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Limited PPTQ Report 05/07/15

As someone who was a fairly regular grinder for the Standard PPTQs earlier this year, I was looking forward to the upcoming Modern season. However, the schedule soon revealed that all the closest PPTQs were Sealed. All the modern ones were in the near country or in the East/South East suburbs. Drat.

Anyway, I felt obligated to give the PPTQ at my local LGS a go as my Sundays were usually pretty quiet. A friend coming down from Ballarat to spectate managed to give me a lift there. For a 10:00 am start, when we walked in at 9:40 the attendance seemed a bit bare. Two others apart from the store and judging staff were present. Everyone was hoping that alot more would show up by the start time, but only a few more managed to trickle in. At about 6-7 players there was a good risk that the event wouldn’t run, so we manage to convince my friend to join in.

It took a while to hammer out a prize structure the players were satisfied with, and we opted for a somewhat flatter prize allocation. Since it was a straight cut to Top 8, there’s a decent risk that players would end up just playing one match for the entire event, so the prizes ended up being 5 for the Quarters, 9 for the Semis, and 20 for the finalist (invite and no boosters to the winner).

I got a bit nervous as this would’ve been the about the 2nd time I’ve drafted Dragons of Tarkir (D D F), with my first at our very own Gray Merchants event. My drafting skills are generally pretty shocking. The Comp REL environment for drafting was another angle I hadn’t encountered before (faster picks, stricter don’t pass more than one pile, etc) but this ended up being a bit more tighter than just a regular FNM draft. As an example, the head judge slowly nudged my hands towards me, as unknowingly how I held the cards made it alot easier for other players to see my picks.

Anyway, down to some of the early picks:
Pack 1 pick 1: I scrawl through the cards to find myself looking at a Dragonlord Silumgar. With a bit of back and forth between the pack I ended up forcing Blue Black for the rest of the draft.

2nd pick: I ended up taking Flatten (or at least one removal spell at this time).

3rd pick: I decide on Blue as my second colour, picking up a Monastary Loremaster. Maybe recur some removal? Don’t know. This one didn’t end up in the main deck, but I would continue to grab alot of blue and black cards along the way.

Somewhere during that pack and the fourth pick, I end up passing an Ultimate Price to the player on the left. This would bite me in the ass later on. I was also thanked on passing a Bath in Dragonfire or two from the Fate Reforged pack, so my skills at interpreting signalling seem pretty terrible as well. I think I focused too much on the B, A and maybe E in BREAD.

The deck I decided upon was this:

Blue Black Beatdown

Creatures: (14)
Dragonlord Silumgar
Gudul Lurker
Typohid Rats
Stratus Dancer
Sultai Emissary
Mistfire Adept
Reckless Imp
Kologhan Skirmisher
Silumgar’s Butcher
Silumgar’s Sorceror
Mardu Shadowspear
Lotus Path Djinn
Qarsi Sadist

Non-Creature Spells: (9)
Ojutai’s Breath
Anticipate
Reduce in Stature
Taigam’s Strike
Flatten
Coat with Venom
Enhanced Awareness
Reach of Shadow’s
Dance of the Skywise
Lands: (17)
Islands
Swamps

On the mana symbol count, I ended up with 14 Blue symbols and only 9 Black symbols for the deck, but I felt a 50/50 slant in favor of blue was appropriate. I didn’t find any fixing in the Fates Reforged packs, but going with 2 colours was pretty consistent. I did find myself struggling to find that 5th or 6th land, so an increase to 18 land might’ve been better in retrospect.

2 x Sidisi’s Faithful (Not a bad wall if need be)
Enhanced Awareness (SB, 2nd grindy card)
Monastery Loremaster (Recur stuff, maybe)
Duress (SB)
Marsh Hulk
Gurmag Angler (Not enough stuff going into the bin)
Write into Being
Rakhasa’s Disdain (Maybe SB)
Mystic Meditation (SB, another to grind)
Negate
Scroll of the Masters (Might’ve been useful)
Hooded Assasin (I get the feeling people won’t block to make this work anyway)
Gate Smasher (SB maybe with Sidisi’s Faithful?)
2 x Archers of Qarsi (Hate picks)
Press the Advantage (didn’t really want to face this)
Sheltered Aerie (dubious hate pick)
Ancient Carp (Was the last card passed to me, I swear!)
Display of Dominance (eats both my colours, yeah … no)


 

Now to the matches:

Since there was no swiss rounds to determine standings, essentially we end up deciding who went first more normally (dice roll, etc).

 

Quarter-Finals – Dean (Black Red Aggro)

Well, I’m paired against my friend, which this tournament is literally his first ever draft. As soon as we knew it would be straight to draft, and not sealed we discussed a couple of drafting tips with him and some of the other players. He seemed pretty calm during the draft, so I’m guessing his deck would be ok. I usually view Limited providing a more even playing field, so I was worried he drafted some really good deck that would blow me out of the water.

Game 1: He gets the play, and lands a swamp. Tries to play a Duress on my turn before he realises it’s a sorcery, to which we both chuckle. It didn’t seem to throw him off his rhythm, duressing me properly when I passed the turn back, then playing a three drop the turn after. I manage an early start of Gudul Lurker, Typhoid Rats, and a prowess creature. After racing for a bit, he attempts to collateral damage one of my dudes, to which I use Dance of the Skywise to save it. Some good combat tricks like Coat with Venom and Taigam’s Strike win me the race. Life totals ended up being me on 2, then him on 3 before lethal.

Game 2: Despite me winning, Dean gave me the option to go first this time. I did confirm this with him, pretty much stating “You get to pick if you lost the previous game you know”. Anyway, I land some early beats with Gudul Muck Lurker, a dashed Reckless Imp, and some removal for things I was worried about. Unfortunately for him this game ends up alot more one sided in my favour.

