PV’s Playhouse – Pro Tour Theros

Hello!

Before the PT, our group was a little undecided on where and when to meet for playtesting—some wanted to meet in Dublin, some in the U.S., some wanted to play the GP the week before, and some would rather just get to Europe sooner. We ended up doing both—we’d meet in Vegas for a week, and then those who wanted to go to the GP would go, and those who wanted to go to Dublin would meet there early.

Originally, I was in the GP camp. I don’t actually get a ton of opportunities to play in GPs nowadays—I’m finishing my graduation and can’t afford to travel for infinite time, so I wanted to make use of the fact that I would already be in the U.S. In the end, though, I was convinced otherwise. I really wanted to do well in this PT, and I thought the best way for me to do that was to just practice more and skip the GP. I am also very susceptible to jet lag, so I wanted to get there a little earlier—Tuesday morning was pushing it. There would be more GP opportunities next year, and ideally I’d win the PT, so GPs wouldn’t be very important.

So I set off from Porto Alegre to Las Vegas on my way to Dublin. For those who know their Geography, it’s about as far from “on the way” as it could possibly have been, but, oh well, you can’t have everything. I arrived at Froehlich manor on Saturday and met most of the rest of the team—EFro, Luis, Web, Shahar, Brock, Josh, Kibler, Shuhei, and Ben. Conley would only show up a day later, for some reason, and Matt Nass, Martin Juza, and our two new additions, Frank Karsten and Pat Cox, would meet us in Dublin later on.

The very first things that I wanted to try were [card]Nykthos[/card] decks. The card just seemed incredibly powerful to me—it was the most degenerate thing you could do and the cost was very minimal. Normally, when you’re ramping into something, you waste your early turns doing it—you spend turns two and three playing [card]Rampant Growth[/card] so that you can play [card]Primeval Titan[/card] on turn four. With Nykthos, that is not true. You spend your turns two and three playing real spells that impact the board, like [card]Ash Zealot[/card], [card]Burning-Tree Emissary[/card], [card]Nightveil Specter[/card], [card]Boros Reckoner[/card], or [card]Kalonian Tusker[/card]. You get a fantastic reward if it works, and the only cost you have to pay is playing spells that you would normally play anyway. That seemed broken and unprecedented to me, and I wanted to make it work.

[draft]nykthos, shrine to nyx[/draft]

The very first deck I focused on was, ironically, mono-blue. At that point, Frank had done some independent testing and told us that mono-blue aggro, remarkably similar to what ended up being the breakout deck of the tournament, was soft to Wrath. Since the deck certainly looks bad, we didn’t need much convincing—we assumed Wrath decks would be the most popular in the tournament (40%-ish), so we had no problem discarding mono-blue aggro.

That was, of course, our biggest mistake in testing. I think there were two big factors that led us to that:

1) We thought Esper was going to be the most played deck. It was the most played deck in the last PT, and it was insanely good then. It wasn’t as good now, but it was still good. We were wrong. Revelation decks made up about 15% of the format, which was less than half what we expected. In our minds, Esper was public enemy #1, and mono-blue did not have a good enough matchup against it for us to try it against other decks.

2) We didn’t even try to make it beat Esper—we just assumed it couldn’t or wasn’t worth the effort. As it turns out, it’s not like you’re completely cold to Esper or anything, but we based our results on very limited testing (about 10 games) because they made sense—the deck did not look like it could beat Esper, so when testing confirmed it, as limited as it was, and the people playing the decks felt like the result was representative, we just ditched it.

I then moved on to mono-blue control (splash white), mono-green (ramp and aggro), mono-red, mono-black, and even mono-white, though that one never actually got built outside of my head. My first impression of mono-red was not good—I was having trouble playing against decks with [card]Thoughtseize[/card] and [card]Doom Blade[/card], because they could either take your “enablers” or your “end-game” and the deck felt underpowered without a combination of both. I quickly discarded it in my mind too and moved on, trying a myriad of decks such as BW Humans, Junk, Bant control, many different versions of mono-black and so on. At that point, we had a number of people working on the Esper list, so I felt like it would be better for me to try different things and, if nothing worked, we’d always have Esper to fall back to.

