1/26 Louisville PTQ Report

Written by aldaryn on January 31, 2008


1/26 Louisville PTQ Report

by aldaryn

I’m hoping to give you all a bit of help if you are planning on going to the upcoming Midwest PTQs. I participated in the Louisville PTQ and ended up 5th place. The Top 8 decks can be found here: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgevent/hollywood08ptq/0126louisville

Before I go into my deck and match-ups, I’d like to mention the metagame a little. Before the tournament, people were noticing a suspiciously large amount of dredge; the dredge players I talked to during the tournament said this is where they snuck main-deck Leylines into their decklist – I’d expect this is how the Dredge mirror was won in the semifinals of the Top 8. Throughout the day, I saw a healthy amount of Shackles, Ideal, Doran, and Zoo/Burn. There was nothing too unique at the top tables; some rock variations like Gifts, Flow, or the Beasts Rock you may have seen from the GenCon $1K Top 8 (same player). I only saw 2 players on Goblins, maybe 5 or 6 with Affinity (though one made Top 8), and only 1 player with Elf Opposition. Acquaintances of mine that didn’t show mentioned playing Heartbeat, which is something I’d like to mention later.

As for me, I played Doran. Let me show my starting point, my changes, and whether or not they were good or bad in retrospect. I began with an article a week or two ago by Luis Scott-Vargas on SCG premium. He proposed this decklist:

Doran Control
Main Deck Sideboard
4 Birds Of Paradise
4 Dark Confidant
3 Eternal Witness
3 Loxodon Hierarch
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Doran, the Siege Tower
1 Chrome Mox
3 Smother
4 Cabal Therapy
2 Profane Command
2 Thoughtseize
4 Vindicate
3 Forest
1 Plains
2 Swamp
2 Godless Shrine
2 Overgrown Tomb
2 Polluted Delta
1 Temple Garden
4 Treetop Village
4 Windswept Heath
1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse
4 Leyline of the Void
3 Gaddock Teeg
2 Umezawa’s Jitte
2 Krosan Grip
2 Indrik Stomphowler
1 Smother
1 Loxodon Hierarch


My first impulse was that I didn’t like the Chrome Mox, because of the card disadvantage. I also felt a mana creature would be good fodder for blocking and more importantly for Cabal Therapy. So that slot became an Elves of Deep Shadow.

My second thought was personal opinion on magic theory that I have a hard time shaking even when it’s wrong, and that’s that I hate having dead cards. I like flexible cards that are at least serviceable in every match-up. In this case I am talking about Smother. I was not happy to draw it in my practice games against my friend’s Tron list, which of course was nowhere to be seen all day. However, I also didn’t like the dead space against Ideal or even most of Gifts Rock, or any Rock that played Pernicious Deed main and thus shunned Tarmogoyf (yes, some people still do this, and two of them made Top 8). I felt like the right card for the job was Putrefy, but 3 Putrefy on top of an already packed 3-slot seemed clunky. A friend suggested that deck needs 6 1-drop accelerants because of its packed 3-slot anyway, so this became a 2nd Elves of Deep Shadow and 2 Putrefy.

I made only two minor adjustments to the land base – certainly basics are important right now with Blood Moon, Destructive Flow and Molten Rain showing their faces again, but I felt that 1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth would be superior to 1 Swamp, and that 1 Forest could be replaced with 1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers. I do recall one game where I was hoping to fetch a basic with a Bloodstained Mire, simply to avoid damage, but already had my only Swamp. However, in at least one other game I was able to play a Profane Command with Urborg as my only black source. One thing that should be considered is the possibility of Urborg helping your opponents, especially if you ever on the game plan of Vindicating your opponents lands to enforce a certain color-screw. I am on the fence about this change, but I am happy to play the Okina. It will allow you Doran to have an edge against opposing Tarmogoyfs, and more importantly, it can protect your Gaddock Teeg from things like Fire // Ice and Pyroclasm. Okina is definitely worth the slot.

Then I went to the sideboard. The changes I made I have to admit were primarily for the sake of clean, easy sideboarding. I was set on playing some form of Tron up until the day before, when I finally just decided there was no optimal answer to Teeg, and even without Teeg the Doran match-up was not very good. I felt like the sideboard needed Pernicious Deed because of its usefulness in a variety of match-ups, and what convinced me was that I wanted something good for the mirror without committing a slot for just the mirror… I expected people to bring in things like Sword of Light and Shadow or Mystic Enforcer, cards I felt I had no room for, but cards I wanted to be able to deal with. Since Pernicious Deed is also very strong against Counterbalance, I removed 2 Krosan Grips and 1 Smother for 3 Pernicious Deed. Another strong point was that I felt like Affinity is a strong enough deck to deserve some targeted hate, and Deed is the nuts against them but much more flexible than Kataki.

