– Timothee Simonot wins GP London (Simic)
– William Postlethwait wins Standard Open (Jund Midrange)
– Zack Mullin wins Legacy Open (Sneak and Show)
This past weekend we had our first taste of large-scale Gatecrash Limited at GP London. Timothee Simonot emerged victorious out of a field of almost 2000 players, with a Simic deck featuring two copies of 1-drop Experiment One, a Cloudfin Raptor, and a number of other aggressive Green and Blue creatures, with Mystic Genesis to prevent his opponent from trying to get back in the game with a large bomb.
In the coverage team’s quick questions, Orzhov was a number of players’ favorite guild in both Draft and Sealed, thanks to the long-term advantage provided by the Extort mechanic, followed by Gruul and Boros. On the whole, aggressive decks seemed to be quite popular, and many decks played a large number of 1-drops, though Raphael Levy stood out from the pack with his pick of Dimir in both formats.
Meanwhile, development of Gatecrash Standard continued at SCG Edison. Unfortunately, thanks to the Northeast US being hit by a snowstorm, the event only had around 300 competitors. Of those dedicated enough to brave the elements for a chance at a trophy, William Postlethwait ultimately conquered with his Jund Midrange deck. While the deck packs the expected Thragtusks, Huntmasters, and Farseeks, Postlethwait spiced up his list with a wide variety of removal – Olivia Voldaren, Liliana of the Veil, Staff of Nin, Abrupt Decay, Searing Spear, Ultimate Price, Mizzium Mortars, Bonfire of the Damned and Pillar of Flame all make appearances, with even more removal residing in the sideboard. Making life even more difficult for creature decks, as if that wasn’t enough, are the three maindeck copies of Vampire Nighthawk (with the fourth in the sideboard!). Postlethwait clearly expected aggressive decks to continue showing up, and was determined not to lose to them.
In second place we see Chris Marshall’s Esper Control deck, who took a similar route to victory, though with very different cards. Once again his deck is jam-packed with removal, though he seeks to win by milling his opponent out with Nephalia Drownyard and Jace, Memory Adept instead of attacking with Thragtusks. Interestingly, Marshall opted to play only one counterspell maindeck – a Dissipate – with a number of Negates and Dispels sideboarded for control mirrors. When the format is overrun with aggressive creature decks, this is the correct call to make, but it must have cost him in the Finals when facing down Postlethwait’s Rakdos’s Returns and Planeswalkers.
The rest of the top 8 consisted of Naya Zoo, Junk Midrange, Jund Aggro, 2 Boros Aggro, and Naya Humans. Out in top 16 were a number of other aggressive decks, including three copies of R/G Aggro. This week gave us a number of newer decks, unlike last week’s event, which featured mostly updated versions of old Standard decks. Check the link out below to take a look at the latest brews.
Meanwhile, in Legacy, combo finally decided to show up and teach those uppity GBx players a lesson. Zack Mullin Annihilated Amin Younes’s Shardless BUG deck in the finals, emerging victorious in a top 8 that contained an additional copy of Sneak and Show, UWR Delver, Ad Nauseum, Dredge, TwelvePost, and Esper Stoneblade. Just outside the top 8 we see two additional Storm Combo decks, Charbelcher, Esper Stoneblade, UR Delver, and Elves. While it remains to be seen if this will be a permanent change in the format, for this week at least, there was a clear shift away from the midrange GBx Deathrite Shaman decks, and back to combo and decks designed to fight combo.