PTQ Amsterdam in Montreal – 1st (UWR Control)

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RobA

by Robert Anderson

Hi everyone, for those who don't know me, I'm a regular at Face a Face for Thursday Standard, FNM and random Legacy, Standard and Extended events. I'm studying to get my license as a financial advisor, but most of the time I'm at work, I'm reading Magic articles or simply writing down decklists. This whole week, I was writing Planeswalker decklists and sideboard plans trying to figure out what would be best. Seeing Tomoharu Saito's Planeswalker deck (or “Super Friends”, I don't like that name really) from GP Manila gave me a ton of inspiration.

The night before I was pestering everyone asking them what deck to play, and good friend and nice guy Alex Hayne recommended I play what I know, and every Thursday night at Face I'd been playing Planeswalkers. I get scared of new tech, so Turbolands frightened me because of how terrible of a match-up it is, and Next Level Bant was scary too, but after seeing the deck in action and running into it a few times on Thursdays I wasn't as afraid of it. Anyhoo, Saturday was an amazing tournament and this is what I ended up running.

Main:
3 Elspeth, Knight Errant
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor,
3 Jace Beleren
3 Ajani Vengeant
2 Gideon Jura
4 Path to Exile
4 Oblivion Ring
4 Day of Judgment
4 Spreading Seas
4 Wall of Omens

3 Arid Mesa
3 Scalding Tarn
2 Tectonic Edge
3 Island
4 Plains
2 Mountain
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Celestial Colonnade
1 Sejiri Refuge

Sideboard:

2 Kor Sanctifiers
2 Baneslayer Angel
3 Celestial Purge
2 Journey to Nowhere
4 Negate
2 Martial Coup

I loved the deck and wouldn't change much about it. The main is perfect, the Martial Coups were a little bit slow for the matchups I wanted them for. I never played against Next Level Bant which was the main reason they were there (besides Naya). I didn't once cast Martial Coup or Baneslayer the entire tournament, but the other 11 cards were all gold.

I only played against Naya once and it was my only loss in the tournament. He boarded into the Sovereigns combo which was annoying.

Round 1

I beat an old school 'standard dredge' deck, which actually killed me g1 because he drew all four Crypt of Agadeems (in a row, actually since he missed his 4th land drop) and cast Consume Spirit for 22! He was clearly inexperienced and showed up to collect the 6 packs for entry, but he was a nice guy and played a fun deck.

SB:

+4 Negate +3 Celestial Purge

-3 Path to Exile -3 Jace Beleren -1 Day of Judgment

Round 2

I went against a mirror match but playing Divination instead of Jace Beleren, so it was easy for me to win the Jace war.

SB:

+4 Negate +2 Kor Sanctifiers

-4 Day of Judgment -2 Wall of Omens

Round 3

This is when I lost to Naya, g1 I stabilized but was at 1 and he drew a second Sparkmage to finish me off, g2 he double Cobra/Sovereigned me, then finished me off with a hardcast Conscription.

SB:

+2 Kor Sanctifiers +2 Journey to Nowhere +2 Martial Coup

-3 Jace Beleren -1 Ajani Vengeant -2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

The Sanctifiers may have been wrong, I just like having insurance against O-Ring because letting him keep an Elspeth on the board is painful and O-Ring is the only way he can kill mine without attacking into it. If I don't see any Rings g2 I probably leave the Sanctifiers out and put the Mind Sculptors back in.

Round 4

I 'battled' Jund for the first time in the tournament against nice guy John-Carlo Riccardi, and I felt bad because he was my friend and I completely decimated him with Spreading Seas, Ajani armageddons and Fateseals. He was completely manascrewed both games. He didn't want to scoop so I had some fun Negating my own spells, O-Ringing my own permanents and generally being a giant dick.

