Blue shift

Here’s the archetype round up from the four PTQ top eights from last weekend that have posted on the Wizards site. I’ll bold the winning archetype in each case.
Rockville: 1 Burn, 1 Rock, 2 Mono-Blue Control, 1 Affinity, 1 UGW Control, 1 Mind’s Desire, 1 All-In Red
Adam Levitt’s UGW deck featured a MUC frame with Kitchen Finks in the main and triple Kataki in the side, as well as triple CoP: Red.
Madison: 3 MUC, 1 Sligh, 1 Tezzerator, 1 Rock, 1 Affinity, 1 UB Tron
Columbus: 2 Affinity, 2 Zoo, 1 Death Cloud, 1 Mind’s Desire, 1 MUC, 1 Elves
Interesting that Affinity is still going strong even after the double top eight in Los Angeles.
Burlington: 7 MUC, 1 Elves
Check that out. In fairness, the third place finisher had Tarmogoyfs and a single Rude Awakening in his deck, hearkening back to various levels of blue last season. Regardless, that is one mirror-rific top eight.

On scouting and equal access

One of the most alluring things for outside players in reading event coverage is deck lists; this is one line of reasoning behind the hybrid limited/constructed pro tours in this season. More to the point, it means that if you, as a competitor, have access to the coverage during the event, you may well have access to an opponent’s complete deck list.
Over at his blog, Bill Stark talks about an ethical move on the part of Mark Herberholz and Mike Jacobs heading into the top eight at GP Los Angeles:
So let’s say you’re Mike Jacobs and Mark Herberholz, both champions (Heezy at the aforementioned PT-Honolulu, Mike at US Nats this past year), and you’ve just made the Top 8 of a Grand Prix. You both have 3G cell phones capable of accessing the Internet, and you

Conflux as a PTQ player

With the MTGSalvation Conflux spoiler just thirteen cards shy of complete (assuming it’s mostly correct), it’s time to check in again and see if this mid-Alara set is going to cause any significant changes in the current PTQ season.
I have some full notes in the extended entry, but my true standout cards are Path to Exile, Hellspark Elemental, Volcanic Fallout, Worldheart Phoenix, and Might of Alara. I discuss a few others, but these are the ones that I foresee having some real impact. Of these, Path slots into certain control and aggro/control decks. Hellspark Elemental goes into mono-red burn. Volcanic Fallout may go into certain aggro builds. Worldheart Phoenix might be a Gifts finisher. Last, but not at all least, Might of Alara goes into Domain Zoo.
So does this shift the metagame? It might make Domain Zoo a stronger contender, and it might make All-In Red decks much riskier. Perhaps we’ll also see some more U/w control again, with Path going in as the super removal card in those decks.
The financial upshot here is that you probably aren’t looking to pick up any rares to retain your competitive edge as Conflux spills into the Extended format.
(And, as noted, more commentary in the extended entry.)

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Grand Prix Los Angeles 2009 – Day two curiosities

As I mentioned , the industrious BIll Stark has given us all the day two deck lists from GP Los Angeles 2009. Over at Top 8 Magic, Brian has already posted deck lists for the ninth through twentieth places. I took a quick look through the list earlier today and rather than chasing top finishers, pulled some deck lists that stood out from the others.
Click through to the extended entry to see some of the more unexpected builds, including Time Spiral non-allstar Roiling Horror as a finisher in a Martyr deck, and many other intriguing card choices.

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Conflux cards for Extended

With more than another month to go before the first PTQ I’ll be attending in the current season, it’s good to be mindful of the potential impact of Conflux cards on playable and good decks in Onslaught-Conflux Extended.
Click through to the extended entry for some thoughts on a few interesting cards. My early feeling is that Conflux will help push Burn and Domain Zoo toward success, with a possible role for some new white-splashing control decks as well.

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Good job, Luis

Good on Luis (Scott-Vargas), representing Northern California yet again with a back-to-back Grand Prix win.
Here’s the coverage from Grand Prix Los Angeles 2009
That’s Luis’s third GP win, which is pretty good.
Also notable in the top eight is Asher Hecht, whose name I recognize from Top 8 Magic podcasts (and, of course, Michael Jacob and former PT champion Mark Herberholz).
Copied from this part of the day two coverage, here’s the archetype breakdown for day two at the GP:
Faeries 29
Affinity 11
Death Cloud 11
GRW Zoo 9
Zoo 9
Burn 8