Metagame: Goblins in Pioneer, Tron back to Modern, Delverless Delver in Legacy

Magic: the Gathering

Competitive

Metagame: Goblins in Pioneer, Tron back to Modern, Delverless Delver in Legacy

In this week's Metagame, we see Tron returning to Modern, Goblins making the Top 8 on Pioneer and Tempo decks that doesn't run Delver of Secrets in Legacy!

By Romeu, 08/12/21, translated by Romeu, with help from our readers

Versions:

We are back with another Metagame, where we analyze the state of competitive formats based on last weekend's events.

Standard

Saturday's Standard Challenge finished with the following Top 32: 9 Gruul Magda 4 Dimir Rogues 4 Naya Winota 4 Izzet Control 3 Rakdos Sacrifice 2 Mono-Green Aggro 2 Naya Adventures 1 Mono-Red Aggro 1 Temur Adventures 1 Azorius Artifacts And the Top 8 had the following decks: 3 Gruul Magda 1 Dimir Rogues 1 Rakdos Sacrifice 1 Mono-Green Aggro 1 Naya Winota On Sunday, Standard Challenge's Top 32 had:

Ad

12 Gruul Magda 5 Naya Winota 3 Dimir Rogues 3 Mono-Green Aggro 2 Naya Adventures 1 Sultai Ultimatum 1 Azorius Artifacts 1 Mono-Red Aggro 1 Rakdos Sacrifice 1 Mono-Black Devotion 1 Izzet Control 1 Mono-White Control And its Top 8 was: 2 Naya Winota 2 Gruul Magda 1 Dimir Rogues 1 Naya Adventures 1 Sultai Ultimatum 1 Mono-White Control We also had the SCG Tour Online Championship Qualifier, where the following decks had a result of 7-1 or better: 3 Gruul Magda 2 Sultai Ultimatum 1 Mono-Green Aggro 1 Naya Adventures 1 Temur Lukka 1 Izzet Control We also had the SCG Satellites, and the decks which made 6-0 among the eight events were: 4 Gruul Magda 3 Naya Winota 1 Sultai Ultimatum 1 Dimir Rogues 1 Naya Adventures Last, but not least, the Standard portion of the Challenger Gauntlet, a high-level tournament where players competed for four seats on the World Championship had the following Metagame: 8 Gruul Magda 4 Naya Winota 3 Dimir Rogues 2 Naya Adventures 2 Dimir Control 1 Temur Adventures 1 Jeskai Cycling 1 Sultai Ultimatum The highlight this week for Standard is Gruul Magda, which got several good placements throughout the week:
Loading icon
Gruul Magda (or Gruul Adventures, as this version is the natural evolution of Gruul Adventures, which was the best deck of the format after Lucky Clover was banned) was the most played deck among the Challenger Gauntlet competitors while it stood out as the main Aggro of Standard this week. I've already talked a lot about the archetype last week, and it's been more than proven that joining cards like Jaspera Sentinel, Magda, Brazen Outlaw and Esika's Chariot can do in the format when coupled with the already efficient shell of the Adventures decks that we've seen as a force present in Standard since the rotation. The highlight of this week's decks, however, is Ray of Enfeeblement as a cheap and efficient answer to the Winota, Joiner of Forces decks, used as a splash that goes as a practically unpunished choice since it uses lands like Blightstep Pathway and Darkbore Pathway to add black, in addition to Jaspera Sentinel.
Loading icon
On the other hand, a new deck that stood out this week was Izzet Control, a list that seems to be a huge Meta Call to deal with the rise of Aggro decks present in the format today, and even using several cards that we would commonly see in sideboards, but that work very well in the current Metagame to the point of being worthy of maindeck slots, like Cinderclasm, Burning Hands and Disdainful Stroke. The deck's plan is the traditional plan of any Control deck: respond to threats, stabilize the board and start winning the game with your bombs, which in this case include Shark Typhoon and Kiora Bests the Sea God, while accumulating card advantage with cards like Mazemind Tome and refilling its gas with Midnight Clock.

