With Grand Prix Indianapolis and StarCityGames.com Dallas/Fort Worth right around the corner join us for one last look at the Legacy metagame! This time we'll be looking at a mountain of data spanning four Open Series tournaments (Cincinnati Charlotte Memphis and Tampa) which you can download here as well as some overall deck performances since the release of Dark Ascension (which includes the matches played during the StarCityGames.com Open: Richmond).
We'll start off with the field breakdown from Cincinnati:
Cincinnati Legacy Open
When we analyzed the results from Richmond it looked like U/W Stoneblade might have been falling out of favor some but it returned with a vengeance in Cincinnati. The deck commanded a whopping fourteen percent of the field and also boasted a fantastic win percentage. The other story from the weekend is Burn's surge to second in popularity (nearly ten percent of the players were slinging Lava Spikes!) although its win percentage was decidedly less impressive. RUG Tempo and Maverick both showed up and performed reasonably well. Affinity broke the five percent mark for the first time this year and was represented by just one more player than Dredge but neither deck managed a positive win record.
We have a lot to cover later in this article so let's move right along to Charlotte's breakdown:
Charlotte Legacy Open
In Charlotte U/W reprised its role as most popular deck but only won half of its matches. There was no great difference between Stoneblade's EVs for the two events so it's very curious that its performances were so disparate. Maverick was the second most popular deck and whatever fortune befell Stoneblade in Cincinnati apparently went to the G/W deck in Charlotte—Maverick's win percentage was awesome. Burn was edged out by Maverick in field presence landing in third but it still had a bad weekend in terms of success (albeit not as bad as Cincinnati). Affinity and Dredge made up similarly-sized slices of the field again and both decks performed poorly again. Finally the most notable thing about this event is that RUG Tempo long vying with U/W for the top spot in the format simply didn't show up. Only six people played the deck in Charlotte which was less than four percent of the field. The deck still won more than it lost but it did underperform its EV by a considerable margin.
Next up is Memphis:
Memphis Legacy Open
With a headcount of just 94 players the Memphis Legacy Open was a little smaller than the typical Open Series tournament. As a result the breakdown from the event looks a little unusual with unexpected decks showing up near the top presumably due to greater variance.
In other words yes it's strange that Affinity was one of the most popular decks and no it probably doesn't mean that ten percent of the field will be casting Ornithopters in Indianapolis. It's much less surprising to see Burn where it is even if it's above U/W; both decks looked to be surging in prior events. Charbelcher is another oddball though tying Maverick in popularity for the first time since the latter's rise to prominence (though the combo deck couldn't quite match the G/W deck's strong performance). The next group of decks all played by four competitors each include BUG Merfolk Show and Tell and Storm all alongside the heavy hitters RUG Tempo and Dredge. Several of these decks had dismal win percentages but Show and Tell and RUG stand out with very good records.
Finally here's the breakdown from Tampa:
Tampa Legacy Open
And so the apocalypse cometh. From less than four percent of the field in Richmond to becoming firmly entrenched among the most popular decks in Cincinnati Charlotte and Memphis to being by far the most popular deck in the room in Tampa Burn has more or less conquered the Legacy format. The deck has even enjoyed success in the hands of a few of its players although Burn as an archetype has yet to post a positive win record in any Open Series event this season. We'll examine the format's newest boogeyman in detail when we get to matchups.
Despite Burn claiming more than fourteen percent of the competitors in Tampa more than eleven percent of them played U/W Stoneblade which was considerably more than Maverick in the third spot. Maverick performed much better though. Next came Affinity with much less of a presence than in Memphis and a group of decks with six players each: Dredge High Tide and Reanimator. The fact that High Tide was as popular as Dredge is overshadowed by Dredge's astounding win percentage which is far better than the deck's typical result.
RUG Tempo again failed to break the four percent mark and this time it matched its lack of popularity with a lack of success only just winning half of its matches. The same number of players brought U/R Delver and they were rewarded with one of the best win percentages in the tournament.
Now that we've looked at the individual tournaments we're going to examine something a little different. What follows is a field breakdown made up of the combined data from all five of the Open Series events since the release of Dark Ascension (the four tournaments we just looked at with Richmond added as well). This chart may not show us the sort of quick metagame shifts that happen week-to-week in the Open Series but it should describe for us a more general picture of the current Legacy metagame something that may be useful for those of you preparing for Grand Prix Indianapolis and StarCityGames.com Open: Dallas/Fort Worth.
Across these five tournaments U/W Stoneblade was the most popular deck. It made up over twelve percent of the combined field and backed that up with a strong 54.61% win record.
Burn's pilots were 9.09% of the total player base making it the second-most played deck. Its win percentage was dismal though.
Maverick was the third-most prevalent deck but that means it was played by barely half as many people as U/W. Its performance was actually a little better than UW's though. It's interesting to note that the breakdown of sub-archetypes under the Maverick header is fairly well distributed. There doesn't seem to be an agreed-upon build out there.
RUG Tempo may have suffered a bit of a meltdown in the last two Opens but it still appears as a highly relevant threat in our overall chart. It's habitually impressive win ratio deserves notice even if fewer people are playing the deck now.
