Matt Sperling: So I had this idea that instead of flipping a coin for who writes the report, or writing two reports for the same deck, let’s just do this together and discuss the cards and the decks just like we do all the time (and did leading up to these events).

For Saturday’s WMCQ, I’ll let you unveil the Bant deck you played, but I actually played RG aggro. I started out 5-0, then lost 4 in a row to finish tied for dead last. What I would play if I played aggro tomorrow is this:

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Experiment One
4 Dryad Militant
4 Vexing Devil
1 Firefist Striker
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Flinthoof Boar
4 Lightning Mauler
4 Strangleroot Geist
4 Slaughterhorn
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
2 Revenge of the Hunted
2 Fling
4 Rootbound Crag
4 Stomping Ground
7 Forest
4 Mountain
Sideboard
4 Mark of Mutiny
4 Skullcrack
2 Domri Rade
1 Giant Growth
2 Volcanic Strength
2 Pillar of Flame[/deck]

The deck is a solid option I think if you want to be positioned aggressively, either because of metagame shifts or because you don’t know Standard well enough to play a slow deck. That’s an important point I think—you have to know Standard inside and out, knowing every deck’s plans and strengths/weaknesses to play long games in this format. You and I have both been playing a lot recently on MTGO so we have that familiarity. If you don’t, try some aggro for a while and slowly progress to more intricate decks.

Can you talk about what drew you to Bant and the basic idea behind the list you played in the WMCQ?

Love,
Matt

Paul Rietzl: The story of Bant probably starts with the last MOCS monthly finals I played, where I went 8-0 in the Swiss with Esper before losing in the quarters. I loved some of the things Esper was doing—[card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card], [card]Supreme Verdict[/card], and [card]Restoration Angel[/card] are so far above the curve that they negate entire strategies and, in the case of Revelation, frequently end games on the spot. And [card]Azorius Charm[/card] is one of my favorite cards in Standard right now. As you know, all three modes are potent and useful.

I sporadically played Esper online after the MOCS, to solid success, but was stymied by the emergence of Junk Reanimator decks. One of the strengths of Esper was that you didn’t need to kill your opponent—you simply drew a ton of cards, killed all their creatures, and won incidentally with [card]Nephalia Drownyard[/card].

Obviously, trying to mill someone out who has [card]Unburial Rites[/card] and [card]Lingering Souls[/card] in their deck is a fairly miserable endeavor. Moreover, a [card]Cavern of Souls[/card] naming Angel and an [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] would often undue all the hard work you’d done to pick off their [card]Thragtusk[/card]s and [card]Loxodon Smiter[/card]s. Even worse, many Junk players were packing multiple Obzedat post-board, and were smart enough to not attack into your [card]Azorius Charm[/card].

So, I set out to find a new [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card] deck—one that would allow me to actually kill my opponent with damage. I found Bant:

[deck]Main Deck
3 Hinterland Harbor
2 Gavony Township
4 Temple Garden
3 Sunpetal Grove
1 Cavern of Souls
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Breeding Pool
3 Hallowed Fountain
1 Forest
4 Farseek
4 Thragtusk
2 Detention Sphere
4 Azorius Charm
3 Selesnya Charm
2 Angel of Serenity
4 Loxodon Smiter
4 Restoration Angel
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
2 Prime Speaker Zegana
3 Sphinx’s Revelation
2 Supreme Verdict
Sideboard
2 Jace, Memory Adept
2 Dissipate
3 Rest in Peace
1 Negate
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
1 Feeling of Dread
1 Cavern of Souls
2 Centaur Healer
2 Supreme Verdict[/deck]

Inspired by a deck I found in the Daily Events on Modo, and with a few alterations to the sideboard, I started crushing the queues online with this deck.

What did you think when I first sent you the list?

Best,
Paul Rietzl
US National Team 7th Alternate

Matt: When I first saw the list, I thought it looked like the most midrangey pile of “good cards” I had ever seen.  You know the kind of deck that never beats a slower deck and only beats a faster deck 52% of the time.

Still, I was desperately looking for a deck I liked.  I had spent the previous month playing and tuning Junk Reanimator.  I think I got 30 QPs from it alone from March 1-March 20.  People were not prepared for a good list with 4 [card]Lotleth Troll[/card] (why people still aren’t playing this card is beyond me).  But as more and more people were winning with Reanimator, and because the mirror match was mostly a flip regardless of card choices, I had to find something new.

