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Innistrad Championship Overview and Analysis

Tournament Details

This weekend saw one of the highest-profile tournaments in quite some time, hosted by Magic Esports itself, the Innistrad Championship. This tournament had 249 players and was divided up into two portions: Standard and Historic. Each player registered one deck for each portion of the tournament which was split into 4 rounds: 3 Historic, 4 Standard, 4 Historic, 4 Standard, with the top 8 being double elimination Historic. You can check out the full coverage here:

Being a tournament that isn’t open-registration, the deck choices for the tournament obviously change from what they might from something like a Red Bull Untapped tournament. Smaller, more high-level tournaments like these generally end up in many people either picking the ‘best deck’, or a deck that matches up well against the deck.

innistrad championship - standard portion
3 December, 2021 - standard - 250 players
scroll right
win
rate
vs
mono-green aggro
vs
izzet turns
vs
mono-white aggro
vs
izzet dragons ️
vs
dimir control
vs
orzhov midrange
vs
izzet control
mono-green aggro
254 matches
global 53.1% [47%-59.2%]
-
50.4%
123 matches
50.0%
48 matches
57.1%
7 matches
75.0%
16 matches
65.0%
20 matches
40.0%
10 matches
mono-green aggro
254 matches
global 53.1% [47%-59.2%]
izzet turns
648 matches
global 57.9% [54%-61.6%]
49.6%
123 matches
-
55.2%
210 matches
72.7%
44 matches
40.6%
32 matches
75.5%
49 matches
53.3%
45 matches
izzet turns
648 matches
global 57.9% [54%-61.6%]
mono-white aggro
369 matches
global 43.6% [38.7%-48.7%]
50.0%
48 matches
44.8%
210 matches
-
41.2%
17 matches
45.5%
11 matches
21.1%
19 matches
42.9%
14 matches
mono-white aggro
369 matches
global 43.6% [38.7%-48.7%]
global 38.1% [29.1%-48.1%]
42.9%
7 matches
27.3%
44 matches
58.8%
17 matches
-
100.0%
2 matches
83.3%
6 matches
0.0%
4 matches
global 38.1% [29.1%-48.1%]
dimir control
82 matches
global 50.0% [39.4%-60.6%]
25.0%
16 matches
59.4%
32 matches
54.5%
11 matches
0.0%
2 matches
-
83.3%
6 matches
0.0%
1 matches
dimir control
82 matches
global 50.0% [39.4%-60.6%]
orzhov midrange
113 matches
global 38.9% [30.5%-48.2%]
35.0%
20 matches
24.5%
49 matches
78.9%
19 matches
16.7%
6 matches
16.7%
6 matches
-
100.0%
2 matches
orzhov midrange
113 matches
global 38.9% [30.5%-48.2%]
izzet control
81 matches
global 53.1% [42.3%-63.6%]
60.0%
10 matches
46.7%
45 matches
57.1%
14 matches
100.0%
4 matches
100.0%
1 matches
0.0%
2 matches
-
izzet control
81 matches
global 53.1% [42.3%-63.6%]
vs
mono-green aggro
vs
izzet turns
vs
mono-white aggro
vs
izzet dragons ️
vs
dimir control
vs
orzhov midrange
vs
izzet control
innistrad championship - historic portion
3 December, 2021 - historic - 251 players
scroll right
win
rate
vs
izzet phoenix
vs
golgari food
vs
jund food
vs
selesnya humans
vs
heliod company
vs
jeskai control
vs
rakdos arcanist
vs
jund citadel
vs
izzet turns
izzet phoenix
331 matches
global 53.5% [48.1%-58.8%]
-
48.4%
31 matches
56.0%
25 matches
48.3%
60 matches
54.8%
42 matches
70.4%
27 matches
40.9%
22 matches
42.9%
14 matches
47.4%
19 matches
izzet phoenix
331 matches
global 53.5% [48.1%-58.8%]
golgari food
220 matches
global 58.6% [52%-64.9%]
51.6%
31 matches
-
50.0%
14 matches
66.7%
39 matches
60.0%
20 matches
75.0%
20 matches
61.1%
18 matches
46.7%
15 matches
90.0%
10 matches
golgari food
220 matches
global 58.6% [52%-64.9%]
jund food
154 matches
global 50.6% [42.8%-58.4%]
44.0%
25 matches
50.0%
14 matches
-
73.7%
19 matches
60.0%
15 matches
45.0%
20 matches
33.3%
9 matches
75.0%
4 matches
50.0%
10 matches
jund food
154 matches
global 50.6% [42.8%-58.4%]
selesnya humans
340 matches
global 45.0% [39.8%-50.3%]
51.7%
60 matches
33.3%
39 matches
26.3%
19 matches
-
36.6%
41 matches
63.6%
22 matches
24.0%
25 matches
58.8%
17 matches
47.1%
17 matches
selesnya humans
340 matches
global 45.0% [39.8%-50.3%]
heliod company
249 matches
global 47.4% [41.3%-53.6%]
45.2%
42 matches
40.0%
20 matches
40.0%
15 matches
63.4%
41 matches
-
42.9%
28 matches
56.3%
16 matches
33.3%
12 matches
50.0%
14 matches
heliod company
249 matches
global 47.4% [41.3%-53.6%]
jeskai control
182 matches
global 43.4% [36.4%-50.7%]
29.6%
27 matches
25.0%
20 matches
55.0%
20 matches
36.4%
22 matches
57.1%
28 matches
-
22.2%
9 matches
33.3%
9 matches
80.0%
10 matches
jeskai control
182 matches
global 43.4% [36.4%-50.7%]
rakdos arcanist
153 matches
global 58.8% [50.9%-66.3%]
59.1%
22 matches
38.9%
18 matches
66.7%
9 matches
76.0%
25 matches
43.8%
16 matches
77.8%
9 matches
-
71.4%
7 matches
50.0%
10 matches
rakdos arcanist
153 matches
global 58.8% [50.9%-66.3%]
jund citadel
117 matches
global 49.6% [40.7%-58.5%]
57.1%
14 matches
53.3%
15 matches
25.0%
4 matches
41.2%
17 matches
66.7%
12 matches
66.7%
9 matches
28.6%
7 matches
-
60.0%
5 matches
jund citadel
117 matches
global 49.6% [40.7%-58.5%]
izzet turns
123 matches
global 44.7% [36.2%-53.5%]
52.6%
19 matches
10.0%
10 matches
50.0%
10 matches
52.9%
17 matches
50.0%
14 matches
20.0%
10 matches
50.0%
10 matches
40.0%
5 matches
-
izzet turns
123 matches
global 44.7% [36.2%-53.5%]
vs
izzet phoenix
vs
golgari food
vs
jund food
vs
selesnya humans
vs
heliod company
vs
jeskai control
vs
rakdos arcanist
vs
jund citadel
vs
izzet turns