SB:

+3 Celestial Purge +4 Negate +2 Journey to Nowhere

-2 Oblivion Ring -3 Path to Exile -3 Jace Beleren -1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

I just want to mention that for a while I didn't know how to sideboard against Jund with this deck but I highly recommend this strategy. The pros are correct about Jace not being stellar in the match-up but I don't think enough people are bringing in Negates for this match-up. Blightning and Pulse are the cards that hurt the most, and you can snag a Sarkhan or a removal targeting your Colonnade. All the single threats and Thrinaxes that hit play are easily dispatched with Path/Purge/O-Ring/Journey, and multiple threats die to Day, but try to save Days for Bloodwitch if you can help it!

Round 5

I was against Felix Tse, a very good player playing Jund again. He was played very well but was quite flooded both games. He had some very difficult math to do when I left a Siege-Gang on top of his deck with Jace and he had 9 mana in play and 2 cards in hand. I left it there because I had a Day in hand (he knew via duress) and was going to attack with an Elspethed Colonnade for lethal. He didn't really think he had a shot but he played out the Commande and threw some goblins at Jace for 1, but ultimately couldn't deal with the Colonnade.

SB:

+3 Celestial Purge +4 Negate +2 Journey to Nowhere

-2 Oblivion Ring -3 Path to Exile -3 Jace Beleren -1 Jace, the Mind
Sculptor

Round 6

This my first Mythic Conscription, a surprisingly under-represented deck considering its success in the past few weeks. There isn't much to say, my sideboard plan involves having more removal than they have threats, so I simply killed every creature he played. If I remember correctly I kept a slower hand g2 with no Journey or Path or O-Ring, only a Day and some Planeswalkers and a Spread. I  was feeling greedy but died to Cobra/Sovereigns. I would like to note that at the end of game 1 he showed me 2 Conscriptions in his hand, and in game 3 he hardcast them both on Cobras on the last 2 turns in desperation.

SB:

+2 Kor Sanctifiers +2 Journey to Nowhere +2 Baneslayer Angel

-2 Ajani Vengeant -4 Spreading Seas

Round 7

I faced off against Jund again, destroying him games 1 and 3 with multiple Spreading Seas and Ajanis to completely lock him out. G2 I kept a Spread, a Wall and 2 lands. It took me 3 turns of missing lands to play an O-Ring, it was too slow.

SB:

+3 Celestial Purge +4 Negate +2 Journey to Nowhere

-2 Oblivion Ring -3 Path to Exile -3 Jace Beleren -1 Jace, the Mind
Sculptor

Round 8

The standings went up after round 7 and I couldn't draw in, I was in 7th. Well, I probably could but there was a chance I would get 9th and I was paired against Ronald Le in 8th place and he definitely couldn't draw in. He was playing RDW and it was an extremely stressful match. Game 1 I kept a hand with 2 Ajanis, a Wall and a Day. I figured it was pretty good. He didn't play a guide, but played 2 Geopedes later. I killed the Geopedes with the Ajanis and traded the unloyal Ajanis for burn spells. He played the Summons combo to try to kill me but I had Day to finish it.

SB:

+3 Celestial Purge +2 Baneslayer Angel +4 Negate +2 Journey to Nowhere

-3 Oblivion Ring -3 Jace Beleren -1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor -4 Spreading Seas

Game 2, I kept a hand that was a bit too slow I think, he played Bushwhacker on turn 1, then Geopede and did another Bushwhacker Summons combo for some 4/4s and killed me before I could play a 5th land. If I had a Day I might have been in the game but pretty unlikely.

The 3rd game was way stressful, playing a game 3 against burn for top 8. He played Goblin Guide for the first time in the match and it showed me an O-Ring on top of my deck. I played a Wall and he played a Geopede and another Goblin. I O-Ringed the Geopede and played another Wall to keep the Goblins out. He played a Kargan Dragonlord and a Geopede and next turn swung in to get some damage. I played Gideon and killed the Geopede then Pathed the Dragonlord during his turn. I don't remember the game that well but he was at 9 and I had an Elspeth and a Gideon in play, he had his 2 Goblins and I had 2 Walls. He had 2 cards in hand, if it was 2 burn spells or a Bushwhacker + a Dragonlord or a Bushwhacker + a Bolt or 2 Bolts or Bolt + Burst I was dead. Luckily it was none of those combos and he scooped.

