Chasing Victory – Return from the Depths

 

Wait, didn’t I quit?

Well, yeah. However, I like money, so this is strictly for the paycheck. Don’t get it twisted though. I have a decent amount of free time, so at the very least I’ll be playing enough Magic Online to be able to pretend to know what I’m talking about. Don’t expect me to show up to any real life events though.

Aaanyway, my triumphant return to Magic started on January 12th. I had a couple lists for Standard that I was kicking around, so I spent about 20 tix to get the remaining cards I needed and played a few queues with my Grixis brews. While I won more than I lost, it wasn’t what I was looking for, and moved on.

There were a lot of things I had to say about Josh Utter-Leyton and his Aven Mimeomancer deck he played at Worlds last year, but the nicest one was definitely, “Ancient Ziggurat might be the best land in Standard.” I decided to try and brew up my own list of the aggro Jund deck with Sedraxis Specters.

I didn’t like the look of the random MODO lists, as they seemed to have a lot of spot removal for no real reason, and Blightning, while great, wasn’t necessarily something I wanted to be doing with my balls out aggro deck. Most of the time, I would probably rather just have another efficient body. It wasn’t like a normal Jund deck where I was trying to grind them out with two for ones. I wanted to beat down!

Here’s where I ended up:

I’ll write about that one more in a couple weeks, seeing as how Standard isn’t quite the pinnacle of relevant formats right now.

I took a mild break from bashing my head against the wall (aka playing Standard) to play in an online PTQ. Now, I don’t have any plans to attend any of the Pro Tours this year, but first place was $1000 (although I would have to actually go to San Juan to collect it) and I happen to like Extended.

Dark Depths seemed like a good choice, if only because I knew the deck well and it happened to be good against Scapeshift and Burn, which I heard were two of the most popular decks online. Turns out that wasn’t quite true, but that DD is actually pretty solid against everything regardless.

A few different decks were actually considered, as I’ve been a longtime fan of Thopter Foundry, but in the end, the Blue decks just weren’t cutting it. Depths was the only thing I would want to play, although this time, I would have my own Thopter Foundries.

Here’s what I “sleeved” up:

That list probably looks a little weird. Right up until the last moment, I had 62 cards that I wanted to play (since I basically just decided to add 2 Duress), but I eventually decided to cut a Beseech and a Vendilion. I wanted a ton of discard so that I could quickly interact with decks like Scapeshift, Tezzeret, and Burn, so Duress seemed necessary.

The Thopter combo is maindeck to give you a backup plan vs. hateful opponents. Post-board I bring in more of the pieces in anticipation of my 20/20 not necessarily getting the job done. Some decks are really weak to this two pronged attack and you can usually find whatever you need with all of your tutors.

I only play a singleton EE and Chalice because I don’t feel like those cards are very good anymore. Chalice on one just doesn’t blank as many spells as it used to, as Zoo is now a midrange deck. Also, it’s not like people are still maxing on Repeal, and if they were going to play it, they would probably just play Into the Roil to get around Gaddock Teeg. Hypergenesis (or Living End, if you swing that way) is almost non-existent as well. In addition to all that, I want to play Duress main and Extirpate in the board, and those don’t combo well with Chalice.

Explosives never really impressed me. Sure, it’s good against some Zoo draws, but most of the time, I’d rather just have one to tutor up if I need to kill something. I even have Academy Ruins if I need to keep Exploding stuff. The Ruins is there to protect the secondary combo and the off chance I need to rebuy something like EE or Chalice. Ghost Quarter is only good vs. a few select decks, so Ruins gets the maindeck nod.

I like having more Thirsts in the sideboard, as they really complement your sideboard strategy well. Also, a lot of your games are decided by drawing multiple copies of your legends, or pseudo legends like Chrome Mox, which basically do nothing in multiples. Thoughtseize, Dark Confidant, Dark Depths, Chrome Mox, and Urborg are all cards that I usually don’t want to draw multiple copies of. Vendilion is a weird case where although it’s legendary, drawing multiples isn’t the worst since you can cycle the other one with the first, or just trade it away and play the other one.

