Stories from MTG Pro Tour Philadelphia

Hello everyone, I’m currently back in Prague and I can still feel the excitement of the first paper Pro Tour in a while. I had an absolute blast and was very fortunate to test for the event with Team CFB. We found a nice deck mainly thanks to Mike Sigrist and it was good enough to put two of our people into Top 8 with Reid Duke eventually winning it all. These are my small stories from Philadelphia; judge for yourself if we enjoyed all the luck or not.


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An Airbnb for Pros

Soon after joining the team, I found out that my teammates are much better in Magic than in getting Airbnbs, and I somehow ended up being the one in charge of booking and paying for the whole thing. You might be thinking that getting accommodations for 12 people is super easy, but you would be mistaken. To complicate the matter further, Siggy announced that he has to have his own bed, own bathroom, own kitchen and personal chef at the site, otherwise he’s not going. Luckily, after hours of searching, I found two perfect Airbnbs right next to each other, and we ended up having 15 beds for 11 people, or as they say in the world of macroeconomics, BePe ratio of 1.36. 

Compare that to the Zoomer team (Handshake) who barely had BePe ratio 0.8., it’s easy to see that we were no longer young kids trying to save a dollar here and there by sleeping on the couch, but rather a group of skilled veterans who like their comfort. At some point, Martin literally got lost in our apartment complex and had trouble finding the way to his own bed. That’s how (unnecessarily) huge our place was.

The Anti-Ratchet Bomb Tech

During testing of Creativity, we were a bit worried about a random Ratchet Bomb somebody might have in their sideboard, as it felt impossible to win through it. Luckily, one day I walked into our living room and Siggy immediately started explaining to me that they figured it out, and all you need is Mutavault and flipped Fable to just combo through it, as neither of these gets destroyed by Bomb for zero.

Fast forward to my first constructed match of the tournament, where Gavin “Alphafrog” Thompson slammed the Ratchet Bomb against me, which he sideboarded in with his Mono-Green deck. I remembered what Siggy said and just casually comboed off on turn 5 as the Fable just flipped.

Jace, the Money Sculptor

On the last day of our Airbnb stay, Martin started a three minute monologue about how it would be nice if Wizards found a way to cover at least some travel costs for the players, like for example printing a nice cool card that everyone would get that would be a very limited print run and that players could either keep or sell to the vendors and that it should be a good card so there’s a big demand for it, and that he really doesn’t understand why they won’t do that. Luis was nice enough to hear out the whole story before informing him that is exactly what they did for this and future Pro Tours.

Raising Hell

Eli told us a story about how he used Capricious Hellraiser to bring back his Koth, Fire of Resistance as the dragon says noncreature, nonland cards can be recast. Oh boy, there is some wild stuff happening at 0-2 draft tables at the PT.

How Long Can You Miss a Trigger?

With live Magic comes back everyone’s favorite feature, missed triggers! I posted a clip from the PT that I disliked quite a bit and it looks like there’s a huge variety of opinions circulating in the public, even among the judges. 

I guess I have just one more thing to add to this. Inspired by Thoralf Severins of the Magic universe, I invite all my future opponents to play polite common sense Magic with me. If you play against me, attack with a Fable token, write down new life total, play another creature and let me draw a card for my turn, and then you say “Oh and I made a Treasure token,” my answer is going to be “yeah sure” – my decision tree has not been affected at all. If you wait until I cast a blue spell and then try to use nonexistent Treasure to play Mystical Dispute, that’s when I say no. Quite intuitive, right? If you decide to go for Trigger’s Gambit Declined and your answer to my “You take two and I make a Treasure token” is “Lmao wrong order dude no Treasure for you”, then after a judge call I will respect your decision and follow you to play the most predatory game I can muster and accept the fact that you prefer minor short term advantages over our future polite interactions.

I’m aware that this will cost me some money, but every action is a vote on how you want the world to look like, and I just want to play normal Magic.

Reid Never Misses

Round 6 I played against the one and only Reid Duke. We played a 75-card mirror in a feature match. After winning Game 1 due to Reid being stuck on five lands the whole game, we played a super tight Game 2. I resolved Hullbreaker Horror but I was dying to a lot of random tokens and Mutavaults while not having life and spells to spare.

We got to a situation where I had to decide if I wanted to risk dying to Spikefield Hazard or Indomitable Creativity and any spell when Reid had one card in hand with one final draw step incoming. I chose to play around Hazard and aggressively defended my life total, but I think it might have been wrong and felt like a player of Reid’s caliber really might have been sandbagging Creativity to the last moment. Reid drew his card, played Creativity and a spell and clutched the game and later the match.

