Diary of a Madman

3-18:

I hate magic articles lately. Everything seems to have settled into a static pattern. Metagame analysis on Monday. “Sick brews” on Tuesday. “How to Fix X Problem with Magic” on Wednesday. Everything is lacking soul. I remember, years ago, popping on to Starcitygames.com and being elated to find Patrick Chapin had won Michigan States with his Korlash deck, or that Mike Flores took down a tournament with a bafflingly bad creation. I just don’t feel any emotional investment in the successes of these writers, beyond the ones I have formed personal friendships with. My “rotation” is down to about three authors and a few others whom I quickly scan to see how they are serving to shape the week’s meta. These days, though, it’s so incredibly rare that I get any kind of joy out of these readings. I’m hungry for something new. Something different.

I’m also hungry for something else. I’m hungry to return to the Pro Tour. Don’t get me wrong, Magic “pro” is not something I am even considering undertaking. I have way too much invested in a real career to think about a carefree traipse down that road again. This being said, my lone PT appearance had an undeniable effect on my psyche. I still reminisce about the weeks of grueling preparation, navigating the public transportation in a country where I don’t speak the language, the smell of the cheap and terrible pizza cooking under heat lamps in the convention center, the satisfaction of knowing that I was holding one of the best decks in the room, the thrill of opening in constructed at 4-1, and the agony of punting away two separate games in draft to 0-3 a format I had been murdering on MODO, ultimately missing Day 2. I want a do-over very goddamn badly. Thankfully, I’ve figured out a way to make these two hungers align.

This is a diary of my journey back to the PT. It will begin today, and end when I qualify for PT: Dublin, with updates issued weekly. In it I will discuss my thoughts on where the meta is moving every week, chronicle my deck building discussions and decisions, and recap the results of whatever method of qualification I happen to pursue.

I’m going to be honest with you. My style won’t seek to appease the reader with flowery word choice, cutesy stories about totally eating with all my best MTGbros at Fogo, and “mising” things. Instead, I’m going to seek to give you a hardwire into my process, with the hopes that when I find ultimate success, you will be inspired to implement the tactics found in these pages within your own preparation. I thought about shopping this pitch around a bit, but there’s really only one website I have an interest in writing for. KYT, hope you like this one, buddy.

3-19:

I thought I had more time than this. It turns out the first MODO PTQ is in five short days. Guess that means it’s time to get to it.

I haven’t played Standard since GP:AC, pre-Gatecrash. Thankfully, the meta has moved in a way that plays right into my hands.

http://manadeprived.com/pti-makes-top-8-of-tcg-5k/

At first glance, this looks like a pretty stock Junk Rites list with a funky SB. This is actually a deck that I created with the help of my good friend, Joel Paradee, for week one of the Return to Ravnica format. At the first 5K of the season, we played this beast to matching Top 8 showings.

A week later, I updated and ran Junk Rites to another cash, also placing it in the capable hands of Dan Jordan, who piloted it all the way to a second place finish at SCG Providence.

http://sales.starcitygames.com//deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=50007

Come GP: Atlantic City, I had reached such a level of understanding of the deck and potential sideboard cards that when the other deck ideas I was toying with didn’t seem ready for the big stage (Bant Hexproof — guess I was wrong there), I put together a fresh list on-site the day before the tournament. My brother and I played the deck to yet another cash (representing both his first ever GP Day 2 and his first ever Pro Points).

