Whether flipping a Delver or Topping turn two,

Bolting their face or tapping their blue,

Hymn to Tourach is going to make you discard,

So let me give you my predictions for Prague

With GP Prague just around the corner I thought it would be worthwhile to talk about the European metagame in more depth, rather than as a comparison to the fledgling UK meta. We have had two large tournaments recently with full coverage of the archetypes played so hopefully we can come to some conclusions about what one will face at GP Prague.

The first tournament we will discuss was Bazaar of Moxen Annecy on the 7th of May. With 302 players it was the biggest EU Legacy tournament of the year up to that point. The Top8 was reasonably normal except for a 78 card Elves deck…

Eldrazi 4C Delver ANT Belcher
ANT Miracles BUG TITI Elves….

It was also the first showing of the BUG TITI deck. The plan here seems to be creatures with enter the battlefield effects, Strix and Snapcaster, and cheap interaction like Cabal Therapy and Gitaxian Probe to flip Thing In the Ice. Guillaune Perbet’s list looks pretty settled as well, with a large number of 4 ofs. A tension could be the need to use spells to survive the early turns but also wanting to save them for later when you have resolved Thing In The Ice so as to flip it. I imagine TITI is a terrible late-game draw and if you don’t have it on board then you are cantripping for no real value. Abrupt Decay must be a real issue for this deck, so naming that from blind therapies is probably paramount if you are playing BUG TITI. This deck looks interesting and I would recommend familiarising yourself with its game-plan before Prague as there are always people who like to play the hot new deck.

Other than BUG TITI and an interesting take on a greedy Elves build all the decks in the Annecy Top8 had top8’d in previous large EU events.

Decks Fielded at Annecy

This meta is what I imagine many would predict for big EU tournaments. However a few things stand out. The number of Miracles players has shrunk and now Eldrazi is the single best represented deck, although it is starting to fragment with different colour splashes. There are also a reasonably ‘large’ number of Lands and Painter players, it is unusual to see them both represented in categories other than ‘Other’. Finally there was a serious lack of Death and Taxes players represented in France.

Annecy metagame

Annecy No. of players % of Meta
Delver 46 15.2%
Eldrazi 25 8.3%
Shardless 19 6.3%
Miracles 16 5.3%
Reanimator 15 5.0%
Storm 13 4.3%
GBx 13 4.3%
Stoneblade 11 3.6%
Lands 11 3.6%
Painter 10 3.3%
Other 123 40.7%
Total 302 100.0%

The percentage numbers given by BoM did not allow for whole numbers of players so  I have rectified that as best I can above.

Frankfurt

13217330_10156901925865258_7519774661385707902_o
409 Players!

The second large tournament was MKM Frankfurt a week later on the 15th of May with 409 players. I am not sure how many players attended both Frankfurt and Annecy but there was a 600+ player Modern tournament at Frankfurt the day before so I imagine many players from that stayed on for the Legacy. The Top8 and meta were quite different to that of Annecy.

Aggro Loam BUG Delver Storm Miracles
NIC Fit Elves Punishing Maverick Stoneblade

This Top8 has fewer Combo decks with two Gx decks pushing in and Aggro Loam taking the Eldrazi decks position as Chalice based deck.

Decks fielded at Frankfurt

Delver and Eldrazi continued to be the most played decks but Miracles bounced back into the top three. Evidently Frankfurt is where all the Death and Taxes players who were absent from Annecy went, being the fourth best represented deck. Shardless, Storm and Reanimator put up similar numbers of players to Annecy. Burn was also well represented. This may be due to budget constraints encountered by the large number of modern players or perhaps people preferred this deck to Painter; notable by its absence from Frankfurt. Lands also had 3% of the field again. While certainly a powerful deck, card availability issues will always keep this deck from becoming too prevalent. The GBx decks played at Annecy are probably instead a combination of GBx and Aggro Loam here in Frankfurt.

Frankfurt Meta

Frankfurt No. of players % of Meta
Delver 60 14.7%
Eldrazi 37 9.0%
Miracles 33 8.1%
D and T 27 6.6%
Shardless 26 6.4%
Storm 19 4.6%
Burn 16 3.9%
Reanimator 16 3.9%
Elves 15 3.7%
Lands 14 3.4%
Aggro Loam 12 2.9%
Infect 11 2.7%
Merfolk 10 2.4%
Other 113 27.6%
Total 409 100.0%

We can also look at all of the Top8 decks from EU tournaments of over 100 players to get some idea of what decks are consistently successful. This may influence what deck choice you make for Prague if you have a number of byes, or, are particularly sure you will make Day Two, where these decks should be better represented.

