PTQ Post mortem

Hi again,

 

This is a follow up on my previous post. The PTQ in Aarhus is over and I feel it’s time to look back on how things shaped out for me.

 

With unlimited time and the intellect of a genius I guess anythings possible. Unfortunately I had neither, although I think less could have put me at the top.  In the end the result was not a ticket to the Pro Tour, since I went 4-4 on the day of the PTQ. The final result put me at a 49th place out of a 150 participants.

 

The pool

The pool contained the cards below. To begin with I built a midrange RB deck, but after losing my first three matches, I asked a friend and went into aggro. That helped 🙂

The final deck contained the following

[d]

Creatures

1 Felhide Brawler

1 Pain Seer

1 Blood-Toll Harpy

1 Odunos River Trawler

1 Nyxborn Eidolon

1 Felhide Minotaur

1 Insatiable Harpy

1 Gray Merchant of Asphodel

1 Marshmist Titan

1 Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass

1 Everflame Eidolon

1 Nyxborn Rollicker

1 Minotaur Skullcleaver

1 Thunder Brute

1 Firedrinker Satyr

Spells

1 Pharika’s Cure

1 Read the Bones

1 Lash of the Whip

1 Sip of Hemlock

1 Bolt of Keranos

1 Fearsome Temper

1 Rage of Purphoros

1 Magma Jet

Lands

1 Unknown Shores

9 Swamps

7 Mountains

Sideboard

1 Servant of Tymaret

1 Cavern Lampad

1 Warchanter of Mogis

1 Marshmist Titan

1 Spearpoint Oread

1 Read the Bones

2 Rise to the Challenge

1 Portent of Betrayal

1 Siren of the Fanged Coast

1 Nimbus Naiad

1 Chorus of the Tides

1 Divination

1 Vortex Elemental

2 Retraction Helix

1 Artisan of Forms

1 Crypsis

1 Stratus Walk

1 Crackling Triton

1 Priest of Iroas

2 Loyal Pegasus

1 Nyxborn Shieldmate

1 Observant Alseid

1 Wingsteed Rider

1 Ray of Dissolution

1 Decorated Griffin

1 Fated Retribution

1 Hold at Bay

2 Last Breath

1 Great Hart

1 Vanquish the Foul

1 Ephara’s Radience

1 Forsaken Drifters

1 Weight of the Underworld

1 Drown in Sorrow

1 Medomai the Ageless

1 Ephara’s Enlightenment

1 Sealock Monster

1 Dissolve

1 Triton Shorethief

1 Gainsay

1 Lost in a Labyrinth

1 Evanescent Intellect

1 Thassa’s Rebuff

1 Nylea’s Disciple

1 Sedge Scorpion

1 Nessian Wilds Ravager

1 Pheres-Band Tromper

1 Swordwise Centaur

1 Satyr Hedonist

1 Fade into Antiquity

1 Time to Feed

1 Raised by Wolves

1 Satyr Piper

1 Hunt the Hunter

1 Defend the Hearth

1 Satyr Wayfinder

1 Guardian of Meletis

[/d]

 

When looking back I think I made a mistake when I constructed my deck. The cards to take it towards aggro where there, but I missed it and went into some midrange solution. The deck tried to do two different things, which I’m not interested in in general. I believe that the more uniform a decks plan is, the better it will perform.

Game plan: March – April

Hi,

As I’m preparing for the next PTQ I want to partake in, I decided to draft a plan for how to do this. The goal is clear: PTQ 13th of April @ Hotel Scandic Aarhus.

Program

To increase my chances a lot of practice is needed and that practice needs to be structured, since my time is limited. A brief outline goes something like this: I want to do

  • 2-3 Sealed events on MTGO per week (the 8 player kind of approx. 3 hours per event)
  • After each Sealed event, I’ll build 5 decks of the different archetypes or color combinations and
  • Play them against each other in a best-of-3 or something similar
  • Track (some of) the results from the events and the deckbuilding
  • Read articles and listen to podcasts to level up my game
  • Get into the winner mindset.

The program is of course dependent on me being able to invest the required number of hours. If not, I’ll start by cutting down on the post event deckbuilding and playing.

