Frank Karsten Gutterbones Art

The Standard Metagame, Most-Played Cards, Win Rates, and Top Deck Lists from Grand Prix Portland

MagicFest Portland was home to the last Grand Prix of the year. This article collects all statistics and Standard developments from the event.

The Standard Metagame

On Saturday morning, 510 players enrolled in Grand Prix Portland. After eight rounds, 100 of them made the cut to Day 2, where six more rounds of Swiss decided the Top 8. Here is how the deck choices of all Grand Prix Portland competitors broke down.

DeckDay 1 fieldDay 2 fieldTop 8
Jund Sacrifice18.5%12.0%
Jeskai Fires13.7%15.0%1 player
Simic Flash11.2%11.0%2 players
Golgari Adventure7.8%9.0%
Rakdos Knights5.8%8.0%2 players
Simic Ramp5.0%8.0%
Gruul Adventure4.6%8.0%1 player
Izzet Flash3.6%5.0%
Mono-Red Aggro2.8%2.0%
Rakdos Sacrifice2.6%3.0%
Azorius Control2.2%4.0%
Temur Reclamation1.8%3.0%
Temur Adventure1.4%3.0%1 player
Golgari Sacrifice1.2%1.0%
Selesnya Adventure1.0%1.0%
Mardu Knights1.0%0.0%
Five-color Fires1.0%0.0%
Esper Dance0.8%0.0%
Golgari Midrange0.6%1.0%1 player

Even though Jund Sacrifice was the most-played deck overall, it did not manage to convert into a Top 8 finish.

The Most Played Cards

Here is the breakdown of the most played cards among deck lists submitted for Grand Prix Portland.

Card nameTotal number of copiesMain deckSideboard
Fabled Passage9329311
Lovestruck Beast756325431
Mystical Dispute755150605
Murderous Rider62155170
Overgrown Tomb6076070
Blood Crypt5775770
Bonecrusher Giant56350657
Stomping Ground5475470
Aether Gust537195342
Breeding Pool4694690
Witch’s Oven4614610
Cauldron Familiar4604582
Gilded Goose4554550
Noxious Grasp4519442
Castle Vantress4414410
Shifting Ceratops44020420
Paradise Druid4404400
Steam Vents4284280
Temple of Mystery4234230
Mayhem Devil4164142
Thrashing Brontodon416155261
Casualties of War41232092
Teferi, Time Raveler4013992
Hallowed Fountain3913910
Brazen Borrower38937415
Trail of Crumbs3863824
Growth Spiral3843840
Nissa, Who Shakes the World3623557
Temple of Epiphany3353350

As u/Aextasis wittingly wrote on Reddit: “There are five basic lands in MTG: Forest, Mountain, Island, Swamp, and Fabled Passage”.

Indeed, the list of most-played cards does show that white is pretty bad in Standard right now.

The Win Rates

The following table provides the match win rates in non-bye, non-mirror matches across all 15 rounds at the Grand Prix. The confidence intervals are based on a 95% confidence level under the normal approximation to the binomial distribution.

DeckTotal win-loss record and win rate
Jund Sacrifice245-256 (49% +/- 4%)
Jeskai Fires223-198 (53% +/- 5%)
Simic Flash181-178 (50% +/- 5%)
Golgari Adventure134-134 (50% +/- 6%)
Rakdos Knights123-93 (57% +/- 7%)
Simic Ramp97-86 (53% +/- 7%)
Gruul Adventure101-78 (56% +/- 7%)
Izzet Flash78-68 (53% +/- 8%)
Mono-Red Aggro40-55 (42% +/- 10%)
Rakdos Sacrifice49-49 (50% +/- 10%)
Azorius Control51-35 (59% +/- 10%)
Temur Reclamation39-28 (58% +/- 12%)
Temur Adventure37-28 (57% +/- 12%)
Golgari Sacrifice19-26 (42% +/- 14%)
Selesnya Adventure23-17 (58% +/- 15%)
Mardu Knights18-15 (55% +/- 17%)
Five-color Fires11-16 (41% +/- 19%)

Looking over these numbers, Rakdos Knights and Gruul Adventure overperformed. It is a good time to be running Embercleave right now.

