At a weekend-long tournament with more than a thousand players, there are always more stories bigger than just the final winner. Below are the Top Moments from the Grand Prix Providence weekend.
5. Wescoe Goes His own way for a Perfect Saturday
At this point in the Standard season, the metagame is still evolving, but for the most part decks are known quantities, even if it's still up in the air which deck is best.
Several players this weekend tossed that notion out the window. One was Craig Wescoe, the Pro Tour Dragon's Maze champion who came armed with White-Black Aggro when most of the rest of the field went with established decks. The approach paid off for Wescoe, who finished Day 1 without a loss and ultimately placed 28th.
So much hassle goes on in the community about changing your deck style to match the meta, but Craig Wescoe has built a stellar resume consistently bucking that tradition.
This week he showed once again that you can carve your own path and succeed.
4. Four-Color Aggro Guy
Speaking of going your own way, Julian Wildes took that to the extreme. He confounded opponents all weekend with his Four-Color Aggro deck, putting together a machine that was able to curve Attune WIth Aether into Voltaic Brawler into Spell Queller into Tamiyo, Field Researcher.
It was an innovative brew and one that Wildes said was the most fun he's had playing Magic recently. After all, when you can play all the best creatures in the format alongside a premier planeswalker in Tamiyo, what isn't to love? Wildes took his homebrew all the way to 10th place in Providence, narrowly missing a spot in the Top 8.
3. Back To Basics — Death of Combo and the Return Two-Color
Despite the previous number on this list, the overall theme of this weekend was getting away from the extravagant and the cute, and getting back to understanded consistency.
Just last week Pro Tour Kaladesh was overrun with combo! Aetherworks Marvel and Metalwork Colossus ran rampant across Hawaii and scared everyone in sight with their grey artifact-y ways. And even just a few days ago, decks splashing for third and fourth color were all the rage—Four-Color Aggro, Mardu Vehicles, even Christian Calcano and Alex Hayne's crazy Four-Color Control deck.
This Day 2, out of 350 players had one combo deck—one! And the Top 8 had all two-color decks—no fancy splashed Ceremonious Rejection, no Unlicensed Disintegrations because it's just too good. Heck, Wang Yichen's winning deck even went away from Grim Flayer and went back to the most basic Sylvan Advocate. How more consistent can you get?
Surely the format will change next week, but this tournament and this Top 8 will be remembered for its stark contrast from the Pro Tour in style and substance.
2. Osyp returns to Top 8
No one called it a comeback.
From time to time, the winner of Pro Tour Venice graces us with his presence, and it's always fun when he does. Just look at this mug!
But it's been eleven years since Osyp saw it fit to get back into a Grand Prix Top 8, and so here he is. He's a bit older than before, and he's certainly more considered, but he's still writing "1996 Latin Dance Champion, Northeast Division" on his Top 8 Profiles—some things never change.
An East Coast Grand Prix is a great return for the East Coast guy, and Dublin is fine place to go back for a Pro Tour. Lebedowicz was there last time for Pro Tour Theros, and it looks like he's back again.
1. Wang's Final Attack
"The final attack," "The final attack." It was the chatter in the hall after the tournament was finished.
Wang Yichen's final turn in the final game against third-ranked Seth Manfield was certainly awesome. After getting hit with an Emrakul, the Promised End, Wang kept calm and carried on. And thanks to his Ishkanah, Grafwidow he just got there.
He made a suicidal spider assault into the red zone, only sneaking one spider through. But that one spider was exactly enough—when in concert with the oft-overlooked "spider-drain" ability on Ishkanah. Wang tapped seven lands and drained for the exact amount of spiders, and the exact amount of life left on Manfield.
It was an incredible way to end a grinding two games. Wang had bested the No. 3–ranked Seth Manfield in straight to games, with a little help from the spindly ones.