Historic

The Challenger Gauntlet was the only major Historic event this weekend, and featured the following Metagame: 10 Jeskai Control 2 Jund Food 2 Mono-Black Aggro 2 Orzhov Auras 2 Rakdos Arcanist 1 Azorius Auras 1 Dragonstorm 1 Izzet Phoenix 1 Jund Citadel 1 Mono-Red Goblins 1 Selesnya Company
Loading icon
I think it's clear that if Jeskai Control isn't the best deck in the format, it's the most reliable. To be honest, I still believe that nothing will change in Historic until the release of Historic Horizons, which was pushed back to August 24th, and therefore it becomes a little irrelevant to comment on Jeskai Control or any other deck this week because we won't see any relevant changes until we have access to the 300+ cards available in the new set.

Ad

Until then, play Jeskai Control. The deck will definitely remain competitive even with the release of Historic Horizons.

Pioneer

Saturday's Pioneer Challenge had the following Top 32: 5 Izzet Phoenix 3 Four-Color Ascendancy 3 Azorius Ensoul 3 Niv-to-Light 3 Lotus Combo 2 Mono-Black Aggro 2 Gruul Legends 1 Boros Burn 1 Mono-Red Aggro 1 Rakdos Pyromancer 1 Goblins 1 Mono-Green Stompy 1 Mono-Green Walkers 1 Mono-Blue Ensoul 1 Sultai Control 1 Jund Sacrifice 1 Four-Color Fires 1 Four-Color Mutate And the following Top 8: 2 Izzet Phoenix 2 Niv-to-Light 1 Azorius Ensoul 1 Four-Color Ascendancy 1 Boros Burn 1 Goblins On Sunday, the event finished with the following Top 32: 5 Jeskai Control 4 Lotus Combo 4 Jund Sacrifice 2 Azorius Ensoul 2 Bant Spirits 2 Izzet Phoenix 2 Vampires 2 Rakdos Pyromancer 2 Niv-to-Light 1 Dimir Control 1 Mono-Red Aggro 1 Stompy 1 Mono-Green Walkers 1 Esper Yorion And the following Top 8: 1 Bant Spirits 1 Izzet Phoenix 1 Mono-Green Walkers 1 Vampires 1 Rakdos Pyromancer 1 Dimir Control 1 Jeskai Control 1 Esper Yorion New decks have emerged in Pioneer this week:
Loading icon
Did you know we have good Goblins in Pioneer? Well, we didn't (and I believe we still don't) have a card that could gather all these creatures as efficiently as it does in Historic, but cards like Hobgoblin Bandit Lord and Battle Cry Goblin definitely are a step in the right direction. Apart from that, Pioneer has several Goblins that are not available in Historic such as Goblin Piledriver and Goblin Rabblemaster, which make a huge difference in the archetype, as well as Legion Loyalist, which allows these creatures to prevail in combat. With a play-under-and-win strategy based on speed and board population, the Mono-Red Goblins managed to finish fifth in Saturday's Pioneer Challenge, and would be a great addition to the format, which as of now features Spirits and Vampires as its main tribal decks.
Loading icon
It's no longer surprising that several Pioneer and Historic decks tend to converge and migrate from one format to another, and that doesn't differ with Jeskai Control. We don't have in Pioneer the explosive combination of Magma Opus + Mizzix's Mastery (although we can have it with Torrential Gearhulk), but we do have access to super efficient removals like Chaind to the Rocks and a card that feeds from the graveyard even better in the form of Dig Through Time, a card that would likely be banned from Historic if it entered the format. Scorching Dragonfire replaces Lightning Helix and the archetype gains access to Supreme Verdict, while tries to win the game with the classic bundle of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Shark Typhoon Given that the archetype has made several placements this weekend, it's likely that we'll see it become one of the format's top Control decks.

Modern

Saturday's Modern Challenge had the following Top 32: 4 Temur Cascade 3 Hammer Time 2 Eldrazi Tron 2 Four-Color Cascade 1 Mardu Lurrus 1 Izzet Tempo 1 Jund Food 1 Bant Control 1 Grixis Breach 1 Four-Color Lurrus 1 Grixis Tempo 1 Dredge 1 Living End 1 Four-Color Shadow 1 Hardened Scales 1 Tron 1 Golgari Yawgmoth 1 Jund Shadow 1 Elementals 1 Gruul Ponza 1 Grixis Shadow 1 Amulet Titan 1 Jeskai Food 1 Golgari Food 1 Four-Color Goodstuff And the Top 8 was: 2 Temur Cascade 1 Hammer Time 1 Izzet Tempo 1 Dredge 1 Four-Color Cascade 1 Jund Food 1 Mardu Lurrus On Sunday, the event finished with these decks on Top 32: 5 Tron 4 Living End 3 Izzet Tempo 2 Hammer Time 2 Temur Cascade 2 Four-Color Scapeshift