For reference the list I used was:
 
Doran Control
Main Deck Sideboard
4 Birds Of Paradise
4 Dark Confidant
3 Eternal Witness
3 Loxodon Hierarch
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Doran, the Siege Tower
2 Elves of Deep Shadow
2 Putrefy
4 Cabal Therapy
2 Profane Command
2 Thoughtseize
4 Vindicate
2 Forest
1 Plains
1 Swamp
2 Godless Shrine
2 Overgrown Tomb
2 Polluted Delta
1 Temple Garden
4 Treetop Village
4 Windswept Heath
1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse
1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Leyline of the Void
3 Gaddock Teeg
2 Umezawa’s Jitte
3 Pernicious Deed
2 Indrik Stomphowler
1 Loxodon Hierarch


I felt good about these changes after winning thanks to Putrefy in the first two rounds, in situations where Smother would have been useless. However, despite those incidents, I believe most of my changes were for the worse. The match-up where you most need mana acceleration is the Burn/Zoo, and that is where Birds and Elves don’t live for very long. The deck should have had 1-2 Chrome Mox instead of Elves because of this. Also, as you see now, I took the decklist from 4 Smother post-board in that match-up down to 0 (as well as the Doran mirror). This was a very big change in the deck that I did not consider, and I feel it really hurt me as I barely squeaked out my win over Zoo in the 6th round, and then lost to it in the Quarterfinals. Also, I should listen to the guy who actually playtested the deck, i.e. Mr. Scott-Vargas: Pernicious Deed is far too slow against Zoo. I like it against Next Level Blue and the mirror, though.

As for the actual tournament, myself and 2 other Wizard’s Keepers (Muncie, IN) left about 6:45 A.M. for Kentucky, and got ourselves there without incident even though my left rear view mirror was knocked out of place the entire way there. The event was run by Blue Grass Magic, and was organized very well (at least compared to other tournaments I’ve attended), though I heard some complaints about judging decisions – decisions which I have no real opinion about, because I wasn’t actually there watching it happen. However everything was pretty timely, and even after making Top 8 and playing one match, we still made our 3-hour drive home by 1 A.M. I was surprised it started at 11 A.M.; that seems later than most tournaments, so I was happy with the pace of the rounds. I want to mention before I get into the rounds that this is all from memory, so I apologize if the game state descriptions are slightly wrong, but you should get the big picture.

Round one I am paired against Brian Kowal, a name I’ve heard before, primarily from Adrian Sullivan’s articles on StarCity. Game one I begin with a Treetop Village and pass. He plays a Polluted Delta fetching a Breeding Pool, and I’m thinking Next Level Blue. I Thoughtseize him, at which point he shows me Living Wish, Genesis, Gifts Ungiven, and a few other cards, saying “Aw, you were supposed to Therapy me naming Counterspell.” I take the Gifts and then begin to put pressure on the board. He plays out the Genesis, which is frustrating for me to play around because I obviously do not want it in the yard. I finally set up a play that can get me the win. I cast a Profane Command, hitting him in the face and giving my Eternal Witness fear, putting him at 5 life. I also have a Treetop Village on the table. I am holding an Eternal Witness and a Putrefy in my hand at this point. On his turn he top-decks a Gifts, getting Vindicate, Profane Command, Cabal Therapy, and Eternal Witness. He only has three mana left counting his Bird of Paradise, and a Genesis on the table. I give him the Profane Command and Cabal Therapy, since he has no idea what’s currently in my hand and he can’t do anything with the Profane Command yet, and I have a Therapy in my own graveyard. He taps for the bird for mana, casts Therapy and whiffs, and then flashes it back because he felt he had to get rid of my Eternal Witness or I’d just get back the Profane Command. I only have 5 lands on the table, but if I top-deck a land I have the win before he can stabilize, as I can Putrefy the Genesis and then attack with Treetop and Eternal Witness. I draw the land and that’s good game.
 
Sideboarding: I had not tested this matchup, but Leyline of the Void seemed good against Genesis and Eternal Witness shenanigans. I brought in 4 though I didn’t see them, but I forget what I took out. I’m not actually sure how to board this match-up at all and I’m a little nervous.
 
Game two I believe he mulligans, and then he keeps a one land hand. He plays a fetchland, I play a land and Elves of Deep Shadow, and then since he does not want to take extra damage, he debates for a long time and then gets a Breeding Pool end-of-turn. Of course he draws an Island off the top, so he is forced to Living Wish for Golgari Rot Farm to get some black – quite a slow draw. On my turn two I Therapy him naming Gifts and hit doubles. He never really recovers and it’s clockwork after that – I believe on turn 3 I dropped Doran and just won from there.