Eventually other people started liking mono-red. They tweaked it a bit and green was soon added for [card]Domri Rade[/card]. With the inclusion of [card]Fanatic of Mogis[/card], the deck became sort of a hybrid—you could now punish people if they had a slow start, but you could also grind them out in the late game with Dragons, Gods, and planeswalkers. Eventually we got to the list that we ended up playing:

[deck]Main Deck
2 Gruul Guildgate
11 Mountain
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
4 Stomping Ground
4 Temple of Abandon
4 Ash Zealot
4 Boros Reckoner
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Fanatic of Mogis
4 Frostburn Weird
3 Purphoros, God of the Forge
4 Stormbreath Dragon
4 Domri Rade
2 Hammer of Purphoros
2 Xenagos, the Reveler
Sideboard
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Chandra, Pyromaster
2 Destructive Revelry
2 Ember Swallower
4 Mizzium Mortars
1 Ratchet Bomb
2 Shock[/deck]

By the time we left for Dublin, Rg was most people’s favorite deck, and a lot of people reported very favorable results. There was one big problem with it, though—I couldn’t win. I also wasn’t really losing to it with other decks, either. The results weren’t even close to similar. Someone would come up and say, “I went 17-3 against Esper, matchup felt great,” and then I’d play and go 2-8 with mono-red and 8-2 with Esper. Most of my time in Dublin was spent trying to figure out why other people were winning so much with the deck while I was losing so much with it.

Part of it, I think, is because I’m just not used to playing a deck like this—it isn’t really a normal aggro deck—whereas I’m very accustomed to playing Esper. I would definitely classify my Esper abilities in the top half of our team, and I also adapt quickly. There is a certain style of play that you need to adopt versus the Big Red deck (which is what I will call the Rg deck from now on because that’s how I think of it) that is not intuitive and that I got after playing the matchup a couple times.

My ability with Big Red, on the other hand, was definitely on the bottom half of our team. I had some issues, for example, just figuring out the mechanical part of the deck (such as how to generate the maximum amount of mana in draws that involved double Nykthos, [card xenagos, the reveler]Xenagos[/card], and so on). That’s not to say I was unable to do it, but it took me longer than what I would consider acceptable in a tournament—if you can figure something out after five minutes, that’s not good enough, because you can’t take five minutes at the PT.

Another issue was that I was having trouble with how much pressure to apply against the control decks—the [card jace, architect of thought]Jace[/card]/[card]Supreme Verdict[/card] combination reminded me of [card mistbind clique]Mistbind[/card]/[card]Cryptic Command[/card] in the sense that playing against one when they had the other was disastrous, and I never knew which one to play against. It was also harder than normal to know if I needed to play something or wait for them to react—in a normal aggro deck, I don’t think it’s that hard, but with this deck for some reason it seemed to be.

That said, I don’t think the difference in play style accounted for the huge discrepancy—a couple games, sure, but completely inverted results? That wouldn’t explain it, I don’t think. Also, multiple people had different results, not just me. This uncertainty made me wary of playing the deck and, as much as I wanted it to be good, I thought I was going to end up just playing Esper.

I was basically the only one. EFro didn’t like the Big Red deck much either, but other than that everyone seemed to be in love with it. Talking about it became difficult, because everyone was running out of arguments—we all knew what the other side was going to say, and we all disagreed. As much as we know not to overvalue results from such a small sample size, it’s very hard to convince someone that a matchup is bad when they consistently win 80% of their games against it and vice-versa. I think people from the Big Red side eventually got tired of me questioning them about the deck and just gave up on trying to convince me that it was actually good.

So, I started playing more Esper (and UW; it still wasn’t clear to me that Esper was the superior version. Just assume that whenever I say Esper I mean both decks). I quite liked it, but I was running into problems against the green-based decks. Between [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card], [card]Fleecemane Lion[/card], [card]Domri Rade[/card], [card]Boon Satyr[/card]/[card]Advent of the Wurm[/card]/[card]Rootborn Defenses[/card], [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card], Gods, and so on, it felt like it was just too much to push through. I felt like I was favored against everything, but Esper is the kind of deck that always feels like it’s going to win but ends up losing. The percentage of games you think you should win with Esper is significantly lower than the percentage of games you actually win.

One particular playtesting session with UW against Naya opened my eyes to another problem—I was getting too comfortable against the specific decks I was playing against. Remember how I said I adapted quickly? Well, I had already adapted to most of the things we were facing. Then I played against a deck whose deck list I did not already know, and I ended up losing the game because I had no clue what to expect. I tapped out at some point when I really didn’t need to and then got hit by a one-of [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] that I never saw coming. At the PT, I wouldn’t be comfortable against anyone—I would never know what they were or weren’t playing, and with a deck like Esper that would affect my win percentage. It’s also super relevant when you’re playing with scry lands out of a reactive deck.

