GP Toronto Day Two
The black decks were able to stop the G/W menace at GP Selesnya.
G/W Tokens was just as dominant as I predicted yesterday (and earlier this week), but B/W Eldrazi in Josh Buitenhuis hands is definitely the story of the tournament. Josh had never taken the trip to play at the Grand Prix level before, which makes his 15-0 performance without any byes all the more impressive. His deck seems to be all over the place, but the recurring theme of many of his wins was summoning Ormendahl with the help of Secure the Wastes after surviving the early game with removal and making sure the coast is clear with discard spells and Thought-Knot Seer. Many G/W tokens lists, which made up 39% of the top100 field, still didn't respect the demon enough to run main deck removal for it, turning themselves into easy prey for no reason. The Eldrazi may have been banished from Modern, but Eldrazi Displacer and his colourless friends will remain relevant for Standard for another year, as could be witnessed in other decks as well:
The best deck - if the mana works out
4,5 colour CoCo did not make the cut in the end, but looked like a promising variant of BG Company, which added the Brood Monitor/Eldrazi Displacer combo to the mix, while also running Reflector Mage – gotta splash them all!
Fighting back in black
Black proved to be the best control colour, which isn't a big surprise in a metagame overrun by G/W, which are black's opposing colours. Two B/W control, Esper Dragons, and Grixis control rounded out the top8 of three G/W variants (one splashing red) and one Humans deck. With Esper Dragons winning, the black decks were able to stop the G/W menace, and it would have been two control decks in the finals if Oliver Tiu would not have failed to de-sideboard after the quarterfinal, which ended up costing him a game in the semifinal.
The format is pretty clearly defined by now, and there were no surprising cards making a splash, unless you count main deck Lambholt Pacifist / Lambholt Butchers, which were only considered to be sideboard material against Humans before. I was wondering why they were not used in the G/W main deck at the Pro Tour, as between Gideon, Nissa, and Dromoka's Command it is really easy to grow the pacifist itself allowing it to attack.
In between rounds the coverage team presented some Modern deck lists from GP side events that were implementing cards from Shadows over Innistrad into their strategy. Besides the obvious Thing in the Ice, which is a potentially powerful build around card, there are other more unimposing cards as well. Dredge hasn't been particularly successful recently despite Golgari Grave-Troll getting unbanned last year. Insolent Neonate and Prized Amalgam might finally help the archetype to be able to compete with real decks though. Discarding your dredge card first, so you can dredge instead of drawing makes the little vampire extra valuable besides attacking with menace and being a cheap creature to trigger Vengevine. Prices of Gravecrawlers have just been depressed by the last Duel Decks, and Prized Amalgam is basically free. Looking at the contents of that archetype could be worthwhile. Being all-in on a graveyard strategy can be very problematic after sideboarding, but Modern is somewhat cyclical and this could be a good deck when players are focussing on beating strategies like burn, zoo, affinity or infect, which do not need the graveyard to win.