I finished first in the standings and won 2 boxes as a result. Yay!

Top 8

First round of T8 I was against Maxime Choquette playing UW Tap-Out with Borderposts and Orchids. Neither game was particularily exciting, game 3 I gained a ton of card advantage with Jace B and O-Ringed any Planeswalker he played. G2, he drew one Planeswalker in like 20 cards, and also kept a 3 lander and missed his 4th land drop, which I took advantage of by playing Ajani, then Jace next turn.

SB:

+2 Kor Sanctifiers +4 Negate

-4 Day of Judgment -2 Wall of Omens

Top 4

The semifinal match was supposed to be an unwinnable match-up, as the person he beat in the quarters (David Soued, "Angry Dave") said was playing my deck and Aggro Spread is supposed to be made to beat Planeswalkers. My opponent (forgot his name, sorry) won the 2 games against Dave within 10 minutes. I won the die roll (very important) and my plan was to do what his plan was, screw with his lands. I mulliganed a slow hand knowing he wasn't going to let me get to 4 stable mana sources so I kept a faster hand, Spreading his red sources, then played an Elspeth, a Jace and an Ajani. I proceeded to kill everything he played.

SB:

+4 Negate +2 Journey to Nowhere

-1 Gideon Jura -1 Day of Judgement -4 Spreading Seas

I wasn't entirely sure what to sideboard here, so I took out spells that I thought were too expensive or not very relevant. I really liked the idea of Pathing one of my Wall of Omens, which I did at some point in game 3.

Game 2, I just got completely destroyed, not getting any white due to his Spreads and him winning the game with me having 0 lands in play. I tried to do a stylish play by sacrificing Tectonic Edge to kill itself with a kicked Ruinblaster on the stack, not thinking he could target my Spreaded Colonnade, and would have to blow up one of his own lands. Turns out it's a non-basic island, who woulda thought! It was irrelevant and we were onto game 3. It was at this point that I realized my sideboarding plan was awful and thought a bit harder about it, also I was on the play this time.

SB:

+4 Spreading Seas

-3 Ajani Vengeant -1 Jace Beleren

THIS plan made a lot more sense since I won the first game by keeping him off colors, so I was fully intending to do so again. Ajani didn't seem that good because of the necessity to keep red, so I was hoping to win more through Elspeth and Gideon, which is exactly what happened.

Game 3 was probably the tightest game of the tourney (game 3 of round 8 was definitely up there too). I was Spreading his lands but he was Spreading and destroying mine to keep me off white. I played some Walls, O-Ringed a Spread to get double white back, then Pathed a Wall to get a 3rd white, I really needed 2 to stick. I played an Elspeth, made a token, and beat him with it a bit. I drew and played a Gideon thinking I was in good shape. A Bolt and a non-kicked Ruinblaster finished off Elspeth, but I still had Gideon. After beating him with it twice he Mold Shamblered it then next turn played a Slime. I wasn't sure what to do, but luckily I kept him off red completely with a second Spread. I was hoping his hand was full of Rolling Terrains or at least Ruinblasters.

At this point, he was at 8 life. He played a Jace, Brainstormed and passed. I had to think here, he had no red so i was pretty safe at 6 life, with an Elspeth token (no Elspeth in play though) and one Wall facing down his Shambler, Slime and I think Ruinblaster. His Jace was at 3 loyalty counters. I drew for my turn, Negate. I thought for a while, and decided it would be best to go for the kill. I attacked him to 4 with a Colonnade, leaving Jace alive. He had 2 cards in hand, and in order to kill me he would effectively need to Brainstorm for answers AND bounce my Wall, which made me feel pretty safe. I figured in his top 5 cards he would need 3 specific answers to win this game, including a red source. He drew, bounced my Wall, attacked me down to 4, played a Scalding Tarn, got a Mountain and played Burst kicked. I showed him the Negate and he scooped.

