Event Spotlight: Grand Prix Denver (7/19)

The SCG circuit may have given us a peak at post-M20 Standard but we all know that the true proving ground is at the Grand Prix level. I was very pleased to see the diversity at SCG Worcester but much of that appears to be gone in Denver. This time CFB at least gave us the Top 16 in a timely manner; I am not holding my breath for a Top 32. Among these homogenized results we see Mono-Blue, Mono-Red, and Elementals all fall by the way side. Let’s try to make sense of Grand Prix Denver. As always, all decklists are available here.

Top Decks
When we last spotlighted a Standard Event, the only Scapeshift deck came in 32nd and I said “I do not think this placement captures the deck’s true potential.” I knew the deck was good but wow I did not realize to what extent. I cannot pretend I knew it was this good but here we are. The recently dominant ramp decks have pivoted away from stealing your creatures and instead aim to launch a zombie apocalypse. This does require a manabase adjustment but the proof is in the pudding. This change is  clearly worthwhile as Scapeshift won the event, took up three of the Top 8 slots, and comprised half of the Top 16. This is even better than what we saw from pre-M20 ramp at Grand Prix Taipei. If you want to succeed in Standard before rotation, this is the deck to beat (or play).

The only other recognized archetypes were Orzhov Vampires and Boros Feather. These decks both did very well at the SCG Worcester Open so this is not terribly surprising. Last week I went into detail about how these decks were updated post M20 so I will not rehash it here. But know that they are both very powerful options despite not doing anywhere near as well as Scapeshift. Each archetype was able to help a player reach Top 8 after all.

Rogue Decks
The other category was quite small this time around but it was not lacking in power. Two of these decks, despite their rogue status, ended up in the Top 8 so they should not be overlooked. The more interesting of the two in my opinion was Jeskai Superfriends. This was not the Esper decks we have know with a swap from black to red. This was truly a superfriends deck; featuring twenty maindeck planeswalkers. I will go over it and all of the Top 8 decklists in detail tomorrow but you really ought to take a look at it. The other rogue deck to make Top 8, Simic Nexus, was not much of a surprise but it is clear that Wilderness Reclamation is a worthy rival to Scapeshift. We also saw the previously discussed Simic Flash deck sneak in (at the opponent’s endstep?). Overall, it is a great time to be using Breeding Pool in Standard.

Wrap-Up
This is a pretty dramatic swing from the SCG Worcester metagame and I cannot say I am a fan. Here’s hoping that we can collectively find a way to break the stranglehold that ramp decks have on the format. What have you found to beat them? Were you as disappointed as me that Jund Dinosaurs failed to break through? Please share your thoughts  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 another article for you to enjoy. Until then my friends.

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