Pro Tour MOM Recap and Top 8 Predictions
Ben joins us for another ProTour with his insight on the event so far and predictions on how this Top 8 will shake out in the end.
Hello and welcome to Day Three of Pro Tour: March of the Machine, which is being held in Minneapolis, USA. I’m Ben, and I will be your guide to recap the event and outline how I believe the Top 8 will play out!
Day one contained a total of 252 participants from around the globe, battling it out in three rounds of Booster Draft and five rounds of Standard Constructed. Standard Constructed was dominated by RBx decks, to little surprise. Fable of the Mirror-Breaker remains just about the strongest individual thing you can be doing in the format, and decks containing the powerful three-drop had an almost 6% match win percentage difference when compared to those without it.
Despite this, the metagame remained moderately diverse, with many different versions of RB, and a fair number of other strategies being played as well. Stock Standard Rakdos Midrange was the most popular deck at the event.
Most of the decks at the event employed a Reactive and controlling/midrangey gameplan, hoping to use cards such as Bloodtithe Harvester and Cut Down to deal with early threats, while using cards like Fable and Bankbuster to accrue card advantage. Unsurprisingly, nearly half of the competitors in the event opted for a more safe and well-tested strategy that fell into our A-Tier deck categorization
At the culmination of day one, 156 (62%) of these competitors achieved the necessary 12 match points (four wins or more) to advance to day two. Among these participants, decks like Azorius Soldiers, Rakdos Midrange, Grixis Midrange, and Grixis Singularity combo had both high match win percentagess and high overall conversion rates.
Day two also featured three rounds of Booster Draft, alongside five rounds of Standard Constructed. Following these rounds, it seems that Azorius Soldiers and Rakdos Midrange best maintained their strong match win percentages and positive winrates, being joined by Mono-Red Aggro.
Top 8 Predictions
The Top 8 of the event contains the following players:
- Javier Dominguez, playing Rakdos Midrange
- Karl Sarap, playing Rakdos Midrange
- Simon Nielsen, playing Rakdos Midrange
- Nathan Steuer, playing Rakdos Midrange
- Yiwen Chen, playing Azorius Soldiers
- Autumn Burchett, playing Orzhov Midrange
- Cain Rianhard, playing Rakdos Reanimator
- David Olsen, playing Five-Color Ramp
As usual, the field still remains open to anyone winning, but I’m here to use my data repository and the competitor’s decklists to try to determine who will be the one who takes home the trophy. Let’s dive right in!
Quarterfinals Match 1
Javier Dominguez (Rakdos Midrange) vs. David Olsen (Five-color Ramp)
This matchup is a fairly standard ramp vs midrange matchup. The theory behind this matchup is such that if the Midrange player draws their anti-control cards or early beaters, they generally have the advantage, whereas if the ramp player gets to ramp fast enough, they will begin to drop trump cards that are simply better than anything the midrange player can produce. For this matchup, Dominguez should hope to draw early aggressive creatures, such as Bloodtithe Harvester or Graveyard Trespasser to get in for a few points of damage before they are removed and then end the game with the burn elements of his deck, such as Invoke Despair or Chandra. Olsen should look to keep his life total high, ramp when it is safe to do so, and begin dropping large threats that the Rakdos player will struggle to deal with. In the event, Five-Color Ramp has a 5-5 record against Rakdos Midrange, and Olsen has a winning 2-1 record against the strategy himself.
For these reasons, I predict that Olsen and his ramp deck will take the match 3-1.
Quarterfinals Match 2
Karl Sarap (Rakdos Midrange) vs. Cain Rianhard (Rakdos Reanimator)
This matchup is fairly similar to the above one, just with the “ramp” player playing RB cards instead of having more of a WG base. Rainhard is the control deck, hoping to drop big guys into play to overwhelm Sarap. However, the big guys are not as game ending in this matchup as they are in the other one. In the event, Midrange has edged out Reanimator 13-11, but Rianhard does have a winning 2-0 record against the midrange deck. This one is harder to predict and seems fairly draw dependent.
For these reasons, I predict Rianhard and his Reanimator deck to take the match 3-2.
Quarterfinals Match 3
Simon Nielsen (Rakdos Midrange) vs Autumn Burchett (Orzhov Midrange)
This matchup is gonna be a slugfest, with best decks being more than willing to go late into the game, hoping to eke out incremental advantages that snowballs into a win. I think Burchett’s deck is moderately better at being the control deck, but this is not necessarily a given. Both players just want to keep their opponents off their card advantage engines so theirs can take over. In the event, Burchett as the sole Orzhov player has a 1-1 record against Rakdos Midrange, notably taking a loss against Nielsen in round 14.
For these reasons, I predict a 3-1 victory for Nielsen and his Bloodtithe Harvesters.
Quarterfinals Match 4
Nathan Steuer (Rakdos Midrange) vs. Yiwen Chen (Azorius Soldiers)
I’m supposed to be neutral, but GO YIWEN GO. Rakdos Midrange seems to be the only deck that can effectively take on Soldiers, having a 5-1 record against the White Weenies in the event. This matchup is a classic Beatdown vs Midrange battle, with the midrange player taking the control role and the beatdown player trying to beatdown. While I think that Chen’s more flash-oriented version with Faerie Mastermind is better suited to handle the tempo loss that comes with Rakdos’ efficient removal suite, I’ve had my Harbins targeted by Cut Downs too many times to predict Soldiers to take the match down. Yiwen being on the draw certainly doesn’t help his chances either.
For these reasons, I predict Steuer to take the match 3-1.
Potential Semifinals Match 1
David Olsen (Five-color ramp) vs. Nathan Steuer (Rakdos Midrange)
I see little reason why Olsen wouldn’t also be favored in this matchup, so I predict him to take down the match 3-2.
Potential Semifinals Match 2
Simon Nielsen (Rakdos Midrange) vs. Cain Rianhard (Rakdos Reanimator)
I also see little reason why Rianhard wouldn’t be favored in this matchup, so I predict him to take down the match 3-2.
Potential Finals Match
Cain Rianhard (Rakdos Reanimator) vs. David Olsen (Five-color Ramp)
Battle of the big guys. I think this matchup mostly comes down to who can drop a big creature first and use the card advantage generated to overwhelm their opponent. I give Olsen the edge given he is on the play and therefore is more likely to get to 7 mana first, though I will note that Rianhard’s Cruelties of Gix makes his target a little lower at only 5 mana in some circumstances.
For these reasons, I predict that Davis Olsen will take down this match 3-2 and become the champion of Pro Tour: March of the Machine.