The fact that the exact opposite goes for Big Red is what sold me on it. When we played against the deck, we knew the exact contents of it. We knew permanents were important, we knew it had no burn. We even sided in a [card]Negate[/card] against it when we were on UW. We didn’t expect people to do that—they would look at the red deck and see a normal red deck. They’d side out [card]Dissolve[/card]s and bring in 0/4 [card yoked ox]Oxes[/card] or whatever. They would not kill your guys early and then they’d be hit by a random turn in which you make 9 mana out of nowhere.

People would not, of course, be oblivious for very long. There are many advantages to being part of a big team, but a major downside is that by round 1 everyone knows what you are playing. Still, with this deck, things were different. It wasn’t enough to know what was happening, you needed to know how to react to it. Sure, you see that we’re a mono-red Nykthos deck—are you going to instantly make the leap that every card in your sideboard that’s supposed to be good against red is bad, and the cards that you normally take out are actually very good? Are you going to make the leap that life is not actually that important, and board presence is the key to the matchup—that you should just take damage in the early game to make sure they do not resolve a threat? This goes against what most people think when they think mono-red, and making the change in how you think, even if you have access to our entire deck list, is not intuitive.

So, I settled for Big Red. I didn’t want to have to fight through what is essentially Esper hate every round. The control deck seemed good, true, but not that good, especially if I didn’t know what I was going to go up against. All that remained now was to become proficient with it—I had two days before the tournament to make sure I played it at a high enough level.

At first, it was a feeling of desperation like nothing I’ve ever experienced when playing a deck. At many points, I just had no clue what to do. Simple things like, “do I play the second Frostburn Weird or do I pass the turn?” presented complicated challenges and when I ask people why they would do one or the other I would get different answers from each person, which didn’t exactly help. I think part of it was that I’ve been doing poorly for so long that I’ve lost faith in my ability to make decisions. With Esper I knew I was good, so I just made the plays. With Big Red, I thought I was bad, so I would have to think about every play instead of just making them, and then I’d double-check just to make sure, and eventually I’d panic and just fold, unable to come up with a solution. Whereas normally by the time my opponent attacks I’m already prepared to make blocks because I’ve already thought about them, this time I’d think about them again when they attacked, just to make sure. That is not optimal.

Another thing that I think was a major factor was that I was severely jet-lagged. Despite being in Ireland for a couple days already, I had not adapted to it. Every night I would go to sleep at midnight and I’d wake up at 4 a.m., unable to sleep again. I ran that cycle for five days before the day of the PT—by the time Thursday came, I was collapsing on the tables. I kept thinking that at some point things would fix themselves—that my body would just take control and make itself realize that I needed to sleep more, and so I’d sleep for about 10 hours to make up for it, but that point never came, and I never managed to get more than 4-5 hours of sleep.

So, at the exact moment I needed to be alert to learn how to play this new deck properly, I felt like a zombie. I’d start to think and things would get foggy and I would start thinking on how much I needed to sleep, and oh how hard would it be if I didn’t manage enough sleep the day before the tournament, how I’d do badly because of that, and so on. It sounds like a big excuse, I know, but jet lag was a very real issue for me coming into this PT, and I’m sure I was not the only one strongly affected by it.

My first draft didn’t actually go badly, but my deck ended up very bad. There were simply no playables in any packs—I’d take a mediocre card and pass a pack with absolutely nothing in it. This is what I ended up with:

[deck]1 Dauntless Onslaught
1 Divine Verdict
1 Ephara’s Warden
1 Evangel of Heliod
1 Heliod’s Emissary
1 Hopeful Eidolon
2 Last Breath
1 Ray of Dissolution
1 Scholar of Athreos
1 Silent Artisan
1 Vanquish the Foul
1 Horizon Scholar
1 Meletis Charlatan
2 Prescient Chimera
1 Sealock Monster
1 Stymied Hopes
1 Guardians of Meletis
1 Opaline Unicorn
1 Shipwreck Singer
1 Card I can’t remember
1 Temple of Silence
1 Swamp
16 Island/Plains[/deck]

Most people would feel desperate with a deck this bad, but I knew at least half the pod would have a deck that was as bad as mine or even worse, so I wasn’t feeling bad about it. The great thing about drafting is that your deck’s strength only matters in the context of your pod.

