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PV’s Playhouse – PV in SD, Part 2

 

Hello!

This is part two of my San Diego report. Part one can be found here.

When last I left you, I had just gone 4-1 in the Standard portion, which was certainly good but left me somewhat mad, as I had lost on the last round. No matter your record, you always get a taste of sour grapes if you lost the last round – if I had gone 0-1, 4-1, then I would have been delighted with the same record, but as it was I kept thinking about the 5-0 that I had NOT gone.

Part of the reason for that was that I was much less confident in my Draft performance. Historically speaking I’ve always done better in Constructed than in Limited, and I really think I am much better in the first one, but lately things have just began falling apart – since Shards was released, my Limited record in all the events dropped somewhat dramatically. That did not chance with either M10 or Zendikar. To me, that meant I would like to have a good reserve of wins in the Constructed part so that I could lose my certain losses in the Limited one, so each Constructed loss hurt a little bit more.

That said, 4-1 was not a bad record or anything, so I moved to my draft table, who had some people that I knew and some people that I didn’t.

My first pick was Marsh Casualties over Eldrazi Monument, and my second and third picks were Inferno Trap and Punishing Fire, which felt great because I really like removal and I like BR, but it also put me into the “you already have good removal so you can devalue them now and should look for better creatures”. My fourth pick had nothing in either red or black, so I took a Reckless Scholar that was lying around – it seems I like this card more than most people, and I am not sure why – looters have always been good, and though he is not that good in this format, because it is a little bit faster and you have use for extra lands in landfall, he is still not bad – he has a passable body and a good ability, especially for decks who end up without many landfall cards, such as mine. I got some other black and blue cards, a Heartstabber Mosquito, a Giant Scorpion (that I picked over Surrakar Marauder because my deck felt like it was going to be more defensive than aggressive), Aether Figment, another Scholar, and I ended pack one in the awkward position where I have three colors but don’t really know which one two I am going to use. At this point I think I am almost certainly playing Bx, but I don’t know which other color – my red cards are better and I want to play BR, but I have more blue cards and I might not be able to afford BR, since I don’t have that many black cards to begin with.

My second pack offered me Hideous End, and then I got passed my second Marsh Casualties. I see close to no red, and by the end of pack two I only have the Inferno Trap, the Punishing Fire and a Tuktuk Grunts, which means I am very likely going to be in either UB or UBr. I get passed a pack with an unplayable card, a Steppe Lynx (!) and an Expedition Map as the three cards left, and I pick the Map because I might have to splash something and I have no fixers at that point.

Pack three offers me Smother pack 1, and then pack 2 I have the choice of Tideforce Elemental and Shoreline Salvager. I understand that the Elemental is a more powerful card, and combos especially well with Marsh Casualties, but at this point I thought I had so much removal that the 3/3 Ophidian was going to connect more often than not, and would then draw me into more removal so that he could connect more often. This was a flawed thought, because I still had the mindset I had after my first picks – that I had a lot of removal, and then I got another Marsh Casualties and a Hideous End and a Smother – but that was under the assumption that I was going to play those red cards, which I likely wasn’t. The situation had changed a little bit, but when I made this pick I was still operating with my “old” mindset – I should have picked the Elemental.

After that I got a bunch of good cards, and my deck ended up like this:

I kind of liked my deck – it was not super powerful, but it had some powerful cards and the removal was really solid. It was also somewhat lacking in a curve, with only two drops that cost 2 or less (counting Smother as a drop there), but made up for that with two Marsh Casualties. Overall I thought this was a 2-1 deck.

Round 6: Gaudenis
Gau was by far the most threatening player in the table, so I was not overly pleased to have to play against him, but oh well, I am at the Pro Tour I suppose.

We both start the games fairly slow, and it turns out he is playing BR with a bunch of removal. He pauses on turn three and passes without a play, so I kind of know he has Torch Slinger in his hand, which is bad news since it’s really good against my two Wasp hand. Game one we exchange some removal spells and we are racing, me with an Aether Figment and him with a couple of guys, and I draw about 5 lands in a row. When he attacks, I decide to use my last spell, a Hideous End, to kill his Torch Slinger, because it doesn’t look like I’m going to have many targets and those two points are going to matter. Then he plays Grotag Thrasher, and it looks a bit awkward – I was operating under the assumption that I was going to race him if he didn’t play anything, but if he did then I would always be able to leave my Figment back to block – the Thrasher made neither of this possible, I don’t topdeck anything and die.

