1/10 Extended PTQ Report: Louisville KY

Written by aldaryn on January 16, 2009

1/10 Extended PTQ Report – Louisville, KY

by aldaryn

So, time for another tourney report. Extended has long been my favorite format and I was very excited to bust out my trusty UW Tron deck. So much of its hate (Cabal Therapy, Vindicate, Destructive Flow) was out the door and I thought it would be well-positioned, but of course that all changed when Sensei’s Divining Top was banned. The best matchup (CounterTop) ceased to exist and bad matchups (Zoo, Storm, Burn) became more popular. I tried adjusting, but I was not confident I could beat Faeries because I just could not deal with a Mutavault in testing. Hopefully that will change when Conflux comes out. I knew the deck inside and out, however, and I flip flopped pretty much the entire time since the Winter King.

I read articles and tried to figure out what deck was well-positioned. Even when there is dead space between tournaments, the metagame shifts from articles that people buy into, or just from what’s supposedly going on in MODO or even M-L which have strange impacts on the real life metagame. Speaking of that, I would just like to mention how great M-L is for one specific reason if no other: because of the free nature of MWS and the competitive incentive of M-L, there is always innovation here. Any good new deck on the professional level is always a month old on M-L; just in the past year or so I can think of three examples (GW Goyf in TSP block, 25 land fat-curve Kithkin in Lorwyn block, and Elfball). This website is one of the best resources on the interwebs.

Anyway, from all the articles I’d been reading I knew that just due to self-fulfilling prophecy Zoo and Faeries would be popular, and that Elfball would be strong if not necessarily popular due to the uniqueness and piloting difficulty of the deck, as well as fear of hate. I figured the best bet would be something well-positioned against Faeries and Zoo, and I could just hope to dodge the Elfball matchup, or have some extensive sideboard plan. But I was more than aware of the Tier 1.5/2 decks like Swans, Death Cloud, All-In Red, etc. I didn’t (and still don’t) care much for the metagame and was pretty disgruntled. I decided it was necessary that my deck:

1. Was hurt very minimally by Blood Moon,
2. Could compete or easily beat Faeries and Zoo,
3. Had a game plan that largely ignored the opponent, because I had no idea what was going on.

Point 3 comes largely from growing tired of adjusting for the paper – rock – scissors metagame. If you know the best deck, do you play it, play what beats it, or play what beats those decks but scoops to the top deck? I figured if I could beat the Tier 1 strategies, and hopefully ignore the opponent and just go for the throat in fringe matchups, that would be alright.

To me, this indicated Storm or Affinity. I had much more experience with Affinity, but I felt like Storm hate is just less popular right now. Affinity suffers from splash damage like Shattering Spree and Ancient Grudge. Storm also hurts from cards like Chalice of the Void and Ethersworn Canonist, but I felt like right now people thought that decks playing Chalice of the Void (Tron, Tezzerator) were just bad and as for Canonist, it seemed people were beginning to attack Elves based off of the nature of the creatures far more than the fact that they play multiple spells per turn. I also knew Stifle was not popular and not being advocated by any major writer online. Also, as someone who’s largely hated combo during my magical experience because of its non-interactivity, I thought I would just give it a shot and see what it’s like.

That left me scouring deckcheck for various lists and trying to find a good middle, and goldfishing the deck a ton and not playing very many games (I mean, it’s basically solitaire, right?). At least I didn’t embarrass myself mid-combo during the tournament, and I fortunately was corrected beforehand about Lotus Bloom (I thought you could only suspend it off of a Desire).  As for the actual list, the first few things I realized was that I thought these lists were all just too ballsy. I was scared to run less than 17 lands, and I did not like Chrome Mox because you really do need every card. The most unbelievable thing to me, however, was the fact that each list only had 2 Pyromancer’s Swath. I know you only want one (they don’t stack), but I goldfished many games were I went off with a storm count of 10-12 but could not kill my opponent because by itself, Grapeshot kind of sucks. If you don’t have the Swath, you have to have enough mana at the end (and the proper colors) to Remand your original Grapeshot to your hand and do it again, or you have to get lucky and chain Desires to get a huge storm count.  Also, the few articles I read on Storm suggested boarding out Remand in fast matchups like Zoo and Elfball, which makes Pyromancer’s Swath even more essential. I played 3 and was always happy with how often I saw it – I wouldn’t play 4, but I wish I could play 3.5. I seriously considered cutting Remand since I was supposed to board it out so often and I would have liked main deck Gigadrowse, but Remand is one of the key cards in making sure you actually go off when you get to your critical turn. So let me show my decklist, and then I will comment some more:

UR Storm
Main Deck Sideboard
4 Manamorphose
4 Rite of Flame
4 Desperate Ritual
4 Seething Song
4 Lotus Bloom
4 Remand
4 Ponder
4 Peer Through Depths
4 Mind’s Desire
4 Grapeshot
3 Pyromancer’s Swath
3 Island
3 Steam Vents
1 Watery Grave
2 Cascade Bluffs
4 Flooded Strand
4 Polluted Delta
4 Gigadrowse
4 Brain Freeze
4 Engineered Explosives
3 Thoughtseize

Let me start with the sideboard, and then explain the mana base from there. Gigadrowse in some number (maybe even some main) was an obvious choice because I expected Faeries and it is such a trump in that match. Brain Freeze was something suggested by others as a way to flat-out kill or just stall out Elves players, so it’s nice to have a chance there. Engineered Explosives was something of my own decision, and it was hit-or-miss. My logic was that instead of sideboarding Firespout and Echoing Truth as separate cards to deal with Elves or Zoo or Chalice or whatever, E.E. did everything, since I did not expect Chalices on 0 (unless it was like their third, in which case I scoop, good for them). I did not see the point of also having Echoing Truth, since it doesn’t even stop Chalice on 2 and E.E. can both be played pre-emptively, and can be played on 0 when you are ramping Storm. Thoughtseize was something I saw online, and it seemed very strong against Faeries and Elves both.

When I got there, I found out two of my friends (call them Player A, Player B) were also playing Swath, and Thoughtseize seemed good in the mirror. I had been debating how many fetches to play, and with 17 being “high” for the deck 8 seemed right so I could get my Watery Grave to play my Thoughtseizes. I forget what else I had in the sideboard, but I added the Grave and the Thoughtseizes just before the round started. I had 3 Cascade Bluffs before, and they are very useful, since you can play a Desire off of just having one land open, but drawing 2 is the nut low so I was okay with 2. My friends were playing several storage lands, and they were pretty strong from what I could tell, but I just afraid of getting stuck with too much colorless mana in early turns. In retrospect, I’d play at least a few Dreadship Reefs.

As for what’s actually missing from the sideboard, you should notice a distinct lack of Pact of Negation. From what I’d read online, I had decided to board out Grapeshot for Brain Freeze in the Faeries matchup, so that I can go off in chunks at instant speed. This grind-‘em-out philosophy, though, does not match with playing a spell that requires an immediate win to avoid being suicidal, so I decided to leave Pacts out of the equation. This grind philosophy is actually stupid, but more on that later. I’ll comment more on the sideboard at the end.

On to the actual report. I was afraid about the weather (I live in southern Indianapolis) as snowstorms and freezing rain were supposed to happen over the night, but it all happened north of us and we were headed south. The drive was smooth with just some rain. For only 5 hours of sleep, I was feeling pretty clear-headed and kept my caffeine addiction well-sated throughout the day, despite having to cough up $3 for each 20 ounces.  (These convention centers could learn a thing or two from Columbus and its $1.25 machines.)

Round 1 – UR Storm mirror

This was not Player A or Player B, but yet another storm player. I had NO experience playing the mirror match as it was not something I expected to face. Most of the games I lost, such as the first one here, I lost due to hesitation. I was on the draw and we both had turn 1 Blooms, and the turn before his went off, I debate gambling. I knew for sure I could go off the following turn, but I was afraid of fizzling this turn, so I passed and he went off. The way he was playing, I had put him on Remand and it turns out I was right, so I guess it didn’t matter because I did not have enough mana to push through it.