[deck title=Junk Rites by Bryan Gottlieb]
[Lands]
4 Temple Garden
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Sunperal Grove
3 Woodland Cemetary
1 Gavony Township
3 Isolated Chapel
2 Forest
2 Cavern of Souls
[/Lands]
[Creatures]
4 Angel of Serenity
2 Restoration Angel
4 Thragtusk
2 Craterhoof Behemoth
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
3 Arbor Elf
1 Deathrite Shaman
4 Loxodon Smiter
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Mulch
4 Grisly Salvage
1 Sever the Bloodline
4 Unburial Rites
[/Spells]
[Sideboard]
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Sever the Bloodline
1 Purify the Grave
3 Centaur Healer
1 Vraska, the Unseen
2 Duress
1 Ray of Revelation
2 Deathrite Shaman
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Divine Reckoning
1 Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Now, Junk has established itself firmly as the top dog of Standard (a position I’m convinced it has always held). I’m bringing up these lists not to boast about past mediocre achievements, but rather to show that while there is a pretty firm core that these Junk Rites decks are built on, there exists the tools for the build to succeed in all climes. In addition, I’m not positive that the average PTQer is even on the right path to defeat Junk Rites. From day one, I’ve been scoffing at [card]Rest in Peace[/card] and its ilk. It seemed that when I spoke to Gerry Thompson, he understood the keys to getting ahead of the Reanimator-based meta. He was talking Dissipates and Purify The Graves: the cards that I actually fear as a Junk player. But that’s Gerry. He’s always a step ahead (except for that time he allowed some moron to talk him into going all in on Niv-Magus Elementals at a Pro Tour). Is the rest of the public on the right path yet? This question will ultimately inform the way that my deck has to be built to succeed.

I’m pretty sure this just has to be my jumping off point for this season. My experience and knowledge almost dictates it. Perhaps the largest possible thumbs up this deck could ever get came from a conversation I had with occasional Magic pro Jason Ford. Jason’s role in our Magic relationship is basically to trash every deck or idea I bring to him in order to purify me through horrible and unfathomable self-doubt. His comments today? “I’m told Junk Reanimator is the nut.”

Tomorrow: Individual Card Evaluation

3/20:

My brain is playing tricks on me. When I reach a conclusion about deck choice well in advance of the tournament I am playing, I find myself going through everything that can go wrong with that choice as opposed to everything that can go right. I convince myself that everyone else has also figured out that my choice would be the best choice and are now moving to the “one step ahead” deck. Time and experience have shown me that this is utter fallacy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve attempted to next-level the next-levelers, only to be entirely crushed by the same meta that was in place last week. Writing this on paper does me a lot of good, because thoughts were beginning to swirl in my head about Bant Hexproof, or some other terrible deck that truly crushes Junk Reanimator. I’m just going to stop with the nonsense, and focus on having the best version of Junk Reanimator for this week.

The Core

4 [card]Avacyn’s Pilgrim[/card]
3-4 [card]Arbor Elf[/card]/ [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card]
4 [card]Grisly Salvage[/card]
4 Mulch
2-4 [card]Restoration Angel[/card]
4 [card]Thragtusk[/card]
5-6 Angels and Craterhoofs
4 [card]Unburial Rites[/card]

These are the non-land cards I consider to be set in stone. It’s the other stuff I need to muck around with. A brief list of maindeck cards to ponder.

[card]Loxodon Smiter[/card] and [card]Centaur Healer[/card] – For a long time, Smiter was the clear winner in the three-drop slot, and this was before Liliana was seeing any play. People asserting that Healer was the better card vs. the immensely popular mono-red decks were blinded by the fact that Healer reads “gain 3 life.” The truth is that in most situations, Smiter gained you far more than that. Blocking and killing their one, two, or three drop and still requiring a burn spell to put the guy down was a far better net result than playing Healer, getting it Speared, and continuing to take beats from their guys. Not to mention the fact that Smiter is actually a legit threat: 4/4 vs. 3/3 is a world of difference. All this being said, I am beginning to see a case for Healer in the new meta. [card]Searing Spear[/card] is not as omnipresent as it once was, and there is more straight up creature combat these days (not to mention [card]Ghor-Clan Rampager[/card]s and Rancors that allow profitable trades with Smiters). The Faithmender and [card]Restoration Angel[/card] interactions are obviously far better when going with Healer. I think the increased presence of Liliana and arrival of [card]Boros Reckoner[/card] makes me favor Smiter still, but I am keeping a close watch on this spot.

[card]Lotleth Troll[/card] – Troll never did the things I was trying to do with this deck, and I’m pretty sure he still doesn’t. Keeping up mana for his shields is not something I’m really into, and in most cases you don’t want to discard your reanimation targets. You want to survive and play them. Troll is only marginally useful in reaching your end game.