Game two he again has Torch Slinger for my first play, and it looks like I am going to win the race when he plays the 5/4 guy that pseudo-propagandas, which means I can’t attack because I have to play something, and then when he attacks I have to trade with two dudes, effectively swinging everything. The dust clears and he has only Torch Slinger in play to my nothing, but then he finds Corrupted Zendikon. I draw Whiplash Trap, which is super awkward because I have to bounce his Torch Slinger as well, which makes it almost sure that the next creature I play is going to die, but I have to do it anyway as my life total is dangerously low. We play draw-go for a while and then he finds Guul Draz Vampire and I Heartstabber Mosquito it, which he Torch Slingers. I finally draw a Mysteries of the Deep, and I play that and find three spells, two of which are 3/3s and the other a removal, and it looks like I am gaining control of the game. Then he plays a seventh Mountain and Spire Barrages me for 7. Frown.

0-2
4-2

Round 7: this round I played against a guy with GW. Game one my Shoreline Salvager gets hit by Pitfall Trap, and I am forced to chump-attack with my Vampire Lacerator into his Nissa’s Chosen so I can clear that plus 2/1 swampwalker with Marsh Casualties for 1. He plays Bestial Menace, but I have Whiplash Trap (for the trap cost no less!) to leave him with only a 1/1, but he just keeps playing more and more guys and I just die.

Game two was very frustrating. I start with Blood Seeker and another guy, followed by a 3/3 Aether Figment, and he keeps playing land after land, but I keep drawing land after land (I know right, every time!). He plays a small guy that trades with my other dude, and then plays a 2/1 swampwalker. I don’t really care that he is going to attack me – I am at 20 – and I figure that if I attack he will just block, and I would rather my Blood Seeker to live, so I attack with just the unblockable 3/3, putting him to 9 life. On his turn he attacks me down to 18 and plays Novablast Wurm, going to 8. On my turn I can do nothing but attack him down to 5, and on his turn he attacks with the Wurm. I immediately draw Aether Tradewinds, but by then it’s too late, as I don’t have anything else and bouncing his guy does nothing but buy me a turn in which I don’t draw removal.

It should be noted that his play of attacking me with his 2/1 – which does not change my clock at all since his only guy that is going to attack for the rest of the game is a 7/7 – is terrible and almost cost him the game. Imagine if I had drawn the bounce spell one turn earlier – or several turns earlier, as I had a bunch of cards in hand and he couldn’t know they were all lands, one of them could well be a bounce spell – then I would be able to bounce his Wurm and attack for four, putting him on four life – which means he cannot replay the Wurm or he dies to Blood Seeker + Figment. If he just holds back his 2/1 to block my 1/1, then I can only attack him down to five, as I did, which means he can play the Wurm, go to four, and wrath with it once he is at one life.

0-2
4-3

Sooo, I had to win my last round. Only one person was not going to make it from our entire table, was that person going to be me?

Round 8 I was on the play, and I had the awesome hand of 3 lands, Vampire Lacerator, Blood Seeker, Reckless Scholar, Reckless Scholar. To make things better, my opponent went Forest, Island, Plains, Oran-Rief Survivalist. I have not drawn a spell yet at this point, but I attack rather than loot, since I just want to get his life total down because of Blood Seeker. He passes with no play either, and I attack him again. Eventually he finds a land and plays a guy, and I get very frustrated because he is very low and I have literally not drawn a spell. I may sound a bit whiny, but there were so many gigantic land clumps in those matches it made me feel very frustrated – it’s not like I drew 3 land in a row once, it’s 5 or more at least once per round.

At some point, after drawing and looting for lands for what seems like forever, I finally draw a removal spell and he dies.