2-0 Games, 1-0 Matches

Round two I am paired against Enduring Ideal. I felt bad for him, because I hit on every single blind Therapy (and there were 3 or 4). In game one, I Therapy him on turn 2 for Burning Wish and hit. I’m slow to get threats going, but once I do he suspends a late Lotus Bloom, and I stop him on the upkeep before it comes into play. At the end of the previous turn, he makes an error by using a Pentad Prism counter while tapped out to use Divining Top. Apart from the Bloom, he has no hand and 6 mana possible. I’m guessing if he has the Ideal, he topped to set himself up for it, so I Putrefy the Lotus Bloom during the upkeep so that he can’t find another land –and- play the Ideal. He doesn’t top again to hide the Ideal during upkeep like he should have (now that I think about it anyway), and just draws his card, but his face gave away some dejection when I killed the Lotus Bloom. On my turn I flashback the therapy naming Enduring Ideal and what do you know…it hits. Game is over shortly after that.

Sideboarding: -2 Putrefy, -3 Loxodon Hierarch, +3 Gaddock Teeg, +2 Indrik Stomphowler. I debated the Pernicious Deeds but you have to play them preemptively at a point where you’d rather just be attacking.

Game two I mistakenly keep a hand with lands and creatures, but no disruption and no actual fast creatures like Goyf or Doran. I think it was something like Bird, Witness, Hierarch, and 4 lands. I’m always afraid of mulligans to something worse, though, which is something I need to work on. I end up getting him to 1 life before he goes off, and I don’t draw a Stomphowler in time.

 

Game three I tear his hand apart. On turn one I Thoughtseize his Thoughtseize since I am holding Gaddock Teeg. On turn two I Therapy, play an Elf and flash it back, leaving him with land and Form of the Dragon. I play Teeg and then luckily draw my Okina to protect it from Fire // Ice every turn, and he never has a chance. In desperation the turn before I kill him he plays Solitary Confinement, but I Vindicate it.

4-1 Games, 2-0 Matches

I’m feeling good at this point but I know the competition will probably get worse, and my mental state is that I don’t expect to qualify; I mostly wanted ratings points to make 1900 and get 2 byes for Grand Prix: Indianapolis in the summer (which I sure hope is Constructed).
 
Round three I face R/g TarmoBurn, which is not the great match-up I thought it was, thought it is probably just slightly in Doran’s favor. Sulfuric Vortex is a pain though, and probably a good reason to have Pernicious Deed even though it is just too slow.

Game one winds up with me having a Tarmogoyf and no lands, thanks to triple Molten Rain. My Tarmogoyf is big, though, and he has no creatures. I’m at 7 life, and I think that I can’t just sit here and die to burn. If he has the Blistering Firecat, chump blocking just gets me to 0 permanents and a definite death anyway, so I swing in with Tarmogoyf, and he retorts with Firecat.

Sideboarding: -2 Thoughtseize, -4 Dark Confidant, +2 Jitte, +1 Hierarch, +3 Deed

Game two I somehow survive double Molten Rain, and win the game without any black mana, on the back of Hierarchs.

Game three he mulls on the play, plays a Wooded Foothills and says go. I play a Treetop and pass. He waits to crack his fetch until his next main. I’m guessing he is either looking for a land or deciding between Blood Crypt and Stomping Ground, because he showed me Terminate game 2. He fetches a Blood Crypt, suspends a Rift Bolt, and passes with no 2nd land. On my turn I therapy naming Terminate, hit doubles, and he has no chance from there. Bad beat.

6-2 Games, 3-0 Matches

Round four is the mirror match, which is not as un-fun as people say, but it is very awkward. Somewhere during game one I misplay. He won the die roll and is ahead on life, but we both have no hands and two Treetop Villages. However, when he attacks I realize I don’t have the 2nd green source to activate both of mine. Between the extra 3 life and the loss of another land, I can’t recover when he actually top-decks a good creature (I think Doran).

 

Sideboarding: -2 Thoughtseize, -4 Cabal Therapy, +2 Jitte, +1 Hierarch, +3 Deed

In game two, I get the aggressive start, mostly due to being on the play. He is low on life, but rips a Mystic Enforcer after he has threshold which has me a little worried. My next draw is Profane Command, and I end it there with Fireball + fear.

Game three is memorable for the awkward start. He apparently boarded in Engineered Explosives, which isn’t a bad idea and I honestly have no idea what its possible uses are in Doran and how good they are. I was surprised at least. Anyway, on his first turn he plays an E.E. for 1. I think to myself, if he wants to spend turn 2 just killing my elf for a total of 3 mana, that’s fine by me, so I play an Elves of Deep Shadow and pass. He plays another land, and apparently didn’t have a third, as he plays a Bird of Paradise and passes. I play a Dark Confidant and pass. On his turn, he still doesn’t have another land, but plays an Engineered Explosives for two, leaving only his Bird open as mana and still on 2 land. On my turn, I have an extra card from Bob, so I play my third land, and I have another land in my hand, and Bob going. So with my 3 lands and my elf, I play Deed and blow it for 1, getting rid of both of his Explosives and his Bird, sticking him on 2 mana while I have Bob advantage, and I win in short order.

