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F2F Tour Niagara Falls – Event Recap

This past Saturday marked the final F2F Tour event of the 2023 calendar. 84 players came to battle in our Modern Super Qualifier, and Josh Arnold emerged victorious with his Living End decklist. Him and the rest of the top 16 earned themselves invites to the Ottawa Regional Championship set for February 9 – 11.

Last week, our winner Chris Carlile, despite piloting Mono-Black Coffers, suggested Yawgmoth to be the best in the format. Here in Niagara Falls, Kaya Gregg proved the deck’s strength by taking it to a second-place finish.

KYT: “Hey Kaya, congratulations on securing second place! With a lot of discussions around Yawgmoth being potentially the best deck post-ban, what are your thoughts on this?”

Kaya: “It might be, I definitely think it has one of the biggest targets on its back now that Fury is gone, I’ve seen a lot of Cursed Totems in the past month. It’s definitely not unbeatable though, and has bad matchups, so I dont think even if it is the ‘best’ deck, that it’s anywhere close to a problem.”

KYT: “Shifting focus to another deck making waves, Living End has been mentioned as a top contender. How does it compare in the current meta, particularly in its matchups against decks like Yawgmoth?”

Kaya: “I think it has a harder time than Yawgmoth against decks that combine counterspells with pressure, like Murktide and Rhinos, since their gameplan is a lot more one-dimensional. Hate cards from these decks do a lot more work against Living End when backed up like that. But Living End is definitely Yawgmoth’s worst matchup out of all the popular decks right now, so if you’re really trying to beat Yawgmoth, play Living End, the matchup is really, really hard to win for Yawgmoth, even when you have a good hand.”

Christophe Vaugeois made an unexpected yet impressive third-place finish with his Domain Zoo deck, a rare sight on the F2F Tour.

KYT: “I don’t think I’ve seen Domain Zoo on the F2F Tour for a long time. What made you grab the deck?”

Christophe: “I started by testing Rhinos during the week and I liked the deck, but hated the Living End matchup so I audibled to Zoo with no reps. It had a pretty solid winrate in Barcelona the weekend prior and looked like fun!”

KYT: “Was there a decent amount of Living End expected at the tournament? Interestingly, it ended up winning the event.”

Christophe: “I was expecting Rhinos and Living End to be the most represented decks alongside a decent number of Yawg, Amulet, and Murktide. I was happier playing Zoo into Living End, but game 1 can be hard especially on the draw. After sideboard you have a lot of disruptive tools.”

KYT: “Lastly, in your circle, what’s the consensus on the best deck currently? Our winner last year believed it was Yawgmoth.”

Christophe: “Chris is probably right about Yawgmoth; I think the best deck is either that or Living End. My peers will probably agree that those 2 are definitely in the top 4 decks though and likely alongside Rhinos and Amulet. It’s still a pretty fresh format, however, so we’ll see how the metagame continues to develop!”

Tariq Patel, a multiple-time Flesh and Blood National Champion, finished in 8th place with his Amulet Titan deck.

KYT: “Tariq, you’ve been playing multiple games at a high level. How do you manage to maintain this?”

Tariq: “Oh boy. Truthfully, while my FAB year started off strong with a GP top 8 and losing my win and in at the first Pro Tour, the end of the year was filled with disappointment and what ifs. I don’t believe I’m playing MTG at a high level. It’s more of a hobby during the downtime of Flesh and Blood events, with minimal time for preparation. I’ve been in the mix for top 8 of several RCs but haven’t managed to convert. With age comes more responsibilities, which leads to less time for hobbies. So, I’m happy to play events regularly.”

KYT: “Speaking of Magic, was choosing Amulet Titan for the tournament like returning to a trusted old friend?”

Tariq: “Haha, yes, it was. I’ve had experience with Amulet dating back to 2014 with Summer Bloom. Although there are newer cards, the basic play patterns are the same.”

KYT: “In your matches, did you feel that other decks were executing more powerful strategies than yours?”

Tariq: “Modern, and MTG as a whole, has become much more powerful over the years. When I started in Theros, there was a balance between ‘playing fair’ and being reactive. But now, it seems like every deck is doing something degenerate. It’s like a ‘two ships passing in the night’ solitaire metagame. Amulet is powerful, but I felt it was on par with other decks. I just ran slightly hotter.”

That wraps up my Niagara Falls recap and the 2023 year for the F2F Tour. We start things off in 2024 in Montreal on January 6th. That will be the first Tour Stop of Round 6. If you haven’t heard the news about where the Round 6 Regional Championship will be held, check out our big announcement here!

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