So it begins . . . Countdown to the 2012 Nagoya GP

If the world is really going to end on December 21st, 2012, I’ve probably been wasting my time playing too muchMagic. But if it doesn’t . . . well, I probably still have been wasting my time ^_^. But I’ve been having fun doing it! This Saturday I took part in the Gatecrash Pro Tour Qualifier in Nagoya at Higashi Betsuin Kaikan. One hundred and thirty-seven players from all over the region came for a shot to head to the next Pro Tour (which I think is in Quebec).

PTQ Gatecrash

The PTQ was a sealed format, and the first one I had ever done. For those of you that haven’t done a SEALED PTQ before, this is how it goes. After signing up you receive a checklist with all of the cards names, casting cost, and set #. Once everybody has been registered, 6 packs are handed out and you proceed to open those packs. However, these AREN’T the cards you keep for your deck. You write down the cards you opened up on the check list, put the cards and the list back in the bag you received, and then proceed to pass bags around until the judges are sure nobody can cheat. Once you finally get your cards, you check to make sure the list and the cards in them match, then you can make your deck.

My initial pack had absolute garbage. Pack Rats, a lot of defenders, a Hallowed Fountain. I’m really happy I didn’t have to keep it. The packs I DID get were ABSOLUTELY amazing. The pool I ended up with had 2 Syncopates, a Cancel, a Supreme Verdict (foiled!), Sphinx’s Revelation, Steam Vents, Azorius Charm, Skymark Roc, and a lot of flyers. It was great for control. However, I felt that it needed some finishers so I put in some green in my initial build.

Bad idea.

After going 0-2-1, I asked my friends Chris and Jaramiah for some advice. They looked at my cards persuaded me to use Izzet/Azorius. I was pretty stupid not to in the first place. I had a Mercurial Register, Hypersonic Dragon, and lots of card drawing spells which would help me to get to cards like Supreme Verdict and Sphinx’s Revelation. The problem with sealed events is that you MUST start every new match with the cards you registered on your sheet. If I had started UWR initially, I might have won a few more times. In order to use the UWR build, I’d have to side in my cards after every first game.

I ended up siding in my Izzet cards for the remainder of the day, and went 3-4-1, finishing in 56th place.

PTQ Gatecrash results

It’s a much better showing than my 2-6 results at PTQ Avacyn Restored, but I’m still really frustrated with myself. The level of technical play here in Japan is so high that it sometimes overwhelms you. There are almost no second chances. I also want to let everybody know that PTQ events have a multiplier of 5, which means you get 15 points for every win, and 5 for a tie. I’m happy with 50 points on the day, and it will go a long way towards my Nagoya GP bye.

First GP Nagoya Trial Results

I went into the first GP Nagoya trial with high hopes. I had fine tuned my WGB Tokens deck and it had been doing really well at high level of play events like Magic Game Day, and I went 2-1 at FNM. However, it just wasn’t meant to be. I had an incredibly frustrating 7 rounds today, forcing a game 3 almost every match, and finished 2-5 on the day. My final ranking was 72/98 players. (F*CK!! really frustrating).

Here is the deck I’m currently using in standard. I think it’s pretty powerful, but there are some chinks in the armor that I’d like to fix. If anybody can suggest new cards in the main to make it hit harder, or any sideboard cards you think would work well, please let me know!

“Be Fruitful and Populate” – by Ryan Schwenk

Land:

  • 4 Temple Garden
  • 2 Overgrown Tomb
  • 3 Woodland Cemetary (you could use Isolated Chapel or a mix of them if you want)
  • 2 Gavony Township
  • 1 Vault of the Archangel
  • 1 Cavern of Souls
  • 4 Sunpetal Grove
  • 4 Plains
  • 3 Forest (probably should add another Overgrown Tomb instead of a3rd Forest)

Planeswalkers:

  • 2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
  • 2 Garruk, Primal Hunter

Creatures:

  • 3 Angel of Serenity
  • 4 Thragtusk
  • 4Centaur Healer
  • 2 Trostani, Voice of Selesnya

Artifacts and Enchantments:

  • 3 Selesnya Keyrune
  • 4 Intangible Virtue
  • 1 Oblivion Ring

Sorceries and Instants:

  • 4 Lingering Souls
  • 3 Call of the Conclave
  • 4 Selesnya Charms

I started the day with a loss against Grixis Control. I won the second game, but in the game I was mana flooded and couldn’t get any cards I needed. One of the reasons I’m playing 24 mana is that I have 3 Angel of Serenity in my main deck. It’s a good number I think, especially with the Keyrunes in there for mana acceleration. I have Garruk, Primal Hunter as well to help draw cards late in the game, but he didn’t come through for me this time.(0-1)

In the second match, I beat a Jund Control deck with my sheer number of tokens. When you drop a Call of the Conclave 2nd turn against control decks, it’s hard for them to deal with it. The Angel took out his Olivia Voldaren and other threats before I swept in for the kill. (1-1)

In my third match I went up against UWR beatdown, but with only one Cavern of Souls I had to name one card. I named beast for Thragtusk, and while I managed to drop two of them relatively fast, when I wanted to get him back with my Angel of Serenity they were Syncopated. I would have loved to have another Cavern of Souls for this deck. I think one more would be perfect. I lost in two long games to his Restoration Angel and Geist of Saint Traft. (1-2)

In my fourth match I was paired up with a mono red deck player and there was no contest. my deck stabilized early on, the lowest life I got to was 9 life in game 1 before bringing out Centaur Healers then dropping Trostani, Thragtusk, and other creatures to put my life out or reach. Game two was pretty much the same, except I used my Druid Deliverance’s in my sideboard to let him attack early on for no damage while I populated. Game was done in 22 minutes (2-2). (NOTE – one of my friends used mono red as well and it went 5-2 for 15th place. Not bad!)

From here on out it was make or break, and I was really hoping to win 4 in a row for a chance at the top 8, but I lost to a Bant Hexproof deck in match 5 due to Invisible Stalker and Increasing Savagery. I managed to pull even at a game in piece, but in game 3 he used Increasing Savagery on his Loxodon Smiter, attached a Rancor to him, and hit me for exactly 11 to kill me. I probably should have sided in my Druid’s Deliverance in retrospect (2-3).

It was a downward spiral from here on out. I lost my next game to BR Beatdown in 3 matches because I tapped out when I had a protection spell to stay alive. My life gain totally kicked his butt, however if you don’t stall until mid-game, Rakdos beatdown can kill you really quick. Misplays on my part (2-4).

The same thing happened in my final match against Jund control. We split the game at a match apiece with my tokens and life gain overwhelming him in game 2, but in the third game his Rakdos’ Return forced me to throw away all my land while he kept hitting away at me with a Rakdos Keyrune until finishing me with a Thundermaw Hellkite (2-5).

Two wins with a x3 multiplier will get me 18 points on the day, but I feel like I could have done so much better! I really need everybody’s help in fine tuning this deck further so I can compete at a much higher level in the next GP trial. I’m currently working on a new sideboard to deal with what I think the metagame is throwing at me, so let me know what you’d put in or take out.

Sideboard:

  • 2 Oblivion Ring
  • 3 Purify the Grave (for control and Frites match ups. It’s been great so far! Better than Rest in Peace.)
  • 1 Vraska the Unseen (would prefer 2, good for control match ups)
  • 2 Sundering Growth
  • 3 Rootborn Defense (against burn and control decks that destroy a lot of things)
  • 2 Golgari Charm (good against control, but also hurts fast decks like UW humans as well)
  • 2 Planar Cleansing (I want a board wipe that won’t get rid of all of my tokens like Terminus does. At least with this I can regenerate them or make them indestructible before activating it.)

The Top 8

After 7 marathon rounds of Magic, the lucky top 8 were:

  • GW Aggro
  • 4 Color Frites
  • 4 Color Frites
  • UW Humans
  • UWR Control
  • UWR Beatdown
  • GWB Reanimator
  • Jund Control

The eventual winner was a 4 Color Frites deck. Frites and GWB reanimator decks have gotten really popular as of late, and I think they’ll be near the top for the near future. Overall, it seems like there are a lot more control decks out there, but decks with the best results are those with a big mid or late game like Frites/reanimator or UWR midrange. Both have been doing really well lately.

That’s all I can offer you in today’s post, but hopefully it will be useful if you plan on attending the 2012 Nagoya GP this December in Nagoya, Japan. If you have any questions about the metagame, or suggestions for my deck, please leave a post! Thanks for reading.

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