8-3 Games, 4-0 Matches

At this point the inevitable happens – I am paired against Dredge. On my first turn, not knowing what I’m up against, I make the potentially risk play of going to 15 for a Thoughtseize, and see a dredge-esque hand, only with no dredge card and with Mulldrifter(?). I believe I take Breakthrough, but he still has Careful Study, a Narcomoeba, and a Bridge from Below. He plays Careful Study, discarding Narcomoeba and something else that was not the Bridge, and not a dredge enabler. I proceed to Vindicate his only land and commence beats, carefully leaving mana open to deal with his bridges. I actually Therapy the Bridge in his hand once he has one in the yard, then flashback the Therapy on an elf to deal with both permanently, and get rid of the other two by Loxodon Hierarch’s GW sacrifice ability (don’t forget that!).

Sideboarding: -2 Putrefy, -3 Loxodon Hierarch, -2 Profane Command, -3 Eternal Witness, +4 Leyline of the Void, +3 Gaddock Teeg, +3 Pernicious Deed

Game two he transforms into a really terrible black aggro deck with Carrion Feeder and Oona’s Prowler, but it’s actually kind of good against 3 Leylines in my first 8 cards. I make a horrible misplay this game though, as I play out a Teeg and he seems overly concerned with it. He gets a Jitte on board and I only deed for one to clear out his creatures and not the Jitte, because I thought I needed to keep Teeg on the table. Of course, I die to the Jitte.

Sideboarding again: -2 Elves of Deep Shadow, +2 Umezawa’s Jitte

Game 3 I start out with Leyline again, but have an actual strong creature start with Tarmogoyf and Doran which his black weenies can’t hold up against.

I’d like to comment on his strategy. It’s not a terrible idea, but I think if you’re going to transform like this, and you’re already playing the fetchland version of dredge, just add a Breeding Pool to the deck and play Tarmogoyfs and other good green creatures in the sideboard. You have even more options if you’re playing the City of Brass / Gemstone Mine / Tarnished Citadel version – you could morph into a crappy Zoo deck, which is fine against a hand full of graveyard hate. I have no idea if this plan has actual merit, but it can at least be improved upon.

10-4 games, 5-0 Matches

I’m getting excited and nervous now, as one more match win guarantees me Top 8. The tournament was 8 rounds, so I was sure 6-0-2 would be fine.

Round six I am paired against Zoo. I don’t remember game one much except that I won.

Sideboarding: -2 Thoughtseize, -4 Dark Confidant, +3 Deed, +2 Jitte, +1 Hierarch

Game two he drops a Turn 3 Sulfuric Vortex, which is very frustrating since I am about to play a Hierarch. I point out that I have more life than him when he drops out, but that quickly changes when he hits with Tribal Flames and the Vortex finishes me off.

Game three he does not drop any exciting early threats so I am able to Deed away his board at a relatively high life total and drop a Tarmogoyf. He makes a critical error when he plays Tribal Flames on the Tarmogoyf. I point to the Deed in the yard and explain that Tarmogoyf is 5/6. He was out of gas so Tarmogoyf wins it.

Aside: I want to talk about this play a bit. Obviously when he did this, with Top 8 on the line at a competitive tournament, I’m not going to let him take it back. He should have asked the Tarmogoyf’s P/T if he needed it. My graveyard was very clear and the Deed was only two of my turns prior. I’ve read a lot of chastising on the internet lately for players being “cutthroat” at PTQs. I know people don’t like it when others are “jerks,” but if you want to win and you’re playing by the rules when you act like a “jerk,” I respect that. This is not FNM, and that kind of attitude obviously has no place there, but it’s OK here, even if it is bothersome, though I try to avoid it. I love to joke around with my opponents and I really like the social aspect of magic, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give away wins. Honestly, if your memory is good or if you’re just good at taking notes, you really probably shouldn’t tell your opponent Tarmogoyf’s P/T unless they ask. I felt bad about this play, almost a little guilty, but if it happened again it’d be the same result. I certainly did nothing shady here, in my opinion.

12-5 Games, 6-0 Matches! At this point I am top seed and there are only two 6-0’s, so we obviously draw (good thing too since it was a pretty competent dredge player), and then I convince my last round opponent with Affinity that he’s in with a draw at 6-1-1 since I boost his tiebreaker. Although I think at least one 6-1-1 did not make it; them’s the breaks. I end up 1st seed since my opponents from Rounds 1, 5, 7, and 8 all make Top 8. I’m paired against Zoo again.