Game two I die with four lands in play and a hand consisting of every 5 and 6 casting cost card in my deck. This is actually not a complaint (unlike the other one), because I knew my deck had a bunch of 5s and that was bound to happen at some point.
Game three I have a hand of 5 lands and two Marsh Casualties, and I think a lot about it. I think most people would have instantly kept this hand (and most people I asked did), and in the end I think I just have to keep – though I can certainly configure a bunch of draw sequences that will leave me demolished. It helps that he had seen no Marsh Casualties and has no particular reason for playing around it, and certainly no reason to play around the second one.

My first draw step is the best possible – Reckless Scholar. That means I am at least very likely not flooding to death. My first Marsh Casualties catches him somewhat off guard, and he says “ooooo”, like the Japanese do all the time. After that he also floods horribly, and I am full of cards in hand, so I know barring something very unusual he can’t realistically win. He plays Wolfbriar Elemental for three, which means he takes four from Blood Seeker, and I Marsh Casualties again, and this time he goes “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.” Then he reveals his hand of three lands and scoops.

Yay.

So, I was in day 2, although with the worst possible record. As I’ve said, I would probably have been really mad if I had lost the last round to finish 5-3, but since I was 4-3 and had to win I was happy for the moment.

I started day 2 with Turntimber Basilisk over nothing very good (an Elemental Appeal was in the pack), which I believe to be a somewhat underrated card – now with Explore he is even better (though fewer Harrows). I then got a Nissa’s Chosen and just kept getting green cards, though they were not super exciting. By the end of pack 2, my only reason to be mono-green was Primal Bellow, which is clearly not enough reason, but I simply didn’t have cards in any other colors.

I go to pack 3 expecting to pick something like 3 Arbor Elf and 2 Leatherback Baloth, because it seems like no one is green, but I am forced to open the in somewhat overrated but still very good Basilisk Collar. Pack two sees me getting passes Bestial Menace, and pack six (!) another one, kind of confirming that not many people are in green in my table. I fail to get more than one Arbor Elf, but I do get an Explore and an Everflowing Chalice to help with my curve issues – again, I have quite a bit of fives. This is how it ended up:

This has some pretty powerful cards, though it has the obvious flaw of not being able to deal with creatures very well. It does have a Feral Contest, which is not my favorite card in the world but in this deck seems fine, as it curves well with my two and three drops (Oran-Rief Recluse for example is capable of killing most things on turn four as a 2/4), a Basilisk and the two Recluses, as well as the Soaring Seacliffs to enable you to kill anything, so I am not as helpless as it would seem. I do have a but clump of 5 drops, but I can’t really bring myself to cut Territorial Baloth for Joraga Bard, even if it is an Elf and all that. I do have two in the board though, so I keep that in mind for fast decks. I also have a Slingbow Trap.

Round 9: Charles (Aceman) – again I get paired round 1 against the most threatening opponent in the table. He makes some jokes about one of us dying very fast, and that depending on how many Goblin Guides he draws, and I decide that he is actually serious, since I did pass two Elemental Appeal and a Goblin Guide in his direction.

He is on the play and I have an opening hand of Basilisk Collar, Bestial Menace, Everflowing Chalice and four lands, which I keep. He starts with Plated Geopede into Ruinous Minotaur into Shatterskull Giant, when my board is three lands and a Chalice since I drew hits such as Territorial Baloth and Feral Contest. I play my Bestial Menace (and when I do that he exclaims “did you get that 6th pick??”, which shows he was paying attention to the draft – he doesn’t know I have another, though) and he Punishing Fires the 2/2 and attacks with everything, and I kill the Minotaur with my 3/3 and chump the Giant, going to 5. The reason I don’t kill the Giant and chump the Minotaur is that I want to play Territorial Baloth next turn, and I don’t want to block with it – if I don’t kill the Minotaur, then I will have to block with it next turn, whereas the Giant I can afford to take.

