Pro Tour Origins just happened, and I wasn’t in attendance. I did watch some matches though, so that’s basically the same as being an expert now.
The first thing that struck me in the top 8 was Dromoka’s Command seemingly being criminally underplayed. With Origins bringing in a bunch of powerful enchantments like Demonic Pact, Starfield of Nyx, Thopter Spy Network and Sphinx’s Tutelage for people to brew with, and red getting a variety of strong tools, I had assumed that many people would increase the Dromoka’s Command count to hedge against these decks. In addition to this, as more teams discovered that UR Artifacts was finally non-terrible, Command’s stock would have risen further for being a huge beating against Ensoul Artifact.
And it still eats Coursers and stuff in the green creature matches!
I’m willing to believe that most people just didn’t realise Ensoul was good, and thought there might have been a lot of control decks leading to the cutting Commands for the Pro Tour. Moving to GP London and beyond however, unless there is a huge swing to control decks, I expect Command to be one of the better cards in the field.
The Mono-red decks being good shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. The exact builds probably took some work though, I know going into it there was a lot of hype around Piledriver with Goblin token support. Piledriver is still fine, but there’s no warchief around now, and all the other regular non-goblin red cards are just very strong on their own with no support required. Abbot in particular is just so perfect for what these decks want to do, I expect 4 in red decks regularly until it rotates. It’s possible that people tested against the wrong builds, and underestimated how good Red Deck Wins was now. They won’t make this mistake going forward.
Basically just a 3/2 Elvish Visionary, right? Right.
This Pro Tour was probably one of the best in recent memory for sweet original builds showing up. My favourite was Andrew Cuneo’s mill deck, Turbo Mill!
Cuneo’s decks are always a bit off the wall, and a real delight to see. There was also the Demonic Pact/Invasive Species deck, and Ken Yukihiro’s Hardened Scales deck, a Temur deck that went 9-1 some constellation decks and more. There’s plenty here for people who don’t want to play boring old Abzan and RDW.
Moving forward for GP London and the World Magic Cup Qualifiers, you really can select a deck that you enjoy, since most deck types are viable with some tweaking. Even RG Devotion is open to sweet cards, I would recommend looking at See the Unwritten, a card that Raphael Levy played and provides a way to go way over the top in the mirror. I also noticed this card being played by a guy in some tournaments pre-Origins, and it seemed like a great card for him every time.
Wait till you’ve eaten a turn 5 Dragonlord Atarka (killing your Rhino) hasting at you with Surrak the Hunt Caller
Speaking of World Magic Cup Qualifiers, I am very excited and honoured to be heading up team Scotland for the World Magic Cup this year. I had to cross my fingers a bit for the last few months because I wasn’t able to go to any GPs, and I’m fortunate that any of the other worthy players didn’t overtake me. I have no doubt I’ll be seeing them on the team in the future, maybe this year even!
The WMC is a fantastic tournament in many ways, and I’m looking forward to the team formats with whoever makes it in, and hopefully also testing the various formats with the other UK teams in the days prior to the event.