I boarded: -1 Desperate Ritual, -1 Island, -1 Pyromancer’s Swath +3 Thoughtseize

This sideboard plan was random but I did not know what to take out, so I just trimmed cards where I felt I was playing more of those cards than other stock lists. I also did not know if Gigadrowse would be worth bringing in. I debated it, but I knew I didn’t have a good feel for when my opponent was about to go off so I just didn’t bother.

Game 2, I get a Lotus Bloom so my opponent does what I should have done, and tries to go off before I do, and whiffs on a Desire for 4 or 5. I win on my turn. Game 3 comes down to me making an idiotic play and still winning. My opponent kept a sketchy hand on the play with a Lotus Bloom and just a Cascade Bluffs. The turn before it’s going to resolve, I know I can go off the following turn and I have a Remand and a Thoughtseize. I Thoughtseize him and see Rite of Flame, Mind’s Desire, Pact of Negation, Desperate Ritual, Desperate Ritual, Seething Song, Seething Song. In my head I’m thinking the only card that saves him here is a land, because I’m just going to Remand the Bloom. Then if he doesn’t have the Rite of Flame, he won’t be able to play Desire because he will have to tap the Bluffs. So “obviously” I take the Rite of Flame.  Then on his upkeep, I Remand the Bloom and he of course Pacts it (oops!), and then tries to go off on a Desire for 8, and whiffs. Talk about dodging a bullet. I could go off on my turn, but we are at extra turns at this point so I just pass and have him lose to his Pact. Of course my friends watching make fun of me for several reasons, including going to time in a combo mirror. I said afterwards, “Gee, I should have taken the Pact, duh,” but my friends pointed out I should have taken the actual only kill card in his hand (Mind’s Desire) so he would have no logical reason to Pact my Remand on his Bloom. Definitely worst play I’ve made in a long time.

2-1, 1-0

Round 2 – Gifts Rock

This matchup was largely a joke. Game 1, I figure out what he was playing when he went Godless Shrine into Breeding Pool, Tribe-Elder. He end-steps a Gifts Ungiven which I Remand, and then on his turn taps out for Glen Elendra Archmage with no mana open (he missed his land drop). I guess he had nothing else. I combo out easily.

I boarded: -1 Desperate Ritual, -1 Island, -1 Pyromancer’s Swath +3 Thoughtseize

I boarded the same way again. I didn’t even know if I should bother, but it seemed like a decent card to have. This game he plays an E.E. for 0, and he blows it when my Lotus Bloom comes in, leaving him with an Island and a Godless Shrine open. I put him on Spell Snare since I know the decklist relatively well, but unfortunately for him my only 2-casting cost card was an unnecessary Manamorphose. I ramp up to 7 red with a Cascade Bluffs open and play Manamorphose, and say “Spell Snare?” I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but he does. It seems kind of wrong because it just jacked up my Storm count; even though it did deny me some mana, I still clearly had Desire mana, and I could easily just hit a land off the Manamorphose. Anyway, I Desire into another Desire (did that both games) and he scoops.

2-0, 2-0

Round 3 – UR Storm mirror (again!)

This time I am paired against Player B. I again lose game 1 because I don’t gamble, and I board the same as before. The second game, he knows I am going to go off, so he goes for the desperation play and Desires for 3, and I Remand a copy. He flips Steam Vents, Mind’s Desire. Unbelievable. Luckily for me, he still whiffs (what a great mirror match…). He was clearly upset. The last game, though, I lost. The turn I can go off, I draw my card for the turn and he goes “Dude wait, upkeep effects” and I’m tempted to be a douche about it, but in reality I didn’t give much of a window. I could argue it’s usually common courtesy to say “I have upkeep effects” at your own end-step, but that’s not really how the rules work so I let it go. Of course I am Gigadrowsed and he wins on his turn. So Gigadrowse was pretty insane there, but I don’t even know what I would cut to put it in, and it doesn’t advance your own game plan (and just loses you a card). Sound off on that one for me.

