Welcome back to Too Much Information! This time we're taking a look at the St. Louis Open. A total of 277 players showed up for the last Legacy Open of the 2011 season. Download the spreadsheet to get the data for each and every one of them.
St. Louis Legacy Open Breakdown
Last time we saw Merfolk finally fall from the top spot and several other decks fight to take its place as the most popular deck. U/W Stoneblade has been consistently near or at the top since before Innistrad and the banning of Mental Misstep while RUG Tempo exploded in popularity over the last few tournaments. They seem to be establishing themselves as the new top two and in St. Louis U/W had just one more player than RUG. In terms of performance however RUG was the clear winner. Its great record here is consistent with its previous showings (actually this is its worst so far). U/W Stoneblade performed worse than usual but still slightly above even.
Dredge was the third-most common deck in St. Louis. In the long term its presence is typically a bit less than that but it was 6.55% of Las Vegas the previous Open. However considering its abysmal record that surge of popularity may not last.
Counter-Top had been extremely unpopular for a long time but shot up to 5.95% of the field in Vegas. It showed up again in St. Louis where it didn't perform very well though the Grove of Fire build the most common managed an even record.
Reanimator started out post-Innistrad Legacy with a string of impressive results culminating in its domination of the Baltimore Open where it was 10.08% of the field and won 57.28% of matches. Since then it seems to have had mixed results though it still consistently appears among the most popular decks. It did very poorly in Kansas City very well in Las Vegas and then poorly again in St. Louis. This may have something do with varying amounts of graveyard hate but this time Reanimator had a low EV to match its low win percentage. (Its EVs in the previous five tournaments were all above 55%.) That suggests that its lackluster showing in St. Louis probably had something to do with the decks people were playing not just how they were building their sideboards.
The best record in St. Louis belonged to G/W Maverick at 58.89%. This is only the second time we've seen Maverick anywhere close to this popular—it was 5.36% of the field in Las Vegas where it won 53.23% of its matches—but with a record like that it will probably be staying.
Bant Stoneblade also did very well. This is consistent with its showings in previous tournaments though it hasn't often been this popular so we haven't been able to learn much from its numbers before. This is the second tournament in a row where Bant Stoneblade has been about four percent of the field and outperformed most of the more popular decks (all but Maverick this time).
Zoo which was a fantastic deck for much of 2011 closes out the season with its worst record all year: a miserable 40.44%.
Finally we come to Merfolk the ninth-most popular deck. It posted a winning record this time though a few more popular decks did better. The trend seems clear at this point: Merfolk is no longer the most popular deck and can't even be counted on to be among the most popular decks.
U/W Stoneblade 9.03% of field won 51.18% of matches
In the last few months U/W Stoneforge and RUG Tempo have emerged as the two most popular decks in Legacy. In St. Louis the former edged out that latter by a single player but couldn't keep up in terms of win percentage. This is probably attributable to a field that was marginally hostile towards Stoneforge (an EV of 51.09% is much lower than normal for this deck).
Of the five other popular decks only Reanimator feared U/W in St. Louis. The RUG Tempo matchup which has historically been a great strength for U/W looks rather questionable after the two decks split thirteen matches. Perhaps RUG Tempo players have begun better preparing for U/W either through better-equipped sideboards or simply practicing the matchup.
Dredge has always been a poor matchup for U/W Stoneblade and this marks the second Open in a row (following Las Vegas) in which Dredge has made up more than six percent of the field making this weakness quite a liability for U/W.
We don't have much data concerning the U/W vs. Counter-Top matchup yet but as of now it looks like another problem for Stoneblade. We have more data concerning the increasingly-important G/W Maverick matchup and that deck looks to be as good at trouncing U/W as Dredge is. So after examining this field we can understand why U/W Stoneblade's EV—as well as win percentage—was lower than normal.
RUG Tempo 8.66% of field won 55.25% of matches
RUG Tempo had a much better weekend than did Stoneblade chalking up another solid win percentage that few of the other popular decks could match. RUG's matchup breakdown shows us no unfavorable matchups among the popular decks in this event with the only surprise being the aforementioned U/W matchup.
