The 3-Bye Metagame

Posted in Event Coverage on August 27, 2016

By Craig Jones

In the early rounds of a Grand Prix it’s hard to get a full picture of how the metagame is going to shape up. As much as I love you all, going through 1,000+ decklists to get a full metagame breakdown is not something I can practically do. (Although we will try to bring you some metagame analysis once the field winnows down to a more manageable number.)

What we can do is look at what the established pros are playing and see if that gives us any clues on the development of the format.

There were eighteen players with three byes in attendance at GP Lille. There would have likely been more, but with the World Championships taking place in Seattle next week, it made more sense for the European pros qualified for it to compete in GP Indianapolis this weekend instead.

Here’s a full list of the top players that came to Lille this weekend:

Michael Bonde
Marco Cammilluzzi
Pierre Dagen
Martin Dang
Jérémy Dezani
Patrick Dickmann
Javier Dominguez
Immanuel Gerschenson
Thomas Hendriks
Martin Jůza
Grzegorz Kowalski
Raphaël Lévy
Simon Nielsen
Mattia Rizzi
Antoine Ruel
Olivier Ruel
Petr Sochůrek
Guillaume Wafo-Tapa

With the Grand Prix being held in France it was no surprise the tournament was graced by a galaxy of French stars, old and new. In that list is a former Player of the Year (Dezani) and a quartet of French Hall of Famers (Lévy, Wafo-Tapa and the Ruel brothers). While Olivier no longer plays as regularly, he still managed to come within one match of winning the whole thing last year here in Lille when the format was Legacy. This year Antoine came along as well. He told me this was the first Grand Prix he’d played in five years.

So what did the pros opt for in an incredibly varied Modern metagame?

Jund – 6
Death’s Shadow Zoo – 4
Affinity – 1
Merfolk – 1
Jeskai Control – 1
4-Color Control – 1
Grixis Delver – 1
Dredge – 1
Bant Eldrazi – 1
Esper Control – 1

There aren’t many surprises here. A lot of the top pros opted for the current top dog in the field, Jund, and the rest largely went with known quantities. A couple of the Jund decks did have some interesting choices for the main deck. Maybe we’ll get a chance to go over that in more detail later.

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