Next turn I drop Territorial Baloth and then he attacks with only his Giant, and I don’t block, going to 1. The reason I don’t block is that I have Basilisk Collar in play and Feral Contest in hand, and even if he has Punishing Fire, to kind of prevent Collar from completely turning around the game, I want to connect and kill a guy. He plays Hedron Hover and I draw a great card in Primal Bellow. I play a land, equip my Baloth, Contest it, attack and Primal Bellow to gain 14 life, putting me way out of range. Next turn he plays Goblin Guide and attacks with some stuff, and I don’t attack back because he has [card]Punishing Fire[/card] in hand and enough mana to kill my Baloth if I do that – instead I simply play a Baloth Woodcrasher and pass. At the end of the turn he Punishing Fires me, which I think was a mistake – it’s way better for me that he does that, instead of keeping it in his hand to deal with my x/4 guys. On his turn he attacks me with the Giant only, and I reveal the top card of my deck out of habit (because I had done that the last turn for Goblin Guide). I get a warning and then block his guy with my Baloth, and he returns Punishing Fire. On my turn I draw a land, and then he is too far behind.

I board out one Feral Contest and one Territorial Baloth for two Joraga Bards.

Game one I mulligan and as I am shuffling he already has two cards face down in play, one of which is tapping for mana and the other attacking me. I jokingly say it’s probably that multikicker guy, and he says “might be!” As I keep my hand of 6 it turns out it is the Skitter of Lizards, and I take one. I play a Grazing Gladehart on turn three, and on turn four my hand is 2x Bestial Menace, Baloth Cage Trap and Everflowing Chalice. I could play the Chalice for two, but that doesn’t take me anywhere, since I don’t need 6 mana – I would rather play the chalice for one, and keep 2 mana open to play Baloth Cage Trap if he plays an artifact – I know he has at least one, the Hedron Rover, and he might just have equipment, so the option of trapping it seems better than having the mana I don’t need – if I survive, I will probably win with those cards in my hand even if I get stuck on 5 and draw my two six drops.

For that same reason, I block his 2/2 with Gladehart – at this point I already have everything I need to win the game against his mono-red deck, I just have to make sure I don’t die, so since I don’t have any more lands in hand I just block and trade with his guy.
In the end I draw a land each turn for the rest of the game, but it doesn’t matter. When I play my first Bestial Menace, he says he feels like scooping. Next turn I play the second one, and he does that.

2-0
6-3

Round 10: My opponent went Swamp, Swamp, discard Kazandu Blademaster, discard another WW card, die. When will those people learn not to keep those hands?

I didn’t see any fliers, but I boarded in Slingbow Trap, since BW are the colors with the most fliers in the set and he is bound to have some.

Game two he put up a better fight, but in the end couldn’t really beat my bigger guys and just lost. He had a bunch of 2/2 multikicker fliers, and though I didn’t draw my trap it would have been good had that happened, so I was glad with my decision. As it was, my Oran-Rief Recluse was enough to stop all of them.

2-0
7-3

Round 11
My round 11 opponent was playing UB. Game one I have a pressing advantage but hit another gigantic clump of lands, and at some point he has four dudes, one of which is a Sphinx of Jwar Isle. I have Baloth Woodcrasher out and need to draw something good, and I draw Explore, which is great because it makes it so my Baloth cannot be triple blocked. I Explore and play two lands, and attack for 12. We are now at the point where a spell is a good draw and land is a good draw – you know, those situations where you always draw Adventuring Gear or Everflowing Chalice. It does not disappoint and I draw Arbor Elf.

Next turn I draw Primal Bellow, and attack with everything. He blocks all my guys, the Woodcrasher with the Sphinx, so I Primal Bellow just to kill it, which will leave me with a Baloth and him with two 3/3s when the dust is settled, but instead he just scoops his cards. I guess he thought my Baloth had trample, which it does not. Just to clarify before I get random accusations, I at no moment made any motion to imply my guy had trample or that my opponent was dead, I just pointed the pump spell at the Baloth and he scooped – there was even a German (I believe) reporter covering our match.

Whenever something like this happens, I am always torn between telling my opponents they messed up, to try to mega tilt them for the following games, or just not saying anything and hoping the situation comes out again, and if it does it is going to be great for me because I now know that he doesn’t know. In the end, not saying anything always wins out for me, and this time again I remain quiet.

