Event Spotlight: Grand Prix Ghent (9/13)

I was pleased with what we saw in Indianapolis, but this is even better. Shout out again to CFB for finally getting it together and giving us this complete dataset with each Grand Prix. The format is rife with diversity and SFM is proving to have been in the perfect sweet-spot for an unban. After KCI, after Phoenix, after Hogaak we are looking at a healthy and diverse Modern format. Let us break down the result of Ghent’s Modern Team Grand Prix. As always, all decklists are available here.

Top Decks
After trailing off last weekend, Jund has reclaimed the throne. It has been a deck to beat since Horizons brought W6. Now with Kolaghan’s Command cleanly answering SFM, it has carved out an even greater niche. It was a rough couple years but Jund is here to stay now. Just a step behind was my personal bet for best deck in the format: Whirza. I gush about it every chance I get on here so I will say exactly what I said last time, “it is an artifact prison deck that can turn three combo kill you while playing four colors without taking significant mana damage.” Artifact hate is your friend here. Behind that we see Burn continuing to prove itself in the new Modern format. Some folks said it was just preying on an unsolved format at first, but that does not appear to be the case. StoneSkull is not so fearsome if you just Bolt the SFM every time.

Speaking of which, we see Stoneblade decks continue to thrive. I did not see it coming but SFM really was the perfect unban. Powerful enough to develop Tier 1 archetypes without being the undisputed best deck in the format. There is even great diversity within the builds. Just in this Top 32 we saw UW, Jeskai, Bant, Martyr, and Urza builds. Robots have also risen back up with all but one of them on the Hardened Scales build. That is impressive considering the artifact hate proliferating to answer Whirza decks. The other great artifact deck, Tron, has also gained some steam with the winning team having two players on the deck. It seems that the Tron community has finally settled on mainboard Stony Silence+ being a worthwhile inclusion. Shadow builds and Eldrazi builds also did well but there was some variance within the builds. Most Shadow players were on Grixis but Mardu and Traverse made the cut as well. All but one Eldrazi player was on Tron, the outlier was on the BW Taxes deck. Then just barely making the cut was good old Humans. Folks keep calling it a dead deck but it is consistently showing up in our datasets so there must be something there.

Other Decks
The “rogue” decks of the event are as follows.  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. Do not underestimate them. For example, UWx Control would have tied with Robots if UW Stoneblade was factored into its ranking. Also, the two Temur Kiki-Jiki players were on one team and made Top 8 together; nobody was being carried. That might just be a deck to watch. All decklists are available here.

UWx Control 4
Devoted Vizier 2
Infect 2
Temur Kiki-Jiki 2
TitanShift 2
Bant Spirits 1
Eldrazi & Taxes 1
Kiki-Chord 1
Mono-Blue Tron 1
Niv-Mizzet Reborn 1
Rhino-Balance 1
Storm 1
U/R Emrakul Breach 1

Wrap-Up
That wraps another Grand Prix and the format just looks better and better with each event. I do fear the strength of Whirza decks but it appears that unlike Hogaak, focused hate cards knock it down a peg. It is still a bit early but I am optimistic that we are in this for the long haul. I think Modern will be great going into 2020. How are you looking to crash the party though? What awesome decks do you think are flying under the radar? We will be back tomorrow with another article for you to enjoy. Until then my friends.

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