Top 8

Image
PlacePlayerStandardHistoric
1stYuuki IchikawaIzzet TurnsGolgari Food
2ndSimon GortzenMono-Black ZombiesIzzet Phoenix
3rdRiku KumagaiIzzet TurnsGolgari Food
4thToru SaitoIzzet TurnsGolgari Food
5thYo AkaikeIzzet TurnsJeskai Creativity
6thZachary KiihneIzzet TurnsIzzet Phoenix
7thYuta TakahashiIzzet TurnsIzzet Phoenix
8thChristian HauckMono Green AggroSelesnya Humans

Standard

In standard, it seems people thought (and in my opinion, rightfully so) that Izzet Control/Turns was the best deck. The top 8 of the tournament contained 6 Izzet Turns decks. 3 lists are identical, likely from the same testing team. These decks also run a suite of the pathways which give access to black mana for a singular copy of Check for Traps in the sideboard. To me it’s a bit of an odd choice to splash for a single (and seemingly mediocre) card, but given how well the deck performed, it seems to be the right choice.

izzet turns
52.3% global win rate
16.46% metagame share
best against
vs mono-white humans
100.0% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs sultai control
90.0% win rate
10 tracked matches
vs rakdos control
87.5% win rate
8 tracked matches
worst against
vs grixis treasures
20.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs mono-black midrange
20.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs temur werewolves
0.0% win rate
7 tracked matches

However, even with 6 of the top 8 decks being Izzet the big winner of this tournament was a deck that was surely a meta-call: Mono-Green Aggro. While I’ve mentioned Mono-Green isn’t in the best spot right now (since it has trouble with some other Aggro decks), it’s one of the Izzet decks’ worst matchups. Running it in this tournament is definitely a gamble on the fact that a lot of people were going to bring Izzet decks, and the winner of the Swiss portion, Christian Hauck, was right.

mono-green aggro
54.1% global win rate
17.83% metagame share
best against
vs boros burn
100.0% win rate
8 tracked matches
vs izzet mill
100.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs esper tempo
90.0% win rate
10 tracked matches
worst against
vs rakdos sacrifice
33.3% win rate
9 tracked matches
vs mardu midrange
33.3% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs boros humans
28.6% win rate
7 tracked matches
mono-green aggro (sample decklist)
standard
17.83% metashare
54.1% performance