It is interesting to note that after winning five out of six matches in St. Louis RUG is beginning to look favored against G/W Maverick a deck that has been on a steady rise in popularity on the back of its supposed matchups against the top tier.
Dredge 6.14% of field won 37.78% of matches
As mentioned before St. Louis was the second Open in a row that Dredge claimed more than six percent of the field after fluctuating between one and five percent across the events following Misstep's banning. Unfortunately for those playing the deck it had a miserable weekend which can be accounted for by the presence of multiple bad matchups among the popular decks.
RUG Tempo is the most important of these and Dredge has been unable to stay ahead in this matchup. At least it isn't as bad as the Reanimator matchup which is an absolute rout or the G/W Maverick matchup which somehow appears to be even worse.
Counter-Top 5.42% of field won 48.10% of matches
Since the banning of Mental Misstep there have been whispers of Counter-Top returning to dominate the metagame and it has been slowly gaining in popularity since Calosso Fuentes' win in Baltimore. The most popular version seems to be Gerry Thompson's RUG design that incorporates Punishing Fire and Grove of the Burnwillows.
However despite a few Top 8s here and there all versions of Counter-Top have struggled to put up good numbers and the archetype's results in St. Louis were particularly disappointing. As could be expected the matchup numbers are no better with the only bright spot being a positive record against U/W Stoneblade. RUG Tempo and Reanimator are about even while Dredge is unfavorable and what little we know about the G/W Maverick matchup suggests that it may be horrible for Counter-Top.
Reanimator 5.42% of field won 47.85% of matches
Across the last five tournaments we analyzed Reanimator was one of the best-performing decks so its poor performance in St. Louis is of considerable interest. It may be that this field was more hostile towards it or towards graveyard-dependent strategies in general (the latter possibility may be supported by the failure of Dredge Legacy's other graveyard-dependent deck).
Reanimator's matchups in St. Louis weren't very promising so perhaps there is more going on than an overabundance of Tormod's Crypts. Among the other popular decks Dredge is Reanimator's only good matchup. RUG Tempo typically enjoys a healthy advantage over Reanimator although the two decks split in this event. Even that small victory is mitigated by the U/W Stoneblade matchup which while traditionally poor played out even worse for Reanimator than usual in St. Louis.
G/W Maverick 4.69% of field won 58.89% of matches
With it weighing in at a little less than five percent of the metagame we've decided to take a closer look at G/W Maverick because of its exceptional win percentage in a tournament that saw so many more popular decks put up unimpressive results. After remaining determinedly unpopular for several events Maverick jumped to more than five percent of the field in Las Vegas but it has been quietly logging strong results since the banning of Misstep.
Taking a look at its matchups it becomes obvious that the deck may be poised to become even more popular in the future. It doesn't just have solid matchups—it has incredibly-lopsided blowouts and against some of the most important decks in Legacy. In particular having such a strong advantage over U/W Stoneblade is something few other decks can claim but being able to roll over Dredge and Counter-Top while staying ahead of Reanimator puts Maverick in its own category.
The deck's Achilles heel then must be the RUG Tempo matchup which is fittingly a blowout for the wrong side. With RUG seemingly cemented as one of the two most popular decks anyone looking to pick up G/W Maverick would do well to test this matchup thoroughly. If anyone can figure out how to improve it for G/W we would have a frighteningly well-positioned deck. As it is Maverick was almost certainly the best deck in St. Louis.
Going into Atlanta it's safe to expect U/W Stoneblade and RUG Tempo to remain the most popular decks. The presences of Counter-Top and Reanimator and especially Dredge are harder to predict especially after their lackluster results in St. Louis. It's possible that a better-positioned deck—like Maverick—will become more prevalent as players react to how the metagame is shifting.
Good luck to everyone attending and join us next time for a look at the Charlotte Invitational weekend the last tournament of 2011. Happy New Year!
Alix and Jesse Hatfield