Running The Numbers: PE Edition
With the innagural Classic Pauper PE, I decided it was time to revive "Running The Numbers" to take a look at the event that was and the information we can glean from the results. There is a lot to look at so I am going to jump right in.
First off, the most pleasing fact about the tournament was the number of participants. The total entrants were 132 (or 131 depending if you count one player who entered but never played). This is a great start to Pauper premier events and bodes well for the occurrence of future events. These players fought it out through 8 rounds of play and a Top 8 with prizes to the Top 32.
Ok, so lets look at some of the numbers that made the field what is was. After the Swiss rounds had completed, these were the decks left standing:
GW Slivers Vs MBC
The Top 4 was then made up of
MBC Vs MBC
Finally, the finals matched up:
MBC Vs MUTC with MBC coming out on top.
Rather than post all the Top 8 Lists here, I'm going to like to the Gatherling thread for the event. You can find that info here (i expect it will be up Thurs when the Mothership posts the lists):
For me, the jury is still out on UB Madness. It was played by three players and only one did great with it so while its overall numbers are good, its really too small a sample to make solid judgements. I think it fit into this field very well with quality game-plans against Slivers and MBC, with synergistic removal vs the former and quality discard defense and CA tools vs the latter, but I feel like this is one of those decks that once it is seen more it will be defended against better.
MBC and GW Slivers made the big splashes in the event taking up about a quarter of the field and half of the Top 8.
I was pleased though that the Top 8 had some variety in it with 6 different archtypes placing. This signals a good possibility for creative design in the Classic format.
Moving on to the most commonly played decks in the event, the most numerous deck appearances broke down as follows:
GW Slivers 19
Here are the Won/Loss records for the participating decks:
GW Slivers: 80-51 Matches, 187-141 Games
And here are the numbers for the decks with 3 entries or less:
UB Madness: 13-8 Matches, 29-21 Games
Looking at win percentages, the most successful decks on the day (that were played by more than 3 people) were also the most played with GW Slivers pulling a 61% and MBC a 60%. Following the big two with winning records were MUuC 54%, UB Madness 62%, UR Teachings 55%, and O-Blink 56%. Also notable were a few deck with only one appearance, but positive records: GB Aggro 5-3, Cogs & Stripes 5-3, MUTC 9-2
The field for the event was certainly slanted towards Aggressive strategies with those decks taking up more than half the field. However, it appears clear to me that if you play aggro, you want to be playing Slivers as none of the other decks did that well.
For some variant choices, some numbers to look at are the following comparisons:
GW Cloak vs Cloak Zoo vs RG Beats - Red seems to be the key here with muchbetter results going to the decks using it. It seems GW Cloak is a poor option right now. It is in effect slower than Slivers and I don't think the alternative creatures in Green and White are worth the loss in overall speed.
MBuC vs MBC - On the surface, I'm not sure the Blue splash was a big enough gain for MBuC to make it worth it as the overall results weren't on the plus side of things. I think it would be useful to see more head to head with the two to see what is gained there, but it didn't come up enough in the event. That being said, it may be beneficial to look at this splash of others in MBC for the future to add answers to the possible rise in hate for Black in general without having to skew the Maindeck too greatly.
Orzho vs O-Blink - O-Blink draws cards better.
UR Teachings & MUTC vs MUC - there were enough Sliver decks on Sunday to suggest that MUC may not be the optimal setup. However, MUC did do well vs its other Aggro opponents going 4-1, so all is not lost there. On the flip side, UR Teachings & MUTC combined for a 3-2 record vs GW Sliver opponents and 6-1 against other Aggro. I expect a lot of beople to look at Ux decks in the coming weeks. All builds were about even versus other control opponents.