I won my first two rounds (against RGb and another UW deck) before going to the feature match against Calcano, whose RB deck was actually good. The feature match area was honestly quite unpleasant—the lights were on my face the entire time and it was very hot, to the point where I was sweating profusely. The tables did look like the Brazilian flag though, so there’s that.

Calcano’s deck was certainly better than mine, but seemed to have a bad matchup against it—he had some cards that were hard for me to deal with, like Purphoros and [card]Stoneshock Giant[/card], but overall my defensive monsters matched up well against his small creatures. I won game one, and then boarded in two [card]Crackling Triton[/card]s (and eventually a Mountain, taking out my black cards). Game two I kept a two-land Unicorn hand and ended up discarding after playing a [card]Last Breath[/card], though eventually I drew more lands and was going to stabilize when [card]Portent of Betrayal[/card] finished me. Game three I had a nice start but never drew the sixth land that I needed, and ended up dying to Purphoros. I also forgot a scry with [card]Prescient Chimera[/card] at some point and it might have cost me the game, so that was a bit disappointing (though in all likelihood I would have lost anyway).

I started the Constructed rounds well, getting paired against what I believe is the worst deck in the format by a significant margin—RBW. In our testing, the deck couldn’t beat control to save its life, and it also didn’t do very well against aggro either. I have a lot of respect for the people who did well with that deck and similar decks (i.e. RB control)—they’ve always seemed highly unplayable to me.

After that I got paired against Josh, whom I nut-drew on the play twice. I could also probably have won game two—I kept a hand with Mountain, Nykthos and good cards, and then missed my land on turn three. On turn four I was going to have to discard, so I played [card]Mizzium Mortars[/card] on one of his [card]Ash Zealot[/card]s, to try and buy more time and to turn off any potential future Nykthos’s from him. That turned out to be wrong—I immediately drew a Mountain, but he played a Dragon, and the following turn I had access to 6 mana (Burning Tree, Nykthos adds four, play another Nykthos) but could do nothing better than playing a Dragon of my own, which got Mortars’d.

[draft]mizzium mortars[/draft]

I should have realized that my best bet to win the game would be to overload Mortars at some point—when you’re stuck on two lands, it’s hard to imagine that you’re going to be playing a 6-casting-cost card soon, and your instinct is to just prolong the game for as much as possible (thus eliminating his damage sources), but the long term aspirations of that plan were really bad and I should have just taken some more damage and tried to overload Mortars in two turns.

After that I beat GW (turns out Dragon wins a fight over [card]Fleecemane Lion[/card] with [card]Unflinching Courage[/card]) and then I got paired against Junk. At some point in game one he had a [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card] token and played an [card elspeth, sun’s champion]Elspeth[/card], making it pretty big; I had [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card] and attacked Elspeth down to 1.

[draft]elspeth, sun’s champion[/draft]

Then, the following turn, I attacked Elspeth again and killed it, which I think was a mistake. I had a [card]Boros Reckoner[/card] in play, and if I attack him instead of Elspeth, I make sure that he can’t actually attack with the Voice token, otherwise I block with Reckoner and just deal the damage to him, which is enough to kill him next turn since his guy is so big. Here, again I sort of played on autopilot. It makes sense to attack your opponent’s Elspeth, since he is at around 20 life and making small guys that make his other guys bigger, but in that situation I should have recognized that the best way for me to win the game was pressuring his life total, and since I didn’t it cost me the game.

Game two was sweet. I started with [card]Frostburn Weird[/card] and on turn three played [card]Burning-Tree Emissary[/card]. He let it resolve—I then played Nykthos and added four mana, which he couldn’t respond to since it’s a mana ability, and played Purphoros. When I attacked with Frostburn Weird, he [card]Abrupt Decay[/card]ed it. That’s the kind of thing that I was talking about before—in our testing, we would always [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] the [card]Frostburn Weird[/card] before the opponent had the chance to play Nykthos, but this line is not intuitive if you haven’t played against the deck before, and we knew there was a decent chance our opponents wouldn’t do it.

By turn five, he played [card obzedat, ghost council]Obzedat[/card] and exiled it. He passed the turn into my board of Purphoros, Burning-Tree, four Mountains, and Nykthos. I played [card]Burning-Tree Emissary[/card], [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card], play another Nykthos, monstrous Dragon, take 23. This deck is sweet.

[draft]puphoros, god of the forge[/draft]

Game three I again had Purphoros and managed to race him with some [card]Ash Zealot[/card]s when he moved his [card]Ratchet Bomb[/card] up to 3.

