trading post (sort of) wins game day!

Took on most of the field with an Orzhov Post list at I’m Board’s M13 Game Day today. 3-0, drew into the top 8, 2-0 there, then Alan conceded to me in the finals because he wanted to go home and didn’t want the playmat. :X


2 Mox Opal
3 Ichor Wellspring
2 Mycosynth Wellspring
2 Sphere of the Suns
2 Torpor Orb
3 Pristine Talisman
4 Oblivion Ring
2 Phyrexian Metamorph
4 Trading Post
4 Day of Judgment
1 Increasing Ambition
2 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Staff of Nin
1 Mindslaver
2 Terminus
1 White Sun's Zenith

4 Phyrexia's Core
2 Buried Ruin
4 Isolated Chapel
10 Plains
4 Swamp


4 Duress
3 Nihil Spellbomb
4 Dispatch
2 Timely Reinforcements
1 Sands of Delirium
1 Batterskull

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m13 prerelease domination!

So I’m off to a spectacular M13 start, going 4-0 in the midnight sealed (and beating Sam Black!) to win 9 packs, then  3-0 in the 2HG tournament this afternoon for another 6 packs. The stellar player is definitely Flames of the Firebrand, the uncommon-ified Arc Lightning, although major props to Attended Knight, Cathedral of War, and Krenko’s Command.

My 4-0 solo deck was Boros beats, sporting double Attended Knight, double Krenko’s Command, Captain’s Call, some other low drops, and Trumpet Blast and Glorious Charge. Between the instant anthems and exalted buddies like Aven Squire and Cathedral of War, I was able to steal many games out of nowhere.

In 2HG, I played a WG Stompy deck while Adam piloted a RU midrange. My role was to basically land a lot of random beaters while Adam cleared the way with red removal. We were able to get out of a few tight spots with good creature management. Courtly Provocateur played a key role in the 3rd match, instigating several creatures to die at our blockers’ hands. Flames of the Firebrand definitely crushed some dreams, with Chandra herself doing some cleanup (ultimate for 12 damage to the face as well as killing 4 fatties).

Not sure how draft will go, but I definitely have more than enough packs for this week. We’ll see on Tuesday, I suppose!

avacyn restored prereleases

Avacyn has finally been Restored! If you’ve been following Magic news, you might know about the Helvault promotion, which was Wizards’ attempt at adding an interactive element to prerelease tournaments. In the weeks leading up to the prerelease, I had the opportunity to chat a bit about it with a number of players and game store managers about the Helvault. Basically, each store got a big cardboard “thing” that has a bunch of stuff inside. As players accomplish random achievements during the tournament, the seals on the Helvault will be broken, and, when all the seals have been broken, all the players receive a portion of the loot inside the piñata.

The #1 problem with this concept is that Wizards was completely silent about what was inside the Helvault, threatening to cut support if a store was found to have broken open the vault early. Since stores and players didn’t know what was inside, wild speculation ran rampant all over the Internet. Of course, with the amount of hyping being done, there was almost absolutely no way what was actually inside would ever meet expectations, so all the secrecy just served to undermine either stores’ attendance numbers or the fee for registration. Players who were concerned with receiving loot from the Helvault were calling around to different stores to see where they could go to guarantee getting loot, and some stores were increasing the tournament fee if a Helvault was involved. It seemed like lose-lose for everyone, really. I hope Wizards gets the correct feedback and plans a better event in the future.

Drama aside, I have to say the actual experience of completing achievements to open the Helvault was surprisingly fun. If you’ve participated in a prerelease in the last 2ish years, you may have seen those achievement cards being handed out with weird things to accomplish, like attack for 15 damage in 1 turn or play 3 creatures with a bloodthirst trigger or something. The achievement concept is the same thing, except that, based on the number of players in the Helvault event, each player must accomplish X number of achievements in order to break 1 seal. I don’t know how many seals there were on the Helvault, but, in 2 4-round sealed deck event with 50+ people (10 achievements per player), the vault was opened after round 2-3, and much half-hearted cheering was had. It was pretty neat, so no complaints from me.