Game two he mulligans to five, and I have a very attractive hand of two lands + Turntimber Basilisk + Harrow. I discard twice and die.

Game three I again get flooded horribly, and my first play of the game is a turn four Territorial Baloth, after Explore. He passes the turn with no play, and play a land and attack, and then he has Hideous End. Now if there was any justice in this world a Vines of Vastwood would have magically appeared in my hand – I mean, why on earth is he waiting for the mono-green to untap before killing the dude he has to kill anyway? What does he think is going to happen, that I am going to Gigantiform it? But that doesn’t happen and my Baloth dies, and he has a turn six Sphinx of Jwar Isle. I believe I manage to successfully convince him that I have Primal Bellow in hand by attacking boldly and counting my lands and his life total in a very amateurish way, which means I get some free attacks past his Sphinx when he is tapped out.

In the end, we get to a point where there are not many matches left, and he passes the turn to me. I have a sequence of hard choices and the judge tells me I have to play faster, so I play something and pass the turn. Next turn I have to do something or I die. We both have a bunch of creatures and I have in hand Soaring Seacliff, Basilisk Collar and Feral Contest. If he doesn’t have anything I am going to win – likely not this turn – but I am going to gain life and then certainly not die, and probably win next turn. It is a very complicated turn, though – al my cards give me a lot of choices. I think that the best play is to Collar one guy, provoke his Surrakar Marauder with another and leave one guy up to block his Nimana Sell-Sword, because this way I give myself the biggest chance of not dying since he needs to stop two of blocker/provoker/lifegainer to kill me (I am at 7 and he still has the Sphinx), but I am very clueless on what to target with all my specific effects. Then the judge interrupts my train of thought to announce I have a warning for slow play. That left me kind of angry, because I didn’t think I was taking that long this particular turn (I was taking long the turn before, when he told me to speed up, but to me not this turn), and it looked like my opponent also took a lot of time in his turns, including looking at the same card multiple times with Sphinx and all that, and the judge never said anything. To me, it honestly felt at the time like the judge didn’t want the tournament to be delayed or anything, and then “preventively” gave me a warning, so I appealed because I thought he was being unreasonable. The HJ came and assured me that was not the case and upheld the warning.

Slow play is always a very tricky business, because sometimes you can’t help feeling like you took half as much time as your opponent during the entire game and then the only moment you pause to think happens to be the one the judge is watching. Having a slow play warning is very annoying, because it makes you rush through all decisions. In this game, I completely lost all my train of thought, and couldn’t really regain it in time, so I thought for a while more and just attacked with everything. He had a bounce spell and I died.

Now it turned out that he also had a Soaring Seacliff, which meant I was dead no matter what I targeted or how I attacked, but I should have made the other play regardless – I’ve been to enough events to not let this kind of thing drive me away from the right play, it’s a shame that I lost all my focus.

After the match I talked to Martin, who was watching the game, and he said I did take a very long time that turn, so if the judge who ruled that happens to be reading, my apologies to you.

1-2
7-4

Losing this round felt especially bad (I know I kind of say that all the rounds I lose, but, hey, losing is always bad) because my opponent simply committed suicide game one, and he just played very awkwardly in many simple situations, like not playing the Hideous End on his turn, or drawing, doing stuff, passing and then, only then, look at the top card of his deck with Sphinx, because, you know, he doesn’t have to know what is on top to make decisions on his turn. It was also frustrating because it effectively threw me out of contention, with my bad breakers and all that.

Well, I was back to Standard, though at this point I knew I had almost no shot of making it even if I won all my matches. That was not really a concern for very long, though

Round 12: Vampires
Game one I mulligan into Wild Nacatl, Wild Nacatl, Scute Mob, Forest, Misty Rainforest, Misty Rainforest. I figured this gave me a better chance than going to 5, though not really an optimal hand. My opponent was playing Vampires, and went t2 Kalastria Highborn, t3 Vampire Nighthawk, t4 Vampire Nocturnus, and I was stuck with my three 1/1s in play.

