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Pro Tour Fate Reforged: By the Numbers


Pro Tour Fate Reforged started with 407 players. After three days of play, concluding with a win for UR Twin over Bloom Titan, we ended up with 117 Modern decks that finished the tournament with a record of 6-4 or better. This amounts to 28.75%  of the Pro Tour field. Now, I should again mention the split format problem. To get into day two (which is necessary to post a 6-4 record in Modern), a 4-4 on day one is required. Since the first three rounds of both days are Fate Reforged draft, it's possible that someone number of players put up a winning 3-2 record in Modern, but 0-3'ed their draft pod and missed day two altogether. The good news is, considering there were only 48 players who 0-3ed, this possibility shouldn't effect the percentages too much.

So today we will be looking at Pro Tour Fate Reforged by the numbers. As we go over various decks, it is important to remember the baseline of 29%, the percentage that went 6-4 or better and are included in this analysis. As a result, an archetype putting 20% or 25% of its players into the 6-4 bracket should be considered a failure, while putting in 35% or 40% is a success. Since Wizards didn't publish a Top 64 along with decklists, I had to do it the old fashion way by looking up a player on the "6-4 Modern deck" page, then looking for where this player finished in the final standings. One of the unintended consequences of this method is that a handful of players in the Top 64 didn't perform well enough in Modern to have their lists published. This is why some players have a ??? where their deck should be. If you know what deck any of these players were on in Washington DC, please let me know in the comments so I can update the list. With that said, let's move forward to the decks! 

Pro Tour Fate Reforged - Top 64

Place Player Deck
1 Del Moral Leon UR Twin
2 Cohen Bloom Titan
T4 Hampton Junk
T4 Wiegersma UR Twin
T8 Froehlich Junk
T8 Manfield Burn
T8 Shi Tian Burn
T8 Wilson Little Kid Junk
9 Jong-Sun Jund
10 Finkel Infect
11 Chung Burn
12 Esposito Affinity
13 Hill Infect
14 Hao-Shan Burn
15 Wing Burn
16 Bursavich Infect
17 Black Bloom Titan
18 Lombardi Merfolk
19 Vasovski BW Tokens
20 Ichikawa Jund
21 Ochoa Junk
22 Janik Junk
23 Jackson Junk
24 Cuneo Infect
25 Dagen Junk
26 Edel Junk
27 Nakamura UW Control
28 Sang Burn
29 Smith Burn
30 Takimura UR Twin
31 Ravitz Infect
32 Sacic Burn
33 Dominguez Infect
34 Baeckstrom UR Twin
35 Rietzl Affinity
36 Juza BW Tokens
37 McClain Little Kid Junk
38 Manner Junk
39 Jensen Infect
40 Rubin Zoo
41 Ramboa GR Tron
42 Murray Living End
43 Cifka BW Tokens
44 Meng ???
45 Bisterfeld Soul Sisters
46 Birch Tribal Zoo
47 Muller Junk
48 Cammilluzzi ???
49 Karsten Affinity
50 Cox Zoo
51 Shenhar Burn
52 Monsen ???
53 Stern ???
54 Merriam Burn
55 Carvalho Affinity
56 Kratter Junk
57 Ayers Scapeshift
58 Mackl ???
59  Kibler Little Kid Junk
60 Duke Infect
61 Schousboe TarmoTwin
62 Severa Junk
63 Thompson ???
64 Zhengyang GW Hatebears

Junk

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

Deck #Day1 #Day2 #6-4 % 6-4 #T8 #T32 #T64 T64%
Junk 115 73 33 28.69 3 8 15 13.04

Junk (or Abzan) was by far the most played deck at Pro Tour Fate Reforged. While many players opted for what I would call "traditional Junk" built around Siege Rhino, Tarmogoyf, and Liliana of the Veil, some went with one of two other builds. One was the Little Kid Junk build played by Kibler and several former Birthing Pod players from Team Face-to-Face Games. This build included Voice of Resurgence and Wilt-Leaf Liege. The other Junk build was a Doran, the Siege Tower build. 

Overall, Junk's performance was very consistent, if not average. It started with 28.3% of the field, put the exact same percentage into day two, and then ended up putting 13.04% of the players into the Top 64. 

As for individual cards, there are three big winners in JunkTasigur, the Golden Fang had 56 copies among the 115 decks in our sample, which is pretty impressive for a new card in an "eternal" format, although Junk decks varied from playing as few as one to as many as four of the legendary creature. Noble Hierarch was widely adapted as an 3-of or 4-of in both the traditional Junk builds and the Little Kid Junk builds, which is encouraging since Birthing Pod is no longer an option. Finally, Lingering Souls had 126 copies in the 6-4 decks, with a huge majority of this play coming from various Junk builds, many of which ran the sorcery as a 4-of. The card looked good on camera all weekend, in large part because it makes four flying blockers against Inkmoth Nexus. On the other hand, the biggest loser here is Dark Confidant, who only showed up in a handful of builds amounting to 18 total copies despite the fact that BGx decks are his most natural home. 

