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Grand Prix Oakland - 37th - Part 2

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This is Part 2 (of 2) of Peter Knudson's GP Oakland report. Read Part 1 here.

Excited to start my first Day 2 of a Grand Prix, I got down early to play a few games against Thepths, as I wasn't certain the matchup was as good as Mathias had sold me on. While the Dark Depths plan is not as good against me, the Thopter Foundry is impossible to beat when it comes online. Certainly I would have to play against this deck today, as it is clearly the best deck in extended.

To refresh your memories, here is my deck:

Vampires

[cardlist]3 Bloodghast

3 Vampire Nighthawk

4 Gatekeeper of Malakir

4 Dark Confidant

3 Bitterblossom

4 Umezawa's Jitte

4 Smother

4 Small Pox

2 Chrome Mox

2 Duress

4 Mutavault

3 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

8 Swamp

3 Verdant Catacombs

3 Marsh Flats

2 Ghost Quarter

Sideboard

3 Leyline of the Void

4 Extirpate

2 Darkblast

4 Deathmark

2 Damnation[/cardlist]

Round 10 Dark Depths

Sure enough, my first opponent is playing Thepths. I am on the play, and I have very good opener that included Bitterblossom, Dark Confidant, Gatekeeper of Malakir, and Thoughtseize. I Thoughtseize him, and see the Stone Cold Nuts. He has Chrome Mox, Urborg, Dark Depths, 2x Vampire Hexmage, Dark Confidant, Thoughtseize. After pondering my options, I realize that there is nothing I can realistically do to not die without taking the Chrome Mox, so I bin that. He Thoughtseizes me back, taking Bitterblossom, then plays his Dark Confidant as a shield for my Gatekeeper, and then kills me on turn 4 with a Marit Lage token.

Game two I mulligan twice, and lose again to a turn 3 token. Gah! The reason Thepths is so good is because they have the ability to steal games in a completely unfair way.

7-3

Round 11 Paul Rietzl with WB

I'm excited to play against this guy, mainly because he is level 6 and I wanted another chance to test my mettle against the best. Paul is playing WB, and I believe he has the edge in a fair game.

Game 1 he mulligans twice, and then gets Thoughtseized by me turn 1. He draws well enough to stay in the game for a while, but after a few removal spells by me, I am able to take the game away with Jitte.

Game 2, Nobody mulligans here, and he plays a few Honor of the Pures to get his creatures to sizes I can't exactly deal with. I put up a good fight, but end up packing it in to his army of 3/3 Flying Spectral Procession tokens.

Game 3, A removal heavy hand, and can deal with his first few threats. My Small Poxes leave us both short on mana, but I recover faster and end up winning with an active Jitte on my Vampire Nighthawk.

8-3

Round 12 Yuuta Takahashi with Faeries

I recognized Yuuta's name. I quickly text my friend if this guy is good and his reply is "Faerie master. 2 GP wins. GL"

Yuuta was indeed playing Faeries, but better than anyone I have ever seen personally. It was much like watching a chess master play chess: Yuuta spent no time thinking, and made his plays almost reflexively, yet they were always the right play. I don't remember much about this match, but I remember being on tilt for most of it. Faeries capitalizes on misplays, and I remember making enough of them to cost me both of the games. This is probably the only match this tournament I felt completely out played on all fronts.

8-4

Round 13 UG Scapeshift

The matchup against Scapeshift is kind of sketchy. Personally, I think that UG is pretty bad to begin with, as the deck does a whole lot of nothing without their win condition in hand. With the right mixture of Duresses and a clock, the game should be in my favor.

Game one, I Duress away a Ponder leaving his hand full of ramp spells. I play our a few dorks, but the clock isn't super fast, so it gave him time to draw a Scapeshift before he died. I had a Ghost Quarter for one of his mountains, but he had a basic mountain left in his deck to successfully resolve Valakut triggers.

I mulligan aggressively game 2 to five cards, where I find a Thoughtseize and Bitterblossom. I slow roll the Thoughtseize until he would be able to win the following turn. The play was correct, as he had Scapeshift ready to go, and couldn't find another one soon enough.

Game three was a blowout in my favor, as my opening hand had 3 Duresses and enough clock to kill him by turn 6.

9-4

Round 14 Thepths

This guy's Channel Fireball shirt gives away his deck, as everyone on that team was playing Thepths.

Game one, I lose to the Thopter Foundry combo, as I have no main-decked way to deal with it.

Game two, I land a first turn Leyline of the Void, and Thoughtseize him turn one. He had the artifact combo in his starting hand, and is visibly upset that I had Leyline. I take his Thirst for Knowledge to slow his recovery. He does a whole lot of nothing, and I kill him with some vampires.

Game three he mulligans twice, and has mana troubles. He has no Urborg, so his Dark Depths doesn't produce mana, and can't cast his tutors because he doesn't have double blue. A few good Duresses, and removal spells for his Dark Confidants, and he succumbs to my Vampire Nighthawk beat down.

Later, somebody told me he went back to the Channel Fireball crew and declared that he just lost to "a bad player playing Vampire Nighthawk."

10-4

Round 15 Tribal Zoo

I am paired down at this point, as my tiebreakers are literally the worst out of all the people with 30 points, and I ask for the scoop. He obliges, and my tournament is over.

11-4

I end up 37th, though with better tiebreakers I would have been able to crack Top 32. My rating increased enough to award me two byes and the next Grand Prix I play in. Overall, this was an awesome tournament for me. I got to see a lot of friends, play a lot of magic, and make a little money. It certainly built the fire in me to compete at high levels even more, and I am making plans to go to Houston in April to finish of this extended season that has been good to me so far.

Although we had success with this deck, I am a bit skeptical on recommending it to anyone going forward. Two people played it in the PTQ the next day, and did horribly. It has decent matchups across the board, but every game is a grind. I am not saying that my play skill is the best, but I felt challenged against every deck. I was really playing the best Magic I have ever played, so it might be hard to replicate success with a deck like this. However, I would recommend playing Dark Confidant, Thoughtseize, and Umezawa's Jitte, because those cards were absolutely insane for me, and are good in decks other than this one.

If anyone is interested in the next month to test or theorize for GP Houston, please hit me up. I like to play rogue decks, but lack serious a team of people who can tell me my ideas are bad, and that I suck at Magic. Twitter has been good for this, as well as Google Wave.

Thanks for reading, and good luck in the rest of the PTQs. I just made Top 8 in a Boston one with Zoo, and that would be my recommendation for the current metagame.

Mise well,

Peter Knudson

email: peterguy63@hotmail.com

Follow me on Twitter: peterguy63

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