Pro Tour–Berlin Feature: Day 1 Archetype Breakdown

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The letter T!he impact Shards of Alara would have on the new Extended format had been much talked about coming in to the weekend. As the current round finishes in the background, it has become clear what level that impact has been: profound.

Perhaps the most important card to come from the set so far has been Wild Nacatl. The unassuming 1/1 receives a huge power boost in Extended where it's joined by Onslaught's sac lands and Ravnica's dual lands. Combined, they allow Wild Nacatl to easily attack as a 3/3 on the second turn of play. That means Zoo players the world over have a new weapon to add to their arsenal after losing Gaea's Might to the set rotation. Without a doubt, Zoo is the runaway hit of the weekend popularity-wise, making up nearly a third of the field with 126 players (27.75%) playing a version of the deck.

The second most popular strategy and one of the biggest fan favorites so far is undoubtedly Elves, a combo deck that just happens to be able to Red Zone it up with its combo pieces. Players around the venue have been seen using Glimpse of Nature to play an obscene amount of Elves in a single turn. When you add Heritage Druid and Birchlore Ranger to that mixture, you also get a huge amount of mana. From there, players can kill with nearly anything they choose. Grapeshot, Brain Freeze, even Chord of Calling for Predator Dragon have been used to go lethal as early as the third turn. In total 71 players, 15.64% of the field, opted to run the iconic green tribe this weekend.

Rounding up the top five are Storm, Next Level Blue(s), and Junk. Storm decks vary in makeup, with some builds including Shards standout Ad Nauseam, other builds incorporating the Pyromancer's Swath / Grapeshot combo, or straight-up Mind's Desire / Tendrils of Agony builds. They've proven to be very popular despite lots of flexible hate existing for them.

Next Level Blue, generally described as a blue control deck running Tarmogoyf and some form of creature control by way of Threads of Disloyalty or Vedalken Shackles (and sometimes both), has remained popular despite losing Sensei's Divining Top from last season. Thirty-two players have brought the deck to battle, including some big names from the professional community.

Rounding out the most popular strategies are various green-white-black "Junk" decks. The decks almost universally benefit from Doran, the Siege Tower and feature such hits as Kitchen Finks, Thoughtseize, and Putrefy. The big question for the 27 players using the strategy is whether their "old-fashioned" form of disruption will be enough to get them through a field of aggressive combo and aggro strategies.

Here's how the entire field broke down:

Deck # of players % of field
Zoo 126 27.75%
Elves 71 15.64%
Storm 39 8.59%
Next Level Blue 32 7.05%
Junk 27 5.95%
Faeries 25 5.51%
Death Cloud Rock 21 4.63%
Affinity 18 3.96%
All-In Red 17 3.74%
Burn 17 3.74%
Dredge 9 1.98%
Hulk Combo 5 1.10%
Life from the Loam Rock 5 1.10%
Tezzeret Control 5 1.10%
Bant Control 4 0.88%
Martyr Proclamation 4 0.88%
Second Breakfast 4 0.88%
Blue-Red Tron 4 0.88%
White-Blue Tron 4 0.88%
Bant Aggro 2 0.44%
Goblins 2 0.44%
Swans Combo 2 0.44%
Battle of Wits 1 0.22%
Beasts 1 0.22%
Belcher Combo 1 0.22%
Black-Green Rock 1 0.22%
White-Black Tokens 1 0.22%
Green-White Slide 1 0.22%
Rift Slide 1 0.22%
Seismic Loam 1 0.22%
Mono-Blue Control 1 0.22%
Mindlock Orb Control 1 0.22%
Blue-Black Tron 1 0.22%
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