Grand Prix Lyon
Day 1 Coverage

Posted in Event Coverage on November 4, 2012

By Wizards of the Coast

EVENT COVERAGE

Saturday, 10:38 a.m. – What Would Frank Karsten Play?

by Frank Karsten
 

Two weeks ago, I competed in Pro Tour Return to Ravnica as a member of the Pro Tour Hall of Fame. Today, I will bring you all the latest updates on the evolving Modern metagame as a member of the event coverage team. To start off, let me tell you which deck(s) I would consider playing if I would be participating in the Grand Prix, and why.

If I would just want to have fun, then I would simply play my funky Mono Red Highlander deck again, with the dream of becoming the first player to make Top 8 at a Grand Prix with a full Singleton deck. Now, I won't be doing the Singleton challenge this weekend, but I know at least one player who will be. Exciting!

If I would want to maximize my chances of winning the Grand Prix instead, then I would let go of the self-imposed Singleton restriction, but I would still go for the burn spells. Why? Well, I went 5-5 in Seattle despite running some iffy cards, while the only other burn pilot in Seattle (Egor Alashev) posted a 7-3 record. To me, that indicates that Mono Red Burn has solid matchups across the field. Turn 4 kills are common with the deck, and even turn 3 kills are possible when the opponent is dealing a lot of damage to himself with his lands. And while I was playing my matches in Seattle, I felt like Mono Red had an advantage against Jund, which will likely be the most popular deck in Lyon as well. Jund has so many bad cards against Mono Red: Thoughtseize and Dark Confidant in particular will not help them when their face is being burned. In addition, most Jund decks are shying away from Kitchen Finks these days. For reference, this was Egor Alashev's list from Pro Tour Return to Ravnica:

 

Egor Alashev, Mono Red Burn

Okay, so technically this is not a Mono Red deck since it splashes Bump in the Night , but that is one of the reddest black cards of all-time, so Mono Red still feels like an accurate nomenclature.

I would take Egor's list as my starting point, although I might make a few tweaks. First, I might want Volcanic Fallout maindeck (probably over Flames of the Blood Hand ) to deal with Infect creatures, Geist of Saint Traft and Deathrite Shaman . After all, Deathrite Shaman removing your Hellspark Elemental is quite devastating. Second, I would prefer Damping Matrix over Torpor Orb in my sideboard. Both cards deal with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker or Splinter Twin combo, but Damping Matrix doubles as an answer to the Second Breakfast deck that has just won Pro Tour Ravnica. Thirdly, I would like to add a few Dark Confidant s to the sideboard. Bob provides a repetitive source of damage and cards; this gives you game against Leyline of Sanctity and can help grind back against life-gain decks such as Soul Sisters.

There are various other decks available that, on the surface, appear to have a good matchup against Jund -- Green-Red Tron comes to mind -- but the classic turn 1 " Mountain , Lightning Bolt you" opening is just too much maniacal fun to pass up.

Okay, one more list. If I would have had sufficient time to tweak a novel deck, I would have been working on this brew in the days leading up to the Grand Prix:

 

Frank Karsten, Enduring Ideal

Form of the Dragon is the key attraction, as it seems good versus Jund. A hardcasted Form of the Dragon will typically win the game by itself, as most Jund decks don't run Maelstrom Pulse anymore (partly because it's weak in the mirror match). If you resolve an Enduring Ideal , the plan would be to go for the "lock" of Form of the Dragon with Phyrexian Unlife .

Second Breakfast and other combo decks are dead to stuff like Dovescape , Leyline of Sanctity , Runed Halo , and Stony Silence . It is also worth pointing out that Echoing Truth from combo players' sideboards won't help them a lot against this onslaught of different 1-ofs. You can beat Affinity and Infect with a turn 3 Night of Soul's Betrayal .

Will the turn 1 Utopia Sprawl into turn 2 Wargate for Lotus Bloom plan work? Will Idyllic Tutor for Dead Weight of Porphyry Nodes buy enough time? How often will Shadow of Doubt steal a game against an unsuspecting opponent? Is the deck fast enough for the Modern format? I frankly don't know as this list is completely untested, but I do believe that a deck like this might have potential. Here's to hoping that someone else will be winning with Form of the Dragon today!

Saturday, 10:44 a.m. – Trial Winning Decks

by Tobi Henke
 

In theory Grand Prix start on Saturday, and the main event does indeed. In practice, however, the hall was already packed with players on Friday, slinging their Modern decks of choice in one of the many Grand Prix Trials.

The winning decks, listed below, traditionally give a first impression of what to expect over the course of the weekend. In this case, expect a lot of Jund, followed by Affinity and Infect, and most of all: be prepared for an exuberant variety of decks! Splinter Twin , Mono-Red Burn, Soul Sisters, Merfolk, UW Aggrocontrol, Birthing Pod , and Second Breakfast—all of those decks were used to win a Trial. Will they continue to perform as well at the actual Grand Prix? We'll see.

 

Andrew Simpson, Grand Prix Trial Winner

Steffen van de Veen, Grand Prix Trial Winner

Manuel Mayer, Grand Prix Trial Winner

Andrzej Lysek, Grand Prix Trial Winner

Yannick Bouloc, Grand Prix Trial Winner

Stefan Steiner, Grand Prix Trial Winner

Marc Levy, Grand Prix Trial Winner

Marijn Lybaert, Grand Prix Trial Winner

Martino Valerio, Grand Prix Trial Winner

Louis Deltour, Grand Prix Trial Winner

Gabriel Camporgue, Grand Prix Trial Winner

Yann Robin, Grand Prix Trial Winner