 

LR podcasts prioritized

I would like to relisten to the following podcasts. They’re approx. 20 hours total.

Limited Resources 211 – Technical Play
Limited Resources 214 – Common Mistakes
Limited Resources 208 – Entering the Arena with Noah Weil
Limited Resources 218 – Born of the Gods Rules and Mechanics with Judge Joe Bono
Limited Resources 210 – Sealed Deck
Limited Resources 203 – Theros Rules and Mechanics With Judge Joe Bono
Limited Resources 185 – Sideboard Strategy with Brian Wong
Limited Resources 216 – How to Beat Down
Limited Resources 184 – Card Evaluation With Brian Wong
Limited Resources 189 – Mana Bases
Limited Resources 198 – Brian Wong Level-Ups

The benefit of doing this is two fold; 1. I get more knowledge about tournament play and rules knowledge and 2. it helps me get into the mindset.

 

Open questions

A set of questions arose when I did this post. I hope I’ll find some answers along the road to the PTQ.

  • How do I QA the deckbuilding and technical play?
  • How do I ensure that I’m rested? Lack of sleep severely hampers my performance
  • Which articles do I need to read up on?
  • Which archetypes are there in the format? http://www.gatheringmagic.com/jacobvanlunen-012414-the-archetypes-of-theros-limited/

Born of the Gods Pre-release Day

So it finally became the day of the pre-release.

Having made arrangements with my girlfriend, to be able to commit all of my Sunday to Magic, I arrived at Fanatic at Claessensgade, Copenhagen around 10:30 a.m. We where about 30 people taking part in the tournament, which made it a five rounds event. My hopes where high and I had greatly anticipated craking a few new boosters. Especially the new expansion had shown some real promise, when I had studied the spoiler list.

 

Tournament time

I decided to go Blue and got a nice selection of Blue and Black cards. I decided to built the deck listed below. Initially I had worked in [c]Phenax, God of Deception[/c] and 2 [c]Disciple of Phenax[/c], but I found it to be way too slow, when facing aggro decks.
[d]
Creatures
1 Arbiter of the Ideal
2 Aerie Worshippers
2 Wavecrash Triton
1 Servant of Tymaret
1 Disciple of Phenax
1 Nimbus Naiad
1 Siren of the Silent Song
1 Baleful Eidolon
1 Nyxborn Eidolon
2 Sphinx’s Disciple
1 Keepsake Gorgon

Spells
1 Lash of the Whip
2 Aqueous Form
1 Nullify
1 Weight of the Underworld
1 Stratus Walk
1 Gild
1 Voyage’s End
1 Traveler’s Amulet

Land
8 Swamp
9 Island

Sideboard
1 Mogis, God of Slaughter
1 Phenax, God of Deception
2 Disciple of Phenax
1 Nullify
1 Retraction Helix
1 Mnemonic Wall
1 Triton Tactics
2 Evanescent Intellect
2 Deepwater Hypnotist
1 Claim of Erebos
1 Ashiok’s Adept
1 Asphodel Wanderer
1 Thoughtseize
1 Viper’s Kiss
2 Karametra’s Favor
1 Nylea’s Presence
1 Nyxborn Wolf
1 Centaur Battlemaster
1 Nessian Asp
1 Nylea’s Disciple
1 Pheres-Band Tromper
1 Artisan’s Sorrow
1 Unravel the Aether
1 Charging Badger
1 Shredding Winds
1 Spellheart Chimera
1 Akroan Crusader
1 Thunder Brute
2 Pharagax Giant
1 Everflame Eidolon
1 Rise to the Challenge
1 Epiphany Storm
2 Fall of the Hammer
1 Titan’s Strength
1 Dragon Mantle
1 Magma Jet
1 Thunderous Might
1 Messenger’s Speed
1 Soldier of the Pantheon
1 Heliod’s Emissary
1 Evangel of Heliod
1 Scholar of Athreos
1 Cavalry Pegasus
1 Nyxborn Shieldmate
2 Griffin Dreamfinder
1 Ephara’s Radiance
1 Oreskos Sun Guide
1 Revoke Existence
1 Acolyte’s Reward
1 Battlewise Valor
1 Ray of Dissolution
1 Anvilwrought Raptor
1 Colossus of Akros
1 Opaline Unicorn
1 Unknown Shores
[/d]

