First off, here are the cards that have spiked since yesterday:
As well as Sulfurous Springs, to some degree.
Quite the Pro Tour we're having. From the start of the Modern rounds, I was hooked. Say what you want about Twin being gone, but the format seems fresh and a bevy of cards are able to now see the spotlight. We have two undefeated players from team MTG Mint Card - Jason Chung and Jiachen Chao. So, congrats to a very strong start.
Diego gave us a wonderful Day 1 meta breakdown: https://www.quietspeculation.com/2016/02/infographic-the-modern-metagame-at-ptogw/
The numbers here are showing us that linear aggressive lists are where everyone wanted to be. Staggering amounts of Affinity and Burn showed up to the Pro Tour (unsurprisingly). What is surprising, however, is the number of Eldrazi lists, bringing up the next largest number of deck--tied with Infect--at 32. I've been touting that we will see Eldrazi in some form or another and I highlighted it in my preliminary Day 1 Considerations.
Turns out the Eldrazi lists have taken a very interesting turn and are now an extremely efficient, aggressive list. The rare Eldrazi from Oath of the Gatewatch certainly put the archetype ahead of the curve, utilizing Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple.
In the meantime, there was still plenty of diversity and the PT coverage seems leagues better this time around, moving around the tables and showing some really good matchups on camera. We got to see the many different archetypes listed in the info graphic--including the return of Blue Moon, pioneered by Li Shi Tian and played to an undefeated finish with Jason Chung.
Round 4 - Christian Calcano (Jund) vs Ben Stark (Mardu) + Shota Yasooka (Affinity) vs Matej Zatlkaj (Death's Shadow Aggro)
- Mardu is now an interesting take on the format. It seems just as viable as Jund/Junk, leaning on cards like Lingering Souls and a newly re-surging Ajani Vengeant. We know 9 players are on it, but unclear who exactly has been piloting the list other than Stark.
- Jund lists still look fairly "stock", but that is still a really good spot to be. These lists can really combat a wide range of other archetypes, both preboard and postboard.
- During the break we got to see some of the Death's Shadow aggro list, as well as Shouta's Affinity tech in Thought-Knot Seer.
- Abbot of Keral Keep was showing, yet again, that it's going to be a Modern staple for quite some time. We saw a price increase a while ago during a Pro Tour, and with continued exposure we may see yet another Magic Origins card start to command a higher price tag.
Round 5 - Eric Froehlich (Kiki-Chord) vs Luis Scott Vargas (Eldrazi)
We probably won't be seeing LSV in the coverage booth folks. The CFB team has come together and put forth a savage Eldrazi list, which, from the looks of it, solved a lot of the issues the deck had. With the team firmly on the deck, many of the best players came together and seemingly re-designed the list. Removing the clunky Processor cards + enablers, and shoring up the aggressive matchup (it's worst matchup) with Chalice of the Void. Which has subsequently increased in price.
What's amazing is the list is now more streamlined and focused on its attack. Going from a "go big" strategy to an all-out aggressive plan, using the Eldrazi rares from Oath of the Gatewatch as a strong nucleus. CFB being on the archetype really bodes well for it's future.
Some already claiming Eye of Ugin might have to be looked at. I saw that's wildly a knee-jerk reaction. Although with a combined 19-1 record with the archetype, who knows what will really happen. Pro Tour is all about catching other players off-guard, and that's what this new tuned Eldrazi list is intending to do.
Ryan Overturf and I covered some things via Twitch yesterday. Despite some technical hiccups, thanks everyone who tuned in and enjoyed the commentary. Unfortunatly the broadcast wasn't saved, but we talked about many of these rare level Eldrazi and the financial implication would be foils. Turns out we were right.
In the meantime, we saw another take on the list from Ryoichi Tamada utilizing Painlands, which is interesting to note going forward. As of this morning, some copies of Underground River and Sulferous Springs have increased, and it would probably be a good idea to grab some cheap copies.
Round 6 - Antonio De Rosa (Jeskai Control) vs John Stern (Affinity)
De Rosa took this fairly handily with a 2-0 finish. Turns out strong sideboard hate stops Affinity--who woulda thought. Stony Silence showing how powerful of a sideboard card it can truly be, putting a damper on Affinity strategies. Not truly eventful, but I think this makes a strong case for Restoration Angel fighting it's way back into the format.
We continued to see the coverage pan around the room between matches (which is fantastic, by the way) and we got more exposure to the Eldrazi lists CFB came to the tournament with.
Round 7 - Frank Karsten (Affinity) vs Ben Stark (Mardu)
So we get to see Ben Stark's Mardu list in action against arguably one of the best (if not the best) Affinity pilots around, Frank Karsten. It ended in yet another convincing defeat of Affinity lists on camera, as Stark walked away 2-0 from this match-up.
What was interesting to see was Frank thought Sea Gate Wreckage was good enough to be included. I really enjoyed this new-found tech and have been debating it among other Affinity enthusiasts as to whether it truly can find a home in the archetype.
I was convinced it wouldn't end up having a huge impact, and the verdict is still out on that. I'd like to see more of Frank Karsten's list perform (hopefully). I think it was doing enough on camera from what I saw to make me at least try it out and continue to include it.
Here was his list from the Deck Tech:
We were also exposed to Jason Chung playing Blue Moon. A deck from the team lead by Li Shi Tian, and was first making an impact back in PT:BNG.
Round 8 - Marco Cammilluzzi (Naya Zoo) vs Andrew Cueno (Infect)
I don't have much to comment here, as I didn't see this match.
Meanwhile, we've also seen several different Collected Company decks make their way through the feature match area, including Bartlomiej Lawandowski currently at 7-0. We finally got to see the UR Eldrazi list, and it was fascinating to watch. Vile Aggregate really did some heavy lifting here, and having Trample really put this deck over the edge with the continued copies of Drowner of Hope putting in the work.
We also got another nice treat with Brian Kibler's decklist. I don't know if it truley matters, but I don't recall Kibler having a stellar performance so far.
Official Pro Tour Wrap-Up
Well, that about wraps things up for Day 1.
Going into Day 2, we need to pay attention to the ranks after limited. This can really make or break some of the break-out performances from yesterday, as well as stifle any possible outcomes that would of been and translating to purchasing success, whether for playing purposes or a value purchase.
Regardless, this Pro Tour has been very intriguing, and I personally enjoy that it was Modern instead of Standard. We have a more clear view on what players think about the new direction of Modern and the archetypes to get us there. I think we will see Modern self-regulate going forward, and it's a great new frontier for the format.
Until next time,
Edit: Here is a chart of the Day 2 metagame breakdown for your perusal: