The Most Popular Deck Choice among the Three-Bye Players

Posted in GRAND PRIX BRUSSELS 2015 on November 14, 2015

By Frank Karsten

With almost 2,000 players in the room, there's no chance we could tell you about the whole of the Day 1 metagame. Something we can tell you about, however, is the deck choices of the select group of 19 players with three byes:

  • Blohon, Lukas
  • Cammilluzzi, Marco
  • Carvalho, Marcio
  • Dagen, Pierre
  • Dang, Martin
  • Dolar, Robin
  • Floch, Ivan
  • Gerschenson, Immanuel
  • Janik, Maciej
  • Jůza, Martin
  • Lantto, Magnus
  • Larsson, Joel
  • Levy, Raphael
  • Mackl, Valentin
  • Snepvangers, Bram
  • Stráský, Ondřej
  • Teruya, Kakumae
  • Tsumura, Kenji
  • Zatlkaj, Matej

Although we won't disclose what each individual player is battling with so as to not spoil their chances, we will give you an overall metagame breakdown. Here's what this group of Platinum pros, Gold pros, and Hall of Famers are playing:

  • Esper Dragons: 5
  • Abzan: 4
  • Esper Control: 3
  • Esper Tokens: 2
  • Four-Color Rally the Ancestors: 2
  • Eldrazi Ramp: 1
  • G/W Megamorph: 1
  • Dark Green Jeskai: 1

The popularity of Abzan is in line with expectations, but only one of the three-bye players registered Dark Jeskai. Remarkably, that list splashed for Woodland Wanderer.

But more surprisingly, Esper Dragons turned out to be the most popular deck! After an abysmal showing at the Pro Tour, the deck had fallen out of favor, so what's going on here?

"The more people play Abzan, the better Esper Dragons gets," one of the deck's pilots told me. "Foul-Tongue Invocation is great against Abzan especially when some of them are cutting Hangarback Walker for Heir of the Wilds. And no one respects the deck right now; it’s super under the radar." Another pilot mentioned that Dark Jeskai was a bit on the decline because it wasn't favored against Abzan, Esper Tokens, and Eldrazi Ramp. And when you don't have to worry so much about Crackling Doom, Dragonlord Ojutai becomes much better.

More on Sunday, when we have a detailed breakdown of all Day 2 decks for you!