After losing the first match I made some adjustments, and thought seriously about putting in Green instead of playing Black. The creature count was however too low for my liking. I ended up going 2-3, but I did concede the last game, since I was not able to get any prizes, but my opponent was. We played it out after reporting the score and I won that one. So technically it’s a 3-2 score 🙂

In hindsight I’d say a slow rolling control/mill deck is not viable. At least not without some proper blockers, like [c]Returned Phalanx[/c] or [c]Leafcrown Dryad[/c].

 

Tournament time, take two

The shop held a late tournament at 5 p.m. Who can resist? I sure couldn’t 😉

During the first tournament I have had the time to talk to a few of the guys I had met at earlier tournaments. Based on the knowledge and viewpoints I had heard and collected, I decided I’d try going Red. This is normally outside my comfort zone, but Red had been looking really strong, especially the promo card [c]Forgestoker Dragon[/c].

I got a nice selection of minotaurs, which the guys at the shop convinced me to try and built a deck around, and minotaurs equals aggro. Yup, they’re a malicious bunch of bulls.

The deck came out like this

[d]
Creatures
1 Forgestoker Dragon
2 Kragma Warcaller
1 Kragma Butcher
1 Stormcaller of Keranos
1 Oracle of Bones
1 Pharagax Giant
1 Reckless Reveler
1 Erebos’s Emissary
1 Warchanter of Mogis
1 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
2 Servant of Tymaret
1 Burnished Hart

Spells
2 Rage of Purphoros
1 Fated Conflagration
1 Weight of the Underworld
1 Pharika’s Cure
1 Asphyxiate
1 Boon of Erebos
1 Springleaf Drum
1 Traveler’s Amulet

Lands
8 Mountain
8 Swamp
1 Island

Sideboard
1 Spark Jolt
1 Scouring Sands
1 Epiphany Storm
1 Impetuous Sunchaser
1 Dragon Mantle
1 Rise to the Challenge
1 Demolish
1 Satyr Rambler
1 Akroan Crusader
1 Loathsome Catoblepas
1 Forsaken Drifters
1 Grisly Transformation
2 Scourgemark
1 Ordeal of Erebos
1 Cutthroat Maneuver
1 Lost in a Labyrinth
1 Deepwater Hypnotist
1 Coastline Chimera
1 Triton Fortune Hunter
1 Omenspeaker
1 Nyxborn Triton
1 Dissolve
1 Griptide
1 Voyage’s End
1 Bident of Thassa
1 Eternity Snare
1 Oracle’s Insight
1 Stratus Walk
1 Retraction Helix
1 Nullify
1 Last Breath
1 Fated Retribution
1 Great Hart
1 Elite Skirmisher
1 Lagonna-Band Elder
1 Observant Alseid
2 Oreskos Sun Guide
1 Glimpse the Sun God
1 Revoke Existence
1 Gods Willing
1 Battlewise Valor
1 Mortal’s Resolve
1 Karametra’s Favor
1 Raised by Wolves
1 Shredding Winds
1 Feral Invocation
1 Leafcrown Dryad
1 Mistcutter Hydra
1 Snake of the Golden Grove
1 Staunch-Hearted Warrior
2 Setessan Oathsworn
1 Nyxborn Wolf
1 Mischief and Mayhem
1 Skyreaping
1 Satyr Hedonist
1 Satyr Piper
1 Guardians of Meletis
1 Siren Song Lyre
1 Temple of Mystery
[/d]

At the end of the event my score was 3-2. Better than I hoped. Sweet 😀

Key points in the deck is the solid mana base, the synergy between the minotaurs and the efficient removal. The only removal spell that didn’t perform like I wanted it to, was [c]Asphyxiate[/c]. The “untapped” clause makes you unable to use it when you’re behind, since your opponent will be pummelling you with his fatties.

Another nice synergy was between [c]Servant of Tymaret[/c] and [c]Springleaf Drum[/c]. The extra mana can be used to fuel the scry ability on [c]Stormcaller of Keranos[/c], which also helped me steal some games.

