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39th at GP Brisbane with UW control

So, I’ll start this off by writing one sentence that was said to me going into this Grand Prix, and haunted me right until the first round of the tournament.

“You have a detrimental love for fair decks”

It’s true, I love fair decks, especially control decks. I’ve never entered into a tournament without having a whole lot of air in my deck, and I love drawing cards. This is typically the worst kind of thing you can do in modern. Let’s be realistic, modern’s not fun for the fair players, even if they think there having “fun” it’s generally some kind of hilarious ruse where the opponents not doing anything because they got unlucky or their deck decided to punch them in the face.

That being said I opted to play UW. It’s my deck of choice for competitive modern events (still not sure why) and as such decided to run it back seeing as we settled on the deck during the eldrazi winter, which was a mistake at the time. The months leading up to the event I swapped the deck archetype around heavily. I Ranged from decks that were jamming Ancestral Visions and all the Snapcaster Mages, to Sun Titan variants with Runed Halos just to ruin people’s day.

I did not have a great amount of backing from the deck choice from those around me, the Jerries and mulch pushing me to play something more proactive or “play a best deck” whilst The Fazz was in the opposite boat, pushing me to play the air that I love to place on the table.

The week leading into the tournament the deck fell to pieces and I couldn’t play magic, mulligans were many and fun times were non existent. But with my second choice being jund and being of the opinion that the deck was almost unplayable leading into the GP, I threw the paint at the wall and it stuck, and it dried looking like this.

Spells: (21)
Condemn
Spell Snare
Path to Exile
Mana Leak
Spreading Seas
Detention Sphere
Supreme Verdict
Cryptic Command
Sphinx’s Revelation

Creatures: (12)
Wall of Oomens
Snapcaster Mage
Vendilion Clique
Kitchen Finks
Restoration Angel

Planeswalkers: (2)
Jace, Architect of Thought
Gideon Jura

Land: (25)
Marsh Flats
Glacial Fortress
Mystic Gate
Hallowed Fountain
Plains
Ghost Quarter
Island
Flooded Strand
Celestial Colonnade
Sideboard: (15)
Dispel
Surgical Extraction
Celestial Purge
Stony Silence
Negate
Blessed Alliance
Detention Sphere
Aupreme Verdict
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion

The final product was more of a midrange/control UW build that played a creature package alongside a lesser counterspell package and fewer Snapcasters, the theory being that the creature package works well in conjunction with the decks direction. It played into a sort of UW rock style deck that could turn sideways in early turns against specific archetypes, and was also far more resistant to the graveyard hate that is inevitable when playing this specific colour pair. A whole lot of air and “wall of rubbish” were commonly referred to when the deck was throwing down at teammates houses or stores, and continued to make me question my choice on the deck.

The choice overall made me want to verse creatures and midrange decks all day, burn/zoo felt like a bye in testing and tron fell to its knees against so much hate post board. The main downside to such a deck choice is the high variance of answers, and of course, the air when your opponent doesn’t like giving you any time. Putting Supreme Verdict in your deck is pretty embarrassing when your opponents is attempting to Grape Shot you for 40 on turn 2.

Saturday

Round 1: Bye

Round 2: Bye

Round 3: Jeskai Control/Chris Thompson – LOSS 0-2
Well. The matchup we didn’t want, we’re not as slow as them and don’t have the counter magic or Snapcaster count, our threats are dealt with by Path to Exile and we can’t fight counter wars for great length

Game 1 felt miserable pre-board, and post-board my opponent drew running answers to multiple Collonades to slay me with Elspeth soldiers. I was feeling pretty ordinary at this point. My opponent played super tight.

Record: 2-1

Round 4: Through the Breach Valakut/James Jordan – WIN 2-1
Game 1 my opponent killed me on my turn 4 with ramp spells into the green man himself, and threw all the bolts my way with me playing very little magic. I was feeling pretty rubbish but also knew I was in to win game 2-3

Game 2 I was able to extract the pinnacles out of my opponents deck and beat down with Gideon Jura whilst drawing multiple paths to keep the way clear, Spreading Seas taking away mountains is sweet.

