Weekly Metagame: 2021's First Challenges

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Weekly Metagame: 2021's First Challenges

We're back with another Weekly Metagame, this time analyzing the first Challenges from 2021 for every format !

By Humberto, 01/05/21, translated by Humberto - Comment regular icon0 comments

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Players! 2021 has started and, alongside it, a new season of decks and Top 8s to be analyzed in the Weekly Metagame ! Today, we will be addressing the first Challenges of 2021.

Standard

The Top 8 of the first Standard Challenge of 2021 was composed of the following decks: 4 Gruul Adventures 3 Mono-Green Food 1 Boros Lukka Within a Top 8 so polarized between Mono Green Food and Gruul Adventures, I emphasize Boros Lukka, a list that has done occasional results since December!
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The deck works like the old Jeskai Lukka (which led Fires of Invention to be banned from Standard), but removing blue since cards like Teferi, Time Raveler are no longer in format and betting in a token-based gameplan.

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Its main game plan is quite objective: Create tokens, resolve a Transmogrify or Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast to bring a Harmonious Archon to the game and turn all creatures on the table into 3/3, which ends up being an advantage for the deck since it usually has the largest amount of creatures on the board and thus has better interactions in the combat. Within a Standard that seems to repeat the same decks over the last weeks, Boros Lukka is a great air of renewal and shows that there is still room for innovation in Standard. On Sunday. the Standard Challenge's Top 8 was composed of: 4 Gruul Adventures 1 Mardu Doom 1 Midrange Rakdos 1 Dimir Control 1 Dimir Rogues Here, I highlight the list of Mardu Doom from player tzio, which uses several enchantments that generate immediate value to put pressure on the opponent's table with Doom Foretold and that interact incredibly well with Yorion, Sky Nomad and Archon of Sun's Grace.
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With both Challenges, we can see the clear predominance of Gruul Adventures as the best deck of the format. Something that should not change at any time before the release of Kaldheim, which can bring new tools for the archetype or new tools for other decks to emerge and combat the archetype.

Pioneer

2021's first Pioneer Challenge had the following Top 8: 2 Mono-Red Aggro 1 Boros Burn 1 Lotus Combo 1 Esper Yorion 1 Sultai Control 1 Temur Reclamation 1 Orzhov Auras Among these, I highlight the Esper Yorion list by Xerk, which uses a multitude of ETB effects along with classic archetype staples like Teferi, Time Raveler and Thoughtseize to create a Midrange deck capable of accumulating absurdities of value during the game.
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On Sunday, the Pioneer Challange had the following decks on the Top 8: 2 Mono-Red Aggro 1 Boros Burn 1 Boros Heroic 1 Mono-Black Aggro 1 Orzhov Auras 1 Four-Color Omnath 1 Esper Control The highlight is a deck that I haven't seen in the format for a long time: Boros Heroic. Heroic decks, or more necessarily, Feather decks were present at the beginning of Pioneer's Metagame and were always decks that had great potential in the format, but at the same time seemed too fragile or too fair to be able to put good results on the Metagame . Guiyote's list place its bets on low-cost threats such as creatures with Prowess instead of trying to accumulate value with Feather, the Redeemed, which was left on the sideboard for longer matchups.
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On a overall view, Pioneer still presents a healthy metagame with new lists popping up occasionaly on its tournaments.

Modern

Modern's First Challenge of the year has presented us with great diversity on its Top 8: 1 Sultai Uro 1 Mono-Red Aggro 1 UW Spirits 1 Rakdos Shadow 1 Bant Stoneblade 1 GW Titan 1 Izzet Blitz 1 Rakdos Midrange I highlight TSPJendrek's Bant Stoneblade, a deck that was relatively absent in the last Challenges and suffered a significant loss with the ban of Arcum's Astrolabe, but which still has a significant amount of cards that generate a lot of value and that need to be answered immediately.

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Furthermore, the combination of a flying creature with Sword of Feast and Famine is still a huge tempo boost for many decks.
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On the second Modern Challenge of the year, we had the following Top 8: 4 Hammer Time 1 Four-Color Goodstuff 1 UW Spirits 1 Jund Shadow 1 Burn Hammer Time stands out and is a deck that has grown significantly in the Metagame in recent months, moving from being a meme deck to becoming one of the main competitors of the format. The deck is still evolving and adapting, currently using a splash to black for cards like Unearth and the use of Thoughtseize on the sideboard.
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Pauper

The first Pauper Challenge of the year had the following Top 8: 2 Tron 2 Mono Blue Faeries 2 Dimir Faeries 2 Cascade Walls It is not very common to see two of each deck in the Top 8 of a Challenge and, in a way, despite the absence of Izzet Faeries, this Top 8 seems to reflect well which decks have benefited the most from Commander Legends. I highlight the Dimir Faeries of the player Beicodegeia, which uses Zulaport Duelist as a one-of, in addition to including two Mind Drain in the Sideboard, which are very unusual choices for the archetype.
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On Sunday, the Pauper Challange had the following Top 8: 2 Izzet Faeries 2 Dimir Faeries 1 Tron 1 Mono Blue Faeries 1 Cascade Walls 1 Elves Another Challenge that only reinforces the theory that Faeries became the best deck of the format by a margin with the addition of Fall from Favor and that the archetype needs to be very respected today. The deck that stands out, among these, is Elves that has not done so many results in the last few weeks, but still presents itself as a force to be considered in the metagame.
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Legacy

2021's first Legacy Challenge had a relatively diversified Top 8: 2 Temur Delver 1 Jeskai Mentor 1 Hogaak 1 Bant Snow 1 All Spells 1 Lands 1 Doomsday Among these decks, I highlight the Jeskai Mentor that uses an interesting combination of cards like Counterbalance and Pithing Needle on maindeck alongside the Dreadhorde Arcanist engine with Monastery Mentor to win games. Another card that stands out in this list is Court of Grace in the sideboard, a card that can generate a lot of value if not answered and that demonstrates that the Monarch mechanic is also present in other eternal formats.
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Last, but not least, the Sunday's Legacy Challenge finished with the following Top 8: 3 Five-Color Snow 2 Jeskai Mentor 1 All Spells 1 Show and Tell 1 Sneak & Show Among these decks, I highlight the Sneak & Show, a classic deck of the format that operates trying to put a Griselbrand or Emrakul, the Aeons Torn on the battlefield as fast as possible, but still offering built-in protection with staples of the format like Force of Will and Daze.
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And here we end this week's Metagame analysis with a mix of decks that makes us feel that a lot can still change during 2021 in the competitive Magic scenario. So tell me, reader, what do you expect for competitive Magic in 2021?

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Humberto

Writer and translator for Cards Realm and journalism student. Plays virtually every Magic: The Gathering competitive format.

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