Hello and welcome back to Metagame Mentor, your weekly guide to the top decks and latest Constructed developments on the path to the Pro Tour. Today, I'll cover the Regional Championships for Mexico/Central America/Caribbean, China, and East Canada. After celebrating the champions, who earned their trophies by displaying their prowess in the Standard format, I will provide the combined metagame breakdown and match win rates for all major archetypes, followed by an overview of the most notable Standard developments, including spicy lists that earned a Pro Tour qualification.
To put the tournaments into perspective, the following infographic provides a visual overview of all Regional Championships and their qualifying seasons in 2023.
As this graphic indicates, top eligible players from last weekend's Regional Championships earn an invitation to Pro Tour March of the Machine. This Pro Tour, which features Standard and Draft, will be held during MagicCon: Minneapolis on May 5–7. Tickets are on sale right now, with single-day badges starting at $30. The event schedule will be live later today featuring PTQs for the Pro Tour at MagicCon: Barcelona, alongside competitive events such as the Secret Lair Showdown with some exclusive cards to win—which I did myself at MagicCon: Philadelphia.
Congratulations to the Three Regional Champions!
¡Muchas Felicidades al Ganador del Final Showdown! Jesus Adan Calzada. Lo podremos ver en el Pro Tour y en el World Championship. pic.twitter.com/tihHOGuwVl— The Gathering Series (@SeriesGathering) March 19, 2023
Jesus Adan Calzada won the The Gathering Series Final Showdown (i.e., the Regional Championship for Mexico/Central America/Caribbean) with a Rakdos Reanimator deck, earning an invitation to World Championship XXIX. In addition, the Top 4 players earned an invite to Pro Tour March of the Machine. You can find the Top 8 bracket, photos, and more on the Gathering Series Final Showdown coverage page.
Congratulations to Yiren Jiang, the winner of the MTG China Open, China's Regional Championship! See you at the Pro Tour! pic.twitter.com/OZMew8cTDb— PlayMTG (@PlayMTG) March 27, 2023
Jiang Yiren won the China Open (i.e., the Regional Championship for China) with a Mono-White Midrange deck, earning an invitation to World Championship XXIX. In addition, the Top 8 players earned an invite to Pro Tour March of the Machine. You can find the Top 8 bracket, photos, and more on the China Open coverage page.
Philippe Gareau overcame a field of 266 players to become the Canadian Regional Champion.— Face to Face Games (@FaceToFaceGames) March 27, 2023
He will be representing Canada at Pro Tour Minneapolis and the World Championships.
Congratulations. 🇨🇦💪 #F2FYOW @PlayMTG pic.twitter.com/nh4PLW1Lwz
Philippe Gareau won the F2F Tour Championship Ottawa (i.e., the East Regional Championship for Canada) with a Mono-White Midrange deck, earning an invitation to World Championship XXIX. In addition, the top 8 players earned an invite to Pro Tour March of the Machine. You can find the Top 8 bracket, photos, and more on the F2F Tour Championship Ottawa coverage page.
The Metagame and Win Rates
Based on all decklists from the three Regional Championships held over the past two weekends, I determined the combined metagame share of every archetype. I also calculated their non-mirror, non-bye, non-draw match win rates. I used my own algorithms and definitions to assign archetype labels, thereby sidestepping any potential mislabeling on MTG Melee. Let's take a look!
|Archetype||Percentage of Field||Match Win Rate|
|1. Grixis Midrange||24.0%||49.8%|
|2. Esper Legends||14.1% ↑↑||52.3%|
|3. Mono-White Midrange||9.9%||53.1%|
|4. Selesnya Toxic||8.9%||48.6%|
|5. Mono-Red Aggro||8.7%||46.8%|
|6. Azorius Soldiers||4.8%||37.6%|
|7. Rakdos Midrange||3.9% ↑↑||63.1% ✓✓|
|8. Grixis Reanimator||3.5%||45.2%|
|9. Rakdos Reanimator||3.5%||53.5%|
|10. Mono-Blue Tempo||3.3% ↓↓||49.1%|
|11. Domain Control||2.5%||47.3%|
|12. Jund Midrange||1.4%||47.8%|
|13. Four-Color Legends||1.0%||47.2%|
|14. Selesnya Enchantments||1.0%||60.8% ✓✓|
|15. Esper Control||0.8%||51.9%|
|16. Rakdos Aggro||0.8%||51.9%|
|17. Orzhov Midrange||0.8%||46.4%|
In this table, each archetype name hyperlinks to a well-performing decklist close to the aggregate of that archetype, and the arrows represent the biggest changes compared to the second weekend of this Regional Championship cycle. The "other" category, continuing the descending order, included such deck archetypes as:
- Mardu Midrange
- Esper Midrange
- Mono-Black Midrange
- Jeskai Control
- Izzet Powerstones
- Five-Color Legends
- Dimir Poison
- Azorius Control
- Golgari Midrange
- Azorius Mindsplice
- Esper Reanimator
- Gruul Modified
- Mono-Red Powerstones
- Azorius Tempo
- Jund Reanimator
- Bant Toxic
Two Regional Championship trophies and several additional Pro Tour qualifications were clinched by Mono-White Midrange, which remains a strong option in Standard. Although East Canada Regional Champion Philippe Gareau used zero copies of
To combat the rise of these land destruction effects, many opponents added an extra basic land to their lists. For example, an extra basic Swamp has become the norm in Grixis Midrange, and Alexander Hayne returned to the Pro Tour with a basic Island in his sideboard.
