I was really pumped going into this PT. It was in San Diego where I had had some success before. There is also the perfect weather and some great places to eat and hang out after the rounds are over for the day. I went 4-4 to miss Day 2, but the tournament was great nonetheless. I started testing about a week before the PT and felt like I had a pretty good grasp of the format. I expected a lot of Naya and Jund going in and found and out that was the case when I got to San Diego. The first deck I tested was the Naya deck I posted in my last article and was having some decent results with it, but thought I could do better. That’s when I started looking at some red decks and finally decided on this list.
For the tournament a few other people played the deck including Ben Lundquist, Matt Boccio and Rasmus Sibast. Ben and Matt day twoed, leaving Rasmus and me drafting on Saturday. I will give you guys some quick recaps of my games.
Round 1 Josh Utter-Leyton
Josh is a good guy and a good player from California. I usually like playing a good player in the first round since it will be a good test and set the trend for the rest of the day. I knew Josh was playing Naya since a he tested with most of the writers on this site. I had some inside info for this match that they were not playing Baneslayer Angel DING! Game one I kept a very good hand of 2 Goblin Guide, 2 Lightning Bolt, Plated Geopede and 2 lands. My Goblin Guides got in too much damage and an Earthquake finished him off eventually.
Game 2 I brought in the Stone Idol Traps, Path to Exile and the last Earthquake. He came out with turn one Noble Hierarch which I couldn’t kill and I was never really in the game. He played Knight of the Reliquary on the next turn and I couldn’t keep up. At one point — I’m not sure if it was in game 2 or 3 — I was shuffling his deck and a card flipped out. To my surprise it was a Baneslayer Angel which I thought they were not running. Very awkward to say the least. I apologized to Josh and we called the judge to take note.
Game three he mulliganed and stumbled on mana, and I locked him down with Ajani Vengeant and he was never really in the game.
Round 2 Daniel Gardner
Daniel was playing what is probably the most expensive deck in Standard. It included Baneslayers, Jace the Mind Sculptor, Lotus Cobra, Knight of the Reliquary, Emeria Angel, tons of fetches and other goodies. I stalled on land in both games and was not in either by the time I drew lands.
Round 3 Levi Hinz
I was still feeling good going into this round. I sat down and my opponent had an Australian accent and we chatted for a bit. He played turn one Elite Vanguard off of a Plains so I put him on White Weenie. His turn two play was Kor Firewalker. At one point in the game he was down to 4 and I had Stone Idol Trap, Searing Blaze and Lightning Bolt. I Bolted him down to 2 thanks to his Firewalker. At this point I needed a land to just kill him with Searing Blaze, another Lightning Bolt, or Hell’s Thunder so I was feeling pretty good. I drew for my turn and it was the second Stone Idol Trap. At this point I thought there is no way to lose since he had 5 attackers for next turn and I had a Goblin Guide out. I wish I could have seen the look on my own face when he untapped, drew, tanked for a little, then called for a judge and asked what the wording is on Stone Idol Trap. I’m sure my jaw was somewhere halfway between the table and the floor. I’m sure the guy heard someone talking about how I was running it or just had the soul read on me. Either way he only attacked with 2 guys and I had another turn to draw a land or anything. Obv I didn’t get there and we were on to game 2.
I kept a decent hand and he tanked. He finally kept and I passed turn one. He played a land and passed. I played Zektar Shrine Expedition and passed. He drew, pumped the fist and slammed down Kor Firewalker. I knew he had at least 1-2 more in his hand that instant and should had just signed the slip and walked away. Turn 3 Firewalker. Turn 4 Firewalker and we’re done here.
1-2 Nothing much I could do at this point but put my head down and get through it.