Next round I got paired against Matej with mono-blue, and I didn’t get to play much. I stalled on lands game one and drew nothing but lands game two. I finished the day 6-2. Normally I wouldn’t be very happy about losing my last match in this fashion, but at that point I was so overwhelmingly tired that I was just glad the day had ended.

Despite being super tired, I woke up again at around 4 a.m. Shrug. Well, what can you do? I stayed in bed rolling around for about three hours before I gave up and went to have breakfast.

My Day Two draft deck was considerably better, but so was everyone else’s since there were better cards in the draft. Here’s what I played:

[deck]2 Cavern Lampad
1 Spearpoint Oread
1 Magma Jet
1 Portent of Betrayal
2 Deathbellow Raider
1 Purphoro’s Emissary
1 Scourgemark
2 Nighthowler
1 Lash of the Whip
1 Borderland Minotaur
1 Blood-Toll Harpy
1 Pharika’s Cure
2 Grey Merchant of Asphodel
2 Arena Athlete
1 Tymaret, the Murder King
1 Rageblood Shaman
1 Hammer of Purphoros
1 Tormented Hero
17 lands[/deck]

The mana wasn’t optimal, with some double-red and double-black cards, but all in all the deck felt pretty powerful. I lost round 1 in three close games against a UG deck, and then got demolished versus a GW deck that played a big creature into [card]Hopeful Eidolon[/card] as I was stuck on lands both games. Round three I beat a UR deck to end up 1-2, which was very disappointing considering how much I liked my deck.

In the first round of Constructed I was paired against mono-red aggro, and we split the first two games. In game three my hand was really nice, and I lead with [card]Frostburn Weird[/card] to his [card]Rackdos Cackler[/card]. I have left a Nykthos, a [card]Burning-Tree Emissary[/card], two [card]Ash Zealot[/card]s, and an [card]Ember Swallower[/card], so I basically can never lose the game.

Then he attacked with [card]Rakdos Cacker[/card] and I made the worst play of all time—I blocked it.

I.
Blocked.
It.

He finished it off with a burn spell, and then had another four removal spells in a row to kill every single creature I played. I never drew a fourth land, and never managed to make my Nykthos add mana. I lost a game that I couldn’t possibly have lost.

Why did I block? I don’t know, honestly. I was obviously not thinking. Normally, the block would be good. It makes sense. You have other targets for removal spells, and you’re going to have to block at some point, so might as well do it now and make sure he wastes his second turn killing your guy, and that’s if he even has a removal spell or wants to use it. But in this case, with my hand, I knew that I was going to win if my guy survived—who cares about 2 damage, I’m going to play 10 permanents next turn!

Well, I care about 2 damage, apparently.

This block ended the game, and effectively my chances to do well at the PT. I was out of Top 8 contention before, but I could still Top 16 or Top 25—no longer. I don’t think I’ve ever been that disappointed at myself for making a play—it was just incredibly stupid.

The following round I played against another mono-blue devotion deck, and again I had severe mana problems. I think I literally did not draw a land after my opening hand in either of the games, and it’s not like they were incredibly short games—in game two he had seven lands out. Mono-blue didn’t seem like it was the best matchup ever, but it also didn’t seem that bad. I felt like had I drawn one extra land (my fourth g1 and fifth g2) I would have won both games.

I then proceeded to beat RBW, the mirror, and Esper, to finish 10-6 at 71st place. Wasn’t very exciting, but at the time it felt more than I deserved from the way I played.

I spent Sunday hanging out and watching part of the Top 8, though I had to pass on the after-party since I was in deep sleep by 9 p.m. I left for Brazil the next morning, which was kind of a shame—I had never been to Ireland before and I wish I had had the chance to explore it a little more. My first impression was overwhelmingly positive—not necessarily about the country (of which I saw regrettably very little), but about the people who were just so incredibly, genuinely nice in every interaction I had. It’s hard to describe why I felt that way, but the level of how pleasing people were was only ever matched in my mind by Japan.

Take the U.S., for example—when the waiter in the US comes and asks, “how’s everything? Anything else I can do for you?” what I actually hear is, “I’m just reminding you of how nice I am and that you should tip me a lot. I’m going to come back and say this again in five minutes just in case you forget it.” In Ireland, what I actually heard was, “are you enjoying your meal? If you aren’t, is there anything I can do for you? I’d be very happy to.” When we tried to check in at 9 a.m., they said, “I’m sorry, we don’t have any rooms available,” and I felt like they really were sorry, that they wished they could do something about it, but they couldn’t—they certainly would if they could. In most other places, what I hear is when they say that is, “check in is at 1 p.m. Didn’t you read the terms of agreement when you booked the hotel? What do you want from me?”