While Mono-White Midrange had a good weekend, Azorius Soldiers disappointed with a poor win rate. One possible reason for this is that many Grixis Midrange players moved towards the build with main deck
The Rise of Esper Legends
Esper Legends ballooned towards a 14.1% metagame share across the last three Regional Championships. Its rise is also evident when we look at the two most-played card across all submitted Standard main decks and sideboards; these are no longer the Grixis Midrange main stays
Following the success of Esper Legends with main deck
For example, Omar Beldon's second-place finishing list from the Cananda Regional Championship had
Two Breakout New Decks from Canada
The East Canada Regional Championship provided several memorable player stories, such as the return of Alexander Hayne, the victory of Philippe Gareau, and the success of Omar Beldon. But in terms of potential impact on the future Standard metagame, the emergence of Rakdos Midrange and Selesnya Enchantments is arguably even more important.
Although most players who played these decks fell right outside of the Top 8, needing one extra win or better tiebreaks to make it, the overall win rates of these novel builds were excellent.
Rakdos Midrange had an impressive 63.1% across the three Regional Championships, in large part due to a group of players from Canada. The 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th place at the East Canada Regional Championships were all taken by Rakdos Midrange, with Mohamad Qadi making it with the best tiebreakers. Barely missing the Top 8 was Joseph Karani, who had won a Regional Championship in Canada in the previous cycle with Rakdos Midrange, made the Top 4 at the West Canada Regional Championship a few weeks prior with a spicy Rakdos Aggro build, and now came close with a spicy Rakdos Midrange build. These results prove his skills as a player and deck builder, as well as his mastery of the Rakdos color combination. He also adapts his card choices to the ever-changing metagame—while
Their Rakdos Midrange list looks very similar to Grixis Midrange, with
Given these developments, and judging by the amazing results at last weekend's Regional Championships, Rakdos Midrange might be better positioned than Grixis Midrange in the current Standard metagame, which could represent a significant shift. Joseph Karani shared a sideboard guide on Twitter.
Four players ran Selesnya Enchantments at the East Canada Regional Championship, and although none of them made it to the Top 8, their combined 60.8% win rate stands out. According to Pro Tour veteran Pascal Maynard, the deck is great versus Grixis, and it can beat creature decks like Esper Legends by outscaling them with
Although the core of the strategy was already available half a year ago,
The Spice Corner
Besides the Rakdos Midrange and Selesnya Enchantment decks that were played by a sizable group of players in Canada, last weekend's Regional Championships also featured more offbeat brews. In particular, two players earned a Pro Tour invite with a spicy deck.
Izzet Powerstones was the new hotness in Standard at the end of December 2022. Its game plan is to use Powerstones to ramp into
Nevertheless, Izzet Powerstones largely disappeared from the competitive metagame after it didn't gain anything from Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Other factors, such as its struggles against aggro decks or the addition of countermagic and discard spells to Grixis Midrange decks, may also have played a role.
However, Yang Feng stuck with the deck and emerged with a Pro Tour invite. An important innovation are 4
Patrick Wu's Jeskai control list is close to the one that Tobia Daniele Nappi took to a tenth-place finish at the European Championship two weekends ago. With two players making the Pro Tour with this offbeat archetype, Jeskai Control is not a fluke. The color combination features a good combination of spot removal, sweepers, countermagic, and card draw to keep opponents at bay, which is all you need. Winning is an afterthought after you've run your opponent out of resources, but copying
A major benefit of playing control is that you don't really care about spot removal spells like
While Esper Legends is slowly taking over Grixis Midrange's place as the one deck to beat in Standard and other players are finding success with off-meta decks like Rakdos Midrange, Selesnya Enchantments, Izzet Powerstones, and Jeskai Control, the Standard format appears wide open. That's an exciting prospect as we move to the last Regional Championships of this cycle. There are just two to go.
This weekend, April 1–2, will feature the Regional Championship in South America.
Next weekend, April 8–9, the cycle concludes with the Regional Championship in the United States. There will be live coverage on the DreamHackMagic Twitch channel, provisionally estimated to start at noon PT / 9 p.m. CET on Saturday and at 10 a.m. PT / 7 p.m. CET on Sunday.
Best of luck to all competitors! I'm excited to see what you will bring in this dynamic Standard format, and we'll see the best of you at Pro Tour March of the Machine in five weeks from now.