Today I will look at the future of competitive play and some of my thoughts about the post rotation metagame.

Competitive Play Update

Last Wednesday Wizards of the Coast released an update on the future of Esports and competitive play. This gave us for the first time a path to the Magic Pro League (MPL) and the future of competitive play. The announcement included the creation of the Rivals League as a stepping stone to the MPL. This addition gives more players an opportunity to play at the highest level.

I like the addition of the Rivals League because players now have several ways to make it the pros. One path is through Arena and the other is through tabletop play. Wizard’s announced that in tabletop play it was adding partners that will provide players with a path to the Rivals League. I believe this will enhance the experience for the local community. Wizard’s is partnering with the Star City Games (SCG) Tour. This tour will have a direct path for players to qualify for the Rivals League. Later this year, SCG will announce its plan for next year and how a person can earn a SCG spot for the Rivals League. This is great news!

Win Condition Games hosts a monthly SCG IQ, so local players will have a clear path to earn a spot in the Rivals League. As a result, I think we can expect to see more players at monthly IQs which will only increase competition local play.

Post Rotation Metagame

We are now less than 45 days to the release of Throne of Eldraine. In early September, previews for the set will begin and we will have a clearer idea of how the standard metagame will shift when the Ixalan block, Dominaria, and Core Set 2019 rotate out of standard. Today we do know that a few decks will rotate away with the arrival of Throne of Eldraine. Here are some of the decks that will be most affected by the change.

The first deck type to leave standard is Nexus of Fate based decks. Nexus has been a source of irritation for many players because of its ability to lock a person out of the game. While the deck has seen less play over the last few months, it still sees play. In fact, two of the four players in the Emerald Division brought Simic Nexus to last Saturday’s Core Split Finals. Thankfully, Nexus of Fate will be gone soon.

Next to go is the Field of the Dead/Scapeshift combo deck. This deck hit the seen about a month ago and quickly became one of the top two decks in the format. With Scapeshift and several of the other cards that support playing additional lands on a turn rotating, Field of the Dead will need to find new friends to remain a Tier 1 deck.

Vampires have been running wild as the other top deck in the format. Unfortunately for those that like the deck, most of the key pieces of it will leave with Ixalan. This does not mean that the deck will disappear. I think that the vampires added with Core Set 2020 and those from the Ravnica block will provide enough creatures to keep the deck around, but I don’t think it will have the same power level as the current version.

Mono Red and Mono White face significant challenges following rotation. Mono-Red will lose most of its creatures and some of its direct damage spells. I expect Mono-Red to remain a played deck because there are two paths for the deck to take. One path is the Cavalcade of Calamity approach that has become popular. This version of Mono-Red will not lose much from rotation and should gain a few cards post rotation. Mono-Red Cavalcade of Calamity relies on one power creatures to attack and get an additional point of damage for each of these creatures from Calamity.

The second approach to Mono-Red is elementals. Core Set 2020 had an elemental theme. There are fifteen red elementals in the format now. These elementals paired with Core Set 2020 Chandra’s has the potential to become a fast and powerful deck that can win games by turn five or six. I expect to see more of this version showing up on Arena in the next month as players looks for post rotation decks.

Many of the core cards for Mono-White come from Dominaria or the Ixalan block. The lose of History of Benalia, Dauntless Bodyguard, Benalish Marshall, Skymarcher Aspirant, and Legion’s Landing will limit the decks effectiveness moving forward. The good news is that Throne of Eldraine has a Camelot theme that should provide new pieces for the deck. I expect to see several white knights or other humans that can find a home in a future Mono-White deck.

Until next time. Good luck finding your win condition!