Game 3 I kinda put the boot in my opponent (humble brags) who end steps through the breach on my turn 4, only to have it countered. Then extracted, revealing two more through the breach from his hand, as well as Titan and the tentacle lady herself. My opponent then untapped, played a Valakut and passed, only to then have it Ghost Quartered and extracted also from his deck. My opponent looked very tilted and forgot his pact trigger the turn after, which I reminded him of before signing the slip and moving away as fast as possible.

Record: 3-1

Round 5: GB Tron/Riccardo Briggarto – WIN 2-0
Riccardo and myself have played a few times, and I was very aware that he’s an excellent magic player and a shardless champion among Melbourne legacy players. Thankfully it was the wrong format and I won the roll, Riccardo got a real bad deal from his deck both games, game 1 only finding multiple Oblivion Stones and 0 threats, and game 2 mulliganed to 4. Not much to say, an early Ghost Quarter/Extraction combined with Stony Silence just compacted the heavy mulligan and hands were shaken.

Record: 4-1

Round 6: Abzan/Hao-Shan Huang – WIN 2-1
This match was dope. My opponent and I had great draws in game 1, early resolution of Liliana of the Veil discarding Lingering Souls put me way behind. But a timely Detention Sphere combined with Cryptic to bounce the Sphere and replay on the following turn kept me in the game, I ended up falling to 0 after the second resolution of a Siege Rhino and went to game 2.

Game 2 saw my Spreading Seas being taken on turn one by a Thoughtsieze, only to draw a second one on the following turn (powerful wizard) and eventuating into allowing Elspeth, Sun’s Champion‘s raw power overtake both Liliana of the Veil and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, with the help of another swift Detention Sphere/Cryptic Command interaction, were we off to game 3.

Game 3 Hao kept a 2 lander off green, and whilst having multiple discard spells, was unable to find access to a third land on turn 3. My curve was strong I resolved Jace, Architect of Thought behind the wall of rubbish and proceeded to take over the game, with my first non Australian professional head in a bag and a clap from surrounding Jerries and friends alike I started to think maybe a dream could become literal.

Record: 5-1

Round 7: Big Affinity/Mark Norton – WIN 2-1
My opponent won the dice roll and jammed a ton of permanents that involved a Steel Overseer onto the battlefield on turn 1, my 3 wall of rubbish draw felt pretty miserable as point removal eluded me and my opponent untapped with Hardened Scales intoHangarback Walker. Enough said.

Game 2 the second Stony Silence and Supreme Verdict was enough to seal the deal.

Game 3 was awesome! Threats kept coming and answers were met, Kitchen Finks traded and was blinked by Restoration Angel, and Clique jumped in to reveal a Wear//Tear in my opponents hand, which was super tight as it posed an interesting issue with Hangarback Walker being exploded into a million (or 3) flying thopters, a timely Cryptic with a top deck Stony Silence on the next turn caused my opponent to be locked into an unfavourable play and get beaten to death by wings of white and blue. 6-1 and feeling good!

Record: 6-1

Round 8: Death’s Shadow Jund/Francis Lam – WIN 2-0
Winning the dice role helped, and a pretty good matchup overall I felt. Drawing multiple Paths is a beating, and Supreme Verdict beats the 2 threat turn from the Death’s Shadow deck. Post board Blessed Alliance and Celestial Purge were drawn and put to good work.

Record: 7-1

Round 9: Grixis Control/Tobias Hill – WIN 2-1
Grixis control is a super close match, Kitchen Finks does real nice work and Restoration Angel ignores Lightning Bolt. Game 1 was rough as we fell severely behind on land drops and was defeated by an overhaul of Snapcaster and back to back Ancestral Visions. Game 2 involved some sweet Surgical Extraction defence after being aggressively Thought Scoured keeping my Colonnades and Spreading Seas safe, and attacking with 4/4 vigilant brick-men after extracting Snapcasters from my opponents deck and noticing no Terminates left in the deck.

