Top 5 Players of the Weekend
5. Jim Davis
If a U/W control deck is playable in the format, Jim Davis is going to play it. Despite his Team MGG teammates crafting a powerful Sultai Energy deck, Davis played toward his strengths by sleeving up U/W Approach. The deck gained Opt, Settle the Wreckage, and Search for Azcanta from Ixalan, giving the deck plenty of tools to navigate the Standard format. Davis cruised through the Swiss and reached the Top 8 as the No. 2 seed. While his deck was great for most of the meta, it did struggle in the mirror in the quarterfinals against David Thomas, who had access to Gideon of the Trials for the matchup. Davis couldn’t get Game 1 and lost the match in Game 2 despite his opponent having no cards left in his library. Though he didn’t make it past the quarters, Davis did make the third of his team in the Top 8 on the weekend. Check out Davis’ U/W Approach Deck Tech here.
Brennan DeCandio also worked on the Sultai Energy deck that most of Team MGG played, but audibled last minute to his own creation. DeCandio modified the old version of God Pharaoh’s Gift to Esper, taking advantage of Hostage Taker, Seeker’s Squire, Chart a Course, and Vona, Butcher of Magan. DeCandio had a rough Day 1 after his two byes, going 6-3, but rattled off six straight wins on Day 2 to make the Top 8 as the No. 8 seed. Once in the Top 8, DeCandio had to face off against Andrew Jessup, on the Sultai Energy deck, and ended up falling to Deathgorge Scavenger out of the sideboard – a card DeCandio recommend they play for his exact matchup. Check out DeCandio’s Esper Gift Deck Tech here.
3. David Thomas
David Thomas hasn’t played as much Magic the past couple of years, but is no stranger to success on the SCG Tour® when it heads south. Thomas brought his own take on U/W Approach and earned his seventh Open Top 8, despite missing Round 8 after losing track of time. Thomas finished the Swiss at 12-3, losing only two matches where he sat down across from an opponent, and entered the elimination rounds as the No. 7 seed. Thomas was well suited for the mirror, which he won in the quarterfinals against Jim Davis, who didn’t have access to Gideon of the Trials like he did. In the semifinals he had to face down his toughest matchup in the meta, Ramunap Red in the hands of Tad Macaraeg. While Thomas stole Game 1 on the draw, he was unable to make the sun approach for a second time in Games 2 or 3 and settled for a Top-4 finish. Check out Thomas’ U/W Approach decklist here.
2. Tad Macaraeg
Ramunap Red was the most played deck on Day 2 of the Open, but only Tad Macaraeg managed to take the aggressive deck to the Top 8. The deck lost almost nothing in the rotation and gained Lightning Strike to give the deck more flexibility in its burn package. Tad lit up the competition and made the elimination rounds as the No. 3 seed, giving him the edge of the play in the quarterfinals. Macaraeg ran over Jon Toone on Four-Color Energy in the quarters, taking two quick games that showcased the power of the deck. Once in the semis, Macaraeg dropped Game 1 to David Thomas on U/W Approach, but used his sideboard Glorybringers to take Games 2 and 3 to advance to the finals. But in the last match Macaraeg would not be on the play, and lost to a powerful draw from Andrew Jessup on Sultai Energy in Game 1. Macaraeg forced a third game with a blisteringly fast draw, but his run came to an end as he stalled on two lands in the deciding game. Check out Macaraeg’s Ramunap Red decklist here.
1. Andrew Jessup
Dallas has been kind to Team MGG and this week was no different. Three of the four members of the team that came to the Open made the Top 8, with the Jessup brothers being two of them on the same Sultai Energy deck. Andrew tuned the Sultai Energy deck throughout the week, looking to play the strongest Hostage Taker deck possible. The deck performed brilliantly for the Jessups as Andrew was able to intentionally draw in Round 15, locking up the top seed, and Dan was able to take his win-and-in to be the No. 5 seed. Andrew had to take down Brennan DeCandio on Esper Gift in the quarterfinals, before facing his brother for a second time in the semis. Andrew came out on top once again, advancing to the finals to give him the chance to claim his second Open win on the year. Andrew used the advantage of the top seed to be on the play against Tad Macaraeg on Ramunap Red, winning Game 1 in under three minutes. Andrew lost Game 2 to an equally fast start from Macaraeg before taking the third game where he was back on the play and his opponent stumbled on land No. 3. For a player who had multiple Open finals losses, Andrew Jessup has now won two finals straight, both of which in release-week Standard events. Check out Andrew Jessup’s Sultai Energy decklist here.