The Pro Tour is back! At Pro Tour Phyrexia, taking place February 17–19 at MagicCon: Philadelphia, 218 of the world's best Magic: The Gathering players will compete for $500,000 in prizes, several World Championship invites, and a prestigious trophy. While most competitors earned their invitation via Regional Championship performance, the field also includes Magic Hall of Famers, top online players, and the fiercest competitor of them all: reigning World Champion Nathan Steuer. The Pro Tour is truly one of the highest levels of tabletop Magic competition at a global level.
The formats are Phyrexia: All Will Be One Booster Draft in the morning of Friday and Saturday, followed by Pioneer for five rounds afterward each of those days. Pioneer is also the Top 8 format on Sunday. To follow all the action, catch the stream at twitch.tv/magic, which begins at 11 a.m. ET on Friday and Saturday and at 9 a.m. ET on Sunday.
Pioneer Metagame Breakdown
Pioneer is a non-rotating format based on expansion sets and core sets from Return to Ravnica onward, with the most notable cards on the ban list being the fetch lands. With nearly 10,000 legal cards Pioneer features a variety of powerful strategies—and the newly added cards from Phyrexia: All Will Be One have increased the competitive diversity further.
The metagame at the Pro Tour breaks downs as follows.
|Archetype||Percentage of Field||Count of Archetype|
|Lotus Field Combo||7.8%||17|
|Omnath to Light||1.8%||4|
|Azorius Lotus Field||0.5%||1|
|Storm Herald Combo||0.5%||1|
|Grinning Ignus Combo||0.5%||1|
The metagame features dozens of different archetypes, including aggro, midrange, control, ramp, combo, and plenty of spice. All Pioneer Constructed decklists for the tournament will be published on the Pro Tour Phyrexia event page on Friday February 17 at the beginning of Round 4 gameplay, approximately at 2 p.m. ET.
The most-played nonland cards across all main decks and sideboards were
These staples remain the pillars of the format, and they can be found in a variety of decks. If you'd like a deeper introduction to the format, then I recommend my Pioneer primer last month: It describes the game plans, matchups, and Regional Championship developments for all the top archetypes.
At Pro Tour Phyrexia, the most-played archetypes are Rakdos Midrange (15.1% of the field) and Mono-Green Devotion (13.7% of the field). This is similar to the metagame at the Regional Championships at the end of last year. Indeed, out of all players who qualified via the Regional Championships, a large majority brought the same archetype to the Pro Tour. However, the Pro Tour metagame also features several developments and surprises.
The rise of Gruul Vehicles: Gruul Vehicles had one of the better win rates at the Regional Championships, and its metagame share has grown further since then. With the plan to curve
The resurgence of Rakdos Sacrifice: Rakdos Sacrifice is another archetype that has ticked up after an excellent performance at the Regional Championships. Since the deck typically doesn't play cards that cost more than three mana,
The surprise of Izzet Creativity: Izzet Creativity, after a middling performance at the Regional Championship, has surged to a whopping 6.4% of the Pro Tour metagame. Although it doesn't exploit any new cards, it provides a consistent and powerful combo. The most prominent build aims cast
The allure of Auras: The introduction of
All these deck choices may be the key to victory, especially when they're piloted by some of the best players in the world.
The Most-Played Cards from Phyrexia: All Will Be One
Phyrexia: All Will Be One, which hit the format just two weeks before decklists were due, had a considerable impact on Pioneer. The following table breaks down the most-played new-to-Pioneer cards among all Pro Tour Phyrexia decklists.
|Card Name||Total Copies||Main Deck Copies||Sideboard Copies|
|Skrelv, Defector Mite||44||41||3|
|Migloz, Maze Crusher||38||38||0|
|Thrun, Breaker of Silence||15||0||15|
|Lukka, Bound to Ruin||15||4||11|
|The Filigree Sylex||14||0||14|
|Sword of Forge and Frontier||13||3||10|
|Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines||10||7||3|
|Nissa, Ascended Animist||6||2||4|
|Atraxa, Grand Unifier||4||0||4|
|Blue Sun's Twilight||4||0||4|
The most important new additions are the allied fast lands. For example,
In terms of nonland cards, the most-played one is
For Gruul Vehicles, the most important nonland addition is
If you're eager to find out which cards and strategies will come out on top and who will carve their name into competitive Magic history, then don't miss all the live action. Coverage begins Friday, February 17 at twitch.tv/magic!