Lessons from Ghent

Welcome to my second article, today I will discuss the metagame I encountered in GP Ghent.

After the first day four players posted the perfect record of 9-0. One of them was playing Maverick, another one Esper Stone Blade and the last two were using Canadian Threshold. This is not surprising since these three deck archetype were the most represented and are probably the most powerful… However in the top 8, seven (yes, seven!) different archetypes were present which is for me the symbol that the metagame is wide open and healthy.

I will talk about the top 8 in more details after sharing my general thoughts about the metagame of the second day.

Obviously Canadian Threshold was the most represented deck with 36 appearances followed by Maverick and Stone Blade with respectively 21 and 20. The next deck was UW Miracle with 16 players which seems to be the rising deck.

Then we find the tribes deck:

  • Merfolk with 10 players is “re-emerging” after about 12 months of disgrace thanks to [mtg_card]Master of the Pearl Trident[/mtg_card].
  • Elves (9 players) is a mix between a combo deck and an aggro deck. [mtg_card]Glimpse of Nature[/mtg_card] offers this deck an unbelievable draw engine to flood the board with the green tribe and whenever you do not have glimpse, the little elves are still there to beatdown. You can even imagine [mtg_card]Fauna Shaman[/mtg_card] searching for multiple [mtg_card]Vengevine[/mtg_card] as backup.
  • Goblins (6 players) is also a contender. It can deny your opponent’s mana with [mtg_card]Wasteland[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Rishadan Port[/mtg_card] while putting creatures on the battlefield thanks to [mtg_card]Goblin Lackey[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Aether Vial[/mtg_card]. And [mtg_card]Cavern of Souls[/mtg_card] gives you another way to force your creatures on the battlefield.

That being said, I still have to mention ANT (7 players) which is, in my opinion, the best combo deck and decks based on [mtg_card]Show and Tell[/mtg_card] (about 10 players). Whatever you put into play (Emrakul, [mtg_card]Sneak attack[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Omniscience[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Dream Hall[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Hive Mind[/mtg_card]) with [mtg_card]Show and Tell[/mtg_card], it will give you an instant win or almost.

We also have two “losers” which are Dredge and Reanimator. Both of them should have suffered the omnipresent graveyard hate or maybe people didn’’t think that [mtg_card]Griselbrand[/mtg_card] is the best thing to do in legacy…

Let’s have a look at some decks of the top 8 now! Timo Schünemann won the whole thing playing this list of ANT:

[d title=”ANT By Timo Schünemann” style=”embedded”]
Lands
1 Badlands
2 Bloodstained Mire
1 Island
4 Polluted Delta
2 ScaldingTarn
1 Swamp
2 UndergroundSea
1 VolcanicIsland
Spells
1 Ad Nauseam
4 Brainstorm
3 Burning Wish
4 Cabal Ritual
4 Cabal Therapy
1 Chrome Mox
4 Dark Ritual
2 Duress
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Infernal Tutor
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Lion’s Eye Diamond
4 Lotus Petal
1 Past in Flames
4 Ponder
1 Tendrils of Agony
Sideboard
4 Dread of Night
1 Duress
1 Empty the Warrens
3 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Grim Tutor
1 Ill-Gotten Gains
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Pyroclasm
1 Tendrils of Agony
[/d]

It is a standard decklist with [mtg_card]Past in Flames[/mtg_card] as a back up plan which I really enjoy. The only surprising card is [mtg_card]Cabal Therapy[/mtg_card]. Usually you want to choose the best card in your opponent’s hand and discard it with [mtg_card]Duress[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Thoughtseize[/mtg_card] but in this case, [mtg_card]Gitaxian Probe[/mtg_card] let you see if the way is clear to combo and if it isn’t you can cast [mtg_card]Cabal Therapy[/mtg_card] to waste opponent’s cards.

Elias Watsfeldt played a deck based only on [mtg_card]Show and Tell[/mtg_card] to get into play [mtg_card]Progenitus[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/mtg_card], here is his list:

[d title=”Show and Tell by Elias Watsfeldt” style=”embedded”]
Lands
2 City of Traitors
1 Flooded Strand
1 Island
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
4 Polluted Delta
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Swamp
4 Underground Sea
1 Verdant Catacombs
Creatures
4 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
4 Progenitus
Spells
4 Brainstorm
3 Chrome Mox
3 Daze
4 Duress
4 Force of Will
3 Lim-Dul’s Vault
2 Personal Tutor
4 Ponder
4 Show and Tell
4 Thoughtseize
Sideboard
3 Bitterblossom
2 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
1 Flusterstorm
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Karakas
4 Submerge
1 Vendilion Clique
[/d]

It’s all about discard spells and counters to protect yourself, mana acceleration and cheap cantrips to find [mtg_card]Show and Tell[/mtg_card]. I dislike this deck because I think it is too easy to disrupt. It relies only on one card and has no other options if something goes wrong. It looks like reanimator, both decks focus only on cheating into play some giant monsters but [mtg_card]ensnaring Bridge[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Humility[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Peacekeeper[/mtg_card] will crush your game plan.

The last deck I would like to discuss today is the UW miracle piloted by Max Sjöblom.

[d title=”UW Miracle by Max Sjöblorn” style=”embedded”]
Lands
4 FloodedStrand
1 Glacial Fortress
5 Island
1 Karakas
1 Marsh Flats
2 Plains
4 Polluted Delta
1 Scrubland
3 Tundra
1 UndergroundSea
Creatures
2 Snapcaster Mage
2 Vendilion Clique
Spells
4 Brainstorm
3 Counterbalance
2 Counterspell
2 Entreat the Angels
4 Force of Will
1 Oblivion Ring
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
2 Spell Pierce
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Terminus
1 Vedalken Shackles
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Sideboard
1 Counterbalance
1 Disenchant
1 Duress
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Moat
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Spell Pierce
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Terminus
3 Thoughtseize
1 Vendilion Clique
[/d]

This is a heavy control deck relying on [mtg_card]Sensei’s Divining Top[/mtg_card] to find the right answer at the right time and it allows you to keep [mtg_card]Terminus[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Entreat the Angels[/mtg_card] on top of your library until the moment you want them to resolve. And when you play top, [mtg_card]counterbalance[/mtg_card] is such an easy inclusion to lock games!

You also have access to [mtg_card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/mtg_card] that is for sure the real best thing to resolve in Legacy.

I would be happy to have your feedback to improve my next articles and thanks for reading.

Bye,
Azrael