It’s a few days before the PTQ and I am signed up for Battlezone’s free Wednesday night standard tournament looking to get in a little more testing with Naya pod in preparation for Saturday. Well things did really go my way; I finished the tournament with a 2-2 record. I was very disappointed with the way the pod deck was preforming. So once again I find myself less than 3 days from the event and I have no idea what I want to play. This is a very typical occurrence for me, so much so that it’s actually a running joke among my friends. I thought about what to play all day on Thursday and decided that I would play Red/Green aggro since I had played it a lot a couple months ago and felt pretty comfortable with the list. Friday night rolled around which meant it was time for FNM and a few more rounds to fine tune the R/G list. Three rounds in I have a 1-2 record and I am ready to bail on R/G aggro. The PTQ was the next morning and I had no idea what I wanted to play, luckily during all of my whining my buddy Jeremiah was bugging me to play R/G ramp. Not really having another deck in mind I told him I would play it if he 4-0ed FNM. He did. So I rounded up the last cards I needed from local friends and went to bed. I made it back to BZ at about 9:30am Saturday morning and this is what I registered:
2x Beast Within
1x Acidic Slime
2x Devils Play
I really like the list that Jeremiah had, I just made a few changes to the main deck by cutting a Slagstorm and a Simulacrum to add the 2 Garruks for more threats. I felt like the ramp deck had solid match up against the field. Delver and control deck are hard match ups but winnable none the less. Round one pairings go up.
Round 1 Jasper Johnson-Epstein/Mono Black Zombies
This match was over before it began for me. Game 1 I mulled to 5 on the play. My first play was Huntmaster of the Fells, but by this time Jasper already had two Gravecrawlers, a Porcelain Legionnaire, and a Geralf’s Messenger. Jasper untapped killed both the token and the Huntmaster and attacked for lethal.
Game 2 I kept a strong 7. I was able to Slagstorm the board on turn 4 wiping out all of Jaspers offense. I followed up with a Primeval Titan to get two Glimmerposts to gain 4 life and get out of Messenger range. Jasper didn’t have anything to get back into the game and died two turns later.
Game 3 was just like the first. I mulled to 5 again but had a Slagstorm so there was a chance. I missed my third land drop multiple times, by the time I drew my third land the Slagstorm was useless due to the 2 Geralf’s Messengers that Jasper had in play.
0-1 Matches 1-2 Games
Round 2 Patrick Fredrick/ White-Red Equipment aggro
Game 1 Patrick played numerous Equipment like Flayer husk and Accorder’s Shield. Patrick had Goblin Gavaleer’s and Glint Hawks as actual threats. I had a somewhat slow hand so I had to play and flashback a Devil’s Play to remove two Gavaleers. Patrick didn’t have any other pressure so a turn six Primeval Titan was enough to seal the game.
Game 2 was almost exactly the same except that I had a Slagstorm to clear Patrick’s board on turn 4. A Primeval Titan on turn 5 closed out the game just like the first.
1-1 Matches 3-2 Games
Round 3 David Gleicher/ Blue-White Delver
David is a great player and had recently just top 8ed a Grand Prix so I was a little nervous when this match started. Game 1 David had a rocky start with little pressure; while I had a turn 4 Primeval Titan and David didn’t have a Mana leak. David did have a Vapor Snag but replaying the Titan gave me enough mana to make the Titan lethal a few turns later with Kessig
Game 2 Delvers do what Delvers do best flip and destroy their opponents. David had turn 1 delver with a second on turn 2 along with a Ponder to set up the transform. I didn’t have a sweeper and died to 2 Delvers and a Runechanters Pike.
Game 3 was pretty uneventful as David Mulled to 5. I had a turn 3 Huntmaster of the Fells that transformed and killed a Delver of Secrets from David’s side of the board. David was able to play a Geist of Saint Traft but an Inferno Titan gave me enough to seal the game
2-1 Matches 5-3 Games
Round 4 Cory Helvick/ Red-Green Ramp
Cory led off game 1 with a Copperline Gorge. Now my first though was “woot!” thinking I was playing against R/G aggro because I mean who would play ramp… The rest of game 1 was Cory playing both a Primeval and Inferno Titan and me just dying.
Game 2 was exactly like the first except I was playing Titans and Cory just died.
Game 3 was a little different; we both had a Primeval Titan to ramp our mana. The difference in the game was Cory Green Sun’s Zenithed for Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger, but I had Karn Liberated to remove Vorinclex. All Cory had left was a Simulacrum where I was able to Green Sun for a Primeval Titan. Another dead draw on Cory’s next turn gave me the win with a Kessig Pumped Titan.
3-1 Matches 6-4 Games
Round 5 Matt Severa/ Blue-White Delver
Game 1 was very fast as Matt had a turn 3 Drogskol Captain followed by turn 4 2x Phantasmal Image both copying the Captain. I was only able to play a Rampant growth and a Sphere of the Suns, I had a Slagstorm in hand but was unable to draw a second Slagstorm or a Whipflare and died to the 4/4 fliers.
Game 2 I Matt had numerous Lingering Souls which meant spirits were everywhere. I was able to remove the first few waves with a Slagstorm and a WhipFlare, but they just kept coming. I was down to 5 life and no cards in hand. I drew a Primeval Titan and searched for two Glimmerposts to go to 9 but fell to 1 from Matt’s attack. I had one turn to do something or I was dead. The saying “I would rather be lucky than good” came to mind as I pealed a Slagstorm right off the top to steal the game.
Game 3 was a long draw out affair that ended with Matt again have the Captain double Image combo to win the game after I had used my sweepers on his early waves of spirits.
3-2 Matches 7-6 Games
Round 6 Jesse Westphal/ Blue-White delver
Game 1 one was back and forth but came down to me being at 8 life with a Primeval Titan that would be lethal in two turns while all Jesse had was a Runechanter’s Pike. Jesse drew and played an Invisible Stalker. I failed to draw a Slagstorm or Whipflare and died to the hexproof creature.
Game 2 I had a turn 4 Inferno Titan that was Vapor Snagged and Snagged again when it was replayed. The 4th time it was played the Titan was removed by Celestial Purge. The damage from replaying the Titan was enough to put Jesse within range of pumping a Solemn Simulacrum with kessig for the game.
Game 3 Jesse was on the defensive the whole game countering everything I played. Jesse finally played a Geist of Saint Traft and I drew a blank. All I had was lands in play, but I had an Inkmoth Nexus and a Kessig. I figured I could block for a turn but if Jesse had a Vapor Snag I would just die to the Geist plus Pike as Jesse had at least 15 instants and sorceries in his graveyard. So I decided that I was dead either way and went for the win by pumping the nexus for exactly enough to poison him out. He had the Vapor snag and I died on his next turn.
3-3 Matches 8-8 Games
Round 7 John Galli/ Black-White Tokens
This match was very quick. In game 1 I wiped the board with a slagstorm and killed him with a Primeval Titan.
Game 2 was more of the same; I was able to ramp up while clearing the board with a Whipflare. After a Resolved Titan, John conceded the game.
4-3 Matches 10-8 Games
So I finished with a 4-3 record. Not what I was hoping for but definitely a great learning experience. With the standard Grand Prix about a month away I feel like this PTQ gave me a lot of knowledge of the format that I didn’t have before. Even though I didn’t win it all I still had a great day with my friends. Congrats to Andy, Scott and Jeremiah for Making Top 8, and Corey for actually following through and showing up.
Thanks for reading and make sure to check back next week when I will be looking over the new set and what impacts it may have on standard.
And Don't Forget the Helavault Events this weekend for the Prerelease!