Hello again everyone!
Today I can finally say that I won a PPTQ! I have attended many of these events and top 8ed about 50% of them. Which a fine statistic but nothing spectacular. Now the number of PPTQ’s attended versus the number that I have actually won is much worse. All that matters now is I have come out victorious. On to the RPTQ! The other thing that I found out from the weekend is friends of mine and high quality magic players Ian Barber and Alex Stratton won their respective PPTQ’s as well. Seeing your friends do well is the ultimate pick me up when you are feeling down about a loss and is just the cherry on a Sundae when you’re winning. I’m always excited to see my friends, especially those who work very hard at this game do well. Congrats to these two gentlemen!
On to the report. I will break down my rares in the sealed pool and the deck that I actually constructed. I can remember some of the cards I had to side in if I needed them but don’t have all of the information in front of me. My rares ranged from “what are those?” to “how do I ever lose?” so let’s jump right in.
Clearly from this pile of cards we are playing black white and shouldn’t ever lose a match. Next let’s look at the actual list I put together and some of the cards that I have the ability to side in.
2 Dead Weight
1 Strength of Arms
1 Murderous Compulsion (aka Brian Kibler. Seriously, look at the art. It’s him)
1 Declaration in Stone
1 Puncturing Light
2 Angelic Purge
1 Bound by Moonsilver
1 Sorin, Grim Nemesis
1 Olivia’s Bloodsworn
1 Paranoid Parish-Blade
1 Tooth Collector
1 Spectral Shepherd
2 Dauntless Cathar
1 Stallion of Ashmouth
2 Inquisitor’s Ox
1 Apothecary Geist
1 Accursed Witch
1 Twins of Maurer Estate
1 Markov Dreadknight
A few things you will notice about this pool. 1. The distinct lack of 2 drops. I actually didn’t have any creatures at two mana other than Olivia’s Bloodsworn. The card is very good and I enjoyed having it game 1. I boarded it out in many game 2’s trying to play a more grindy match but I enjoyed having it game 1 as a good flier. 2. The two red splash lands. These worked very well with the aforementioned card and the other few vampires I was playing. Having next to nothing to do for the first few turns gave me the opportunity to play 2 tapped lands with next to no draw back while still having the ability to give my Markov Dreadknight haste (this actually happened during one of my matches). I had Vampire Noble and Stormkirk Mentor in my deck. But I wanted to have higher impact creatures over the Vampire synergy. 3. How the Strength of Arms seems out of place. It was, I boarded it out in most of my matches. But it was another good game 1 card helping enable Delirium as well as be an instant speed trick when I needed it. My noteable sideboard cards were:
I added red sideboard cards simply because I already had 2 splash lands and it wouldn’t take much to simply add 1-2 Mountains for a few cards. I had enough removal in the deck as it was and didn’t need much more. My deck played very well every match. The mana was great I only stumbled in one game. I willingly went on the draw every game I played and it worked out every time. I had Dead Weight and Puncturing Light early as well as a higher percentage chance at having Olivia’s Bloodsworn, Tooth Collector, and Dauntless Cathar as one of my early plays. Dauntless being the best 3 drop because this deck is all about trading resources and then getting ahead with removal and higher quality cards.
Round 1. I don’t remember my opponents name but his pool wasn’t all that great from what I saw and I was able to play bombs in both games that went unanswered and take the match.
Round 2 was against Ralph Rickert a good friend of mine and respected mage in my eyes. I believe he had mis-built his pool by 1 card and it was relevant in one of our games because he two for one himself just to play a card. I was happy to see this and play cards that outmatched his. Game 2 he was able to start quick and land a large creature that I couldn’t deal with. He ended up seeing the card he should have played (Dance with Devils vs Vessel of Volatility). Game 3, I gave him the business or at least Sorin did.
Round 3, I ended up losing to Jared Flores. His deck was good and had great cards in it. Namely Olivia, Deathcap Culitivator, and To the Slaughter. I kept a rough hand game 1 with castable spells and mismatched mana. I was able to get the mana I needed but ended up flooding a bit and not interacting enough. Game 2, I had removal, creatures, and Sorin and even though he got full value from his to the Slaughter I got him in game 2. Game 3 mirrored game 1. I had a bit of mismatched mana and spells. But again I was on the draw and had a few turns to get out of it. But a crucial turn got me in this one. I went to Murderous Compulsion his Thornhide Wolves. He had an Aim High to untap his creature and get himself out of that. I was fine with that and attacked with both of my fliers. Forgetting that the card also gave his creature reach. He was able to eat my bigger flier and I lost the match with him at 4 life.
A side note and something that I really want people to stop doing. Please refrain from claiming that you would have won a match if you did X things differently. It is very arrogant and the only thing you are doing is offending your opponent. I encourage you to talk over your plays with your opponents every round. It will do nothing but make you both better players and that is something we should all strive for. But if you are claiming that you would win if you made a correct play somewhere in the game that you didn’t please stop and think about the statement for a second. Is it possible that you would have won? Maybe. Should you simply claim that you would to your opponent. NO. What you are doing is taking one point and changing that outcome and leaving everything else. Look at it like a math equation. If you change a factor in the equation and expect everything else to stay the same that the answer will come out how you want it. Sometimes you are right. Most of the time other things will change with your change and the rest of the problem will be different. Similarly to how I attacked with my 2/3 flier into his giant creature with reach. Would taking that attack back change the game? Of course it would. Would I snap win as a direct result? No. He used a removal spell on a ground pound creature a few turns later. He would point it at my flier and block my ground creature instead. The series of events after that completely changes.
TLDR: Please don’t claim victory on the basis of a simple play change. It is demeaning to your opponent and yourself. But please talk over plays and how the outcome of the game would change.
I won my next round against an Archangel Avacyn and Descend Upon the Sinful deck and then drew with Phillip Kwon for the 4th seed. My draft went pretty well. I took a To the Slaughter and a Inexorable Blob as my first two picks but then black started drying up and Green was very open. Then I noticed that Blue was very open as well and I drafted a Blue Green tempo/clue deck. Of the 8 people at the table I was 1 of 2 in Blue and 1 of 3 in Green so my pickings were very good and I had a tough time cutting cards.
I defeated my good friend who I traveled to this event with in the first round fairly decisively. Second round I was able to squeak by Mark Hanna on a green white humans deck that ended up taking forever as we stared each other down in multiple board stalls. I was able to get aggressive enough games 1 and 3 to steal a win from him. I then would meet Jared Flores in the finals. After an interval to stretch and walk around I sat down to which Jared promptly responded with “I would like to drop.” After a long night and such a kind gesture I let him walk away with the combined 1st and 2nd prize.
I am a little sad that the RPTQ is sealed and not a constructed format as those tend to suit me better. But I will gladly go and hold my head high and aim for an invite to the Pro Tour.
Thanks for reading everyone and as always, stay humble and hungry.