Now, on to the meat and potatoes: card pool lists and deck lists!

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small town gpts are the best

So, at last night’s FNM at Pegasus, local L1 judge Tom Grimm told us all about a GPT Salt Lake City he was judging down in Delavan. I had never heard of this town before, so there was a lot of smartphone Google Mapping going on. Turns out it’s about 1.2 hours from Madison, not terribly far. The store was also opening at noon, so I wouldn’t have to wake up super early, and they were doing sealed, so I didn’t need to worry about deck testing or anything. Having no other plans for my Saturday, I drove down to the extremely small town of Delavan, WI, to crack some packs.

When we were getting started, there were exactly 8 players registered. Since exactly 8 people would be a single-elim sealed, the store “sponsored” one of their employees to play (i.e. this person registered a pool, then dropped before round 1 and the store kept all the cards for its stock). Now, with “9 players,” we instead had a 4-round sealed with a cut to top 8 (i.e. everyone makes top 8! hurrah!). I was sitting at the same table as Charles, another Madison player, when we opened packs. We were both pretty annoyed with our pools, him opening a Thalia, foil Vorapede, and Snapcaster, me opening Elite Inquisitor, Sorin, Wolfbitten Captive, both of our pools having the nuttiest GW ever. Of course, we both got passed pools with absolute crap in them (as far as rares). My pool was actually kind of the nuts for sealed… click here to see it (*.doc file).

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modern madness

Haven’t posted in a while, which could be due to the extensive amount of time I’ve been spending on Modern research and playtesting. I wasn’t terribly interested in formats other than Standard, simply because I didn’t want to maintain separate pools of cards, but I figured I might try to work on 1-2 decks and just play those whenever there’s an event. The two decks I chose were Melira Pod and UW Tron, both of which are purported to be among the most complicated decks to play in Modern. Yeah, I aim high ;)

Today brought PTQ Barcelona to Misty Mountain in Madison, WI, so I was scrambling to assemble all the cards. The FNM last night had me drafting THE most ridiculous deck (list after the jump), but getting land screwed in match 1 and my opponent getting the magical candy land draw in game 3, so I ended up 2-1 (as opposed to the guy who won in our pod, gets passed a foil Thalia pack 1 pick 3, and opens a Liliana pack 3, just to go with his 6 packs and promo Tectonic Edge… seriously, I never get any breaks :/), and ran around to every person, none of whom had any Chord of Callings.

Thankfully, I had worked out some logistics with Jed (former Wisconsin State Champion! (2011)), and I was able to get some Chords from Ben Rasmussen while lending Gifts Ungiven and Expedition Maps to Jed. I was able to complete UW Tron, so I was going to default to that if I wasn’t able to get the Chords for Melira Pod. There were 140-some players (we got 4-6 inches of snow last night, otherwise I think there would have been way more), so it was 8 rounds cut to top 8. My tournament summary goes WWWLWLLW, 5-3. EDIT: Placed 22nd after Swiss out of 135 players :o

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ptq hawaii 2011/11/05

Sometimes, bombs are enough to win games. Oftentimes, though, they are not. I was passed a pretty bomby pool, playing 5 rares in my deck, but I was incredibly light on removal, so I had to manage my creatures and spells well to make them count. Here’s the pool I got, and this is the deck I made:

Shimmering Grotto, Plains x8, Forest x7, Mountain

Avacyn’s Pilgrim, Caravan Vigil, Ranger’s Guile

Gatstaf Shepherd, Ambush Viper, Spectral Rider x2, Unruly Mob, Travel Preparations, Bonds of Faith

Daybreak Ranger, Orchard Spirit, Voiceless Spirit, Rebuke

Lumberknot, Thraben Sentry, Mikaeus, the Lunarch, Abbey Griffin

Somberwald Spider, Grizzled Outcasts, Manor Gargoyle, Kessig Cagebreakers, Devil’s Play

Match details after the jump!