Even things like Chalice, EE, and Into the Roil are bad in your openers and Thirst is really great for sifting through those awkward draws. The postboard games are way more about attrition as well. Most of my games vs. Zoo would involve me killing a threat or two while they stockpile garbage like Path, Bant Charm, and Negate. It’s pretty easy to win from there with Thirst for Knowledge and the Thopter combo, backed up with Academy Ruins.

I decided to rock two of each basic to have reasonable outs against Blood Moon. The mana base is usually pretty solid, so there’s no reason to make yourself even more vulnerable to various things by playing garbage like Watery Grave or Underground River.

MODO tournaments are pretty screwy. You can watch the replays for whatever round you want, so all you have to do to find out what your opponent is playing is take five seconds to watch one of their previous matches. In all cases, I knew what my opponent was playing except for round one.

Round One: Draftmaster3, Affinity

I kept Muddle, Chalice, Mox, Pact, and UB lands on the draw. He played a Worker, while I drew another land and Chaliced for one on turn one. I figured the Chalice was probably going to be pretty dead if I didn’t play it that turn, and I definitely wanted to transmute Muddle on turn two for Hexmage. Quickly comboing is about the only way I’m going to win, so I just have to rely on drawing a Depths soon. Slaughter Pact, while a fine card against Affinity, probably won’t buy me that much time.

He cast Plating and Frogmite on his second turn, while I searched up a Hexmage, hoping to stop him cold. Sadly, he had a [card]Master of Etherium[/card], and I desperately wanted that Slaughter Pact. I didn’t draw a Depths and was very dead.

Maybe if I waited on the Chalice, I could have used the Confidant I drew to imprint on Mox, Pact his Master, and get some extra turns, but alas.

Second game I kept double Mox, Thirst, Hexmage, Depths, Swamp, Ghost Quarter. If I draw a Black card or even a Black land, my hand is very good. I immediately drew Beseech and made a 20/20, which was chumped by an Ornithopter. I Thoughtseized him, saw a Blinkmoth Nexus, but Ghost Quartered his Seat of the Synod for no real reason. I was scared of a bounce spell or something, and also kind of wanted to find out if he had a basic Island like most Affinity decks do nowadays.

It turns out he did, and would have gotten an extra turn with Nexus, but I drew my Hurkyl’s Recall, imprinted Thirst on my second Mox, and added insult to injury.

I mulliganed an unplayable hand into five non-Depths lands and Muddle the Mixture, which can get the Recall. Affinity can certainly kill on turn four, especially when I put up no resistance, but if I don’t die, I probably have enough time to find my combo.

He had a Ravager, while I drew Explosives and then a Bob, which I played. Thankfully, his third turn was Drum, Thoughtcast, Ravager, Frogmite instead of him attacking me for a ton. When he equipped Plating to Frogmite and sent the team the next turn, I blocked his giant Frog and untapped at a healthy 15.

I had to consider my next play, with four lands in play and my hand containing

Thirst for Knowledge
Beseech the Queen
Hurkyl’s Recall
Engineered Explosives
Tolaria West
Ghost Quarter

I decided that I would probably want to Hurkyl’s him that turn, otherwise I risk getting Soul’s Fired out or something silly like that. I decided to use my two remaining mana to play the Explosives on two, as I will probably want to kill his two drop at some point, and that way I use my mana the most efficiently. That way, when he plays his two drop the next turn, I can Explode it and cast Thirst or Beseech.

This play might have been wrong considering his post-Hurk Pithing Needle on Vampire Hexmage. I cast a main phase Thirst and passed it back to my opponent, who played two Frogmites and a Plating, which was promptly Exploded. Then I transmuted Tolaria for [card]Academy Ruins[/card] and cast Hexmage. He could only play another Plating and Drum, and passed it back.

During my upkeep, I Ruined back Explosives and killed his Needle and Drum on my main phase so that he couldn’t play any potential Masters on his turn, if he happened to draw one, since clearly he didn’t have it at that moment. From that point, winning was easy, I Beseeched for Depths and made a 20/20 with Muddle backup, and Ghost Quartered his Nexus that tried to buy him a turn.

1-0!

After this round, I had to change locations and there was a brief scare that I would miss my next round. Thankfully, my round was over quickly and everyone in the tournament played really slow.

Round Two: qazwsxedcrfvtgbyhnuj, 5c Zoo

He won the die roll and I kept a hand with Sword, Confidant, Hexmage, Mox, and three UB lands. I wasn’t quite sure how this draw would play out, and figured I would have to wait and see what he did before I made a decision.

