About this article: This is a weekly report on the online Pauper meta. The data it uses are from last Wednesday to this Wednesday. It looks at the data that Tom the Scud collects from a selection of dailies. He watches the replays on MTGO to figure out how each person did, not just the 3-1s and 4-0s that Wizards publishes. This allows us to see the whole iceberg and figure out how well each deck did in total. Now, this data is just for this week and just from the data Tom collects, so it does ignore the other 3-1/4-0 results which means it is not perfect. Additionally, the conclusions in this article are just based on this week, and as the meta is fluid, the top decks shift. This is intended to see what decks are performing well this week and is not necessarily a reflection of the deck’s overall strength.
This article uses data from the 5/28, 5/29 evening, 5/31 afternoon, and 5/31 evening (courtesy of Patrick Johnson) results
Welcome to the new season! As Modern Masters 2015 was officially added for Pauper this week, and new cards are available, decks can really shift in the meta. The big story out of MMA2015 was [C]Gut Shot[/C], yet the ping spell did not seem to ping into decklists as it was in 0 of the 29 Wizards reported 4-0 lists (which is a different data set than the one looked at here). One of the main reasons for this is because of the graphs below. Gut Shot is not good versus 5 of the top 8 decks (MBC, Burn, Affinity, Boros Kitty, and UB Angler) which make up 50% of the meta. The deck it is arguably best against (Delver) only made up 6% of the meta. Still, the card is new and I would expect it to grow in popularity as more people get their hands on the card and test it out.
There are 4 really large takeaways from these graphs. First, Burn has moved up to being a dominant presence in the meta, but did not advance to the cash as much as it did previously. Second, Esper Fae Combo again had a huge week as the 7th most popular deck in total, but was the 3rd most popular deck from the 3-1s and 4-0s which is a massive jump. Third, and potentially the strangest, is that the other decks actually improved from the total to the cash, something very rarely seen. As the other category often includes suboptimal decks that go 0-2 or new brews, the most established decks in the category really had a huge week. A ton of interest decks cashed like Bant Midrange, Rhystic Tron, Grixis Contrl, Infect, RB Control, etc. This means that the meta is ripe for innovation and for rogue decks to do really well. Lastly, UR Fiend and W Tokens dropped under the 5% mark and were not included in these graphs. W Tokens is unsurprising, but UR Fiend just barely was under the limit with only 2 less copies than UB Angler. It’ll be here again. The last graph looks at how the best decks did in terms of cash rate and win rate last week.
This really demonstrates how much Esper Fae and Delver were ahead of the curve this week, despite being two of the decks most vulnerable to Gut Shot. The rest of the top decks all did a bit under the curve with all of them (excluding the newcomer Boros Kitty) getting less than a 30% cash rate and under 50% win rates, but just by a bit. That means that all of these decks were slightly below average, or in UB Angler’s case, way below average. This was a week that was taken by the rogue decks and it begs the question – is this variance, or just how the meta will go?
Thanks for reading! -Najay1
1. Esper Fae Combo – Making up only 5.39% of the meta, this continual force put up a 62.50% cash rate and a 71.19% win rate. This deck has been consistently above par, but still faces a major problem in dealing with it. The deck is potentially the best deck in the format (it has been recently), but rarely picks up new players and makes it so that its popularity is low enough that it may be correct not to sideboard for the matchup. That way it is hard to devote slots against a deck when it isn’t seen all that often. It is probably best to have cards that are good against this deck, but also great against other top decks if you want to beat it. If Gut Shot can be more popular, it may make the deck a bit worse, but until something happens, expect Esper Fae to continue comboing off into the winner’s circle.
2. Goblins – The old red force has not been seen too much of recently, but was able to get 4.38% of the meta this week (similar to past weeks) and put up very strong results. With a 53.85% cash rate and 62.22% win rate, the deck put up very strong results through 13 pilots. Despite the strong results, I doubt the deck will put up better results than this week. With a deck very reliant on having 2-3 lands, if it draws too many, or too few, the deck can be screwed. A very similar deck is Affinity, but Affinity has a much higher power level when working full speed – and is much harder to get a great start. I like the deck, and it deserves to be a solid T2 deck, but I doubt it will dominate the meta anytime soon.
