TWO CITIES, ONE PUZZLE

Posted in GRAND PRIX ORLANDO 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on October 4, 2014

By Rich Hagon

Rich Hagon combines a deep knowledge of the players of the Pro Tour with a passionate love of the game. He's a regular commentator for Pro Tour and Grand Prix live video coverage, and is the official Pro Tour Statistician. He has been covering Magic events since 2006.

Playing Magic for the weekend isn't a unique idea. Over two thousand players thought Orlando was the place to come to do exactly that, and with Khans of Tarkir fresh out of its proverbial box, there were a lot of good reasons to buckle up for the fairground ride in this marquee destination. However, not everyone can get themselves to Florida. The world is a big place, after all, and Magic players would hail from all four corners of the Earth, if the Earth had corners for them to come from. That's the long way of saying that Grand Prix Shanghai is also happening this weekend, and they've been setting records from the get-go, with close to 1200 players making it the largest Grand Prix ever held in China.

Of course, much of the focus has been on the Sealed Deck archetypes hovering near the top of the standings, and it's readily apparent from the GP Trial winning decklists compiled by our colleague Chapman Sim that two clans took center stage. The Trials were dominated well and truly by the Raid and Outlast mechanics, with Black and White featuring in no fewer than eleven of the fifteen winning lists. Six of those were Mardu decks with red, while five went green for Abzan. For the rest, there were single victories notched for the Sultai and Jeskai, an Abzan deck that touched blue, and a single no-fear all the colors of the world deck.

By the end of the day, three former Player of the Year winners were ready to come back on Sunday and do it all again – double Player of the Year Yuuya Watanabe (7-2), 2006 Player of the Year Shouta Yasooka (7-2), and 2008 winner Shuhei Nakamura (8-1).

While the statistical dominance of the Abzan and Mardu was fairly clear cut in Shanghai, we've seen relatively little on one of our hot topics here in Orlando this weekend – Morph. The signature mechanic that has its fingerprints all over Khans Limited is sure to be pivotal in deciding the destination of not one, but two, trophies this weekend. As we get closer towards crowning a champion tomorrow night, we'll be drilling deep into the face-down puzzle. And, of course, we'll be combing through the coverage of Grand Prix Shanghai again tomorrow, looking for more clues as this young format starts to come into focus.

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