At this point we wait for deck checks and spend forever pile shuffling since they come back sorted; I chat it up with the table judge and with my opponent. Usually I smile and joke a little, but don’t talk much. At this moment, though, I’m so nervous that I just cannot keep my trap shut. I heckle my opponent a little, not in a derogatory way, but I ask him things about his shirt, later on his decklist, like if he’s running a Steam Vents or a basic, or what’s in his hand, etc. This probably isn’t a good idea, as I think I distracted myself, and it was very uncharacteristic of me. The last high-stakes game (to me) that I played (at Indiana Regionals) I kept a stone-cold face while I was literally covered in sweat. Not here.

All I remember from game one is that I won, I think mostly due to the fact that this was the only time in the tournament where I went turn 1 Birds of Paradise, turn 2 Doran, the Siege Tower.

Sideboarding: -2 Thoughtseize, -4 Dark Confidant, +3 Deed, +2 Jitte, +1 Hierarch

Game two I keep a questionable hand with triple Cabal Therapy on the draw. My blind Therapies had been great all day, so I was hoping to rip his 2-drop and 3-drops, and then deal with the 1-drop a few turns later. On his turn 1 he fetches a Blood Crypt and plays Kird Ape. The Blood Crypt convinces me has Dark Confidant in his hand, so I Therapy it, and I’m right… except he also has Tarmogoyf. Whoops. He plays it turn 2 as a  3/4 already and I can’t keep up with the beatings, as I’m forced to also Therapy the Vindicate in his hand. This is one game where I’m a little upset about not having 4 Smother in my deck!

Game three was a heartbreaker, mostly resulting in a misplay on my part. In my head I am thinking that he will just burn my Bird or Elf, so I don’t play them immediately. His plays are turn 1 Kird Ape, turn 2 Jitte, and then I am never able to get a black source that he can’t just kill. I was very upset about not playing a turn 1 mana creature when my first draw after that was Doran. He goes crazy with the Jitte and it’s too late by the time I finally draw black source, since I don’t have the Pernicious Deed in my hand. It was an upsetting defeat to say the least, since I felt like I was golden after game one. However, most of what went wrong this match I can peg on myself – a bad keep in game two, and bad play in game three.

My quarterfinals opponent went on to win the tournament – congratulations to him. My deck was very good to me overall throughout the day, but my changes were definitely for the worst against Zoo. I would’ve loved the Chrome Mox and the Smothers both.

I want to talk a little about variations of this deck and how I’d build it now. First I want to mention the Beasts deck in the Top 8. While Spiritmonger + Contested Cliffs doesn’t exactly excite me, I think there is something to be said for a “Controlling Rock” deck in the format right now. Living Wish and Pernicious Deed are both absolute bombs in the format that don’t fit the style of the aggressive Doran Rock decks. Pernicious Deed gives you an edge against Doran, Counterbalance, Affinity, and even Zoo when you are playing actual useful accelerants like Sakura Tribe-Elder. Gifts Rock is another good deck using these cards, and maybe it is the optimal choice, but I my issue with a deck with so many random 1-ofs is the awkward hands you can start out with, and not really knowing strong percentages of just what your deck should deliver soon. I also want to point out that between Tribe-Elder, Pernicious Deed, and Living Wish for Jailer or Teeg, these decks have much better game ones against Dredge than Doran, as Doran usually just prays and hopes to hate them out games two and three.  This is definitely a niche of the format that could use a bit more exploration.

As for Doran, I think I would go back to Luis’s list from above as a starting point. I did like the Okina over a Forest, however. I have a couple of suggestions that I honestly can’t say would be better or worse. Because a non-burnable accelerant helps so much against Zoo and Rg, I think a 2nd Chrome Mox may be worth consideration in the deck, perhaps over one land or 1 Smother. Also, with Morningtide becoming legal, a Murmuring Bosk should fit in somewhere, as it is a great multicolored source that only deals you one damage when you fetch it on turn one to play a Bird of Paradise, but it gives you the option of black OR white for the next turn. Because it requires Doran in your hand to come into play untapped, I’d only play one, probably over 1 Godless Shrine, or possibly Treetop Village. You certainly don’t want too many comes-into-play-tapped lands; I’ve seen some lists go down to 3 Treetop Village for this reason, but I never had a problem. I especially see little need if you play 2 Chrome Mox also. While mentioning Morningtide, Countryside Crusher is another strong reason that this deck should play the full set of Smothers between main and sideboard.