Burn

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

Deck #Day1 #Day2 #6-4 % 6-4 #T8 #T32 #T64 T64%
Burn 48 32 20 41.67 2 8 10 20.83

As much as I hate to admit it, Burn put on quite the show at Pro Tour Fate Reforged. It put the same number of players into the Top 32 as Junk despite the fact that it was played at less than half the rate. Listening to players talk about their deck selection throughout the weekend, it became clear that pretty much everyone pegged Junk as the deck to beat and a fair number of players arrived at Burn as the solution. Burn offers the most consistent way to kill your opponent on turn four, which is just fast enough to beat Siege Rhino on the play. On the draw, the lifegain from the Khans of Tarkir rare generally only adds one more turn to the Burn clock.

The biggest winner here might not even be a Burn card. Sure Eidolon of the Great Revel looked great, and Goblin Guide once again proved its worth, but it was the Burn-hoser Kor Firewalker that had his foil copies bought out in response to Pro Tour Fate Reforged. While many of the Burn players at the event correctly identified Kor Firewalker as the place to be, surprisingly few Junk decks went that direction even though the crazy-good manabases of Modern means casting a WW card on turn two isn't a major problem for a three color deck. Based on the Pro Tour results, I would think the Kor Firewalker would see heavy play in sideboards of several different decks moving forward. 

Affinity

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

Deck #Day1 #Day2 #6-4 % 6-4 #T8 #T32 #T64 T64%
Affinity 28 17 8 28.57 0 1 4 14.28

Affinity performed about average at Pro Tour Fate Reforged, with the biggest negative being the deck's lack of a high-end finish. Esposito came close, finishing in 13th, but he was the only Affinity pilot to crack the Top 32. Probably the most interesting aspect of Affinity in DC was that 25% of the decks in our sample were on the Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas plan. Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas is fairly unusual in Modern, but also makes sense given that the UB Tezzeret is likely the most powerful planeswalker to not see consistent play. Otherwise, there isn't much to see here. Pretty much every white deck was running two or three Stony Silences out of the board, including the ever-present Junk. Considering the metagame came prepared for the robots, putting up a solid if unspectacular performance is should probably be considered a win for the archetype. 

Infect

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

Deck #Day1 #Day2 #6-4 % 6-4 #T8 #T32 #T64 T64%
Infect 28 19 14 50 0 5 8 25

Infect was a Top 8 finish away from being the deck of the tournament (a title I would bestow on Bloom Titan). Even without a Top 8, the numbers on the rogue deck are pretty stunning. A full half of all Infect players cracked the the 6-4 mark — almost twice as many as Junk — and one in four Infect players made the Top 64, making the archetype tied for best performing of the those that were played by at least two percent of the field.

I've been saying since Friday that I'm not sure about Infect going forward, but one thing it does have going for it is that it's a lot harder to hate out than some of the other surprise decks. Bloom Titan, which we will talk about in a bit, is awesome, but it also straight up scoops to Blood Moon. Burn might not auto-lose to Kor Firewalker, but it's certainly not a card it wants to see on the other side of the table. Infect on the other hand, is pretty safe from hate. I guess you could run Melira, Sylvok Outcast, but she's not an auto-win and is only a Grizzly Bear in any non-Infect matchup. So until Leetches gets reprinted, if you can figure out a way around Lingering Souls, maybe Infect is the place to be. 

Zoo

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

Deck #Day1 #Day2 #6-4 % 6-4 #T8 #T32 #T64 T64%
Zoo 26 16 3 11.53 0 0 3 11.53

Zoo still sucks apparently. It started out with 26 players, had nearly half of its crew eliminated on day one, and then proceeded to put only three players at 6-4 or better. Remember when Wild Nacatl was banned because it limited the number of playable aggro decks? That theory looks pretty silly in retrospect. Instead of trying to write another paragraph or two about Zoo, I'll just leave it at this: UW Control was only played by three players and had as many players in our 6-4 or better sample as Zoo. So don't even try to play it. Please.

GR Tron

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

Deck #Day 1 #Day 2 #6-4 % 6-4 #T8 #T32 #T64 T64%
Tron 18 8 3 15.7 0 0 1 5.26

Take everything I just said about Zoo and double it. That's how bad Tron was. More than half of all Tron players bowed out on day one, and only a single player managed to hit the Top 64. So while Zoo was bad (very bad), Tron was the second worse performing deck at the event. At the same time, it is notable that Ugin, the Spirit Dragon was widely adopted as a one- or two-of, so if the deck ever becomes playable, this could bode well for the dragon planeswalker's future. 