-1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
-1 Ajani Vengeant
+1 Baneslayer Angel
+1 Oblivion Ring

Game two was more of a game – he played a Gatekeeper of Malakir for my early guy, and then I dealt with his Vampire Nocturnus with Oblivion Ring. I have a Raging Ravine, but I am 100% sure he has Tendrils of Corruption, so I don’t activate it. I am not actually sure how I was sure he had Tendrils, if it was the way he played or if he showed it to me with the Nocturnus, but I remember I was actively sure. At some point, he played another Nocturnus with a fetchland out, and I consider Tectonic Edging it in response, so that he doesn’t get to filter his draw step or deal me two more damage, but decide that the ability to blow up my Ravine to prevent him from gaining 8ish from his Tendrils is more important. I deal with his Nocturnus, but he just plays another guy and then a Malakir that he was apparently holding I don’t know why, and I just die without playing many things.

0-2
7-5

Round 13: GWb
The first two games are a bit hazy in my mind – I know we split them but I don’t remember how they went. I know that he won a game by Elspething his Knight of the Reliquary.

Game three we both start slowly, but he doesn’t actually play anything, which makes me suspect some sort of Wrath effect. I have in play a Noble Hierarch and a Cunning Sparkmage, but just don’t play anything else, content in dealing two a turn. One turn later, at about 16 life, he plays Day of Judgment. That sent me the message that he definitely had another one, or he would just not have played it in that situation.

Sometime later, I have a Bloodbraid Elf and a Wild Nacatl and he is at 12 and has a Knight of the Reliquary. I can play Oblivion Ring and bash for 6, or I can play Noble Hierarch, Oblivion Ring and then bash for 6. If I just play Ring, it might be that he Paths his own guy in response, and then I will only hit for four – if I play the Hierarch, I can remove that for the ring and still bash for 6. This play has two flaws, though: one is that I am reasonably sure he has another Day of Judgment in hand, and I don’t know if he has Path – if he does not, it looks awkward to play an Hierarch there just do die along with everything else. Two, if he really doesn’t want to take six, he can always let the Ring resolve and Path one of my guys – I don’t need the land and neither does he, and if he does that he only takes three. By playing the Ring first, I ensure at least four damage (because if he has the Path he will definitely path himself) plus I don’t expose my Hierarch to WOG, so it seems like the better play.

I do that, and he Paths his own guy, as “predicted.” I play my Hierarch and he goes to 8. He doesn’t play his Wrath, and we trade some more guys/removal, then he plays Martial Coup, and then Elspeth, and I die. Oops.

Once he played Day of Judgment, it became hard for me to actually play around both of them, though to be honest I don’t know if I could have done anything to prevent it – I don’t think I could, the way things went. Had I known he had both Day of Judgment AND Martial Coup, and also Maelstrom Pulse, maybe I should have boarded in Dauntless Escorts against him, though it’s awkward to overcommit because you have Escort when they can just Path it, so you have to somewhat live in fear anyway, and it’s not really a good threat on its own against them. Basically the reason Escort is good against the UW/r decks is not that they blank Wrath, because they don’t do that, they will just die, the reason they are good is that they add a threat that does not get Wrathed – you can add a guy to the board without worrying that he will be “just another creature that gets Wrathed”, because they have to get rid of him separately anyway. Against GW, all he does is stop Wrath, so he is not that good.

1-2
7-6

Round 14: Shota Yasooka – Jund
Shota is one of the people I like to play against the least, because he always beats me and it’s always very quick and I never have any chance. If you count the team finals in Charleston (though I did not play him), I am 0-4 in matches. He is also one of the most underrated Magic players on the planet – I mean, most people know he is good, but chances are he is much better than you think he is (yes, you).

Game one it looked like we had switched roles, as I played Wild Nacatl, Noble Hierarch, Ajani Vengeant, lock his land and then he scooped without a play.