Round 4 GianLuca Filippini
I thought about telling him Italy winning the World Cup in 06 was a fluke and they got lucky. I didn’t want to get DQed for fighting so I thought better of it and we started game 1. He led with Stirring Wildwood and I came out with Goblin Guide. I’m not sure what he was playing as his first play was Knight of the Reliquary on turn 3. He played a Kor Firewalker and we were at a bit of a stalemate. He was at 5 when he played Baneslayer Angel with just a Marsh Flats open. My hand was 2 Searing Blaze and a Mountain. I drew another Searing Blaze. I could kill his Baneslayer and put him to 1. I played my first Searing Blaze targeting him and his Baneslayer. At this point he called the judge and asked “If there is no legal target for this card will I still take damage?” The judge answered no without even looking at Searing Blaze. He sacced his Marsh Flats and cast Brave the Elements naming red. I responded with my second Searing Blaze. He gave me a befuddled look and I told him he would still take 3 from each since it targets both him and a creature. At first I felt bad and thought that the judge had cheated him and so did Sheldon Menery, the head judge. After discussing it with a few people though, it was clear that my opponent didn’t know what Searing Blaze did. All the judge had to do was read Searing Blaze and tell the player that there are two targets and that giving his Baneslayer protection from red would not counter the spell. I would love to hear what you guys think about this situation.
Game two he was on crazy monkey tilt and kept a one -lander and didn’t draw a second. After the match I talked to Sheldon about the situation and he assured me it is not my responsibility to correct my opponent’s question there or even to correct the judge’s ruling. A very controversial round but I took the win and moved on.
Round 5 John Skinner
Finally a Jund deck. Where had you been all my life? Game one he had a Lightning Bolt for my Goblin Guide but then the game got awkward when he didn’t have green mana and kept playing Swamps and Mountains.
Game two he had all his mana but I got him pretty low and he couldn’t play out guys because he had to keep up mana to kill my Zektar Shrine Expedition that was active and lethal. He tapped down to one red mana to play a Siege-Gang Commander. At this point he already played 3 Lightning Bolts and 2 Burst Lightning so I went for the Shrine and he correctly put all his guys in front of it but I had a Searing Blaze and land for just enough damage to kill him.
I was happy with a 3-2 after my start and was looking forward to the draft since I had done a bunch of drafting and felt pretty confident.
I sat down at my table and the only person I recognized was Charles Gendron Dupont, or Aceman on Magic Online, or just the kid who always had his hood up all weekend. I drafted a pretty aggressive UW deck with triple Welkin Tern and some other fliers.
Round 6 Charles Gendron Dupont
We sat down to play and he said I was the one person at the table he didn’t want to play against. Game one he came out blazing fast with a creature on turns 1-4 and I was sitting there staring at my Welkin Terns.
Game 2 we both flooded out and I won in a close game. In game 3 I kept a decent hand with a Kor Firewalker which blanked roughly about half his deck. The turn before I cast it he blew up my Kabira Crossroads with a Goblin Ruinblaster. I was still in the game at this point and we were racing. We swung back and forth for a couple turns. For the last couple turns of the game I just needed to draw my fifth land for the Whiplash Trap and Iona’s Judgment in my hand. I didn’t and he won a really close game.
Round 7 Austin Creel
So I need to win out to make day 2. Nothing I haven’t done before; it should be easy. It looked even better after my opponent got a game loss for misregistering his deck. The only interesting thing that happened in the next 2 games was him playing turn 1 and turn 2 Hedron Crab both games and milling me out.
So I was of the running for day 2 but could still pick up an extra pro point by winning my last round. I get the bye which is pretty lucky and I was able to start drafting a little sooner. So it wasn’t my best performance on the PT but I felt like a lot could had gone differently for me had I just drawn some more land in a lot of my games in both Constructed and Limited.
I thought the deck I played in Constructed was pretty good and will still do well in the current metagame. Kor Firewalker is not the huge problem you think it will be and after sideboard you have more than enough ways to deal with it. After playing with Stone Idol Trap I think it deserves 3-4 slots in the main. Four might be too many, but the card is such a beating when your opponent doesn’t know about it. If you just cast one in the first game it will throw off their attacks for the rest of the match which gives you a huge edge since you are drawing a lot of burn to finish them off. Good luck to everyone picking up this deck in whatever tournament you are playing it in.
Chris “The Doctor” Lachmann