This past weekend we had 3 major events to talk about in the world of competitive Magic. Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur and Grand Prix Providence featured the first big tournament after Pro Tour Kaladesh, while the SCG Open in Milwaukee showcased Modern.

Standard

In Kuala Lumpur, Fumiya Matsumoto took the trophy home after piloting Mardu Vehicles through all swiss rounds and the top 8. In the finals, Matsumoto took down the dominant deck of the tournament, U/W Flash, in the hands of Mark Lawrence Tubola. The rest of the top 8 featured big name pro players Yuuki Ichikawa and Yuta Takahashi. Myself and all the other players playing U/W Flash at Grand Prix Providence felt vindicated when we saw that U/W Flash put 6 copies into the top 8 of Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur. the other 2 decks in the top 8 were 2 copies of Mardu Vehicles. For those keeping track at home, that’s 32 copies of Smuggler’s Copter and 32 copies of Thraben Inspector in the top 8 (#combo). Top 8 decklists can be found here.

In Providence, the top 8 was significantly different. At the end of the top 8, Wang YiChen emerged victorious over the #3 ranked player in the world Seth Manfield in the B/G Delirium mirror match. Osyp Lebedowicz, Dave Shiels, and Jacky Wang were other notable names who competed in the eliminations rounds, piloting W/R Vehicles, B/G Delirium, and B/R Zombie Madness respectively. The rest of the top 8 featured another copy of B/G Delirium, U/W Flash, and another copy of W/R Vehicles. This top 8 featured a significantly less worrying 16 copies of Smuggler’s Copter in the top 8, and a measly 12 copies of Thraben Inspector, the card that has previously been called “1 mana Elvish Visionary” by the writer of this article. The top 8 decklists for this tournament are found here.

Standard Takeaways:

  1. Smuggler’s Copter is incredibly powerful, but beatable. The 4 B/G Delirium players in the top 8 of Grand Prix Providence clearly felt that the phrase “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” didn’t apply for this weekend, as their deck selection was meant as a deliberate choice to combat Smuggler’s Copter decks.
  2. Control is dead…again? After placing first and second at Pro Tour Kaladesh, many people assumed (correctly or incorrectly is up to you) that control was back and ready to dominate again. As it turns out, people recognized that even though it only put 1 copy in the top 8 of the Pro Tour, U/W Flash was the best performing deck and was going to show up in large numbers this weekend.
  3. We now see an established metagame starting to form. The major players are: U/W Flash, W/R or Mardu Vehicles, and B/G Delirium. Are you a Smuggler’s Copter deck? If yes, are you playing Spell Queller or Depala, Pilot Exemplar? If no, I hope you really enjoy casting Ishkanah, Grafwidow.

Modern

In Milwaukee, Magic’s awkward teenager with no social skills, Modern, took center stage as the SCG Tour visited Wisconsin. Caleb Durward playing a unique Bant Spirits deck took down Samuel Jadin playing Ad Nauseam in the finals to take home the trophy. The top 8 as a whole featured 7 unique decks, with Dredge being the only archetype to be represented twice in the elimination rounds. Further down into the top 32, there were more Dredge decks, along with several copies of Infect and Burn. Essentially, it’s what we would expect a Modern tournament to look like. The decklists for this tournament can be found here.

Modern Takeaways:

  1. Ad Nauseam is a real deck! Take us seriously! There are dozens of us, DOZENS! But seriously, I firmly believe that Ad Nauseam is a tier 1 or tier 1.5 deck in this format, and the only major barriers that people fear is the difficulty of the deck and the general perception that it is a flimsy glass-cannon style deck (which is incorrect). Give this deck a try, I guarantee you will not regret it.
  2. Modern is diverse. We all knew this, but yet another Modern tournament goes by without any deck really having a choke-hold on the format. This is a good thing for the format. It rewards knowledge of the decks, as well as proficiency with your own deck. If you are going to play in a Modern tournament, study up and know what decks you may face.
  3. Brewing is alive and well. Caleb Durward proved haters (myself included) wrong when he won the entire tournament playing a deck that was not on anyone’s radar. Modern, unlike Standard, has room to be toyed with and brews can still get the job done in big tournaments. Don’t be afraid to do something a little wacky.

Before I end this, quick shoutouts are in order to friends of the site David Gross and Abe Corrigan for finishing 11th and 17th respectively at Grand Prix Providence. Good showing guys!

This coming weekend is Grand Prix Santiago and Grand Prix Warsaw, both of which feature Standard, as we continue to see the format develop before our eyes. I’ll see you all next week!

For a Standard decklist from Zack Kanner that he found success with this past weekend, read this article.

Until next time.

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