It's the last Grand Prix of the season and it still feels like we've only scratched the surface of what's possible in Extended. The Day 2 field here at Hiroshima confirms that, with over twenty decktypes putting up at least a 6-2 record. Psychatog and Blue-Green Madness are out in force, and surprisingly, so is mono-red. Their infighting could pave the way for a truly crazy Top 8. Here's a rundown of what's getting tossed around.
Two in the Top 4 at New Orleans and a ringing endorsement from Eugene Harvey, arguably the strongest force in American Magic right now? Those are some good reasons to be playing with black and blue spells this weekend. Following the metagame, these designs are decked out with Smothers to give them an edge over the field. In fact, they're not far from the Psychatog deck World Champion Carlos Romao used last year. Trust Katsuhiro Mori to break from the mold. His three-tone version is a nod to Mike Pustilnik, with Burning Wishes to have access to still more creature hate.
Mono-Red Beats – 11
Mostly Goblin Sligh designs, these decks aim for the quick kill with unmatched ferocity. The usual assortment of creatures and spells are there, with Reckless Charge and Reckless Abandon keeping things dangerous. Most versions now play Tangle Wire and Sparksmith also, allowing for a little more finesse. There are a few standouts that lean more towards Red Deck Wins 2K2 styles, but the emphasis this weekend is firmly on Goblin Piledriver.
For all the hype it had, blue-green madness isn't really putting forth expected numbers. That might be a product of its successfulness, with more players metagaming to beat it. If that's the case, then seeing eight in second day is a tribute to the deck's power and resiliency. It's ultra-aggressive nature combined with Circular Logic and Daze can bowl opponents over before they bring their strategy online.
Black-Green Contamination – 4
Team Fireball is behind this strange concoction. It's certainly not Rock, nor Oath, nor Reanimator, but has elements of each. One of the main strategies is setting up a Nether Spirit – Contamination lock, but it can Oath up a Phantom Nishoba, or Entomb and Reanimate it. To help it get there it boasts the standard black disruptive package, Pernicious Deeds, and Call of the Herd.
Brainchild of Zvi Mowshowitz, this is the deck that simply will not go away. Legend has it that only Mowshowitz can handle the computations necessary to steer it to victory, but that seems farfetched. His victory at Grand Prix – New Orleans has rekindled interest as well as all but exterminating other Oath decks.
Blue-Green Tradewind-Opposition – 3
Abusing Gilded Drake has never been so much fun! The combination of River Boa, Call of the Herd and Wall of Blossoms gives this deck lots of game against mono-red. It may suffer from inappropriate draws against other decks, though.
Reanimator – 2
Resurrected by Morgan Douglass at Grand Prix – New Orleans, Tinker is as explosive as ever. If players forgot their artifact removal, expect good things.
Enchantress – 2
You may have forgotten this deck existed. Enchantress's Presence from Onslaught seems to have given it new life.
Stompy – 2
Another deck that's well below the radar. Green's oversized men give red decks fits, and they get all the benefits of Tangle Wire, Rishadan Port and Cursed Scroll. Naturalize out of the board can't hurt, either.
Oath of Beasts – 2
From the minds of Ben Rubin and Brian Kibler comes this deck that fell just short at New Orleans. Another good choice against a field of creatures.
The Dutch monstrosity refuses to go away. Few are brave enough to risk its inconsistent draws, but it is a deck that rewards careful play with spectacular wins.
The Rest – 10
The singles are pretty interesting in their own right. There are some familiar faces like Aluren, Cogniv-Oath, and Draco-Explosion. There are a few true innovations, such as the green-red deck boasting the best offensive monsters from green and red to outclass unsuspecting red players, and the completely crazy four-color control deck.