Last Chance Qualifier Metagame

Posted in Event Coverage on March 21, 2003

By Aaron Forsythe

If the makeup of the field for the Last Chance Qualifier here in Venice is any indicator of things to come, people preparing for Regionals had better be ready for red-green beatdown.

Karplusan Forests and Elephant Guides showed up en masse, with over a fourth of the 175-man field running the old aggressive standby. While its true that the deck may have been successful on the strength of numbers alone, any archetype that can put four players in the Top 8 must be taken seriously. The deck is relatively cheap to build, quite well-tuned, and fun to play. Granted, there's not a lot of room for "personalizing" the deck—every slot is just about set in stone at this point—but if you want a good chance for success and quick rounds, this is probably the deck for you.

The number two deck behind red-green was blue-green. While some of these opted for straight madness or threshold or even Opposition strategies, the bulk of them played Quiet Speculation, a tactic recently endorsed by Jeff Cunningham, one of the deck's champions. Unsummon has also started showing up in many of these decks, mostly as a cheap way to fight Elephant Guide. Blue-green put two of its players into the Top 8.

The big disappointment of the event was Psychatog. Around 18 people played the blue-black powerhouse, including a couple which added white for Wrath of God ("Wogatog"), and by all accounts they got stomped. In order to make it in this field, the deck needs more cheap creature removal. It is possible to accomplish, so we can't write off Psychatog as a major player just yet. It was nice to see it fall for once, however.

Other decks that showed up in significant numbers included mono-black control, white-green Beasts (most of which added red to power Contested Cliffs), Mirari's Wake, mono-red Goblins, Astral Slide decks, and black-red Reanimator. These decks are all known quantities; Legions adds cards here and there, but has yet to spawn any major new deck types.

A few interesting cards of note: Reprisal is showing up in many of the Beast decks, as an answer to most of the creatures in the format (Firecat, Angel, Baloth, even 'Tog, Mongrel, and Nantuko Shade), but the version that made the Top 8 did not have any Reprisals in the main deck. The card Psychatog has branched out a little and is now appearing as part of black splash in blue-green. And some red-green players are trying one-of's like Might of Oaks to throw off opponents' math.

Below is a chart of all the deck types, followed by the Top 8 decks.

Best of luck to everyone preparing for Regionals!

Colors Deck # played # Top 8
r/g Beatdown 48 4
r/g/b Beasts 1  
r/g/b Madness Infestation 1  
u/g Madness 5  
u/g Threshold 3  
u/g Quiet Spec 16 2
u/g/w Madness 1  
u/g/b Madness 1  
u/g Opposition 4  
b Beatdown 2  
b Control 7 1
u/g/w Wake 8  
u/g/b Madness Infestation 1  
w/b Clerics 1  
b/g Beasts 1  
u/g/b Opposition 3  
u/g/b Madness with Tog 5  
w/g Beatdown 3  
w/g/r Beasts 15 1
w/g Enchantress 1  
u/b Tog, Cunning 15  
u/b/w Tog, WOGatog 2  
u/b Tog, no Wish 1  
r/b Reanimator 7  
b/g Reanimator 1  
u/b Braids 1  
u/b Infestation Upheaval 3  
r Goblins 7  
u/w Punisher 2  
u/w Windborn Opposition 1  
w/r Slide 5  
w/r/g Slide 1  
u/g Tight Sight 1  
u/g/w/r Hunting Grounds 1  

Stefano Fedriga

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Creature (3)
2 Nantuko Shade 1 Undead Gladiator
Instant (7)
4 Smother 3 Skeletal Scrying
Artifact (1)
1 Riptide Replicator
Enchantment (1)
1 Engineered Plague
Land (26)
23 Swamp 3 Cabal Coffers
59 Cards

Joao Barracha

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Angeli Alessio

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Maukus Koenigstein

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Antonio Cassells

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Instant (4)
4 Violent Eruption
Enchantment (3)
3 Elephant Guide
Other (4)
4 Karplusian Forest
60 Cards

Marvaldi Alessandro

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Instant (4)
4 Violent Eruption
Enchantment (4)
4 Elephant Guide
Other (4)
4 Karplusian Forest
61 Cards
Sideboard (15)
1 Phantom Centaur 3 Ensnaring Bridge 3 Call of the Claw 3 Naturalize 3 Compost 2 Ravenous Baloth

Luca Berruti

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Instant (3)
3 Violent Eruption
Enchantment (4)
4 Elephant Guide
Other (8)
4 Moutain 4 Karplusian Forest
60 Cards

Gianluca Bevere

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