Posted in Event Coverage on March 15, 2002

By Randy Buehler

There's still a lot of Magic left to be played as I write this between rounds 8 and 9, but it looks like the Pro Tour is boiling down to just two main deck types: Mono-Black and Blue-Green. There's several other decks that could still surprise, including Blue-Black Psychatog and the Magic Colony's Blue-Red-splash-black Compulsion deck, but the two major forces warring for dominance of the Odyssey-block Constructed metagame are set.

Verdant Succession
So what happens when they face each other? Having watched a few matches and talked to a lot of players about the matchup over the past few days, it looks like Mono-Black is the natural favorite over Blue-Green. Blue-Green needs a good sideboard plan if it wants to compete, but figuring out exactly what the right technology is has been the subject of much debate.

Team Godzilla claims Upheaval is the way to go, but in the same breath they lament the loss of their best sideboard constructer – Scott Johns – for this Pro Tour. He skipped this Tour because his wife is having a baby. Unfortunately for Team Godzilla, I think this Pro Tour will be won or lost based on the sideboarding quality. They think Upheaval is enough to put them over the top against Black, but they don't have good plan for the mirror match.

When you're playing one of the two decks defining a field, you've got to have a good plan against the other one and you've got to have a good plan for the mirror match. Jens Thoren is 8-0 as I write this, but he's also disappointed in his mirror match sideboard technology. Many of the mono-black decks are running Braids for the mirror, but he didn't think of that – he just plain missed it. He does have a full complement of Rancid Earths and Mind Sludges, though. He thinks those are crucial to the mirror, and they've been enough so far.

Anurid Scavenger
The best plan I've heard so far comes from Singapore. Albertus Law – he of the Top 8 at PT Barcelona – is running blue-green with Verdant Succession and Anurid Scavenger in the sideboard. Against mono-black the Succession means that your creatures will replace themselves whenever mono-black kills them. The Scavenger then puts them back into your library, effectively giving you infinite creatures!

When the dust settles at the end of day 2, the players left standing are going to be those who have good sideboards. No one I've talked to sounds particularly confident at this point so it'll be interesting to see who's right and who's wrong. Meanwhile $200,000 hangs in balance, up for grabs to whoever did their playtesting homework correctly.

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