The concept of "going rogue" has a long and storied history in Magic's history. From the early days when a "Sligh" deck (these days known as Red Deck Wins) shook up an unprepared format, players have dreamed of arriving with an unknown deck and using it to tear unopposed through those they encounter.
Of course, it's extremely difficult — and sometimes impossible — to find a deck no one knows about. Magic players are smart, and formats are explored fairly quickly in 2015. Still, in a format as large and diverse as Modern, there's always a chance to catch others unprepared. It's happened before; Justin Cohen taking Amulet Bloom to the finals of Pro Tour Fate Reforged is the most recent example of a former fringe deck breaking into the top tier, and today it's one of the format's most-feared decks.
Plenty of players showed up to Grand Prix Charlotte hoping to be the next in that line, and heading into Day 2 several may have a chance to do just that after advancing to the final day of competition with a rogue brew of their own.
While it undoubtedly feels awesome to may Day 2 of the Grand Prix wit a unique deck, it does beg the question: With so many established decks in the format, why venture into the unknown?
Adrian Throop – Emeria, the Sky Ruin Control
"They say you should play a deck you know, and I know this deck very well; I've been playing it forever. There are a lot of fair decks in Modern, and I feel like I can beat all the fair decks with this."
Zac Elsik – Lantern Mill
"For me one of the best part of Magic is building your own deck. I love homebrews. Tier decks are great, and they're great for understanding Magic. I feel like I have a good understanding of the tier decks, and most of the decks win with creatures. Ensnaring Bridge stops creatures, and Pithing Needle takes care of most of the rest. I've worked a lot on this deck and I felt comfortable playing it against what I expected the metagame to look like."
Darien Elderfield – Ad Nauseam combo
"Basically, I just think this deck is really good. My deck is really good against the Splinter Twin decks today, and I've added Spoils of the Vault, which is really good at helping me find the card I need to go off. It's a really good deck, and mostly I just like it."
All three deckbuilders went off the beaten path when choosing their deck, and all three were rewarded for it. Midway through Day 2, they're all in contention for a high finish and maybe even a Top 8 berth.