There has been a lot of speculation about what the meta will be like at #GPCOLUMBUS. We are going to discuss how to prepare for a major event with a format that is so unpredictable. A ton of one deck could show up and suddenly our game plan could be destroyed. The metagame is easily most important at this Grand Prix, as it determines everything.
First thing’s first: the big bad wolf, Miracles by Shawn Chen. Now, Shawn is not the originator of the deck; he’s a friend who has piloted this deck with success. This deck utilizes a lock system comprised of Counterbalance and Sensei’s Divining Top. Most of the format exists between the converted mana cost of 3, making it easy. Some players opt into wide converted mana cost strategies to avoid the lock. Once this deck has punished you by locking you out of your game plan, it will eventually find Entreat the Angels at end of turn making 3-6 4/4 flying angels. This will often close out a game quick. Another miracles strategy is Legends Miracles by Joe Lossett, working with Venser, Shaper Savant and Karakas, which is in itself a sick lock system.
Next big deck on my radar is Lands by Jarvis Yu. This deck scares me. It’s very tough to interact with and can win out of nowhere. It utilizes so many tools to keep you off your strategy, then spits out a 20/20 Flying Indestructible Marit Lage. Personally, I don’t prefer these types of strategies so my advice against this is graveyard hate and Pithing Needle.
A deck that I enjoy highlighting is Grixis Delver by Noah Walker. This deck is flat-out sweet. It utilizes a lot of the strategies I enjoy playing with: a tempo based aggressive system with some soft counter magic (Daze). Combining the flying aggression of Delver of Secrets and Young Pyromancer with all the most powerful cantrip spells is some very powerful magic. Killing their creatures is usually your best route to success. After the creatures are gone, the deck becomes weaker to the strategy we chose.
With great delight, my personal favorite of the decks to watch out for: Shardless BUG by Tyler Bailey. The strategy here is insane card advantage and Tarmogoyf, which is a beatstick for two converted mana cost. This deck also has a lot of Artifact Creatures to make sure Goyf‘s power and toughness stay relatively high. The creme of the crop here is Baleful Strix and Shardless Agent for two totally different reasons. Strix is basically a cantrip removal card that can attack, while Shardless Agent cascades into Ancestral Vision. Again, very powerful magic. Beating this deck takes poise and patience, but very raw aggression strategies also work well.
There are a few notable tier 1 decks that poise themselves to be able to win on turn one. A.N.T. by Caleb Sherer and Sneak Show. These decks prey on anything fair. As they require their opponent’s to have fast interaction such as discard spells and counter magic, primarily Force of Will.
Notable mention decks are GBx decks (Jund by Arya Roohi), Eldrazi by Morgan Short, Elves by Max Williams, Death and Taxes, Maverick and probably Dragon Stompy (Blood Moon deck). Other decks that will be there are Burn, MUD, Nic Fit, and Smallpox lists. These decks all mostly exist to police the format and are a lot of fun to play.
While trying to decide on what to play in this Legacy GP, remember: Play what you know. This format punishes you for being new to a deck, and seriously rewards you for having piloted the deck for a while. Stick to strategies you know; if you’re a Delver player, pick whichever Delver variant tickles your fancy. I personally prefer to register 4x Abrupt Decay.
Sideboarding for a Legacy GP: First, identify your bad/worst match ups. From there, determine the popularity of these decks in recent top 8s. You need to have 8-10 slots for the broad meta, and then maybe 1-3 silver bullets (cards good in only one match up). Fill up any remaining slots with graveyard hate or perhaps hand disruption, maybe a sweeper (mass creature kill) or something to that effect. Being prepared for as many strategies as possible is always where I personally tend to land. Some pray on the fact that they can dodge one or two decks and just focus on the “day 2 meta” which is a whole different beast.