Let’s cut right to the chase. The following chart tracks the top decks from the post-ban Challenges except for one from late January that did not post. Decks in blue met the 2% threshold of at least 4 Top 32 appearances in that span. Decks in red have a Top 8 finish but failed to meet that same appearance threshold.
Affinity had a great stretch leading some to wonder aloud if the bans had any impact. Looking at Affinity’s combined volume here, it is below 20%. In the Crimson Vow Challenges before the ban Affinity combined to take down nearly 30% of the metagame. When it came to Weighted meta, Affinity topped 32% whereas here it is still under 20%. In other words, the bans did work in weakening Affinity without killing it outright.
With that out of the way, we can extrapolate from the top decks moving into Neon Dynasty season might be: Affinity clearly will remain a force in the format, as will Faeries and Boros Bully. Beyond that, things get murky.
Bogles could get a boost with the latest set thanks to an Enchantment-matters theme. Goblin Combo could add Experimental Synthesizer to the mix as a way to churn through their deck. Mono Black Control has the potential to put up results provided it can keep up with the metagame. And let’s not forget Faerie decks get another Ninja to add to the squad…
The future is far more fluid, however. Neon Dynasty is jam packed with powerful cards that could reshape the format just as easily as enhance existing options. I cannot remember a Standard legal set that had this much Pauper potential. While I am concerned that the rich are going to get richer once the new set hits digital shelves, I am just as optimistic that we are going to see a ton of new decks spring into existence.