Game 3 my opponent brought in Crumble to Dust and managed to hit my Colonnades, however fell behind on cards in hand due a mulligan and on the play I was able to engineer an Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[c] resolution. Enough said. She’s a house.

Record: 8-1

So I ended the day 8-1, my deck was fire and I left the venue with not much to say, I wasn’t entirely sure how it happened but I accepted it and jumped into bed with no idea how I was going to sleep. Thankfully mulch doesn’t snore and staring at a ceiling works after some time.

Sunday

Round 10: Jeskai Hipster Twin/ Anthony Lee – LOSS 0-2
Well nothing like a start against one of the guys you look up to. I completely misread the concept of his deck and moved into a heavy control matchup, Spreading Seas caused a lockdown on Lee’s white sources however drawing [c]Glacial Fortress
Lee smartly -7 Saheeli to find a Spellskite before comboing off in game 1.

Game 2 I missed on land drops and was all spread out as Lee cast 3 seas on my duals to lock me out. Tasted my own dish. I fought back with extractions to strip Lees hand but you can’t beat the top deck Guardian, another loss on the first round of the day.

Record: 8-2

Round 11: Eldrazi Tron/ Adam Whitton – WIN 1-0-1
Game 1 losing the dice roll didn’t hurt too much as Adam didn’t have the dreaded turn 2 Thought Knot Seer after a mulligan, and I was able to Spread some delicious Seas. Adam flooded out and was unable to answer the flyers, however smartly Ghost Quartered his own land in response to a [s]Spreading Seas[/s] rather than giving me the extra card.

Game 2 was a long game, and a great game at that, Chalice of the Void on 2 and 4 at different points of the game forced me to find both Detention Spheres to fight the good fight, Batterskull met Colonnade, Elspeth bit the dust after having her Reality Smashed and Revelations kept up with Endbringers in what was a very swingy match and really enjoyable. I made an error by returning the incorrect Dsphere with a Cryptic Command which was met with some interesting responses from the Jerries and experienced onlookers alike. Wins a win I guess ?

Record: 9-2

Round 12: Cheerios/Taufik Indrakesuma – WIN 2-1
I had the idea that my opponent was trying to kill me on turn 2 with the cheeky cheerio deck after Hallowed Fountain was fetched and Serum Visions was cast, what a world we live in now. However my opponent never found a second land and died quickly to Clique and angels.

Game 2 my mulligans yielded no interaction on turn 1 outside of multiple Surgical Extractions, however not having access to an early Silence allowed my opponent to draw his deck and Grapeshot un-impeded.

Game 3 my land base was super awkward, I missed land drops and eventually was given multiple Ghost Quarters and Mystic Gates to play with a lonely Hallowed Fountain[/d] to work off. [c]Surgical Extraction found Silence after a negate and revealed a hand that could not play through Spell Snare/Path to Exile. I got very lucky by also watching my opponent fumble around for long enough to find a singleton Restoration Angel[c] that took my opponent to four before Colonnade woke up and got around the [c]Echoing Truth lingering in my opponents hand. After winning a game I had no business in I was alerted that I was a very very dead man had my opponent just gone for it. Showmanship or luck, probably the second.

Record: 10-2

Round 13: Eldrazi Tron/David Mines – LOSS 1-2
Deck check time and a conversation with David was had; the guys a real solid. Game 1 he couldn’t switch the gas off and just pumped me with colourless powerhouses that stole cards from my hand, Walking Ballista shooting down the second half of Finks multiple times and then my life total.

Game 2 I was able to resolve an early Spreading Seas and Clique him to find Thought Knot Seer and a pair of Reality Smashers waiting. Put Thought Knot to the bottom and the wings got in, a Cryptic for tempo forced All is Dust to be cast, however brick man layed the final piece and we went to game 3 with quite a crowd.

