PTQ Amsterdam in Montreal – 2nd (UW Control)

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I decided to run UW because I have been performing well with the deck lately; making top 8 in Toronto 2 weeks ago, and splitting the finals of a win-a-mox tournament at Jeux Face a Face the week before that.  In truth, I almost decided to sleep through the event because I was tired and I felt like the meta had shifted, making UW a bad choice of deck. I decided to stick to it because I knew the deck and how to play it decently, although I could easily have changed decks considering I have all the cards to build anything/everything in standard.  Also, Kar’s interview with Shawn Soorani helped me in updating my list since I was still actually playing Brad Nelson’s list from a few weeks ago.

(By the way, I believe I lent someone my Lotus Cobras 2 or 3 weeks ago and now I can’t find them – if that was you and you still have them, please return them.)

I didn’t take notes for my day, but I remember most of my games pretty well.  That said, I can’t give you a turn by turn description of what happened, nor can I specify exactly what was in play or was played during a game unless it really stood out. Also, I didn’t note the names of my opponents, so I’m going to include names I remember – if I spell your name wrong or don’t remember it, I apologize. So now let’s get to the tournament report.

Rite of Replication is excellent agaisnt Jund and was good in previous versions of UW Control for me, but I think that with Sphinx, it is no longer necessary.  And 2 Emeria Angel is right – I never wanted 3, although I never played agaisnt Next Level Bant which is what it’s there for.

Round 1 – Jund – Draw – 0-0-1

I sat down in round one against a guy I’d never seen before – probably a good sign, since I recognize, by face, most regular PTQers (except Kar).

I win the roll, play my land, pass the turn, and he opens with a land that screamed Jund – either a Savage Lands or a Raging Ravine.  Generally, I feel that Jund is favored about 55/45 to UW, depending on the build and the person playing the deck, but this guy didn’t seem to confident – Lotus Cobras make my odds much worse.

A few turns into the game, my opponent plays Abyssal Persecutor and now I’m happy.  I play Jace, and bounce it, he plays it again, and it gets bounced, and then, surprisingly, he plays it again.  I knew Jace was good, but buying 3 turns against Jund while I was settting up and doing other things was a little ridiculous.  I don’t remember how game 1 ended, but I never fell below 10 lives.

Game 2, I got JUNDED!!!!!  He played Thought Hemorrhage on turn 5 or so and called Jace – and I smiled – Jace was awesome against him in game 1, but it’s the first thing that goes to the board for game 2. He searched my deck, didn’t take any notes or really even look at what was in my deck as soon as I told him that they were not in there.  2 turns later he played another Hemorrhage and chose to name Elspeth, with 1 already being in my yard – another near miss.  Had he named Baneslayer Angel and/or Sphinx of Jwar Isle, I would have lost much sooner.  After that, the game went long, each of dealing with the others threats one by one.

It came to a point in the game where I had 2 Walls and a Sphinx on my board, and my opp had 2 Saproling tokens on his. Both our hands where empty, I was at 5 and he was at 9.  After thinking about it, I decided to try and kill him.  I knew his only out was to draw Bloodbraid Elf and cascade into his third Maelstrom Pulse – so at the beginning of his turn I told him that he was going to draw the Bloodbraid and hit the Pulse – and yes he did!

It was too damn comical I couldn’t even be upset – it’s what jund does, it draws and cascades in to the right thing at the right time (I lost in the t8 in Toronto in a similar fashion…).  We only had 3 minutes for game 3 because we both thought way too much during the previous 2 games, and so it ended in a draw, although I probably would have lost that game if we had had another few minutes.

Round 2 – Junk (WGb) – Barry Hum – Win – 1-0-1

WGb is kinda like a Jund mixed with a Mythic – except it plays fair, and fair decks just don’t win at Magic.

I’m pretty sure I won in two, but I could be wrong. His deck was weak to DoJ, since it couldn’t support Vengevine and his dudes just didn’t seem too scary. He was still a nice guy to play against and didn’t take his loss too hard.

[Barry is actually a Team Chex member, which makes your record something like 100-1 against us.  Your ONE loss being to me at a WPN Qualifier.  You clearly have our number.  –KYT]

Round 3 – UW Mirror – Win – 2-0-1

I drew better than him in Game 1 and won after a long game. I sideboarded 11 cards, leaving 2 Firewalkers and 2 Emeria Angels on my board.

