– Nathan Holiday wins GP San Diego (Modern) with Eggs
– Jonathan Bergstrom, Tomas Westling, and Fredrik Carlsson win GP Utrecht (Team Limited)
– David Bauer wins Standard Open with Junk Reanimator
– Bryant Cook wins Legacy Open with The Epic Storm
With the Modern PTQ season coming to a close this past weekend as well, it seems somehow appropriate that the season ended how it began – with Eggs mercilessly killing people that came to play a fair format. The top 8 was filled out with some old decks, some new decks, and a few that had interesting new tweaks for the metagame. Ken Yukihiro brought a “multicolor Jund” list that looks to play out much closer to a midrange Zoo deck, with mana creatures, Tarmogoyf, Geist of Saint Traft, and a ton of burn, and in coverage lamented his lack of Thundermaw Hellkite, which would have helped against the return of the White Jund decks that returned this weekend thanks to ChannelFireball (and were represented by Eric Froelich in the top 8). In addition to Lingering Souls, this new Jund packed three copies of Ajani Vengeant (and two Thundermaw Hellkites!) and Path to Exile, along with Stony Silence in the board. While we’ve seen most of these White cards before, Ajani is a new (old) addition that hasn’t seen any real play in Modern prior to this event. With the format coming to a close, it remains to be seen if he is one-tournament-tech, or if he’ll become a major player moving forward, but by all accounts, Ajani Vengeant was incredible this weekend.
Next we have Sammy Tukeman, with a UWR Control deck. Early on in the season, krazykirby4 unveiled the UWR Geist deck when he won a MTGO PTQ. In recent weeks, we’ve seen the deck split into the aggressive Geist version, and a more controlling version that drops almost all creatures, in favor of more counterspells and removal. PT Nagoya Champion David Scharfman opted to play Scapeshift, while Bryan De La Torre battled with Affinity. Matt Ferrando, meanwhile, played Junk, using the standard GB core that makes up most Jund decks, but opting for White support cards rather than Red. Finally, Brian Kibler, lover of all creatures Naya, appeared with an aggro deck that he specifically tailored to be resistant to Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix, and packed in three copies of Domri Rade to ensure that his stream of monsters never let up.
So, we had a top 8 with 8 completely different decks, some of them brand new. All in all, a very interesting way to end the season. Jund is still a powerhouse, Blue hasn’t overtaken the format with the banning of Bloodbraid Elf, and combo decks are still very much a possibility despite the banning of Seething Song.
Meanwhile, four Swedish teams smashed through the other 2000 players at GP Utrecht. Pro Tour Gatecrash Finalist Joel Larsson and his team came looking for that win that had eluded him earlier in the year, meeting fellow countrymen Jonathan Bergstrom, Tomas Westling, and Fredrik Carlsson in the finals. Bergstrom and co. had defeated Larsson’s team in the Swiss, and did it again here, forcing Larsson to be content with yet another second-place finish. Still, with two impressive showings in as many months, we can expect to see him at top tables again soon.
Back in America, Junk Reanimator continues to crush the competition, with three copies in the top 8 of SCG DC, two of which faced of in the finals. They were joined by a Dark Naya deck that ran Black for Falkenrath Aristocrat and Undying Evil, of all cards. With a number of Hasted must-answer monsters like Thundermaw Hellkite and Aurelia, the Warleader, Undying Evil was presumably chosen to combat the other popular deck in the top 8 – Esper Control. With two copies in the top 8, and a third just outside, Esper is clearly a deck to watch. However, while it is solid against most of the field, it has an atrocious Reanimator matchup, which may hold it back. Moving forward, Esper needs to find a way to beat Reanimator, or hope aggro sees more play to combat Unburial Rites strategies, opening a hole for it to attack. Speaking of aggro, Naya Blitz and BW Zombies took 7th and 8th place in DC, with a number of other aggro decks in the top 16, so we may see exactly that situation play out next weekend.
While the past two Legacy Opens have been won by Miracles, the control deck failed to top 8 this weekend (though it did put three copies in the top 16, all of the Rest in Peace variety). Instead, the day was won by Bryant Cook piloting The Epic Storm (the Burning Wish variant of Storm), defeating UR Delver in the finals. There were additionally three copies of Esper Stoneblade – all different. James Higgenbottom in 3rd chose a Legend-heavy version with Vendilion Cliques and Venser, Shaper Savant, Sam Roukas played a fairly stock list (with 4 Lingering Souls), while Javier Arevalo paired the popular Deathrite Shaman/Liliana of the Veil/Dark Confidant team with Geist of Saint Traft, and added them to a Stoneblade core. It uses discard to back up its threats, rather than Force of Will, continuing to blur the line between BUG and Stoneblade. The deck plays some of the most powerful creatures in Legacy, drawing from three different decks, and seems like it could certainly be a viable evolution of Stoneblade and BUG moving forward. Incidentally, the top 16 had an additional three copies of Stoneblade, so while it didn’t win the event, Stoneblade certainly had a strong showing this weekend. Continuing on, we have a Metalworker deck (always fun to watch!), a Junk deck, and a new RUG Cascade deck. Essentially the Shardless BUG deck from a few months ago, only swapping the black cards for Punishing Fire, Boom//Bust (!), and even Domri Rade, it is an exciting new Deathrite Shaman strategy. If you like Cascading, this might be the deck for you.