3. Delver – Another strong week for one of the best decks in Pauper. Although it remained low in popularity, the deck put up a 47.37% cash rate and a 60.56% win rate. With 16 decks between 4-0 and 2-X, and only 3 worse, this deck looks to be one of the best in the metagame. Yet, there is a problem. A new problem. Gut Shot. This is the deck that stands to lose the most from having the card in the meta. Yet, as long as MBC and Burn stay atop the meta, and Delver isn’t very popular, this deck can continue having success as Gut Shot may not be a good meta call. Unlike the past, I doubt this deck will become number one in popularity anytime soon, yet the deck still seems like a strong choice until Gut Shot becomes popular and right now it is not. Still a great choice to play Delver.
1. UB Angler – With so many decks doing badly this week, UB Angler managed to counter its growing popularity with shrinking success. Clocking in with a 12.50% cash rate and a 43.14% win rate, the deck had only 2 pilots make the cash out of its 16 pilots. It did, however, have 5 decks at 2-X and have a win rate much higher than the cash rate, suggesting that this week’s failure was at least a bit related to luck. It could be argued that the deck just cannot stand up to the decks at the higher levels, but crush more decks lower on which gives it so many more decks close to the winner’s circle, but not in it. As past results do not support that too much, I would be surprised if that is the case. Either way, this is a deck that has had high highs and low lows recently. I am not yet sure where it will land.
2. MBC – The king of the format only this week got a serious challenge to its popularity, but it still managed to be the most popular deck by one with 47 pilots. As has been the trend though, it did not put up equally dominant results. With a 27.66% cash rate and 45.89% win rate, the deck again put up slightly below average numbers. With more players at each 1-X and 0-X than in the cash, the deck seems to again put up lower results through this data. Despite that, the addition of Gut Shot may help the deck up a bit. As more people play a card that is terrible against this deck, MBC will gain some amount of percentage points. On the other hand, it is important to look at the decks that Gut Shot does well against and how MBC fares against those decks. Most of the decks that are bad against Gut Shot are bad against MBC which means that Gut Shot may not actually be great for the deck. Either way, the effect will probably be small and the much larger impact is the surging growth of Burn. Burn is one of this deck’s worst matchups and it now is about as popular as MBC. For MBC, it is good that Burn will probably subside and MBC has a higher outlook in the future. Last season 2 different decks rose up to fight MBC, and MBC has withstood through both of them, it has done so with mostly losing records. I would expect to face a lot of MBC, but would not be excited to play it.
3. Burn – This is a deck that has grown in popularity in direct response to MBC and looks to have reached the tipping point. The deck has striking similarities to the path W Tokens took just a bit ago. It grew from a small deck to one of the best decks with great success, but then the hate cards started flowing in. Burn, as W Tokens, is very bad against certain cards and decks and once people notice its presence, they start preparing more for the deck. People have noticed, and Burn had bad results with a 26.09% cash rate and a 48.37% win rate. It still was not as bad as MBC (with less 0-X results and significantly more 2-X and 1-X results), but the deck was not able to put up as strong of results as usual. This indicated Burn has reached the tipping point, the moment in which the deck is hated too much to be successful. As with W Tokens, I believe the deck has a small amount of weeks as a very prominent deck. The popularity may not dip too much this week, and should still be hated upon, but in 2-3 weeks, the deck will fall to be just one of the top decks. Right now is not the time to be a Burn player, but it is still time to plan to beat this deck. The deck will subside soon, the tipping point has been reached.
Deck to Watch For
Boros Kitty – A deck that has consistently put up strong results, but never shown up in numbers, I was very surprised when the deck made up 6.06% of the meta. It put up decent results with a 33.33% cash rate and a 53.97% win rate, still better than every top deck except Delver and Esper Fae. I think this deck is very well positioned right now as it has great matchups versus MBC and some other top decks. I would not be surprised to see the deck going up or down in the near future, as this week’s spike in popularity was unexpected, but I hope it to continue as it seems to be a solid choice in the upcoming meta.
Brew of the Week
Bant Midrange – One of the more innovative decks I have seen have success in a while, this list runs a lot of cards that are not seen too often, or at all. It is mainly a UW grindy list that is splashing green for Armadillo Cloak. Some of the key cards are Squadron Hawk, Mulldrifter, Trinket Mage, Brainstorm, and lots of counters/removal. The deck interestingly does not play 4 of any spell, partially because of Trinket Mage, but that suggests to me that the list needs to be streamlined a bit more. It packs a Trinket Mage package, some removal, some counters (including 3 Hindering Light), and some bounce. In a world of Burn, I can see how this had success with 3 Last Breath, 2 Radiant Fountain, and 2 Armadillo Cloak (along with interesting Affinity tech Divine Offering). Intriguing, but the deck needs to be improved before it is truly competitive.
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