By Niels Viaene

In last week’s article we announced the leaderboard would be reset to give people a realistic shot of doing well. In reaction, 19 players joined the first event in this split, but 3 of them were new players. We also had the most different looking distribution of decks popping up for this event, with 15 non-‘blue control’ decks (which most people seem to hate and some people love the most) showing up.

4-0 Jelle Lauwers
Rakdos Midrange

Deck (60)
Mountain
Village Rites
Bastion of Remembrance
Serrated Scorpion
Whisper Squad
10 Swamp
Woe Strider
Anax, Hardened in the Forge
Satyr’s Cunning
Weaponize the Monsters
Goblin Arsonist
Spikefield Hazard
Bonecrusher Giant
Bloodfell Caves
Feed the Swarm
Murderous Rider
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Sideboard (15)
Duress
Lampad of Death’s Vigil
Agonizing Remorse
Liliana’s Devotee
Cling to Dust
Feed the Swarm
Mogis’s Favor
Mire’s Grasp

Last week we had a showdown between Jelle with the predecessor of this deck and my mono red version of it. At that point, we came to the conclusion the moo-red version was probably better as a game 1 option, and in a vacuum, but the Rakdos version would fare better through it’s wider options for deck construction and, especially, the sideboard options.

That prediction delivered in a big way this event, that featured way more creature decks that fought back against these decks. The interaction and flexibility Jelle had pushed him to his top berth. Of note is that he beat two of the control decks in the hands of top gentry players on his way to the top, so he definitely did not have an easy road.

3-1 Tom De Wael
Gruul Aggro

Deck (60)
Brushfire Elemental
10 Mountain
Llanowar Visionary
Ox of Agonas
Garruk’s Harbinger
Evolving Wilds
10 Forest
Roil Eruption
Akoum Hellhound
Keeper of Fables
Voracious Typhon
Territorial Scythecat
Embercleave
Destiny Spinner
The Great Henge
Chainweb Aracnir
Grumgully, the Generous
Kazuul’s Fury
Sideboard (15)
Blazing Volley
Scorching Dragonfire
Shock
Broken Wings

Did Tom find the perfect balance of Landfall Aggro, card advantage green, and interaction in this deck? He might? Borrowing heavily from different earlier attempts at the color combination from aggro to ramp, he ended up here and did very well for himself. He beat one Dimir Control player 2-0 and lost a 2-1 against Izzet Control, showing the deck has what it takes to fight back against the measuring sticks for the format as we know it.

We still see the heavy support for Chainweb Aracnir, a card that is a big problem for high aggro decks and Rogues decks alike while being decent against control in a full playset here, just like the Destiny spinner to really pressure control further. A lot of metagame aware choices by Tom here.

The rest of the 3-1

2 Dimir Control decks and 2 Izzet control decks round off the 3-1 slot, if you want decklists, there are plenty of articles for you to scrounge them off of. Or you can go to MTGMelee to find them for yourself too. The interesting part is that they are morphing around as well, with Izzet becoming more aggressive, and Dimir becoming more non-creature mill oriented.

This flexibility, paired with the tendency for better players to choose these decks , makes for their great performance. The decks are hard to hate out, but people are trying with many escape cards coming into the metagame to fight back against Dimir. What will the next innovation be?

In the meantime, user nollidruj compiled a list on discord of every 4-0 and 3-1 deck in the past split:
Dimir Rogues 8
Grixis Control 5
Dimir Control 4
Rakdos Midrange 4
Mono-Red Aggro 4
Mono-White Aggro 3
Golgari Midrange 3
Dimir Mill 2
Simic Mutate 2
Mono-Black Aggro 1
Temur Midrange 1
Sultai Midrange 1
Sultai Ramp 1
Jund Sacrifice 1
Jund Ramp 1
Dimir Flash 1
Gruul Ramp 1
Gruul Aggro 1
Orzhov Humans 1

There are a lot of things you can learn from this list, probably most notably the fact the top deck, Rogues, has been nigh unplayable for a few weeks now, a testament to just how much a metagame can shift around and push an archetype out of contention! I do seem to remember some Izzet control here and there, but maybe they got eaten by Grixis Control?

The leaderboard

Well, it just restarted, and it will last into late January, when the release of Kaldheim will mark the beginning of the next split. You can go here to join these events. It is a great time to do so as everybody just started and even if you miss a few events, only your best 5 results count so you barely are behind at this point.

You can also join the community on facebook or discord to get more information and discussions going.

See you next Tuesday,
Niels

Niels Viaene came into contact with Magic first through the Kazz & Zakk starter set in 1996, but it wouldn’t be until 2000, around the time Prophecy came out that he actually started playing magic thanks to his nephew. Niels’ Magic career has been a roller coaster up to now, including Grand Prix Paris 2009 top 8, Pro Tour San Diego 2010 top 8, becoming a L3 Magic Judge in 2015 and managing the community effort that is the League of New and Beginning Magic: the Gathering Players, the birthing ground for Gentry since 2012. All this comes from a deep love for the game that is far from diminishing.

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