Day 1 Highlights of Grand Prix Hartford 2018

Posted in Event Coverage on April 14, 2018

By Corbin Hosler

1,800 players traveled to Hartford to test their mettle at Modern. Magic's most diverse format – there were 65 unique archetypes we spotted on Saturday morning – always brings a crowd, and the format filled the convention center in Connecticut.

Several hundred of those competitors will be back on Sunday, with seven rounds left to play to determine the Top 8. As always, Modern continued to impress – here’s what stood out to us from Day 1.

Diversity Rules the Metagame

Did I mention that when perusing decklists submitted online Friday night we discovered 65 distinct archetypes?

That tells the story of Modern – and it’s why players love the format. From hexproof threats to armies of Elves or Merfolk to otherworldly Eldrazi to intricate combo decks, Modern has it all. We’ll have the full Day 2 metagame breakdown tomorrow, but here’s what the top tables looked like. There were 13 players who finished the day undefeated, with eight archetypes that break down as follows:

  • 3 Bogles
  • 2 Humans
  • 2 Affinity
  • 2 Mardu Pyromancer
  • 1 Hollow One
  • 1 Burn
  • 1 Jund
  • 1 Red-Green Tron

With plenty more action to come on Sunday as we head toward the Top 8, we’ll see if any of the unexpected decks floating around the room – Eldrazi Moon, Merfolk, Ponza, Amulet of Vigor and a spicy Eldritch Evolution brew among them – can topple the players at the top and make a surprise appearance in the Top 8.

The Rise of Hollow One

Hollow One began as a quirky fringe deck back when it was printed in Hour of Devastation. It presented players with an intriguing puzzle: just how much could they discount the card’s casting cost? And while it started out slowly, with players toying around with Vengevine and so on, the deck has turned into a real monster, as cards like Goblin Lore have been adopted to push the archetype over the top.

Ken Yukuhiro made the Top 8 of Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan with the deck, and it has only improved since as players learn to navigate the tricky deck capable of truly absurd starts, as demonstrated by Mike Sigrist on Saturday afternoon.

The newest innovating is splashing white for Lingering Souls, a card that absolutely turns around many of the deck’s close matchups against decks like Humans and other decks that go wide with creatures, while adding yet another card that plays well out of the graveyard and helps to grind out the lategame.

With many pros considering it the best deck in the current Modern metagame, Hollow One has certainly established itself as the deck to beat heading into the Sunday stretch run.

Lucky 13 Lead the Way

With a capped event full of nearly 2,000 players, there were 13 players who finished Saturday undefeated and will lead the way into Sunday. Congrats to Oliver Tiu, Pat Cox, Lirek Kulik, Chas Hinkle, Kellen Pastore, Gene Friedman, Thomas Smiley, Michael Rapp, Lucas Cruz, Abraham Stein, Frank Skarren, Johnathan Sharp and Erik Smith!

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