After Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir it was obvious that control was back and in a big way! The tournament had three black & blue control decks in the top 8 and a large number in the top 32. Players such as Josh Utter-Leyton, Paul Cheon, Paul Vitor Damo Da Rosa, and the great control master himself Guillaume Wafo-Tapa cruised through the standard portion, all with records containing only one loss. Seeing those great players performing so well might not come as a surprise to many people including myself based on past performances. The surprise to me was the addition of the new cards from Dragons Of Tarkir such as Dragonlord Ojutai, Silumgar’s Scorn, Foul-Tongue Invocation, and Haven of the Spirit Dragon. These new tools brought a kind of synergy that a control has not had in along time. Lets face it, when was the last time you could cast counter spell in standard? The answer is, “Too long.” Im really glad that the R&D team worked hard on making sure a traditionally casual creature type (Dragons) was going to be more than the name of the set and cards that are just forgotten after the draft series cycles.
Going into Grand Prix Krakow, it was a known fact of how the metagame was shifting toward control even though Atarka Red had won the whole tournament. I found it interesting to hear about Martin Dang and how he built his list from looking at the results of SCG Syracuse. Where Chris Thomas Top 16ed the event with the Atarka red splash for Become Immense and Atarka’s Command. Chris Thomas, a local Kirwans Game Store grinder, had been working on his list of mono red for awhile and was thrilled with the goodies that came in with Dragons of Tarkir. So day one of GP Krakow I walked around the room during the first 2 rounds while i wasn’t playing and to no surprise I see mono red and Atarka Red everywhere. I would say it was like 1 out of every 3-4 decks. You would think with numbers like that all the control decks in the room would be in real trouble. Looking at the results you would see that not to be true. There was not a red deck to be seen in the top 16. Not only did the new Esper Dragons deck consume the top 8 but the finals consisted of a mirror match with Alexander Hayne defeating Robin Dollar and reigning supreme as the top Dragonlord.
It will be nice to see the changes in decklists and sideboards after these past two weekends. The first ever regional PTQ happened this weekend [See the top 8 deck lists for Catskill, NY here]as well as SCG Cleveland, so we will be able to see the influence of recent events and what effect they have on the metagame. Until then, have fun slamming dragons during casual and competitive events cause right now it seems like the best plan. And as always a fun fact for you elves can never block creatures with flying.
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