I have seen Doran lists now running the Trinket Mage package and I don’t think this is correct at all (even though I know I’ve been praising Luis’s list and he apparently has been credited for the Trinket Mage innovation). For one, Doran is an aggressive version of BGW, and I don’t think Trinket Mage (or Living Wish) are worth the slowness in a deck designed to attack with fast creatures and supplement it with disruption. Second, this is already not the simplest mana base, and with the resurgence of Destructive Flow, Blood Moon effects and Molten Rain, stretching it to four colors seems unreasonable. Lastly, at least on lists I’ve seen, you are cutting the most powerful engine in the deck (Eternal Witness and Profane Command) for the Trinket Mage package. This is going to lose you mirror matches, I’d guess.  I do see the relevance, as Trinket Mage can shore up two of your tough match-ups – Dredge and Next Level Blue (Pithing Needle on Vedalken Shackles). I admit I’m lucky to have not played against NLB all day, but I think the match-up is very winnable even though it is probably not favorable. That deck is morphing into versions that play Threads, Shackles, and Sower of Temptation anyway, so I don’t think Pithing Needle is going to do as much for you as you’d like– another angle of attack is probably better. I can see these kinds of things in the aforementioned “Control Rock” variants, but I don’t think they belong in Doran.

I have one other suggestion for the main deck, and that is the inclusion of the two Umezawa’s Jittes in the main deck somewhere. That would leave room for two cards in the sideboard, which I think should probably still be Pernicious Deed – even if it was not very exciting against Zoo, I think it is still a great card against NLB, Affinity, and the mirror. I’m sure what to cut from the main, and I know this sounds crazy, but my first suggestion is Thoughtseize. Most of the games I played at the PTQ, Cabal Therapy took care of business all by itself – not that Thoughtseize wasn’t good, but in some of these aggressive matchups you end up doing 7-8 damage to yourself and that’s just insanity.

Also, I didn’t get the memo until the PTQ, but apparently Extirpate is far better than Leyline of the Void, and I see why. It’s a much better top-deck, they can’t actually do anything about it, and it gets pretty sick combined with Eternal Witness. Just make sure you get the Dread Returns first, then the Bridges. Also, Extirpate is much more widely useful; for example I would have been much happier to side it in against Gifts Rock than Leyline.

I’m no master, obviously, but this is what I would tentatively suggest if I were to play Doran again (and please discuss your opinion).

Doran Control
Main Deck Sideboard
4 Birds Of Paradise
4 Dark Confidant
3 Eternal Witness
3 Loxodon Hierarch
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Doran, the Siege Tower
2 Chrome Mox
3 Smother
4 Cabal Therapy
2 Profane Command
2 Umezawa’s Jitte
4 Vindicate
2 Forest
1 Plains
1 Swamp
1 Godless Shrine
2 Overgrown Tomb
1 Temple Garden
1 Murmuring Bosk
2 Polluted Delta
4 Windswept Heath
4 Treetop Village
1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse
1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
4 Extirpate
3 Gaddock Teeg
2 Krosan Grip
2 Pernicious Deed
2 Indrik Stomphowler
1 Smother
1 Loxodon Hierarch


I want to mention one mistake with my previous sideboarding. Against any aggressive deck where you expect equipment to be brought in against you (or maybe Sulfuric Vortex), you should bring in the Indrik Stomphowlers, which I forgot to do. It’s a big creature anyway, and if it’s only target is your Jitte, you should be winning anyway, so I wouldn’t worry about that.

I would probably play this deck again. It’s not as obvious as some people think, but it is definitely one of the easier decks to play in Extended. Actually, the hardest decisions probably come from what your opponent is doing, not you – i.e., figuring out what to name with Therapy or which land to Vindicate. You should also, just like any deck, spend some time practicing with the mana base also – apart from my critical errors in the quarterfinals, most of my mistakes throughout the day were small errors with fetchlands that I could have smoothed out with some practice. The best thing about the deck is that it just lets you just play some good old-fashioned Magic.

If Doran or none of the other current top decks interest you, I’d like to mention Heartbeat. The main thing I’ve noticed about the metagame is that Ideal is the only combo deck on the radar, and the hate people prepare for it (things like Indrik Stomphowler) do little against storm combo, with the exception of Gaddock Teeg, a card that decks like TEPS has no time to deal with it. TEPS is also ruined by things like Blood Moon and Destructive Flow, while Heartbeat avoids these and can more easily deal with Teeg as well. With those problems out of the way, no one is actually packing strict Storm hate anymore (Stifle, Rule of Law) that I’ve seen… so I’d definitely consider adding that deck to the testing gauntlet.