My opponent led with the almighty Kird Ape and I peeled a Beseech the Queen, which made my choice nonexistent. The Thopter combo is much safer than the 20/20 plan at this point, since there’s not much I can do about Path, whereas he probably doesn’t have Bant Charm in his deck since he’s playing Kird Ape.

I removed Hexmage to Mox and played Confidant, which ate a Helix. Beseech tutored up Foundry, while my opponent could only attack and Tribal Flames me. I considered playing both the Sword and Foundry on my turn three, but was at 11 and some combination of burn could kill me, so I just played the Foundry and passed, with the intention of gaining a few life if he had something like double Tribal Flames.

Instead, he just attacked me to 9 and I played the Sword, which elicited no response from my opponent. At that point, I played another Mox and removed my only other card, a Thirst for Knowledge, because I definitely was all in on the Thopter plan, and the extra mana could mean all the difference.

It didn’t matter though, as he untapped and conceded.

He didn’t play a creature on turn one of the second game and I Thoughtseized, seeing

Knight of the Reliquary
Tribal Flames
Path to Exile
Lightning Helix
Ancient Grudge
Mountain

My hand contained two Beseeches, two Urborgs, Thirst, and a Hexmage, which honestly didn’t factor into my decision all that much. Without the Knight, he has no pressure, and I need time to draw a third land anyway. I also didn’t feel like trying to beat his Ghost Quarter. I wasn’t quite sure which route I was going to go, as he had a way to kill a 20/20 and also a Grudge to buy him some time vs. the Foundry combo. Academy Ruins kind of thwarts that plan though, assuming I’m able to contain his pressure.

I ran the Hexmage out there on turn two, knowing full well that it would get Helixed, as I was probably going to use all my mana every turn if I ever drew a third land and I had plenty of redundancy as far as combo pieces were concerned.

He drew some lands, while I missed for a turn then drew a Depths. I Thirsted away some Urborgs and Exploded away a Kataki, saving a Deathmark for his other threats. I probably made a strategic error here, as I could have gone for the Thopter combo with Ruins backup, but with Muddle and an excess Beseech that I could use to Thoughtseize him, I felt safe just going for the kill.

It turns out he drew one Path too many and I looked fairly stupid. It didn’t really matter since I drew pretty well, but I definitely could have played tighter. After the round was over, I found out from multiple people that my opponent was probably Owen Turtenwald, which made me happy for several reasons.

1) I like beating Owen, since he doesn’t like losing.

2) I made a few mistakes, which probably made him even more mad.

3) He didn’t know it was me, so he probably thought he just lost to some moron, which could also piss him off.

2-0

Round Three: kittH, Saito Zoo

Kitt and his wife Megan are both friends of mine, and I didn’t really want to beat him, but I felt a little better knowing that he probably didn’t know it was me doing it.

Game one started off with me mulliganning and casting Duress on turn one, leaving me with Mox, Mox, Muddle, and Confidant in hand, seeing:

Knight of the Reliquary
Tarmogoyf
Path to Exile
Bant Charm
Verdant Catacombs
Verdant Catacombs
Steam Vents

I ended up taking the Bant Charm, as I figured with just Muddle and him having Path, the 20/20 plan wasn’t going to work out. I needed to find another tutor to assemble the Thopter combo, and quickly. My Bob got Helixed and he played a Teeg, which I tried to ambush with Vendilion, cycling away one of my Moxes.

He reluctantly used his Path to keep the Teeg alive and swinging and played a Knight the next turn. It wasn’t looking good for me, especially since he could have Ghost Quarter maindeck, but when the Knight turned sideways the next turn, I was certain he didn’t have it.

Thankfully, I drew running perfects in Hexmage and then Dark Depths, and Muddled his Bant Charm.

For the second game, I kept Deathmark, Muddle, EE, and UB lands. Kitt led with Kird Ape, which I wouldn’t have Deathmarked even if I could. I’d rather try and catch multiple one drops with EE and save the Deathmark for something like Goyf or Knight, since he probably sided in a Ghost Quarter.

He didn’t have a turn two play, and since I drew back to back Hexmages, I decided to just run one of them out there. It was Bant Charmed, which is an interesting play that made me stop and think about what it meant.