Ad

2 Elementals 2 Bant Stoneblade 2 Bant Control 1 Orzhov Stoneblade 1 Burn 1 Esper Food 1 Jeskai Control 1 Four-Color Creativity 1 Four-Color Turns 1 Naya Lurrus And the following Top 3: 3 Tron 2 Living End 1 Hammer Time 1 Izzet Tempo 1 Temur Cascade
Loading icon
Did you really believe we would get rid of Tron? That's right, we didn't. Tron is still a present deck and can still prey on a format where fair decks try to compete with other fair decks or try to hold back faster decks like Combos or Aggro-Combos. The combination considered unfair by many players of 1 + 1 + 1 = 7 makes Tron a deck that can explode and get out of control of any game quickly, while being able to play incredibly well around discards and counters since it has the best topdeck in the entire format because, since once you've closed the combination of Urza's Tower, Urza's Mine and Urza's Power Plant (and you will eventually close it), everything you draw is a bomb that the opponent must deal at any cost, or it will take over the game. Does this mean that decks need to side-in more Void Mirrors and other cards that serve as specific hate for Tron? I don't think so. The best way to deal with Tron has always been and always will be to use decks that can play under it, ignoring interactions, such as Infect.
Loading icon
We've seen the most diverse versions of Food decks on Modern since the launch of Modern Horizons II, and the latest version is Jund Food. The Underworld Cookbook decks have several problems in dealing with punctual sideboards such as artifact destruction and graveyard exile, and become easy prey for a Metagame already prepared to deal with these strategies, since Hammer Time has great focus on artifacts while Murktide Regent decks have some dependence on the graveyard. Therefore, it is necessary for Food decks to adapt and evaluate new ways to interact in the game and, fortunately, its base is highly splashable for other strategies, as we can see in this Jund Food list. Cards like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Tarmogoyf and Wrenn and Six are Modern staples these days, and they all have some interaction with the archetype's game plan, like for example, Ragavan creating Treasures that power up Urza's Saga tokens or Tarmogoyf benefiting from the artifacts the deck uses and the free discard of Street Wraith. The deck also has Finale of Devastation to tutor the required creature or even Grist, the Hunger Tide, which is a creature in all zones other than the battlefield.

Pauper

Saturday's Pauper Challenge had the following Top 32: 10 Dimir Faeries 7 Storm 5 Affinity 2 Elves 1 Tron 1 Orzhov Pestilence 1 Dimir Delver 1 Boros Bully 1 Dimir Serpentine 1 Mono-White Heroic 1 Izzet Serpentine 1 Bogles And its Top 8 was: 4 Dimir Faeries 2 Affinity 1 Storm 1 Elves On Sunday, the event had the following decks on Top 32: 8 Dimir Faeries 7 Affinity 5 Storm 3 Tron 2 Burn 1 Elves 1 Cascade Walls 1 Izzet Faeries 1 Orzhov Pestilence 1 Izzet Serpentine 1 Mono-White Heroic 1 Grixis Cascade And its Top 8 had: 3 Storm 1 Dimir Faeries 1 Tron 1 Affinity 1 Mono-White Heroic 1 Elves Nothing new under the sun in the Pauper universe, except that Dimir Faeries continues to grow significantly in the Challenges, which, in my view, represents the fact that players are choosing to play with a deck that will (probably) remain the same after Wizards ban the cards that need to be banned. But when will this ban finally come? Well, we now know that there are a significant number of major Pauper tournaments, including Qualifiers and Super Qualifiers, taking place in the last quarter of 2021. So, I believe this banned and restricted update should happen before or during these events, which is already a long time to wait as the format has been in a polarized state for over two months.

Ad

If you want to know more about these events of the last quarter, I wrote this article where I explain how they work, how to play them and how to prepare to compete in these events.