Here is how the Metagame broke down on the whole:
It appears that Storm Combo players were certainly scared off by possible hate and the decks' consistency through such a long event, at least that's my impression. I would have For the aggro contingent, I would have to say the most disappointing performances on the day were put up by Affinity and Burn. Overall, these decks were 37-56 in matches for the event. Those decks made up nearly a third of the Aggro decks played. Another near third went to Slivers, and then Green based Aggro took up a sixth with the final group being rounded out by rogue types. Slivers was the real success here over the other Aggro approaches. Control was certainly dominated by MBC (or variants) with about half falling into this group. If you add in Parlor Tricks and Kodama's Thunder into the mix, board control was the major choice of control deck players over counter strategies. The Aggro Control/Midrange contingent was focused in the Blink/Cog family of decks with half belonging to this group.
Head to Head
I have compiled the head to head matchups for the most commonly played decks in the event:
MBC: 15-7 Vs Slivers, 0-1 Vs MUC, 3-2 Vs MBuC, 1-1 Vs Storm, 2-1 Vs Burn, 8-2 Vs Affinity
GW Slivers: 5-2 Vs Affinity, 6-3 Vs Burn, 1-1 Vs Storm, 7-15 Vs MBC, 3-5 Vs MBuC, 6-1 Vs MUC
MBuC: 1-1 Vs Affinity, 1-0 Vs Burn, DNP Storm, 5-3 Vs Slivers, 2-3 Vs MBC, DNP MUC
MUC: 1-0 Vs Affinity, 1-0 Vs Burn, 2-1 Vs Storm, 1-6 Vs Slivers, 1-0 Vs MBC, DNP MBuC
Affinity: 2-8 Vs MBC, 2-2 Vs Burn, DNP Vs Storm, 2-5 Vs Slivers, 1-1 Vs MBuC, 0-1 Vs MUC
Burn: 2-2 Vs Affinity, DNP Vs Storm, 3-6 Vs Slivers, 1-2 Vs MBC, 0-1 vs MBuC, 0-1 Vs MUC
Storm: DNP Vs Affinity, DNP Vs Burn, 1-1 Vs Slivers, 1-1 Vs MBC, DNP Vs MBuC, 1-2 Vs MUC
GW Slivers did as well as expected vs MUC, but needs to work on that MBC matchup. On the whole I was impressed in the results put up by Slivers. Either people need to pack more hate for it or the hate was unsuccessful, but either way it did well against most decks outside of Black Based Control. However, I've said it before and I'll repeat it here; Obsidian Acolyte doesn't get it done vs Black.
Affinity has some work to do as none of its major Matchups came out very well, including an Aggro head to head with Slivers. Specifically, the MBC matchup would have to be improved. In my opinion, some of this may be attributed to the more populat Affinity build recently focused on Disciple and other creatures that are synergistic with it like Thermal Navigator and the Krark Clan guys. While this deck has an impressive combo finish, the creatures are much more fragile and can be dealt with more easily than the larger Affinity options such as Quicksilver Behemoth.
MBC on the other hand crushed Aggro on the day (total results for Black control vs aggro were 47-20 in Matches, leading me to believe either too little hate was played or the wrong choices were made for the answers. Finally, MBC was only able to go 12-13 vs Aggro Control/Midrange decks, so maybe there is a strategic direction to head for the future.
If anything else, we should see more hate for MBC next time around or at least more effective hate.
I wonder if Stars & Cogs may be a deck to look at for future events. The deck packs the, draw engine of Esper & Grand Entrance along with good early removal and White hate tools. It is rarely seen these days, but has always been strong vs the field excepting blue heavy opponents
You could also play RnR (either white or red) for effective answers to what's out there plus game for Black quasi mirrors. (Sorry, shameless plug there, I couldn't help it).
I certainly think a lot of work will be done in Blue based control (both splashes or pure).
I could see some headway being made with a WU aggro control deck taking the best white weenies and mixing them with Deep Hours , Deft Duelist and a few counters.
I expect alot of players to work on GW Slivers in order to improve the MBC matchup.
Can Burn or Storm make some headway if less hate is focused on it next time around?
Well, thats all for this edition. Hope the info is helpful to those rewiewing the event or planning to play in the future. If anyone wants further info not in the article (i.e matchups not covered), please let me know in the comments and I'll see what I can do. Thanks for reading.
Jaknife on MTGO