The Hexmage wasn’t doing all that much at that moment, and I would think that he would save the Charm for my 20/20, unless of course he was just fearing my Muddle from last game. Maybe he just had a surplus of removal and felt like he afford to burn one of them. Basically, was his hand very strong or very weak?

It seemed more likely that it was weak to my combo, because otherwise he would be willing to let me two for one myself, and Charming on his main phase means he doesn’t want to give me the chance to Muddle it. I decided I’d go for the throat if given the opportunity.

I Exploded away his Ape, drew a Thoughtseize, and saw two Tribal Flames. He used his other Flames on me and passed the turn, probably fearing more discard. I ran out my second Hexmage, and he had a third Flames, but I decided to protect my little beater with Muddle, since he had taken some damage from his lands. Plus, I had Deathmark and Slaughter Pact in hand which would allow me to keep swinging.

The game got kind of weird, as I never really comboed out, just played Chalice, Mox, and transmuted Muddle for Foundry and made some dudes. On the turn before he died, I put the Chalice back on top and set it to two, to prevent any sort of case Tribal Flames shenanigans, seeing as how I was at seven.

3-0

Round Four: kschreve, Dredge

I lost the roll, but my opener was:

Tolaria West
Sunken Ruins
Muddle the Mixture
Vampire Hexmage
Dark Depths
Chrome Mox
Thirst for Knowledge

Basically the nuts. Turn three kill with little resistance.

For game two, I kept:

Vampire Hexmage
Muddle the Mixture
Chrome Mox
Dark Depths
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Swamp
Sunken Ruins

Not a terrible hand, but if he has anything to disrupt me, I could be in trouble. I will probably have to slow roll actually making the token until I have Muddle backup, as some Dredge decks have bounce spells in their sideboard.

However, I drew an [card]Extirpate[/card], so the plan kind of changed. Now I could afford to slow roll my combo immensely, and even have a little protection from getting nut drawn. I could even just remove all his Narcomoebas if I wanted to.

I wasn’t really fearing getting comboed on turn three, especially with a creature that can sacrifice itself in play. If he is able to [card]Dread Return[/card] an Iona, so be it, I can just make a large animal and hopefully he runs out of chump blockers. The odds of that happening aren’t high though, and it means he can’t really tap out since he has to bluff a bounce spell at the very least.

He passed with three mana open and I had the read on him for [card]Echoing Truth[/card] or [card]Into the Roil[/card], so I didn’t make a monster. End of my turn, with Drowned Rusalka and Narcomoeba in play, he sacrificed the Narco and did a little dredging, but didn’t hit much. Then he passed the turn back.

I tapped Depths for a black and made an animal. In response, he dredged a bit and didn’t hit another Narcomoeba, but he did mill an [card]Into the Roil[/card], which I Extirpated, taking the other one in his hand. He conceded, but I still had all these [card]Muddle the Mixture[/card]s!

4-0

Round Five: FFfreak, WB Martyr

Now this is just unfair. I realize that I’m doing reasonably well so far, but for me to have to play against a well-known pro is nothing but unlucky. He shouldn’t even be allowed to play in the tournament considering that he’s obviously qualified for all the Pro Tours, so the only reason he’s here is to crush my dreams and I think that’s stupid.

Anyway, he is playing a deck that’s probably a good matchup, and I have a heads up on his sideboard plan from LSV, err”¦ I mean, from watching replays”¦

The replay from game one is missing, but I know that I won, but not with which combo. I know that I started game two with two minutes less than Brad, so I assume it was with the Foundry as I typically play pretty fast, but I could obviously be wrong.

I knew he was bringing in some Jittes, but I sided out my Explosives anyway, since it doesn’t do much vs. the rest of his deck. Naturally, I mulligan into a hand with some Bobs, but he plays Martyr, Jitte, and Finks, and suddenly all my Bobs are dead. Instead of being able to transmute Tolaria for EE, I sat there looking stupid until I finally assembled the Foundry combo. Jitte was still giving me problems, as he had amassed quite the army thanks to his Phyrexian Arena.

