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The 5 Most Important Standard Decks After Worlds

Last weekend, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa finally took home the trophy he always wanted, winning Magic World Championship XXVI. Congratulations to him!

But which Standard decks performed the best at the event? The format structure was unusual, with draft feeding various double-elimination group stages and a Top 8 lower bracket that was best-of-three matches rather than best-of-three games. Accordingly, it’s a bit of a mess to unravel the actual match results of the event. For this article, I’ve attempted to do just that. I will also provide the best-performing lists for the four major archetypes.

The matches were played between the best players in the world, but with only 16 competitors, sample sizes are tiny and can’t lead to hard conclusions. So please take the win rates as indicative and interesting, but no more than that—random variance will be a major factor.

Temur Reclamation

Out of four total Temur Reclamation players, Jean-Emmanuel Depraz had the best Standard record. He went 4-2 with the following list:

Temur Reclamation (Standard)

Notable about his list is his card draw suite: Depraz preferred Chemister’s Insight and Opt over the more common playsets of Omen of the Sea and Thassa’s Intervention.

Combining the match results of all Temur Reclamation players, it appears that the archetype had a relatively poor showing overall, mainly due to a poor matchup against Mono-Red Aggro.

Total Match Result: 10-14

vs. Azorius Control: 2-1
vs. Temur Reclamation: 1-1
vs. Mono-Red Aggro: 2-8
vs. Jeskai Fires: 4-3
vs. Jund Sacrifice: 1-1

Jeskai Fires

Out of four total Jeskai Fires players, Marcio Carvalho had the best Standard record. He went 6-3 with the following list. (The vast majority of his matches were played against Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa.)

Jeskai Reclamation (Standard)

Dream Trawler and main-deck Aether Gust were somewhat unusual choices, but they worked out well for Carvalho. He scored yet another second-place finish at a World Championship.

Combining the match results of all Jeskai Fires players, the following numbers emerge.

Total Match Result: 16-16

vs. Azorius Control: 4-5
vs. Temur Reclamation: 3-4
vs. Mono-Red Aggro: 7-5
vs. Jeskai Fires: 1-1
vs. Jund Sacrifice: 1-1

Azorius Control

Out of three total Azorius Control players, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa had the best Standard record. He went 6-3 with the following list. (The vast majority of his matches were played against Marcio Carvalho.)

Blue-White Control (Standard)

Rather than jamming 4 Dream Trawler—an expensive 6-mana sorcery—the Czech Magic House slimmed down the number of creatures to two and relies more heavily on Archon of Sun’s Grace as a win condition. This will likely become the stock build of the deck going forward.

Combining the match results of all Azorius Control players, the following numbers emerge.

Total Match Result: 9-8

vs. Azorius Control: 1-1
vs. Temur Reclamation: 1-2
vs. Mono-Red Aggro: 2-1
vs. Jeskai Fires: 5-4

Mono-Red Aggro

Out of four total Mono-Red players, it wasn’t third-place finisher Seth Manfield who had the best Standard record. Due to the weird bracket structure, it was sixth-place finisher Sebastián Pozzo. He went 5-1 with the following list.

Mono-Red Aggro (Standard)

A notable aspect of his main deck is that he went lower to the ground with a pair of Grim Initiates and Infuriates instead of Bonecrusher Giants.

Combining the match results of all Mono-Red Aggro players, the deck had the best overall win rate, although this was mainly because it faced its best matchup in Temur Reclamation quite frequently.

TOTAL MATCH RESULT: 17-14

vs. Azorius Control: 1-2
vs. Temur Reclamation: 8-2
vs. Mono-Red Aggro: 3-3
vs. Jeskai Fires: 5-7

Conclusion

If we take the win-loss records as representative—and ignore the inaccuracy due to the small sample sizes—then the only bad matchup for Azorius Control was Temur Reclamation, whose only bad matchup was Mono-Red, whose main bad matchup was Jeskai Fires, which in turn lost to Azorius Control. This dynamic, if true, could lead to a dynamic and diverse Standard.

And it doesn’t even include any of the Cauldron Familiar decks. Piotr Glogowski, the sole Jund Sacrifice player at the World Championship, went 2-2 in Standard, but Azorius Control player Ondrej Strasky wrote that it was “the matchup I wanted to face the least in the tournament.” Perhaps with PVDDR’s victory, we might see a resurgence of Cauldron Familiar decks.

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