When we analyzed the data from Richmond it looked like the printing of Faithless Looting had given Dredge the boost it needed to become one of the most popular decks in Legacy. After five events and at nearly five percent of the entire field the graveyard-based menace did manage to remain one of the five most popular decks. Its performance was lacking though. Burn and Dredge both share the dubious distinction of having sub-fifty percent win percentages despite being among the most popular decks in Legacy.
To look at the performance of individual archetypes we'll be using the same data set as this last breakdown. That is the full five tournaments starting with the Richmond Open. The overall numbers are still calculated using all of the data collected since Innistrad's release.
U/W Stoneblade - 12.20% of field won 54.61% of matches
Legacy's most popular deck had a great month. Its success almost certainly stems from the increased presence of several favorable matchups including Burn and Affinity. U/W also benefitted some from a favorable round of matches against its former rival RUG Tempo; in Richmond we commented on the fact that RUG won most of the matches between the two decks but that result was reversed in subsequent events. Now the U/W vs. RUG matchup once again appears to favor Stoneblade.
Burn – 9.09% of field won 43.53% of matches
Whatever is behind Burn's rise in popularity it isn't empirical data. This chart shows one of the worst sets of numbers we've ever seen and it's shocking to think that it was generated by the second most popular deck across five Legacy Opens.
Burn is historically unfavored against six of these seven decks. Four of those matchups appear relatively close to even although Burn struggled more with RUG Tempo in the recent events than it has overall.
There is little reason to recommend Burn as the deck of choice for Indianapolis or Dallas/Fort Worth.
Maverick - 6.97% of field won 56.30% of matches
- 4 Knight of the Reliquary
- 4 Mother of Runes
- 4 Noble Hierarch
- 2 Qasali Pridemage
- 1 Rhox War Monk
- 1 Scavenging Ooze
- 3 Stoneforge Mystic
- 1 Gaddock Teeg
- 2 Geist of Saint Traft
- 1 Dryad Arbor
Maverick on the other hand looks like a great choice for either of those events. Its great win percentage is obviously due to a bevy of highly positive matchups running across the board. Being ahead against the two most popular decks in the format is certainly a good place to be; crushing the others on top of that is just gravy.
It's also interesting that several of these matchups specifically those against Burn RUG Tempo and Affinity bore out even better for Maverick in these recent events than they have in the past. This suggests that current Maverick lists have been adapted to better prey on the metagame which in turn may mean that the deck could be even further improved in the future. That's a sobering thought with Maverick already putting up such solid numbers.
RUG Tempo – 6.48% of field won 57.08% of matches
RUG is the other deck with an impressive win percentage. Its matchup breakdown doesn't paint as rosy a picture though; being slightly behind against U/W and well behind against Maverick is probably not where you want to be right now. Smashing Burn is certainly nice though as is beating Affinity and Dredge.
Affinity - 4.98% of field won 45.24% of matches
Affinity's recent surge in popularity is even harder to understand than Burn's. It's had fewer high profile finishes and has even worse matchups across this chart. The fact that Affinity splits with Burn is probably its best selling point.
Dredge - 4.98% of field won 44.96% of matches
- 1 Flame-Kin Zealot
- 4 Golgari Grave-Troll
- 3 Golgari Thug
- 2 Ichorid
- 4 Narcomoeba
- 4 Putrid Imp
- 4 Stinkweed Imp
Here we have another deck that beats U/W and Burn and it does so even more handily than Maverick but Dredge's overall win percentage was still miserable. This is probably because of the rest of these matchups especially those against Maverick and RUG which simply appear to be blowouts.
Charbelcher - 2.74% of field won 50.39% of matches
We included Belcher in this list because of its surprising prevalence in Memphis. The deck's win percentage may be unexciting but it does boast utterly lopsided matchups against Burn and Maverick. Unfortunately its matchups against U/W and RUG are similarly one-sided in the wrong sense so Belcher is not likely to be a great choice until people stop playing Force of Will.
Pox - 3.49% of field won 47.50% of matches
Pox seems to be well and truly unfavored against U/W and it also bears the distinction of being the only deck in our group that loses more than it wins against Burn. The rest of the numbers are still pretty sparse but they indicate a bad matchup against Maverick which is another strike against the mono-black deck.
Whew! That may seem like a lot to take in. Legacy is as vibrant a format as ever and with so many distinct archetypes it can be difficult to prepare for an event like a Grand Prix. However there are some helpful conclusions to be drawn from all of these numbers.
First of all the top dog of Legacy right now is U/W Stoneblade. The deck is not only popular but successful as well. It has lots of reasonable matchups across the field and is certainly a solid choice for Indianapolis and Dallas/Fort Worth.
Conversely Burn is not the deck to play for either of those tournaments. Popular it is but as more people have picked the deck up we've been able to say with more certainty that...they probably shouldn't. A few pilots in the Open Series have had success with Burn but the majority of them haven't. Numbers don't lie.
The most attractive deck in Legacy right now is undoubtedly Maverick. The deck has a great win percentage backed up by positive matchups where it counts. The only problem is deciding how to build it.
RUG Tempo is another choice that we can recommend. Its matchup spread isn't as pretty but you can't ignore the deck's simple propensity to win matches.
Few other decks are as compelling as these two right now. Bant Stoneblade consistently puts up good numbers but has remained unpopular enough to call into question the reliability of said numbers. Enchantress and U/R Delver are in similar positions.
Whatever you decide to play good luck this weekend! Hopefully we'll see some of you in Indianapolis!