Highlights from GP Kobe

So, last week I talked about the best cards in Theros, and I ended up saying [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c] was my favourite one, because it would help Burn a lot. Surprisingly enough, I was right. I tend to make awful predictions.

Burn was already getting more and more important in the online metagame, but lacked real life results to back it up. Well, here they are. There were two mono red decks in the top 8 of GP Kobe, and both sported a cool playset of Eidolons. Why am I happy Burn became important in Modern? Because I think it is a healthy deck for any format. It regulates the game, feeding on greedy manabases, thoughtseizes, and big cards that you can’t do anything about. No, I am not a fan of BGx decks. Plus, with Burn you get to see this:

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This is a Burn mirror with both players placing a [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c] on the table before the game started. A sight to behold. One of them ended up being unable to draw. If only he had played an [c]Elixir of Immortality[/c]! Anyway, Burn was not the only surprise in Kobe, as was to be expected: Japanese players tend to be inventive brewers. Let’s see what transpired.

The other finalist: No Affinity

The deck is a rather unconventional Affinity deck (even though I’ve been told it isn’t completely original and has already showed up in other occasions). It’s called No Affinity because there is no card with the keyword printed. Is it Affinity then? In a way.

[d title=”No Affinity, Yuusei Gotou (Modern)”]
Land
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Glimmervoid
2 Mana Confluence

Creatures
4 Ornithopter
4 Memnite
4 Vault Skirge
4 Tarmogoyf

Sorceries
2 Thoughtseize

Instants
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Shrapnel Blast

Artifacts
4 Mox Opal
4 Springleaf Drum
4 Chromatic Star
4 Cranial Plating
4 Darksteel Citadel

Enchantments
4 Ensoul Artifact

Sideboard
1 Thoughtseize
2 Sunbeam Spellbomb
2 Path to Exile
2 Wear & Tear
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Whipflare
2 Spellskite
2 Aven Mindcensor[/d]

I love this deck, and not only because of the beautiful round numbers. Looks incredibly solid, and the results showed it is. [c]Ensoul Artifact[/c] is here to stay, it seems. [c]Shrapnel Blast[/c] seems incredibly fun too: I don’t really know if it was popular already, but it is a fantastic spell. [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] is the midgame: rather more difficult to remove than the other critters, efficient, dodges artifact hate, and [c]Cranial Plating[/c] suits him perfectly. A beautiful list. I must try this deck. I really must. The important thing here is this deck isn’t just swapping [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c] or [c]Etched Champion[/c] for [c]Tarmogoyf[/c]: it’s a rather different animal.

Another interesting list in the Top 16 was this one:

[d title=”WUR Midrange, Tamura Ryo (Modern)”]
Land
3 Mountain
1 Island
1 Plains
4 Arid Mesa
1 Hallowed Fountain
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Seachrome Coast
2 Steam Vents
1 Sulfur Falls
1 Sacred Foundry

Creatures
4 Young Pyromancer
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Delver of Secrets
3 Geist of Saint Traft

Sorceries
4 Serum Visions
4 Gitaxian Probe

Instants
3 Path to Exile
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Lightning Helix
3 Remand
2 Electrolyze
2 Spell Snare
1 Izzet Charm

Sideboard
2 Grim Lavamancer
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Magma Spray
1 Shattering Spree
1 Counterflux
1 Negate
1 Combust
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Dispel
1 Wear+Tear
1 Stony Silence
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Spellskite
1 Relic of Progenitus[/d]

This is what happens when you think about the weaknesses of UR Delver (which is a great deck) and try to solve them. There have been green splashes for [c]Tarmogoyf[/c], and URW midrange with [c]Geist of Saint Traft[/c] exists, but this is a new thing.

It worked, too: Top 16 out of more than 2,000 players is quite a feat. I am not quite sold, as the greedy manabase makes playing [c]Blood Moon[/c] impossible, and this deck vs the UR version gives a lot of free wins thanks to [c]Blood Moon[/c]. Also, you necessarily have to reduce the number of counterspells, including [c]Remand[/c], which works wonders on the regular version. On the other hand, [c]Path to Exile[/c] is a very powerful removal, [c]Lightning Helix[/c] is a fantastic card, and [c]Geist of Saint Traft[/c] is the strong threat this deck normally lacks, one that is very difficult to deal with. In all, an interesting experiment.

And then we’ve got this:

[d title=”Eggs, Taisuke Ishii (Modern)”]
Land
1 Glimmervoid
1 Tendo Ice Bridge
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
2 Mystic Gate
1 Adarkar Wastes
4 Plains
3 Island

Creatures
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Sorceries
4 Open the Vaults
1 Polymorph

Instants
2 Remand

Artifacts
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Mox Opal
1 Conjurer’s Bauble
4 Chromatic Star
4 Terrarion
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Prophetic Prism
3 Mind Stone
3 Thopter Foundry
4 Krark-Clan Ironworks

Sideboard
2 Hurkyl’s Recall
3 Erase
2 Path to Exile
2 Supreme Verdict
3 Leyline of Sanctity
1 Silence
1 Pyroclasm
1 Seal of Primordium[/d]

The deck is not so surprising per se, but the few refinements and changes are. [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c] is a known deck I have had to suffer occasionally, but [c]Thopter Foundry[/c] is a such a great fit in this deck I am surprised I haven’t seen this yet. Generates tokens, it’s a sacrifice outlet, the tokens can be fodder for the Ironworks, and occasionally one of these tokens becomes an [c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c]. Such a beautiful list. Not that I have any intention of running anything resembling Eggs, but if I were, it would probably be very, very similar to this list.

So, that’s it. Three interesting decklists that have recently placed well in an important tournament. You can access the top 8 here, the top 9-16 here, and the top 17-32 here. Should you see anything interesting, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

See you next week!