1-2, 2-1

Round 4 – Burn

I thought this match-up was a bye, turns out not. I lose Game 1 to an insanely fast hand the turn before I can go off – he had all his fastest burn; 2 Spark Elementals, Keldon Marauders, Rift Bolt, Lava Spike. Not knowing what I was up against, I bolted myself turn 1 to ponder because I needed Red. What a mistake.

I boarded: -4 Remand, +4 Engineered Explosives

This boarding plan was not great, but I anticipated Pyrostatic Pillar (he did bring them, but never saw them, he told me afterwards).  Game 2 I do not see E.E. When my Lotus Bloom comes in, he hits it with Smash to Smithereens, but I still live and have enough mana to go off.  Because I saw the Smash to Smithereens, I thought maybe he didn’t have the Pillar, so I boarded back to my original configuration, which turned out to be crucial. I’m able to stave off damage by Remanding a Rift Bolt, and the turn I go off I have to fetch a dual that puts me at exactly 1 life. Got there?

I don’t really see why people board in Smash to Smithereens or Ancient Grudge – it’s rare that I need Lotus Bloom to go off; it’s just a nice cushion that lets you play some search during that turn instead of EOT, and ups you storm for the turn. I never got “stuck” a turn because I lost a Bloom. Plus, sometimes they draw their card and you don’t even get a Bloom. Engineered Explosives makes more sense, because there’s always the fear of Empty the Warrens (which seems like it would have been good in those mirrors, but I digress).

2-1, 3-1

Round 5 – Affinity

Game 1 I lose to double Cranial Plating, double Ornithopter the turn before I can go off. Sometimes races are hard to win on the draw.

I boarded: -4 Remand, +4 Engineered Explosives

Remand seems bad against Frogmites and Ornithopters. Anyway, this game I have 2 E.E.’s, but I don’t play them since he has a slow start. The turn I go off, I’m a little upset about revealing my sideboarding, but I play them both on 0 to increase my storm count. That upkeep he Ancient Grudged my Lotus Bloom, but again it didn’t matter, just upped my storm count. With 4 mana and one of them being bluffs, it’s pretty easy to just Seething Song into a Desire, and if you have any other Ritual then the Bloom is totally non-essential by the time you play it.

Game 3 finds me facing double 8/8 Master of Etherium at 9 life when my Bloom still has a turn to tick. Obviously I am dead on board, but I’m able to think my way through this one; by far the best actual solitaire I played all day. My hand is Desperate Ritual, Desperate Ritual, land, Grapeshot, Pyromancer’s Swath, Manamorphose, Mind’s Desire.  I have 3 lands in play, none of which are Cascade Bluffs. I can only generate 5 mana, so I can’t Desire, and the other problem of course is that the Affinity player is at 20 and I can only Swath into Grapehot for 15 at this point. If I want to gamble on Manamorphose finding me a ritual, I have to play one Desperate Ritual first, so I do. I play Desperate Ritual, leaving a Steam Vents open, then play Manamorphose into UUR. I draw Peer Through Depths and tank. I pretty much have to play it at this point, since I clearly can’t get the mana for a Desire. However, I realize as long as I find any ritual I am fine to Swath-Shot, because after about 30 seconds I realize I will be golden if I splice my second Desperate Ritual onto the Peer Through Depths, giving me 3 mana to float, and I can play the Desperate Ritual again (thus I need only one more mana). I tap my Steam Vents and do this, and hit a Rite of Flame of f Peer, play it and Desperate Ritual, and Swath into Grapeshot for 21 with 0 mana in my pool when I’m done. That, ladies and gentleman, is solitaire.

I asked him afterwards if he was playing Canonist at all and he said no… so, whatev, yay for me.

2-1, 4-1

Round 6 – Faeries

This was also someone I knew and didn’t really want to play against, especially since I didn’t know the matchup too well.

