This past weekend was the Strixhaven Set Championship. The tournament was half Standard and half Historic with a Historic Top 8, won by Sam Pardee. Congrats to Sam! It can be hard to exactly parse which decks were responsible for an individuals success, but we can look at which decks players played in the Standard portion that did well. The lone breakout deck of the tournament was Jeskai Mutate, which made eighth in the hands of Matti Kusima, while Rei Sato made Top 16 with. Let’s see how the tournament impacted this week’s Standard Power Rankings!
Sultai Ultimatum only made Top 8 in the hands of Matt Sperling. However, ninth, tenth, eleventh, fourteenth and sixteenth place were all Sultai Ultimatum decks. Sultai is particularly strong in tournaments where you can predict the metagame, and adjust the deck for that field. Untapped.gg has Sultai with a 53.2 percent win rate over the past week from Platinum to Mythic, which is a good win rate.
Izzet Dragons was Seth Manfield’s choice in Standard, which he guided to another Top 8 finish. It was also a popular deck in the tournament, though only Seth was really able to shine with it. The deck has a strong aggressive game plan while also having good counters, card draw, interaction and controlling elements, making it a strong choice. In comparison, Untapped.gg shows a win rate of 53.2 percent over the past week from Platinum to Mythic.
Sam Pardee, the eventual winner, chose Mono-Red. Although he made the Top 8, which was Historic, as the number eight seed, he was able to navigate his way through the Top 8 full of Brainstorms in Historic to claim the prize.
I’ve always liked Mono-Red as a deck. It has cheap, aggressive creatures and amazing top-end in Torbran, Thane of Red Fell and Embercleave. Mono-Red tends to be a great ladder deck, as people are looking to play fast matches and turnover results very quickly.
On Untapped.gg, Mono-Red had a 58.1 percent win rate in the past week. Tournament players tend to sideboard a lot against linear aggro decks, which can make it a tougher task in an event like the Strixhaven Championship. After Sam, the next highest finishing player with Mono-Red was Mike Sigrist in 87th place, a big drop off. Part of this is because the deck wasn’t that popular, and part is likely due to preparedness of the field for the strategy.
Gruul was the deck of choice for many of my teammates, including Raph Levy, who designed the Magda version of the deck and piloted it to a Top 8 finish. Like Mono-Red, the field tends to be prepared for aggressive decks, and like Mono-Red, after the homerun performance of Raph, the next best finishing Gruul deck wasn’t until 32nd place, much deeper down the standings.
As for the ladder, Untapped.gg has a win rate of 56.4 percent for the Gruul Magda deck in Platinum to Mythic in the past week.
Jeskai Mutate is a super complicated deck and somewhat confusing to follow along with. In one game in the torurnament, Matti Kusima took about a 15 minute turn against Raphael Levy and ended up passing turn after generating a bunch of incremental advantage and killing creatures. He was using Unsubstantiate with mutate creatures and Goldspan Dragon to make Treasures and recast spells from his graveyard, getting double mana from the Treasures, and doing it all again after Unsubstantiating the multiple times mutated Dragon.
This deck is strong, and I suspect gains a fair bit of advantage at the moment from people not knowing perfectly how to fight against it. That’s a good situation to be in for a major tournament, if you can find a strong deck with that feature. In the past week, Jeskai Mutate had a 49.6 percent win rate on the ladder from Platinum to Mythic according to Untapped.gg, and I’ll be curious to see if that number rises or falls as more people learn about the deck.
Logan Nettles crushed the Swiss portion of the tournament with Jeskai Turns and Naya Adventures. I’ve always felt the Naya deck was a bit underrated when people compared it to decks like Red or Gruul. Naya has a bit more card advantage with Showdown of the Skalds, and this can let it hang a bit better sometimes against sweepers and things of that nature.
For the the past week on Untapped.gg, for Platinum to Mythic, the deck has a solid 58.5 percent win rate, but I still think the deck is underrated.
Rogues fell off a cliff in terms of popularity, but it was the most popular and considered the best deck in Standard at one point. It used to be that if someone played a tournament or a few matches on ladder, it was surprising to not play against it. Now it’s basically the opposite.
I think part of the reason for this is that people started building their Sultai decks in a way that they had a good matchup against Rogues. Mono-Red and Gruul have a good game plan against Rogues too, so this has caused people to move on to other decks. For reference, the best finishing Rogues player in the championship was Yuta Takahashi in 13th place.
Untapped.gg currently has Rogues with a 56.3 percent win rate over the past week on the ladder from Platinum to Mythic in about 1,800 matches. This could be, in part, because a lot of the Rogues diehards are so strong with their deck after playing it for so long, or perhaps just an issue of selection bias, where stronger players are more likely to choose this kind of strategy. I’m not entirely sure though. Maybe it’s worth giving Rogues extra consideration though.
Cycling had a miss of a weekend, though it tends to be a hit or miss deck. It waxes and wanes, and tends to fall off a bit but then suddenly does great. The best finisher this weekend was Lars Luckhaupt in 15th place. The deck is strong and has a powerful plan and can easily pick off underprepared oppponents. The deck has a 59.4 percent win rate from Platinum to Mythic over the past week on Untapped.gg.
Once the king of Standard, this deck has become almost an afterthought. John Giradot made Top 8 with the deck, but there were no other in the top 32. Temur fell off the map in terms of popularity though and it’s rare to get paired against the deck at this point.
I think Izzet does a lot of what Temur tries to do by interacting cheaply, building advantage and using expensive finishers, but I think Izzet does it better, which has caused people to gravitate away from Temur and towards Izzet.
Temur doesn’t have enough matches on Untapped.gg in the past week for date, but if we extend back to April 15, it does show a rather high 57.6 percent win rate. This could be similar to the Rogues effect where the Temur diehards are still going okay, or it could be back weighted far enough that things have changed in the last three weeks.
The highest finishing Mono-White player was Michael Bernat in 25th place. That being said, Mono-White has the highest win rate in Platinum to Mythic over the past week according to Untapped.gg at 61.1 percent. I think part of this is because Mono-White is an aggro killer and I get the impression from playing that aggro decks are overrepresented on the ladder. This would make sense for why Mono-White overachieved there, while being underrepresented in the event.