EU top8 correct

  • MKM Milan 6/2 108 players
  • TOP Milan 13/2 110 players
  • BOM Madrid 29/2 136 players
  • VII Arcanis Deluxe 23/4 200+ players
  • Ovino Spring 24/4 187 players
  • BOM Annecy 7/5 302 players
  • MKM Frankfurt 15/5 409 players

Netdecks

Finally we can also look at the larger picture from websites which collect data from tournaments large and small around the world. As Magic is global and new deck technology and trends can easily move across continents it is worthwhile considering this as well. However, a caveat: It will be the people who attended Annecy and Frankfurt who will actually play GP Prague and it is very hard to weigh their previous deck choices and experience at IRL events against the influence they get from netdecks and Magic the Gathering Online. MTGO events especially have a different metagame to paper magic because of the difference in card availability between online and real life.

The Source Decks to Beat: Eldrazi, Grixis Pyromancer, Shardless, Miracles and Death and Taxes.

TC Decks Legacy Tier May in order: Miracles, Eldrazi, Grixis, UG Infect, ANT, Shardless, Elves and Show and Tell.

MTG Top8 decks with a showing of 4% or greater: Miracles 18%, BUG 11%, Eldrazi 10%, Storm 6%, Show and Tell 5%, Elves 4%, Grixis 4% and Death and Taxes 4%. (BUG rather annoyingly includes Shardless, Team America and all variants between even though they are vastly different decks)

Conclusions

So far all of the data has been presented to you without much comment and people should be able to make their own predictions on what they will face at GP Prague from it. Below is my best guess at what that will be.

Delver – 15%. Delver decks have consistently been the largest part of IRL metagames and have put the most players into Top8s. What flavour of Delver decks you face will be more random but I would suggest that Grixis and 4C Delver will be the most popular with BUG Delver also putting up numbers.

Eldrazi – 10%. Eldrazi has shown that it is not just a Modern deck but a force in Legacy as well. It was the best represented deck in our two large tournaments and won Annecy. It is also a reasonably cheap deck for Legacy and relatively easy to buy into from Modern. However, it has not shown up as well in the Top8 analysis of the year so far but this may be due to a number of factors; some quite swingy matchups, the inherent instability of Chalice decks and the fact that many players are still quite new to the deck. This deck is also moving away from Colourless as people areexperiment with different splash colours.

Miracles – 8%. I have put Miracles behind Eldrazi and the numbers from recent tournaments support this downswing. Eldrazi has a relatively good matchup against this deck and I imagine this is contributing towards Miracles’ lessening share of the meta. However, even though less dedicated players are moving away from this deck, it is still incredibly powerful and this is backed up by its continuing presence in Top8’s throughout the year. Be aware of the continuing divergence in Miracles builds, Mentor vs Entreat and what these different takes on the build mean for the sideboard.

Shardless – 6%. Shardless has consistently shown up in both Top8’s and as a large portion of the meta. The deck has a strong game-plan against the three better represented decks so will always be a good choice for the GP. A lot will depend on what build of Delver or Miracles you face. Mentor, and Delver with Stifle, both move the matchup back away from Shardless’ favour. If people bringing this deck can correctly predict how much and what kind of combo hate they will need then they should do well.

Death and Taxes – 5%. Although this did not show up in numbers at Annecy that seems like an outlier and I think it will be one of the better represented decks at Prague. It also has a good game-plan against all of the Tier 1 decks but can struggle against fast combo and Miracles. DnT may well not be on everyone’s radar as it lacks Top8s this year but you should defiantly be prepared to face it.

Storm – 5%. Storm punches above its weight with six Top8s this year. One would have assumed that with a Chalice deck being the most popular that Storm would have suffered. However with discard, the ability to win through a Chalice on one and a good sideboard plan for hate pieces, Storm will always perform in the hands of skilled pilots.

Reanimator – 4%. I was surprised that this deck showed up in such high numbers at the two events covered above. I suspect this is because Eldrazi decks have an issue with large flying life-linkers that turn up on turn one. Reanimator however hasn’t turned the relativity large number of players into any Top8s this year.

Elves – 4%. Although Elves didn’t show up on the meta report for Annecy it has achieved as many Top8 positions as Miracles has this year, five. It is also a deck with a loyal and devoted following so should also be on you radar going to Prague.

The rest. The other 50% ish of the meta will be made up of every deck under the sun. People will always come to GPs with decks like Stoneblade, Burn and NIC Fit (which has three Top8s!). I would also think that you will see more Painter/Stompy, Lands and Sneak and Show decks than you would have predicted. This is because of their good matchups versus our predicted GP meta. I also think that we will see an Omnitell player do very well, three Top8’s so far this year shows the deck is powerful and possibly underplayed.

I hope this has been helpful and interesting and I look forward to seeing you in Prague, come and say hello!

Tom Kellock

 

 

Tom Kellock
Tom has played Magic since Alara block. He became quickly enamoured with Legacy after being strangled by a Pox and 43 Lands deck in 2011 while piloting Affinity. This experience also started a love of Prison strategies in a manner typical of Stockholm Syndrome sufferers. He now only really plays Legacy, with Top8’s in Europe at BoM and here in the UK.
Like and Follow The Library at Pendrell Vale: