our Pauper set ...

Set Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Commander decklists

Set Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Commander decklists

On September 24, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt will be released in stores around the world! Two...

Decklists for Standard 2022

Decklists for Standard 2022

This article talks a bit about Standard 2022 and some of its trending decklists.

More recent articles