Throwing Rocks at PTQs
Written by therooster on March 21, 2008
Throwing Rocks at PTQsby therooster
Back before this past extended season started, I was contemplating my deck choice for quite some time. I prefer to try and pick a solid deck from the beginning and run it throughout the season, improving it as I go. Since the current extended environment was nearing its obligatory rotation, I definitely wanted to be slinging some fun Invasion spells.
After some amount of testing various options, I decided I wanted to run some form of The Rock. After piloting my own brew of Doman Rock to the top 4 of a Magic-League trial back in December, I decided it was a decent choice for the first PTQ.
PTQ New York - 1/5/08
After testing out a variety of options as well as analyzing the sparse results of other tournaments up until then, I decided to run the following build:
This build may or may not have been optimal, but I enjoyed playing it and seemed to have mostly above average match ups. I probably should have used Extirpate over smother, but didn't end up having to battle dredge anyway.
The tournament had about 170 people so it would be 8 rounds. Prizes paid down to top 16 with top 4 amateurs getting a little extra. This was just before they removed all amateur prizes.
Round 1: Affinity
For this round I sit down and recognize my opponent as the semi-pro John Pelcak. Not the greatest way to start out, but I was confident in my deck choice. He drops an artifact land and I brace myself for a battle against affinity. In the first game he is hitting me pretty hard, but I am defending myself fairly well. I am pretty sure he has a Shrapnel Blast in his hand, so I try and keep things very tight to not just lose randomly. My luck with Dark Confidant was impeccable as I revealed 3 lands in a row with it while drawing straight business during my draw step. I was able to fire off just enough Vindicates to come through with Dorans and Goyfs for the win. He did end up having a blast ready for me, so I was quite glad to have luck on my side that game.
For game 2 I sided in the Pernicious Deeds as well as a few Grips, taking out some not-so-hot discard spells. We were neck and neck for a few turns but he simply Shrapnel Blasted me out of the game. Oh well...
This game I blow him out with Pernicious Deed and fire off many removal spells. He still put up a decent fight, I think casting a number of Thoughtcasts, but I was eventually able to overcome him with classic Rock slow-rolling card quality advantage. Word on the street is 4-6 for 1 trades are pretty bad.
Record: 1 - 0
Round 2: Doran Mirror
We both lay down some Birds and Treetops to quickly realize we will be playing a mirror match, which is one of my least favorite things in magic. This is because I often make some boneheaded play errors and screw it up somehow. Thankfully the Doran mirror is fairly hard to play too badly.
I get an early Dark Confidant to stick and proceed to build quite a castle of card advantage for myself. A mount of removal spells take out most of his threats and a Profane Command for 5 or so sends him packing for his sideboard.
Unfortunately, this game went about as well for him as the last one did for me. I made my best effort to stay in the game but after killing a Confidant he dropped another and proceeded to pull too far ahead of me.
As I remember, this game was all about the Treetop Villages. I think I drew all 3 of them quite early and did almost zero non-land damage to him throughout the game. I even ended up utilizing Profane Command for 2-3 to send the Trees in for a final death strike.
Record: 2 - 0
Round 3: Domain Zoo
I was very happy to start out 2-0, but nothing could prepare me for the thrashing I was about to receive. This round I sit down with a young fellow from the store I used to play a lot at (TOGIT), and was reaching for my sideboard not soon after. As it turns out he was playing Domain Zoo and I was playing mulligan to 5. My draw was obviously awful and I lost quite handily with no elephants in sight.
This game I draw two Loxodon Hierarchs and a number of Tarmogoyfs while he had some sort of slow, unimpressive start. It ends almost as fast as the first game.
My bad luck makes it full circle and I mulligan to 6 this time. I see no Hierarchs and no Goyfs and cant withstand his multiple Tribal Flames. Quite disheartening.
Record: 2 - 1
Round 4: Dark Boros
This round I sit down and much to my surprise I'm playing another person I know, Nick from aforementioned TOGIT as well as Rutgers' MTG Club. He is playing Dark Boros, which although isn't as scary as Domain Zoo, still has a lot of potency and the ever-nasty Blistering Firecat. We battle back and forth for a bit but I eventually pull through with some Loxodon Hierarch life gain and Doran beat down. I love playing green creatures...
This game I believe he got a very strong draw and wrecked me pretty badly with a Firecat and a pile of Burn. Not much I could do here.
The third and final game is very close. I have out a Doran, Eternal Witness and Treetop while he is thinking very hard what play to make. He executes a sequence of plays that takes out my Doran, but I end up being able to swing for exactly 5 to kill him with the two remaining threats.
As it turns out, he made a huge mistake. He had my dead on the board, but he didn't notice it until I won and my girlfriend's younger brother showed him what he could have done differently. He visibly very upset about this and I couldn't help but feel at least a little sympathetic. A win is a win though, and I am heading back up after that prior match loss.
Record: 3 - 1
Round 5: GoyfStalker Threshold
Game 1 and 2:
This round was fortunately very easy as my opponent had some terrible luck. He had a number of mulligans and was land screwed throughout both games we played. He tried to put up a fight, but my Vindicates and Goyfs were just too much for him and his poor draws.
Record: 4 - 1
Round 6: BW Clerics
This round I sit down with a very nice guy who apparently hasn't played magic much for a while. I take this with a grain of salt because you never know what you may end up having to face. I soon found out he was playing a very homebrew Black White Clerics deck with cards such as Rotlung Reanimator, Withered Wretch, Dark Confidant (cleric in disguise), a slew of removal, discard and Umezawa's Jitte. Our decks were functionally very similar.
