I hope you’re all slightly sick of talking about the new set that hasn’t come out yet, because I don’t even plan to mention it’s name in this article, or the names of any cards that are supposed to be in it, for that matter! That’s because there’s a big event this weekend, down in the land of where Tim sucks at Magic. I will be playing in both the Standard and Legacy Opens, so I figured this might be a good time to talk about preparing for the current Legacy meta. Believe it or not, a dozen weeks have elapsed since a rather fishy Nemesis was unleashed on our beloved format. Yep, I’m talking about True-Name Nemesis. (Okay, you were probably all clever enough to figure that out.) At two points, late last year, I applied Karsten’s metagame analysis methodology to help give a rough idea of what the field typically looks like at the top tables of a large events. To recap, here is some copypasta on how exactly this works (and for repeat customers, I put any changes in blue, so that you can skim):

“We will assign each archetype two points for finishing 9th-16th, three points for 5th-8th, four points for 3rd-4th, five points for 2nd, and six points for 1st, then average out the data from the eight 32 events to arrive at what the expected metagame should look like.”
The method described above was developed by Frank Karsten for analyzing the “winner’s circle” metagame. These results are meant to show the likeliness of seeing a given archetype at the top tables. I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking that they can safely forget about the plethora of decks that exist in this great format and assume that they will be playing against nothing but Delver and Show and Tell decks, because it is not uncommon to see some pretty wacky shit in the first couple of rounds (or the later rounds if you have fallen below x-3).
In addition to Karsten’s method, I added a time-weighted version. From my original article:
“I decided to set up my model to give 100% weight to the most recent event (10/27/2013 1/19/2014) and a 10% 50% weight to the furthest back event (12/2/2012 11/3/2013), with a linear rate of decay.”

Minimum weight of 10% was increased to 50% for this exercise. Leaving it at 10% would create an extremely aggressive rate of decay, given that we are going from a weight of 100% to 10% in the course of 12 weeks, rather than nearly 11 months. This is still a more aggressive rate of decay than my previous model, but I felt that the metagame has only recently started to actually warp around True-Name, and I wanted to capture these new developments a bit more prominently.

The T-Score is calculated for the period of time described above. The exact formula used to determine the percentage weight is as follows:

=100% – c * t

t is the number of days that have elapsed since the date of a given finish (remember, we are using 1/19/2014 as our t-zero)

c is a constant that we determine by setting t to our maximum value (77) and solving for c if the weight is 50%; the result is .6494%. c represents our daily rate of decay.

If you remember this drill from last time, maybe you’re wondering what happened to the distance-weighted metrics. I felt that because the sample size that we’re working with is relatively small, and the meta is in currently in a bit of a flux, distance-weighting would only serve to obscure the data, rather than improve it.

For our data, I aggregated the results from each SCG Legacy Open during the time period we’re looking at, as well as the Legacy Championships (for which I only have top eight data) and the Grand Prix.

Ok, on to the results!


Archetype K-Score T-Score T/K
1 UWR Delver 12.11% 13.05% 1.08
2 RUG Delver 10.13% 9.45% 0.93
3 Sneak and Show 7.93% 7.75% 0.98
4 Esper Stoneblade 7.71% 7.84% 1.02
5 Death and Taxes 6.83% 6.21% 0.91
6 BUG Delver 5.07% 5.07% 1.00
7 Elves 4.85% 4.90% 1.01
8 Esper Deathblade 4.41% 4.66% 1.06
9 Reanimator 4.19% 5.12% 1.22
10 UR Delver 3.74% 4.05% 1.08
11 Punishing Jund 3.74% 3.68% 0.98
12 ANT 3.52% 3.57% 1.01
13 UWx Miracles 3.30% 2.80% 0.85
14 Shardless BUG 2.20% 1.96% 0.89
15 Jund Depths 1.98% 2.58% 1.30
16 UW Stoneblade 1.76% 1.33% 0.76
17 Omni-Tell 1.54% 1.83% 1.19
18 Dark Maverick 1.10% 0.76% 0.69
19 Merfolk 1.10% 0.81% 0.73
20 LED Dredge 0.88% 0.72% 0.82
21 Affinity 0.88% 0.89% 1.01
22 UB Death’s Shadow 0.88% 0.67% 0.76
23 MUD 0.88% 0.61% 0.69
24 Bant 0.88% 0.72% 0.82
25 Junk Depths 0.66% 0.83% 1.26
26 Mono Red Painter 0.66% 0.71% 1.07
27 Tin Fins 0.44% 0.33% 0.76
28 UR Painter 0.44% 0.31% 0.69
29 UB Tezzeret 0.44% 0.33% 0.76
30 12 Post 0.44% 0.39% 0.88
31 Doomsday Storm 0.44% 0.44% 1.01
32 Burn 0.44% 0.58% 1.32
33 Manaless Dredge 0.44% 0.44% 1.01
34 Stax 0.44% 0.61% 1.39
35 Goblins 0.44% 0.39% 0.88
36 Belcher 0.44% 0.58% 1.32
37 Pox 0.44% 0.39% 0.88
38 Oops, All Spells! 0.44% 0.44% 1.01
39 Lands 0.44% 0.47% 1.07
40 Four-Color Loam 0.44% 0.56% 1.26
41 TES 0.44% 0.58% 1.32
42 Explorer Pod 0.44% 0.56% 1.26

