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Feature: Archetype Breakdown for Pro Tour Avacyn Restored

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Block Constructed formats have historically been easier to figure out and harder to secretly break before a Pro Tour. The smaller card pool, compared the other Constructed formats like Standard or Modern, means it is easier to iterate and test deck ideas. That does not mean everyone tries every deck, but the fact remains that the possibility of someone dominating with a deck that the rest of the field had not considered is significantly smaller than for formats with more extensive card pools. Going into Pro Tour Avacyn Restored, the talk was circulating around Naya colored decks featuring an assortment of Wolves and Angels. Players were also aware of reanimation strategies and aggressive White-Red, or sometimes White-Green, Human decks as well. As you'll see, there was a surprise lurking unseen in the format.

Coverage reporter Nate Price compiled and categorized the event's 379 decklists and illustrating the landscape for us here. I've included the summary for ease of reading.

Deck Archetype Number Percent
WRG Wolves and Angels 102 26.91%
WR Humans 40 10.55%
Reanimator 30 7.92%
WG Humans 26 6.86%
RG Wolf Run Aggro 18 4.75%
WUR Miracle Control 12 3.17%
WU Miracle Control 11 2.90%
BRG Vampires and Wolves 9 2.37%
Monowhite Humans 8 2.11%
UGw Tempo Pump 8 2.11%
BRG Wolves 7 1.85%
URG Aggro 7 1.85%
URG Temblor 7 1.85%
WUR Control 7 1.85%
WUR Creature Control 7 1.85%
BRG Monsters 6 1.58%
URG Control 6 1.58%
4-Color Control 5 1.32%
URG Self-Mill 5 1.32%
UR Temblor 5 1.32%
WBG Planeswalker Control 4 1.06%
Monored 4 1.06%
WUR Aggro 4 1.06%
UBG Aggro 3 0.79%
WBG Wolves and Angels 3 0.79%
Monoblack Zombies 3 0.79%
UR Control 3 0.79%
WUR Burning Vengeance 3 0.79%
WUB Control 2 0.53%
WBr Control 2 0.53%
UB Control 2 0.53%
4-Color Self-Mill 1 0.26%
BG Monsters 1 0.26%
BRG Aggro 1 0.26%
BRG Control 1 0.26%
UBG Control 1 0.26%
WBG Control 1 0.26%
WBG Rock 1 0.26%
Monogreen Aggro 1 0.26%
RG Wolves 1 0.26%
RGb Wolf Run Aggro 1 0.26%
RGW Aggro 1 0.26%
RGw Wolves 1 0.26%
URG Con-troll 1 0.26%
Still Had All Trees 1 0.26%
UBR Control 1 0.26%
UG Self-Mill 1 0.26%
WU Delver 1 0.26%
WU Humans 1 0.26%
WUR Delver 1 0.26%
WG Angels 1 0.26%

The format was wide open with only four decks capturing the hearts of more than 5% of the field. We'll also take a peek at the UGw Tempo Pump deck, which only 8 people played (you'll see why in a bit.) The reason we won't be taking a more thorough examination of the other decks is that they simply have too few matches played to teach us anything. Before we get into specifics, let us first examine overall performance.

Deck Win % Matches
Monogreen Aggro 88.89% 9
RGw Wolves 80.00% 10
RG Wolves 77.78% 9
UGW Tempo Pump 63.24% 68
BG Monsters 60.00% 5
URG Aggro 58.62% 58
WRG Wolves and Angels 57.51% 579
RG Wolf Run Aggro 56.83% 139
BRG Wolves 56.60% 53
UR Control 56.00% 25
WBG Wolves and Angels 54.17% 24
URG Temblor 53.70% 54
Reanimator 53.55% 211
WG Humans 52.17% 184
WU Humans 50.00% 8
WUR Delver 50.00% 10
UBG Control 50.00% 10
BRG Monsters 48.78% 41
WUR Burning Vengeance 47.06% 17
WUB Control 46.67% 15
4-Color Self-Mill 44.44% 9
Monowhite Humans 43.94% 66
WUR Aggro 43.48% 23
BRG Vampires and Wolves 43.08% 65
WUR Control 42.86% 28
WGR Humans 42.86% 7
UR Temblor 42.42% 33
WU Miracle Control 42.25% 71
WUR Miracle Control 42.22% 135
UBG Aggro 42.11% 19
WR Humans 41.95% 236
Monored 41.67% 24
WBR Control 40.00% 20
BRG Control 40.00% 5
RGB Wolf Run Aggro 40.00% 5
BRG Aggro 40.00% 5
URG Con-troll 40.00% 5
WBG Rock 40.00% 5
URG Self-Mill 40.00% 30
4-Color Control 38.24% 34
WBG Planeswalker Control 37.93% 29
URG Control 34.88% 43
WU Delver 30.00% 10
Monoblack Zombies 26.32% 19
UBR Control 25.00% 4
UB Control 23.08% 13
WBG Control 20.00% 5
Wg Angels 20.00% 5
RGW Aggro 16.67% 6
UG Self-Mill 0.00% 5
Still Had All Trees 0.00% 1

