Triple Showdown Recap! Feb 19-20: Sealed PPTQ and Frontier

Welcome to a special weekly Showdown Recap, where we take a look at what happened at Face to Face Games Toronto’s weekly Sunday Showdown, a series of 1k events feeding into the Ultimate Showdown 5k Invitational. This week, we had two unique Showdowns – an Aether Revolt Sealed PPTQ on Sunday, followed by a Bonus Double Frontier Showdown on Family Day Monday. So one Sunday Showdown and a double Monday Showdown makes for a… Triple Showdown Recap! Yeah! Math!

We’ll start with Monday’s Frontier event, since we’ve been getting a lot of interest in the decklists. A solid 38 players showed up to play the burgeoning Frontier format, and the first thing I noticed, snapping off pictures of players for Instagram, was the sheer diversity of the decks being played. There was a wide variety of [card]Dig Through Time[/card] decks, [card]Hardened Scales[/card] decks, Atarka Red, [card]Rally the Ancestors[/card], Abzan Midrange strategies… a very healthy format!

Fortunately for us, most of that metagame was represented in the top 8. Let’s start with the aggressive decks. Sam Wong brought one of the boogeymen of the format, Atarka Red. Sam’s build is more focused on the [card]Temur Battle Rage[/card]/[card]Become Immense[/card] combo, using [card]Blossoming Defense[/card] to protect it. This strategy is much stronger in Frontier than it was in Standard with the addition of Kaladesh block cards. [card]Smuggler’s Copter[/card] is a perfect addition to the deck, getting in for evasive damage, ensuring a steady stream of gas, and fueling [card]Become Immense[/card]. Both Arkein Pangilinan and Matt Mealing brought [card]Warden of the First Tree[/card]-fueled Abzan Aggro decks to top 8 finishes. [card]Elvish Mystic[/card] ensures explosive starts, while [card]Grim Flayer[/card], [card]Smuggler’s Copter[/card], and [card]Scrapheap Scrounger[/card] ensure a steady stream of threats. Arkein chose to top off her curve with the perenially-poweful [card]Siege Rhino[/card], while Matt opted for his pet card [card]Hushwing Gryff[/card] to add some disruptive potential to the deck and improve its [card]Rally the Ancestors[/card] matchup.

Jack Cooke brought a Spirit-based Jeskai Skies deck, popularized in the Japanese metagame. It relies on 3-power fliers like [card]Mantis Rider[/card] and [card]Smuggler’s Copter[/card] backed up by disruptive Standard all-stars [card]Spell Queller[/card] and [card]Reflector Mage[/card] and the best burn spells in the format to close out games quickly, while ensuring some interaction. Jeff Swaluk continued to put up stellar Sunday Showdown finishes with a finals appearance on the back of black-green [card]Winding Constrictor[/card] – wait, didn’t he play that in Standard last week? It turns out the deck is amazing in Frontier, with [card]Hardened Scales[/card] and [card]Hangarback Walker[/card] providing resilience and power. His creatures become absolutely massive very quickly, and premium removal in [card]Fatal Push[/card] lets him disrupt any deck more aggressive than him.

In the end, however, it was [card]Dig Through Time[/card]-fueled [card]Torrential Gearhulk[/card]/[card]Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy[/card] control decks that stole the day. Brad Burden’s innovative Jeskai Black [card]Saheeli Rai[/card]/[card]Felidar Guardian[/card] deck brought him to a 5th place finish, eschewing some of the countermagic elements popular in typical builds of the deck for a surprising combo finish. Jon Teigesser went the other path, maindecking a full playset of [card]Dissipate[/card] in his Grixis Control deck, sure to give him an edge in the mirror. The win, however, went to Simon Tubello’s Grixis list – the only one to play the full set of the powerful [card]Dig Through Time[/card]. Three maindeck [card]Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet[/card] must also have given him an edge, as the powerful Legend can be difficult to remove later on in the game, when there might not be fetchlands around to power [card]Fatal Push[/card].