There was a pivotal turn where I had [card]Chrome Mox[/card] in hand and just drew a [card]Beseech the Queen[/card] with [card]Dark Depths[/card] in play. I felt like with his Jitte and Arena he was crushing me at the moment, so I would need to make a Marit Lage to hold of his guys and then put him on a clock. However, maybe it was just better to lock out the attack phase with Foundry, maybe killing some guys here and there.

I could either cast Beseech for Hexmage and pass the turn with some mana open, cast Beseech for Hexmage and play it, or imprint Beseech on Mox so that I could make an extra token. I didn’t feel like Beseeching for Hexmage and then holding it was right, as I was vulnerable to a lot of discard spells at that point. It was either get in there or just make Thopters, and I went with the play that would yield the best results should it work out, seeing as how I considered myself to be behind.

Between Jitte counters and two Paths, he forced through enough damage to kill me that turn.

I definitely feel like I punted that game by siding out Explosives, but I probably should have also made a different play the turn before I died.

I mulliganed again for game three, and used my discard to take his, but he kept peeling more. Eventually I was reduced to a [card]Thopter Foundry[/card], Mox, two lands, and no hand. I did manage to make a 20/20, but that was quickly dispatched, and so was I.

4-1

Round Six: DudeJustTop8EDaGP, Burn

I’m missing the game one replay for this one also, but I know I had the option of taking both Shrapnel Blasts with a Duress and Thoughtseize, or like, a Magma Jet and something else. He only had one artifact at the time, but if he drew another one and I let him keep both Blasts, I’d basically be dead on the spot. I took both Blasts and then on the last possible turn, he drew another Blast.

If I let him keep all the Blasts, who knows what would have happened, but I stand by my decision.

Second game was kind of weird. I Duressed a Pithing Needle and used Thopter Foundry and some Moxes to trade with his Goblin Guide and effectively counter a Lava Spike, and that bought me enough time to assemble the Depths combo. I didn’t make a 20/20 on my main phase, as I wasn’t really scared of Ghost Quarter from the Blinkmoth Nexus/Darksteel Citadel deck. However, some jerks have been seen sporting Mark of Mutinys, and I wasn’t about to let that happen. Thankfully he had nothing and just died.

Third game he blind Needled Hexmage, but that didn’t stop my backup plan.

5-1

Afterward, we had a little discussion about our match.

6:48 PM DudeJustTop8EDaGP: i play 4 quarter main and dont draw it game 1
6:48 PM DudeJustTop8EDaGP: lucky u
6:49 PM DudeJustTop8EDaGP: and u backup plan me 2 and 3
6:49 PM DudeJustTop8EDaGP: obv modo
6:49 PM Thage (me): yeah you deserve to win
6:49 PM Thage: with your superior deck and playskill
6:49 PM Thage: 4 ghost quarters with nexus and shrapnel blast? youre a master
6:49 PM DudeJustTop8EDaGP: yea i know
6:49 PM DudeJustTop8EDaGP: and u missplayed 5 timers against brad
6:49 PM Thage: whos brad
6:49 PM DudeJustTop8EDaGP: we just finished talking about u haha
6:49 PM DudeJustTop8EDaGP: nelson
6:50 PM Thage: am i supposed to know him

See now, clearly I know of THE Brad Nelson. The man created Seismic Swans for Pete’s sake! However, that doesn’t stop me from using my anonymity to further infuriate my opponents, especially those who are pretty full of themselves. I figured both of these guys are going to underestimate me now, as not only did I probably mess up against Brad, but by telling them I don’t know who he is, they think I just live in a cave or something.

Also, some astute readers might have seen the decklists from this PTQ already, and he noticed that he only had two Ghost Quarters maindeck. He also seemed to be confused as to how I won the games that I did, and which ones I won. Overall, a class act.

It was kind of unfortunate that I kept winning, as my friends wanted to leave and they were kind of waiting on me. Thankfully, they are somewhat unorganized and couldn’t figure out exactly where they wanted to go, so I had enough time to play another round.

Round Seven: nram, Saito Zoo

I won the roll and kept a somewhat sketchy one, considering what he was playing, but thankfully he mulliganed to five. Tolaria was my first land, but Sunken Ruins allowed me to Duress and Thoughtseize his hand away. My Confidant was Helixed, but he didn’t cast another relevant spell for the entire game.