Game 3 was the one I wanted, David’s the guy and I knew I could win the matchup from testing earlier on. Early Expedition Maps found Cavern of Souls to protect against countermagic and back to back Thought Knot Seers took important pieces of the game plan. However additional cantrips in the Walls and Spreading Seas allowed me to find both Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, and the 6th land to cast it. There was one Thought Knot left in David’s deck somewhere outside of the bottom (one battlefield, one dead, one on the bottom ) and the man ripped it off the top. Taking Elspeth I was forced to Revelate for 3 to find a Verdict to save the day. David attacked and put me to three before casting Ballista for three to put me down, here’s a tip, never look at your top card.

Record: 10-3

Round 14: Eldrazi Tron/Ryan Cubit – LOSS 0-2
Feeling kinda beat up after the last round I knew that Team Tapas was out to get me when I was paired against Ryan. The guy’s been on an absolute tear lately and we have always had good interactions inside and out of the game. Game 1 the tempo swung in my favour and in the game I was able to manipulate Ryan’s mana base to keep him off Urza’s Mines, and full control was put in place by a decent Revelation and some Angels. In the later turns I attacked for 6 with a pair of angels, knocking Ryan to five with 1 card in his hand, I had a decision that required me to count the amount of mana was available to Ryan, then wasteland his temple and take him off Ulamog, instead I decided that it was better not to do this, place a tapped brickman on the table. And pass the turn. I lost the next turn.

Game 2. Super tilted about missing such a thing, I proceeded to Spread the Seas and play a grindy game, Thought Knot found its way onto the field and stole Verdict from my hand. Only to find its Ppath to the exile zone. After tapping out for a Kitchen Finks and leaving myself open due to Ryan knowing the contents of my hand. I was smashed by All is Dust. Removing 3 Spreading Seas, a Detention Sphere and a Kitchen Finks is miserable. Ryan then proceeded to draw Relic of Progenitus after revealing Chalice of the Void and made the plays. Shooting my second Finks and Clique down. Then removing graveyards away with persist on the stack. I need this not to happen as Snapcaster was hanging out to get that Revelation on the following turn. The game soon ended and hands were shaken, as well as my head.

Record: 10-4

Round 15 GB Elves/Albern Catan – WIN 2-1
Being super dead after the last two round I wasn’t going to lose this one, and with some U.S. Dollars on the line there was something to salvage. Unfortunately game 1 revealed no 4th land and I died to a stack of elves and a gigantic double Shaman hit off Collected Company, triple Path to to keep Lords away does nothing against such skill.

Game 2 wall of rubbish and the kitchen sinks forced my opponent into supreme verdict. Whilst going low on life i was super confident as Gideon jura rocked up and taunted Elvish nerds to attack him.

Game 3 was a solid game. Similar to game 2 but being on the draw i had to be a little more careful with being overrun from left field. Kitchen finks traded and I tapped out for a snapcaster to rebuy a path, having the verdict in hand to sweep the game under the rug the next turn when my opponent was forced to overcommit. However my opponent skilfully drew a thoughtsieze to remove verdict and was right back in. It was not to be however as a timely angel found its way followed by a legendary faerie to take the match.

Overall Record: 11-4

Afterthoughts

The weekend was gas. The amount of support and positive vibes coming from and being given by all the Melbourne crowd from one to individual to another was fantastic to be a part of and witness. We as a community are very lucky to have such good ties and as such it’s a absolute privelage to be apart of. Whilst I feel I had a disappointing day 2, I still had a gas time and it was good just to jam some magic with friends and family. Hope you enjoyed this and any feedback would be rad. Go jerries!

#greenman11

  • Robert Wallis

    Absolutely great article, you played like a champ on a deck you know damn well and were immensely supportive to all the Vic travelers, and rewarded accordingly with a great result.

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