SO MUCH DELVER! The flying Nacatl is holding down the top two spots (and by a decent margin!) as well as another spot in the top 10! Oh, wait, make that TWO more spots in the top 10. I shudder to think of how much of the entire field Delver decks make up. Or we can just have a look. Here’s the breakdown by macro-archetype (feel free to ask if you’re unsure how some of these are being combined):

Archetype K-Score T-Score T/K
1 Delver 31.94% 32.29% 1.01
2 Stoneblade 14.76% 14.56% 0.99
3 Show and Tell Combo 9.47% 9.58% 1.01
4 Aether Vial Aggro 8.37% 7.40% 0.88
5 Graveyard Combo 4.63% 5.46% 1.18
6 Elves 4.85% 4.90% 1.01
7 Storm Combo 4.41% 4.60% 1.04
8 Loam 3.52% 4.44% 1.26
9 Punishing Jund 3.74% 3.68% 0.98
10 UWx Miracles 3.30% 2.80% 0.85
11 Shardless BUG 2.20% 1.96% 0.89
12 Dredge 1.32% 1.17% 0.88
13 Glass Cannon 0.88% 1.03% 1.17
14 Painted Stone 1.10% 1.01% 0.92
15 Affinity 0.88% 0.89% 1.01
16 Dark Maverick 1.10% 0.76% 0.69
17 MUD 0.88% 0.61% 0.69
18 Stax 0.44% 0.61% 1.39
19 Burn 0.44% 0.58% 1.32
20 Explorer Pod 0.44% 0.56% 1.26
21 12 Post 0.44% 0.39% 0.88
22 Pox 0.44% 0.39% 0.88
23 UB Tezzeret 0.44% 0.33% 0.76

Delver and Stoneblade sit squarely as the runaway leaders. Both of them also happen to be the decks that like to jam True-Name. Together, they form nearly HALF the winner’s circle meta. Now, to be fair, the second biggest Delver deck, RUG, as well as some of the Stoneblade lists that had strong showings last week chose to completely eschew the slippery fish, but it’s an understatement to say he’s all over the top tables. This has led to an interesting side effect that I’ve alluded to a couple weeks ago: with so many True-Name decks in the field, the decks that are trying to beat True-Name are compelled to leave their Abrupt Decays at home. The other interesting observation is that the two macro-archetypes that have had better recent success than overall success (indicating that the archetype is trending upwards in popularity) are Graveyard Combo and Loam; both of these archetypes rely a lot on their graveyards, as you may have guessed from their names, with one just outright having the word, “graveyard,” in it and the other having it’s namesake card play very friendly with the yard. So we need to beat Delver, we need to beat graveyards, we need to beat True-Name, and we probably don’t have to worry about Abrupt Decay as much as we normally would. RIP-Helm Miracles seems to be calling to me, but the Supreme Blade list from last weekend, featuring Lingering Souls, THREE Verdicts, and ZERO Nemeses also tickles my fancy. I had wanted to try Omniscience, but with the recent surge in Reanimator decks, it seems like a risky choice; I think Reanimator has a heavy advantage in that matchup thanks to speed and the fact that they get to play counters AND discard. To everyone battling in Baltimore, good luck in stopping the insects in the air and the fish on the ground! Maybe next week, we’ll talk about that set that’s coming out soon.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.