Legacy

This weekend, we only had the Legacy Showcase, which finished with the following Top 32: 7 Izzet Delver 4 Death and Taxes 2 Jeskai Standstill 2 Izzet Tempo 2 Sneak and Show 2 Selesnya Depths 2 Four-Color Goodstuff 1 Bant Control 1 Temur Cascade 1 Goblins 1 Omni-Tell 1 Doomsday 1 Cloudpost 1 Ninjas 1 Karn Echoes 1 Sultai Dreadnought And the Top 8 was: 1 Izzet Delver 1 Goblins 1 Omni-Tell 1 Death and Taxes 1 Izzet Tempo 1 Selesnya Depths 1 Doomsday 1 Sneak and Show
Loading icon
Did you know that Merfolk and Goblins were once considered the best decks in Legacy? The combination of a strong creature base + Aether Vial + Rishadan Port and Wasteland made mono-colored Aggro like Goblins and Merfolks the most powerful archetypes of Legacy before the power level boost occurred that was followed by the creation of the Stoneforge Mystic decks, and later the rise of Delver of Secrets decks. With a Goblins deck coming in at second place on the Legacy Showcase, it's clear that the deck still manages to compete well in the format, has received powerful additions in recent years like Munitions Expert and Muxus, Goblin Grandee, plus manages to retain that same foundation and consistency that once made it one of, if not the best, deck of the format in the distant past.
Loading icon
Loading icon
Speaking of Delver of Secrets, both lists that made to the Top 8 in the event cut the number of Delvers on the list or simply opted to use a total of zero copies of Legacy's most iconic creature of the last decade. Has the most famous one-drop of the format become obsolete for Legacy? Well, it's arguable that the format today is much better equipped to handle Delver of Secrets with universally good cards from Modern Horizons II additions like Prismatic Ending or Endurance. Add this to the fact that Modern Horizons II also brought a new “package” for Tempo decks that are extremely powerful in the form of Dragon's Rage Channeler, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Murktide Regent that add more value in the long run and interact much better with each other than Delver of Secrets does with any of those cards. On the contrary, each of these creatures virtually derails Delver's plan because they are more slots that doesn't flip it, while Modern Horizons II's Creature Package doesn't need Delver of Secrets to work, which opens up even more slots for interactions or even ways to facilitate Delirium and Delve like Mishra's Bauble or Urza's Bauble. Another point to consider is how much these cards do more than pose threats in the game: Dragon's Rage Channeler allows the deck to filter the top and remove unwanted cards, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer creates an advantage on cards and mana that makes many players debate whether this card should even be in the format, and Murktide Regent may not generate value, but it's the big payoff for the previous two creatures' abilities, and commonly ends the game in two turns. It won't surprise me if, in the future, we see fewer or no Delver of Secrets on Izzet lists, with the triad of Ragavan + Channeler + Regent making room for other Tempo Decks variants after a decade of Delver's absolute reign in this category.

Ad

Conclusion

That was my review of this week's Metagame. Particularly, I believe that all formats presented an interesting point, bringing innovations or a natural evolution based on what we have seen in recent weeks. The big highlights for me are the fact that Tron can still be a strong competitor in Modern, as it has always been and how much this proves that, regardless of how many answers come out in the new sets to "lock" the archetype, they become irrelevant if players do not use them and chooses not to respect the deck. The other big highlight is the gradual exclusion of Delver of Secrets from Legacy's Tempo decks, with Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Murktide Regent and Dragon's Rage Channeler taking it upon themselves the throne that once belonged to Innistrad's staple for an entire decade. Next week, we'll look at the changes arising from these changes and how each format's competitive landscape matures in the weeks leading up to Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. 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 iconTwitter Brands icon

User profile image

Be the first to comment

Same Author

Evaluating and Upgrading the Pioneer Challenger Decks

Evaluating and Upgrading the Pioneer Challenger Decks

Are the Pioneer Challenger Decks really worth the purchase? In this article, I assess the ...

Wizards announces Secret Lair's October Superdrop

Wizards announces Secret Lair's October Superdrop

Among the drops, available for pre-order on October 18th, are the special edition with Str...

Analyzing the future of Alrund's Epiphany

Analyzing the future of Alrund's Epiphany

With so much talk regarding Alrund's Epiphany and whether it should be banned or not, let'...

Yuta Takahashi becomes Magic's 2021 World Champion

Yuta Takahashi becomes Magic's 2021 World Champion

The player went undefeated through all the Standard rounds of the event and, with his Izze...

World Championship Metagame Analysis

World Championship Metagame Analysis

In today's article, I analyze the decks that will be played in the World Championship, com...

Throwback Magic - Magic: The Gathering's World Champions

Throwback Magic - Magic: The Gathering's World Champions

With the World Championships taking place this weekend, we've created a compilation of eac...

More from same author

Most read today articles