[card]Lingering Souls[/card] – Souls started as the reason I wanted to play this deck, and quickly became a tremendous liability. For a long period of time, the 1/1s did nothing. I’m not really sure where this card stands now. If the aggro decks make use of Rancor, [card]Ghor-Clan Rampager[/card], or [card]Thundermaw Hellkite[/card], I don’t want this card anywhere near my 75. I promise that you don’t need to play Souls to make your Craterhooves game breaking. If, however, there are a huge amount of Aristocrats and other Falkenrath decks around, this card will have an impact. I think I lean towards playing the card in a limited number, possibly relegating some to sideboard duty.

Borderland Ranger- [card]Borderland Ranger[/card] is amazing when the meta slows down. This isn’t currently the case. Moving on.

[card]Obzedat, Ghost Council[/card] – While the impact of this card is impressive, the strain he places on your mana is palpable. In addition, I only consider Obzedat to be a true game breaker in a limited number of match-ups. It seems people are drawn to the massive life swings he creates, but are not stopping to actually ask the question, “Does this card win games?” Again, I am pretty sure Obzedat is helping you in match-ups where you are already comfortable, and if he makes the cut, it will likely be in sideboard duty.

[card]Sever the Bloodline[/card] – [card]Sever the Bloodline[/card] is sloooooooooow. So slow. I almost always cringe upon seeing it in my opener. But when duels go long, Sever is capable of winning games that no other card can win. It is also excellent in the mirror matches, where taking Angels permanently out of the mix is a very big deal. Likely a one-of main.

There are some other fringe cards I could consider like Liliana or Griselbrand, but experience has shown me that these cards aren’t actually options, just mistakes. So let’s see where these thoughts bring us.

4 Avacyn Pilgrim
2 Arbor Elf
2 [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] (An alteration that concerns me, since it is rare that you are able to get mana from Shaman. This being said, I can’t think of a better card to give me a little extra oomph in the mirror)
4 [card]Grisly Salvage[/card]
4 Mulch (I get that this card is bad, but playing less than four when so many match-ups depend on a turn four or five reanimation to even have a shot just seems foolish)
4 [card]Unburial Rites[/card]
2 [card]Loxodon Smiter[/card]
1 [card]Centaur Healer[/card]
1 [card]Lingering Souls[/card] (I am a big fan of variety in slots like this where there are pros and cons to each. Many magic players will tell you there exists a right card to play in this slot, and breakdowns like this are foolish. Empirically, they are probably right. I don’t care. These arguments disregard the value of surprise and misinformation.)
3 [card]Restoration Angel[/card] (Immensely powerful and tricksy, but sometimes a win more. You only really want to blink [card]Thragtusk[/card] pre-board, and if you’ve got your Tusk in play, you are usually going to get to your superior late game. If I determine I have to play another three drop to keep up with aggro, it’s likely I will go to two Restos.)
4 [card]Thragtusk[/card]
4 [card]Angel of Serenity[/card]
1 [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card] (Too hard to reliably race when you are likely to be forced into bad blocks early on. Likely will play a second copy in the SB.)
1 [card]Sever the Bloodline[/card]

Here’s our starting point for the main deck. For those of you who don’t know me, and wonder why I am working in this stilted fashion, I thought I’d do some explaining. I’m currently in my second year of law school, which takes up a tremendous amount of my time. Doing this journal is in many ways an attempt to compartmentalize. I set aside a bit of time to work on this everyday, and talk through the magical ideas that have been bouncing around in my head all day. We’ll see if it yields the results I am looking for as time goes on.

Tomorrow: Manabase

3/21:

I think manabase considerations revolve around what amounts to two-to-three slots. Early versions of the deck were forced to play more basics to support [card]Borderland Ranger[/card]s. Since they have left the fray, I would say the manabase has adopted some new constants. These are:

4 [card]Temple Garden[/card]
4 [card]Overgrown Tomb[/card]
2-3 Forest
3-4 [card]Woodland Cemetery[/card]
2-4 [card]Sunpetal Grove[/card]
2-3 BW Sources ([card]Isolated Chapel[/card]s or [card]Godless Shrine[/card]s)

Beyond this, I’ve always held you have two utility spots to spare. Early versions played a [card]Vault of the Archangel[/card] and a [card]Gavony Township[/card] in these spots. Many hours were spent with the luminaries of #TeamYang debating as to the superior choice between the two, so we could just maximize our odds of drawing that card. The truth is, a conclusion was never reached. I can’t even make statements like, “in match-up X, Township is superior.” It seemed like the better choice was dependent upon board states. Because of this, we ran with a one and one split for quite some time.