The Winning Deck

Rakdos Knights

Dylan Nollen, Grand Prix Portland champion

9 Swamp
6 Mountain
4 Blood Crypt
1 Castle Locthwain
4 Tournament Grounds
4 Blacklance Paragon
2 Bonecrusher Giant/Stomp
4 Fervent Champion
4 Gutterbones
4 Knight of the Ebon Legion
2 Murderous Rider/Swift End
4 Rotting Regisaur
4 Stormfist Crusader
4 Drill Bit
4 Embercleave

2 Cavalier of Night
3 Embereth Shieldbreaker/Battle Display
2 Epic Downfall
2 Legion's End
1 Massacre Girl
2 Noxious Grasp
1 Sorcerous Spyglass
2 Spawn of Mayhem

Dylan Nollen went undefeated all weekend long. He chose Rakdos Knights because he had a “very good win rate on Arena” with the deck and because he felt “the U/G matchups are free wins.” His deck choice worked out perfectly.

Dylan Nollen

He went 14-0-1 in the Swiss and continued his winning streak in the Top 8. He won the final game of the tournament in style: with a Rotting Regisaur wielding a lethal Embercleave.

The Spiciest New Deck

Golgari Midrange 

Felix Sloo, 3rd at Grand Prix Portland

9 Forest
7 Swamp
1 Castle Locthwain
1 Fabled Passage
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Temple of Malady
4 Leyline Prowler
2 Massacre Girl
4 Murderous Rider/Swift End
4 Paradise Druid
3 Questing Beast
3 Nissa, Who Shakes the World
3 Vivien, Arkbow Ranger
1 Vraska, Golgari Queen
3 Casualties of War
2 Epic Downfall
2 Finale of Eternity
2 Noxious Grasp
1 Find/Finality

3 Duress
2 Legion's End
2 Noxious Grasp
2 Return to Nature
2 Shifting Ceratops
1 Sorcerous Spyglass
3 Lovestruck Beast/Heart's Desire

Felix Sloo is a well-known brewer who finally reached his first Grand Prix Top 8 with a deck of his own design. As he explained in his two-minute Deck Tech video, a lot of the best decks in Standard right now are using a lot of low-power cards together and winning with synergies. Given that, he wanted to play “a lot of individually high-power cards and removal, remove one of their lower-power cards, take the synergy away, and force their low-power cards to match up against my high-power cards.” This makes sense, and it paid off for him in Portland.

Leyline ProwlerVivien, Arkbow RangerNissa, Who Shakes the World

One of the more unique cards in his deck was Leyline Prowler, which most of his opponents had to read. It’s good at stemming aggression—it can block 1-drops and 2-drops effectively and bigger creatures like Rotting Regisaur—and curves excellently into either of his planeswalkers. With Vivien, he can immediately attack with a 4/5 deathtouch, trample, and lifelink. He can also use Leyline Prowler to ramp into a turn-4 Nissa.

Hundreds of Additional Standard Deck Lists Are Available

Including Dylan and Felix, the Top 8 decks were 2x Rakdos Knights, 2x Simic Flash, G/B Midrange, Jeskai Fires, Temur Adventure, and R/G Adventure. All Top 8 deck lists are available here.

If you’re hungry for more Standard decks, then you can also check out ALL Grand Prix deck lists in final standing order. In terms of interesting brews with decent results, I personally liked Richard Neal’s G/W Adventure featuring Huatli’s Raptor, Wilson Miller’s B/W Discard featuring Burglar Rat, and Bolun Zhang’s Mono-Red Aggro featuring Embercleave. Standard is still filled with possibilities.

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