Note that this is only looking the Constructed portion of the event, and excludes any mirror matches which are, by definition, 50% splits. Also note, now you see why we're going to talk about UGw Tempo Pump, better known as the Geists that Jon Finkel and Gaudenis Vidugiris piloted to the Top 8. Spirits is credited to Sam Black as the main designer behind it.

Of the most popular decks, only one was below 52% success: WR Humans. WR Humans may have had a lot of hype going into the tournament but hype does not always translate into results.

So, how did all of this happen, anyway?

UGW Tempo Pump aka Geists

First, we need to clarify. There were eight people playing decks that fit under this umbrella, but five of those prepared together as members of team SCGBlack. In addition to Finkel and Vidugiris, you also had Sam Black, Kai Budde, and Jelger Wiegersma all running the same version. The deck's variations as a whole earned a 63% win rate against the field which is impressive, but not as impressive when looking at just the SCGBlack version:

Sub-Type Win % Matches
Non-SCG Variants 50.00% 22
SCG Black's Spirits 69.57% 46
Grand Total 63.24% 68

As you can see, SCG Black's list put up a near 70% win rate against the field across 46 matches. It's fair to criticize the number based on the, ahem, slightly-above-average pedigree of those playing the deck which might influence these results.

UGW Tempo Pump

Spirits Win % Matches
RGw Wolves 100.00% 1
WU Delver 100.00% 1
URG Control 100.00% 1
BG Monsters 100.00% 1
WUR Aggro 100.00% 1
BRG Monsters 100.00% 1
URG Aggro 100.00% 2
WUB Control 100.00% 1
UR Temblor 100.00% 1
WBG Planeswalker Control 100.00% 2
WU Miracle Control 100.00% 1
WBr Control 100.00% 1
Monoblack Zombies 100.00% 1
RG Wolf Run Aggro 100.00% 2
Reanimator 75.00% 4
WRG Wolves and Angels 70.00% 20
WR Humans 57.14% 7
URG Temblor 50.00% 2
WUR Miracle Control 50.00% 2
WG Humans 33.33% 6
BRG Wolves 20.00% 5
BRG Vampires and Wolves 0.00% 1
4-Color Control 0.00% 1
UR Control 0.00% 2
Monogreen Aggro 0.00% 1
Grand Total 63.24% 68


Unfortunately at this point all we can say about the deck are these three things:

1. It beat the field handily

2. It had a 70% record against the most popular deck in a limited quantity of matches

3. Some very good players were playing it

WRG Wolves and Angels

If a hundred people choose a deck, you kind of have to assume the deck is good. 27% of the field is quite a lot, though not a record.

Wolves and Angels Win % Matches
URG Con-troll 100.00% 1
WGR Humans 100.00% 1
UBR Control 100.00% 1
BRG Aggro 100.00% 2
URG Control 100.00% 10
BRG Control 100.00% 2
UB Control 100.00% 4
WBG Rock 100.00% 1
UG Self-Mill 100.00% 1
Monoblack Zombies 100.00% 4
4-Color Control 100.00% 10
RGW Aggro 100.00% 1
WBR Control 85.71% 7
UR Temblor 75.00% 4
WR Humans 71.83% 71
WUR Miracle Control 66.67% 48
WU Delver 66.67% 3
WUB Control 66.67% 3
UBG Aggro 66.67% 6
WUR Delver 66.67% 3
URG Self-Mill 66.67% 3
WG Angels 66.67% 3
UR Control 62.50% 8
BRG Monsters 62.50% 8
BRG Wolves 61.11% 18
WU Humans 60.00% 5
URG Aggro 55.56% 9
WBG Planeswalker Control 55.56% 9
Monowhite Humans 54.55% 22
BRG Vampires and Wolves 52.63% 19
RG Wolf Run Aggro 50.98% 51
WUR Burning Vengeance 50.00% 4
WUR Aggro 50.00% 6
WUR Control 50.00% 8
UBG Control 50.00% 4
URG Temblor 50.00% 16
Reanimator 48.57% 70
WU Miracle Control 47.83% 23
WG Humans 46.97% 66
WBG Wolves and Angels 44.44% 9
Monored 33.33% 3
UGW Tempo Pump 30.00% 20
Monogreen Aggro 20.00% 5
RGB Wolf Run Aggro 0.00% 1
BG Monsters 0.00% 2
RG Wolves 0.00% 1
RGW Wolves 0.00% 3
Grand Total 57.51% 579