One thing I noticed about UWR and Esper, two of the more popular decks, was that I just beat them way more often than it felt like I should.  They’d Revelation into bricks or miss on a land drop or not have the right answer to what I was doing or brick on [card]Augur of Bolas[/card] and not have any big spells.  You had expressed to me around this time that you think not playing [card]Thragtusk[/card] was sort of a fool’s errand.  When I really took stock of what was going on, I came to the following conclusion about the format:

Sperling’s Law of Gatecrash Standard: If your deck does not have either [card]Thragtusk[/card] OR [card]Burning-Tree Emissary[/card] in it, it probably isn’t the best deck available.

I’ve never been a person who sees stairs next to an empty escalator and just takes the stairs to increase either my heart rate or my degree of difficulty in life.  This is what not playing these stupid “game-stealing” cards is like.  [card]Thragtusk[/card] really is good against both aggro and control.  People who like to overthink and exaggerate might tell you they never lose to it with Esper or something, but it does put pressure on them and make them come up with a plan, and often while they’re doing that you can be setting up something else.  Against aggro it obviously can pull you back into a game.  It isn’t a guaranteed win vs. either of these decks (like [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] was on March 1), but it helps a lot.

Just as [card]Thragtusk[/card] indicates a potentially playable slow deck, [card]Burning-Tree Emissary[/card] tells me you have a real aggro deck.  t1 threat, t2 threat threat has always been powerful, and now you don’t need three 1-drops to pull it off.

Furthermore, when you miss your 1-drop, one or two Emissaries could put your clock back on track and keep you in the game.  The games you draw 2-4 Emissaries are often over before they begin.  All the opponent can do is mumble “I hate that card” or call you names.

Back to Bant, normally this style of deck would be dead as fried chicken to me, but like I said, you happened to catch me in a transitional period.  I gave it a whirl on Magic Online and I liked it.  I went to work on RG aggro (which admittedly I might not have gotten to be better than Blitz).  But I made a mental note that Bant was a real deck.

Wanna talk people through some of the WMCQ?  Don’t need a round-by-round, but I’d love some highlights.

lol @ your signature block.  I don’t want to indulge in the gruesome fantasy of what it would take to knock the 6 players who bested you out of the running.

Paul: I completely agree re: Thragtusk or BTE. I was able to maneuver around the mirror and Esper in R2 thanks to being significantly ahead on mana via [card]Farseek[/card]. This is another strength of the deck compared to Esper. [card]Farseek[/card] gets you to [card]Thragtusk[/card] and Angel more quickly, lets you defend yourself with [card]Supreme Verdict[/card] earlier, and powers up game-ending Revelations.

The third round against Jason Janasiewicz with Jund was interesting. I won the first game after discarding 2 [card]Loxodon Smiter[/card]s to a [card]Rakdos’s Return[/card] for 3. In the second, Jason stumbled on lands despite having an active [card]Underworld Connections[/card].

I stuck a [card]Jace, Memory Adept[/card], but he had enough removal to deal with all my creatures, and I was mostly just drawing lands while ticking it up. Eventually, I had a chance to ultimate and a decision to make. He had 29 cards left, and I had 30, with one Jace remaining in my deck. If I had both of us draw 20, there was a good chance I’d draw the other Jace and mill him out on the spot. If I didn’t, he’d have 27 cards in his hand, and the next few turns would be dicey. I decided to go for it, since it was the most fun play, and found the other Jace.

In the fourth round I beat a badly mana-hosed big Naya, and finally got to face my best matchup (Junk) in the fifth.

Junk (Reanimator) is the reason to play Bant. Short of achieving critical mass and sticking a [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card], they don’t have any credible paths to victory. You are both [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] decks, but Bant has more mana ([card]Farseek[/card]), better card draw ([card]Prime Speaker Zegana[/card] and [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card] vs. [card]Mulch[/card] and [card]Grisly Salvage[/card]), access to countermagic, and the great trump ([card]Selesnya Charm[/card]).

[card]Selesnya Charm[/card] in particular is a nightmare, letting you deal with [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] at your convenience. If they target your army, you can get them back. If they try to replenish by targeting their fallen soldiers, you can Charm the Angel in response to prevent them from ever returning.

