Season 11 Week 1 Metagame Breakdown

by Noah R-G

New year, new season: welcome back to the VML! For the 128 players competing, a new set is just over the horizon (we’ll see Murders at Karlov Manor cards starting in week 3), so the Standard meta might be shaking up soon. In the meantime, here’s the breakdown for the first week of VML season 11!

“Other” represents decks with 2 or fewer players.

Much like the Standard metagame at large, we have a wide variety of archetypes represented this week: 32 total! A full third of the meta is represented by decks with 4 or fewer players, and only one deck has over a 10% share of the meta.

To likely nobody’s surprise, 5-Color Domain is the most popular deck right now, with 23 players representing 18.0% of the meta. Thanks to powerful protection from Leyline Binding Leyline Binding and Sunfall Sunfall , Domain keeps the board clear while it ramps up to big threats. While most Domain builds focus on getting value out of Atraxa, Grand Unifier Atraxa, Grand Unifier and Archangel of Wrath Archangel of Wrath , I’d like to shoutout PhyrexianFanGirl’s Corrupted Domain build, which runs a Swamp-heavy package and 4 copies of Corrupt Corrupt .

The next three decks are relatively common ones to run into on the Standard ladder: Esper Midrange (12 players, 9.4% meta share), Mono-Red Aggro (11 players, 8.6% share), and Rakdos Midrange (10 players, 7.8% share). Both midrange decks run Deep-Cavern Bat Deep-Cavern Bat , Sheoldred, the Apocalypse Sheoldred, the Apocalypse , and a powerful package of removal cards, which is certainly a selection of cards that we all love to hate (or just hate to face). Mono-Red Aggro, of course, is a classic Red Deck Wins aiming to take you from 20 to zero as fast as possible with hasty creatures like Monastery Swiftspear Monastery Swiftspear and burn from Lightning Strike Lightning Strike .

Relatively new to the Standard scene, 4-Color Legends has gurked its way onto the top of the list with Slogurk, the Overslime Slogurk, the Overslime and a package of legendaries it uses to combo off. The meme isn’t just a dream; once they get their land recycling loop set with Slogurk and the Kamigawa channel lands, this deck has a lot of options for the win. Jace, the Perfected Mind Jace, the Perfected Mind , Inti, Seneschal of the Sun Inti, Seneschal of the Sun , and the Gurk themself are all potential wincons to watch out for.

Spice Corner

This week’s most unique decks include Nora’s “Mono-Blue” Cauldron and katiekarlov’s Gruul Dinos.

“Mono-Blue” Cauldron, or as Nora calls it, “I’m sorry for the all the clicking”, is a combo deck centered around Agatha's Soul Cauldron Agatha's Soul Cauldron . After exiling Kami of Whispered Hopes and Sleep-Cursed Faerie Sleep-Cursed Faerie to get infinite mana on a creature with at least 3 power, the deck then pings the opponent down thanks to an exiled Realm-Scorcher Hellkite Realm-Scorcher Hellkite . With loot and mill effects galore to fill up its own graveyard, I’m looking forward to seeing how this deck performs this week.

Many Magic players love big beefy creatures, and that’s exactly what a Gruul Dinos deck provides. With strong 2- and 3-mana dinosaurs like Belligerent Yearling Belligerent Yearling and Pugnacious Hammerskull Pugnacious Hammerskull , and Etali, Primal Conqueror // Etali, Primal Sickness Etali, Primal Conqueror Etali, Primal Sickness
as the curve-topper, this deck brings some good dino-flavored aggro to the table. As katiekarlov calls it, “this deck gruuls”!

Full weekly stats can be found here.