Browse > Home / Strategy / Articles / Pro Tour Amonkhet: Day Two (Live Updates)

Pro Tour Amonkhet: Day Two (Live Updates)


After an interesting day one (you can find yesterday's live updates here) featuring New Perspectives, Cryptolith Rite, and lots of Aetherworks Marvel, we're back for day two of Pro Tour Amonkhet! While the basic form of our updates will be the same, featuring real-time thoughts on a round-by-round basis, the substance will be a bit different. At this point, we pretty much know most of the decks in the field, so instead of focusing primarily on lists, we will take a more meta perspective, looking to put the event into context, answer the questions left over from day one, and eventually work our way towards the top eight that will happen tomorrow. 

Maybe the most important thing to remember heading into day two is that, when all is said and done, it's the top eight that will drive the narrative on which decks are good and bad, so keeping track of what has a chance of making it to Sunday is key. While in reality making the top eight isn't much different than making top 16 or even top 32, to the casual observer who doesn't dig into the numbers, the top eight it's really all that matters. As such, being a great deck throughout the swiss but missing the top eight on tie breakers isn't really all that beneficial over the long haul, while being a horrible deck in general but managing to sneak a player or two into the top eight is great. Anyway, let's get to it!

Diversity

Once again, we aren't really going to break down the limited rounds, but I did want to take this opportunity to break down the metagame on day one of Pro Tour Amonkhet a little bit more. We should have the day two metagame breakdown in a couple of rounds, which will give us the opportunity to talk about conversion rates and just how successful decks were on day one, but for now I'm interested in putting the day one metagame into the context of previous Pro Tours.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

The big take away from day one is that we have three major archetypes at Pro Tour Amonkhet: Mardu Vehicles, Aetherworks Marvel (primarily Temur, but there are many different color combinations) and Zombies (Mono-Black and WB). Mardu and Marvel both made up about a quarter of the field on day one, while Zombies came in at about 21%. Together, these three decks make up nearly 75% of the metagame. On its face, this sounds like a lot, but how does this compare to other recent Standard Pro Tours?

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Let's start off with Mardu, the "best" deck heading into the event. Just how uncommon is it for the top deck at a Pro Tour to make up 26% of the metagame? Looking back over the past years worth of Pro Tours, 26% is a bit higher than normal, but not shockingly high. The average "best deck" at Pro Tours from Shadows block and Kaladesh block came in at 20.5%. As such, the number of players on Mardu Vehicles is high, but not disturbingly so, especially considering that the deck made up about 25% of the meta heading into the Pro Tour. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Where things get a bit sketchy is when we get to Marvel and Zombies. While we're taking a bit of liberty here by putting all of the Marvel decks together, if we look back at past Pro Tours, we find that the average second-best deck typically makes up 14% of the day one metagame, which means that Marvel's 26% metagame share is nearly double the norm. This gap is even wider if we compare Zombies to the typical third best deck. While Zombies is 21% of the metagame at Pro Tour Amonkhet, the average is only 9%and even this is skewed by Pro Tour Aether Revolt where GB Delirium was over 15% of the meta; at Pro Tours Kaladesh, Eldritch Moon, and Shadows over Innistrad the average third most-played deck only made up 7% of the metagame. 

This suggests that the metagame at Pro Tour Amonkhet fine, but not amazingly diverse. It's not that Mardu Vehicles is ruining the format by being the most-played deck, it's that we're still lacking depth in our options in the format. While things could change over the rest of the weekend (or the next weeks leading up to Hour of Devastation), based on the day one metagame of Pro Tour Amonkhet, it appears that we moved from a metagame where two decks make up 75% of the meta (with Copy Cat and Mardu) to a format where three decks make up 75% of the meta (Mardu, Zombies, and Marvel). While this is a step in the right direction, it appears we still have a ways to go for Standard to be diverse.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Round 12

As for the actual gameplay in Round 12, we start off with one of the more unique builds of Aetherworks Marvel: Sultai Aetherworks in the hands of Reid Duke. Much like the Bounty of the Luxa Marvel deck we talked about yesterday, the upside of going BUG is Liliana, Death's Majesty gives the deck an addition way of cheating an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger into play thanks to her reanimation ability. From a more meta perspectives, the Sultai Marvel deck is much more value-centric than the combo Temur builds. While ending the game with Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is still common, Sultai Aetherworks can play a normal game of Magic as well and grind opponents into the ground with value, card draw, Gearhulks, and planeswalkers. 

