Coverage of Grand Prix Bilbao Day 1

Posted in Event Coverage on January 19, 2013

By Wizards of the Coast


Saturday, 10:45 a.m. – Grand Prix Trials Winning Deck Lists

by Tobi Henke

As is tradition, on Friday a number of Grand Prix Trials took place, offering players the very last chance to earn three byes for the weekend's main event—as well as a convenient opportunity to test their deck under actual tournament conditions. The following lists proved themselves; their pilots succesfully navigated five rounds of single elimination, now entering the Grand Prix with three wins already under their belt. What's more, they have the reassurance of having picked a real winner.

So what decks were winning at the Trials? Well, things started with a couple of wins by Affinity (or "Robots") and the now infamous Aura deck, or at least these were the events that finished first. Later on they were joined by three Birthing Pod decks, two of the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker/Restoration Angel variety, one with Melira, Sylvok Outcast. But in the end, aggressive creature decks did indeed rule the day. Two Zoo decks won, both with Deathrite Shaman/Noble Hierarch-accelerated Geist of Saint Traft and a lot of late-game staying power in Bloodbraid Elf and Lingering Souls, and yet more Slippery Bogles were enchanted with Ethereal Armors and Daybreak Coronets. Rounding out this selection of winners was one interesting Splinter Twin deck with Tarmogoyf beatdown as back-up as well as a blue-red Delver of Secrets aggrocontrol deck.

Emil Andersen

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Staffan Enberg

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Augustín Martín Espada

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Jason Noguez

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Adrian Rodriguez Badenai

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Victor Rubio

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Ignacio Herrero

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Alfonso Mendez Cristobal

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Mikael Rabie

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Michael Parker

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Marc Tobiasch

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Saturday, 1:44 p.m. – Talking with Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

by Tobi Henke

What's the most exciting card in the new set? If you ask Platinum pro and Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, the first thing on his mind is Obzedat, Ghost Council. "It's very powerful. I don't know yet whether it will actually be good, whether there'll be a deck for it, but it definitely has potential.

"Also, Duskmantle Seer," said Paulo. "If you look at it expecting a new Dark Confidant, you might be disappointed. It's not, it's a very different card, but a great finisher. Of course, then there's Boros Charm and Aurelia's Fury and a lot more cool stuff, too.

"As for decks, well, everyone is going to be trying to build Boros Aggro or Gruul, the obvious decks, but there's probably a lot more than this. So many cards, so much potential, there's bound to be something unexpected.

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

"It's tough to say anything about Gatecrash Limited yet, because we haven't seen enough of the commons, and commons are what makes a Limited format." Venturing a guess, Paulo said, "It seems the bloodrush mechanic will be very important, and from the cards I've seen so far, I'd say Gruul is the strongest." More generally speaking, he added: "I believe most draft decks with Gatecrash will be two-color aggressive decks. Battalion and bloodrush demand it, and while evolve can go into the long game, it also seems more profitable early on."

Saturday, 2:30 p.m. – Grand Designs

by Tim Willoughby

At the start of round two, I sat down to go through nearly a thousand deck-lists, looking to get a feel for the latest technology for Modern here in Bilbao Spain. I'd already spoken to the traders, and heard hushed whispering of sideboard plans ranging from the aura-busting Back to Nature to Rain of Gore; a very effective option for burn decks to ensure that their plan would be harder to fight. Meanwhile, the queue to get cards signed by Steve Argyle was very long indeed. He did the art for Deathrite Shaman, Liliana of the Veil, and even the promo version of Bloodbraid Elf. Would this be another weekend for Jund?

From the first 250 decklists, it seemed clear that the power of Jund is one that has attracted many, but that there was still room for brewing. Talking to Tiago Chan, who had won a Grand Prix trial to be able to play this last GP before heading back to China from his native Portugal, he was keen to point out the number of different lines of attack in the format, making sideboard planning difficult. While Jund comes out on top, it doesn't look like Tiago was off the mark in his assessment.

Spirit Jund 10%
Jund 9%
Burn (mono red with Bump in the Night) 8%
UWR Restoration Angel control 8%
Robots (Affinity in disguise) 6%
Splinter Twin 5%
Scapeshift 5%
Kiki-Jiki Pod 4%
Red/green Urzatron 4%
Infect 4%
Past in Flames storm combo 4%
UW Midrange 4%
Zoo 3%
Boom/Bust Zoo 3%

Of the decks that clocked in at 2% or less we had Auras, the deck of a moment or two ago it would seem, Melira Pod (the second best Birthing Pod deck?), Black/White Tokens, and various Gifts Ungiven decks amongst others.

Of anything, as a bit of a deck brewer, it was some of these outlier decks that brought the most joy to me. Not necessarily the winningest of lists overall perhaps, but these were the ones that provided me with the most inspiration to start brewing myself. I don't want to give away who is playing what at this point, as it's no fun to be playing with a nice little brew, only for your opponent to know the list because they like reading the latest scoop from Tim Willoughby, but here are some anonymous (and awesome) lists that caught my eye.