It’s unlikely that anyone I interacted with is ever going to read this, but I’d still like to thank the people of Ireland as a whole for making my trip so pleasant by doing something so simple and so obvious, yet at most times so overlooked—being genuinely nice.

As for the future, well, the deck as a whole did not perform incredibly well. I had zero real games against mono-blue, so I don’t know how good or bad the matchup actually is, but I imagine it can’t be a walk in the park when they have four [card]Master of Waves[/card] in their lists. I’d have to playtest the matchup more and then, if it’s really bad, I’d give up on Big Red. If the matchup is good or even-ish, then I think this is still a solid deck to play. [card]Hammer of Purphoros[/card] is the first card I’d cut from the deck, since it’s really only good versus control, but I don’t know what I would replace it with—likely two Mortars. The deck is very powerful and very explosive, but I recommend some experience with it before you take it to a tournament, since it challenges some expectations you’d have from normal decks by placing value on a resource that is rarely used, the mana symbols you have in play, and that requires different lines, as I learned during the tournament.

Before I leave, here’s a sideboard guide that I shamelessly stole from Josh’s Facebook thread (with some personal changes):

Vs. Mono-Red Aggro:
-2 [card]Hammer of Purphoros[/card]
-3 [card]Purphoros, God of the Forge[/card]
-2 [card]Xenagos, the Reveler[/card]
-3 [card]Domri Rade[/card]
+4 [card]Mizzium Mortars[/card]
+2 [card]Shock[/card]
+2 [card]Anger of the Gods[/card]
+2 [card]Ember Swallower[/card]

Vs. WW:
-2 [card]Hammer of Purphoros[/card]
-3 [card]Purphoros, God of the Forge[/card]
-2 [card]Xenagos, the Reveler[/card]
-4 [card]Fanatic of Mogis[/card]
-1 [card]Domri Rade[/card]
+4 [card]Mizzium Mortars[/card]
+2 [card]Shock[/card]
+2 [card]Anger of the Gods[/card]
+2 [card]Ember Swallower[/card]
+2 [card]Chandra, Pyromaster[/card]

Vs. UWx:
-4 [card]Boros Reckoner[/card]
+2 [card]Chandra, Pyromaster[/card]
+2 [card]Destructive Revelry[/card]

Vs. Selesnya:
-2 [card]Hammer of Purphoros[/card]
-3 [card]Fanatic of Mogis[/card]
+2 [card]Ember Swallower[/card]
+2 [card]Anger of the Gods[/card]
+1 [card]Ratchet Bomb[/card]

Vs. Naya:
-2 [card]Hammer of Purphoros[/card]
-4 [card]Fanatic of Mogis[/card]
+2 [card]Ember Swallower[/card]
+4 [card]Mizzium Mortars[/card]

Vs. Mirror:
-2 [card]Hammer of Purphoros[/card]
-2 [card]Xenagos, the Reveler[/card]
-2 [card]Domri Rade[/card]
+4 [card]Mizzium Mortars[/card]
+2 [card]Ember Swallower[/card]

Vs. BWR:

-2 [card]Ash Zealot[/card]
+2 [card]Ember Swallower[/card]

(Josh disagrees with this; his proposed sideboarding was: -4 Fanatic; +2 Chandra +2 Ember Swallower. I think Fanatic is good in the matchup, though, since they take so much damage from the lands/[card]Thoughtseize[/card]s. I don’t love taking out Ash Zealot but I’m not sure what to take out instead).

Vs. Junk:

0 cards

Vs. Mono-Blue Devotion:
-2 [card]Xenagos, the Reveler[/card]
-2 [card]Hammer of Purphoros[/card]
-1 [card]Purphoros, God of the Forge[/card]
-2 [card]Domri Rade[/card]
+2 [card]Anger of the Gods[/card]
+4 [card]Mizzium Mortars[/card]
+1 [card]Ratchet Bomb[/card]

This sideboard plan might not be optimal; other people on our team dislike Purphoros, though I like it for racing and they can’t realistically ever keep you off devotion. I think [card]Shock[/card] is mediocre—they have very few targets that you actually want to kill after board.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this, see you next week!

PV

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