I lost a tough 6th round to Ellis Edmunds playing Mono-Red—keeping one land, 2 [card]Selesnya Charm[/card], 2 [card]Farseek[/card], [card]Restoration Angel[/card], [card]Loxodon Smiter[/card] on the draw game one and discarding twice. I bounced back in the 7th and 8th with wins over Jund Aggro and Junk before drawing into Top 8.

One thing I noticed about the deck was how impactful AND flexible the cards are. [card]Azorius Charm[/card], [card]Selesnya Charm[/card], [card]Loxodon Smiter[/card], [card]Restoration Angel[/card], [card]Thragtusk[/card], and [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] ranged from merely good to complete blowouts, depending on the situation. Bant does not have the pure redundancy of dedicated aggro, so I was shocked to see how high the floor was for some of the cards.

It felt like a lot of the games followed the same general play book:

Turns 2-4: Don’t die, maybe set up your mana and draw cards (vs. Control) or use Charms and Wraths to slow them down (vs. aggro). [card]Loxodon Smiter[/card] really shines here, since it’s a sweet wall against aggro, but hits hard enough to give Esper or WUR a headache.
Turns 5-7: Thragtusk/Angel shenanigans, sometimes fire off a Revelation.
Turns 8-10: Take over with more card drawing and/or [card]Gavony Township[/card], using Charms you’ve drawn incidentally to deal with any problem that may have arisen.

My story ends unhappily, with another loss to Mr. Edmunds in the quarters. [card]Falkenrath Aristocrat[/card] just proved too annoying and I got a little unlucky in game three. Which led us to try to figure out how to revise the deck for you in the PTQ while listening to the infamous Mad Dog “One Time” video.

Or am I getting ahead of myself?

Best,
Paul Rietzl
Currently considering emigration

Matt: Well, there’s only one Marconi.

So after the WMCQ, you told me I need to play Bant in the PTQ.  Since you had just played 10 rounds, several of which I watched (my deck finished rounds in like 5 minutes), I knew better than to disagree.

We were scrambling to figure out how to be better against aggro, particularly against the finisher [card]Falkenrath Aristocrat[/card].  I came up with the idea of adding [card]Syncopate[/card] after considering [card]Essence Scatter[/card].  [card]Essence Scatter[/card] is a decent card because it gives you a turn 2 play in games where [card]Dissipate[/card] might never do anything (vs. aggro).  But it is still pretty ineffective vs. non-aggro.

[card]Syncopate[/card] is still [card]Essence Scatter[/card] on turn 2.  That was the “Aha!” moment. When they try to [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card] to go over the top of your Smiter/’Tusk that’s beating down, you’ll just [card]Syncopate[/card] for 1.  “Ok it’s all coming together.”  I cut an [card]Azorius Charm[/card] and the Garruk to make room for 2 copies of [card]Syncopate[/card].  [card]Azorius Charm[/card] is important as a turn 2 play, but I figured 2 [card]Syncopate[/card] would almost make up for it in the early turns, and in the midgame [card]Syncopate[/card] would outperform it in every matchup.  Garruk is basically a “luxury” I could no longer afford.  Really good when you’re ahead, and only OK when behind—I figured the same was true of [card]Syncopate[/card] except I’d have a way more flexible spell.

The other change I made, mindful of [card]Falkenrath Aristocrat[/card] (and [card]Thundermaw Hellkite[/card]) was adding a [card]Silklash Spider[/card] to the sideboard.  I never cast it in the tournament, so I can’t really vouch for it 100%, but it feels good.

I disagree with your analysis of the Junk Reanimator matchup.  They have precisely two ways to beat you, not zero.  One is [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card], the other is [card]Acidic Slime[/card].  The matchup is fine because on balance you have the tools to win when they don’t have these plans going, and you can beat them with a good draw.  But your mediocre/bad draws will lose to Slimes + Angels or a Behemoth hard-cast off Cavern or snuck in from the ‘yard.

I ended up here:

[deck]Main Deck
4 Glacial Fortress
3 Hallowed Fountain
4 Breeding Pool
4 Temple Garden
3 Hinterland Harbor
3 Sunpetal Grove
2 Gavony Township
1 Forest
1 Cavern of Souls
4 Restoration Angel
4 Loxodon Smiter
4 Thragtusk
2 Angel of Serenity
2 Prime Speaker Zegana
4 Farseek
3 Sphinx’s Revelation
2 Supreme Verdict
2 Syncopate
2 Detention Sphere
3 Azorius Charm
3 Selesnya Charm
Sideboard:
1 Negate
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Silklash Spider
2 Dissipate
2 Supreme Verdict
2 Jace, Memory Adept
2 Centaur Healer
3 Rest in Peace[/deck]

The Garruk in the board should have just been a third [card]Jace, Memory Adept[/card]. You only want it vs. slow decks, and more Jaces makes you more confident that milling for 10 immediately will pay off during the midgame when another Jace shows up.