Simon Tubello – Grixis Control – 1st

[deck]
[Creatures]
4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
3 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
2 Torrential Gearhulk
[/Creatures]

[Spells]
2 Anticipate
3 Clash of Wills
4 Dig Through Time
2 Disdainful Stroke
4 Fatal Push
2 Fiery Impulse
2 Kolaghan’s Command
2 Unlicensed Disintegration
2 Radiant Flames
3 Liliana, the Last Hope
[/Spells]

[Lands]
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Evolving Wilds
1 Flooded Strand
2 Island
1 Mountain
4 Polluted Delta
2 Smoldering Marsh
2 Sunken Hollow
2 Swamp
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Wandering Fumarole
[/Lands]

[Sideboard]
2 Collective Brutality
1 Disdainful Stroke
2 Dispel
1 Dragonlord Silumgar
1 Duress
1 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Lost Legacy
1 Negate
1 Painful Truths
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
1 Radiant Flames
1 Roast
1 Sphinx of the Final Word
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Jeff Swaluk – BG Hardened Scales – 2nd

[deck]
[Creatures]
4 Winding Constrictor
4 Walking Ballista
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Hangarback Walker
4 Avatar of the Resolute
2 Greenwheel Liberator
3 Rishkar, Peema Renegade
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Hardened Scales
4 Fatal Push
1 Murderous Cut
4 Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Forest
2 Swamp
1 Cinder Glade
1 Smoldering Marsh
2 Windswept Health
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Blooming Marsh
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
4 Tormod’s Crypt
3 Duress
2 Natural State
2 Evolutionary Leap
2 Den Protector
1 Murderous Cut
1 Minister of Pain
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Jon Teigesser – Grixis Control – 3rd

[deck]
[Creatures]
3 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
2 Torrential Gearhulk
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
3 Fiery Impulse
4 Fatal Push
2 Collective Brutality
4 Dissipate
3 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Essence Extraction
2 Radiant Flames
2 Painful Truths
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Murderous Cut
1 Crux of Fate
3 Dig Through Time
1 Chandra, Flamecaller
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Polluted Delta
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Flooded Strand
3 Smoldering Marsh
4 Sunken Hollow
2 Wandering Fumarole
3 Island
2 Mountain
1 Swamp
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Release the Gremlins
1 Noxious Gearhulk
1 Ruinous Path
1 Dispel
3 Negate
2 Duress
1 Virulent Plague
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
2 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Arkein Pangilinan – Abzan Aggro – 4th

[deck]
[creatures]
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Warden of the First Tree
3 Scrapheap Scrounger
3 Smuggler’s Copter
4 Grim Flayer
2 Walking Ballista
2 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
3 Anafenza, the Foremost
4 Siege Rhino
[Spells]
3 Dromoka’s Command
2 Collective Brutality
2 Abzan Charm
1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
[/Spells]
[Lands]
3 Concealed Courtyard
4 Blooming Marsh
3 Canopy Vista
2 Shambling Vent
1 Llanowar Wastes
4 Windswept Heath
2 Plains
2 Forest
2 Wooded Foothills
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Blossoming Defense
2 Fatal Push
3 Transgress the Mind
2 Declaration in Stone
2 Hallowed Moonlight
3 Hushwing Gryff
1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Brad Burden – Jeskai Black Saheeli – 5th

[deck]
[Creatures]
3 Felidar Guardian
4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
2 Torrential Gearhulk
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Crackling Doom
3 Dig Through Time
1 Disdainful Stroke
1 Dispel
3 Fatal Push
3 Fiery Impulse
3 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Chandra, Flamecaller
2 Oath of Jace
3 Saheeli Rai
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Flooded Strand
2 Island
1 Mountain
2 Mystic Monastery
1 Plains
4 Polluted Delta
1 Prairie Stream
2 Shambling Vent
2 Smoldering Marsh
2 Sunken Hollow
1 Swamp
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Anguished Unmaking
3 Blessed Alliance
1 Disdainful Stroke
1 Dispel
1 Mastery of the Unseen
2 Negate
2 Radiant Flames
1 Soulfire Grand Master
1 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Transgress the Mind
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Sam Wong – Atarka Red – 6th

