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My Road to Platinum, Part 2

This article is a continuation of part 1.

I made a small mistake in the first one—I said I ended up 11-4 in Indianapolis. It was actually 10-4-1, which brings the Pro Points total so far to 11.

GP Pittsburgh (Modern)

Don’t confuse this with GP Pittsburgh from a few weeks ago. Weeks prior, I was in a group chat that included Bob Huang, creator of the original GriShoalBrand deck. Modern was in a state where Amulet Bloom was its peak. This group was about 8 players who thought the Griselbrand menace would be a great choice considering its good matchup against Amulet. After about 2 weeks of conversing and testing, I ended up playing a version that splashed Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. The deck was awesome and I won so many games because people thought I was just a regular Grixis deck because of my turn-2 Jaces, then I’d kill them on turn 3—good times. I ended up 11-4.

Total Pro Points: 13

GP Mexico City (Sealed)

Mexico was the week prior to PT Atlanta and Hasbro now covered our flights to the GPs attached to Pro Tours, so here I was trying to defend my title from the year before. Long story short: okay Sealed pool on Day 1, horrible Drafts Day 2, and I lost the last round playing for 11-5—no Pro Points.

Pro Points: 13

PT Atlanta (Modern)

This was the event where East West Bowl became a team. Our goal was to test as a team again, but only share limited data and knowledge. We had done extremely well using our methods in Milwaukee so we decided to run it back. A chunk of west coast guys joined the pack and so we appropriately named our team after that. I was traveling to Mexico and staying a week in Atlanta with Ricky Chin, with most of the team either arriving Thursday for the final Limited meeting or staying by themselves. We had not planned on testing Modern together very much as everyone had an idea of what they wanted to play already. Ricky had only ever played Affinity in Modern, so I locked myself on playing that as well to learn from him. Needless to say, Alex Majlaton, Affinity expert, was also on our team so that helped.

JC Tao and a few other guys from the west coast had been working on Eldrazi. I tried the lists they shared, but as I said, we really weren’t well organized for Constructed. It was impressively good, but their UR list had trouble beating Affinity, which I was expecting in large numbers. I decided to stick with our Affinity list that was good in the mirror.

Huge punt? Maybe. Nevertheless, I made Top 8 by being extremely lucky and drawing Mox Opal in almost all of my starting hands, except in the Top 8. At this point I couldn’t be sad about the results—I finally got my first Pro Tour Top 8 after all these attempts. These 18 Pro Points locked me for Gold.

Pro Points Status: 31

GP Houston (Standard)

Hitting Gold in the middle of the season meant Platinum was now a reality. If I put in the effort I could get there, so here I’d go again, playing an absurd number of Grand Prix.

Our team found out about GW Hardened Scales after getting repeatedly smashed by Brad Nelson and Sam Pardee on Magic Online. We pieced together the pieces of the list and were all impressed. All of us, including almost every other Pro, ran the deck—it was the worst kept secret of all time. It spread among the Pros like the plague, but nobody else knew about it. Only one dealer brought dice to sell at that event—MAJOR mistake. I found dice and ended up 10-5, getting a concession from Steve Rubin, who was already capped on points, in the last round.

Pro Points Status: 32

GP Detroit (Modern)

GP Eldrazi, yet I didn’t play it. That was probably stupid, but I was not satisfied with any of the mirror match game plans and didn’t want to roll the dice in the mirror. My practice for this event was to try to find a deck that’s good against it—I landed on Living End. It’s one of my favorite decks as it’s so linear and consistent, but I’d never had the guts to play it since its matchups were so lopsided. In Detroit, I didn’t mind having lopsided matchups because I expected to face the same 4-5 decks all day anyway. Modern was just not the same that weekend. Final record: 10-5—more losses to Eldrazi than I expected, silly me.

Pro Points Status: 33

GP DC (Team Limited)

Yay for Team Limited! I was locked into playing with my very good friend Dan Lanthier since we had wanted to for a long time, but had never had the opportunity—we eventually recruited gasoline himself, Paul Dean. This event was a blast. We got along really well as a team. We struggled to get to Day 2, limping in at 6-3. On Day 2, however, we went 4-1, which unfortunately was only good enough for 1 Pro Point. At this point, I already had 6 Grand Prix results and because of the ‘’GP Cap’’ rule, it meant 0 pro points for my season.

Pro Points Status: 33

GP Barcelona (Limited)

Miserable experience. I got what looked like a good Sealed pool: I was black/green and splashed a few red removal spells. I had Seasons Past and a good midrange/control deck. Then I faced GW 4 times. For those who don’t know about Shadows over Innistrad Sealed and even Draft, GW is way too good—all the cards are good—you can have only commons and still have one of the best decks in the room. My deck could not compete and I did not make Day 2.

Pro Points Status: 33

To be continued.

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