Event Spotlight: Grand Prix Los Angeles (3/19)

It is a new week at Good Grief Games and as usual there are tournament results to break down. Directly after our Modern Snapshot comes Grand Prix Los Angeles and we are looking at the Top 32. Arclight Phoenix continued its dominant reign but there were some surprises once the dust settled. We will briefly cover all of the archetypes but full decklists are available here and here.

Soaring Over the Competition
You may have noticed that I used this heading last time. If that is the case, you may have also noticed that Arclight Phoenix decks continue to soar over the rest of the Modern format. Our first Event Spotlight was on the final GP at which KCI was legal and even there Phoenix was tied for the most dominant archetype. Then we had GP Toronto and Phoenix was still ahead of the pack. This past weekend was much of the same. It is a well known fact that Izzet Phoenix is the best deck but the format has been unable to adapt to it. I hate to say it but if this trend continues we may have to consider a ban down the road. It is worth noting that one of the Phoenix players opted for the Mono-Red build. A large step behind Phoenix we see Dredge and Death’s Shadow. Dredge has been a consistent top deck ever since the printing of Creeping Chill and I would not expect that to change. Death’s Shadow fell from the top for a while but has been back in force since Michael Rapp’s win in Toronto. At the same level as these, but rounded down by my program, was GBx Midrange and Humans. Two of the midrange players stuck with straight Golgari while the other was on Jund. Humans has clawed its way back into the format after being displaced by Spirits late last year. It is clear that proactivity is key in the current metagame. The final recognized archetypes were Affinity and Whir Prison at two pilots each. Both Affinity players were on Hardened Scales lists rather than the Experimental Frenzy build. The Whir deck has been sneaking in solid results this year as Chalice of the Void has gained significant equity.

Rogue Decks
This weekend we had eight pilots make it into the Top 32 as the sole representative for their archetype. The only one to make it all the way to the Top 8 was a RG Titanshift player. Based on recent trends it is surprising to see only one Burn list, the Boros build, in the Top 32. Tron, UW Control, and Amulet Titan are perennial contenders that made it through as well. We also saw Golgari Elves and Storm climb to heights that they have not seen for quite some time. The biggest surprise was Dimir Faeries. By most opinions, Faeries is not a quality deck despite the Bitterblossom unban. But here it is in the Top 32 demanding our respect. I do not expect it to become a tier deck but it is a reminder of the format’s wide diversity, as are the rest of these rogue decks.

Wrap-Up
Overall, the format seems to be healthy outside of Arclight Phoenix decks. The other usual suspects are performing well but Phoenix takes up more slots than any two of them combined. As explained above, this is not an isolated incident either. A positive Phoenix matchup is one of the most important criteria when selecting a deck right now. We will be back tomorrow with an updated guide to Modern Humans. Until then my friends.

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