Posted in GRAND PRIX NEW JERSEY 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on November 16, 2014

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

446 players started the day on the path to a potential Top 8 appearance at Grand Prix New Jersey. When we looked in on what players were playing, the potential was wide open: Dozens of archetypes, with a clustering of familiar favorites near the top, made it appear that anything could be possible for the Top 8.

After finishing four more rounds the clusters of top decks has shifted. This is how everyone with at least 33 points looked:

33+ Points Round 14 Count
Jeskai Stoneblade 8
Blue-Red Delver 7
Jeskai Miracles 6
Death and Taxes 4
Elves 3
Jeskai Delver 3
Sneak and Show 3
Esper Deathblade 2
Lands 2
Reanimator 2
Sultai Delver 2
Ad Nauseam Tendrils 1
Affinity 1
Blue-Red Landstill 1
Dredge 1
Grixis Tempo 1
Infect 1
Jund 1
Omni-Tell 1

At a glace it appeared that little changed: Jeskai Stoneblade hopped up a slot, as did Jeskai Miracles, with Blue-Red Delver fading slightly. The percentages obviously agree:

Archetype Percent Count
Jeskai Stoneblade 16% 8
Blue-Red Delver 14% 7
Jeskai Miracles 12% 6
Death and Taxes 8% 4
Elves 6% 3
Jeskai Delver 6% 3
Sneak and Show 6% 3
Other 33% 17

So out Top 8 should reflect decks like Elves, Death and Taxes, and Sneak and Show over Ad Nauseam Tendrils, MUD, and Infect, right? Not so fast:

Name Points Archetype
Bundens, Justin 37 Lands
Santomassino, Joseph 36 MUD
Huang, Bob 36 Jeskai Delver
Braun-Duin, Brian S 36 Jeskai Stoneblade
Ross, Tom 36 Infect
Schonegger, Philipp 36 Jeskai Miracles
Hess, Nick 36 Jeskai Miracles
Walter, Royce 36 Ad Nauseam Tendrils
Roohi, Arya 34 Jund
Nelson, Brad J 34 Jeskai Stoneblade
Jayne, Brett 34 Blue-Red Delver
Braverman, Phillip 34 Jeskai Miracles
Coleman, Jason 34 Blue-Red Delver
Phan, Lam N 33 Blue-Red Landstill
Tibbetts, Jeremy 33 Jeskai Stoneblade
Anderson, Todd 33 Jeskai Stoneblade
Jordan, Daniel 33 Blue-Red Delver
Naidu, Akash 33 Omni-Tell
Allen, Crispin 33 Lands
Ulanov, Denis 33 Blue-Red Delver
Pogue, James 33 Jeskai Delver
Mcduffie, Korey 33 Jeskai Stoneblade
Merriam, Ross 33 Elves
DeiDolori, Michael 33 Blue-Red Delver
Racan, Jeffrey 33 Sneak and Show
Anghelescu, Jonathan 33 Sneak and Show
Nilsen, Thomas 33 Reanimator
Jensen, William 33 Sneak and Show
Signorini, Daniel 33 Sultai Delver
Flyum, Geir Magne 33 Reanimator
Olson, Kyle 33 Jeskai Miracles
Enz, Colin 33 Death and Taxes
Lanthier, Dan 33 Death and Taxes
Duffy, Jason 33 Elves
Vlcek, Tomas 33 Jeskai Miracles
Duke, Reid 33 Jeskai Miracles
Goss, Jon 33 Esper Deathblade
Logan, Colin 33 Death and Taxes
Milan, Kerry 33 Elves
Willmot, Garrett 33 Death and Taxes
Chitturi, Ashok 33 Affinity
Kassis, Eli 33 Grixis Tempo
Yu, Jarvis 33 Jeskai Stoneblade
Hsu, Jeremy 33 Esper Deathblade
Saracino, Jacob 33 Blue-Red Delver
Cantin, Maxime 33 Dredge
Breau, Josh 33 Jeskai Stoneblade
Sukenik, Jonathan 33 Jeskai Delver
Vidugiris, Gaudenis 33 Blue-Red Delver
Cohen, Noah 33 Sultai Delver
Chung, Mathew 33 Jeskai Stoneblade

It's actually Lands that was sitting in the top slot going into Round 14, with Infect, MUD, and Ad Nauseam Tendrils all sitting just behind on points. Of course, Jeskai in its Stoneblade, Miracles, and Delver configurations covered the rest of the best positions as decks like Elves and Sneak and Show ranked closer to the bottom. (The players are sorted by tiebreakers going into the round.)

But the shifts aren't finished: Even though players at the top, like Tom Ross, went on to win Round 14 the ability to lose still isn't available and even the possibility of drawing into the Top 8 is unclear. What is certain is that the Top 8 will be decided by victories in the ultimate round.