It feels weird to write about Magic today without talking about the Elemental in the room but I’m going to give it a shot. This past weekend there were two more Pauper Challenges (no PTQs this time) and, well, not a lot has changed. Zendikar Rising has yet to make a massive impact, instead offering only a boost to existing strategies. Instead, the status quo largely remains.
A six round tournament on Saturday saw Flicker Tron come out on top. Dimir Faeries was tied with Tron for the most popular deck in the Top 32 but ended up with more Win+ points – Tron had one player with a Win+ of -1 thanks to a 2-4 finish in the Top 32.
Sunday’s seven round Challenge had five players finish with a 3-4 record, which knocks Dimir Faeries down a peg. Even with these results we are getting a fairly clear view of the metgame. And, well, it looks familiar.
We are five events into this season and Flicker Tron has 27.5% of all Top 8s (or a clean 30% if you want to include Skyfisher Tron). The next two best decks (measured by Top 8 appearances) are Boros Bully and Dimir Faeries with 4 a piece. Simply put, Flicker Tron is a lap or two ahead of the field.
What is most alarming, this early in the season, is how much better Tron is in the Winner’s metagame than every other archetype. When taking the weighted volume of its Win+ score, Tron has 22% of wins over X-3 as opposed to only about 15% of total Winner’s volume. The delta of 7% is nearly five times greater than the next best delta (1.46%, Bogles). Now this is early in the season but it should give the format something to watch. Maybe this is just an early spike, fueled by a larger than normal number of negative finishes.
One can only hope.
The bigger thing to take away from this weekend is the rise of Boros Bully. While never actually dead, the deck has taken a backseat as of late to its more midrange cousin. Perhaps the ability to go wide and get around Dimir Faeries largely point removal has proven to be a turning point, giving Battle Screech a chance to shine once again.
Next week, I would be sure to come with extra copies of Suffocating Fumes and Shrivel at the ready, not to mention a way to take out a Lumithread Field.
But that’s just me.