Biggest Deck(s)

DeckPercent of MetagameDecksWin Rate
Izzet Turns38.10%9658.5%
Mono-White Aggro20.20%5143.6%
Mono-Green Aggro9.90%2553.1%
Orzhov Midrange5.20%1338.9%
Izzet Control3.60% 953.1%
Izzet Dragons3.60%938.1%

Izzet

In the tournament Izzet Turns was the biggest deck by a huge margin, being almost doubly represented than the next most played deck. If you add Izzet Control, Izzet Turns and Izzet Dragons together, they account for nearly 50% of the tournament – quite frankly, a number that might be worrying to those keeping an eye on the health of Standard. Even on its own, the performance of the deck is pretty frightening, especially in the hands of some of the best players in the world. This deck had a target on its back going into the tournament, and it still boasts one of the highest winrates in the whole tournament.

Izzet Turns also had the best winrate overall, with Izzet Control trailing behind. It showcases just how much changing a handful of cards can drastically change the performance of a deck. Izzet Turns is similar to Izzet Control (or maybe I should say Izzet Control is similar to Izzet Turns?), but tends to forgo the creatures for more acceleration and more support for Alrund's Epiphany (like Galvanic Iteration). Since the creatures in Izzet Control are arguably some of their best cards, many decks come prepared for them. By simply not playing the creatures, these decks ‘zig’ while their opponents ‘zag’, and at a high level of play the benefit of this really shows.

izzet turns
52.3% global win rate
16.46% metagame share
best against
vs mono-white humans
100.0% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs sultai control
90.0% win rate
10 tracked matches
vs rakdos control
87.5% win rate
8 tracked matches
worst against
vs grixis treasures
20.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs mono-black midrange
20.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs temur werewolves
0.0% win rate
7 tracked matches

Mono-White and Mono-Green Aggro

The next two most popular decks in the tournament are also decks that I think are some of the best, but fall just shy of the top. Mono-White Aggro is the deck that I think was likely the best deck during week 1, but decks have started to adapt to it. Similarly, Mono-Green Aggro is a strong deck, but is losing some ground due to meta shifts. However, it’s a deck that does better against the Izzet decks than Mono-White. While Mono-White is incredibly efficient, its cards aren’t as resilient as Mono-Green’s. Green has cards like Esika's Chariot and Old-Growth Troll, which are hard to interact profitably with with 1-for-1 removal, putting the Izzet decks under more pressure.

mono-white aggro
54% global win rate
14.32% metagame share
best against
vs selesnya blink
100.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs esper epiphany
100.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs jund control
100.0% win rate
6 tracked matches
worst against
vs izzet tempo
33.3% win rate
9 tracked matches
vs mardu fury
33.3% win rate
15 tracked matches
vs rakdos tokens
12.5% win rate
8 tracked matches
mono-green aggro
54.1% global win rate
17.83% metagame share
best against
vs boros burn
100.0% win rate
8 tracked matches
vs izzet mill
100.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs esper tempo
90.0% win rate
10 tracked matches
worst against
vs rakdos sacrifice
33.3% win rate
9 tracked matches
vs mardu midrange
33.3% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs boros humans
28.6% win rate
7 tracked matches

Orzhov Midrange

Orzhov Midrange is a deck I’ve talked about before, and it’s a deck that I don’t like very much. While the deck plays some powerful cards, it’s a midrange deck with one goal: Beat Aggro. Looking at the stats this week, I can’t even say it did that. While it has a 78.9% winrate against Mono-White, it has an abysmally low 35.0% winrate against Mono-Green, a deck that it arguably should be able to easily handle. It’s winrate against Mono-Green is one of its better winrates, with is having just a few points less against Izzet Control, and only getting worse against the most popular decks. Originally I thought that if this deck could have a better plan against the Izzet decks it would be in a good spot, but seeing this week’s results has me losing faith in the deck.

orzhov midrange
49.9% global win rate
1.76% metagame share
best against
vs rakdos control
100.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs mono-black zombies
80.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs jeskai control
80.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
worst against
vs izzet dragons ️
28.9% win rate
45 tracked matches
vs selesnya ramp
28.6% win rate
7 tracked matches
vs azorius control
28.6% win rate
14 tracked matches

Izzet Dragons

Izzet Dragons is an Izzet deck which I think suffers from the current shifts in the metagame. More decks are coming prepared to deal with creatures, and more decks are coming to deal with Epiphany, and this deck is at the intersection of the two. While some of its dragons are incredibly good creatures, other decks are likely to be able to remove or counter them. On the opposite end, the deck has to fend off aggressive decks and stabilize before it can start deploying its dragons or using its extra turns effectively.