I thought I was winning the second game almost the entire time we were playing. I removed his early guys and had a few [card]Dark Depths[/card] and some Muddles while he had nothing. He ended up having enough removal though and eventually drew enough Knights and Goyfs that I couldn’t kill em all. I probably messed up that game somewhere.

I mulliganed to start the final game, and basically decided to move all in on the Depths combo for lack of better options. He had the answer, but it wouldn’t have really mattered had I not accidentally cast an Explosives for zero when facing down his [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] and [card]Wild Nacatl[/card]. My embarrassment grew even more when he played another Nacatl the next turn, all of which would have been DEAD.

Still, I wasn’t quite out of it yet. I had a Sword of the Meek and a Confidant in play, but then he played a [card]Meddling Mage[/card], to which I was kold to if he named Thopter Foundry.

My friends were on their way out the door, but I told them to hold on, as I was dead here very soon. Oddly enough, my opponent named Damnation, Bob revealed Academy Ruins, and I drew the Thopter Foundry that I needed. If he had another Bant Charm I could be in trouble, but rather than try and draw it, he conceded in what I could only assume was sheer, utter disgust.

6-1

I told my friends they could leave without me. I had business to attend to.

Round Eight: osmanozguney, LSV Thopter

At PT Austin, I ran the swiss of the PTQ with Dark Depths, only to lose to a UW Tezzeret deck. It was somewhat of an embarrassment, as neither of us had the Thopter combo in our deck, and it would have beaten the other person hands down had we had access to it. Instead, I could only win on the back of 20/20s and maybe my archaic Bitterblossoms, but overall, my matchup was terrible and I rightfully lost.

I was thinking about how I should feel about the situation I was in. It would make sense for me to feel like I was in a similar situation as before. A do-or-die round in more or less the same matchup. I should feel like this is somewhat hopeless, but my feelings didn’t match my thoughts.

I was calm, I was collected, I was focused. There was only one thing on my mind, and that was victory. Firefox was closed, AIM was signed off, and the music went up. Nothing was going to stop me.

It certainly didn’t hurt that my tiebreakers were good enough that I might make it even if I lost, but still. There is absolutely no reason for me to be worried about that, especially if I could just win and be in.

The first game was awesome. I played a turn one Confidant that he kind of had to Path. I imprinted my second Vampire Hexmage rather than my Slaughter Pact or Into the Roil, and moved all in on a 20/20, facing down his Thopter Foundry. The Pact and Roil cleared out his tokens, and within moments, I was up a game.

Second game, I kept double Duress, Muddle the Mixture, and UB lands on the draw, while my opponent made a series of plays that made me very happy: Chrome Mox, removing Gifts Ungiven, cast Thopter Foundry.

Those Duresses just got a whole lot better, and I even had the Explosives waiting on the top of my deck for his Foundry. He had an Academy Ruins and a main phase Thirst for Knowledge on his next turn, but everything looked fine after I Duressed him the first time, took a Shackles, and saw that he was only holding lands.

I made a mistake and Duressed to make sure the coast was clear, and played my EE for two. He could have used his Ruins to get back his own EE that he discarded to the Thirst, but opted to draw a card instead. Thankfully, I got to untap, Ghost Quarter his Ruins, and Exploded his Foundry, but not before he returned the Shackles.

He had another Foundry, but I played my own Ruins and rebought my Explosives before it could get out of hand. He made a couple guys and even drew a Sword of the Meek the next turn. I willingly took a few hits from his little beaters, but drew some blanks in the meantime. Finally, I had to take the pressure off, and was relieved to draw a Thirst for Knowledge the next turn.

Resolving that Thirst was very key for me, as I was holding a semi-dead Thoughtseize (to his one card), two Moxes, and an Urborg, but also a Muddle that I could use to force it through if necessary. I Thirsted into another, and he cast his own, which I elected to counter with my Muddle, as I didn’t want to risk him drawing into anything, as my position was fairly dominating.

I ended up with another Muddle and a pair of Vendilions which were somewhat useless because of his Shackles, but he had nothing relevant aside from a Ghost Quarter. I drew into a Sword a couple turns later and Duressed him, which he Cryptic Dismissed. Then I cashed in my Muddle for a Thopter Foundry and hoped it was good enough.

Sadly, my opponent had his Pithing Needle, but thankfully, didn’t feel like Ghost Quartering my Ruins, which in turn returned my Explosives to kill his Needle. He was conceding shortly after.

