Extended Metagame Breakdown and Rogue Decks

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With the largest Constructed Pro Tour of all time on our hands and Dredge rumored to be the deck to beat coming into the weekend, more than a few people were surprised to see the diversity within what players actually chose to run. If Pro Tour–Valencia has been anything, it has been creative. From figuring out what to do with the event during a weather disaster to handling an LCQ not able to reach its climax, everyone here has been forced to use their thinking caps in one way or another. The players, of course, are no different and the archetypes represented during the three rounds of Swiss on Sunday are numerous. Nearly thirty different deck types are represented amongst the Day Two competitors, with Gifts Rock, Goblins, and Enduring Ideal the overall favorites. Overall, we pegged the archetype count approaching 40 when you take into consideration decks that didn’t make Day Two.

(Note: This count shows only 418 out of the 424 decks. Chalk up the missing decklists to the end of a very hectic weekend.)

Deck Type Overall Day One Day Two Day Two %
Affinity 38 35 3 7.9%
Dredge 38 34 4 10.5%
Ideal Ideal 38 30 8 21.1%
Goblins 38 30 8 21.1%
Domain/Zoo 36 32 4 11.1%
RDW (with black and green splashes) 27 23 4 14.8%
Scepter Chant 22 20 2 9.1%
Gifts Rock 20 11 9 45.0%
Aggro Rock/Flow 20 19 1 5.0%
Black-blue-green 18 17 1 5.6%
Rock 14 12 2 14.3%
Counterbalance Goyf 13 8 5 38.5%
TEPS 12 10 2 16.7%
Cephalid Breakfast 11 8 3 27.3%
Top-A-Tog 10 10 0 0.0%
Aggro Loam 9 8 1 11.1%
Blue-green Tron 7 4 3 42.9%
Borgoyf 6 6 0 0.0%
Tings 6 5 1 16.7%
Tings Ideal (Balanduring) 5 5 0 0.0%
Blue-white Tron 5 3 2 40.0%
Tooth Rock 2 0 2 100.0%
Gargadon 3 3 0 0.0%
White-blue-black 2 2 0 0.0%
Green-white Aggro 2 2 0 0.0%
Wizards 2 2 0 0.0%
Blue-black Tog 2 1 1 50.0%
Monoblue Control 1 1 0 0.0%
Elf Opposition 1 1 0 0.0%
Wake 1 1 0 0.0%
Monoblack Control 1 1 0 0.0%
White-blue-green 1 1 0 0.0%
Staff of Domination combo 1 1 0 0.0%
Blue-red-white 1 1 0 0.0%
Draco Explosion (Dragon Quest) 1 1 0 0.0%
Red-blue-green 1 1 0 0.0%
Blue-Green Goyf Tog 1 0 1 100.0%
Blue-white-green 2 2 0 0.0%

Dredge was one of the more popular choices on the weekend with a full 34 players running it without making Day 2. Affinity was also a very popular choice clocking in with 35 players, which may explain while the dealers at the venue were completely sold out of Hurkyl's Recalls by Saturday night. Scepter Chant saw a surprising 20 entrants with the combo deck, but its turnover to Day Two was not very high and its 20 supporters may be surprising only because it is often underrepresented on Magic Online due to the high prices of some older cards from Invasion Block which are used in the deck.

There were a few surprises nestled within the numbers as well. A few brave souls opted to give their pet decks a try. Giles Reid ran a deck similar to the Blue-green Opposition lists that sprang up during last Extended season's PTQs. This time he added an extra element to the arsenal: Intruder Alarm and Sprout Swarm. The combo allows the deck to make "infinite" tokens once it has reached five creatures in play (provided at least one of them is green). He credited Stuart Wright with the deck's design.

Another crew running an innovative list, oddly reminiscent of their U.S. Nationals Standard Deck, were Ben Rubin, Gerard Fabiano, and Antonino De Rosa. Ben's version of the deck looked like this:

While the American trio was busy innovating with an entirely new deck, other players focused on innovating pre-existing archetypes. One such pioneer was Bastien Loddo who managed to find the room to squeeze an Opposition engine into his Goblins list.

Finally, we'd like to present one of the more interesting rogue strategies from Pro Tour-Valencia. Samuel Korsell chose to play a BG deck capable of producing infinite mana. How was he able to do so? Through a combination of Cabal Coffers, Staff of Domination, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, and Natural Affinity. By playing Natural Affinity Korsell could turn his Coffers into a creature. That in turn made it a legitimate untap target for the Staff of Domination, and the Coffers, powered up by all of Korsell's lands being Swamps thanks to Urborg, could then tap to make enough mana to untap both itself and the Staff of Domination. The end result? Death for the opponent!

While the nature of these decks (all ended play on Day One, failing to advance) leaves their continued viability in question, one thing is certain: their designers were certainly thinking outside the box. Considering Pro Tour-Valencia as a whole, that seems pretty much par for the course.

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