UR Twin

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

Deck #Day1 #Day2 #6-4 % 6-4 #T8 #T32 #T64 T64%
UR Twin 16 13 5 31.25 2 3 4 25

While UR Twin isn't as fresh or exciting as some of the other decks that appeared at Pro Tour Fate Reforged, it was definitely one of the winners (and also the actual winner). It did an amazing job of putting players into day two and equaled Infect by putting 25% of its pilots into the Top 64. Probably the biggest take away is your Splinter Twin deck doesn't need (or maybe even want) Tarmogoyf. Heading into the Pro Tour, Tarmo-Twin was more or less the default build of the Splinter Twin combo. However, these results suggest that straight UR might be the way to go. 

One of my favorite parts of the UR Twin build is that you don't really need the combo to win. You can just beat down with flash 2/1s backed up by Remands and Cryptic Commands (as seen in the finals match). In fact, the Splinter Twin combo is becoming less and less important to the deck. Instead, UR Twin plays like a Blue Moon deck that just happens to combo off every once and a while. While I'm far from qualified to improve on a Pro Tour winning list, I am starting to wonder if cutting some of the lesser cantrips like Peak for more control cards, or even Vedalken Shackles, could be the way to go. 

Scapeshift

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

Deck #Day1 #Day2 #6-4 % 6-4 #T8 #T32 #T64 T64%
Scapeshift 12 8 4 33.33 0 0 1 8.33

Scapeshift has strange stats. It put a solid 67% of its pilots into day two and had a better-than-average 33.33% at 6-4 or better, but somehow managed to put only one deck in the Top 64. My working hypothesis is that Scapeshift players are bad at limited, or that bad limited players gravitate towards Scapeshift in constructed. Running the data on this requires more work than I'm willing to put into it. Maybe another day. 

The other, more likely possibility is that Scapeshift is not that great against the other top decks. Junk seems like a tough matchup on paper depending on the numbers of Thoughtseizes the WBG player is running and how aggressive the build is, and Burn seems miserable because its clock is almost always faster than Scapeshift's "get to seven lands" plan. So maybe the day two meta was just worse for the deck than the day one meta where it got to play against decks like "Storm Zoo" (whatever that is). 

UWR Control

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

Deck #Day1 #Day2 #6-4 % 6-4 #T8 #T32 #T64 T64%
UWR Control 11 5 0 0 0 0 0 0

Personally, the demise of UWR Control was the biggest disappointment of Pro Tour Fate Reforged. This is my favorite Modern deck to play, and I was really hoping that this past weekend would hearken its return to prominence in Modern. Instead, the exact opposite happened and the deck laid a goose egg. No 6-4 lists, no Top Anything lists, nothing. I mentioned during the coverage that you know things are bad for control when Andrew Cuneo (who basically invented control) plays a deck like Infect. 

I'm not convinced that UWR Control is dead in Modern — it gets to play some very powerful cards — but this weekend would suggest otherwise. I've been jamming the deck online and not winning nearly as much as I would like. Infect seems like a tough matchup, and even Junk isn't much better than a coin flip. The only positive is that Tron could be on a downswing because that's a matchup you never, ever want to run into (see: Miracles vs Cloudpost in Legacy). In the long run, I still think Geist of Saint Traft and Snapcaster Mage are home runs, but this is definitely despite the Pro Tour performance of UWR Control, rather than because of it.

Jund

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

Deck #Day1 #Day2 #6-4 % 6-4 #T8 #T32 #T64 T64%
Jund 10 7 2 20 0 0 2 20

The numbers on Jund are sort of meh, and I was even being generous in my counting because one of the lists in the sample was actually more like Junk (it had Siege Rhino) splashing red. The problem with Jund isn't so much that the deck is bad; instead, it's more that Junk is better, thanks in large part to Siege Rhino. I think it was Marshall on the coverage that mentioned that Siege Rhino is basically the new Bloodbraid Elf — a four drop that gives you an additional card — the only difference is, instead of a random card, you are always getting an Essence Drain

I've heard similar sentiments echoed by pros, some going so far as to suggest that Bloodbraid Elf is safe to unban because everyone would play Siege Rhino over it anyway. If you compare Junk to Jund, apart from Siege Rhino, Junk is probably just better anyway. Path to Exile might be better than Lightning Bolt at the moment because Lightning Bolt misses a lot of important creatures these days. Plus Lingering Souls might be the best card in the format at the moment. 

So until further notice, the number seem to support Junk as being the suprior BGx deck.

