How the Pros Tested for GP Denver

Posted in Event Coverage

By Jon Chabot

I had a chance to sit down with Team Your Move Games Legend Darwin Kastle this morning to discuss his interesting choice of B/U/R control. As with quite a few of the pros, he had been busy with preparation for, and playing in, the World Championships last weekend, so Invasion Block Constructed has only been on YMG's radar for the last week.

Darwin had taken his U/B/R control deck to the Grudge match qualifier last weekend (that is the ongoing battle between Team YMG and Neutral Ground in New York) and did quite well with it. It had a hole though, an aggro Red-Green deck could smash it. Realizing this made quite a number of players shy off from U/B/R, but he was able to use his 3 byes for this Grand Prix to anticipate the metagame. He assumed that the 4th round would have handled most of the R/G decks. Since all of the people without byes would need to handle R/G. This is another indication of the value of byes and that there is more to a metagame than simply playing "the best deck".

In testing over the past week with his partners Rob Dougherty and Danny Mandel they were split. Mandel wanted to run a U/G/W Eladamari's Call deck, suggested to him by Matt Roscio, while Dougherty was enamored with the "Counter-Sliver" deck designed by the true master of the Slivers, Chris Senhouse (This was a U/W/b Dark Solution deck). Since Senhouse, Mandel and Kastle all made day 2, we can make the assumption that they were all correct and that the format is indeed very well balanced.

All of Team YMG felt that it was now very easy to support a solid 3-color strategy (Wedge or Allied) due to plethora of dual and even tri color lands available.

A little later on I wandered into the "King of Beatdown" Dave Price to get a different opinion on the format. I assumed that he would suggest a 2-color aggro strategy as the way to go, but he seemed quite content to run a balanced 3-color deck. He has been busy practicing IBC in New York with Chris Pikula and Tony Tsai, and unlike Team YMG he has been practicing this format for well over a month. Price is not qualified for PT New Orleans yet, and IBC is the way to get there, so he has really been pouring over it. In his opinion, the duals make it easy enough to support any 3 color strategy you wish, and he is proving it, making Day 2 in 5th place and totally undefeated through the swiss.

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