The latest evolution of the two utility slot principle was the addition of [card]Cavern of Souls[/card] as half an occupant. Since Cavern is able to cast several of the colored spells in our deck and also enables turn one Elf in a pinch, it gives us access to a quasi third utility slot, so long as two of those slots are filled by [card]Cavern of Souls[/card]. I believe this is still the proper way to proceed. The very presence of Cavern in your deck allows you to fundamentally alter your strategy against the control decks. You are able to comfortably play the long game or just jam your Craterhoof to force through lethal. The ability to search up a key piece of your strategy with [card]Grisly Salvage[/card] is incredibly important as well.

This leaves only the question of what land should occupy the sole remaining slot. While [card]Gavony Township[/card] and Vault are the two leaders in the clubhouse, I don’t want to dismiss the idea of playing such oddballs as [card]Grim Backwoods[/card] or Rouge’s Passage out of hand. Backwoods can actually do some really positive things in attrition-based match-ups, but ultimately, the power level is likely too low. I want to keep the Backwoods in my memory bank, but for the time being, I believe the right call remains [card]Gavony Township[/card]. Having an out in a game where you draw a million mana dorks is always welcome, and I think Township plays best with [card]Restoration Angel[/card] in the deck. This will leave our manabase looking like this:

2 [card]Cavern of Souls[/card]
4 [card]Sunpetal Grove[/card]
4 [card]Temple Garden[/card]
2 [card]Godless Shrine[/card]
1 [card]Isolated Chapel[/card]
4 [card]Overgrown Tomb[/card]
3 Woodland Cemetary
2 Forest
1 [card]Gavony Township[/card]

We’ve got a maindeck!

Tomorrow: Sideboard

3/22:

Woke up to some fine news today. Rapidly improving local player Adam Mink informed me that he had 4-0’d the previous night’s Daily with the maindeck and a hastily cobbled together sideboard. He said the main felt great and had some good input as to what worked and didn’t in the SB. Conversations with him did a lot to get me to a fine starting point for my SB, which currently looks like this:

2 [card]Purify the Grave[/card]
1 [card]Abrupt Decay[/card]
2 [card]Selesnya Charm[/card]
1 [card]Oblivion Ring[/card]
2 [card]Divine Reckoning[/card]
1 [card]Rhox Faithmender[/card]
1 [card]Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice[/card]
2 [card]Duress[/card]
2 [card]Garruk, Primal Hunter[/card]
1 [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card]

I can’t go over every sideboard card I chose not to play. I do have a few notes on some of the more notable inclusions and exclusions.

Inclusions:

Purify the Grave: I’ve seen people playing some cute cards in these spots, like the black Primordial or extra [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card]s. [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] in the Junk mirror is a carving knife. You want a sledgehammer. Shamans main are fine, because they are rarely without utility. When I’m bringing in a card specifically to cripple Reanimator decks, Purify is the card I want.

Selesnya Charm: While this is clearly a constructed-proven piece of cardboard, charms have never previously made their way into my 75. Now, with [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] on top of the meta, a way to dispose of her at instant speed will be most welcome, and the card is likely good against the fast aggro decks as well: serving as a speed bump or in allowing an Elf to snipe a 2/2.

Divine Reckoning: Seriously. [card]Divine Reckoning[/card] is sooooo good at what you need it to do. This card was great in the pre-Burning-Tree Emmisary world, and it’s only gotten better. Play this card. Drawing it turns the difficult Naya Blitz match up into a bit of a breeze, assuming they don’t bring in [card]Boros Charm[/card] (and why should they? No one believes this card is real).

Trostani: This card won me every single game I cast it at GP:AC, and my brother said the same. It is an awesome threat vs. the midrange decks, and you haven’t lived until you’ve blinked a [card]Thragtusk[/card] and gained fifteen vs. Mono Red.