I sided:
-2 Ajani Vengeant
-3 Lightning Bolt
-1 Path to Exile
+1 Oblivion Ring
+1 Baneslayer Angel
+1 Stoneforge Mystic
+3 Dauntless Escort

Game two was very tricky, and the probable winner kept changing. At some point he played Siege-Gang Commander, but then I played Baneslayer Angel, which trumped it. Then he played Bloodbraid Elf and cascaded into Lightning Bolt, which teamed with a Goblin to kill my Angel and I was suddenly behind again. In the last turn I have to choose between attacking and hope he either panics and kills one of my guys or forgets to attack with his manland, neither of which is very likely, so that then I can topdeck something and kill him next turn, or I can pass and hope he fears I might have something. Basically, both plays require him to make a mistake, but one makes it more likely that I win if he does make a mistake, while at the same time making it much less likely that he makes the mistake, since his decision to attack is much easier if my guys are tapped. Attacking seems just better, though, because with the other play even if he does for some uncanny reason decide not to attack that turn because I have blockers then that is because he is siege-ganging all my guys, and there isn’t much I can reliably draw to beat him once we are in that scenario. I attack, and he makes no mistakes.

Game three I start with a tapland and a Wild Nacatl on turn two, with a Noble Hierarch on three. When I am going to attack he stops me and Terminates my Hierarch, which is much better than killing the Nacatl in this matchup. I then don’t draw a very big amount of lands, and he plays a Master of the Wild Hunt – where are my Bolts now?!

Luckily I have the [card]Oblivion Ring[/card] for it, but he has a second one immediately, and when I can’t produce an answer it kills my [card]Birds of Paradise[/card], and that seals the game. I probably sided wrongly here – when we made that board plan, our opposing Jund decks didn’t have Masters. I should have kept something like two Bolts.

1-2
7-7

7-7! I was now playing for perhaps an extra pro point, certainly no money. This was a bit awkward – for the first time in my life, I day 2 a Pro Tour and get no money.

Round 15: WW
My opponent was playing White Weenie.
2-0
8-7

Round 16: Burn
I ask my opponent if he is going to make use of the extra pro point, which is all we are playing for at this point. He asks me if I need it, I say yes. Then he thinks for a bit and says that this is his first pro tour and he wants to play, which I am completely fine with.
I start the game and I have an early Knight of the Reliquary, though I again draw the Sejiri Steppe. I manage to play an Ajani Vengeant, which gets me out of burn range for a while, and then I play Stoneforge Mystic and find a Basilisk Collar and he cannot kill me after that.

-2 Oblivion Ring
-1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
-1 Scute Mob
-3 Ranger of Eos
+4 Cunning Sparkmage
+1 Basilisk Collar
+1 Stoneforge Mystic
+1 Baneslayer Angel

I am not a very big fan of the second Behemoth Sledge here, as it’s kind of clunky and three Stoneforge Mystics should be enough to find one if you really need that – Basilisk Collar is way more efficient here.

Game two he starts with Goblin Guide, but misses his second land drop. I play fetch, Hierarch, which he burns, and then I don’t have a play until turn four, and all of my lands are fetches. I begin to take control of the game, but by then I am already low enough on life that he can just burn me out. I drew Sejiri Steppe this game.

Game three he is stuck on lands a bit again, and I have a powerful draw with Knight of the Reliquary (and its inseparable companion Sejiri Steppe – it almost looks like I glued both together). I also have an Ajani, and once that rules out him burning me out, he is dead. This match is really tough for the burn player, because they don’t have many options other than hoping you don’t have a good draw – if you draw a good mix of lands, creatures and a Lightning Bolt, which is by far your most important card versus them, there isn’t much they can do.

2-1
9-7

So, I ended 9-7, which was good for 94th – battling hard for that last pro point!
After the tournament ended, we went to have dinner, and I was assigned the task of figuring out how Simon would sideboard against Luis. It was somewhat hard to do that, because once I looked at his list it became clear to me that I would take out one of the big guys, since I think 6 is too many, but apparently Simon does not think that, since he was running the 6 in the first place – so what do I do?

In the end, everyone seemed to decide that playing against the Esper deck was more important, because we had no clue what was going on, so I sat by Ben who was piloting it with an all proxy deck against Josh. It was pretty hard to follow up all the proxies, and two people with different styles playing a match does not do much good, so I just wandered away and found a bunch of people playing Catchphrase. I do feel a bit guilty for not having helped more, even if I am not sure what I could have done that would have mattered much in the outcome.