Happy PTQing!
-Derek Thompson, aldaryn

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Comments:
by Craze on 2008-01-31 23:56 CET

1st and sexiest


by sandoiche on 2008-02-01 00:12 CET

great report! i think doran is one of the most interactives decks on the format, i mean, ALL u do is based on ur opponents decks since it has many decisions to do in ur first turns.

and congratulations for the top 8!


by Lantero on 2008-02-01 00:20 CET

The report is so cool.
I add with you in many points you dealed, like extirpate>>>Leyline in eternal witness' deck; and how can u get GG silver bullets with living wish.

In fact im testing now a BGW Rock version (After testing Doran rock), with Sakuras and 4 copies of living wish, and pernicious and smother on maindeck.

The 6 no wish slots on SB are 3 extirpate and 3 Sphere of Law (Expecting a meta plenty of Gobs and RG burn).


by aldaryn on 2008-02-01 00:31 CET

Glad to be of help. Scrolling through it just now, I didn't realize it was so freaking long! Edit: and so full of typos! :/


by Eldar on 2008-02-01 00:41 CET

4th.


by Tewl on 2008-02-01 01:30 CET

:D


by center on 2008-02-01 02:04 CET

Def see you in Indy. I might head to chicago as well.


by nopenopenope on 2008-02-01 03:14 CET

Mulldrifter?


by nopenopenope on 2008-02-01 03:17 CET

Omg numver 2 is playing dredge with x4 leyline main deck, it's so fucking tech


by bladerisen on 2008-02-01 03:31 CET

nice report


by Tewl on 2008-02-01 04:06 CET

wow aldaryn you are such a noob


by poolhustla on 2008-02-01 05:44 CET

aldaryn, you will eventually admit to me that wish board is better. however i think you might be right on the moxes. but what can i say you top 8ed and i got screwed batting .500. youre probably right, but ill fight you till the end of the season when i kick myself in the ass


by Krejcik on 2008-02-01 09:32 CET

You were right about being Cut-Throat. I'm sure he bitched and whined a little but that at that level witht he Top 8 on the line, fuck him.

Good work.


by rdeg87 on 2008-02-01 10:07 CET

Im guessing the guy played Mulldrifter because he couldnt get his hands on any Cephalid Sage's


by aldaryn on 2008-02-01 12:43 CET

Yeah, I think that was probably it. The tiniest *real* reason for mulldrifter is the possibility of its evoke, but you're probably losing if you hit 3 land in that deck, I'd think. That still doesn't explain the aethersnipe in the decklist :/


by Tenak on 2008-02-01 14:01 CET

Great report -comprehensive and generally just a really good read.

Also I don't think that not letting your opponent take back what was clearly an obvious mistake was 'cut-throat' at all. I made the classic tarmo mistake at my first PTQ and had no qualms with my opponent -it was clearly my fault after all. So you shouldn't feel bad about it, making mistakes is part of the game and if you opponent does so you should profit from them. There is a big difference between simple not letting opponent's taking make mistakes and the actions that some 'jerks' at PTQs take to try and squeeze every millimetre of supposed advantage from every situation IMHO.


by OldBear on 2008-02-01 14:32 CET

Very good report. I would'nt even view that as being a jerk, the guy deserved to lose making a mistake like that. Being a jerk is like getting judges over minor prodecdual errors and stuff that make no difference.

I have a similar deck would you like to see it?

No I Don't im just janking your chain!!!!!


by Conkisstador on 2008-02-01 14:35 CET

aethersnipe is a dread return target that won't get meddled or whatnot. also, a 4/4 in dredge is great when they're busy casting witness and other 2/2s and smaller.

....though i still think chain is better.

and if you want technology for you wish-fanatics... reveillark in the board. gets teeg back, witness, DORAN, (not tarmo because of CDA) and flies. i hear form of the dragon doesn't like flyers. and if they nuke it u can recurr witness for command, or shenanigans the similar.


by aldaryn on 2008-02-01 14:55 CET

Reveillark sounds pretty techy...might even be a minor reason to play Harmonic Sliver over Stomphowler in the Wishboard


by Volrath89 on 2008-02-01 18:38 CET


by aldaryn on 2008-01-31 17:31 MST

Glad to be of help. Scrolling through it just now, I didn't realize it was so freaking long! Edit: and so full of typos! :/


YEAH, i didnt read it because of that :/

And also because you are playing one of most popular decks, not interesting.. for me at least.


by denvermagic on 2008-02-01 19:41 CET

I disregarded these PTQ results when i saw that the third place deck was a dredge deck running aethersnipe and mulldrifter. Also the sideboard had 0 pithing needles 0 chains and 0 leyline of the voids. This seems like complete Jank. If he can get 3rd place with it in kentucky obv. i live in the wrong state.


by aldaryn on 2008-02-01 19:52 CET

Yes, that is the guy I played against. I'm guessing people were playing decks that had no dredge game plan g1, with overexaggerated hate g2, that couldn't beat a transformational sideboard g3, no matter how bad it was. This would have happened to me, if I hadn't managed to win game one off of his awfully strange keep.