[card]Sigarda, Host of Herons[/card] was not great, but [card]Negate[/card] was excellent. If I ever wanted to shore up the control matchups, I’d just move further down the Jace + Negates path. [card]Dispel[/card] could be the way to go.

[card]Falkenrath Aristocrat[/card] remains a big problem. Look to test a lot against it and find the best answers. I was mostly just lucky in the PTQ to not play against it much.

An interesting early round was a Bant control mirror match. He had [card]Alchemist’s Refuge[/card] and [card]Kessig Wolf Run[/card] where I had [card]Gavony Township[/card]s, and he had [card]Centaur Healer[/card] where I had [card]Loxodon Smiter[/card]. Wolf Run is good, but Refuge really isn’t. I’d definitely recommend just rockin’ the Townships.

Game 1 took 52 minutes. Neither of us seemed incredibly comfortable in a game this long. At this point I had never played the mirror match. I just tried to think about how I would win the game—and I came up with three keys: [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] recursion, Township winning a stalemate, and making sure I always had a plan to not lose to Wolf Run (making sure all my Charms either gained a ton of life or Fogged a Wolf Run turn. I made sure to track how many copies of each key spell he likely had left. The whole game he only used one [card]Supreme Verdict[/card], which made things really awkward. How much could I move in when he had 1-3 more copies of that card ready to go? This is why the game took so long. Eventually Townships made my army dwarf his, and the Verdict just never came (they were in his bottom 10 or 15 cards).

In one round against Bant Auras, my opponent is on the play in game 3, and says, “I’ll try it.” I’m thinking for a second (literally 1-2 seconds) and he realizes something and says nervously, “actually I’ll mulligan.” Not much time had elapsed, but I feel like a verbal declaration should be binding, so I called a judge. It was in fact binding and my opponent had to keep. If it wasn’t binding, my opponent could get a read on how much I liked my hand and then revise his decision, which doesn’t seem right. Still, it felt a little like rules-lawyering even though it felt “right,” but after the match my opponent was a great sport and told me he would have called a judge too, and wished me good luck.

The thing he noticed was that he had no blue source for Geist despite having 2 land, [card]Avacyn’s Pilgrim[/card], and [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card] among his opening 7. You see Pilgrim, Geist, 2 lands and you snap-keep. I’ve made that kind of mistake before, it’s easy to make.

At 7-0 in 9 rounds of Swiss, my plan was to draw round 8 locking up Top 8, then play round 9 to try to get the #1 seed. The way the tiebreakers were, if I drew in round 9, I would get 3rd or 4th, and if I LOST I would get 4th or 5th, and if I won I would get 1st. This stuff didn’t used to matter much, but now the higher seed gets to choose play or draw.

I was paired against a player I knew was playing Junk Reanimator, and I figured this was a great opportunity to practice the matchup and try to get a higher seed. In game one I did not play well enough to win a close game. On turn seven my opponent plays a Forest and taps out for [card]Angel of Serenity[/card]. I immediately tell him he doesn’t have 3 white mana. His Cavern was on Beast, not Angel. He had a second Cavern in his hand from [card]Mulch[/card]—he just made a mistake, he wasn’t trying to cheat. Catching these mistakes right away (before it’s too late) feels good because it means you grasp enough of the game to notice the little stuff.

Well, the joke was on me a few turns later when I attacked for lethal with [card]Selesnya Charm[/card] through a 1/1 with lifelink and deathtouch from Vault, only I miscalculated and was 1 damage short. I died to the attack back but would have had a chance to win had I not attacked. In either game 2 or game 3 I miss a land drop and Slime puts the game away. I felt okay about it, at least I had punted in a match that didn’t matter all that much, and I learned how a long game felt in the matchup.