[deck]
[Creatures]
1 Lightning Berserker
4 Monastery Swiftspear
2 Zurgo Bellstriker
3 Abbot of Keral Keep
2 Goblin Rabblemaster
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
3 Blossoming Defense
1 Shock
2 Wild Slash
4 Atarka’s Command
4 Dragon Fodder
3 Temur Battle Rage
3 Hordeling Outburst
3 Become Immense
4 Smuggler’s Copter
[/Spells]
[Lands]
6 Mountain
2 Forest
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills
2 Cinder Glade
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Natural State
1 Rending Volley
2 Heroic Intervention
3 Roast
2 Kari Zev’s Expertise
2 Savage Alliance
1 Goblin Heelcutter
2 Chandra, Pyromaster
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Matt Mealing – Abzan Aggro – 7th

[deck]
[Creatures]
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Warden of the First Tree
3 Grim Flayer
4 Scrapheap Scrounger
4 Anafenza the Foremost
3 Hushwing Gryff
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
2 Fatal Push
2 Collective Brutality
4 Dromoka’s Command
2 Heart of Kiran
4 Smuggler’s Copter
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Blooming Marsh
1 Canopy Vista
3 Concealed Courtyard
2 Forest
4 Llanowar Wastes
2 Plains
1 Sandsteppe Citadel
2 Shambling Vent
4 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
[/Lands]
[sideboard]
3 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
1 Hushwing Gryff
2 Reclamation Sage
1 Duress
1 Collective Brutality
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
2 Declaration in Stone
1 Virulent Plague
2 Authority of the Consuls
[/sideboard]
[/deck]

Jack Cooke – Jeskai Spirits – 8th

[deck]
[Creatures]
4 Mantis Rider
4 Mausoleum Wanderer
4 Reflector Mage
4 Selfless Spirit
4 Spell Queller
4 Thraben Inspector
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 Dispel
4 Jeskai Charm
4 Lightning Strike
4 Smuggler’s Copter
[/Spells]
[Lands]
3 Battlefield Forge
4 Flooded Strand
4 Inspiring Vantage
2 Island
2 Plains
1 Prairie Stream
3 Shivan Reef
4 Spirebluff Canal
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Declaration in Stone
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Dispel
1 Fragmentize
4 Galvanic Bombardment
1 Needle Spires
2 Wingmate Roc
[/Sideboard]
[/deck]

Of course, we also had an Aether Revolt Sealed PPTQ Showdown on Sunday! Aether Revolt/Kaladesh limited so far has been one of those formats that are fast and furious, with board states snowballing out of control quickly. With the full 64 players at the event, we had some memorable sealed pools opened! There were multiple [card]Tezzeret the Schemer[/card]/[card]Heart of Kiran[/card] decks, one with [card]Engineered Explosives[/card], the other with [card]Torrential Gearhulk[/card] – and neither top 8’d! There were so many powerful pools in the room, featuring countless [card]Ajani Unyielding[/card] and tons of [card]Herald of Anguish[/card]. As expected, we saw green decks pushing through win after win, fueled by the uncommon [card]Verdurous Gearhulk[/card], [card]Ridgescale Tusker[/card]. In the end, Andrew Robinson, Andrew Gordon, Sam Tyler, Ben Wang, Cooper Albertson, Massimo Gordillo, and Simon Tubello cleared the packed and stacked room to draft in top 8.

Andrew Robinson was able to take it down with the ages-old UW Skies strategy, flying past Andrew Gordon’s triple-[card]Restoration Specialist[/card]/double-[card]Caught in the Brights[/card] RW Aggro deck. Robinson’s deck featured a powerful suite of oddly-evasive two drops, with the 3-power [card]Audacious Infiltrator[/card] being one of the sleeper hits of the format, alongside the strictly better [card]Welkin Tern[/card] of [card]Skyship Plunderer[/card].

With his win in Frontier and top 8 in Sealed, Simon also pushes past the vacationing Chris Ha to third place in the standings! Jeff’s finish also puts him at 112 points, one ahead of Simon, within striking distance of Liam, still the points leader. Andrew Robinson’s PPTQ win not only qualifies him for the RPTQ, but immediately gives him the 50 points necessary for an invite to the Ultimate Showdown. Ben Wang and Jack Cooke’s top 8s also put them above that threshold! Congratulations to our top 8s, and as always, thanks to everyone for coming! Join us next week for a Modern Showdown and see if you can join these fantastic players at the Ultimate Showdown (of Ultimate Destiny)!

