Long, long ago, Braids, Cabal Minion
was all over Standard. Then Spectral Lynx
joined the party. Red/blue/green madness, courtesy of Brian Kibler, popped up and smashed out of Braids of existence. Then Psychatog
started showing up en masse, partially due to Zev Gurwitz's successes in New York. Tomi Walamies and Eric Taylor showed everyone the power of Goblin Trenches
, but then Kai Budde taught the world that Psychatog
beats Trenches if you stop playing with Standstill
. But Eugene Harvey knocked Psychatog off its top perch with blue/green/red Opposition
Like so many tectonic plates, the metagame has shifted violently again. Following on the heels of Edward Solis's victory in the JSS Championships in Orlando, many players in Canadian Nationals are opting for red/green beats with some combination of Yavimaya Barbarians and Meteor Storms. The deck supposedly beats Psychatog, and it supposedly beats Opposition as well.
The tournament played out as scripted. The top four Standard decks of choice were, in order, red/green, Psychatog, Squirrel/Opposition, and "Miss America," the Invasion-block-heavy R/W/U deck Kibler raved about in his most recent article. And of the eight decks that went 5-1 or better on Day 1, a full half (David Rood, Kyle Hadfield, Louis Boileau, and David Sonnenberg) were red/green. How many Psychatog decks went 5-1? Just one, piloted by 2000 team member Sam Lau. How many Opposition decks went 5-1? Zero.
Miss America had a strong showing, with Vancouver's Jeff Fung and old-timey Pete Radonjic landed seats at the top table for tomorrow's draft action. The top table will be rounded out with Jürgen Hahn, playing the now-rogue U/G/r madness deck.
Some of Canada's bigger names had a rough go of it on day one; Gab Tsang, Terry Tsang, and both Evans brothers – Murray "The Mauler" and Forrest – all managed only 3-3. Elijah Pollock only salvaged two wins, and Ed Ito but one.
Perhaps as important as the players that are here are those that aren't. Two-time champion Gary Krakower managed to botch his rating bad enough to be denied an invitation. Gary Wise is no longer a resident, and now lives in England. Ryan Fuller, former national champion, is serving a DCI suspension. And Michael Gurney, Jay Elarar, Terry Lau, and Terry Borer all failed to make the trip to Toronto. Okay, no one really expected Borer to show up...
That said, Canada is still looking good to send a strong team to Worlds. The top of the standings are flooded with capable players, and more high-profile names like Jeff Cunningham and Matt Vienneau are still in good shape. If they know how to draft Odyssey/Torment/Judgment, that is.
Judgment was just added to the repertoire of available cards in Magic Online a few days ago. Several players were rushing home or up to their hotel rooms to get a few drafts in, while others are staying on site and rounding up seven friends to get some live practice in.
Has red replaced white as the worst color in limited? Will green/blue dominate the drafts? Sunday will tell as the Canadian Nationals Top 8 comes together...