This week’s article will be a bit different from the usual word on word violence you usually see in my articles. I’ve gotten many questions about what exactly the MODO metagame consists of, and as a result, I’ve decided to do a metagame breakdown for the online Standard events going on every day. This should give some actual insight into what I’m usually referring to when I talk about the metagame and why I always laugh when people say they beat Jund.
Let’s get right into the numbers, shall we?
11/2 – 11/9 Daily Event Archetype Breakdowns
Number of events: 20
Jund – 29
GW / GBW Aggro – 8
Boros – 6
Stupid Green – 5
Vampires – 5
RDW – 5
WW – 4
Cascade Control – 2
G/R Valkuut – 2
Naya – 2
Other – 3
Jund – 100
Boros – 36
WW – 27
Stupid Green – 20
GW / GBW Aggro – 18
G/R Valkuut – 17
Vampires – 12
Naya – 11
RDW – 10
Cascade Control – 8
Esper Control -5
Crabs – 5
Other – 14
Premier Event Results
Number of events: 3
Jund – 8
Vampires – 4
Boros – 4
GW / GWB Aggro – 3
Midrange White – 2
WW – 1
G/R Valkuut – 1
Cascade Control – 1
I apologize in advance if I miscounted when going over the results or accidentally misclassified a deck. However you can see some basic facts drawn from this data.
1. Jund is the dominant deck online and it isn’t even close
129 Jund decks prized in the Daily Events along with twice as many placements as the next deck in Premier Events. This is what people mean when they come from a MODO perspective and talk about the Jund issue. The simple fact is if you don’t have a deck that at least has a 50/50 shot against Jund pre and post-board, you don’t exist in this metagame. This is why random forum people get laughed at when they went 4-0 at their local FNM and beat up Jund two times in a row. Constructed players have to play Jund at least once in almost every single 8-man and two or three times for every Daily Event unless they lucked out.
Practically every single Daily Event had a third to half of listed decks as Jund, which amazes me. I can’t remember the last time the metagame was skewed so much toward one deck for more than a week or two on the online metagame. Just one more tiny detail to share: almost a third of those Jund decks were budget builds running 0-2 Maelstrom Pulse and no Verdant Catacombs. It didn’t seem to make a whole lot of difference in the grand scheme of crushing every other deck in existence.
2. Stupid Green took off later in the week
Many of you know Stupid Green won the SCG 5k in Nashville this weekend. Anyone who read my article earlier in the week knew about this deck, and knew that it had some actual strengths and wasn’t some cute joke deck. Some of the commenters in the last article would do well to remember that next time they decide to declare something unplayable and then recommend some god-awful deck in its place. On a personal funny note, this would be the second time I was right about a Mono Green deck succeeding at a 5k, the last time being when Safehold Elite was SO GOOD.
3. Jund and Boros are clearly the decks to beat, but second place is open to competition
Nobody can deny Jund is The Deck and everything should be focused around beating that first. However there’s a notable supply of decks, specifically of the Green and/or White variety, which have comparable numbers to Boros decks. WW in particular has been doing quite well online, despite being lambasted as a budget only choice and just worse than Boros or GW. Turns out Emeria Angel is no joke when backed by Honor of the Pure, Ajani Goldmane and Brave the Elements. I’ll just post the list from Bolov0 again if you didn’t see FFFreak’s article last Friday.
Another “online-only’ deck that sees a lot of play due to the dirt-cheap nature of the deck is the Valkuut Ramp decks. Here’s one example that 4-0’d a Daily Event this week.
G/R Valkuut by _Joseph_
The main idea behind the deck is simple enough: ramp out extra lands while using burn, Bloodbraid Elf and Siege-Gang Command to protect yourself. Once you hit the requisite five Mountains plus Valakut in play, the deck can go nuts since many of your topdecks guarantee hitting one or more land drops with Bogardan Hellkite as the large finisher. Note that there’s a variety of high-end spells people play in these decks though; ranging from Lavaball Trap to Warp World to Chandra Ablaze, and others. My personal preference is running the Chandra Planeswalker package, since they can defend immediately and aren’t restricted by insane mana costs. Maindeck Goblin Ruinblaster has also become more of a common sight due to the huge number of Jund decks online, where the Ruinblaster can buy a significant amount of time.
The last deck I want to talk about is the Crabs deck attributed to Shota Yasooka.
Since the deck cost literally nothing to make at the time it was spoiled (Now Traumatize is 1 or more, Crypt is 1-2 and Extractor Demon is 2), I immediately threw it together after harassing LSV for lacking Crypt of Agadeem. I’ll get this out of the way first: the deck CAN beat Jund. In fact the game one it has against Jund is actually one of the better ones in the format, because the deck really doesn’t do anything to stop its plan from functioning. Blightning is usually a boon for this deck and Lightning Bolt is the only way Jund has to stop Hedron Crab from going nuts early.
Unfortunately post-board, many Jund decks run a full set of Jund Charm which makes life awkward for you. Duress and Negate (Or Spell Pierce!) do a good job of defense and is usually enough to beat a single Jund Charm, but if they draw / Cascade into multiples then the deck has a real hard time winning. Most of the problems stem from the lack of blockers the deck has, with Rotting Rats and Hedron Crab being the only creatures that can do anything until you build up your graveyard for Crypt mana. Goblin Ruinblaster is also a pain for this reason, but it’s a heck of a lot easier hitting a 2nd Crypt than seeing your grave removed.
Red decks are impossible to beat and really underline the fundamental problem of Traumatize costing five. I’ve been very tempted to switch over to Tome Scour just so I could get some more work out of my Islands and non-cycling cards in my hand. Crabs is a fundamentally flawed deck, but it dominates slow decks much in the way that Cascade Control does. Crabs is doing something fundamentally unfair in a fashion that traditional midrange and control decks simply cannot deal with unless they run narrow cards to stop you. That said, you still want to keep Infest around and likely replace Deathmark with Disfigure or Agony Warp to help against quick aggro builds. If all you want is an anti-Boros sideboard then I’d suggest Infest, Marsh Casualties (Kills all the Landfall guys) and Agony Warp in a neat package. You have to board out a lot of your more expensive Unearth creatures and rely more on the cycling package plus Hedron Crab, but that’s just how it is.
Email me at: joshDOTsilvestriATgmailDOTcom
p.s. I’d like to thank two of my readers, Danielle and Richard for loaning me some of the missing cards I needed for testing on Magic Online. Thanks a lot you two!