 

As for Born of the Gods I truly enjoyed the new set. I my opinion the Theros block is really interesting, and Born of the Gods is no exception.

 

Until next time, take care all 🙂

Sealed Tonight #4 – Theros

Hi again,

Another Phantom event on the list, but I gotta say I’m not feeling super confident after the last few. The score has been looking terrible and I can’t imagine what my rating must be. Probably lousy.
But hey, you can only go up when you are in a hole 🙂

The Sealed pool
The pool itself showed some promise. First off, it contained a [c]Thassa, God of the Sea[/c] and an [c]Hythonia, the Cruel[/c]. Not too shabby. Black was looking real strong, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with a two color deck, since every combination seemed a little low on creatures. I decided to go for a BG control deck, with a splash of Blue, knowing full well that Thassa would never become a creature that way. But in my opinion, her strength is in the “make my guys unblockable part” and the scrying especially.

The deck looked like this.

[d]
Creatures
1 Baleful Eidolon
1 Agent of the Fates
1 Cavern Lampad
1 Erebos’s Emissary
1 Hythonia the Cruel
1 Returned Phalanx
1 Leafcrown Dryad
1 Voyaging Satyr
2 Nylea’s Disciple
1 Nessian Asp
1 Centaur Battlemaster
1 Agent of Horizons
1 Thassa, God of the Sea
2 Nimbus Naiad
1 Pharika’s Mender

Spells
2 Read the Bones
1 Pharika’s Cure
1 Savage Surge
1 Nylea’s Presence

Land
3 Island
8 Swamp
7 Forest

Sideboard
1 Yoked Ox
1 Hopeful Eidolon
1 Setessan Battle Priest
1 Setessan Griffin
1 Ray of Dissolution
1 Annul
1 Lost in a Labyrinth
2 Loathsome Catoblepas
1 Priest of Iroas
1 Vulpine Goliath
1 Bronze Sable
2 Anvilwrought Raptor
1 Dauntless Onslaught
1 Artisan’s Sorrow
1 Kragma Warcaller
1 Fleecemane Lion
1 Observant Alseid
1 Chosen by Heliod
2 Fleshmad Steed
1 Dragon Mantle
1 Evangel of Heliod
1 Vanquish the Foul
1 Coordinated Assault
1 Ordeal of Purphoros
1 Rageblood Shaman
1 Destructive Revelry
1 Cavalry Pegasus
2 Disciple of Phenax
2 Defend the Hearth
1 Heliod’s Emissary
1 Coastline Chimera
2 Centaur Battlemaster
1 Leonin Snarecaster
1 Triad of Fates
1 Crackling Triton
1 Shredding Winds
2 Boulderfall
2 Spark Jolt
1 Battlewise Valor
1 Demolish
2 Thassa’s Bounty
1 Guardians of Meletis
1 Flamecast Wheel
1 Ephara’s Warden
2 Titan’s Strength
1 Sea God’s Revenge
1 Triton Tactics
1 Omenspeaker
1 Wavecrash Triton
1 Benthic Giant
1 Pheres-Band Centaurs
1 Shipwreck Singer
[/d]

 

Match #1

I went up against a WBG Heroic deck. Starting off with a nice draw, albeit a little low on land, I got my [c]Nimbus Naiad[/c] out and pummelled the guy. He tried pumping his [c]Phalanx Leader[/c] and [c]Time To Feed[/c] my [c]Nylea’s Disciple[/c] but I got him in the end, with my bestowed up Naiad. Needless to say the [c]Artisan’s Sorrow[/c] got boarded in after seeing his deck.

Game 2 he boarded in some Red, so I guess he switched over to an RW Heroic deck. With a [c]Minotaur Skullcleaver[/c] and his [c]Phalanx Leader[/c]. He kep my creatures off the board with several [c]Rage of Purphoros[/c], before finishing me off with his bigass Phalanx Leader and a [c]Lightning Strike[/c] to my face.

