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GP Prague 2011

May 24, 2011

So, GP Prague took place last weekend and I was there griding it out. While I had a lovely weekend in Prague (a very nice city, in many ways) with friends, I fell a bit short in both the GP and the PTQ I played in during the Sunday.

The trip down there was uneventful and smooth, no huzzle with the airlines or anything. Down there I met up with Ludvig Londos, Per Nyström and Kenny “The Tezzerator” Öberg which I would be spending the weekend with. We arrived pretty late so after a nice meal, we went to bed. We got to the site barely on time the following morning. The site was really cool, at least as a building goes. The Sealed portion of the event was as usual divided into two pods. I drew the lucky straw and got into the blue pod which was located in the smaller of the two rooms of the site. The AC was just infinitely better in that room and there was no buzzing noice of the AC that plagued the green room.

Before I go the deck construction part, a silly little incident happended while I was looking over the pool I was going to build my deck with. I counted the rares and to my surprise there was only 2 rares from New Phyrexia. Nothing odd, right? Well at the time my mind was totally set on there should be 3 rares from New Phyrexia. So naturally, I thought there has been some kind of mess up during the deck registration part so I called the judge. The judge arrived and I told him that I was missing a rare from New Phyrexia. At this point Matej Zatlkaj who was sitting across from me jumped into the discussion:

Judge: “What’s the problem?”

Me: “I’m missing a rare from New Phyrexia. I only have two.”

Zatlkaj: “That’s correct. Each pool only has two pack of New Phyrexia.”

*Slowly a light bulb lights up in my head*

Me: “…right…”

Judge: “So no problem then? Nothing I can do?”

Me: “No, thank you. Just me being an idiot…”

With the awkwardness of that moment shaken off me I got down to business. Unfortunately my pool ended up quite lackluster. It wasn’t horrible but there was definitely areas where the pool lacked cover. I don’t really have it in my to bring you the entire pool but it was clear that black was unplayable and blue could also been cut after some consideration. It came down to playing red with either white or green…or some splash combination. After the 30 minutes (or was it 20?) of deck construction I registered the following pile:

7x Mountain
7x Plains
2x Forest
1x Razorverge Thicket

1x Glint Hawk
1x Embersmith
1x Leonin Skyhunter
1x Wall of Tanglecord
1x Porcelain Legionnaire
2x Blinding Souleater
1x Sylvok Replica
1x Alloy Myr
1x Blade Splicer
1x Ogre Resister
1x Tormentor Exarch
1x Saberclaw Golem
1x Thundering Tanadon
1x Moltensteel Dragon
1x Maul Splicer

1x Apostle's Blessing
1x Glissa's Scorn
1x Burn the Impure
1x Sword of Body and Mind
1x Pristine Talisman
1x Trigon of Thought
1x Victorious Destruction

This build felt at the time as the most powerful I could muster with my pool. The build allowed me to play all my playable rares (the other ones being Contested War-Zone and Galvanoth), it has some evasion and some removal. The downsides was there was no good way to deal with say… a Hoard-Smelter Dragon or Carnifex Demon. On the other side of the coin, all my really powerful cards were artifacts which is not desirable. Moltensteel Dragon is good, very good in fact. But it’s just so much easier to deal with compared to a Hoard-Smelter Dragon or Hellkite Igniter. At last, playing 3 colors isn’t something I want to do unless I feel it’s absolutely necessary. Sadly, this was one of those times.

During the bye rounds (2 to be exactly) I spoke with my travelmates about our decks and got a couple of games in with it. At the time the only thing I wanted to change from my main deck was a Leeching Bite that I had left out. That card got sided in every round.