izzet dragons ️
47.1% global win rate
7.49% metagame share
best against
vs rakdos control
80.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs dimir tempo
77.8% win rate
9 tracked matches
vs jeskai epiphany
75.0% win rate
8 tracked matches
worst against
vs esper epiphany
33.3% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs mono-red aggro
14.3% win rate
7 tracked matches
vs jund werewolves
14.3% win rate
7 tracked matches

Historic

Historic is a format that’s much more diverse than Standard, which comes in part from a much wider pool of cards. It has more plans of attack that are currently viable, and much more in the way of answers to strategies – not to say that some cards aren’t staples of the format, or that there aren’t decks that simply outperform others. While I say the Historic format is fairly diverse, the top 8 may lead you to believe otherwise. In it are only 4 types of decks: 1 Selesnya Humans, 3 Golgari Food, 3 Izzet Phoenix and 1 Jeskai Creativity. But, in the same breath, Jeskai Creativity could be considered a fringe deck, not even cracking the top 10 most popular decks in the tournament which I think shows just how open the format is.

jeskai creativity
62.6% global win rate
1.51% metagame share
best against
vs heliod company
86.7% win rate
15 tracked matches
vs jund citadel
83.3% win rate
6 tracked matches
vs rakdos arcanist
71.4% win rate
7 tracked matches
worst against
vs izzet phoenix
52.9% win rate
17 tracked matches
vs jeskai control
42.9% win rate
7 tracked matches
vs dimir control
16.7% win rate
6 tracked matches

jeskai creativity (sample decklist)
historic
1.51% metashare
62.6% performance


Returning to the three Izzet Phoenix decks, each of the builds were reasonably different, which is something that’s fairly interesting, and shows that the format is nowhere near solved. While I say that I should point out that the three Golgari Food decks in the top 8 are all identical. However, those decks are played by the trio that registered the same three Izzet Turns decks for the standard portion, which explains why that would be the case.

golgari food
53.7% global win rate
8.31% metagame share
best against
vs orzhov aristocrats
100.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs izzet turns
90.9% win rate
11 tracked matches
vs gruul aggro
87.5% win rate
8 tracked matches
worst against
vs selesnya enchantress
25.0% win rate
8 tracked matches
vs grixis combo
20.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs bant angels
18.2% win rate
11 tracked matches
golgari food (sample decklist)
historic
8.31% metashare
53.7% performance

Biggest Decks

DeckPercent of MetagameDecksWin Rate
Selesnya Humans16.33%4145.0%
Izzet Pheonix13.55%3453.5%
Heliod Company10.36%2647.4%
Golgari Food8.37%2158.6%
Jeskai Control7.57%1943.4%
Jund Food6.77%1750.6%
Rakdos Arcanist5.18%1358.8%

Selesnya Humans

While the most popular deck of the tournament, the deck seems to have struggled against the other popular decks. Being an aggressive deck that uses Collected Company to build out boards quickly, or rebuild after a wrath, it falters in the face of some of the grinder decks of the format. Notably, Golgari Food, Jund Food and Rakdos Arcanist all are well positioned to defend against the deck and then turn the table later in the game. Similarly, Heliod Company can play a similar game to Selesnya Humans, but has a combo finish that the deck can’t deal with particularly well.

selesnya humans
48.3% global win rate
5.82% metagame share
best against
vs dragonstorm
100.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs selesnya enchantress
75.0% win rate
8 tracked matches
vs jeskai control
70.6% win rate
34 tracked matches
worst against
vs jund food
33.3% win rate
39 tracked matches
vs mono-red goblins
30.8% win rate
13 tracked matches
vs rakdos arcanist
23.3% win rate
30 tracked matches

Izzet Phoenix

Izzet Phoenix was a deck that was popular for some time in Historic, but was revitalized with the release of Historic Horizons. With cheap threats in Dragon's Rage Channeler and plenty of cheap cantrips/card filtering the deck is explosive and consistent. It sports a solid winrate, and is a deck that people came prepared to face. The deck cares about the graveyard immensely, and so many decks come equipped with cards to try and stifle the use of the graveyard. However, the deck still has other angles of attack making it reasonably flexible.

izzet phoenix
53.5% global win rate
11.18% metagame share
best against
vs esper control
100.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs azorius control
87.5% win rate
8 tracked matches
vs bant angels
83.3% win rate
6 tracked matches
worst against
vs jeskai lotus field
33.3% win rate
9 tracked matches
vs grixis combo
30.0% win rate
10 tracked matches
vs selesnya enchantress
21.1% win rate
19 tracked matches