Game 1 he’s beating me with Mutavault for a bit, and I think I’ve got it turn 3 when he taps out to do it (I’m on the play) so I just go for it with a Desire for 5. I whiff in the first 4, but flip a Remand. I tank for a while and can’t think of a single card that will win it for me this turn if I flip it, so I Remand the original spell, but now I’m a little low on cards. Fortunately I draw 2 more Remands. He taps out on his turn 4 for Glen Elendra Archmage, and I Remand it, but I can’t get there. I try to go off after he resolves it his next turn, but he sacs it to counter my first ritual and he still has mana open so I let it go. On my next turn, he bounces it EOT with Riptide Lab, and then replays it when he has like 7 or 8 lands. I Remand again, and he says something like “Geez, do I really want to counter a Remand?” and it gave me a strong suspicion he was bluffing. The Remand resolved, then I EOTed a Peer Through Depths which resolved, then on my turn I played my first Ritual, a Desperate Ritual. He let it resolved and then I knew  he didn’t have a counterspell, because any of them could have countered that card. I then go proceed to go off, though he didn’t quite know the combo (or at least my kill spell) so I had to go through the motions.

I sideboarded -3 Pyromancer’s Swath, -4 Grapeshot, -4 Rite of Flame, +4 Brain Freeze, +4 Gigadrowse, +3 Thoughtseize

I took out Rite of Flame for Gigadrowse since it was a Sorcery and I was thinking about trying to get some instant-speed grinding in. He plays a Hallowed Fountain untapped turn 3 and I know he has a Vendilion Clique. He plays it on my end-step and I reveal more than enough rituals, Mind’s Desire, and Gigadrowse. I don’t know which play is right, but he takes Mind’s Desire, and what do I draw from Clique? Mind’s Desire. Bad beat. On his turn he plays Glen Elendra Archmage with a new Chrome Mox, leaving Island untapped. On my turn, I Gigadrowse his one land and just go off. I told him about his bad luck afterwards.  Things are looking good!

2-0, 5-1

I’m hoping to draw in at this point. About the Faeries matchup, if you have Gigadrowse, or they don’t have Stifle, I think you just win. Glen Elendra Archmage is WAY too slow; I’m far less than scared of that card. Mana Leak, Spellstutter Sprite, and Spell Snare all are actually pretty easy to play around, and Lotus Bloom makes it even more insane when you have extra mana like that for a Leak. Post board I think it gets much harder when they have hard counters like Flashfreeze and Negate, but you get Gigadrowse which is ultra-trump. Vendilion Clique is the actual scary card, but better lucky than good I guess.

It’s also worth noting I never had to do anything in upkeeps or what not; also both times I double-Desired so the higher storm count required for Brain Freeze in game two wasn’t relevant.

Round 7 – Martyr, ID

I am lucky enough to get paired with the 3rd 5-0-1 so IDing seems automatic. I go call my fiancée, eat some food, then come back in. I then find out he was playing Martyr and get a feel for what’s going to be in the Top 8. I was in 5th, but it turns out a lot of 5-1s were playing it out. I walk around and see that one of my other friends, Player C, is playing against Player B. Without prompting, they tell me Player C is going to scoop to Player B to help me on tiebreakers since I played against Player B, and for that I am grateful. When I go talk to the judge at the computer, they say I’m currently in 9th. What? I start freaking out a little, and take up my friends’ slip for them, but apparently that doesn’t affect the results enough. I’m sweating bullets and wondering how is this even possible when I drew on a pair-up, but when the final results are called I’m in 8th. Squeeek! The guy that ended up in 9th (and was in 8th during the round) playing Elfball drew as well, with a 5-1, and his opponent made it but not him. He tells me not to feel bad because he figured out later it was a mistake to draw for some other chain reaction of reasons.

