We have yet to begin here in Montreal, which makes this an ideal time to get all my predictions and prognostications out of the way. There is a very clear dichotomy going into this Jump between what I think should happen and what I think will happen. SJC Columbus signified a huge increase in the number of combo decks that were deemed viable and proven successful at the SJC level, with six of the Top 16 players choosing to bring some sort of combo deck to the table. For you statisticians at home, that’s 37.5% of Day 2 players who ran some sort of combo deck. The only SJC Day 2 to have a higher percentage of combo decks was SJC Orlando back in January, which was an even 50% split between combo and conventional decks. With this in mind, what I think should happen is that people should have thought long and hard about what it is that makes these decks work and how they can be combated. In theory, people should know at this point that you can chain Cloak and Dagger to Advanced Ritual Art to stop Demise from doing his thing, or My Body as a Shield to Demise’s effect to blow him away without allowing him to clear the field. I would also hope that people realize that a timely Banisher of the Radiance is more than enough to stop most combo decks dead in their tracks. Specifically, if Diamond Dude Turbo doesn’t have the Lightning Vortex or a big enough monster to beat Banisher right there and then, they essentially have to stop playing until they get rid of the Banisher. Obviously, things can still go horribly wrong for the Banisher player if, for instance, the DDT player manages to throw away a hand of all huge monsters and then draw into Dimension Fusion, but that’s just part of what makes DDT so dangerous. Banisher also creates complications for Magical Explosion OTK, making it thoroughly impossible for the deck to do anything until the Banisher is gone, and it can also prevent the summon of Doom Dozer against Demise OTK, by forcing all the cards necessary to summon the big bug out of play. There are, of course, other methods to combat these decks, but whether or not they surface remains to be seen. There’s plenty of room for innovation here if the players decided to explore the possibilities.
Now, on to what I think will happen. My best guess is that everyone is just going to play the same combo decks they saw or ran back at Columbus with slightly more anti-other-combo-deck tech. Likely it’s going to be a main decked Pulling the Rug here or a My Body as a Shield there. Sage of Silence would be a nice addition too, but I’m afraid that falls under the “what I think should happen” category. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that Glass is still playing his DDT, and that I’ve been seeing players from Team Rampage using Magical Explosion OTK . . . with a side into Chimeratech Overdragon OTK. In general, I’m expecting an environment even more filled with combo decks than Columbus, but, to be honest, I’d love to be wrong on this one. Registration is almost over, and play will begin soon, at which point we’ll know for sure. Regardless of which way things go, SJC Montreal is going to be an important part of the evolution of this format, so keep on checking back to see the latest news right here on Metagame.com!