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the life of a ptq attendee

2011/11/4, 5:45 PM – depart Madison, WI with Matt B. and Adam

2011/11/4, 10:00 PM – arrive Burnsville, MN

2011/11/5, 9:00 AM – arrive Legion Games, Burnsville, MN

2011/11/5, 10:00 AM – seating for deck registration begins

2011/11/5, 11:00 AM – round 1 pairings are posted

2011/11/5, 4:15 PM – I, Matt B., and Adam all drop with 3-2 records

2011/11/5, 5:00 PM – arrive Hong Kong Noodles, Minneapolis, MN

2011/11/5, 5:50 PM – depart Minneapolis, MN

2011/11/5, 9:45 PM – arrive Madison, WI

I’ll get to the actual event recap tomorrow, probably. But man, did I do a lot of driving in the last 2 days… Punting a match really sucks though.

ptq hawaii 2011/10/29

Today was the PTQ at Misty Mountain in Madison, WI, for Pro Tour Hawaii. The format is Innistrad sealed. I got a pretty bad pool, ended up 3-3 playing an aggressive Boros deck. The worst part? I totally forgot I had 2 Nightbird’s Clutches in my sideboard that would have been super relevant in 2 of the matches I lost :(

Here’s my deck:

Isolated Chapel, Stensia Bloodhall, Plains x7, Mountain x8

Reckless Waif, Doomed Traveler, Blazing Torch

Cloistered Youth, Mask of Avacyn, Bonds of Faith, Silverchase Fox, Ashmouth Hound, Harvest Pyre x2

Hanweir Watchkeep, Midnight Haunting, Rally the Peasants, Brimstone Volley, Chapel Geist x2, Crossway Vampire, Kessig Wolf

Smite the Monstrous x2, Thraben Sentry

Night Revelers

Geistcatcher’s Rig

For matches against people playing lots of artifacts or enchantments, I sided in 1 Forest, 1 Traveler’s Amulet, and 2 Naturalizes (unfortunately I was an idiot and forgot I had Ancient Grudge too). For games I needed to win faster, I put in Bloodcrazed Neonate over Night Revelers. Almost every match, I ended up siding out 1 land since I found that I was fine on 16. Quite a few matches I put in Furor of the Bitten to help get there faster. Another card I neglected to side in more often was Spare from Evil. 4th match vs. Sam Black, it would’ve been perfect, letting me swing past all of his random green giants.

Here’s my full pool: PTQ Hawaii ISD Sealed (2011/10/29)

I felt that black and green were unplayable, and blue required too much self-milling (that I didn’t have) to really be playable. If you think otherwise, post your thoughts!

incorrect; please try again

Just got back from “The 2011s” aka States. I played a Bant planeswalker control deck and did… not so great. Officially, I finished 2-3, but I conceded the timed draw in round 5 to my opponent because I wasn’t really confident in my deck and would drop anyway at over 2 losses. My matches went: Red Deck Wins (1-0), UW Control (1-1), UW Illusions (1-2), Solar Flare (2-2), Solar Flare (2-3, but it was actually a draw from time). The deck performed admirably in my wins (including the second match vs. Solar Flare; I probably would have won if we hadn’t gone to time, and I made a ginormous misplay game 2 that pretty much cost me the game), but I just had bad draws against UW Control and UW Illusions is possibly my worst matchup.

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fnm 2011/8/26

Just got back from FNM at Misty Mountain, where I 3-0’d in my draft pod. I was able to make a super-aggressive mono red deck with a small black splash, and the pod was really soft, so I took the top and got the Cultivate promo and also made out with Gideon and Solemn Simulacrum from the redraft.

Here was my deck:

Goblin Fireslinger, Goblin Grenade, Shock

Goblin Tunneler x2, Child of Night, Stormblood Berserker x2, Incinerate x2, Doom Blade

Goblin Chieftain, Fiery Hellhound x3, Manic Vandal, Act of Treason

Lightning Elemental, Chandra’s Outrage x2, Tectonic Rift x2

Lava Axe

Volcanic Dragon

Mountain x13, Swamp x3