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Honolulu PTQs: Extended Overview 2009-03-22

March 22, 2009

With two Extended Grand Prixs in the books it’s time to pull the breaks on this Extended bandwagon and check out were we stand. 

GP Hannover was played out last weekend and GP Singapore has just finished as I’m writing this. Hannover went down with local hero Lino Burgold took the little green menace to first place, defeating Gaudenis Vidugiris with Next Level Blue in the finals. In Asia, former PoY and constructed mastermind Tamaharu Saito brought Naya Burn to first place, defeating former national champion Masaya Kitayama (playing Next Level Blue) in the final.

The metagame in both Europe and Asia showed of the large presence of the blue control decks (both Next Level Blue and the more Faerie-oriented variants) and Naya Burn decks. However from there you can see some differences. Hannover was filled with Loam decks and with Elves, which shared the third spot there. In Singapore that spot in the metagame was taken by TEPS. A local twist to the metagame or an evolution of the format? It’s hard to say, I would say a combination of both. TEPS has a favourable match up against both the blue decks and Naya Burn, but Loam is a coin flip and Elves is a really bad match up. Further on, Elves seems to struggle against both Naya Burn and the blue decks, while Loam is you know, is like the Rock. 50/50, never better, never worse.

So, what do I expect to face in a PTQ if I would play one tomorrow and what would I recommend to play for that field? My envisioned Top8 would look something like this:

3x Blue control deck

2x Naya Burn

1x Elves

1x Green based deck (Bant Aggro or Loam, possibly also Doran)

1x Deck of the day (Tezzerator, TEPS, Swans, Affinity… even Slide or Tron occasionally)

I came to this conclusion from looking from the results from the two recent Grand Prixs, results from recent PTQ Top8s (I highly recommend and from general PTQ experience. From what we have seen from the metagame this season, it’s a pretty safe bet to expect at least 50% of the Top8 to consist of blue control decks and Naya Burn. Aggro decks is often a backbone of the PTQ, and Naya Burn seems to be the default aggro deck of the format this season. And blue is blue, it’s very good and many people with good playing skills and experience will always go this rout. Elves is, still, in a vacuum the strongest deck in the format. The average Joe can’t pick it up and expect to Top8 with the deck, but in the hands of experienced player it will always be a lethal weapon. I’m personally not a big fan of the green decks this season, but there is (as always) different schools of thought on that and you are a fool if you don’t expect to see some players sleeving up Loam or what nod. Finally we have what I have called “Deck of the day”. In Hannover it was Tezzerator (props to fellow countryman Kenny Öberg for getting there, again) and in Singapore it was TEPS. If you look around on you will see this trend applies to almost all of the reported PTQs. Extended is a wide format and this trend is I guess a consequence of that.

And to conclude this Extended overview (no pun intended), what would I recommend to play with the expected field. Sadly, there is no easy answer to that. Elves is still a fine choice, have in mind thou’ that you need to really spend time playing the deck if you want to do well. Further on, you won’t do terribly with Naya Burn or a blue deck either. Both are strong established archetypes with plenty of game against the whole field. You might want to be prepared for the mirrors all day long thou’ if you go with either Naya or blue. Finally I have to give TEPS some credits. The deck is naturally strong against aggro decks and with a proper sideboard you can handle blue decks with relative ease as well. Once again however, this is a deck that you need to spend considerably time play testing with if you want to succeed.

That was all for today, hope you enjoyed it. Good luck in your PTQs and I will see you soon. Until next time…

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