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GP Malmö Recap

May 22, 2012

I’m back from my trip to Grand Prix Malmö and though I do a little recap about the weekend. So, here are the highlights:

The venue

The Grand Prix was held at the Malmö Arena, a multi-purpose arena able to host conserts, shows… you name it, but most commonly known here in Sweden as the home of the local hockey team, the Malmö Redhawks. Here is a shot from inside the venue:

Inside of the venue

Clearly I’m heavily biased as a Swede but I got to say, that was one of the best venues I have ever been at to play Magic. The playing area was very spaceious, free water was handed out and there were places to buy food from were you didn’t feel robbed at within walking distance. The venue was also quite easy to get to. In addition the tournament started almost on time and the tempo of the tournament wasn’t bad at all.

If I have to complain on something, it would have been nice if it was a bit more ventilated and some windows would have been nice. Then again, it was a hockey stadium after all so maybe that would have been too much to ask for.

Overall though, a big thumb up for the organisation for the event. More of this in the future, please!

The tournament itself

While I enjoyed the venue and just beeing in Malmö very much, the tournament itself didn’t exactly went stellar for me.

I had a single bye coming into the GP and this was the pool I was set to work with.

Please, take a moment to look through the pool.

..

.

Done?

Doesn’t look too good, right? Well, you are absolutley right about that.

Looking through the pool, it took me about 10 seconds to establish that I would be playing white and my Moonsilver Spear. White is just the by far deepest color in the pool and also it has 2 bomb rares, Angel of Glory’s Rise and Terminus. Moonsilver Spear, while awkwardly slow and costly, is also a given as it does grind opponents out like few other can in this format.

As I said, realizing this part was very easy. However, figuring out what to pair the aforementioned cards with was a nightmare.

Red and green were both quite shallow in terms of the number of playables and there is nothing really exciting in those colors. Blue was interesting, mostly because of the alluring Spirit Away.

I generally try to maximize the number of bombs and powerful cards I have when I’m building sealed decks and thus while blue wasn’t much of a color when you look at the number of playables, I was willing to make a stretch to fit in the blue goodness.

However, it was hopeless. I tried fiddling here and there but I always ended up with only around 20 cards I felt happy playing with. If I wanted to play with blue I would have to play with at least a couple of Cathedral Sanctifiers and/or Hunted Guardian and still be left with a creature total of ~13. With that realization I had to let the idea of playing blue go.

So, with red, green and blue dismissed I was left with the black sheep (pun soooo intended) of Avacyn Restored, black. While not super exciting, the color had a couple of gems like Barter in Blood and Blood Artist, and more importantly it was deep enough to let me build a deck of cards that I actually was fine playing with.

In the end, this was the 40 card abomination I had to settle for:

1 Gloom Surgeon
1 Blood Artist
2 Thraben Valiant
1 Moorland Inquisitor
1 Farbog Explorer
1 Devout Chaplain
1 Holy Justicar
1 Seraph of Dawn
1 Corpse Traders
1 Evernight Shade
2 Polluted Dead
1 Maalfeld Twins
1 Angel of Glory’s Rise

1 Ghoulflesh
1 Cloudshift
1 Zealous Strike
1 Moonsliver Spear
1 Barter in Blood
1 Grave Exchange
1 Terminus

9 Swamp
9 Plains

The deck wasn’t completely horrible but it was far from great. While I have access to a couple of really good cards, there are a couple of very awkward things about the deck.

To start off, it has Swamps in it. Not only is black probably the weakest color overall in the format, having Swamps in your deck leave you susceptible to things like Farbog Explorer which almost always makes the cut into white decks.

Then we have the awkward interactions with Angel of Glory’s Rise and having a couple of Zombies in the deck. There is also the fact that there are no spot removal spells (if you don’t count Holy Justicar) at all for creatures with a toughness greater than 1.

Finally, which also might be the thing that bugged me the most about the deck, there is the fact that several of my really good cards are purely defensive. Cards like Terminus and Barter in Blood is off course very powerful but you can’t use them to press an advantage. It happened more than once that my opponent was missing landdrops but I couldn’t take advantage of that because of the Terminus and/or Barter in Blood in my hand.

To sum up, I didn’t exactly like my chances of making day 2 when I handed over the registration form at the end of deck building. And my fears was confirmed.

I lost round 2 quickly after my first round bye to a what looked to me like a solid white-green deck. In the first a brief land stall for me along with a Ulvenwald Tacker got me and in the second I couldn’t race a turn 3 Farbog Explorer (told you!).

After that I bounced back to rattle off two wins before I got axed in two rounds straight and was left dead at 3-3. I decided to play it out since partly I didn’t have anything better do to but mostly because I wanted the planeswalker points to reach at least 400 by the end of the season to have at least 1 bye for the fall GPs.

After winning a fiercely close match in round 7, I won the last two with relative easy to finish the day on 6-3, which was somewhat satisfying. Sure, not making day 2 sucked off course but considering the tools I had to work with, 6-3 didn’t seem all that bad in context.

Before moving on, if you feel like you would have done something differently with my pool, please post how and why down below in the comments. I would love to hear your thoughts!

€800 Standard Championship

Instead of playing day 2 of the Grand Prix, I had to settle for playing in the grand Standard sideevent on Sunday. I hadn’t been playing Standard for a while leading up to the GP weekend, so the day before going to Malmö I simply brewed up a Naya Pod list to have in my bag just in case.

I choose to game with Naya Pod because partly I wanted to feel what the deck was like in action, as prior to this event it’s not a deck I have had a ton of experience with but it does look exciting and I wanted to feel how it stacked up compared to the GR aggro archetype.

I ended up piloting the deck to a 5-2 finish, loosing the last round playing for top8. I won’t bother posting the list because the exact list I used was quite iffy and I wouldn’t use that list if I were to play with the deck again. That said, the fundamentals of the deck felt quite strong regardless of that.

One thing I can mention about the list though is how in-freaking-sane Bonfire of the Damned is. It was an all-star in block constructed and it is possible that it’s even stronger in Standard since there are a whole lot of more 1-toughness creatures roaming around. What you have to understand is that this type of effect is so powerful for a midrange-deck like Naya Pod, and that even if you are casting it for as lowly as 1 or 2, that is is still great deal in most matchups. And if you ever get to cast it of its miracle cost…BAM!

At the end of the tournament I was left wondering though about the Naya Pod vs. GR aggro discussion. Some say that Naya Pod is simply a slightly more powerful GR aggro deck but is a whole lot more inconsistent while some say that GR aggro is just a weaker version of Naya Pod.

From my limited experience with both decks, I think that while Naya Pod will win more often that not against GR aggro in that particular matchup, I would rather right now be piloting GR aggro than Naya Pod against the field. I’m a big fan of consistency and GR aggro does its thing much more simpler and cleaner than Naya Pod can even can hope to do.

So, for what it’s worth, if you are currently trying to decided between playing Naya Pod or GR aggro in the near future, I would recommend GR aggro.

Shoutouts to friends who had a better weekend

Lastly, I want to give a big hand to my friends Jon Westberg, for making top8, and Oscar Almgren (picture below) for making in all the way to the finals and in the process qualifying himself for Pro Tour Seattle. Congratulations!

I love this picture. There got to be a meme out there somewhere!

That was pretty much it. Despite the GP being more or less a flop for me playing-wise, it was nevertheless a great weekend. Thanks to all the awesome people who were there for making it so.

Until next time,

Bernhard

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2012 09:19

    An insightful blog post right there mate . Thank you for it .

Trackbacks

  1. With Delver Delverson in Malmö « The Exploration
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