Storm

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

Deck #Day1 #Day2 #6-4 % 6-4 #T8 #T32 #T64 T64%
Storm 9 6 1 11.11 0 0 0 0

It seems strange that Storm put up such bad numbers because the chatter on Twitter is that is was a good choice for the Pro Tour. I don't remember seeing the deck show up on camera, and these numbers tell us why. It just didn't perform that well. Getting 67% of its players into day two if fine, but otherwise, Storm really didn't do anything worth writing about. That said, Past in Flames still feels undervalued, especially considering it's not showing up in Modern Masters 2015. 

Bloom Titan

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

Deck #Day1 #Day2 #6-4 % 6-4 #T8 #T32 #T64 T64%
Bloom Titan 8 5 5 62.5 1 2 2 25

Bloom Titan was probably the biggest winner of the weekend, based solely on the hype surrounding it. It came one Tasigur, the Golden Fang-activation-milling-Thoughtseize-and-land away from putting two players in the top eight. Although the total numbers of players is far smaller, its 25% in the Top 64 equals Infect and UR Twin for the best results in the tournament. 

Whether Bloom Titan is now a tier one deck or just a stunning metagame choice remains to be seen. On one hand, the insane power of the deck was on full display throughout all of day two and the elimination rounds. In fact, after not showing up in coverage at all on day one, I think Bloom Titan ended up being the deck that got the most camera time at the Pro Tour. On the other hand, there was a surprising lack of Blood Moons in sideboards. As the final match displayed, Bloom Titan is almost drawing dead to a Blood Moon, having but one basic Forest which can allow it to cast a Nature's Claim or Seal of Primordium. If Bloom Titan does start seeing heavy play, I expect the number of Blood Moons in both sideboards and maindecks to rise exponentially. The card is good in a lot of matchups, and it is game winning in quite a few. 

I'm not sure that Bloom Titan can be built in a way to avoid the Blood Moon problem. This makes me worry it's more of a Dredge-like tournament stealer when people are not paying attention and packing enough hate. The other side of this argument is that it has been putting up very strong results on the SCG circuit over the past few months. I hope I'm wrong because the deck looks very fun (and also very hard) to play. 

Grixis Twin

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

Deck #Day1 #Day2 #6-4 % 6-4 #T8 #T32 #T64 T64%
Grixis Twin 8 5 3 37.5 0 0 0 0

Grixis Twin is cute, although I'm not sure it can be considered better than straight UR Twin. By the numbers, it had a far worse weekend. When the deck got on camera, it seemed to be doing a lot of things that looked fun for an FNM: tap Humble Defector draw two, untap Humble Defector with Pestermite, draw two more. But it didn't strike me as Pro Tour quality. In going Grixis, apart from the creatures, you gain a bunch of removal and discard, but give up on a lot of counterspells and ways to cycle through your deck. As a result Grixis can't really play the UR Twin tempo/control game quite as effectively, and seems more dependent on resolving the Splinter Twin combo to actually win. 

The big winner here is Tasigur, the Golden Fang, which I didn't really expect to show up in Twin. When a tier one deck adds a whole new color to fit in a recently printed card, that's a pretty big vote of confidence. As such, I expect that Tasigur, the Golden Fang is here to stay in Modern. 

Merfolk

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

Deck #Day1 #Day2 #6-4 % 6-4 #T8 #T32 #T64 T64%
Merfolk 8 5 3 37.5 0 1 1 12.5

Fish put up one very good showing, taking home 17th in the hand of Marco Lombardi. Overall, the performance was about average and a little lacking in the Top 64 category. From my perspective, just showing up at all is an accomplishment because I figured the deck was pretty much dead in Modern. Master of Waves becomes a real card when Burn is the second most played deck in the field. 

I really don't know what to make of the deck. I've thought of it as unplayable for a long time, but it still manages to put up a result every now and then. Move forward with Merfolk at your own risk; the numbers don't push me strongly one way or the other, although even with a Top 32 under its belt, I'm still a skeptic. 

Other Decks

If you look back over the Top 64, you'll see there are really only two other decks of note. The first is BW Tokens, which placed four decks in the Top 64 despite having only seven total players on the deck at the PT. Although the sample size is too low to matter very much, having more than half of your players in the Top 64 is pretty impressive. The other deck was Living End, which put two of its five pilots in the Top 64, also a very good ratio. Like I said before, it's hard to put too much stock in the performance of a deck that makes up such a small percentage of the field. This  is especially true of BW Tokens because many of its players, like Cifka and Juza, are above average even in a Pro Tour field. 

Conclusion

That's all for today. What do you make of these numbers? How much do you think the Pro Tour meta predicts the wider Modern metagame moving forward? As always, leave your thoughts in the comments, or you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive. Until next time, I'll leave you with my favorite 6-4 or better deck from the Pro Tour.


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