Exclusions:

Acidic Slime: I am unconvinced that this is the way to battle the [card]Revelation[/card] Decks. I think you want to be proactive, and while the nut draw becomes more explosive with Slimes in the deck, (and you are sure to get some free wins) I would rather play the Garruk/Duress package in this slot. This configuration has the benefit of being significantly better in the Jund/Naya matchups, which tend to be based mostly upon attrition, not mana advantage.

Blind Obedience: This is a card that I really tried to make room for, but I can’t find the slots. It’s probably a bit of an overreaction at this point anyway, but if Jund Aggro and Efro style Naya decks start to pop up all over the place, [card]Blind Obedience[/card] will need to find a home.

So this brings the current list to:

[deck title=Junk Rites by Bryan Gottlieb]
[Lands]
2 Cavern of Souls
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
2 Godless Shrine
1 Isolated Chapel
4 Overgrown Tomb
3 Woodland Cemetery
2 Forest
1 Gavony Township
[/Lands]
[Creatures]
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
2 Arbor Elf
2 Deathrite Shaman
2 Loxodon Smiter
1 Centaur Healer
3 Restoration Angel
4 Thragtusk
4 Angel of Serenity
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 Lingering Souls
1 Sever the Bloodline
4 Grisly Salvage
4 Mulch
4 Unburial Rites
[/Spells]
[Sideboard]
2 Purify the Grave
1 Abrupt Decay
2 Selesnya Charm
1 Oblivion Ring
2 Divine Reckoning
1 Rhox Faithmender
1 Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice
2 Duress
2 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

I will actually be playing some live Magic tomorrow, which is something I tend to only do once a month or so. I’m excited to get some games under my belt, and figure out my final list for Sunday’s PTQ, but I like where we are standing right now.

Tommorow: Games!

3-23

So that went about as well as I could possibly hope. Original Junk Rites co-creator Joel Paradee and I played in a local SCGIQ, varying only a couple cards in our main and side for the purpose of testing out a few ideas. It was a small tournament, (just under fifty people I think) but the competition was not horrible, and we were able to finish first and second. More importantly though, I picked up some good tech, and figured out a few things as well. I don’t have time for a super detailed write up, but I just wanted to hit a couple of key points.

I ran [card]Acidic Slime[/card]s in my sideboard despite having stated previously that I was not interested in the card. My first instinct was exactly right. Slime is just way too high variance to rely on, especially in the mirror. In this match, attacking your opponent’s mana is an alright idea, but if it’s the way to go, the best way to do to so is via [card]Garruk Relentless[/card]. Garruk kills mana dorks, kills the devastating [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card], finds you more Angels and Behemoths, and also can be an Overrun in a deck where the effect is at the pinnacle of its power. Not to mention preemptively destroying one of Naya and Jund’s greatest threats. Garruk will be in my SB tomorrow, for sure.

A card that won’t be in my sideboard is [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card]. This is because not playing two copies in the main was just an outright mistake. In too many games, I was drawing to a [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card] as my out with only one in my deck. I’m willing to muck up my deck a bit to have access to such a powerful and game-breaking effect and trimming was ill-advised.

A piece of tech that was employed against me, and that I intend to use in my sideboards going forward, was [card]Dark Impostor[/card]. Yeah, go ahead and look that one up. This was game-breaking in the mirror, where removal comes mostly in the form of [card]Angel of Serenity[/card]. He seems to be a great way to break the Angel loops that so often mar the late game. I was happy to lose a game to this guy so I could steal the tech for my own purposes.

A couple quick hits:

Lotleth Troll: The fact that my opponents played this card as opposed to something real made my life much easier all day.

Divine Reckoning: More insane than ever.

Obzedat: They were terrifying when played by my opponents, but then they never actually did anything. They just kind of blinked around, couldn’t attack because of [card]Thragtusk[/card]s, and they went and sat on the bench while my Craterhooves showed up to wrap up the game.

Purify the Grave: The right hate card. Happy to have this all day.

Restoration Angel: Only played two, and was fine with that number.

Vault of the Archangel: This was the right utility land for today, and will be my choice going forward.

Full list to come tomorrow!