In game 2, he was on the play and had Luminarch Ascension on turn 2, and then had a second one on his next turn, while I played a Chalice for 1.  On my turn 3, I cast Jace, Brainstormed, said go, and then he cracked his fetch.  I asked him when he was cracking his fetch and he specified that he was doing it during my second main phase after I passed priority.  I liked that answer and said okay. He moved to end of turn and tried to put counters on his ascensions, I told him he couldn’t because he had fetched and hence lost lives during my turn, he was very annoyed.  He untapped, played O-Ring on my Jace, and passed it back.

I drew the second white source I needed to play my kicked Kor Sanctifier, a card, which I’m guessing, wasn’t supposed to be in my deck, because he seemed angry that I had it.  The next turn I O-Ringed his second Ascension and played my own.  A few turns later, he scooped.

As he did so, he made a comment about how I’m a good player – and then added that it was sarcasm – well douche, play better yourself, and beat me next time. I know you’re a good player and I’ve seen you at many PTQs, that you feel the need to insult your opponent to his face after a match is pretty crappy.

Round 4 – Plainswalkers // stupid friends // UWr – Win – 3-0-1

My opponent played turn 2 Luminarch Ascension against me.  In GAME 1!  I was actually laughed out loud and almost just scooped right there to go to games.  Fortunately for me, I know better to just scoop a game before it’s over.  It did eventually get online, but he forgot to make a token at the end of the turn that it did, and he only had 1 white source thanks to stalling on 4 and me using spreading seas. If he had played better or just drawn a second white source, I probably would have lost, but I managed to race with a turn 5 Sphinx of Jwar Isle while he wasn’t doing anything relevant. I boarded 11 or 12 cards again, and won game 2 easily.

Round 5 – Naya – Halley Shwaub – Lose – 3-1-1

I had been told that this a decent match for me, but for some reason I had never really tested it.

I don’t remember much about the match as no stupid plays really occurred, but here is what I do remember. Firstly, Halley seems like really nice guy and a very good magic player – I lost to him in this round, and while very annoying that I lost, which meant I then had to win out, it was good magic. Second, the key card in Naya that UW will lose to is Behemoth Sledge – board in all the ways you have to deal with that you can: with Emeria angel in the board, Vengevine isn’t even a real threat without it.

Round 6 – Time Sieve – Ugo Rivard – Win – 4-1-1

Ugo and I are friends, we used to play together back in the day and he was already 4-2 and had knew he had no chance at top 8, while I still did so he conceded the match to me. Let me make it clear to anyone reading this – I did not offer him anything for his concession, he scooped because he is a nice guy and it was the nice thing to do

If you are ever paired up against a good player who can make top 8 and you know you can’t, you should scoop to them.  Do not ask for anything for it, don’t even imply it – if they decide to give you packs later, that is their choice, but you could both end up DQed without prize, or worse, if you ask or tell them that they owe you something for the concession.

By the way, we played a few games for fun and to kill time anyway – game 1 is a bye for Time Sieve, and game 2 isn’t much better.

Round 7 – Jund – Justin – Win – 5-1-1

Game 1, went long and I managed to win it, despite not drawing any spreading seas, which is really the key card in the match up because of how much it can slow down their draws.

Game 2, I mulliganed to 5 cards and kept a hand with a Refuge, Chalice, 2 Spreading Seas and a random card I don’t remember.  I was on the draw, I didn’t think I could get a better hand at 4, since if I draw any given land in my deck, I will have 2 spreading seas which would let me stabilize and hopefully draw more land.  Well, I did get the second land on turn 5.  It seems my opponent had kept a removal // Sarkan the Mad heavy hand because the game ended when he played his second Broodmate Dragon and then Ultimated with his Sarkan to kill me, while all I had in play was 2 lands and a Chalice.

After game 2, he went back to his board – I guessed he decided that he wanted to try something else. Game 3, I had spreading seas early, actually I managed 3 Spreading Seas and a Tectonic Edge and kept him off red mana and out of the game for a long time, until he had to pulse my seas to be able to cast red spells.  Unfortunately for him, by the time he got to that, I was pretty well set up and still had cards in hand, and won soon after thanks to the awesomeness that is Baneslayer angel.  He was rather upset after the round, which was understandable considering I knocked him out of top 8 contention.

He also informed me that since he hadn’t seen a Seas in the first 2 games he had boarded back out his Prisms, and had probably lost in game 3 because of it.  Moral of the story – unless you’ve searched your opponent’s deck, assume he does have Spreading Seas even if you don’t see them.

Also, don’t give your opponent extra information about cards in your deck if you don’t need to – this is more important in sealed and draft then constructed – but if I had played 1 rather than playing chalice in game 2, game 3 may have gone very differently.

