GP Minneapolis Day 1 Highlights

Posted in Event Coverage on August 6, 2017

By Hallie Santo

It's been two years since a Mono-Red Aggro deck won a Pro Tour. Two summers ago, Joel Larsson displayed his prowess with Monastery Swiftspear, Abbot of Keral Keep, and Stoke the Flames, but once fall came and cards rotated in and out of Standard, red decks could no longer assemble the right combination of fast, powerful creatures and efficient burn spells. Then, Hour of Devastation came along, and with it came Earthshaker Khenra and Ramunap Ruins – cards that gave Mono-Red the reach it needed to regain the title of Best Deck in the Format. Few could keep up with it at this past weekend's Pro Tour, and it seemed Ramunap Red might go on a prolonged hot streak.

While some chose to stick by Ramunap Red at Grand Prix Minneapolis this weekend, the deck had a huge target on its back, and most of our 1,125 Standard players came gunning for it. Basic Mountains littered the top tables during the early rounds of Day 1, but by Round 7, there were few in sight. Ramunap Red's run may come to an end this weekend, but we'll have to wait and see which deck will emerge as the best.

A Diverse Field

Surveying the diverse field at GP Minneapolis today, it's hard to believe that just last weekend, five copies of a single deck made Top 8 at the Pro Tour. B/G Constrictor and Mono-Black Zombies challenged Mono-Red's dominance; in response, blue mages sleeved up their Torrential Gearhulks and counterspells. Our featured decks of the day included Mardu Planeswalkers, Sultai Delirium, G/W Ramp, and a blue-white control deck featuring Approach of the Second Sun. In Round 3, we saw Chris Botehlo harness the powers of Eldrazi and vampires ("Eldrazi are just vampires from outer space," he quipped); in Round 8, Jonathan Job's Mono-White Eldrazi deck stymied Bryan Carey's energy-producers with Solemnity. With just a few weeks to go before Standard shifts again, the possibilities in this format seem endless.

Single-Card Spotlight: Authority of the Consuls

No single card could sum up the experience of playing in such a diverse metagame, but one gives us the best idea of what players are prioritizing this weekend. Authority of the Consuls has seen little Constructed play since Kaladesh entered Standard, but we've seen the card crop up in various midrange and control builds over the course of the weekend. As Brian David-Marshall tweeted last week, Authority's presence in Standard main decks shows just how far some midrange and control decks will go to keep pace with their more aggressive competitors.

"Magic is more educational than school."

Everyone's favorite pint-sized Planeswalker, Dana Fischer, was on the scene this weekend – signing playmats, cosplaying as Nissa Revane, and playing her heart out in the main event. The seven-year-old joined Rich Hagon in the booth during Round 1 and told viewers that she's learned more playing Magic than she has in the first grade. You're too cool for school, Dana.

Dana Fischer

Temur Energy was Dana's weapon of choice this weekend. She loves drawing cards with Rogue Refiner and said she likes her deck's chances in the current red-heavy meta. ("I always beat my dad when he plays Mono-Red against me!" she said.) Dana ended the day with a 3-6 record, but she'll continue to chase her goal of becoming the youngest player to make Day 2 of a Grand Prix.

DeTora's Debut

Melissa DeTora and Marshall Sutcliffe

Magic Play Designer Melissa DeTora has been known to lend her writing talents to our text coverage team, and today, she joined Marshall Sutcliffe in the booth for the first time to commentate some matches and express her love for Bear Cub. Catch her and Maria Bartholdi tomorrow on as they take us through Day 2!

The Undefeated

Of course, our top-finishing players will also be joining us for Day 2 tomorrow, and leading the pack are a trio of players bent on beating Ramunap Red. Eldrazi aficionado Jonathan Job claims to be the progenitor of the red deck, having finished sixth with a midrange version at SCG Cincinnati two weeks ago, and he hopes to bring his new Mono-White creation will be successful tomorrow. Joining him are Mono-Black Zombies player Steve Locke and Daniel Weiser, piloting B/G Constrictor. The midrange decks seem to have found the answers to stop Ramunap Red, but which will triumph above the rest in this shifting metagame? Join us tomorrow morning at to find out!

Steve Locke's Mono-Black Zombies – GP Minneapolis, 9-0

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Daniel Weiser's B/G Constrictor – GP Minneapolis, 9-0

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Jonathan Job's Mono-White Eldrazi – GP Minneapolis, 9-0

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