The first game was quite a battle, disruption and removal flying from both sides of the battlefield. It quickly turned into a war of attrition and topdecking. Through some strategic decisions and a bit of luck I was able to pull ahead slightly, defeating him while sitting on a life total somewhere below 4.
I remember getting blown out pretty badly by Thoughtseize and Cabal Therapy this game. I even think he blind Therapied me early to his 2 Pernicious Deeds that I was eagerly waiting to use vs his slightly more aggressive deck.
In standard Rock form I was able to net a couple Deed-based card advantage swaths and keep my life total around or above 20 with Loxodon Hierarchs. This game ended up being much easier than the first two. We shook hands, discussed magic for a while and wished each other good luck in future rounds. He was a great guy to sling spells with.
Record: 5 - 1
I'm starting to get a bit excited with this record, but thankfully my lack of energy kept me from getting too giddy. I instead had to worry about keeping my thoughts straight and play tight. This round I ended up having to face one of the few if not the only Tooth and Nail deck in the room. He was straight up Green Red with Baloths and Moment's Peace to stave off bleeding before he can combo off.
In this first game I got lucky with a few discard spells, as well as Eternal Witnesses to reuse them. He was a bit perturbed but vowed to pull through the next time around.
This game he played out a number of Baloths and quickly took on a beatdown roll. His land draw was very awkward and he couldn't amass Tooth and Nail mana. With the aid of Cabal Therapy I think managed to get both his Kiki-Jiki and Sky Hussar into the yard so he was hard pressed to come up with any sort of winning game plan. After running into a few fogs I manage to take the match.
Record: 6 - 1
It turns out that my opponent and I had some pretty poor tie breakers and had to play out our match rather than draw in. If only we were one table higher...
It turns out I am facing Nick Coss, a local dealer and all around nice guy. Unfortunately, his deck choice of Domain Zoo with upwards of 6-7 post-board LD spells (Vindicate and Molten Rain) was not too nice for me. Although I was in for a beating, at least it was a very pretty beating as almost his entire deck was foils, including the Goyfs, Lavamancers (judge promo), Duals, Fetches, etc. I made fun of him though when he randomly played a non-foil Kird Ape or something.
As luck would have it, I end up having to mulligan down to 5 once again. Just like early in the tournament, Domain Zoo gives me a hearty helping of damage and there are no Hierarchs in sight. It turns out he is even playing the somewhat outdated Boros Swiftblade to combo with his Gaea's Mights. In addition, he decided to pull the "I have the mana so why not" maneuver and run a Doran as well, which he managed to draw and beat me with pretty severly.
Another game and another mulligan. I don't know why, but it seems god forsake me to mulligan a lot vs Domain Zoo that day. His draw isn't spicy but his land destruction spells kept me off decent levels of mana. In addition to running the questionable Boros Swiftblades, he decided to pull the "I have the mana so why not" maneuver and run a Doran as well, which he managed to draw and beat me with pretty severly.
Record: 6 - 2
After that final beating, I am a bit disappointed I didn't up 7 - 1 or at least 6 - 1 - 1. The final standings are announced and I am in 12th place. I go to collect my prize packs and manage to grab one of the amateur prizes. All in all I came out of the event with a pretty fun time and about a box worth of booster packs. Not bad, but I wish I had made it just a little further...
I felt my deck choice was good, but I was lucky that I didn't have to face more Doran mirror matches. Doran ended up placing 6 people in the top 8, and it also took about 5 more slots in the top 16 including myself in 12th and my friend in 14th. I decided I would switch it up for the next event I attend... but I still wanted to stay within the Rock archetype.
Thanks for reading!
by Daveslusher- on 2008-03-21 02:12 CET
lol therooster phails to top8 again! i'm joking dude you did well next time try not to punt your last match ;p
by therooster on 2008-03-21 03:05 CET
You say I punted it, yet I had zero outs... he had 5 flying creatures, I had the mana to play either 1 removal spell or 2 blockers for his non-flying zombies. Either way, I was at 4 and was going to lose.
by therooster on 2008-03-21 03:09 CET
Hmm early in the article it is supposed to be extirpate instead of crypt... not smother :P
by Eldariel on 2008-03-21 10:29 CET
He means you punted by playing Doran. Duh.
by gypsy on 2008-03-21 12:42 CET
why write about a ptq that happened 2 and a half months ago?
by MaksymG on 2008-03-21 13:00 CET
Is there a link to the top8 decklists somewhere?
by therooster on 2008-03-21 14:48 CET
Dave was referring to my last match at the GP, which he claims I punted... whereas I really had no way to not-lose that game.
by Avata on 2008-03-21 16:32 CET
Two and a half months old or not, thanks for the well written report.
by ChristPunchr on 2008-03-26 20:39 CET
You should have called the article "smoking rocks at PTQs".
by therooster on 2008-03-27 14:10 CET
There are far too many "rock" cliches... I want to write a GP article as well, but I can't decide which one is the most corny :P
by ChristPunchr on 2008-03-27 20:36 CET
I would have to suggest "Smoking Rocks at The GP".
by LONE_GUNMAN on 2008-04-08 11:25 CET
i made top8 for the Denver PTQ. I played Enduring Ideal and took 2nd. A long day of 14 hrs of playing did me in. I played against everything. Lost to a doran matchup when i used top and fetch lands to go through over 60 cards in the duration of the match and couldn't find my wins. I wasted him in the 1st round of top8 though! The final match was a nightmare...
by LONE_GUNMAN on 2008-04-08 11:28 CET
At least I wasn't the guy playing goblins in top8
by TheInferno on 2008-05-14 08:44 CET
Doran is never a good choice...
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