A day later and I told him that it was quite impressive that he kept the Creativity in his hand for that long and that I really like the play. To that he replied, “Oh, I just drew that, I was super dead otherwise.” #ShouldntHaveAsked

Some Questionable Sideboarding

I finished the day with a loss against Lukas Honnay which should have been a draw if I didn’t sideboard in the most ridiculous fashion I could. It was late in the eighth round, I slept like three hours for this day and played a matchup that wasn’t in my sideboard guide (Omnath) with only eight minutes left on the clock (first game took forever, he had Slaughter Games but no way to quickly close out the game), so you could say my sideboarding got a little bit wild.

Normally I would like to board into the Hullbreaker Horror deck against him, but I had no time for that so I wanted to keep in combo. But I also felt like one Leyline Binding will just break the combo and I still wanted to have win condition, so I did something crazy that I saw in Eli’s notes as a possibility against Mono-Green – I boarded in one Horror and kept the combo in. Logic was that games go a bit longer and I will be able to Creativity for three, at which point I will win with Horror even after he exiles my Worm. Shockingly, this logic was anything but bulletproof, and obviously the game got to a point where I had to Creativity for two, hit Horror with Xenagos and got completely destroyed in a game where I would just win on the spot if I kept the combo in.

Jakub’s Toxic Draw

I was playing for 3-0 in the second draft (had 7-3 at that point) and I had the best draw one can have in Limited and managed to kill my opponent with poison on turn five through two blockers. I played Jawbone Duelist and equipped it with a Prosthetic Injector, and attacked with it three times. Every connect gives them four poison counters, so I just cleared the way for it twice and that was the game.

Real Life Death and Taxes

I went to buy a new deckbox in the MagicCon arena and had this amazing “USA only” conversation:

“Hey, how much for this deck box, I can’t see a price tag anywhere.”

“Let me see… so that would be 23 dollars.”

“Okay great, I’ll take it.”

“Awesome, so that will be 24 dollars and 86 cents!”

Good Guy Tristan

Round 14 I’m sitting at a 9-4 score and get paired against Tristan Wylde-LaRue. Deck lists are open on MTGMelee, but I like to propose to my opponent to just swap real decks and go through them. As Tristan goes through my deck, he asks if I have just three Make Disappear, one Spell Pierce and one Disdainful Stroke in the main deck for countering. I tell him that I don’t play the Stroke main-deck, at which point he takes it out of my deck and puts it in my sideboard as I forgot to de-sideboard it from my previous match, telling me he’s also scared of forgetting to de-sideboard. Trigger sharks probably can’t believe he did that rather than trying to fish for game loss in Game 1, so big shoutout to him for being an extra nice opponent.

Can You Find the Win?

Round 15 I find myself playing against Lotus once again, but this time I don’t have the nuts against flood as I had against Tristan, but I’m rather struggling with lands against my opponent’s awesome draw. I lost Game 1 and in Game 2, I mulligan to five. However, my draw is pretty good and we actually have a game on our hands, although I’m falling behind quite a bit and I get combo’d out in the end. However, after I lost the game, I just kept thinking about it and there actually was a way to win this. Try for yourself if you can find the line:

It’s my opponent’s main phase, he has three tapped lands including two Lotus Fields, one blue and three black mana floating. He has Sphinx of the Final Word and Omniscience in play, and has already cast one Approach of the Second Sun. He puts Behold the Beyond on the stack, against which I played Narset’s Reversal, which is resolving now.

My board is two tapped lands and four untapped lands, two Treasure tokens, a Fable token and Fable enchantment with two counters on it. Which three cards should I find to extremely likely win this game? Assume I have everything from our 75 at my disposal (and no Hullbreaker Horror in the deck).

Pioneer Izzet Creativity by Reid Duke

Luck, Steak, Victory

We wrapped up the Pro Tour with a one hour walk through the city where we got completely lost instead of getting to the hotel in five minutes, and a phenomenal celebratory dinner of LSV, who just turned 40, where I was suddenly surrounded by people who I have watched and admired for the last 15 years. This Pro Tour was one to be remembered for a long time, and I found myself with a rekindled excitement for Magic.

Super excited for Minneapolis, hope to see you all there.

4 thoughts on “Stories from MTG Pro Tour Philadelphia”

  1. I was your opponent in round 15 and was actually thinking about this puzzle from the other side after our match. If you had fetched the suggested Otawara, Reversal, and Creativity and then used Otawara on my Omniscience in response to me recasting Behold, I still think I can put myself in good shape to win. With Behold, I would get Vizier, Hidden Strings, and my own Otawara. I would cycle Vizier to untap a Lotus, then tap it to have 3 blue mana, 2 black mana floating. Then I would cast Strings on one of your treasures and a Lotus. If you reversal, I recast it targetting my 2 Lotus. Either way I get to Cipher it onto my Sphinx, go to combat, attack and then untap 2 Lotus. From there, I just leave Otawara up which should protect me from losing to creativity while I beatdown with my 5/5 flyer. Plus, I would have a random card drawn off Vizier toward trying to combo again.

  2. But what if he Otawa Omniscience then goes again for the Reversal at this time? You would have not much running, and he’d have a Creativity in hand

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