Also of note, we find out that at least a handful of unique decks are still floating around near the top tables, with Tsuyoshi Fujita in a backup feature match with RW Exert and Sam Black with Abzan Tokens. Hopefully we'll get a chance to see these decks and find out more about them as the rounds roll along, but it's refreshing to know that there are decks outside of the big three that are performing well. Here's Reid Duke's Sultai Aetherworks, which was confirmed during the inter-round deck tech:

Round 13

Our feature match this round is WB Zombies in the hands of Chris Fennell against Efro on Temur Aetherworks. While the decks themselves are pretty well known at this point, the important thing here is that Fennell is currently 11-1, which means he can likely lock up the first top eight berth of the tournament with a win this round, which would means at least one Zombie deck would be playing on Sunday. While the performance thus far this weekend have already cemented Zombies as a tier archetype, getting at least one player into the top eight would be a huge boon. Unfortunately for WB Zombies, in game one it falls to Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger despite having a fairly fast start. In game two, Efro can't find an Aetherworks Marvel and quickly dies to a Zombie horde. Game three is extremely close, with Efro countering two Gideon, Ally of Zendikar from Fennell, but then tapping out main phase for a Glimmer of Genius after missing his fifth land drop. Fennell untaps, draw for the turn and peels Gideon, Ally of Zendikar number three which resolves and quickly takes over the game, giving WB Zombies the win.

Metagame Breakdown

The biggest news of Round 13 is the day two metagame breakdown. If you haven't already, you should check it out. So let's see if we can dig into the numbers and answer some of the questions we've had from day one.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

  • Mardu Vehicles, despite being the most played deck at the tournament on day one, hasn't actually performed all that well. 63% of players at Pro Tour Amonkhet made it to day two, but Mardu Vehicles only managed to put 58% through. While builds with blue (for counters) in the sideboard performed better, at this point Mardu Vehicles has to be considered one of the losers of the weekend.
  • Meanwhile, both Zombies and Aetherworks Marvel performed quite well with 72% of Zombie players and 71% of Marvel players making it to day two. Mono-Black Zombies outperformed WB Zombies, although both decks were above average. Temur builds of Aetherworks Marvel outperformed Sultai, Four-Color, and Bant, with all of the non-Temur builds actually performing slightly below average. 
  • Sadly for us lovers of spice, New Perspectives was one of the worst decks on day one of the Pro Tour with only 43% of players making it to the second day of competition.
  • Other losers include UW Flash/Spirits and basically any flavor of control build, which is disappointing. If control can't compete when it has access to Pull from Tomorrow and Commit // Memory, it might never be able to compete. While not as bad as control, various GB decks also performed below expectations, with the exception of GB Cryptolith Rite which put all five of its players through to day two. 
  • As for winners among the lesser played decks, clearly the biggest is Temur Energy (a non-Aetherworks Marvel value deck that looks a bit like the old Copy Cat combo decks, but without the infinite combo) which put a massive 83% of its 11 player into the second day of the Pro Tour. Some spicy one-of decks to make day two include Abzan Tokens, GW Tokens, and UW Engulf the Shore.  
  • Along with the metagame breakdown, Wizards also published the most played cards on day two, and things look mostly as you'd expect considering Zombies, Marvel, and Mardu are 75% of the format. The biggest take away is that Amonkhet hasn't really had much of an impact, with only a single Amonkhet card showing up in the top 20 most played cards at the event (Dread Wanderer at #20). 
  • As for Amonkhet cards, the most played are various Zombies (Dread Wanderer, Lord of the Accursed and Liliana's Mastery), Magma Spray, and Dispossess (which will likely be even more important moving forward as one of the best clean answers to Aetherworks Marvel in the format). 

For our inter-round deck tech, we get a Drake Haven variant of New Perspectives combo by Rafael Sarriegui Hidalgo:

Round 14

We kick off Round 14 with the matchup that has come to defined Pro Tour Amonkhet: Mono-Black Zombies from Christian Calcano against Temur Marvel from Martin Muller. Like last round, this is essentially a win-and-in for top eight, so the big question is whether we'll end up with our second Zombie deck in the top eight, or have our first Temur Marvel deck locked in. While the Zombie deck is fairly typical, the Temur Marvel deck from Team Genesis has one major addition that might flip the matchup in its favor:

Chandra, Flamecaller was one of the scariest card in Standard a year ago, but the combination of Mardu Vehicles and Copy Cat Combo pretty much made all six-mana cards unplayable. With the Felidar Guardian banning, it may be time for Chandra, Flamecaller to once again become a big part of the format. While Temur Aetherworks in general has been very good at Pro Tour Amonkhet, the Chandra Aetherworks build from Team Genesis is the best of the best, putting every single player into day two and having multiple players in contention for the top eight. It seems likely that we'll see a lot more Aetherworks Marvel decks implementing the planeswalker in the coming weeks. The good news is that Chandra, Flamecaller is already pretty cheap at under $4, so it shouldn't cost too much to update your deck, although it's worth remembering that she will be rotating in in a few months.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Something we've been talking about throughout the weekend is the difference between Mono-Black and WB Zombies, and it seems like we may have missed a big one: Westvale Abbey. Considering the mana requirement, the WB Zombies deck can't really afford a colorless land, while the Mono-Black Zombies deck can play several copies. This might not seem like a big deal, but we've seen a few Westvale Abbey flips this afternoon, and Ormendahl has looked good just about every time it has been on camera, either closing out games quickly or helping players stabilize thanks to huge chunks of life gain. Much like Chandra, Flamecaller, the rare land rotates in September so there isn't much long-term financial relevence here, but when you build (or update) your Standard deck for next week, make sure to keep Westvale Abbey in mind; the hasty, indestructible threat likely increases the value of removal like Stasis Snare and Cast Out.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Back to our games: Zombies takes a fairly quick game one thanks to Muller stumbling on mana by missing his fourth land drop, which leaves the Marvel deck in a position where is has to spend all of its energy to make chump blockers with Whirler Virtuoso. In game two, things seem to get a even better for Zombies thanks to a bunch of Transgress the Minds coming in from the sideboard. In the early days of Amonkhet Standard there was a debate between Lay Bare the Heart and Transgress the Mind. There's no debate anymore: with the rise of Aetherworks Marvel, you 100% want Transgress the Mind as your two-mana discard spell. As the game plays out, Muller gets a Chandra, Flamecaller to sweep the away a board full of Zombues, but Liliana's Mastery allows for a fast rebuild, which leads to a really long, drawn out battle that eventually ends when Temur Marvel draws an Aetherworks Marvel to close out the game. In game three, Zombies are on the play while Muller mulligans to six and keeps a zero-lander with two copies of Attune with Aether. While he does find a land on turn two, this is enough to let Calcano tear apart his hand with Transgress the Mind and finish off the game with Liliana's Mastery, putting our second Zombie deck into the top eight!

After an emotional interview from Calcano on his first Pro Tour top eight berth, we get an inter-round deck tech of Green-Black Cryptolith Rites:

Round 15

We kick off Round 15 with an Aetherworks Marvel mirror with Martin Muller (who lost to Zombies last round in a win-and-in) on Temur Aetherworks against William Jensen on the Sultai Marvel deck that we talked about when Reid Duke played it a couple rounds back. While the numbers suggest that Temur is the better build, the secret tech of Chandra, Flamecaller as an additional Aetherworks Marvel hit doesn't seem as exciting in a Marvel mirror as it is against Zombies or even Mardu. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

In game one, we see one of the differences between the decks. Martin sticks an Aetherworks Marvel on turn four, immediately spins it hitting a Woodweaver's Puzzleknot, which allows him to spin again the next turn to find an [[Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Meanwhile, Jensen also has a turn four Aetherworks Marvel but since the Sultai deck isn't as dedicated to producing energy, is unable to activate it before it gets exiled by Muller's Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. This doesn't mean that one build is better than the other, but in a less-than-interactive combo mirror, it seems that the deck built to spin Aetherworks Marvel is likely favored. Game two goes long, mostly because Muller can't seem to hit anything devastating with his Aetherworks Marvel even after five spins. Eventually Jensen finds a Demon of Dark Schemes to sweep away Muller's board, but on the sixth spin of the Aetherworks Marvel, Muller finds an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. But with five cards left in his library, Jensen manages to hard cast an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, exiling his opponent's Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Just when it looks like things are over, it's Chandra, Flamecaller coming down to sweep away Jensen's blockers and stealing the game for Muller, likely locking up a top eight birth, making the current top eight two Zombie decks and two Marvel decks on Sunday. 

Since we are getting near the end of our updates, I want to take a minute to mention something else about coverage. While overall the coverage of Pro Tour Amonkhet has been very good and much improved over previous Pro Tours, one slightly puzzling decision is the advertisements. Every round, when the main feature match goes to sideboarding after game one, instead of going to a back up feature match, Wizards cuts to an advertisement (the same ads each time). While this isn't a bad thing in and of itself, after 15 rounds this is getting a bit old. Next Pro Tour, if Wizards decides to stick with the ads rather than going to a backup match, it would be nice if they at least varied the ads played.

