Colombian clouds

What if we held a PTQ and twelve Death Clouds came?
I was flipping through recent PTQ results from the current season when I saw the top eight from this PTQ in Bogota, Colombia. The standout fact for me was three Death Cloud decks, which is a much higher hit rate than we’ve come to expect. Now, this was a forty-eight player PTQ, so that’s a little less of a shakedown than a California PTQ, say, but it still makes us ask “Is there anything new about these lists?” Let’s just walk through the whole top eight (click through to the extended entry for that).

First place – Juan Fernando Giraldo
Giraldo’s Cloud list is pretty conventional, with a suite of Baloth, Elders, and Tarmogoyfs, with accessory Kitchen Finks and a trio of Eternal Witness. There’s no standout innovation here, just a pile of removal and a bunch of life gain creatures.
Second place – Carlos Amaya
Hey, it’s…um, the same deck as first place. Clearly, this field was good for Cloud decks. Hm. Moving on.
Third place – Jaime Palacio
Palacio brought a take on the normal WBG “good stuff” build that dispenses with the green component. That actually leaves a lot of room for the expected components from this type of deck, including a quad of Dark Confidant, four Kitchen Finks, and four Scullers. Interestingly, it brings double Stillmoon Cavalier (which I saw show up as a sideboard card at last week’s PTQ here) as well as double Order of Whiteclay, which is not much of an offensive monster but can recur all the deck’s other threats.
Having eschewed green, Palacio gets acceleration instead from triple Chrome Mox. Overall, this seems like a reasonable “good stuff” deck
Fourth place – Daniel Moreno
Oh, hey, Bant.
This Bant list is pretty much as expected, including the possibly sup-optimal Troll Asceitc/Worship package (more accurately, perhaps, a Troll Ascetic/equipment package). Notably, it packs triple Vendilion Clique, along with some Mana Leaks and Spell Snares to try and maintain tempo. Overall, this seems like a perfectly serviceable, if non-novel, Bant deck.
Fifth place – Julian Mercado
Mercado’s is the third Death Cloud deck in the top eight, and the only one that diverges from the standard Cloud mold. Mercado eschews the Eternal Witnesses and Tarmogoyfs of the first two Cloud decks, in their place packing the Crime/Loam package as well as a single Worm Harvest as a long-game finisher. This is still an actual Cloud deck, featuring triple Death Cloud and Garruk.
The sideboard features two Faerie-hating Darkblasts, but otherwise is also pretty stock.
Seventh place – Francisco Noguera
The stock Faeries list is followed by a stock Naya Zoo list. Paths in the main and side, along with Fallouts and Vortexes (Vortices?) in the side. I can’t imagine Higuera was happy to be heading into a top eight with triple Cloud. Ugh, and all that.
Eighth place – Luis Zuluaga
We end this top eight with a somewhat wackety Faeries list featuring a single Meloku as well as three main deck Firespouts (hm). The sideboard is really interesting, with triple Kataki, CoP: Red, double Future Sight, quadruple Seal of Primordium, and three Engineered Explosives (for when you really, really need to clear more than Firespout can handle).
This top eight was actually a lot more normal than I expected, suggesting that the field might just have been awash with, say, Zoo, leaving Cloud as an oddly optimal choice. I was hoping for more innovation, but sometimes, a metagame just kicks up some unexpected yet standard deck types.

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