The weekend of April 18-19 was the first weekend under the new Magic Online model where each format receives two Challenges per weekend. I wrote about what the format looked like before the release of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths on ChannelFireball and last weekend gave me a chance to see if my predictions were anywhere close to the mark.
First up was Saturday’s Challenge. A six round affair, it would help to test the hypothesis that the Sunday events were biased towards Americans and created a stagnant metagame that looked the same week to week. Despite there being 14 archetypes in the Top 32, the top of the metagame was largely familiar.
Boros Bully and Flicker Tron were the two most popular archetypes, each with five copies in the Top 32. Bully performed better with a Win+ of 4 compared to Flicker Tron’s Win+ of 3. Affinity won the tournament but both of its Win+ points came on the back of 4-2 records – it sneaked into the Top 8 and took out Bogles and two copies of Boros Monarch on its way to the victory.
There is not a lot to suss out from one event. Two Ikoria cards made their debut: Of One Mind and Ram Through. Other than that, however, it was business as usual.
Sunday’s challenge went seven rounds and the winner – on Flicker Tron – went the distance. Heisen01 didn’t drop a match. We went from 7 different archetypes in the Top 8 on Saturday to 5 on Sunday, with four of those being the same. On the weekend, Boros Bully took down 25% of the Top 8 slots and so did Flicker Tron. Flicker Tron took down a significant amount of Win+ points as well, showing off exactly why it is number one in my current Power Rankings. Also of note – Suffocating Fumes made an appearance in the maindeck of the Top 8 Dimir Delver.
So where does the format go from here? Flicker Tron and Boros Bully are the decks to beat and aside from Suffocating Fumes, there isn’t much in Ikoria that can attack either of the top dogs. Flicker Tron remains the deck to beat. Despite the fact that Boros Bully is a more popular deck, it performs about a win behind Flicker Tron.
Memory Leak is a card I am excited about but you need to be able to cast it quickly. It might be time to pair Llanowar Elves with Swamps, but that is going to lead to some awkward openings. How do you plan to approach the top of the metagame?