Modern Snapshot: May 2019

With March and April in the books we are pulling the data to prepare you for the coming weeks. This data set is especially interesting as it contains the results of Mythic Championship London. We will comb over the expansive data set to establish the leading archetypes as well as the best performing mainboard and sideboard cards in the Modern format. It is especially interesting to compare this data side-by-side with last month’s data. Let’s dig in.

Methodology
All data has been pulled from mtgtop8.com. The data set contains 1207 decklists from  March and April 2019 tournament results. Archetypes that comprised more than 5% of the dataset have been identified above. Individual cards have been ranked by dominance rating. This is calculated by multiplying the percent of decks they appear in by the average number of copies that appear in said decks. For frame of reference, a card that appears in 25% of decks as a two of will have a 0.5 dominance rating. For a hypothetical, 100-player tourney this means that there would be 0.5 copies of said card per player in the room.

Top Archetypes
It is no surprise to see Phoenix as the lead archetype as it has held that position since the year began. Furthermore, we have not seen a deck this far ahead at this consistent rate since Eldrazi Winter. The difference though is quite wide and that deck deserved a ban. This does not appear to be the case with Phoenix. It has had an incredible hot streak but it was finally dethroned by Humans at MC London. Evidently, an incredibly hostile format takes it down just a peg; a testament to its power. It is not an easy road but the deck is more than capable of taking down large tournaments in May. Just behind these we see the same three decks from the previous period. UWx and GBx continue to perform despite their poor reputations. Tron’s standing has not changed but it will be interesting to see where it lands after a month or so with the London mulligan.

The only shift greater than 1% from the previous period was the rapid ascension of Humans. Last time it barely made the cut at 5% but for this period it is among the Top 5 archetypes. Based on its success at Yokohama and London, I would expect it to maintain or increase its standing next time around. Dredge, Shadow, and Affinity round out the Top 8 archetypes just as they did last time. Burn has fallen below the 5% threshold but at 4% it is the most successful “Other” archetype. The other notables were Amulet Titan and Spirits at 3% each. They may not be on top of the world but in a format as diverse as Modern, you do not need to be in order to succeed.

Top 10 Mainboard Cards
Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 12.43.59 AM
The most popular mainboard cards have not changed too significantly from the previous month. Blue and red still dominate the ranking on the back of Arclight Phoenix. However, the Phoenix itself has fallen out of our ranking. This is not due to Phoenix losing potency; the archetype actually gained some ground. The difference is the slight rise in UWx Control’s popularity. This has improved the already solid standing of Serum Visions, Opt, Path to Exile, and Snapcaster Mage. As these cards rose we saw Bolt and Looting start to drift back toward the rest of the pack. It appears that blue rather than red is the color to watch for May.

Top 10 Sideboard Cards
Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 12.45.07 AM
We see more pronounced changes among the sideboard card rankings. The new inclusions are Blood Moon and Grafdigger’s Cage. I am not sure why it took this long for Phoenix players to widely adopt Blood Moon but we finally got there. Tron with mainboard Relics can be quite the match for Phoenix and a timely Moon buys more than enough time. Sphere’s climb is also indicative of Tron being hated out. I am not entirely sure why Cage has sprung up as it is poor against Phoenix and Dredge’s metagame share has slipped; Company deck are not popular either. Path to Exile has fallen out of the ranking, moving to mainboards, while Ancient Grudge has fallen out of favor. Between that and Stony being uncommon, the format seems ripe for Affinity.

Wrap-Up
I always enjoy comparing the results data from the previous month to the current. One thing to note is that while these results are mostly under Vancouver rules, we do have the London mulligan impacting the last couple weeks. We will be returning to the Vancouver rules now but I think it is more than likely that the London mulligan will be widely adopted in time. How do you expect the London mull to impact future Snapshots? Were there any trends that surprised you this time around? We would love to talk it over in our discussion group. Or if you would like to take a swing at writing content for the site you can contact us directly here. We will be back tomorrow with an updated Grixis Shadow sideboard guide from Ben Jones. Until then my friends.

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