If I said the last few rounds of a Grand Prix are "like a crucible heated to forge a Top 8" you might say I was being dramatic. That's because I would be. But it's dangerous to understand their importance: If you haven't been hovering among the top tables by the end of Swiss rounds, you aren't in any contention for a top finish.
But those battling among the top tables really are under the heat to perform. It's why the last few rounds are so interesting to look at for decks. Updating the data through the last three rounds, I kept all of the previously noted decks that had a round with that lease three players playing it among the Top 25 tables, and added new decks that cropped up.
If it looks like there's a strong upward trend for RUG Delver, you'd be right. It's easy to see in the full chart.
|Archetype||Average Across Rounds||Round 10||Round 11||Round 12||Round 13||Round 14||Round 15|
|Ad Nauseam Tendrils||2.17||3||3||2||2||1||2|
|Sneak and Show||3.00||3||3||2||3||3||4|
|Death and Taxes||2.33||2||3||3||2||2||2|
RUG Delver had fallen to just three players among the Top 25 matches in Round 11. From there, whether by sheer numbers or a result of the metagame coalescing tighter (The all other decks category stabilized at just eight of the fifty top decks after Round 12.), it looked like William Jensen's prediction for one slipping into the Top 8 was possible.
The darling deck of Round 12, Shardless BUG, immediately crashed for Round 13 and stabilized there. Esper Stoneblade peaked in Round 14 before crashing to its lowest Top 25 table count on the day for Round 15, and Sneak and Show snuck up on everyone, peaking for the final round of Swiss.
While the differences from the all-in counts for Day 2 are still withstanding, the overall metagame among the top tables was surprisingly stable. Esper Deathblade, Death and Taxes, and Counterbalance held steady, and the ups and downs of other decks didn't upend the lay of the land: None of the decks fell off the map either.
All that remained from the Swiss round of Day 2 was the Top 8, and that's something in control of only the players themselves.