Finals

The finals were against good friend David Schnayer, who made top 8 2 weeks ago in Toronto and knew how to play his UW deck very well. G1 he couldn't draw double blue, oddly enough he Spreading Seased one of his Plains, and I didn't want to give him blue so I cast TWO spreading seas on the very same plains. It was enchanted with 3 Seas on turn 6. He started off well, playing some Chalices and an Elspeth. I played an Elspeth to kill his, then Gideoned his token. I attacked with Gideon, sure he could Path it but he couldn't and he went down to 1 after a few turns. I played a Jace and drew an Ajani and Helixed him out.

SB:

+4 Negate +2 Kor Sanctifiers

-1 Path to Exile -1 Day of Judgment -4 Wall of Omens

He put out t2 Luminarch Ascension but I wasn't concerned because I had 2 Kor Sanctifiers in my opening hand. What I didn't have, however, was double white. I think i did actually but he Tectonicked one of my white sources. I played a Jace Beleren, drew a card, played another nonwhite land, and did that for 2 more turns. I needed a white in 6 cards to be in the game but it didn't happen. His Luminarch went online, he Mind Springed a lot and I couldn't win anymore.

Game 3, I was on the play and I had a very good hand with 1 of each Jace, a Negate, an Ajani and 3 UW lands (including 1 Colonnade and 1 Fortress). I got very nervous when I drew a Day and a Path, but then drew a Scalding Tarn and played Ajani, he was tapped out after playing a Jace that I Negated (Chalice t2). I kept his stuff tapped, then played my own Jace and Dayed, Pathed and O-Ring his various Naneslayers and Colonnades that tried to shut down Ajani. Ajani finally ticked to 7, I geddoned him and finished him with Elspeth and Colonnade.

It was an amazing tournament, I felt bad beating David, who has never been to a PT but has gotten close a number of times, since I went to San Diego in February. I'm looking forward to Amsterdam and hopefully new Extended won't be as stupid as everyone says it will be.

I see other reports have props and slops, so I guess I can do that too!

Props:

Nick Klein for staying up with me building a red deck and being a great sport about wanting to learn Standard.

Alex Hayne for jumping on the jund bandwagon and making it so that I don't need to lend him cards. Every PTQ I go to, I want Alex to win because he deserves it more than anyone I know. He is an awesome player, so listen to everything he writes! Though we're all wrong sometimes (neither of us thought Gideon was that great).

Joey Smith for going 0-2 with Mono Red, not bitching about it and being super nice, watching all of my matches from r4 and up and giving me a special sheet of paper. Also being very sneaky in 'match-up advice'.

Dave Schnayer for 61 cards and Rite of Replication, he deserves a PTQ win too for sure.

Matthew Tremblay for knowing his deck well and showing me the strengths and weaknesses of NLB, despite me never playing against it.

Sal for always being there, lending me an Elspeth (though I don't think he realizes that I kept it from last Thursday so I might just keep it muahahaha) and cheering on everyone from Face, giving great deals, buying and selling cards at great prices and everything for all of your board game and card game needs! That's Face-a-Face, 4425 Wellington outside de l'Église metro metro! (can i keep the Elspeth now?)

Nick Leblanc for easing up my nerves with completely disgusting topics and using his iphone gun app when I killed stuff.

Chris Da Rocha and Matt Schmaltz for showing up around top 4, taking pics and cheering me on (I hope).

DDT and Ronald for representing Carta and casting big or fiery spells.

Eric Goudreau and Vincent Thibeault for smiling and being fellow recent Montreal PTQ victors.  Mauro's "4 dice for a dollar" box that saved me from tearing up trees worth of paper.

Slops:

The only complaint I have about the tournament was me almost missing round 4 despite entering the brochette restaurant with 45 minutes until the next round starts. TWO CHICKEN BROCHETTES TO GO DOES NOT TAKE 45 MINUTES TO MAKE.

Rob

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