This past weekend had two Standard Grand Prix, in Pittsburgh and Taipei, and a starcitygames.com Modern Open in Dallas. Both Standard Grand Prix’s top 8s showcased the best decks in the format, but they also perhaps pointed towards a negative shift in the metagame. On the other hand, the Open in Dallas showed Modern players that everyone’s favorite “non-eternal, non-rotating” format is as healthy as ever. Let’s start with the Grand Prix.
Grand Prix Pittsburgh saw Evan Petre take it all home with G/W Tokens in the finals over Pascal Maynard, piloting Bant Humans. The other six decks in the top 8 were: 2 more G/W Tokens decks, 2 more copies of Bant Humans, 1 copy of Bant Company, and a lone copy of Sultai Midrange. One of those 2 other copies of G/W Tokens was Pro Tour Champion Steve Rubin, who made it all the way to the Semifinals, but lost the mirror match to eventual champion Evan Petre.
Grand Prix Taipei was a different story. It saw only 1 copy of Bant Humans and 2 copies of G/W Tokens. The rest of the top 8 was filled with 4 players playing Bant Company and one player on G/R Ramp. Yuuki Ichikawa took it down with Bant Company, defeating G/W Tokens pilot Huang Yung-Ming in the Finals. Notable Pro Circuit competitors Yuta Takahashi and Lee Shi Tian were in this top 8 as well, both piloting Bant Company.
What can we take away from these two events? Firstly, we know that this format is dominated and defined by Bant Collected Company variants and G/W Tokens. If your deck has an unfavorable matchup against both, it is probably wise for you to play something else. Secondly, nothing has broken this format because it has a favorable matchup against both. G/W Tokens may be good against the Company decks, but it struggles against W/r Humans, which has an unfavorable matchup against Company. B/W Control is good against Company, but it has a tough time consistently beating G/W Tokens. What does this mean? Well it means that playing one of the two top decks may be very wise, as it’s not easily hated out and even though some parts of this format can be very matchup dependent, you won’t get done in by a series of bad matchup in a row.
The starcitygames.com Modern Open in Dallas saw Kevin Jones win the tournament with Grixis Delver over teammate Andrew Jessup on Infect in the Finals. The rest of the top 8 had two copies of Jeskai Nahiri, piloted by two more teammates of Jones and Jessup, Peter Ingram and Jim Davis. It also included on copy each of Jund, Zoo, Abzan Company, and Living End. The rest of the top 32 was littered with all sorts of different and interesting decks. All of the usual suspects that missed out on top 8 were not absent further down the standings, including a few Eldrazi decks.
Modern is healthy! Cue the confetti! Team MGG was the major storyline of this tournament, putting 4 of their 5 members into the top 8 (sorry, Dan Jessup, you’ll have to settle for 31st place) and ultimately finishing 1st, 2nd, and 4th. Even though they were all teammates, they didn’t all play the same list of the same deck as you might expect from a team. Instead, they each played what they knew. Kevin Jones even admitted on Facebook that just sticking with Grixis Delver and playing it in local events gave him the experience to win the tournament. This shows us that Modern rewards experience because it is so diverse. Knowing how to play each and every matchup in detail gives you a huge edge over someone who keeps switching decks to try to keep up with the metagame.
This coming week is Grand Prix São Paolo, which is Team Sealed. There will not be a Weekend Recap for this event, as writing about Team Sealed will teach us nothing.
Until next time.