Round 8 – Turbo Lands – Simon Geurette – Win – 6-1-1

I was told that Turbo Lands is supposed to have an awesome matchup against UW, but again I hadn’t played it much.  It seemed to me that it’s a deck that has 4 win conditions, and like 7 other relevant spells, i.e. Mind Spring, Jace and Avenger of Zendikar.

Game 1, he won because I didn’t draw DoJ or Path to stop his Avenger.

Game 2, I thought I was dead.  He played a turn 3 Jace, then I played a Chalice for 2.  I followed that up with a Baneslayer while at the same time, missing my land drop.  Then he took 3 turns, in which he played a bunch of lands and mana spells, Brainstormed a bunch, and played Avenger of Zendikar, and then passed the turn back to me with tons of mana up and 2 cards in hand.  I was holding 2 DoJ, but only had mana to cast 1 and because of my awkward land draw didn’t have UU to play my deprive even though I had 6 mana available.  I attacked his Jace with my Naneslayer and it died, and then I played my DoJ and it resolved.  I was completely stunned.  I was completely sure I had lost the game. From there, he didn’t really do anything and I quickly ended the game with some Baneslayer beats.

If my opponent had waited to play his second Time Warp until after he had Resolved his Avenger, I probably would have lost, although I don’t remember what he drew, so it may not have been an option.

In game 3, he didn’t really do much either.  I had turn 3 Elspeth, into turn 4 Gideon. Then I used a DoJ early to kill a Cobra, Oracle, and Wall because I could.  I was holding back 2 paths and a Deprive to deal with his Avengers.  I hit him with a 9/9 Gideon, but then on this turn, he had a Mold Shambler to kill my Gideon.  I remember DoJing him again to get rid of the Shamble before he figured out that his Jace could bounce it and he could slowly blow up my board.  I managed to draw a Sphinx a few turns later, and it went all the way.

After the Swiss rounds, I was at 19 points, which put me somewhere between 5th and 10th place. Waiting when you’re not sure if you make top 8 or not is hell – I had been in the same situation 2 weeks ago in Toronto – at least in Montreal they just stuck the list on the wall. In Toronto, they actually announced us one at a time going down, and I was 8th – those 30 seconds between when they announced 7th and 8th place felt very very long.

I was in 5th, which was good because it meant I didn’t have to play my friend Rob right away, but was bad because I was going to face down Halley again with his Naya deck which was my one loss for the day.

Quarter Finals – Naya – Halley Shaub – Win

Top 8 is always intense.  I was on tilt from having already lost to Halley during the Swiss rounds, but I wanted revenge.  I’m sorry I again don’t remember much about the match again – weird that the only 2 rounds I don’t remember well are Naya.  I remember that he didn’t have Sledge in 2 of the 3 games, and that he didn’t have many Bloodbraids or Vengevines until game 3 either.

I also made a douchy move by calling the judge when after he said that his Gideon was going to become a creature and then saying wait let me think about it – I didn’t want to lose to being a nice guy in the top 8, but at the same time, I knew I was being an ass by calling him on it. The judge ruled that since he hadn’t paid the cost, he could take back the action because nothing had been changed yet – I’m not sure I agree with that, a cost of 0 still exists, but obviously it can’t be visibly paid since it’s 0 – I didn’t know if or what the official rulings on the topic are, and felt like an ass so I was fine with the ruling, and he got to +2 the Gideon that turn.

Semi Finals – Jund – Win

I’ve never seen / noticed the guy I’m playing against at a tournament before, so I really wasn’t aware of how good or bad he was. He decided to bluff stupid by picking up and reading my Tectonic Edge and then my Sphinx when I played them.

For a Jund player, this guy had 0 skill with Bloodbraid Elf – Zero, none at all – it was almost impressive. He played 5 of them over our games, and hit removal spells 4 times with no target on my board, and a Putrid Leech on a turn before I planned to DoJ anyway.

Finals – Stupid Friends // Plainswalkers // UWr – Robert Anderson

This may have been the most relaxed PTQ finals ever. We are friends and had actually split the finals of a 50 man tournament 3 weeks ago, with each of us playing approximately the same decks as we did for this PTQ.

In game 1, I got the fear and kept a stupid 7 card hand that I knew was awful in the match – it had 2 DoJs in it, which are basically dead cards against him. I lost the game.

Game 2, I got Luminarch Ascension online and got it to stick around long enough to win.

Game 3, I honestly don’t remember at this point – but I do remember that I got Ajanied and lost.

The whole way through the match we were talking and joking around, to the point were a spectator asked us how come we were so relaxed and okay with our friends talking and commenting on the game.  We both had a good time, and even though I wanted to win, I lost to a friend and had a great time playing.

David Schnayer

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