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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.

Deck Day 1 field Day 2 field Top 8
Jund Sacrifice 18.5% 12.0%
Jeskai Fires 13.7% 15.0% 1 player
Simic Flash 11.2% 11.0% 2 players
Golgari Adventure 7.8% 9.0%
Rakdos Knights 5.8% 8.0% 2 players
Simic Ramp 5.0% 8.0%
Gruul Adventure 4.6% 8.0% 1 player
Izzet Flash 3.6% 5.0%
Mono-Red Aggro 2.8% 2.0%
Rakdos Sacrifice 2.6% 3.0%
Azorius Control 2.2% 4.0%
Temur Reclamation 1.8% 3.0%
Temur Adventure 1.4% 3.0% 1 player
Golgari Sacrifice 1.2% 1.0%
Selesnya Adventure 1.0% 1.0%
Mardu Knights 1.0% 0.0%
Five-color Fires 1.0% 0.0%
Esper Dance 0.8% 0.0%
Golgari Midrange 0.6% 1.0% 1 player
Other 13.4% 6.0%

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 name Total number of copies Main deck Sideboard
Forest 1946 1944 2
Mountain 1123 1120 3
Island 1077 1075 2
Swamp 1068 1068 0
Fabled Passage 932 931 1
Lovestruck Beast 756 325 431
Mystical Dispute 755 150 605
Murderous Rider 621 551 70
Overgrown Tomb 607 607 0
Blood Crypt 577 577 0
Bonecrusher Giant 563 506 57
Stomping Ground 547 547 0
Duress 545 17 528
Aether Gust 537 195 342
Breeding Pool 469 469 0
Witch’s Oven 461 461 0
Cauldron Familiar 460 458 2
Gilded Goose 455 455 0
Noxious Grasp 451 9 442
Castle Vantress 441 441 0
Shifting Ceratops 440 20 420
Paradise Druid 440 440 0
Steam Vents 428 428 0
Temple of Mystery 423 423 0
Mayhem Devil 416 414 2
Thrashing Brontodon 416 155 261
Casualties of War 412 320 92
Teferi, Time Raveler 401 399 2
Hallowed Fountain 391 391 0
Brazen Borrower 389 374 15
Trail of Crumbs 386 382 4
Growth Spiral 384 384 0
Nissa, Who Shakes the World 362 355 7
Temple of Epiphany 335 335 0
Plains 331 331 0

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.

Deck Total win-loss record and win rate
Jund Sacrifice 245-256 (49% +/- 4%)
Jeskai Fires 223-198 (53% +/- 5%)
Simic Flash 181-178 (50% +/- 5%)
Golgari Adventure 134-134 (50% +/- 6%)
Rakdos Knights 123-93 (57% +/- 7%)
Simic Ramp 97-86 (53% +/- 7%)
Gruul Adventure 101-78 (56% +/- 7%)
Izzet Flash 78-68 (53% +/- 8%)
Mono-Red Aggro 40-55 (42% +/- 10%)
Rakdos Sacrifice 49-49 (50% +/- 10%)
Azorius Control 51-35 (59% +/- 10%)
Temur Reclamation 39-28 (58% +/- 12%)
Temur Adventure 37-28 (57% +/- 12%)
Golgari Sacrifice 19-26 (42% +/- 14%)
Selesnya Adventure 23-17 (58% +/- 15%)
Mardu Knights 18-15 (55% +/- 17%)
Five-color Fires 11-16 (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

Sideboard
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

Sideboard
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.

Discussion

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