Day 1 Wrap

Posted in Event Coverage

By Randy Buehler

462 players showed up to see Las Vegas and try their hand at winning at Extended Grand Prix. The decklists from this tournament are sure to be studied many times over the next two months as thousands of people try to join the winners from Vegas in Osaka for the Odyssey Block Constructed Pro Tour.

Donate was THE deck to beat coming into this tournament. Budde won the PT with it, of course, but in addition many of the payers I talked to on Thursday and Friday complained that it was simply too good. The consensus seemed to be that Budde broke the format and that the PTQ season was going to suck.

Donate was indeed the most played deck in the field, but not by nearly as much as was expected. Only 13% of the field ran "rock" and not one of them managed a 7-0 record. In fact, only one of the ten players who got to 6-0 was running Donate (Eric Taylor). Sunday will be a lot more informative than Saturday, but as of the end of Day1 it looks like the rumors of the demise of the Extended format are greatly exaggerated.

While 62 players ran Donate, a bunch of the other 400 players opted for some form of control with Finkel decks, Walamies decks, and Draw-Go decks claiming spots 2, 3, and 5 on the most-played list. Green-black decks, perhaps inspired by Raphael Gennari's success with Deeds and Mongers, claimed the other spot in the Top 5. While Islands and Force of Will were clearly very popular, the format seemed pretty diverse with a lot of different strategies seeing significant play. Day 2 will be the real test as we all watch to see what decks rise into the Top 8.

The decks that did get to 7-0 were pretty interesting. Not only were none of them Donate decks, but none of them were blue-based control decks either. Instead the top tables were full of Aggro-control, with an emphasis on aggro. Alan Comer didn't drop a game with his Miracle Grow deck - a blue-green concoction with almost as many Quirion Dryads as 10 lands. (You can read the details elsewhere in the coverage.) Kaare Anderson also won every single game he played on Day 1 (with green-white-black) and he didn't even have any byes to help him out. James Bucknell also went 7-0 wih green-white-black. Pernicious Deed and Elephant tokens were the order of the day, apparently. The other undefeated was Patrick Selk, with the allegedly dead Counter-Sliver archetype.

The best quote I heard all weekend came from Mons Johnson, of Mons Goblin Raider fame. Mons left Wizards about a year ago and has started trying his hand at tournaments. After winning his 4th round match the judge who was signing his result slip asked "Did you beat him with you." Mons deadpanned "No ... I'm unplayable." After a nice 3-0 start, Johnson stumbled toward the finish line and will not be paying tomorrow.

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