To kick off 2019 we are taking a look back at 2018; beginning with the archetypes that defined it. Through mtgtop8.com I have been able to pull the data on a whopping 6,190 results from paper and online events. My approach is to look at the 2018 Modern format as a 100 player tournament. Any deck that comprised less than 2% of the format would have a single pilot and is therefore filed under “Other”. This leaves us with the top 19 archetypes of the 2018 Modern format.
The main trend is that Modern is as diverse as ever with the top archetype, UWx Control, comprising only 8%. As hard as we try, it will always be difficult to metagame for a format this diverse. 24 of the players at our hypothetical tournament will be playing entirely unique decks that we could not and should not specifically prepare for. This leads many players to decry the state of the format as being overly linear and a “matchup lottery”. However, if you look in the Top 3 you will find UWx Control and GBx Midrange; the antithesis of linearity. These pilots heavily modified their builds throughout the year, sometimes sticking to two colors but splashing when necessary, to take on the shifting format and have been rewarded for it.
It is tempting for me to use the results to tier these archetypes for the year but it just would not be representative of the current format. For example, Spirits would be categorized as a Tier 3 deck despite being one of the top dogs of the format at the time of this writing. This is because Supreme Phantom, a vital piece of the deck, was not legal for the first half of the year. As 2018 comes to a close Spirits is actually outpacing 2018’s premier aggro deck; 5C Humans. This data is just a snapshot of the year past and I cannot wait to revisit and compare it to the year to come.
This week, our first, at Good Grief Games we will continue to take a look at the Modern format of 2018. Tomorrow I will be looking over the mainboard cards that defined the year. If you have any feedback or article ideas you want us to bring to life let me know in the comments. We plan to put out fresh content every week day and I hope to see you there.