Magic: the Gathering
World Championship Metagame Analysis
In today's article, I analyze the decks that will be played in the World Championship, commenting on maindeck and sideboard choices, as well as delving into the new archetypes that have emerged.
The World Championship's Metagame
Izzet Epiphany, which is essentially a Combo-Control that seeks to play a combination of Alrund's Epiphany with Galvanic Iteration to play two extra turns, and in then use Burn Down the House copied with Galvanic Iteration's flashback to create six 1/1 tokens with Haste, or it can also win the game with Smoldering Egg (which is transformed with Epiphany's cost), or Hall of the Storm Giants activations. While you can't perform the combo and/or prepare the setup to use it, the deck has a multitude of interactions of all kinds to hold the game, such as removals, counterspells and other means of interaction that allow you to prolong the game. Some players may disagree with the definition that it is a Combo-Control because its combo doesn't win the game right away, but particularly, playing two extra turns and putting four Bird tokens on the board, if you don't win the game, will put you in such an advantageous position that it will be very difficult for you to lose because your plays during these extra turns will be a huge accumulation of resources and value, it is a situation similar to the combination of Time Warp with Mizzix's Mastery or Velomachus Lorehold that led to Time Warp's banning in Historic: If you don't win the game, you're so far ahead that you've virtually won.
Keisuke Sato's deck, who seems to bet less on speed and more on playing an attrition game, using specific cards as one-ofs, and including Smoldering Egg to hold Aggro decks on early game while serving as a late-game wincondition, while the other lists have opted to keep the Dragons package on the Sideboard.
Grixis Epiphany, a variant of Epiphany decks, designed by the player
Gabriel Nassif, who I particularly consider one of the best deckbuilders in the world today. A curious fact to mention is that the four lists are
exactly the same, with the exact same 75 cards, which proves how confident they feel about each card choice. Grixis Epiphany looks like a more grindy version of Izzet Epiphany, focused on winning games against mirror match and against Izzet's main predator, Mono-Green Aggro, and the addition of black makes room for the inclusion of great cards in the current format such as Power Word Kill and Duress, as well as making room for other important cards such as Go Blank on the Sideboard. An interesting point I see in this archetype is the significant amount of one-ofs the list uses: Cathartic Pyre, Cinderclasm, Demon Bolt, Power Word Kill, Prismari Command, Burn Down the House, and Bloodchief's Thirst are all cards used in just one copy, which can be somewhat flawed in the consistency with which the archetype has access to them at the right time, but it also opens up a greater gap between the flexibility of its choices during the game and detracts from the predictability of answers to the opponent, something that would count for much more if the decklists hadn't been leaked. Two cards from this list stand out in my view:
Mono-White Aggro, and in reality, both players are playing with the same list. The archetype was the best deck of the Standard 2022 season prior to the release of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and apparently continued to compete alongside the format, even in the face of the two powerhouses Izzet Epiphany and Mono-Green Aggro. Its game plan is quite simple: play low-cost threats and cards that interact well with each other to play "under" the Control decks, while evasive threats and the board interactions that some cards offer allows it to do well against Mono-Green Aggro, making it a relatively good option to be “in the middle” of these two decks. Currently, I consider the most important cards in the deck to be in cost 3.
Azorius Tempo. One point I'd like to make about this deck is that its existence among the decks that will compete in the format makes me a little depressed by the early leak this week because this deck is a real Metacall juice that would definitely work much better if its opponents didn't understand exactly how it works. But, now that the lists are available, surely the most diverse players have already tested Noriuky's deck and understand its advantages and disadvantages, which can result in a terrible strategic failure caused by a technical error that was not the player's responsibility, significantly harming him in the Standard portion of the event. I'm not saying the list is bad, on the contrary, it has enormous potential to be one of the highlights, but it would definitely be much better against unprepared opponents. That said, what Azorius Tempo seeks to do is the classic Tempo deck game plan given Standard's proportions: Resort to efficient threats, many of them with added value, and add them to low-cost interactions that allows you to delay the opponent's game plan long enough to establish a significant advantage. This deck, which is based on Mono-White Aggro, trades in the one-drops and speed of the monocolor version for a more interactive game that works great when you build a board in the first few turns, as you'll put pressure on your opponent to play their bombs, and if we look at the two main decks of the format, we see that they're about trying to drop the bombs as soon as possible, and delaying them with Concerted Defense, which works well with a little Party subtheme that list has, or removing creatures with Fading Hope is a huge advantage.
Temur Treasures, which will be piloted by
What about the bannings?
directly linkedto their results in this weekend's event, and it won't surprise me if, if these decks dominate the tournament, next week or the next fortnight, we have a Banned and Restricted update.
October 8 to 10, and you can check out the full coverage of the event live on the official Magic channel. Next week, we will be able to analyze the results of the participants and what this could mean for Standard's future.