After a weekend of competition, the top eight of the Magic Arena Players Tour Online emerged off the back of dominant Wilderness Reclamation strategies and hyper-aggressive aggro decks dominating the meta.
Out of the 145 players who qualified for the Players Tour Finals, here are the eight finalists who will advance to the double-elimination best-of-three top eight finals on Aug. 1.
- Patrick Fernandez (Temur Reclamation)
- Michael Jacob (Mardu Winota)
- Riku Kumagai (Mono-Black Aggro)
- Christoffer Larsen (Jund Sacrifice)
- Raphaël Lévy (Azorius Control)
- Kristof Prinz (Four-Color Reclamation)
- Ben Weitz (Four-Color Reclamation)
- Allen Wu (Temur Reclamation)
Players Tour Finals seeding for Aug. 1 is determined by random draw, which will be revealed to the competitors and the public on July 31. Despite having a week to make adjustments, it’s unlikely that Wilderness Reclamation strategies will fall out of favor. The meta’s most dominant deck made up half of the current top eight this past weekend. The other decks that were featured in the top eight were built specifically to counter reclamation decks.
A pair of fast aggro decks had success at attempting to beat Wilderness Reclamation before it reaches the event horizon in Mardu Winota and Mono-Black Aggro. Jund Sacrifice managed to make the top eight with the deck piloted by Christoffer Larsen, but sacrifice decks overall didn’t perform well. Jund Sacrifice and Rakdos Sacrifice both had below 50 percent conversion rates from day one to day two. A lone Yorion Azorius Control list by Raphaël Lévy managed to have a breakthrough as well.
The dominant strategy centering around Wilderness Reclamation had a couple of variations over the weekend. Making up a combined 54.5 percent of the meta across its two variations, it’s clear that Wilderness Reclamation decks are viewed as the best in Standard—at least until rotation.
Most players ran a typical Temur Reclamation list, but a four-color variant of Wilderness Reclamation emerged that had a significantly better day two conversion rate compared to its standardized counterpart. Adding white to the deck introduces Dovin’s Veto and Teferi, Time Raveler for strong counterplay in the mirror matchup. This addition proved successful since the four-color variant had a 72.7 percent conversion rate, compared to traditional temur reclamation with a 50.9 percent conversion rate.
As the top eight finals approach on Aug. 1, it’s clear Wilderness Reclamation strategies are the ones to beat. It’s unlikely that a deck will succeed without tailoring its strategy specifically to defeat the best deck in Standard. In an interesting turn of events, there’s strong diversity in players’ interpretations on how to beat Wilderness Reclamation. Mono-Black Aggro introduces a threat in Hunted Nightmare and aggressive hand disruption with Kitesail Freebooter and Duress. Mardu Winota seeks to just kill the opponent before they can stabilize. Yorion Azorius Control neutralizes key Wilderness Reclamation turns with counterspells and gains significant value from Archon of Sun’s Grace and Yorion, Sky Nomad running away with the game.
Wilderness Reclamation players are going to have to adapt to several different strategies during the tournament due to the diversity of decks that think they can kill the king. Will this be enough to stop Standard’s best deck or will the final match be a mirror?
The Players Tour Grand Finals are scheduled for Aug. 1 at 11am CT on Magic’s Twitch channel.