7-1, and in top eight

Top Eight: Villimey, GB Rock

Now, I am fully aware that I am running slightly above expectation, but that’s exactly what it takes to do well in tournaments like these. But come on, there were two copies of this utter abortion in top eight, and the MODO gods must have felt like I deserved a breather round by giving me this matchup.

No disrespect to my opponent, as he seemed to be playing solid Magic, but his deck choice had to have been made when he was under the influence of something.

On the play, I mulliganned, but I wasn’t worried. I played a turn one Confidant and knew I had won the game on the spot, since his deck had no way to remove it. It took a little longer than expected, but eventually I made a 20/20 which he also had no way to remove.

For the second game, I mulliganned again and got Thoughtseized, but he still died on turn five, having played no relevant spells.

8-1

Top Four: rastaf, UB Faeries

This is supposedly not a great matchup, but I wasn’t so sure.

I basically kept a hand that was “Spell Snare or no?” I was more or less all in Bobby getting me there, and was ecstatic when my opponent played a tapped Watery Grave on turn one. Dr. Maher decided to stay home on turn two for fear of a Spellstutter Sprite ambush, but viciously attacked for two the next turn after my opponent tapped out for Bitterblossom and Ancestral.

Confidant was kind of playing turncoat this game, as all he kept supplying me with were garbage Urborgs and Chrome Moxes. Still, I was making a game of it with the occasional discard spell to keep him off balance. I think I was helped along by some of my opponent’s poor decisions, such as Vendilion Clique-ing semi useless cards of mine, while also using Mana Leak as Early Frost.

I assembled the combo. I had Explosives to clear away his tokens. I even had a Thoughtseize to take his Cryptic Command.

His top card needed to be a blank and it was.

I guess I also needed my top card to not be a Beseech the Queen, considering I was at six.

Oops.

Second game was terrible. I mulled and was stuck on double Sunken Ruins while my opponent only had Island and Mutavault. We played draw, go for a few turns, and rastaf panicked and suspended an Ancestral. If I drew a land on that turn, I would have completely destroyed him, but whiffed again.

Still, there was hope. He didn’t have any lands, and when his Ancestral went off, he just spent his turn laughing and discarding more Ancestrals. I managed to “get there” and Vendilioned him to see what was up. He was working with basically nothing, and I started playing two spells a turn.

Technically, a 20/20 killed him, but come on, I still had all these.

For the final game, I mulliganed, but he mulled to four! When he played Mutavault, go, I had to carefully consider my options. After drawing for the turn, my hand was:

Duress
Thopter Foundry
Chrome Mox
Thirst for Knowledge
Sunken Ruins
Sunken Ruins
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

I could just play the two Ruins, remove the Duress to Mox, and Thirst away the Foundry, or I could play Urborg, Duress him and see what’s going on over there. Playing Urborg could be risky as it could fix his mana and allow him to play Bitterblossom, but if I played Urborg, I would definitely be Duressing him, so I would be able to deal with one Bitterblossom.

Awkwardly enough, his three cards were double Bitterblossom and Spellstutter Sprite. He ripped an Island and suddenly I was in big trouble. I drew some more blanks while he drew more Islands and went on the offensive.

I did draw a Hexmage, which I used to bait out his Spellstutter. My Marit Lage didn’t seem like it was a big threat considering he had Bitterblossom in play, but he had to counter it regardless, otherwise his offense would have been stopped. I figured three fresh cards when I have Foundry and Depths in play was probably more valuable. In the end, it didn’t really matter, since he drew a Mana Leak the very next turn.

I drew another Hexmage, but as I said earlier, the 20/20 was basically irrelevant, and he just swarmed me.

I lost to a mulligan to four.

=/

8-2

I was kind of happy with my result, but obviously it’s disappointing to lose when you’re so close. Still, I liked my deck and was having fun with the format, so I did a little fine tuning and hopped in another PTQ.

As some of you may have seen already, I won the PTQ! The deck was amazing the entire day, and I lost three games total (not counting my last round concession).

Here’s the list:

That’s definitely very close to the deck that I would PTQ with this weekend, but you may or may not have to account for the mirror at this point. I’ll obviously be writing more about that deck next week.

Good luck!

GerryT

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