Event Spotlight: Grand Prix Taipei

Who even knew there was a Standard GP this past weekend? I did not find out until last night. This time they at least gave us the Top 16 decklists so we can aggregate the data for analysis. In the GP Kansas review I stated that UGx Ramp would likely be the deck to beat and boy was that an understatement. The full results are available here. Let’s break it down.

Top Decks
Normally we have a Top 32 to analyze so we will have rogue archetypes filed as “Other” but with only the Top 16 we can cover everything. Of course the big story in Taipei is the overwhelming success of UGx Ramp decks. It made up a whopping half of the Top 16 and put two players into Top 8 before winning it all. Both of the Top 8 finalists were on Bant while a Simic user missed Top 8 on tiebreakers. Across the Top 16 it comes out to six Bant players and two Simic players so it appears that the white splash, particularly for Threeferi, is optimal. I wish that I could give some advice for beating this archetype but I do not have any at this time. It can stall out aggro and goes way over midrange and control decks.

A distant second was GRx Midrange. It is the same deck that made Top 8 at GP Kansas. You play the best aggressive value creatures in red-green with planeswalkers at the top end. Ideally, these decks want to curve Llanowar Elves into a Gruul Spellbreaker and break you with it. I must say that I love what I see in the Top 8 list though. He has made a small black splash to enable the Status/Statue+Goblin Chainwhirler combo. RRR(B/G) is not an easy cost but when it comes together you get a Gut Shot, a 3/3, and a one-sided board wipe. This is absolutely devastating for opposing creature decks and I hope this tech sees widespread adoption just for the hype. The two GRx players that missed Top 8 decided to forego this combo.

Behind that we find two players who decided to bring Nicol Bolas Oathbreaker to Standard. I cannot hate on them though because it brought both of them top Top 8 finishes. These are hard Grixis Control decks featuring 3-4 copies each of The Ravager and Dragon-God among other planeswalkers. It is a flavor-fail that they passed on Augur of Bolas though. They both feature the classic control strategy of having you side out your removal so that they can overwhelm you postboard; with Legion Warboss in this example. This is probably personal bias, I love Bolas, but I think I prefer these builds to Esper right now.

Then finally we come to the rogue decks. Simic Nexus made it in, though not Top 8, but honestly I am not high on the archetype at this point. It appears that ramp strategies are great but you ought to play the much better performing builds. I do believe that the builds without Nexus of Fates just do it better. Then we have Esper Walkers which, despite being a rouge deck, was the eventual runner up of the event. While I do prefer Bolas, the two Teferis are very powerful and I understand why he run the full sets of each. Then last but far from least is Boros Heroic. I personally love growth spell strategies and am glad to see another viable one in Standard. This is another rogue deck that made it all the way to Top 8. It appears that this build is a touch slower and grindier than what we have seen; with mainboard planeswalkers. I do think that this is a wise choice when control is such a potent force in the format.

Wrap-Up
Well this time I told you so. UGx Ramp is now the deck to beat and Mono-Red has faced a steep, steep decline. Who will be next to claim the throne? How does your deck match up against ramp? Come share it with us 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 a look at the Modern Horizons cards that 5C Humans may pick up. Until then my friends.

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