And yeah, it was good.

If it is over a quarter of the field and wins over 50% of the time then it's pretty impressive. 57.5% is really good. Wolves and Angels got there by dominating the aggro WR human decks as well as control with a healthy portion of handling the random element. It did fall just below average against Reanimator decks and the two non-red variants of decks it dominated, WG humans, and WU miracles.

WR Humans

Every format has its default aggressive deck and this format was no different. Leading up to the event, WR humans was considered by some to be the largest portion of the field.

WR Humans Win % Matches
UG Self-Mill 100.00% 1
WUR Aggro 100.00% 1
WU Miracle Control 100.00% 5
Monoblack Zombies 100.00% 2
WUR Miracle Control 69.23% 13
BRG Vampires and Wolves 66.67% 6
Monored 66.67% 3
Reanimator 62.50% 24
Monowhite Humans 57.14% 7
WBG Control 50.00% 2
WUR Control 50.00% 6
BRG Wolves 50.00% 4
URG Con-troll 50.00% 2
WGR Humans 50.00% 2
WUB Control 50.00% 2
URG Control 50.00% 4
WG Humans 47.62% 21
UGW Tempo Pump 42.86% 7
UR Temblor 37.50% 8
RG Wolf Run Aggro 36.36% 11
URG Self-Mill 33.33% 3
WBr Control 33.33% 3
WRG Wolves and Angels 28.17% 71
4-Color Control 25.00% 4
WBG Wolves and Angels 25.00% 4
URG Aggro 25.00% 4
4-Color Self-Mill 0.00% 1
WUR Delver 0.00% 1
WBG Rock 0.00% 1
UB Control 0.00% 1
URG Temblor 0.00% 3
RGW Wolves 0.00% 1
BRG Monsters 0.00% 5
UBG Control 0.00% 1
UBG Aggro 0.00% 2
Grand Total 41.95% 236

But 42% isn't going to bring home a trophy, and in fact not a single WR human deck is playing on Sunday. Like most of these, we see the bulk of our results as having way too few matches to infer any deck supremacy. What we can see though, is the beginnings of a really long, really frustrating testing session if WR humans is your pet deck. It might be able to handle Reanimator decks, maybe Three-Color Miracle decks then again maybe not. We can say with pretty high confidence that it cannot handle Angels. And at best it might be even with its green cousin.

Reanimator

There's something exciting about playing gigantic creatures on turn three or four while your opponent is playing creatures not even half the size. And while that surely is fun, it's even effective to some extent.

Reanimator Win % Matches
URG Con-troll 100.00% 1
WBG Planeswalker Control 100.00% 1
UR Control 100.00% 1
4-Color Self-Mill 100.00% 1
WUR Aggro 100.00% 1
UBG Control 100.00% 2
UG Self-Mill 100.00% 1
WUB Control 100.00% 2
UR Temblor 100.00% 7
WBG Wolves and Angels 100.00% 1
WBG Rock 100.00% 1
WUR Miracle Control 66.67% 9
Monoblack Zombies 66.67% 3
Monowhite Humans 66.67% 3
WG Humans 64.29% 14
BRG Monsters 60.00% 5
WU Miracle Control 60.00% 5
URG Temblor 60.00% 5
BRG Wolves 57.14% 7
WRG Wolves and Angels 51.43% 70
BRG Vampires and Wolves 50.00% 2
URG Self-Mill 50.00% 2
WUR Delver 50.00% 2
WU Humans 50.00% 2
URG Control 50.00% 6
Monored 50.00% 2
UBG Aggro 50.00% 2
URG Aggro 50.00% 4
WR Humans 37.50% 24
RG Wolf Run Aggro 30.77% 13
4-Color Control 25.00% 4
UGW Tempo Pump 25.00% 4
WBR Control 0.00% 1
WUR Control 0.00% 1
RG Wolves 0.00% 2
Grand Total 53.55% 211

It was just above average against the most popular deck, which is a fine starting point. Not much beyond that screams success, but there's some comfort to be found in winning 4% better than average.