Edit: He can't be a -completely- terrible player, he did make top 8 and he also top8ed Grand Prix Columbus (I think with suicide black)


by nopenopenope on 2008-02-01 21:15 CET

lol the guy finish 1st and pople try to gice advices lol M-l is so funny for that. If the guy platyed mulldrifter abndaethertipe he had his reasons. Most of poeple here aren,t able to win a mini an the comment third place of pytq (100+ people)


by Tewl on 2008-02-02 02:36 CET

I agree w/ Ironicus. Although I have no idea why he ran Aethersnipe, I know the guy t8 gp colombus and most people on m-l have no chance of t8 a ptq, let alone bad mouth someone who did t8. Although I do think that the sb could have been better, I like the idea of jitte, but splashing a breeding pool and running something like goyf over carrion feeder would prob be better.


by sandoiche on 2008-02-02 04:25 CET

he probably played aethersnipe as an answer for opponents threats on game 1... since it can be a dread return target

also, it fits in the beatdowns strategy as a tempo card (both evoke, or dread returning it bouncing some blocker and putting a 4/4 dude on ur side).


by PV on 2008-02-02 05:21 CET

I don't have the time to read the matchup part right now, I'll comment on that after I have, but I have to say that I really like the way you write and you explain everything even though I might not agree with it
Like - you explained why you cut smothes and added the elves, then why it wasn't a good movie - this is really good. Keep writting like that!


by MilanG[GER] on 2008-02-02 11:51 CET

really nice article

"he probably played aethersnipe as an answer for opponents threats on game 1... since it can be a dread return target

also, it fits in the beatdowns strategy as a tempo card (both evoke, or dread returning it bouncing some blocker and putting a 4/4 dude on ur side)."

which card does an dread returned aethersnipe answer?





by denvermagic on 2008-02-02 20:23 CET

A: if it is available to you to dread return aethersnipe to get a blocker out of the way,(IE no jailer, teeg, or leyline/crypt) Why not just win?

B: If he splashes green, he will mess up the consistency game one. If he runs tarmogoyf to use a beatdown strategy game 2 to avoid gy hate goyf wont be that big. Seeing as how you have 0 removal and i doubt your opponent will pump your goyf for you if he dosen't have too. Doubly hard if the leylines are coming in. And i doubt you could count on getting that three mana to evoke an aethersnipe


by DESTRUCTOR on 2008-02-03 01:44 CET

good article overall, i agree with the part of doran being an aggro-ish deck and doesnt need to run living wish, i dont know if heartbeat is so good as you think because disruption really hurts and cabal therapy, duress and thoughtzise are really popular cards

that 3º place dredge deck was really weird


by Avata on 2008-02-03 17:54 CET

This is a really well written and thorough report. Thanks for adding it to the site. Make sure you submit more in the future!


by aldaryn on 2008-02-03 22:15 CET

Thanks for all the positive feedback. My comments about Heartbeat were for the reasons above (lack of storm based hate and avoiding nonbasic hate) but I've never really piloted the deck, so I could definitely be wrong.


by Daveslusher- on 2008-02-04 18:10 CET

OMFG
why did you have to mention heartbeat...like really i'v been playing this deck sicne the begining of the season and have been waitingt for a time like this...way to ruin it


by CalebD on 2008-02-04 21:10 CET

"Iím guessing he is either looking for a land or deciding between Blood Crypt and Stomping Ground, because he showed me Terminate game 2. He fetches a Blood Crypt, suspends a Rift Bolt, and passes with no 2nd land. On my turn I therapy naming Terminate, hit doubles, and he has no chance from there. Bad beat."

Bad beat? Maybe. But 1-he kept a scetchy one-lander ON THE PLAY, and 2-he compounded his error by suspending the Rift Bolt unnecessarily, which hinted at what cards he had in his hand, letting you blind-hit his Terminates. He also gave you the chance of vindicating his now defenseless land, where if he'd kept from saccing he might at least be able to play a 2-drop, and potentially recover with more land draws.

We all make dumb mistakes like these, or the ones you made in the T8, but that doesn't make them bad beats, and calling them that gives newer players mistaken viewings of why the games panned out as they did.

Nice article, though, it was a pleasure to read.


by aldaryn on 2008-02-04 22:51 CET

Well, I think with RG you keep a 1-lander on six before you go to five, but I have no idea...I'm not a burn player.

Sorry daveslusher :/


by on 2008-02-06 12:56 CET

great report! i liked...


by Bejeezus on 2008-02-11 23:35 CET

Very well written, I really enjoyed reading this. Congrats on your Top 8. I hope to read more of your stuff in the future. :)


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