The final game I tried boarding in [c]Shipwreck Singer[/c] to see if taht would help me deal with his little critters, like [c]Priest of Iroas[/c], which my Naiads, [c]Baleful Eidolon[/c] and [c]Leafcrown Dryad[/c] where especially vulnerable to. I also boarded in an [c]Annul[/c] to try and keep his enchantments at bay. The game started with some pretty standard plays. I then got out my [c]Agent of the Fates[/c] and bestowed the hell out of it, keeping his creature count to a minimum. The Agent in combination with the [c]Shipwreck Singer[/c] finally cleared the board, including a [c]Celestial Archon[/c] and my opponent conceded.

I felt quite good starting off with a 1-0 score 😀

 

Match #2

The next guy was playing a RB deck, which to my horror sported a [c]Whip of Erebos[/c] and an [c]Underworld Cerberus[/c]. I tried staving off disaster but he finally ran me into the ground on turn 10. Maybe I could have played my [c]Erebos’s Emissary[/c], attacked with it and hope that he would have blocked with the Cerberus, only to see me pump it by sacking two creatures, but I can’t say for sure. I’ll have to try it some other time.

The Sorrow went in again, as a counter for the whip. I figured I needed to stall for time, so I also took in a [c]Triton Tactics[/c].

In game 2 we both got a flyer out, me with Naiad and him with a [c]Blood-toll Harpy[/c]. A few turns later he had the harpy and [c]Felhide Minotaur[/c] out, and I went on the defense with a [c]Pharika’s Mender[/c] and my Naiad. I decided my best option was turtling my way to victory. The fliers traded off and he then brought out a [c]Mogis’s Marauder[/c] in hopes of racing me. Bestowing a [c]Cavern Lampad[/c] onto the Mender seems to make him give up on that plan. Again going for a deciding thrid game…

Seeing my opening my heart sank, as I was sitting on three colors worth of spells, but only two Swamps. I decided to keep, which could spell my demise before long. My opponent opened up with a [c]Thoughtseize[/c] and my heart snak even further. Luckily I was holding [c]Thassa, God of the Sea[/c] which he decided to discard, leaving me with just enough mana to get going. I managed to pull a land on turn 3 giving me enough to cast [c]Read the Bones[/c]. I felt a tingle of hope as I scryed a Forest. That one definately went on top. The game rolled on an my opponent got out his Cerberus again. At one point he was attacking with [c]Tormented Hero[/c], [c]Underworld Cerberus[/c], [c]Mogis’s Marauder[/c] and a [c]Spearpoint Oread[/c] against my [c]Voyaging Satyr[/c], [c]Nessian Asp[/c], [c]Erebos’s Emissary[/c] and [c]Nylea’s Disciple[/c]. I played a [c]Triton Tactics[/c] to try and get the Cerberus tapped down, but he countered that with a [c]Boon of Erebos[/c] and killing of my Asp. However, a late [c]Hythonia the Cruel[/c] swept, cleared the board. The Cerberus gave both of us a ton of creatures to play. Luckily I could keep him at bay, while my Hythonia swung in and won me the game.

2-0. Sweet 😀

 

Match #3

I was up against a solid opponont, who swept me off the board yesterday. He was playing a WRG deck, featuring a few scry lands (lucky duck), [c]Sedge Scorpion[/c]s and other nasty things. I got out my Thassa and my Pharika’s Mender could swing through for lethal.

Game 2 was a sad affair where I tried to keep his [c]Wingsteed Rider[/c] at bay. That did not go well. His [c]Ill-Tempered Cyclops[/c] did help my situation.

In game 3 I got out Thassa and the Agent, but the latter he made short work of with a [c]Magma Jet[/c]. The game went back and forth for ten turns apporximately and he slowly ground my defenses down. Hythonia came in and cleared the board. I was topdecking at this point, sitting at 2. He was definately topdecking too, but before I got my [c]Nylea’s Disciple[/c] he drew a [c]Destructive Revelry[/c] taking out Thassa and killing me off. I can only say well played. Well played indeed.

 

Conclusion

I really feel like my skills and decision making is getting better. I feel like I make fewer mistakes and I also tried not switching out the deck during games. My deck seemed to perform a lot more consistent, but I didn’t need to mulligan as much as normally. I think scrying may have been the key here along with 18 lands.

 

That’s it for now. Take care 🙂