Here is my own take and pregame breakdown of the top 8 for MSQ #3 tomorrow. I used to do similar breakdowns for Warpmetas and some of the other tournaments, but it's been a while. I figured the stakes are heating up and with only two qualifiers left, it would be interesting to see what people are bringing. I also provided some light commentary on the matchups and possible bans, but I may be way off in my assessments.
17 Aggro (excluding burn assassin)
4 Combo (3 burn, 1 abomination)
Tri-Color Representation: 21
Dual-Color Representation: 11
5 Aggro Hlaalu
5 Aggro/Token Crusader
3 Burn Assassin
3 Control Ebonheart
2 Aggro Covenant
Matchup 1: immortalaugust vs Earlmeister
immortalaugust: Aggro BM, Aggro Dominion, Aggro Hlaalu, Aggro Crusader
Earlmeister: Control Ebonheart, Aggro Hlaalu, Aggro Covenant, Aggro Crusader
Notes: I think the big matchups here are the Aggro Hlaalu and Crusader mirrors. It'll be interesting to see which ones happen to matchup against others. We're talking about two lists that are completely different from one another. August's Sader + Hlaalu could be considered the standard tried-and-true lists which have seen a ton of success in the past year. Earlmeister's sader is red based featuring Mighty Ally and has an extremely heavy concentration in the 3-spot while throwing out the window anything resembling a normal curve, so it'll be very interesting to see how that plays out. August's Aggro BM and Aggro Dominion are also interesting, especially the Dominion, which features Divine Fervor in a deck that otherwise is void of tokens – but has plenty of drain to make up for any tempo losses.
Ban prediction: Both players could be strongly considering either banning Crusader, which is potently consistent in the Aggro mirror, or Hlaalu, which is great for high rolling. I think if you're immortalaugust, you might take your chances on the triple Aggro Mirror and let Control Ebonheart fade away. If you're Earlmeister, you would think that at least one of your decks can get under the BM and you might look at Dominon as it does have a lot of healing, which is perfect for the racing that these two will be doing. Interestingly enough though, Earl does have False Incarnates in at least one of his decks so we'll see if those actually come into play if they do match.
Matchup 2: DangerZoneee vs. superthx555
DangerZoneee: Rage Crusader, Rage Guildsworn, Rage Dagoth, Burn Assassin
superthx555: Abomination Empire, Aggro Hlaalu, Aggro Redoran, Aggro Crusader
Notes: Worth noting that each player has a deck that offers little interaction for the opponent (Abom Empire and Burn Assassin) while also featuring 3 other very strong decks. Super's aggro decks have no shortage of card draw (all have Housecarl) or ways to deal with threats (Agents and Sharpshooter are featured in the 75s while the Crusader list just has the Agents). On the other side, Danger is using a list which has been really successful lately in Rage Sader, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. Guildsworn looks to be the 75
Ban Prediction: Superthx has 3 WHC decks; I'd imagine he'd think that at least one can take down Burn Assassin. I'd venture to guess he'd either remove the Dagoth (which has the classic Archer-lethal removal package as well as plenty of drain and board clears) or Crusader, which can be very consistent in doing what it does. On DangerZoneee, he has a tough choice to make; if he chooses to allow the Abomination through then the ban would like be on the very consistent Hlaalu or Crusader, while letting the less proven Redoran slide through.
Matchup 3: Karakondzhul vs. Wita
Karakondzhul: Aggro Hlaalu, Burn Assassin, Aggro Crusader, Control Ebonheart
Wita: Aggro Sorcerer, Mid Dagoth, Aggro Covenant, Burn Assassin
Notes: I think the most interesting matchups here will be how Wita's Aggro Sorcerer, Mid Dagoth, and Aggro Covenant matchup against Kara's Aggro Hlaalu and Aggro Sader. Wita's Sorcerer is pretty keyword heavy, even featuring 3 Nereid's Sisters, which could help in longer matchups. Meanwhile, we'll see if either player's Burn Assassin makes it through or even Kara's Control Ebonheart, which could be a game changer.
Ban Prediction: Out of the first three matchups I've done so far, this really looks to be the most versatile in terms of bans. If I was in Kara's shoes, I might look to ban the Mid Dagoth, which looks like it could win on value alone if it gets the right draws. If I were Wita, I'd probably ban either Control Ebonheart or Aggro Hlaalu and take my chances against Crusader and Assassin. Both players have multiple WHC decks to deal with Assassin so that might not be a huge factor when considering.
Matchup 4: Infernal_Wisdom vs. snprook
Infernal_Wisdom: Control Tribunal, Aggro Guildsworn, Aggro Hlaalu, Conscription Empire
snprook: Mid BM, Token Crusader, Control Scout, Mid Covenant
Notes: If you're looking for a new adaptation on an old deck, check out snprook's Control Scout. This is an extremely interesting deck that uses a lot of cards that haven't become popular yet – namely, Xivkyn Banelord, Sai Sahan, and Empire Dreadmage. Even Chaurus Reaper has made an appearance as has the old Drain Vitality. It should be a great matchup as it offers a pretty good balance of Control and Aggro decks from both players
Ban Prediction: If you're snprook, you might consider banning Control Tribunal, which could be a really tough matchup all around for almost anything you throw at it. On the other side of things, Infernal_Wisdom might look to take out snprook's Token Crusader on the premise of being a really consistent aggro deck that has a ton of representation in the top 8.
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