Posted in NEWS on April 7, 2014

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

Round 12 featured the rise of Blue Devotion decks – both mono-colored and white-splash takes – in an expected field of Black Devotion and Esper Control. With two rounds to go for the Top 8, this is what the field of players in striking distance looked like:

Archetype Count
Jund Monsters 3
Mono-Black Devotion 3
Mono-Red Aggro 3
Bant Control 2
Blue Devotion (White) 2
Esper Control 2
Mono-Blue Devotion 2
Red-Green Monsters 2
Big Naya 1
Black Devotion (Red) 1
Naya Hexproof 1

It looks a bit scattershot, right? But that's not the entire story.

Table Player Archetype Points Player Archetype
1 Holiday, Nathan Mono-Blue Devotion 36-36 Berni, Robert* Mono-Black Devotion
2 Froehlich, Eric^ Black Devotion (Red) 36-36 Bercovich, Brandon^ Mono-Black Devotion
3 Macurda, Art* Jund Monsters 33-33 Mccoy, Kevin Blue Devotion (White)
4 Ward, Daniel* Bant Control 33-33 Lytle, Tyler Mono-Red Aggro
5 McAtee, Brian Red-Green Monsters 33-33 Ulanov, Denis* Mono-Black Devotion
6 Mackl, Valentin Blue Devotion (White) 33-33 White, Chad* Red-Green Monsters
7 Arcuni, Philip Naya Hexproof 33-33 Smith, Andrew* Mono-Red Aggro
8 Wong, Gary* Mono-Blue Devotion 33-33 Neal, Chris Jund Monsters
9 Amato, Alex* Mono-Red Aggro 33-33 Butakov, Dmitriy Bant Control
10 Shenhar, Shahar Esper Control 33-33 Levin, William* Jund Monsters
11 Lee, Farand Big Naya 33-31 Oliver, Neal* Esper Control

(Note: * denotes the winner of the Round 14 match; ^ denotes the match was an intentional draw.)

Here, things make more sense: Three Black Devotion decks and one Blue Devotion deck were the closest to securing their Top 8 place. The background of decks vying for Top 8 were Monsters varieties with several more of the smaller slices we watched throughout the weekend, and thanks to the tight clustering of results the Round 15 stage was set for seven matches that potentially matter.

At the start of Round 15, three Black Devotion decks looked locked with the strong chance that Bant Control would be there to. Blue Devotion and Mono-Red Aggro, and Monsters were all one more win away.

The strength of Blue Devotion had passed, just as it did for Monsters, from earlier rounds. This truly was the weekend apparent for Black Devotion. Would it be the Top 8 as well?