Now at home I went through the pool again and came up with this build instead:

8x Forest
7x Mountain
1x Plains
1x Razorverge Thicket

1x Death-Hood Cobra
1x Viridian Emissary
1x Embersmith
1x Wall of Tanglecord
1x Porcelain Legionnaire
1x Viridian Corrupter
2x Blinding Souleater
1x Sylvok Replica
1x Alloy Myr
1x Ogre Resister
1x Tormentor Exarch
1x Saberclaw Golem
1x Thundering Tanadon
1x Moltensteel Dragon
1x Maul Splicer

1x Leeching Bite
1x Glissa's Scorn
1x Burn the Impure
1x Sword of Body and Mind
1x Pristine Talisman
1x Trigon of Thought
1x Victorious Destruction

It’s very much alike the build that I went with at the GP and powerlevel-wise it’s about the same. The biggest difference is the mana base is a bit better. That said, I can’t say the white card were crucial in some games. For example, I won a game at the GP beacuse I was able to save my Moltensteel Dragon from Parasitic Implant with my Glint Hawk.

I went 5-3 at the GP before I dropped. I won my two first rounds without too much of a huzzle. Then I got paired against ringer Alex West who crushed me in the two games he didn’t have extended mana problems. Black Sun’s Zenith into Karn Liberated (foiled!) got me good.

I faced defeat in the following round as well. We split the first two games and then I lost game 3 due to some judgement calls. It effectively ended when I willingly took 3 from his Kuldotha Forgemaster down to 3 and then he ended it with a Vulshok Replica. I could have chumped blocked that turn and I could have chumped a turn or two earlier as well but I thought this line of play would give me the highest chance of actually winning the game. It was just not meant to be this time.

I bounced back with a quick win in round 7 before I was horribly crushed in round 8. And he didn’t even play any bombs. He was just really fast with multiple Porcelain Legionnaires and Leech Bite that owned me. To rub salt in my wound, he won the final game of the match with just 3 lands in play… So that effectively ended my GP Prague 2011. Both Per and Ludvig had stroked out but Kenny had despite a very lack luster Sealed deck managed to go 8-1.

I went up early with him on the following day since I intended to play in the PTQ. My time right before the GP was very constricted by school for me so the time that I had to spend on Magic went on Limited. I wasn’t really up to date with playing Standard (I have off course followed the development, but I can’t say I haven’t really participated before the PTQ) so winged a deck that I had spawned together with Per for some time and had a little experience with playing beforehand, namely Pyromancers Ascension:

// Lands
    4 Scalding Tarn
    2 Halimar Depths
    6 Mountain
    10 Island

// Spells
    2 Call to Mind
    4 See Beyond
    4 Into the Roil
    4 Mana Leak
    2 Deprive
    4 Pyromancer Ascension
    2 Foresee
    4 Preordain
    4 Burst Lightning
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Gitaxian Probe

// Sideboard
SB: 4 Pyroclasm
SB: 4 Calcite Snapper
SB: 4 Kiln Fiend
SB: 3 Combust

The list needs some work but it ended up pulling some serious weight regardless. After 7 rounds of the total 8 rounds of that 142 player PTQ I was 5-1-1 and was playing for Top8 in the last round. It was a heartbreaking match against UW Caw Blade, I won game 1 quite convincingly but then my draw in the last two games were just really thin and I could stitch it together. Here is what I played against during the day and the record I had against said decks:

UW Caw Blade: 1-1-1

Dark Blade: 2-0

Big Boros: 1-0

GWR Allies: 1-0

Eldrazi Ramp: 0-1

I had a good feeling about the deck all day and think it’s got quite a lot of potential with some tweaking. I felt really good all day to know that a JtMS on the other side of the table was always trumped by an active Pyromancers Ascension. It sounds a little weird but I assure you it’s true. Also having a main strategy that completley ignores any form of creature removal is golden in a otherwise heavily creature based format.

I have several ideas how to go forward with Pyromancers Ascension as a deck but since Nationals is within a month I don’t want to spill the beans on something that I could see myself end up playing. So I have to leave you out in the cold this time 🙂 .

All in all I had a marvelous weekend in Prague despite being a bit short of Magic success. Thanks to all the players, swedes and non-swedes that made it so. Also, huge props to fellow swedes Joel Larsson and Anders Melin for making the top8 of the Grand Prix! I’m really impressed!

Until next time…

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