Whew, that was close. I’m just happy to Top 8 again. I felt like I played well apart from my boneheaded Thoughtseize round 1. I had been wanting this for a while, because one of my friends who plays casually kind of insinuated I shouldn’t bother going to all these GPs and PTQs because I was competitive, but not that good. He said something like, “Dude, you only Top 8ed one big tournament,” but I’ve Top 8ed Regionals both years that I’ve been playing competitively and a PTQ last year (strangely enough, the first one in the season, in Louisville), and I’m proud of those accomplishments. I feel good enough that I could –win- a PTQ, if I could get just past the quarterfinals. Speaking of which…

Round 8 – Burn

My opponent tells me his last PTQ Top 8 was in ’98 and he just got back into playing again. Try as I might, I just can’t shuffle correctly after sorting for a deck check and I lose this game starting out with a decent hand of Remand, Bloom, 2 land and rituals, as the turn before I die I have 3 Desperate Rituals, 3 Seething Songs and nothing else.

I boarded -4 Remand, +4 Engineered Explosives

This was a huge mistake that probably cost me the match. I should have realized how crucial Remand was in the previous match against Burn. Also, my opponent had to read many of my cards, but I didn’t know if he netdecked or built it himself, but judging by his manner I should have went with the latter, and not put him on Pyrostatic Pillar (which he didn’t have). E.E. isn’t that good in this matchup otherwise.

Game 2 I think I can pull it out because he starts with Nexus, Nexus and some 1/1 beats, but eventually plays Mogg Fanatic and some burn. He plays no other dudes though and I don’t want to waste the 2 stupid E.E.’s that I drew on the lonely Mogg Fanatic, because I need them for storm.  I have a Bloom suspended and want to go off before it hits so I don’t die, since I have a Desire, but I draw the useless E.E.’s and I EOT a Peer Through Depths to find 3 land, a 3rd E.E., and Swath. Awesome. The turn I can go off, when my Lotus Bloom comes in, he had went draw-go so I knew I was dead…He Smashes to Smithereens the Bloom, then waits for me to play a spell and Shrapnel Blasts me in response to win.

Life is rough. I go home a little miffed, but still happy to Top 8 again, and a box of Alara is nice even though it’s my fifth one, so I really don’t want it much.

Back to the deck; the first thing I would do is remove Engineered Explosives for Repeal. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier. It’s a good tempo card if nothing else, and it removals all the annoying cards (including Chalice for 2), and cantrips which E.E. doesn’t do (and neither does Echoing Truth). Also, you can find it off of a Peer Through Depths. The only thing I do not like about the card, is that as I understand the rules you cannot play it off of a Desire unless some 0cc card is in play like a Mox (and that’s hardly a good reason to play Mox in this deck). You can repeal your own Blooms, of course, but sometimes you need the mana to keep going. I still think it is the most logical catch-all card for the sideboard. It’s also effective against Pyrostatic Pillar, and you can still stave off Spark Elemental or a Keldon Marauders for a turn. The Brain Freezes in the sideboard were a waste of space; even if I had played against Elfball, I don’t know if they would help that much, or if I should just gamble on avoiding that matchup anyway. It’s possible to mess them up with Repeal, and all you really need is time, so maybe that will be okay.

Also, the grinding strategy against Faeries is bad because if they play 2 spells on their turn and you EOT some rituals and a brain freeze, you are going to burn for like 3-6. That’s how you get killed, especially if you are trying to grind them out slowly. Some combination of Gigadrowse, Thoughtseize, and Pact of Negation will easily get you there (and you definitely don’t need all 3). Gigadrowse is the most important of the 3. However, I really liked Thoughtseize in a variety of matchups, so I would keep it in. My friends told me to board it in against Burn, but fetching a Watery Grave can be costly even if it’s overall saving you life to Thoughtseize a Pillar or Shrapnel Blast (and you have to be lucky to get the Pillar before they play it), so I don’t think it is worth it there. I think the main deck is just fine; I was lucky not to face any Ethersworn Canonists or Tidehollow Scullers all day though – I kind of like the idea of a couple Magma Jets main deck, but it’s a tight fit. Putting answers main deck is kind of wasting space too, though – I played the deck because I gambled on the state of the metagame, and made the correct bet.

