StarCityGames Open: Las Vegas took place last week, December 8, and 342 players faced off in a Magic: the Gathering Standard tournament. What happened in Vegas will not stay in Vegas this time, as I am here to bring you analysis from Sin City, including the top 16 decks, the cards they played, and an updated look at the Standard metagame.


The Top 16

The following graphic provides some high-level details on the top 16 decks of the tournament, including deck types and colors played. I loaded the decklists into the Decked Builder app to get the average mana cost for the main deck, as well as prices in dollars and MTGO tickets for each list. The graphs provide a look at the overall strategies, archetypes, and colors used by the top 16 players.


BR Zombie decks were coming off a big showing at SCGBALT where they claimed ten of the top 16 spots. They retained a healthy chunk of this top 16 with four decks grabbing a spot in Vegas, three in the top 8. Three of these were what I like to call “BR Dragon Zombies” (I’m open to more clever names) which include Thundermaw Hellkite to close out games after an early zombie rush. The fourth Zombie deck, piloted by Emmet Clarkson, was a more traditional strategy that used Blood Artist for reach and Falkenrath Aristocrat at the top of his curve.  Clarkson was the most successful Zombie deck in Vegas, taking third place.

Naya midrange decks grabbed four of the top 16 spots, and two of them splashed a fourth color for additional options. Glenn Jones (eight place) worked in black for access to Ultimate Price and the ability to flashback Lingering Souls in his main deck. Jones had Tragic Slip, Rakdos’s Return, and Slaughter Games in his sideboard. Jun Yu finished second and went with a blue splash in order to play a pair of Sphinx’s Revelation in his main deck and Detention Sphere; Jace, Memory Adept; and Curse of Echoes in his sideboard.

Jeff Levine piloted a four-color midrange deck to sixth place.  The deck featured the Izzet Staticaster and Nightshade Peddler combo (a very useful creature control duo discussed in detail in Jay Lansdaal’s latest article) alongside some of the top creatures in the Standard metagame.

Chad Peter brought a hasty brew to the tournament, placing 15th with a Jund Aggro deck that played 17 creatures with haste and four Flinthoof Boar. He was looking to outrace the walking dead and supported his speedy team with 12 removal spells and two Giant Growth in his main deck.  Peter also packed a pair of Bower Passage in his sideboard, which kept Lingering Souls from chump blocking his team, made Thundermaw Hellkite almost unblockable, and limited the value of a Restoration Angel flashed in during combat.


Cards of Choice

The following graphs will show you the most played creatures and removal spells in the top 16 decks. The number of copies in the main deck (blue) and sideboard (red) are displayed. The table below each graph adds additional detail: the number of top 16 decks the card appears in, as well as the average number of copies in the main and sideboard.

SCGVEGAS saw Restoration Angel and Thragtusk reclaim the top spots, but the Zombies and their hasty friends are right behind them.

The top three removal spells are all red, a metagame adjustment to manage the recent resurgence of Zombies’ power.  Pillar of Flame was the most played card in the top 16 with 42 copies.


Standard Metagame

The following graphs track the deck archetypes with the most top 16 finishes at major Standard tournaments. The top graph shows results in the last month, and the bottom shows results since Return to Ravnica rotated into the format in October 2012.

BR Dragon Zombies is already the top Standard archetype of the last month and is on its way to quickly becoming the most successful tournament deck of this Standard season.


Closing Out the Column

That does it for the Standard Analysis of SCGVEGAS. I made some changes to the type of information presented and how I presented it this week, and I hope you liked them. Please leave comments below and let me know what you think. I’ll provide additional details on the tournament and metagame in the comments, so check back in here and also on Twitter. I’ll be back next week to bring you data and analysis from the SCG Invitational in Los Angeles.

I’d also like to give a special thanks to Matt Beverly, @MattyStudios, for the awesome new feature graphic for this weekly column. Matty is a passionate and very involved member of the Magic community and, as you can see, an impressive graphic artist. If you have need of visual design services check him out!


Nick Vigabool (@MrVigabool)