P.S. Just checked the standings at GP:Pitt to see Max Brown is 9-1. For those of you who don’t know, Max Top 8’d a ridiculous five PTQs in the northeast this season (maybe the toughest PTQ circuit in the world, at least until Curacao gets a Q). I would be remiss if I didn’t use this opportunity to bring this achievement to everyone’s attention. I don’t know how I feel about the special invite system in general, but I do know that if it’s going to continue to exist, Max has earned one of the slots. Hopefully, he will just Top 8 this GP, so he doesn’t have to go through this nonsense in the coming season.

Tomorrow: PTQ #1

3-24

Five minutes to go. We are sleeving up:

[deck title=Junk Rites by Bryan Gottlieb]
[Lands]
2 Cavern of Souls
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
2 Godless Shrine
1 Isolated Chapel
4 Overgrown Tomb
3 Woodland Cemetery
2 Forest
1 Vault of the Archangel
[/Lands]
[Creatures]
2 Arbor Elf
2 Deathrite Shaman
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
2 Loxodon Smiter
2 Restoration Angel
4 Thragtusk
4 Angel of Serenity
2 Craterhoof Behemoth
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
2 Lingering Souls
1 Sever the Bloodline
4 Grisly Salvage
4 Mulch
4 Unburial Rites
[/Spells]
[Sideboard]
2 Purify the Grave
2 Abrupt Decay
1 Centaur Healer
2 Garruk Relentless
1 Rhox Faithmender
1 Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice
1 Selesnya Charm
2 Divine Reckoning
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Dark Impostor
1 Obzedat, Ghost Council
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Looks like 425 people. Ten rounds. Kill me.

Round 1: vs. Mirror #1.

My opponent seemed very inexperienced, burning Angels at the first available opportunity. I lost to flood G1, but his poor play in G2 and an Impostor that ate lottttttts of his guys in G3 allowed me to secure the win. Garruk also did some work, killing an Arbor Elf, and finding me an [card]Angel of Serenity[/card].

1-0

How ’bout we pass time between rounds with a gem from the chat?

2:52 PM [b]mikeasic[/b]: just slughter games rites deck lose everytime

There’s a guy who knows Magic about as well as he knows English.

Round 2: vs. RUW

I made a fatal mistake in game one when I essentially played the match-up as I would have in the pre-Gatecrash environment — very conservatively and without fear of burst damage. A [card]Searing Spear[/card] on my blocker, a Snapcaster, and a Resoration angel at end of turn heralded the coming arrival of [card]Aurelia, the Warleader[/card], and I found myself dead from a very comfortable life total. Thankfully, I tightened up in game two, and was able to ride four [card]Lingering Souls[/card] tokens to victory over five turns when both my opponent and I were mana light in game three.

2-0

Round 3: vs. RG aggro

In the deciding game I mistakenly failed to play around [card]Blasphemous Act[/card] out of RG, and Abrupt Decayed a non-Reckoner creature to preserve one irrelevant life point. In retrospect, this was an all around terrible play that protected me only if his four card hand contained two [card]Pillar of Flame[/card]. Not only was there very good evidence that those cards were not in his hand, but were they, my line would still have left me needing to top-deck the next turn to stay alive. Oh well. Little to do but let it go and play perfectly the rest of the day.

2-1

Round 4: vs. Naya Blitz

In game one, I mull to five and die with four lands and three [card]Thragtusk[/card] in hand. Game two I mulled to six, kept four lands, Pilgrim, Reckoning. I die on turn eight without ever having drawn another spell.

2-2 Drop

So what’s our take away from the first PTQ of the year? Not a whole lot. The SB cards I thought would be good were. I punted a game I certainly should not have, and then drew well below average in another. Really, I have only myself to blame, since with better play in round three, I could have faded the variance monster that came up to eat me in round four, and would have still been in the mix. I saw nothing to indicate that the meta has turned terribly against Junk Rites in my four rounds (I saw one [card]Tormod’s Crypt[/card] from the RG deck that did actual nothing), but I certainly will be looking at the top decks from this first online PTQ to see if there are any trends I can spot to leave me better prepared for next week. So long as I have the time, I will be playing MODO PTQs on Friday and Sunday, but I really can’t wait for live PTQs nearby, with their dramatically reduced attendance numbers. I hope everyone enjoyed a look at my first week of preparation and stays with me until we reach the Promised Land. Trust me, it’s coming.