As for whether I’d play the deck again, that really depends on the results of GP: LA next weekend. If Stifle  and Canonist become popular again, this deck will have a harder time.  Also, the burn matchup is far closer than I anticipated (and so is Affinity), so I’d have to give those matchups some thought.

I believe that’s all. Please let me know your thoughts on the deck and the article!

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by alsorhombus on 2009-01-16 05:50 CET

Nice article. I read it mostly for the matchup reports, I can't pilot a storm deck. I'm probably taking burn and its nice to see that one made top 8.

by Boogaloo on 2009-01-16 07:31 CET

Nice Job! Been playing a similar deck, and will probably take it to my local PTQ, unless the next few weeks of tournament results strongly suggest otherwise. I agree with most of your choices, mostly since I already have repeals in the board and run 3 swaths MD XD.

Also I think if you hit a repeal with a desire, you can bounce a chalice set at anything but 1, since, if I'm not mistaken, Chalice's CMC is 0 everywhere EXCEPT when its on the stack.

PS, What do you board out for what, usually?

by rentintin3 on 2009-01-16 12:53 CET

Yeah good job on the top8.... I still think you should have sided in the toughtseizes lol. But really your plan was soild. Your draws were just ass vs burn. About the repeals they could be good I guess but the echoing truth does more than just stop a pillar. It can bounce to 2 eAther sworen or all the tokens plus you can turn 1 play fetch land let them target it with dues then search for a new 1. Then next turn drop land 2 and truth the fatty. Also I don't see you getting to 4 mana for a repeal on trinisphere.

Yeah and also you are right about the brainfreeze vs faries. I have never grinded 1 out. It has always been I desire for a ton and win or I get kicked in the nuts. There is just no way for you to really cast the cards in time with out taking some burn and end step clique(or when you are going off with the mana in your pool) so such a beating. I really like the thoughtseizes now. They are so much better than pact. Against elves it is good to. The changes I have made maindeck have been -1swath -1remand +gigadrowse. The reason for this they are just against zoo game 1. You just upkeep tap down there black mana and go off next turn so its ok and it can be ok g1 vs burn.

by aldaryn on 2009-01-16 14:48 CET

Yes, you can repeal the chalice, but there has to be a chalice on the board :) I see what you are saying about Echoing Truth, but I saw no All-In anywhere at the PTQ and that's the only match up where it is better. The cantrip is worth it vs. everything else. And against decks with Trinisphere (that aren't All-In), you usually have time.

I'm going to test Chrome Mox after all, since 1) it's a spell unlike land for storm, 2) it's more artifacts to help you Grapeshot Canonist, and 3) it's something else to Repeal off of a Desire.

Right now I'm going to try 16 land, 2 Mox, 3 Remand, 3 Swath, and a board of 4 Thoughtseize, 4 Repeal, 4 Gigadrowse, 3... Pyroclasm I guess. I like Remand vs. Zoo more than I have heard people say, and would probably board out Desperate Ritual in that mu, as well as vs. Faeries (for Gigadrowse). I'm not sure what else I would board out in the Faeries MU for Thoughtseize, though, or if you even need it. In general, though, Desperate Ritual is probably your worst card (even though I like me some splicing) if you don't know how to board.

by mrwegle on 2009-01-16 15:16 CET

thx for article.
Now i play burn and belive me that remand is VERY good in this match if you remanded keldon or shrapnel blast you probably will win (if they didn't played pillar before) so you need sideboared some baunce-spell but don't take remand
Also against art destroy most of players (and me to) side Smashes to Smithereens because combo deks usualy play chrome mox and not always they play it combo-turn so sometimes it just win game. Macth (storm vs burn) is somethnig around 60-40 before sb and 50-50 after.

by MCDrake on 2009-01-16 20:05 CET

Good report, grats on the top 8

by IkeReilly on 2009-01-17 08:37 CET

Nice article Derek

by Shatta on 2009-01-17 16:15 CET

Nice article Derek. It's in Flores' article

by Dev on 2009-01-18 18:34 CET

Burn should be a bye for the deck from my experience, had one even turn2 pillar me on the play and still beat him :\ You also forgot the most important sideboard card there is, but looks like you dodged loam/crime engines lucky enough anyway.

