Event Spotlight: Grand Prix Indianapolis (9/19)

Wow. Now that is a lovely sight. I know folks often complain about the results of team events, but there is far less statistical noise than you would think. That being said, this is a great data set. CFB has ended their data embargo and is on a hot streak of giving us every decklist. I hope that this is the norm going forward as it provides such a rich dataset. This is our first look at the post-B&R Modern format at the Grand Prix Level. Today we will break it down and look at the decklists utilized by the Top 32 finalist teams; a sample size of nearly 100 decklists. As always, all decklists are available here.

Top Decks
Well, at least I can say I told you so. In recent articles, I have taken every opportunity to predict that Whirza is the best deck in the format and it seems to have claimed that spot immediately. The deck is really great and I recommend you take it for a spin. I do not want to regurgitate what I have said elsewhere but it is an artifact prison deck that can turn three combo kill you while playing four colors without taking significant mana damage. Respect it and pack a lot of artifact hate. With just one fewer pilot in the Top 32, Burn was nipping at Whirza’s heels. This deck has improved by leaps and bound post B&R and I cannot say I know why. Perhaps Looting matchups were especially tough? Perhaps it loses to Batterskull but is great at popping SFM? Whatever the cause, it is one of the best decks in the format and did not peter out after the SCG Dallas Open. Then our final +10% archetype was Tron. We have come to see this deck as an archetype unleashed. Gone are the brutally fast Looting deck and in their place are interactive decks that cannot withstand Karn’s onslaught. It may be time to pull Damping Spheres out of the binder.

The other respectable decks fell in the +5% category. Barely missing the cutoff was Grixis Death’s Shadow. I am not certain why Mardu Shadow fell out so quickly but the old format king has returned. If I had to guess, I would assume that Stubborn Denial is the primary motivator; noncreature spells are surging. We also see Eldrazi doing quite well. This time it was not just Eldrazi Tron though, three of the eight spaghetti slingers opted for the newer Selesnya builds; shout out to Robert Holt in the Top 16. Which leads us to our next archetype. There was a smattering of Stoneblade decks that succeeded. Selesnya Eldrazi, and one Whirza build, were separated out for the more distinct strategies. Even with those pulled out though we saw Stoneblade builds take up a significant percentage; Bant, Azorious, Orzhov, and Jeskai were all on display. The card is the real deal and it is safe to say that it is the best white creature in the format. Rounding out the top archetypes was GBx Midrange and Humans. In reality all but one GBx player was on Jund; a step down from the archetype’s performances. I am pleased to see Humans holding out despite many players calling it a dead strategy.

Other Decks
The “rogue” decks of the event are as follows. Do not underestimate them though. This may have been a team event but the often claimed “there team might have carried them” is a very rare data anomaly at this level of competition.

Titanshift 4
Spirits 3
Infect 2
Storm 2
Ad Nauseam 1
Bogles 1
Copy Cat 1
Devoted Vizier 1
Dredge 1
Living End 1
Mono-Red Prowess 1
Neobrand 1
BR Pyromancers 1
Hardened Scales 1
Twiddle Storm 1
UW Control 1


Wrap-Up

Again, all decklists are available here. I must say that I really enjoy what I see so far. This B&R update, at least in the early going, seems to have been the genesis of a balanced format. Of course there is the chance that we figure something out, perhaps Whirza, and the format goes belly-up again. Shut up and enjoy it while you can. What do you think is the next great Modern deck? How have you been fairing against the Stoneblade decks? Please share your experience 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 another article for you to enjoy. Until then my friends.

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