WG Humans

WG Humans is similar to WR humans but struggled largely due to lack of reach and bigger creatures.

WG Humans Win % Matches
Monored 100.00% 2
Still Had All Trees 100.00% 1
RGw Wolves 100.00% 1
4-Color Self-Mill 100.00% 1
WU Delver 100.00% 1
BG Monsters 100.00% 1
RGb Wolf Run Aggro 100.00% 1
BRG Aggro 100.00% 1
URG Self-Mill 100.00% 2
UBG Aggro 100.00% 1
UR Temblor 100.00% 1
WBG Control 100.00% 1
WUR Aggro 100.00% 1
Monoblack Zombies 100.00% 2
Monowhite Humans 100.00% 1
WUR Control 66.67% 3
UGw Tempo Pump 66.67% 6
WRG Wolves and Angels 53.03% 66
WR Humans 52.38% 21
URG Temblor 50.00% 2
WGr Humans 50.00% 2
WBG Wolves and Angels 50.00% 2
URG Aggro 50.00% 10
WBG Planeswalker Control 50.00% 2
BRG Wolves 50.00% 2
URG Control 50.00% 4
4-Color Control 50.00% 4
RG Wolf Run Aggro 40.00% 5
Reanimator 35.71% 14
BRG Vampires and Wolves 33.33% 3
WU Miracle Control 33.33% 6
WUR Miracle Control 25.00% 8
BRG Control 0.00% 1
WBr Control 0.00% 1
WUR Burning Vengeance 0.00% 1
Monogreen Aggro 0.00% 1
UR Control 0.00% 1
UBG Control 0.00% 1
Grand Total 52.17% 184

Green and White was another strong performer against Wolves and Angels and the start of something good against its sister deck in WR Humans.

Team Play

Coming into this Pro Tour there were three teams which garnered a lot of attention, though others drew notice through the event. ChannelFireball had been the biggest name in teams for a while now, but rival StarCityGames put forth two competing teams for this event. Looking for something to distract me from doing another TPF draft on Magic Online , I asked my trusty spreadsheet some questions. Here's what I found out.

  Constructed Draft Total
Other      
Win % 48.92% 48.83% 48.89%
Matches 2504 1532 4036
ChannelFireball      
Win % 52.78% 59.72% 55.56%
Matches 108 72 180
SCGBlack      
Win % 60.78% 63.64% 61.90%
Matches 102 66 168
SCGBlue      
Win % 59.42% 52.38% 56.76%
Matches 138 84 222

SCGBlack (the Finkel/Kai team) was the best overall team. SCGBlue was on pace with them in Constructed but 11% worse in draft. ChannelFireball was 4% worse than SCGBlack in Limited and twice that in Constructed. I find it interesting that SCGBlue was very strong in Constructed but not as much in limited while CFB was the opposite.

Team Average Match Points
ChannelFireball 23.2
SCGBlack 26.4
SCGBlue 24.0
Other 17.9

This shows how those percentages translate into match points. SCGBlack was a full win better than ChannelFireball, and 2.5 wins better than SCGBlue.

Top 8 Preview

The past couple of Pro Tours I've done a Top 8 preview over Twitter (@famouspj) showing how each player did in the swiss against the deck they're going to face. Using that data I generated the following table. Take it for what you will:

Player Deck Wins Losses
Vidugiris, Gaudenis [LTU] UGw Tempo Pump 5 1
Shimizu, Naoki [JPN] WRG Wolves and Angels 0 1
       
Yukuhiro, Ken [JPN] Reanimator 1 0
Rachid, Denniz [SWE] WG Humans 0 0
       
Finkel, Jon [USA] UGw Tempo Pump 0 0
Hayne, Alexander [CAN] WU Miracle Control 0 0
       
Cho, Joshua [USA] WRG Wolves and Angels 2 0
Holzinger, Thomas [AUT] WRG Wolves and Angels 2 1

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