Your statement about swath not stacking is 100% false, and the reason people run only 2 is that it is a dead card without grapeshot, where you can win without it with just grapeshot or with just desire.

by aldaryn on 2009-01-18 19:18 CET

I looked up the Swath ruling before (can't find it now of course) and that is what it said. If you disagree, I'd certainly like to be enlightened; please post a ruling that explains this...

Are you referring to Ignorant Bliss, or Crypt, or what?

by Dev on 2009-01-18 21:19 CET

Nothing in the wording implies it wouldn't. If you have 1 a grapeshot would deal 3 per, a shock would deal 4. If you have 2, a grapeshot would do 5 per, shock 6, etc.

I think wheel of fate is pretty much insane vs them, when it unsuspends you auto-win and is a lot safer option imo.

by aldaryn on 2009-01-18 22:08 CET

Sounds pleasant in theory, but that's a bit ballsy to call it "Most important sideboard card there is."

I know Swath reads that way, but it's a replacement effect, not a triggered ability, so what I read before was that Swath REPLACES x with x+2, and it's not clear if the 2nd Swath would replace the original X with x+2, again, or replace the new base number (x+2) with (x+2)+2. I will look for this ruling later and post it here.

by aldaryn on 2009-01-18 22:17 CET

From what I could find (on forums, not real rulings, unfortunately) they do stack. Sorry for the misinformation in the article.

Also, re:burn, I thought it would be a bye, but I am just talking from my experience - they were on me fast.

by Dev on 2009-01-18 22:23 CET

Depends on the meta, cloud is growing heavily in popularity, especially loam/crime versions, and it is easily the most effective card to combat them. The brain freezes can be cut down to a single just to protect from extirpate. The biggest + of running freeze in your board was that it owned elves, but elves is vastly unpopular atm due to the popularity of decks like faeries and cloud sporting darkblast, and you're already running explosives anyway which are insane vs elves.

I think cards like ignorant bliss are too narrow, and crypt is like a bad version of relic.

by aldaryn on 2009-01-18 22:45 CET

I don't like either; I was just guessing what card you were mysteriously referring to. As I said in the article, I would not play brain freeze, nor engineered explosives, again. And if you can't beat Cloud, it's possible it's just time to set the deck aside for a bit as I'm sure Cloud will indeed be popular as a foil to Faeries.

by beanbungo on 2009-01-19 19:33 CET

Nice article, too bad u lost to burn, but good detail and I enjoyed reading about the match-ups, too bad LSV just won the GP w/ Storm, stifles will be everywhere now lol, so Gigadrowse + more is necessary

by beanbungo on 2009-01-19 19:33 CET

Nice article, too bad u lost to burn, but good detail and I enjoyed reading about the match-ups, too bad LSV just won the GP w/ Storm, stifles will be everywhere now lol, so Gigadrowse + more is necessary

by aldaryn on 2009-01-19 20:11 CET

Yeah, looks like other people picked up on the pulse of the metagame like I did, but since the GP is so publicized, it's probably time to set storm aside for a little bit.

by Spawn385 on 2009-01-22 23:25 CET

Congratulations for your result.
I've got a nice question for you guys... What deck should I play if I go to a ptq like you did aldaryn. All constructive comments are welcome.

by aldaryn on 2009-01-22 23:32 CET

Pretty broad question. Depends on the style of deck you like, and how well you think you can guess your metagame. If you can't predict your meta well, I'd play something that is powerful and linear whose strategy isn't dependent on your opponent (like affinity or storm) but those are decks to gun for now, so....

by Shatta on 2009-01-24 16:36 CET

Spawn it depends where you are, if your in Toronto prep for lots of Faeries and TEPS.

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