Heliod Company

This deck was somewhat less popular than Selesnya Humans, and did slightly better. However, I wouldn’t say the deck did well. It has similar problems to Selesnya Humans in that it’s primarily an aggro deck, but also has a combo to keep opponent’s on their toes. That combo revolves around Scurry Oak and Heliod, Sun-Crowned. By gaining life when a creature enters the battlefield (which the deck has a dozen ways to do), and having the two cards out, you can make infinite squirrel tokens. With Collected Company, that can even be done on the opponent’s end step, meaning an almost instant victory. However, the combo can be disrupted, and if the deck doesn’t apply enough early pressure, opponent’s are likely to be able to stop the combo with a piece of removal.

heliod company
49.4% global win rate
5.74% metagame share
best against
vs selesnya humans
65.9% win rate
44 tracked matches
vs golgari food
64.9% win rate
57 tracked matches
vs mono-red madness
63.6% win rate
11 tracked matches
worst against
vs azorius auras
22.2% win rate
9 tracked matches
vs bant blink (yorion)
20.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs jeskai creativity
13.3% win rate
15 tracked matches

Golgari and Jund Food

The Food decks are another mainstay of the Historic format, being around since before many of the recent expansions. The decks are mainly fueled by a combination of cards from Eldraine: Cauldron Familiar, Witches Oven, Gilded Goose and Trail of Crumbs. This core provides an engine that’s difficult to interact with that provides inevitability and card advantage. The Golgari version leans a little more to the controlling side, while the Jund version is more aggressive. With that being said, both decks are very flexible at switching between the two roles, either draining the opponent to death, or putting forward a wall of near impossible to remove blockers. The Golgari deck did particularly well (putting 3 copies into the top 8), while the Jund version did reasonably well. However, the small changes between the two change their favourable matchups pretty impactfully.

golgari food
53.7% global win rate
8.31% metagame share
best against
vs orzhov aristocrats
100.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs izzet turns
90.9% win rate
11 tracked matches
vs gruul aggro
87.5% win rate
8 tracked matches
worst against
vs selesnya enchantress
25.0% win rate
8 tracked matches
vs grixis combo
20.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs bant angels
18.2% win rate
11 tracked matches
jund food
53.2% global win rate
6.95% metagame share
best against
vs orzhov auras
85.7% win rate
7 tracked matches
vs azorius artifacts
85.7% win rate
7 tracked matches
vs boros burn
83.3% win rate
6 tracked matches
worst against
vs jeskai creativity
33.3% win rate
9 tracked matches
vs selesnya enchantress
25.0% win rate
8 tracked matches
vs azorius lotus field
0.0% win rate
5 tracked matches

Jeskai Control

This deck has suffered a little by having Brainstorm and Memory Lapse removed from the format, and the results in the tournament show this. With its ability to dig for relevant cards and to slow the opponent down reduced, it struggles much more in some of the grinder matchups. Decks like Golgari Food can, once  set up, progress their game plan without having to worry much about countermagic, while Izzet Phoenix can chip in little by little, then bring back all of their Phoenixes in a flurry and finish their opponent off.

jeskai control
47.9% global win rate
4.76% metagame share
best against
vs izzet turns
75.0% win rate
16 tracked matches
vs azorius auras
66.7% win rate
9 tracked matches
vs gruul aggro
66.7% win rate
6 tracked matches
worst against
vs rakdos arcanist
21.4% win rate
14 tracked matches
vs dimir control
20.0% win rate
5 tracked matches
vs selesnya enchantress
0.0% win rate
5 tracked matches

Rakdos Arcanist

This deck is a personal favourite of mine, and has been around for quite some time. Like the Phoenix deck, it also got some upgrades from Historic Horizons which show in the results. The Arcanist deck boasts the best winrate of the tournament, at 58.8%. The deck tries to shrink the game down to a few relevant cards, mainly by ripping the opponent’s hand apart and killing the things they play.  Dreadhorde Arcanist is the card that helps to that, in tandem with Thoughtseize, Fatal Push and Unholy Heat.

rakdos arcanist
56.2% global win rate
2.79% metagame share
best against
vs jeskai control
78.6% win rate
14 tracked matches
vs jund citadel
77.8% win rate
9 tracked matches
vs mono-red madness
77.8% win rate
9 tracked matches
worst against
vs jund food
40.0% win rate
20 tracked matches
vs golgari food
38.7% win rate
31 tracked matches
vs jeskai creativity
28.6% win rate
7 tracked matches
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