Modern Festival Qualifying Decklists Analysis

Happy festival days, everyone!

Sunday is coming upon us quickly, and someone is going to win a copy of every Modern-legal card when all the dust settles. I will not be so brash as to say I can do it, but I certainly am eligible to compete. Today I’ll give you guys a list of the archetypes that could be brought to the event.

The decks that qualified for the main event are an interesting meta to me because they show what happens when Wizards really supports Modern. This has been quite a month for Modern players on Magic Online; every big event is in the format. Pro Tour Qualifiers, Magic Online Championship Series events, and of course the Festival have pulled people out of the woodwork of every other format. It’s Modern… for the rest of us. Examples of this include a domain deck with ten maindeck cards that hate burn, Travis Woo’s [c]Waste Not[/c] Storm deck, numerous Stompy and Death and Taxes builds, and event Mono-Green Infect.

Before posting data and charts, let me state a few odds and ends about the research.

1) There is one event with no input to this data. I began looking through the event results posted on the mothership yesterday and saw later that one last event was posted after I finished. Normally, we could all say “just throw on the new decks, and we’re fine,” but…

2) I only included one instance of each player with the same decklist. So when robert15184 posted 4-1 or 5-0 finishes with [c]Jeskai Ascendancy[/c] combo twice, I didn’t count it, but when he posted again with Simic Infect, there was a new entry. Obviously both of these decks will not be entered, but this is the best way to get a good guess at what will be brought to the table.

3) This data may or may not be useful to guess what lists will be used in the Festival itself. I would assume that the majority of players will dance with the girl they brought, but those with the financial wherewithal and understanding of what to do in light of the top-performing decks will likely change. Additionally, players seemed to have slight shifts toward things that Luis Scott-Vargas, Gerry Thompson, and other big names were doing. Jund and [c]Living End[/c] combo seemed to perform after pros performed with them.

4) My biggest regret is that early on in the data collection, I did not distinguish between Grixis lists that play [c]Delver of Secrets[/c] and [c]Young Pyromancer[/c] alongside their [c]Gurmag Angler[/c], [c]Tasigur, the Golden Fang[/c], and [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c] and those that did not. They are all “Grixis Control.”

5) This research is lousy with the human element. I don’t consider myself qualified to get this data and present it to you all effectively, but I saw that no one else was doing it. I certainly will not be recommending what to do with the data as far as what deck will win, what you should play, or how you should prepare a sideboard.

Let’s get onto it then!

There were 61 different archetypes that went 4-1 or 5-0 in 22 events.

Modern Festival Qualifiers Event Archetypes

The top three archetypes are:
1) Grixis Control (Delver and no-Delver variants) with 64 lists
2) Burn with 44 lists
3) Jund and Affinity tied at 35 lists

Twin variants, including TarmoTwin, U/R Twin, and Grixis Twin, make up 55 lists, so it is technically the second most popular archetype.

The other archetypes that posted between 10 and 34 times include:
Gruul Tron 24
Grixis Twin 19
Merfolk 17
Bloom Titan 17
Naya Zoo 17
Elves 15
Living End 13
Grishoalbrand 11
Infect 11
TarmoTwin 10

Abzan Midrange posted a surprisingly low 7 times, and Scapeshift, Ad Nauseam, and Little Kid posted 6 times.

The “Other” Category

Archetypes that posted five or less times are lumped together in the “Other” category. Nearly unique archetypes make nearly a fifth of the qualifying lists.

Five posts:
1) Abzan Company
2) Bogles
3) U/R Storm

Four posts:
1) Azorius Control
2) Jeskai Control
3) Eggs

Three posts:
1) Tribal Flames Zoo
2) Suicide Zoo
3) Dredgevine
4) Esper Control
5) Mono U Tron
6) Soul Sisters

Two posts:
1) Makeshift
2) Stompy
3) Azorius Tron
4) Orzhov Tokens
5) MartyrProc
6) #TeamGeist
7) Mardu Midrange
8) Rakdos Midrange
9) RUG
10) Kiki Chord
11) Death And Taxes
12) Ghostway

And all the one-ofs:
1) Mill
2) Boros Troll
3) Travis Wizard Waste Not
4) Jeskai Ascendancy
5) Mono-Green Infect
6) Tribal Control Brew
7) Arbor Gifts
8) Restore Balance
9) TopControl
10) Sligh
11) Aristocrats
12) GW Hatebears
13) Faeries
14) UR Delver
15) Esper Gifts
16) Bant Company
17) Mardu Land Destruction
18) Jeskai Twin

The Modern Festivus! Conclusion

Many players have been airing out their grievances about Modern as a format, but this data shows you that the best-performing deck is the grindy Grixis Control list. Personally, I find it satisfying that only one Lantern Control deck made it to the Festival because I know people brought it. I will be bringing a certain deck with a great strength-to-weight ratio: the Modern Festival Pole, I’ll call it.

What deck will win the feats of strength? Some of the decks with lower numbers have long-time Modern grinders that have performed well with them over the course of years. Will choosing a deck or being skillful be more important on Sunday?

Good luck all. Have fun.