VML Season 12 Week 2 Metagame Update

by Noah R-G

Happy Banned and Restricted Day for the Pauper, Legacy, and Vintage players among us! We’ve heard that the annual Standard maintenance bans will happen after Modern Horizons 3 releases, so we may have bans on the horizon towards the end of this season. Let’s take a dive into the current meta and see if there are any archetypes we need to be keeping an eye on.

Last Week’s Results

Performance graph for decks with 3 or more players; the size of the circle is the number of decks, and the height is its win rate.

I always find it funny how Bant Toxic always ranks among the winningest decks, even with a smaller player base than many of the other top meta decks. With 4 players last week, Bant Toxic earned a 75% win rate.

For the currently more popular meta decks, Esper Midrange and Domain Ramp find themselves at the top. Tied at a 66.7% win rate with 13 and 12 players respectively, these two decks are the bar that the rest of the meta tiers are measured against. If your deck can’t beat at least one of them, you’re in for a harder fight up the ladder.

Temur Analyst, last week’s most popular deck in VML with 22 players, earned a very solid 63.6% win rate. Rounding out our winning decks is Azorius Control, with a 61.5% win rate across 13 players.

Top Decks vs Top 3

Each week, I list the deck archetypes that have been the most successful against last week’s popular decks in VML. The suggested counterpicks are based only on data from VML season 12. As the season goes on and we get more data, this segment will get more accurate.

Temur Analyst

Temur Analyst is currently well placed as a difficult-to-disrupt combo deck. The decks it currently seems to struggle against tend to be decks with white in them, meaning they can run Rest in Peace Rest in Peace and completely hose Analyst’s ability to combo off. However, Analyst is too fast for a deck like Azorius Control to manage, so if you suspect your opponent will run Temur Analyst, lean towards picking your preferred flavor of midrange deck.

Counterpicks: Orzhov Midrange, Domain Ramp, Bant Toxic, Esper Midrange, Golgari Midrange

Azorius Control

The power of Azorius Control is that it dictates the speed of the game. The types of decks that can counter that either go faster than control can deal with or it can disrupt the control player altogether.

Counterpicks: Temur Analyst, Dimir Midrange, Grixis Midrange, Rakdos Artifacts

Esper Midrange

As today’s B&R article said, Esper Midrange is a deck full of good stuff that doesn’t need to rely on other pieces to survive and thrive. Good counterpicks are decks that thrive in the slower pace that midrange lends itself to.

Counterpicks: Domain Ramp, Gruul Aggro, Jeskai Control

Week 3 Decks

This week, the meta has ended up in the most evenly divided pie I’ve seen since I started doing these write ups. With no one single “deck to beat”, players are experimenting with flexibility and counterpicking their opponents.

“Other” represents decks with 2 or fewer players.

While still the most popular deck, Temur Analyst’s lead has dropped. The deck has 16 players and a 12.5% metashare this week. It’s closely followed by Azorius Control with 14 players and a 10.9% metashare. Both decks maintain the top two spots from last week.

Golgari Midrange and Esper Midrange tie at 13 players and a 10.1% metashare each, and it will be interesting to see which midrange deck reigns supreme at the end of the week. Rounding out our top 5 decks of the week is VML-favorite 4-Color Slogurk, with 12 players and a 9.4% metashare.

Spice Corner

This week’s most unique decks include Feather’s Izzet Combo, Clara Lehenaff’s Sultai Reanimator, and Mel Woods’s Gruul Ramp.

Feather’s “notice me cftsoc” deck is a combo deck aiming to sling spells and grow a Mindsplice Apparatus Mindsplice Apparatus until it can resolve a Lier, Disciple of the Drowned Lier, Disciple of the Drowned and finish the game with infinite uncounterable turns. Relying on the discount from Mindsplice Apparatus, the deck casts Alchemist's Gamble for its cleave cost after casting multiple spell duplicators like Complete the Circuit Complete the Circuit . Recast those duplicators with Lier to make a whole bunch of tokens with Burn Down the House Burn Down the House and use your infinite turns to turn creatures sideways for the win.

Clara’s “Grim Captain” deck is a reanimator deck relying on self-discard and looting effects to fill its graveyard with big threats like Vaultborn Tyrant Vaultborn Tyrant and Bringer of the Last Gift Bringer of the Last Gift . It then cheats out those creatures by crafting with the deck’s namesake card Throne of the Grim Captain // The Grim Captain Throne of the Grim Captain The Grim Captain
. The Grim Captain themself is a 7/7 with menace, trample, lifelink, and hexproof, and every time they attack, your opponent sacrifices a nonland permanent. Then you get to put one of the cards exiled to craft the Captain onto the battlefield under your control tapped and attacking.

Mel’s “Dragons and dinosaurs can ride horses, sure” deck is a stompy ramp deck aiming to get big threats out fast with Smuggler's Surprise Smuggler's Surprise and copy them with everyone’s favorite legendary horse Calamity, Galloping Inferno Calamity, Galloping Inferno . What are those big threats? Glad you asked! Sound the Trumpeting Carnosaur Trumpeting Carnosaur , get out your 7/7 friends Spinewoods Armadillo Spinewoods Armadillo and Etali, Primal Conqueror // Etali, Primal Sickness Etali, Primal Conqueror Etali, Primal Sickness
, and take some Terror of the Peaks Terror of the Peaks burn to the face.

Full weekly stats can be found here.