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This weekend we’ll be battling in the Kaldheim Championship.
This event, formerly known as “the Pro Tour”, is a double-format constructed event featuring Standard and Historic.
I thought it might be fun to jot down some predictions to see how close I get to my expectations.
#1 – JUND SACRIFICE WILL BE OVER 40% OF THE FIELD BUT WILL WIN UNDER 50% OF ITS MATCHES.
This prediction isn’t too crazy, I know, but still…
In testing, Jund was much tougher to beat than we thought it might be. Adding a couple of Grafdigger’s Cages or Yasharns to your deck is a good way to get some points, but the Jund decks are adaptable, especially when they don’t play Collected Company, and for this reason I think many people will simply choose to join them.
When a deck takes up such a huge portion of the metagame, the overall win rate moves closer to 50%, making it harder for them to eclipse a 50% win rate. While I think Jund is easily the best deck in a vacuum, I believe people will try to beat it and succeed at least a little.
#2 – JUND FOOD WILL BE MORE POPULAR THAN JUND COCO BUT WILL DO WORSE AGAINST THE FIELD.
Jund Food is a deck that allows you to adapt more than Jund Coco does. It was the more popular version of the deck but trend has been towards a more hybrid build (that doesn’t actually play Collected Company).
From now on, any version of Jund without Collected Company will be referred to as Jund Food.
Jund CoCo has issues with a game one Yasharn or Cage. In fact, many times during testing we just stopped games on the spot vs CoCo when a turn four Yasharn was cast as the CoCo deck didn’t have any answers in it.
While some have added cards like Binding the Old Gods to interact with Yasharn and Cage, it simply dilutes the deck too much to have too many answers to these cards in main deck.
Jund Food is more adaptable as you can play 3 or 4 copies of Binding and not feel the pressure of making the Collected Company deck less effective.
From my experience, I would say that Jund Food is also favorite in the mirror, although ever so slightly. This combination makes it an appealing choice.
However, Jund Food is worse in best-of-three games against other decks I think people will bring, so for that reason, I think Food will have a rougher weekend vs the field, while likely getting a small percentage gain in the mirror.
#3 – AZORIUS CONTROL WILL HAVE ITS FIRST WINNING WEEKEND.
While Azorious Control did win a major Historic tournament in the hands of Brad Barclay, the deck overall had a losing record that weekend.
Historically, from what I’ve seen, Azorious Control had a difficult time in Historic.
Uro was certainly part of the problem, but on top of that, the deck is just kind of clunky and has a difficult time closing out games: you can play games you feel like you’re winning for six or seven turns, draw a bunch of blanks, and slowly get drawn out on by an opponent who resolved an engine of their own. Teferi simply ain’t what it used to be.
However, with the Jund decks praying on each other, I believe this creates a big opportunity for Azorious Control to beat up on Collected Company decks like Angels and Elves if they show up (if you want to know more about these recently-emerged decks, check them out on my previous article!), while also leaving Jund decks underprepared for the matchup.
I also expect good players to recognize this and it will be more popular than it has been previously.
#4 – A NEW DECK WILL SHOW UP AND DO WELL IN HISTORIC.
This isn’t really that crazy as we’ve had an anthology, a new set, and a series of bannings in the format since the last major event. However, as someone playing a brew myself, I have to be a bit optimistic about this.
If the deck I chose doesn’t perform well, I think Angels is in a potentially good spot to do well as it’s better against Jund than you’d think for a creature deck, but will depend largely on how much control shows up as it’s quite bad against control.
Either way there are new cards to work with and I think someone will have found a great new archetype for the event.
#5 – SULTAI WILL BE THE MOST POPULAR DECK IN STANDARD AND WILL HAVE A LOSING RECORD LIKE THE HISTORIC JUND.
Not by as much, but it was a known fact that Sultai was the deck to beat going into deck submission.
This is a bad spot for a deck that is very beatable and I’ve learned my lesson in the past just accepting that I’m playing the deck to beat, despite it not being that dominant and done poorly because of it.
At the pro level, when there’s a deck that’s this popular, not many people will submit a deck saying “I have a bad Sultai matchup, but it’s pretty good otherwise”.
Sultai has some pretty polarized matchups as well in my opinion, which leads to playing decks that beat it or playing decks that lose to it.
I think Sultai set the tone for this weekend and people had the choice of a few options to play against it: Rogues, Mono Red, and Mono White.
Playing Lovestruck Beast decks is generally a tough choice if you expect at least 25-30% Sultai, which I do.
I expect less Lovestruck Beasts than last time and more aggro decks and rogues, which is likely the worst of the 3 against Sultai, while it still plays it close and beats Mono White pretty soundly.
Mono White beats Mono Red and Mono Red Beats Rogues.
While I still think Adventure decks as a whole will be the next popular after Sultai, I think it will be less than we’ve seen before, giving an opening for the other decks to have a good weekend.
#6 – FACELESS HAVEN WILL OVERPERFORM.
I think both Mono Red and Mono White are primed to have a good weekend because of how popular I expect Sultai to be.
May not seem like a bold prediction if you follow Standard closely as they have actually done fairly well across Standard the past few weeks, but they got demolished on League Weekend and all of those players will be playing this event. I think these decks can compete and will do quite well at the Kaldheim Championship, and Faceless Haven is a big reason why.
#7 – FOUR RIVALS PLAYER WILL MAKE TOP 8.
While the Rivals make up a big percentage of the field, it’s not 50% of the field. I think Rivals will have a good event as they have a lot more pressure on them than MPL.
Everyone already knows Paulo’s going to get first in the MPL right? The Rivals race is still up for grabs, and those that eventually get relegated are out of the league entirely, placing a lot of value on each and every point.
(Side Note: While typing this I’m hearing the lyrics to “The Sound of Silence” playing in my head while thinking about my deck choices.)
I think we’ll see a couple of Old and New super stars rising up from the Rivals League making a mark in this event.
#8 MY LAST ONE, I DELEGATED TO THE WORLD CHAMPION, THE BEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME HIMSELF: PVDDR