One last thing: if you didn't see it live, take a minute to watch this clip of Christian Calcano after finding out he locked up his first career Pro Tour top eight. It one of the most touching moments I've ever seen at a Magic tournament. 

Our inter-round deck tech is a spicy brew from Sam Black, Abzan Tokens:

Round 16

Round 16 kicks off with one question on everyone's mind: who is going to fill out the top eight? Right now, a lot is contingent on how many players intentionally draw their last round. Most likely we have five players locked into the top eight (assuming the intentional draws go as expected), and this number could rise all the way to six depending on if Chris Fennel (who has the number one seed locked up) chooses to play or draw. This means that we have somewhere between two and three open slots, with three possible win-and-ins this round.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

We start once again with a Marvel mirror, in fact the same Marvel mirror we saw last round with Yuuya Watanabe on Temur Marvel and Reid Duke on the Sultai Marvel deck his teammate William Jensen played last round. Last time it seemed that the more all-in Temur deck was favored in this matchup, but will see if things go differently here. It's worth noting here that, due to tiebreakers, there's an outside chance that Reid wins the match and still misses the top eight, while for Watanabe it is a guaranteed win-and-in. In game one, Watanabe somehow ends up with all three Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hungers in hand, which means even though he has an active Aetherworks Marvel, his deck isn't all that scary. Meanwhile, Reid manages to mill an Ulamog, the Ceasless Hunger, reanimate it with Liliana, Death's Majesty, and take down game one. In game two, both players settle into a more controlling game countering each other's spells, until Watanabe eventually pulls ahead thanks to multiple copies of Glimmer of Genius and Torrential Gearhulk. In game three, Reid sticks a turn four Aetherworks Marvel only to have it immediately destroyed by Dissenter's Deliverance before he can activate it. Reid tries to beat down with a motley crew of 2/2's, but eventually Watanabe sticks an Aetherworks Marvel with a ton of energy available and rides the artifact to victory.

On the back tables we have Gerard Fabiano playing what seems to be the classic Temur Marvel vs Mono-Black Zombies matchup in another potential (depending on tiebreakers) win-and-in. Zombies take game one, but Fabiano fights back with Aetherworks Marvel in game two. In yet another backup feature Efro fights Seth Mansfield with a top eight berth on the line, and this one goes to Efro in three, putting another Temur Marvel deck into the top eight.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Since this is the last round, let's check back in on the individual winners from today. The biggest winners are more Zombie cards, with Liliana's Mastery and Dark Salvation each increasing nearly 150% to the $3 range. It was only two weeks ago that we played Mono-Black Zombies on Budget Magic. When I built the deck is was under $100. Since then it has almost doubled in price, currently sitting at $184. The good news is that if you bought the budget deck, you won't have to spend much to upgrade to the Pro Tour build. Likewise, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is up 25% to $25, with Aetherworks Marvel up 11% to $10. Otherwise, it has been a fairly quiet Pro Tour as far as price spikes go. While New Perspectives is still up, it will likely head back down thanks to not being on camera since round one yesterday. The other changes are much smaller, with cards like Irrigated Farmland, and Chandra, Torch of Defiance ticking up a couple percent. 

Top 8

After 16 grueling rounds, here is your Pro Tour Amonkhet Top 8:

  • Chris Fennel - WB Zombies
  • ​Ken Yukuhiro - GB Energy
  • Marc Tobiasch - Temur Aetherworks
  • Christian Calcano - Mono-Black Zombies
  • Martin Muller - Temur Aetherworks
  • Gerry Thompson - Mono-Black Zombies
  • Eric Froehlich - Temur Aetherworks
  • Yuuya Watanabe - Temur Aetherworks

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Make sure to leave your thoughts on day two of Pro Tour Amonkhet in the comments (and of course you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com).


More on MTGGoldfish ...

pro tour amonkhet

Pro Tour Amonkhet: Day One (Live Updates)

instant deck tech

Instant Deck Tech: Sultai Cat Food (Standard)

budget magic

Budget Magic: $77 Standard Affinity (Standard, Magic Arena)

Going Infinite, October 21st


Next Article

Keep in Touch

Sign up to receive email updates from us!

All emails include an unsubscribe link. You may opt-out at any time. See our privacy policy.

Follow Us

Welcome to MTGGoldfish. We display prices for both ONLINE and PAPER magic. By default, what prices would you like to see?   

Paper Magic Online Magic Arena