Event Spotlight: SCG Cleveland Open (4/19)

As requested by our discussion group we will now be covering SCG Opens as well as Grands Prix going forward. This past weekend we had a Modern SCG Open in Cleveland, Ohio. Sixty-eight players made the cut to battle it out on Day 2 and we have pulled the data on the Top 32 finalists. These are the most successful archetypes of the tournament. All decklists have been made available here.

Soaring Over the Competition
Well it is getting ridiculous at this point. I am honestly fed up with the dominance of Phoenix and I am fed up with Phoenix apologists. Phoenix has been the most dominant deck at every single Modern tournament in our Event Spotlight series. Phoenix has been the top deck among the Top 32 finalists at:
Grand Prix Oakland
Grand Prix Toronto
Grand Prix Los Angeles
SCG Regionals
Grand Prix Tampa
Grand Prix Bilbao
SCG Philadelphia Open
The only questionable one is Grand Prix Calgary because CFB has never released the Top 32 and the Top 8 contained eight different archetypes. However, going into Day 2 Phoenix had as many pilots as the second and third best performing archetypes combined so it more than likely was the leading archetype in the Top 32 as well. This continued at SCG Cleveland where Phoenix was more successful than the second and third best performing archetypes combined. It is the best deck in the format and any adjustments that other decks make to beat it, are not enough to dethrone it. Their gameplan is fundamentally the most powerful thing you could be doing and it is extremely adaptive in the face of metagame shifts. With shakeups on the horizon and Phoenix being printed in the Challenger decks; you should not expect a ban in my opinion.
Just behind Phoenix we see Humans, which is experiencing a renascence at the moment. It has solid game against every non-artifact deck, including Phoenix, and is a great choice right now. Stay tuned for a tournament report on it from GP Calgary. Just a step behind we have the big mana decks in Tron and Amulet. Tron deck have been picking up recently as they can gain a lot of points against Phoenix with maindeck Relic. Amulet being a top tier deck is perhaps Modern’s worst kept secret and it put two pilots into the Top 4. It is just extremely difficult to play but mastering it pays serious dividends. At this level we also see UWx Control which had fallen off a bit in the previous month or so. Most interesting among them was the Esper build that ended up coming in 2nd when the dust settled.
The final recognized archetypes were Affinity, Death’s Shadow, Dredge, and GBx Midrange. Both of the Affinity decks were of the Hardened Scales variety and neither were within the Top 16. Both Death’s Shadow players made Top 8 with one on the vintage Zoo build and the other on the more well known Grixis build. This was an admiral performance for Dredge is not quite what we saw from it in March. Lastly, both GBx players passed on the x and went with straight Golgari; which I have heard has a good Phoenix matchup. There were only two decks filed under Other for this event. The better placing one was Infect in the Top 16; Aaron Barich is an Infect master and consistently places on the tour with it. The other was a Breach Shift list that was more traditional; not the Jund build that we saw win Calgary.

Wrap-Up
So there you have it. Izzet Phoenix and the decks that are almost as good as Izzet Phoenix. The format shifts cannot come soon enough in my opinion. How do you explain the format’s inability to adapt to it and have you seen anything from War of the Spark that can help us out? We would love to talk it over in our discussion group. Or if you would like to take a swing at writing content for the site you can contact us directly here. We will be back tomorrow with Chris Carlile’s tournament report from GP Calgary; where he piloted Humans to a Top 4 finish. Until then my friends.

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