Grand Prix Taipei Day 1 Deck Breakdown

Posted in Event Coverage on July 13, 2002

By Josh Bennett

It's a madhouse. There's no other way to describe it. The release of Judgment has rocked the Standard Constructed environment like some bizarre hybrid of Jerry Lee Lewis and The King himself. Whatever deckbuilding inhibitions players may have had, they've gone out the window in favor of showing their wildest creations before the assembled competition. Below is a pseudoscientific look at the decktypes present. Be advised that this is far from exact. With so many cards being tried out, the lines between different decks have blurred.

Speculating Wurms - 23

Quiet Speculation
Well, it had to be, didn't it? The card the pundits claimed would ruin Standard. The card that some went so far as to call "Better Than Ancestral Recall". After all, the orginal didn't draw you a hand of improved Hunted Wumpuses. Drawing on the foundation of the proven English "Deep Dog" design, and sometimes adding utility cards like Opposition, Krosan Reclamation (for the mirror!) and Wonder to take to the air, these decks play the early and late game with equal proficiency.

Psychatog with Red - 20

Certainly there's no shame in going with what works. The power of Psychatog has been shown again and again, and it's going to take more than a hundred and forty three cards to change that. This newest incarnation, championed by the Singaporean squad, touches red for Fire/Ice, Flametongue Kavu, and the almighty Burning Wish. In a pinch, it can fetch Obliterate. It also does double-duty on Deep Analysis.

Mono-Black Control - 15

Surprisinly popular, these decks are patterened after those that made a splash at Pro Tour - Osaka, with the logical Standard upgrades. Ensnaring Bridge is invaluable against the many creatures out there, Phyrexian Arena and Grafted Skullcap keep the goods flowing, and drain spells and Laquatus's Champions finish off the opponent. Guiltfeeder comes out of the board in some versions.

Green-Blue Madness - 14

Whether it was fear of a tide of Speculation-hate or a perception of a more-varied metagame, these players have chosen to eschew "Tutor for three 6/6's". Similar in design to the English "Deep Dog" design, these play a pure tempo gain, catching opponents unawares.

Green-Red-White Beatdown - 13

Anurid Brushhopper
Judgment's wealth of green and white powerhouses are hard to resist. So is Flametongue Kavu. The resulting match is a beatdown deck par excellence. Anurid Brushhopper, Phantom Centaur, Sylvan Safekeeper, and the game-ending Glory appear in various quantities.

Blue-Black Psychatog - 13

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." When Kai Budde himself says that a deck should be played a certain way, who are we to argue? Also, with the format so young, there's something to be said for sticking with something that works. In all likelihood, the players running this deck didn't have a lot of time to playtest.

Trenches - 12

Fledgling Dragon
Owing a great deal to Eric Taylor's Champion Grand Prix - Milwaukee design, these are updated to abuse the power of Cunning Wish. Their tricky manabase can mean disaster against a dedicated beatdown deck, but with many potent weapons against other decktypes they seem to be holding their own. Opposition and Flametongue Kavu are common deviations. Fledgling Dragon and Urza's Rage are the alternative kills of choice.

Green-Red Beatdown - 11

Conventional wisdom has it that whenever you are unsure of the best deck to play, you can't go wrong with beatdown. Most of these run Yavimaya Barbarian, and keep their curves low. A few are playing Phantom Centaur, but Sylvan Safekeeper is nowhere to be seen.

Green-Blue-White, Control and Aggro - 10

There's an awful lot going on in these decks. Some look like straight-up beatdown decks looking for the Meddling Mage, Call, Questing Phelddagrif draw, but others dilute the mix to put in Wrath of God and a little more countermagic. None are purely creatureless, with Brushhopper always good enough for inclusion. Also featured is Nantuko Monastary.

Red-Blue-Green Madness - 9

These decks touched a little bit of Opposition and a little bit of Speculation, but always the core was Looters, Mongrels and Madness cards.

Green-Red-Black Goodstuff 7

Armadillo Cloak
This one looks like a retro Dark Fires, minus all the cards that are no longer legal. Calls, Mongers, Deeds and Terminates, as well as Mongrels, Rootwallas and Arrogant Wurms.

Squirrel-Opposition - 7

These take a page from the book of Eugene Harvey, and very little from Judgment.

Green-White Beatdown - 7

In addition to the usual monsters and Judgment surprises, this deck hauls out the old Armadillo Cloak for another run. Eladamri's Call gives some of them selection.

Blue-White Control - 7

Cunning Wish adds a little more fire to these decks, that win by decking the opponent. Millstone and Ambassador Laquatus are the weapons of choice. Spirit Cairn has already surprised more than one opponent.

Burning Bridge - 4

Mono-red empty-handed control. Very little finesse, but ample brute force.

Balancing Tings - 4

The combo deck that just won't stay dead.

Green-Black - 4

Monsters and Pernicious Deeds.

Solitary Confinement - 3

The new style lock deck. Genesis lets the upkeep be paid indefinitely.

Test of Endurance - 3

These run the full spectrum of green-white life-gain and Judgment's new victory condition.

Megrim Control - 2

The name says it all. Hand destruction and Megrim for the kill.

Mono-Red Land Destruction - 2

Stone Rain, Pillage, Demolish, Earth Rift, Wildfire.

And The Standout Singletons - 19

Plenty of interesting builds for the ambitious: Battle of Wits, Upheaval-Infestation, Dragon Arch, Rice Snack, Balthor Reanimator, Living Wish Utility, Counter-Burn and Miss America, to name but a few.

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