Archetype Results from Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica
The major headline from Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica was that red-white aggro, and variants, took six of the Top 8 and it is the deck to beat in the current meta. As always with the PT, the best Standard deck is not always clear because of the six draft rounds. PT finalist Luis Scott-Vargas and others, such as Bryan Gottlieb have given us reason to believe that the draft portion may have skewed the results in favor of the red-white aggro decks. But how did those decks actually perform against the other major archetypes?
Pulling Data TogetherTo look at the actual records between various archetypes, I first scraped all the results of the Standard rounds (4-8, 12-16) and matched those up with the decklists Wizards provided, which are for all of the players who finished 6-4 or better in the Standard rounds. I also included a handful of others who were in a feature match but did not finish with six Standard wins, but it was overwhelmingly players with very good finishes, making it similar to a day-two meta. After making a reddit post with the initial results, many people have filled in the decks of many players and greatly expanded the sample sizes. You can help by filling in this sheet with player archetypes. Any help would be greatly appreciated and would improve the sample sizes.
ResultsFirst, some big takeaways:
- Red-white aggro put up very medium results. It wasn't the worst, but was also far from the best standard deck at the PT.
- Mono-red aggro crushed the red-white aggro decks, and didn't do badly against Golgari, but struggled against both Izzet Drakes and the various control decks.
- Control was essentially 50/50 against the red-white aggro decks, Izzet Drakes and Golgari and did very well against mono-red aggro.
- Golgari was close to even in all matchups.
- Izzet Drakes was the best deck in the tournament. It was essentially even against control and Golgari and did very well against the aggro decks.
You can find all the data here if you want to dig through it, but let's go over all of the archetypes in more detail.
Wizards divided the white-based aggro decks, with various numbers of red spells, into three archetypes: Red-White Aggro, Boros Aggro and White Weenie. Here are the distinctions:
- Boros Aggro decks are actually red-white, running Boros cards such as Boros Challenger and Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice in the maindeck. They typically runs at least one basic Mountain.
- Red-White Aggro are essentially mono-white decks with a red splash either for Heroic Reinforcements or sideboard cards like Experimental Frenzy. They typically run Benalish Marshal.
- White Weenie decks have far more one drops such as Snubhorn Sentry and typically rely on Venerated Loxodon to pump the team.
Looking at all of these types combined, the white-based aggro decks put up good numbers against Golgari (34-27, 56%) and were essentially even against control (22-21, 51%) but did quite badly against Izzet Drakes (13-24, 35%) and mono-red aggro (6-18, 25%).
Looking at the different types of white-based aggro separately can be problematic because of sample-size issues. One matchup does jump out, though - Golgari. The red-white version, running Benalish Marshal instead of the Boros creatures in the maindeck, put up an impressive 27-14 record against Golgari but the true Boros version struggled, going 3-11. That's a pretty big gap, even at these sample sizes, so it seems like the red-white version matchups up better with Golgari.
The mono-red aggro decks seemed tuned to beat up on the white decks, and the results show it. In the sample we have, the all-in red decks went 18-6 (75%) against the various red-white aggro decks. They also went 17-14 against Golgari. Many have expressed surprise at mono-red's awful results against the blue decks: 9-20 (31%) against control and just 6-14 (30%) against the Izzet Drakes. Maybe they got caught in the crossfire of those decks being tuned to beat white aggro?
As just mentioned, control decks put up nice results against mono-red (20-9, 69%). They essentially broke even against the other decks, going 11-10 (52%) against Izzet Drakes, 21-22 (49%) versus white aggro and 19-20 (49%) against Golgari.
25 of the 36 control decks in our sample were Jeskai. Jeskai decks did a touch better than the other variants, but we can't rule out it being noise.
Doing its best Jund impression, Golgari played all of the major matchups close to 50/50, mostly on the wrong side. Golgari decks went 20-19 vs control, 16-19 vs Izzet Drakes, 14-17 vs mono-red aggro and 27-34 vs white aggro.
Saving the best for last, the Izzet Drakes deck should have been the breakout deck of the Pro Tour. While early on it was viewed as very good against Golgari but weak to aggro, that is no longer the case with the pro-tuned version. Drake decks put up an impressive 14-6 (70%) record against mono-red aggro and went 24-13 (65%) versus red-white aggro. To round things out, they basically broke even against Golgari (19-16, 54%) and control (10-11, 48%).
Despite the red-white decks dominating the Top 8, the actual Standard results from the PT point to Izzet Drakes being the current best deck in Standard. The new-and-improved PT versions matched up well against the aggro decks were decent against Golgari and control. If you are looking for a deck to play this weekend, that seems like the place to start.