This weekend had 3 major tournaments that are worth talking about, Grand Prix Rimini, Grand Prix Portland, and the Starcitygames.com Open in Syracuse. Let’s start with the Grand Prix in Rimini and Portland.

Arne Huschenbeth took the tournament down with Bant Company, defeating Petr Sochurek’s Bant Company in the finals. The rest of the top 8 featured 2 copies of the U/R Burn deck that had a good showing at the Pro Tour and 4 more copies of Bant Company, meaning that 75% of the top 8 was Bant Company. So much for Bant Company being dead, huh? The thing that really intrigues me about this top 8 is the lack of the most impressive card from the Pro Tour, Emrakul, the Promised End. Most Emrakul decks from the Pro Tour were designed to prey on Bant Company, and did a fairly good job of exactly that. However, 6 Bant Company decks in the top 8 may beg to differ about how that matchup really goes. The U/R Burn deck likely preyed on the slew of Emrakul decks in the room, as they fight on an axis that the slow and grindy graveyard decks can’t fight efficiently against.

In Portland, Robert Santana took home the trophy with Jund Delirium. Elsewhere in the top 8 was B/W Control, Grixis Cat Pact (Demonic Pact/Harmless Offering combo), Temur Emerge, B/G Delirium, and 4 copies of Bant Company. For those keeping track at home, that’s 10 of the 16 top 8 decks from the weekend being Bant Company. Unlike Rimini, Portland had more than 2 decks make the top 8, which shows that the format is actually very diverse, and choosing a deck is not as that simple. However, even though Portland featured 4 other unique decks in the top 8, they all seem to be playing second fiddle to Bant Compnay.

In Syracuse, Ross Merriam piloted Dredge all the way to a trophy. The newest deck in Modern was certainly something to keep an eye on all weekend, and at points it seemed destined to win the trophy, either in the hands of Merriam or the other Ross (Tom Ross, that is). The Ross-es both made top 8 with Dredge, and the deck had 2 more copies in the top 32. The rest of the top 8 contained 1 R/G Valakut deck, 3 copies of Jund, 1 copy of Infect, and a U/W Control deck. Modern is very diverse, as evidenced when we look at the entirety of the top 32. Even though Jund and Dredge together made up over 50% of the top 8, the decks weren’t even close to that number further down the final standings, showing that the format is very healthy.

With the Starcitygames.com Invitational, which features Standard and Modern, under a week away, all three of these results will surely have a big impact on deck selection for all of the players who will compete. In Standard, Bant Company seems to be putting a stranglehold on the format. Will a deck be able to quell Bant’s success? In Modern, Dredge is the new hotness and graveyard hate may need to become a staple in sideboards to combat it. Will Dredge be able to survive the inevitable influx of hate in players’ sideboards? These questions will definitely be answered this weekend in New Jersey. The Invitational runs Friday through Sunday, with the winner taking home $10,000 and a Pro Tour qualification. It’s surely going to be a great weekend of Magic. I’ll see you all next week for another weekend recap.

Until next time.

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