The holidays have come and gone, and now it’s time for Team Cardhoarder to focus on the first major event of the new year: Grand Prix Santa Clara. The format for this Grand Prix is Team Constructed, which means that players play decks from three different formats (Standard, Modern, and Legacy) and face players from other teams playing the same format. The team that wins two matches first wins the round.
Team Constructed has exploded in popularity recently, with both Wizards of the Coast, and StarCityGames adding more Team Constructed events to their calendars. Much of the format’s success can be attributed to the camaraderie, and sense of teamwork that it inspires. But Team Constructed also generates excitement because it means more opportunities to play Legacy, and even an opportunity to watch Legacy being played on the Pro Tour at Pro Tour Minneapolis later this year.
Legacy is an interesting place right now, what with Miracles remaining a Tier One deck despite Sensei’s Divining Top being banned in April of last year. The deck now relies on cards like Portent and Predict to set up its draws, along with Ixalan’s Search for Azcanta. While long-time Miracles players, like our own Joe Lossett have moved on, others have sleeved it up in the hopes of taking down the endless string of Delver decks, Sneak & Show, and other decks unique to Legacy.
Modern is, by far, the healthiest of the three formats that you can play in Team Constructed. Decks like Dredge, Five-Color Humans, Jeskai Control, and Amulet Titan have all gone 5-0 in recent Leagues on Magic Online, and that’s just for starters. The format is so popular that StarCityGames now offers more Modern Opens than any other format, and Pro Tour Bilbao will also feature Modern, which we haven’t seen since Pro Tour Atlanta in April of 2016.
Standard is still dominated by the Energy decks, largely Temur Energy. Ramunap Red, and Gift of the God Pharaoh decks continue to hold up the rear. Rivals of Ixalan comes out in three weeks, and Standard players are desperately hoping that the set contains something that will inject new life into the format.
Now that I’ve touched on what formats are going to be played in Santa Clara, let’s talk about some of our players who will be at Santa Clara, and other events this month.
No stranger to Team Constructed, Zachary Kiihne made Top 8 at SCG Baltimore in November, along with friends, and teammates Marius Cholewa, and Kevin King. Their team made it all the way to the Finals, before being knocked out of the competition by fellow Team Cardhoarder member Noah Walker, and his teammates, Dylan Donegan, and Oliver Tiu. Zachary recently finished 11-4 at Grand Prix Oklahoma City, and qualifies for Pro Tour Bilbao in February. Look forward to continued success from him in the new year.
Eli Kassis capped off his 2017 by winning the Season Two StarCityGames Invitational, and finishing 12-3 at Grand Prix Oklahoma City in December, which was good enough to lock up Silver status in the Pro Players Club. Because Eli qualifies for Pro Tour Bilbao thanks to his performance at Pro Tour Albuquerque, the invitation he receives from his Silver status will be deferred to Pro Tour Richmond. Starting the new year off as an Invitational Champion, and qualified for the next two Pro Tours is not a bad place to be, and I’m eager to see what Eli does next.
Lastly, while they won’t be at Santa Clara, Bernardo Santos and Guilherme Merjam will be representing Team Cardhoarder Brazil at Grand Prix London at the end of the month. The format is Ixalan Block Limited, which both players should have experience with, given how many Ixalan Drafts they played in preparation for Pro Tour Albuquerque. Grand Prix London will also give players their first opportunity to play Rivals of Ixalan in an individual Sealed Grand Prix, which means we’re bound to see some exciting new decks on camera.
As always, be sure to Follow @TeamCardhoarder for all the latest updates on Grand Prix Santa Clara, including pictures, standings, and much more!