In round 1 of the Top 8, I was paired against a Jund control player. This matchup is good for me, [card]Loxodon Smiter[/card] is good vs. [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card] and [card]Rakdos’s Return[/card], and Angel keeps Garruk under control while nothing they have can really keep Zegana and Revelation under control. You have enough ways to stop [card]Olivia Voldaren[/card] between [card]Selesnya Charm[/card], [card]Supreme Verdict[/card], [card]Syncopate[/card], and [card]Angel of Serenity[/card]. After sideboard you become a Jace deck and things are even better. My opponent also started the match with a game loss for marked sleeves.

This ruling is total BS. The Top 8 “deck check” where they collect the decks before the Top 8 starts should be a “courtesy” deck check, not a binding one with penalties. Think about the incentives here. If I’m a cheater marking sleeves or taking advantage of marked sleeves, I can just switch out marked sleeves or change sleeves entirely. Even if I’m an honest player (like I assume my opponent was), I should just change my sleeves to avoid his fate. So everyone should just change sleeves and then turn in their deck. You’re only catching honest players with inadvertent markings, or really stupid cheaters, and it skews HEAVILY towards the former. Get rid of these penalty deck checks before Top 8 and go back to courtesy checks please.

The Junk player who beat me in the last round and got the #1 seed for it also got a game loss for marked sleeves. Both he and my opponent lost the first game they played in Top 8 and were out of the PTQ.

In the semifinals, I was playing against Brendon Freeman running Esper control. I think the matchup favors Bant by a decent margin because you always get to be on the offensive while they scramble to react. It isn’t an auto-win or anything, but it’s far easier for their pieces to fail to come together than it is for yours. The 2 [card]Syncopate[/card]s are great [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card] insurance as well.

In games 2 and 3 you’re basically playing a Jace mirror with some threats and answers in the mix as well. So, in game 1 of this matchup I had two Smiters and a [card]Thragtusk[/card] turns 3-5 and Brendon was too flooded to muster an effective defense, and he died.

In game 2 I stuck a Jace with a bunch of creatures in my hand, and was too worried about Jace or Sphere knocking out my Jace if I milled 10 cards. This turned out poorly as I drew a bunch of cards, but gave Brendon more time to find a Jace and eventually got decked as my creatures still weren’t relevant. In game 3 I again stuck a Jace after some early threats made Brendon [card]Supreme Verdict[/card]. I milled for 10 immediately and 3 turns later Brendon scooped and wished me luck in the finals. Another classy opponent (really all my opponents were) who was dignified in defeat.

In the finals I was on the draw against Richard Liu playing Naya Blitz.

Richard Liu (2nd)

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
4 Stomping Ground
1 Rootbound Crag
4 Experiment One
4 Champion of the Parish
4 Boros Elite
4 Lightning Mauler
4 Flinthoof Boar
4 Mayor of Avabruck
4 Burning-Tree emissary
4 Frontline Medic
3 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Searing Spear
Sideboard:
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Fiend Hunter
4 Boros Charm
2 Gruul Charm
2 Pacifism[/deck]

He kept his opening seven and was laughing about the oddity of the hand. I remarked out loud that he probably had 4 [card]Burning-Tree Emissary[/card] in his hand. He led with [card]Experiment One[/card] off [card]Stomping Ground[/card] after I mulled to 6. I played a [card]Breeding Pool[/card]. He knocked the top of his deck and I would have bet anything he needed a land but had a crazy turn 2 if he hit it.

He drew [card]Sacred Foundry[/card] (obv) and three [card]Burning-Tree Emissary[/card]s entered play (nothing else in his hand cost 2 thank Worth). [card]Experiment One[/card] put me down to 18, and I got to start my turn 2.

I still had nothing to do, so [card]Temple Garden[/card] entered the battlefield tapped. Richard drew his card, played another land he just drew, and attacked me for 8 down to 10 life. After combat he played [card]Frontline Medic[/card] and did not trigger Experiment One. At some point during my turn he realized he could have dealt 1 more damage and had a 3/3 Experiment. He was upset about it. At this point I played a [card]Hinterland Harbor[/card] (the last land in my hand) and a Smiter.

I had almost no chance of winning this game. I had a Verdict in hand but no 4th land and only one white source in play. Richard’s attack would send me to 2, or I’d be dead to any haste creature, burn, or Rampager. Richard didn’t have anything left except some non-haste dudes in hand, so his attack sent me to 2 life. Richard shook his head knowing I’d be dead if he had pumped the Experiment One. I untapped and drew… [card]Sunpetal Grove[/card], one of my 7 outs. I attacked for 4 and then Wrathed away the board. I was still at 2. I could still die very easily. I didn’t, and when my next two turns were [card]Thragtusk[/card] and [card]Restoration Angel[/card], I had won a crazy game one.

