The Magic Pro League returned to action this weekend for their first League Weekend, seven months after the 2020 season was deemed unrecoverable. The event gave us our first high-level look at the new Standard format.

After Omnath Adventures and Omnath Ramp dominated the 2020 Season Grand Finals two weeks ago, Wizards of the Coast immediately banned three problematic cards in Standard: Omnath, Locus of Creation, Lucky Clover, and Escape to the Wilds. The bannings essentially created a brand new Standard format, just weeks after rotation had resulted in that new, Omnath-centric format.

Heading into the weekend, many felt that Dimir Rogues—which Top 8’d the Grand Finals in the hands of Seth Manfield—was positioned to be the new best deck. After all, it didn’t lose any cards to bans and had been competitive against the too-good-for-Standard (and Historic!) Omnath decks. It seems like the pros agreed, with 33.8% of the combined field (eight in the Magic Pro league and 16 in the Magic Rivals League) choosing to play Rogues. Azorius Blink, featuring Yorion, Sky Nomad, came in a distant second place at 22.5% of the combined field (six MPL/10 Rivals), followed by Lucky Clover-less Gruul Adventures at 9.8% (four MPL/three Rivals).

Magic Pro League metagame for the first League Weekend.

Magic Rivals League metagame for the first League Weekend.

In their first League Weekend, the members of both the Magic Pro and Rivals Leagues played 12 matches within their respective leagues over two days. Each win was worth one point towards their league standing.

After 12 matches, Rei Sato stands atop the Magic Pro League’s standings. His 11 wins with Gruul Adventures netted him 11 points and sole possession of first place.

The top 16 players in the Magic Pro League standings after the first League Weekend.

Despite the ban of Lucky Clover, the archetype can still put together enough Adventures to bury opponents in card advantage with Edgewall Innkeeper, or get them dead with Brushfire Elemental and Embercleave.

Standard Gruul Adventures by Rei Sato

Creatrures (25)
Bonecrusher Giant
Brushfire Elemental
Edgewall Innkeeper
Kazandu Mammoth
Lovestruck Beast
Scavenging Ooze
Questing Beast

Spells (8)
Shatterskull Smashing
Primal Might
Scorching Dragonfire

Artifacts (5)
The Great Henge
Lands (22)
Cragcrown Pathway
Fabled Passage
Evolving Wilds

Sideboard (15)
Klothys, God of Destiny
Scorching Dragonfire
Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
The Akroan War
Embereth Shieldbreaker
Ox of Agonas
Garruk, Unleashed

Meanwhile, things were a bit more complicated in the Magic Rivals League. Days before the first League Weekend was set to start, Hall of Famer Eric Froehlich gave up his position in the league and retired from professional Magic because his wife, Athena, was hired as a full-time employee of Wizards of the Coast. He was replaced by Austin Bursavich, winner of the 2020 Season Grand Finals, and will play his first League Weekend matches at a later date.

On top of that, Allison Warfield played her first six matches on Saturday despite having surgery on Friday morning. Wizards allowed her to postpone her remaining six matches to a later date, as well.

After the dust settled, three players found themselves tied for first place in the Magic Rivals League: Stanislav Cifka, Luis Scott-Vargas, and Bernardo Santos. Each of the three players won nine of their 12 matches—all with Dimir Rogues.

The top 16 players in the Magic Rivals League standings after the first League Weekend.

Dimir Rogues combines eight rogue creatures—four each of Soaring Thought-Thief and Thieves’ Guild Enforcer—with disruption like Drown in the Loch and card draw like Into the Story.

Standard Dimir Rogues by Luis Scott-Vargas

Creatures (8)
Soaring Thought-Thief
Thieves’ Guild Enforcer

Spells (24)
Drown in the Loch
Into the Story
Heartless Act
Bloodchief’s Thirst
Cling to Dust
Didn’t Say Please
Essence Scatter
Silundi Vision
Agadeem’s Awakening

Enchantments (4)
Shark Typhoon
Lands (24)
Clearwater Pathway
Temple of Deceit
Zagoth Triome
Castle Locthwain

Sideboard (15)
Bloodchief’s Thirst
Cling to Dust
Extinction Event
Lullmage’s Domination
Mazemind Tome
Mystical Dispute

The Zendikar Rising Split will have one more League Weekend in two weeks on November 7-8 (which will also be Standard) and will conclude with the Zendikar Rising Championship on December 4-6 (Standard/Historic). The 2020-21 Magic Pro League season will have five more League Weekends during the Kaldheim and Strixhaven splits, as well as two more set Championships. There will then be a series of three gauntlets to determine the Magic Pro and Rivals League rosters 2021-22 season. (Check out our article on the new structure for more details.)

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