As for the deck, I think it performed well (and numbers clearly indicate that it did), but I don’t think I would play it again if here was another Pro Tour in a week. If I was going to play it, though, I doubt I’d change much in the list.

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

22 thoughts on “PV’s Playhouse – PV in SD, Part 2”

  1. yea that first draft was awkward. I opened disfigure and passed you inferno trap, then was passed obsydian fireheart and shipped you another inferno trap. I ended up almost mono red with black cards.

  2. You complain a ton and sound like one of those losing poker players who berate their opponents and state that if only their luck was as good as yours.

    I mean if you want to complain about flood or screw to your friends its fine, but to spew it in an artical (even a TR) just prevents me from taking the article (or you) seriously.

  3. Great article PV. Really enjoy the way you explain your thought process, especially when you are determining how your opponent’s are likely to act. With regards to your slow play warning, I think perhaps you over analyze the situations that you have no control over (like how to give yourself the best chance to win, based on your opponent’s most likely mistake), but these are very valuable for those of us who aren’t quite to that intricate of a thought process yet.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. come on PV you know you shouldn’t get frustrated, especially on the Pro Tour level. You got skills, just didn’t work out this time.

  5. Tim,

    If you have met PV you would know he is not the type to complain a lot. Get a life and stop complaining about him complaining, i think the editors here would have said something if it was that bad.

    Seriously, get a life.

    Bad beats PV, better luck next time.

  6. PV- Was wondering if you think 1 island 4 spreading seas in the SB would help the jund matchup at all? Looking for a way to make it better.

  7. Jonathan Fisher

    His articles seem to be very stream of consiousness, but I think they’re good. It seems like you are just taking him the wrong way Tim. You could cut and paste the actual strategy advice sections of his article into one piece and still have more content then alot of articles online. Learn to skim if you don’t like the fluff imo.

  8. Jonathan Fisher

    Oh and btw, I played you in a money draft with Ruud Warmenhoven at GP tampa and realy enjoyed it even though I lost, glad to be able to read your articles for free PV, keep it up.

  9. @drew: yes, I’d most likely play Jund, though I don’t really know which version

    @Tim: and what do you want me to do? If I am telling how the games went, I am telling how the games went. If I lost because I drew 7 lands in a row or if I lost because the matchup is bad due to a certain card it makes a lot of difference for understanding the deck and the matchups, or the interactions in limited or whatever. In those two draft matches, my opponents DID make potentially game losing mistakes, and I DID get unlucky, and I think pointing out mistakes (not only theirs – also mine) is the best way to show something to people. It just happened that those were in matches I lost, but if I had won those matches, I would have talked about their mistakes anyway.Maybe you are right though, I might complain too much. For legacy, I am not going to complain much, I swear 🙂 (except for one round)

    @Huck101: I don’t get frustrated with every loss; When I make a mistake, or when it is a bad match or when it is a tight game, it frustrates me a lot less. Losses in which my opponents played badly and I drew badly really do make me angry, though.

    @Jajaja: Tom had that in his initial board, but I don’t really think that is good enough, especially since they are usually going to kill your Hierarchs anyway so you don’t really have that many U sources

  10. I also have to say it saddens me a bit that your favorite part in the article is the one where I didn’t write anything ;(

  11. I get a lot of value from the sections where you deconstruct an intricate play. I am excited about your column if I can expect stuff like that!

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  13. ” I also have to say it saddens me a bit that your favorite part in the article is the one where I didn't write anything ;( ”

    Forget it, man – this article is great, reading it is a leisure and there could be found much pieces of important information for a magic player, I really enjoyed reading it.

    Keep on good work!

  14. Cool article PV. I really enjoyed how you explained your thought process and gave lots of detail during critical moments. The only thing I really lack is pro level experience and reading this article let’s me see what it’s like to play at the pro level. I’m trying to become a pro and I recently beat the highest ranked person in my home state of Oklahoma on game day running RDW lolz. I finally completed my Boss Naya deck though and I’m looking to trade a Jace 2.0 for a BSA so maybe I’ll see you at GP D.C.! If you’re going that is. Later dude!

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