Grand Prix New Jersey results

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I made some predictions for Grand Prix: New Jersey earlier last week, and boy was I mistaken. Here I thought UR Delver would be showing up in numbers even in the top 8, but the top 8 was instead made up of a rather peculiar variety of different decks, and some very nice tech. “Only” 4003 players showed up, making the tournament mind-boggingly huge, but not record-breaking. It’s still one of the biggest Grand Prix this year, and making the top 8 is an awesome achievement. The top 8 in its entirety, but in no particular order:

Miracles (Philipp Shönegger, a.k.a. Einherjer on the Source)
Storm (Royce Waters)
UWR Stoneblade (Brian Braun-Duin)
Infect (Tom Ross)
UR Delver (Dan Jordan)
Miracles (Phillip Braverman)
UR Landstill (Lam Phan)
MUD (Joseph Santonassino)

The decklists can be found here. Two Miracles is one more than I expected, but the deck is extremely strong if piloted by a strong player. Only one UR Delver, and indeed only one Delver deck at all is very surprising, and it’s pretty neat to see people like Tom Ross playing a pet deck to a first-place finish in the standings and second-place finish overall. The finals, for those who didn’t catch it, was Ross vs. Braun-Duin, and Braun-Duin came out on top.

suddenshock.hqThe coolest surprise in the top 8, however, has to be Lam Phan’s UR Landstill. In a format where everybody and their mothers are playing three or four Ancestral Recalls, Phan decided to rely on Standstill to draw cards. Granted, he did have a single copy of Treasure Cruise as well as a single copy of Dig Through Time, but above all, he was relying on a very old strategy. His deck also has some very cool tech, most notably three copies of Sudden Shock! I guess in a field full of X/2 or X/1 creatures, Sudden Shock will do plenty of work, and the only possible answer to it is Counterbalance. Very cool tech, if you ask me. Phan, by the way, is famous for creating and popularizing my favourite deck of all time, Canadian Threshold – I have a lot to thank this man for. Perhaps I should give this creation a spin as well.

The biggest surprise, by far, in the top 8, is MUD. MUD is one of those decks that can and will take down dailies or smaller local tournaments sometimes because it’s hard to play Magic when your opponent opens up with turn one Chalice of the Void for one, turn two Trinisphere, turn three Lodestone Golem. Usually, MUD carries no card selection or proper card advantage, this MUD is no different with but a single Staff of Nin and a single Staff of Domination for card drawing. This means that while these decks might just do really well in shorter tournaments, chances are that variance will come back to haunt MUD worse than decks with Brainstorm or other card-drawing or card-filtering cards. Obviously, I need to re-think my opinions on these Chalice decks.

And to tally it up, the factual result with my prediction in parentheses.

# of Delver of Secrets in the top 8: 4 (24)

# of Brainstorm in the top 8: 28 (24)

# of Lightning Bolt in the top 8: 11 (16)

# of Treasure Cruise in the top 8: 10 (18)

# of Stoneforge Mystic in the top 8: 4 (8)

# of maindecked red blasts in the top 8: 7 (2)

# of Dark Ritual in the top 8: 4 (4)

In short, I was pretty far off. Delver of Secret decks did much worse than anticipated, and Brainstorm was present in seven out of the eight decks, rather than just six, as I had predicted. Lightning Bolt and Treasure Cruise were both a bit worse than I expected, which is obviously closely tied to Delver of Secrets. The maindecking of red blasts was more popular and more successful than I anticipated, and I guess that also put a dent in the number of Treasure Cruises in the top 8. The only correct assessment I did was one Storm deck in the top 8, as is evident by the four Dark Rituals.

Personally, I’m loving this top 8. Even though blue as a colour is strongly over-represented, the top 8 decks demonstrate a nice variety of control (Miracles, Landstill), Aggro (MUD, UR Delver), Midrange (Stoneblade) and Combo (Storm). Infect is something of the odd one out, on paper it’s very much a combodeck, and I guess inexperienced pilots would play it all-in Belcher style, but as the commentators made crystal clear on Sunday, that’s not Tom Ross’ style of playing it.

What do you think of the top 8? What do you think of the direction Legacy is heading in? Leave a comment below!

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1 Comment

  1. psykopatmullvad

     /  November 18, 2014

    I get a little tingle of happiness every time Ross the Boss plays his Infect to success. I have to find and watch that final one day 😀
    Its good to see some diversity on the top here, and MUD was a good suprise 😀

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