Folks, I’m here to tell you that Affinity is good.
Shocker, I know.
Here is a chart breaking down the macro-archetypes from the first four weeks of Pauper’s Crimson Vow season. While this does not tell the whole story it does give a pretty good image of what is going on:
Affinity is the clear best deck in the format. Recent builds have opted to forego Thoughtcast and Prophetic Prism in favor of Wedding Invitation to provide yet another way to make Atog lethal. Whether it’s Grixis or Rakdos, Affinity is a confirmed monster, with nearly twice the volume and win share of the next best macro archetype. It also has 32 out of 72 recorded Top 8 slots and 4 wins out of 9 tournaments.
Like I said, Affinity is good.
After a significant gap the next best decks are all clustered together. Faeries, Ephemerate/Flicker decks, and Boros all make a clear Tier 1.5 when compared to Affinity’s Tier 0. Boros might be the most impressive of these archetypes. Buoyed by Bully, which has an easier time running Dust to Dust main than most decks, the deck has picked up steam. There’s another version running around which leans harder on small life advantages from cards like Lunarch Veteran and Sacred Cat. This build still is Boros Bully, but takes a slightly different approach in its creature base.
The emergence of Rakdos Affinity and Lunarch Bully are two trends from the past month. The other major trend is the decline of Dimir Faeries and the rise of regular Delver. The latest Delver builds have a more aggressive slant, leaning on Mutagenic Growth and cards like Force Spike to press their advantage. That being said, Delver is still under 5% of the Top 32 metagame and has just over 7.25% of the winner’s share.
So where does the format go from here? There are no new cards hitting the scene for several months so unless a ban is coming down the pike we can expect the metagame to largely resemble this one heading into 2022. Affinity is not going to go quietly and, despite the sideboard and main deck slots we’ve seen dedicated to dismantling the machine, it still succeeds. My advice is to have a good plan of the metal menace or just accept it as a bad matchup and try to beat the other major players.