A Look at the Field

Posted in Event Coverage on January 24, 2003

By Josh Bennett

The Day 1 Field of a Grand Prix is always a mixed bag. The good and the bad are out in varying proportions, and until eight rounds of swiss can determine the successful, it's pretty much anything goes. Today is no exception. Netdecks and homegrown concoctions appear with equal frequency.

As expected, there is a lot of red out there, as well as strong showings of blue-green madness and Psychatog. Oath is nowhere to be seen, supplanted almost entirely by Zvi Mowshowitz's TurboLand. Rock is around as always, mutating to the appropriate subset of cards for the current metagame. As for surprises, there are groups of players rallying behind such decks as Suicide Black, Enchantress, and strangely, Mono-Black Control.

Three decks stand out from the crowd, nonstandard enough to be unexpected, but not so rogue as to be played by only a handful. In no particular order, they are:


Earning new popularity thanks to Morgan Douglass's Top 8 performance at New Orleans is one of the format's most explosive decks: Mono-blue Tinker. Between fast starts, silver bullets for many decks, and the Big Ups to take care of mid-range control, it's no wonder that players should be rediscovering their love of this deck.

Just yesterday at the Trial I watched a player get locked under Mishra's Helix on his third turn, while his opponent had enough mana left over to start working his Planar Portal. That sort of unfairness doesn't let itself go on very long. The lack of sideboard hate out there today could give Tinker a big edge. Sligh decks that left their Rack and Ruins at home will find themselves ill equipped to handle a Crumbling Sanctuary.

The Descendents of Fiends

Parallax Wave
Seen lurking around PTQ's since its breakthrough performance at Reims, Fiends is another of those decks that had been written off as firmly Tier 2. In defiance of that, it's shown up here this weekend. There are a bunch of de facto Fiends decks being played, but most have tightened up their designs to sleek two-tone weenie decks. The heart and soul of the deck is still in place, though. The short rebel chain and aggressive two drops are all there, as well as the mighty Parallax Wave, whose strength in such a creature-heavy environment is not to be ignored. The old fragility is there too, however. Pernicious Deed still sweeps the board with ease, and Meddling Mage is often the only line of defense. Good thing Exalted Angel, now a standard feature, "costs" six.

Blue-Green Tradewind-Opposition

Endorsed by Worlds Top 8 Competitor Ken Krouner, this blue-green deck has been mostly ignored in favor of its ultra-aggressive counterpart. Against an aggressive field, though, its River Boas, Walls of Blossoms and Calls of the Herd can prove bigger than the expected, buying time to set up the lock. Against slower decks, though, it seems like it needs to ramp to a quick Opposition to stand a chance, but there might be more going on here than meets the eye.

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