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Top 8 in Columbus, Ohio — The Quest for Gold


Before this Grand Prix, I was at 30 out of 33 necessary pro points for Gold Level, and I was excited for my favorite format: Legacy. After having posted the best possible result (a win) in the last Legacy Grand Prix in North America, I was feeling fairly confident in my chances to do well in Columbus. I chose to run back an updated version of the deck I played in Seattle, R/G Lands, for a few reasons (in addition to the ones I gave last week):

  1. I enjoy playing the deck.
  2. I think it’s favored versus decks that do not contain Miracles or Lotus Petal.
  3. People still have not tested enough versus this deck to know what it is completely capable of (and how quickly it can switch from the Prison to Combo role).

Note, the only change I made from the article discussing the deck last week was the re-introduction of Riftstone Portal for the fourth Green fetchland.

However, there were a few things I discovered during the tournament I didn’t really like.

If you do a careful count, there’re ‘only’ thirteen sources of Red or Green mana on turn one (I’m not counting Tranquil Thicket because it comes into play tapped), and that is also counting Mox Diamond which isn’t 100% reliable. That’s a bit low if you compare it to decks that want to play turn one Birds of Paradise or Llanowar Elves that normally have 15 or more turn one Green sources.

Karakas ended up only being useful versus Death and Taxes. My Reanimator opponent smartly chose to go for Tidespout Tyrant and Blazing Archon which are much more difficult for me to interact with.

So going forward, I would make a few changes:

Here’s a quick rundown of my matchups in the tournament:

R1 Bye

R2 Bye

R3 Beat Abzan Veteran Explorer Ramp 2-1

R4 Lost to Jacob Baugh on Reanimator 1-2

R5 Beat 4-5 Color Slivers 2-0

R6 Beat G/W Eldrazi Stompy 2-0 (I didn't actually see any Green or White cards until he showed me after the match, similar to _barook_'s build I mentioned last week.)

R7 Beat Miracles 2-1

R8 Beat Shardless Sultai 2-1

R9 Beat Elves 2-1

R10 Beat Paolo Cesari on Grixis Delver 2-0

R11 Lost to Noah Walker on Grixis Delver 0-2

R12 Beat Death and Taxes 2-1

R13 Beat Sam Roukas on Miracles 2-0

R14 beat Miracles 2-1

R15 beat Gerry Thompson on Grixis Control 2-1

R1 of Top 8 lost to U/G Infect 1-2

Interesting situations from the matchups:

Round Five: He leads with Flooded Strand pass on turn one. I go turn one Exploration. In response he cracks his fetch for Tropical Island and plays Brainstorm and Force of Wills my Exploration. On his turn two, he goes Island, Sylvan Library. By this point, I’m thinking he’s Infect . . . but then on turn three, he plays Mutavault and says go, and now I’m thinking he’s some sort of weird U/G Merfolk deck. He attacks a Mutavault into a Punishing Fire he doesn’t know about and then dies to a 20/20. I’m unclear what his exact deck is, but I assume it’s a tribal deck (given the inclusion of Mutavault).

In Game 2, he leads with Cavern of Souls . . . naming Sliver! Suddenly everything makes sense (including Brainstorm and fetchlands in his Tribal deck). I eventually win this game with a 20/20 and Wasteland recursion on his Caverns to keep him low on mana.

Round 10: In Game 2, I end up at three life versus Paolo Cesari playing Grixis Delver (who lost playing for top 8 of this GP and GPSeattle). I do not get punished by getting bolted a second time, but I am fairly certain I messed up somehow. Notably, Paolo Cesari lost playing for top 8 of this GP and Seattle.

Round 13: In Game 1, he didn’t get to answer my Life from the Loam until it was far too late, so a 20/20 killed him. In Game 2, he Surgical Extractioned my Thespian's Stages, but he eventually conceded to seeing that I had Gamble -> Boseiju, Who Shelters All alongside Boil.

Round 14: In Game 1, I made two 20/20s, both ate a Swords to Plowshares, and I took a ton of lethal damage from Monastery Mentor (this card is outrageous in combination with a pair of Sensei's Divining Tops).

Round 15: I’ve had a habit of losing to Gerry in clutch spots like these, but luckily my deck bailed me out in games 2 and 3. In Game 1, I kept a hand with turn four ‘combo’ but it was far too slow with no acceleration (I likely should have mulliganed). In Game 2, Gerry Submerged my 20/20, but I immediately rebuilt and made a second one (since I had Exploration plus Loam going). It is also worth noting that Gerry mulliganed to five in this game. In Game 3, I got extremely lucky to peel a second Crop Rotation (sacrificing my Taiga) to make a 20/20 and for him not to have Diabolic Edict or Jace, the Mind Sculptor on his main phase.

Round 1 of Top 8: I punt Game 1 after my opponent Gitaxian Probes me and plays Tropical Island into Glistener Elf. I lead with Mox Diamond (my only colored mana source) and immediately get Dazed. The game drags on for a while because I have two Maze of Ith, but I ultimately lose because I have no access to colored mana. In the middle of Game 3, I attempt to Stage my Dark Depths, but my opponent Crop Rotations in response to get a Wasteland, and Wastelands my Dark Depths. It’s a bit better for him to let the Stage copy ability resolve, and then Wasteland my Thespian's Stage (as a Dark Depths) with its ‘make a 20/20’ trigger on the stack. Instead, I got to play my second Dark Depths and copy it instead, however I died to lethal pump before I got a chance to attack with my 20/20.

I am looking ahead to Grand Prix Pittsburgh (Standard) and perhaps Grand Prix Montreal (Shadows over Innistrad / Eldritch Moon Limited).

For Grand Prix Pittsburgh, I am reconsidering the following decks:

Various flavors of Cryptolith Rite, for example, Bant splash Atarka Rite:

I don’t know where I’ll end up without further research, but the above decks seem solid to me. They don’t really have any glaring weaknesses.

In any case, I’m feeling somewhat odd right now. I’m feeling about ‘75% happy / 25% disappointed’. I am happy that I made another Premier Event top 8, but to come so close again to achieving Gold level Pro status but being a match short again (as I was at Grand Prix NYC) is a bitter pill to swallow.

If I somehow do not reach my goal of hitting Gold, at the very least, I will be in attendance at Pro Tour Honolulu and Pro Tour Dublin.

Thanks for reading, and I welcome any comments here or on Twitter.


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