In game 2, Richard kept another explosive 1-land hand, but this time the second land did not come and I easily took over the game as only 1/1s emerged. Phew. The matchup isn’t that great, but I had lady luck and a little help from my opponent. So after falling off the train and missing San Diego, I’ll be attending Dublin and back to working with my friends at Team SCG.

I have to say that ChannelFireball (bias aside, and you guys know I wouldn’t pull punches if it sucked) gets prize support. First place was no product, since that player has already scored huge with a flight to Dublin and an invite. Second place was 4 boxes or $400 store credit! The prizes scaled down pretty slowly and everyone in Top 8 got at least 2 boxes I think, while Top 16 got a box, and Top 32 and 64 got packs too. The prizes were adjusted to this level after over 250 players showed up. I’m glad Richard got 4 boxes or 400 credit to soften the blow, and I just think it’s rare enough to be worth mentioning when you see a TO that gets it.

Paul, what do you think are the next steps for the deck if an event happened tomorrow?

Paul: It’s not often that I strongly advocate for a deck, nor often that I play a midrange deck—when those two events converge it’s worth noting.

It is technically true that you can get Slimed into Bolivia, but it just hasn’t happened to me very often.

I like the [card]Silklash Spider[/card] and have had better experiences than you with Sigarda (it’s great in the mirror, if that becomes a thing).

The [card]Centaur Healer[/card]s are slightly weak, but a necessary concession to Naya Blitz and Red. Other than that, the deck is actually exceptionally well-tuned already.

Here’s how I’d sideboard generally:

Vs. Junk

In

[draft]2 Dissipate
2 Supreme Verdict
3 Rest in Peace[/draft]

Out

[draft]2 Detention Sphere
4 Loxodon Smiter
1 Azorius Charm[/draft]

Vs. Aggro

In

[draft]2 Supreme Verdict
2 Centaur Healer[/draft]

Out

[draft]2 Angel of Serenity
2 Prime Speaker Zegana[/draft]

Sometimes you’ll also want the [card]Silklash Spider[/card] and probably cut something like the 3rd Revelation.

Vs. Esper

In

[draft]1 Negate
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
2 Dissipate
2 Jace, Memory Adept[/draft]

Out

[draft]2 Angel of Serenity
2 Supreme Verdict
3 Selesnya Charm
1 Detention Sphere[/draft]

+1 [card]Rest in Peace[/card] (if they have multiple Snapcaster and [card]Think Twice[/card])

Vs. Jund (not totally confident about this plan—this might be too much countermagic post-board)

In

[draft]1 Negate
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
2 Dissipate
2 Jace, Memory Adept[/draft]

Out

[draft]3 Azorius Charm
1 Prime Speaker Zegana
2 Detention Sphere
1 Angel of Serenity[/draft]

Congratulations on winning the PTQ. I would have rather I won the WMCQ and had you lose in heartbreaking, devastating fashion that caused you to reconsider whether to continue playing Magic but this is ok too.

Matt: I think the Spider is better than the 3rd Revelation against aggro.  These aggro decks are so all-in and have so little reach/resilience that a piece that helps you survive is way more important than a “finisher” like Revelation.

If I still had to PTQ, the cards I’d test would include [card]Rhox Faithmender[/card], a [card]Blind Obedience[/card], [card]Essence Scatter[/card], and [card]Dispel[/card].

These are just cards I would test, without knowing in advance which would be good enough.  Without doing too deep a dive into the basics of deck tuning, I’ll just say that maybe if you can move a [card]Supreme Verdict[/card] into the main deck, trim down on borderline cards like Sigarda and Spider, and maybe even afford to cut a 3rd [card]Rest in Peace[/card], you could have enough sideboard slots to play with as you try to really gear up to beat aggro and maintain what we already have going vs. control.  Keeping things fresh with new cards will also help keep you unpredictable.  I know having [card]Syncopate[/card]s they didn’t expect was certainly more valuable to me than having [card]Syncopate[/card]s they expected would have been.

-Matt
Chairman, Facebook Argument Cleanup Taskforce