PT Origins Tournament Report
Last weekend was the Pro Tour and I had a roller coaster of a tournament. First off this was my first time testing with Team Pantheon and the team was full of incredible, world class players, old and new school. In person testing started when we all showed up to a house in North Vancouver we rented for the week. My teammates were Kai Budde, Josh Ravitz, Gabriel Nassif, Andrew Cuneo, Owen Turtenwald, Jon Finkel, William Jensen, Jelger Wiegersma, Jacob Wilson, Ben Rubin, and Reid Duke. Andrew Cuneo played UR Sphinx'sTutelage, while the rest of the team except Ben Rubin, Jon Finkel, Kai Budde, and I played UB Control - the four us played Jeskai Tempo.
Our list was as follows:
Drafting didn't go very smoothly for me. I started with first picking Blazing Hellhound in a very weak pack then second picking Sigiled Starfish in a pack with no other options. After that I saw some red cards going late, but mostly I just took artifacts in very weak packs. I just had a pile of cards at the end of pack one; if this was just a fun Draft I wouldn't be surprised if someone looking at the pile would ask, "what's the pick from this booster?" or "is this this your second pack you just opened? Wow its bad." My second pack I took Fiery Impulse, best card in the pack and in the only color I was definitely playing. Second pick there was a Kytheon's Irregulars - one of the best rares in the format - which kind of confused me; I didn't pass the guy to my left anything good that would cement him into two colors already, but I was grateful and took the bomb rare. The pack was pretty good for me as I got more solid red cards and some late white cards. My deck ended up a little short on playables but the power level wasn't low. This was the final deck:
Round 1 vs. Chapman Sim
Chapman was the guy on my left that passed me the Kytheon's Irregulars. He had a solid looking UB deck with two Graveblade Marauders and a Disciple of the Ring. Game one I had a quick start with my Ramrollers and he had trouble catching back up. He drew pretty poorly Game two as well and I was able to win despite having a pretty bad draw myself, his deck seemed a lot better on paper than it played out. UB in this format is the worst archetype in my opinion; the decks just don't pair up well in my experience vs. any other color combination. It just seems you're playing from behind the whole time with very little in the format to catch you back up.
Round 2 vs. Ben Weitz
Ben had a fine looking RW deck but I didn't see any removal from him. Game one I was color screwed and was only able to play Kytheon's Irregulars, but if you're going to be stuck with only one spell Kytheon's Irregulars is top on the list of cards you want. I had six Plains and an unremoved bomb. The game ended very quickly when I just attacked him every turn and tapped his team. Kytheon 1 – Ben 0. Game two I played a three-drop and a four-drop while he played only a three-drop. On turn five he played his Prickleboar and attacked with his three-drop. I had the unfair combo of Fiery Conclusion and Act of Treason so I took his Boar and hit him for 12 damage, then killed his whole board and left him at five life. He drew for his turn and conceded.
Round 3 vs. Kalab Byrd
Game one Kalab's curve was higher than mine and he got chipped down with my fliers before he could stabilize, he was playing BG and didn't draw any of his reach creatures. Game two I had a quick start on the board but I ran out of gas and he kept himself in the game long enough to punish me for flooding out. Game three he had a really quick start and I was mana flooded but also color screwed. I was able to survive at a very low life total, tapping the Demon that he made with his Priest of the Blood Rite with my Akroan Jailer.
Kalab made a crucial mistake which cost him the match: he cast Weight of the Underworld on a creature that wasn't my Akroan Jailer. He said after the match that he got ahead of himself when he played the Weight trying to kill a bigger ground creature post-combat. If he would have killed my tapper I would have died to his Demon, instead he died to my Act of Treason that was stuck in my hand the whole game when he played the Rhox Mauler after alpha striking to put me at two.
So this mess of a deck went 3-0. I was ecstatic after the draft was over, went to get lunch and sleeve my Standard deck, and was ready to battle some Constructed.
Round 4 vs. Makihito Mihara playing Four Color Rally
Mihara basically didn't do anything the whole match other then play mana dorks and never playing anything of importance; he didn't draw Rally or anything that did anything really. I played Mantis Riders and burned him out game one while game two I played Stormbreath Dragon and burned him out.
Round 5 vs. Lukas Blohon playing Rg Aggro
Game one Lukas played a mana dork that I wild slashed, I untapped and played a Mantis Rider which hit him three times before two Jeskai Charms finished him off. Game two I boarded in the Seismic Rupture. The hand I kept was four lands, Seismic Rupture, Wild Slash, and Ashcloud Phoenix. He pretty much played the perfect cards into mine, got his elf Wild Slashed, then he played Goblin Rabblemaster. I played Ashcloud Phoenix, he went with another Rabblemaster and attacked with all his goblins. I took eight damage, untapped, and played the Seismic Rupture. He did nothing on his turn so I untapped and played Stormbreath Dragon, hit him for eight, and he conceded after drawing a card.
Round 6 vs. Scott Lipp playing UR Ensoul Artifact for King of the Hill
Game one I killed him on turn five. Turn three and four Mantis Riders, Lightning Strike, and a Wild Slash to deal the full 20 damage. Game two he had just as good a draw as I had game one and crushed me with hasty artifacts. Game three he mulliganed to five and had a weak start; my draw was great and was able to win easily. He actually may have won if I didn't have three answers for his Ensoul Artifact with Negate back up.