2-0, I advance to the semi-finals.

 

Semi-Finals – Adrian (Blue White Tempo/Control)

Adrian was a NLG regular I was familiar with, usually tinkering with odd decks like Robots in Standard. Last few times we played in Standard, he had been beating up my warrior deck with Chromantiflayer. He also thinks Heroic is not a real deck.

Game 1: I get the play. We both mull our first hands (from memory). I end up mix of blue and black stuff but 2 swamps for my 6 hander, reckless imp being one of em. Enough to have some early action, so I keep. By the time I dashed my Reckless Imp in for a few times, I realise we were both colour screwed. I had a Dragonlord Silumgar waiting in hand. “You know that’s going to end up killing me?” he remarks looking at the Imp. Seems that was the case as he reveals the white cards he had in his hand before moving to the next game.

The radio had been put on since the start of the rounds, it was about this time Van Halen’s “Panama” pops up. Safe to say I had a good feeling about this.

Game 2:This game had some more action from both of us. He lands an Aven Skirmisher, to which we start racing with my Mardu Shadowspear. I manage to hold off a bit of flying aggression with a Stratus Dancer. I manage to use a Silumgar’s Butcher to exploit Sultai Emissary, which manifested an Island. I end up with about 7 power on the field, and him using Pressure Point twice on my biggest threats to try and find some answers. The last attack I manage to Taigam’s Strike a Lotus Path Djinn and an attack with the team to seal the game. Revealing my manifest / his morph he remarks that he knew the manifest would’ve been a land. Essentially what gave it away was me not flipping it, and I never bothered looking at it once I put it into play.

2-0 … and finals.

There were about 2 matches yet to be concluded (it looked like a quarter-finals then definitely a semi-finals), so I end up chatting with the head judge and the staff running the store. I find out in particular the RPTQs date, format and that I would have to pay my own way to attend it (I thought there was a travel voucher or something). After some speculation on how well a player had to perform to break even on the travel costs (foil Liliana covers a fair bit at least), and staying at Auckland (hills everywhere apparently) it was time for the finals.

 

Finals – Eden

My opponent ended up being the drafter to the left of me. We had a brief chat to discuss what the prizes were, and we both indicated we wanted to attend the Auckland RPTQ. So we got down to rumble.

I ask ‘high roll or odds and evens’. He responds with high roll, to which I end up rolling a 12. This amused him and some spectators, and with his less impressive roll, I pick to go first.

Game 1: Slowish hand after a mull to six, but I end up with about 3 land, Enhanced Awareness with some early creatures like Mardu Shadowspear. He himself lands a Blood-Chin Rager. By about turn 2-3 I realise I was on the receiving end of dashed creatures like Reckless Imp. I manage to race a bit with Mardu Shadowspear, but soon I was staring down a Sprinting Warbrute. I was struggling for my 5th land drop, and only hit it then while staring down lethal.

Game 2: I take the play again, ending up with 5 land, Lotus Path Djinnand Taigam’s Strike. Keep. I sided out sorcery speed ‘removal’ like Reduce in Stature, and slowish card draw like Enhanced Awareness. He lands a Mardu Scout hard casted, and I take a hit in. Soon enough I get a 2 drop and Lotus Path Djinn on the field, waiting to bust Taigam’s Strike on it the next turn. Remember that Ultimate Price I talked about earlier? Fires it at my Djinn. I end up using the Strike on the 2 drop, and get about 4 damage on that turn and the next (total of 8). Things didn’t look too good with my opponent having a Berserker’s Onslaught, but I hit 6 mana and land the Dragonlord Silumgar to take his Mardu Scout. However, he manages a couple of dashed creatures that I have to block and trade with the Dragonlord. Anyway, had an interesting decision in the final few turns. Gudul Lurker, Silumgar’s Butcher, and Dance of the Skywise in hand, 6 mana with an even split on blue and black. I end up morphing the Gudul Lurker, and holding mana up for the combat trick. He lands his own Silumgar’s Butcher to try and remove my morph, to which I flip to get the counter, and turn it into a 4/4 from Dance of the Skywise. I realise that the effort still wouldn’t be that useful, the double strike forces me to chump both his scout and another dashed creature. Drawing a land (I think) on my turn and staring at my Silumgar’s Butcher, I extend the hand.

 


 

The winner didn’t end up having a Modern deck for the RPTQ, so he discusses some options with us. I recommended borrowing a deck off one of his friends. However, he mentions that it was he who brought his friends into Magic, and he was always a casual player. We suggested a couple of pretty straightfoward, and reasonably budgeted decks that didn’t need that much knowledge of the format like Burn or Affinity. Since it was still several months ahead, he’s got some time to organise it. With that said, I end up going for lunch with Dean at a cafe down the road.

Now, it seems I ended up ignoring some notifcations from my phone while in the cafe, thinking WhatsApp was buzzing (it ended up being Facebook). By the time we came back with food, I was informed that the RPTQ’s date clashed with PAX, which Eden had already bought tickets for. Uh Oh. Unaware of the inability for passdowns, we discussed what could be done, especially if I was uninterested in the invite as well (I took my prizes on store credit). Eden left his number with the store to update him on any news.

The store owner managed to arrive back around 10-20 minutes after the winner left, and stated that they discarded passdowns for these sort of invites some time ago. So, I sat there somewhat miffed at the situation, but joked that at least PAX is still an option for me. End of the day, I ended up with some planeswalker points, $100 in store credit and finding my drafting skills might not be that bad after all. After Games Laboratory’s PPTQ, I’ll somehow have to bum a lift to Ringwood or Dandenong. Again.

So this ends my first Limited PPTQ, and an unfortunate case of double booking. Thanks for reading!

  • zed

    well done

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