Round 7 vs. Rich Hoaen playing Monored Burn
Rich crushed me the first game and it wasn't close at all; he had a really good draw and mine was slower. I remember having two Stormbreath Dragons at the end of the game and never able to cast them because I died on his turn five. Game two was closer. I played three Seeker of the Way, one every turn starting on turn two, but they all died to Searing Bloods and Wild Slash. He had a spell to grow his Monastery Swiftspears in response to my Seismic Rupture which was too much for me to come back from.
Round 8 vs. Bryan Gottlieb playing Abzan Rally
Bryan killed me both in games one and three with Collected Company for card advantage and eventually Rally the Ancestors to finish me off. I wasn't able to find a counter with my Dig Through Times.
So 6-0 into a 6-2 record. A bit disappointing to finish the day with an 0-2, but 6-2 is still a great record so couldn't be to unhappy.
Day 2 my Draft went perfectly. I opened Pia and Kiran Nalaar and got passed top pick red and blue cards. Pack two I opened Jace, Vryn's Prodigy while already in blue and kept taking good red and blue cards again. Pack three I opened Whirler Rogue and again got passed great red and blue cards. My deck ended up fantastic and it was definitely the best Draft deck I've ever had at a Pro Tour.
Round 9 vs. Makihito Mihara
His deck was pretty bad and he said and the only good card he played was Gilt-Leaf Winnower, which got me one of the games but the other two weren't close. The third game he was stuck on his three lands and I played Anchor to the Aether then flashed it back with Jace.
Round 10 vs. Michael Derczo
Michael and I have played three or four different times and every time he beat me...not that I was counting or anything. This time though my deck was great and I was victorious against him! If there was ever a time to beat him it was at a Pro Tour with a good record. Our games were very grindy, back and forth, except Game one when he was always ahead.
Round 11 vs. Patrick Cox
Game one I kept a hand that I regret keeping: the hand was five lands, Alchemist's Vial, and Firefiend Elemental. For how powerful my deck was, and on the draw so the Fiend is way worse, the hand was really bad. I flooded out hard. Game two I won despite him playing two Seismic Assaults and two Joraga Invocation. Game three I was mana flooded and my deck failed to function.
2-1 with the deck making me 5-1 in Limited and 8-3 total.
Round 12 vs. Pierre Sommen playing UR Ensoul Artifact
Pierre's deck seemed really cool but it was a very good matchup for me. He was playing Day's Undoing in his deck and his game plan was to put his hand on the table as fast as possible and then play Day's Undoing; though my deck has a low curve with tons of cheap removal, so when he plays Day's Undoing he is not gaining any advantage from it. He gave me more burn spells and I just killed him. Probably not a good choice in such a fast format with Monored running around everywhere.
Round 13 vs. Max McVety playing GW Constellation
Game one Max had a Courser of Kruphix alive the entire game which ran away with it, as he killed all my creatures and played Sigil of the Empty Throne: a card I have no way to deal with preboard. Game two and three though, once I put the counters in my deck, I won in an attrition battle. His deck doesn't actually have a lot of ways to win or ways to interact with my burn spells so if I just get ahead on cards with Dig Through Time or Outpost Siege it's hard to lose.
So I'm 10-3 with three rounds to go and feeling good.
Round 14 vs. Joel Larsson playing Monored Burn
The games against him were the same as the games against Rich in round seven. I got destroyed game one, and game two was a bit better for me but I still just died. I played spells and he played spells then I died. Really, what happened is, once I stabilized I have more lands in my deck and the power level of our decks are very similar. The most important card in this situation is Dig Through Time which I never saw.
With two rounds to go I received my fourth loss which most likely gets me out of contention of a Top 8. However after looking at the standings I see that I'm paired against a good friend, Mike Sigrist, and the winner of us has a good chance of making Top 8 at 12-4 due to our tiebreakers being at the top of said standings. Mike and I shake hands, wish each other good luck, and the stressful match begins.
Round 15 vs. Mike Sigrist playing UR Ensoul Artifact
Mike had the best draw I've seen that doesn't have Ensoul Artifact in game one. He got me to 15 life then played a Shrapnel Blast, untapped, and showed me two more Shrapnel Blasts. Well, that's a good hand that I could never beat. Game two I played multiple Mantis Riders which did some good work and eventually I burnt him out. Game three the game was super close and, as I'm dead to two lethal attackers, I draw a Jeskai Charm with him at five life.
I tormented myself the next 30 minutes picturing in my head the whole game and playing out different lines I could have taken to get him to just one less life. I came to the conclusion that I couldn't which I'm not sure is better for the way I feel about it. But it is what it is. Those stressful matches where victory is at your fingertips and it feels like it slipped away are hard to get over. I hope I wasn't rude to Mike because I was legitimately happy for him locking up Platinum and potentially a Top 8.
He ended up winning his final round, making Top 8, and going on all the way to the Finals before making Player of the Year. Congrats to you, bud! Incredible performance and such a year you had!
I was appropriately unhappy after losing two in a row and still having a chance of Top 8. Apparently my deck was unhappy as well because in the last round against Yuta Takahashi, playing Abzan Megamorph, my draws could not have been worse. Game one I mulliganed to five and didn't do anythingm then died to Siege Rhino. Game two I won with Mantis Riders, Jace, and burn. Game three I mulliganed to six and kept a six land hand on the draw with scrys. I drew a spell that he Thoughtseized away then I don't think I cast another spell before dying to Siege Rhino again.
Pretty crappy way to end the Tournament, but in my mind the tournament was already over the round before since all I wanted was to Top 8; losing the last three rounds to finish in the Top 50 was brutal at the time. But what better way to get over it then going to a Taylor Swift Concert with good friends right?
Till Worlds where hopefully I can get revenge on Mike Sigrist and Joel Larsson!