Andrew Robinson – UW – 1st

[deck]
[Creatures]
1 Airdrop Aeronauts
3 Audacious Infiltrator
1 Countless Gears Renegades
1 Ghirapur Osprey
1 Hinterland Drake
2 Skyship Plunderer
1 Spire Patrol
2 Propeller Pioneer
1 Long-Finned Skywhale
1 Wedalken Blademaster
1 Foundry Inspector
1 Bastion Mastodon
1 Weldfast Monitor
[/Creatures]

[Spells]
1 Alley Evasion
1 Caught in the Brights
1 Decommision
1 Aethersphere Harvester
1 Mobile Garrison
1 Inspired Charge
[/Spells]

[Lands]
8 Island
9 Plains
[/Lands]
[/deck]

Andrew Gordon – RW – 2nd

[deck]
[Creatures]
1 Aeronaut Admiral
1 Aidrop Aeronauts
1 Bastion Enforcer
1 Ghirapur Osprey
3 Restoration Specialist
1 Aether Chaser
1 Frontline Rebel
1 Scapper Champion
1 Welder Automaton
1 Consul’s Shieldguard
1 Aethertorch Renegade
1 Veteran Motorist
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 Aerial Modification
2 Caught in the Brights
1 Sram’s Expertise
1 Shock
1 Irontread Crusher
1 Built to Last
1 Skywhaler’s Shot
1 Chandra’s Pyrohelix
1 Renegade Freighter
[/Spells]
[Lands]
7 Mountain
9 Plains
[/Lands]
[/deck]

Sam Tyler – BG – 3rd

[deck]
[Creatures]
1 Night Market Aeronaut
2 Vengeful Rebel
2 Aether Herder
1 Druid of the Cowl
1 Narnam Renegade
1 Verdant Automaton
1 Aetherborn Marauder
1 Elegant Edgecrafters
1 Fairgrounds Trumpeter
1 Highspire Artisan
1 Kujar Seedsculptor
1 Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 Cruel Finality
1 Highspire Infusion
1 Prey Upon
1 Implement of Ferocity
1 Irontread Crusher
1 Die Young
1 Rush of Vitality
1 Hunt the Weak
[/Spells]
[Lands]
9 Forest
7 Swamp
[/Lands]
[/deck]

Ben Wang – RB – 4th

[deck]
[creatures]
1 Aether Poisoner
1 Vengeful Rebel
1 Yahenni, Undying Partisan
1 Frontline Rebel
3 Sweatworks Brawler
1 Augmenting Automaton
1 Welder Automaton
1 Thriving Rats
1 Lathnu Hellion
1 Maulfist Doorbuster
1 Speedway Fanatic
1 Spireside Infiltrator
1 Spontaneous Artist
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 Daring Demolition
1 Renegade’s Getaway
1 Chandra’s Revolution
1 Consulate Dreadnought
1 Implement of Malice
1 Irontread Crusher
1 Untethered Express
1 Renegade Tactics
[/Spells]
[Lands]
9 Mountain
8 Swamp
[/Lands]
[/deck]

David Morris – UGr – 5th

[deck]
[Creatures]
1 Aethertide Whale
2 Bastion Inventor
1 Hinterland Drake
1 Wind-Kin Raiders
2 Aetherstorm Leopard
1 Rishkar, Peema Renegade
1 Watchful Automaton
2 Welder Automaton
1 Aether Theorist
1 Gearseeker Serpent
1 Peema Outrider
1 Narnam Cobra
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 Leave in the Dust
1 Implement of Combustion
1 Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
1 Renegade Map
1 Attune with Aether
1 Decoction Module
1 Glassblower’s Puzzleknot
1 Renegade Freighter
1 Sky Skiff
[/Spells]
[Lands]
7 Forest
7 Island
1 Mountain
[/Lands]
[/deck]

Cooper Albertson – UWb – 6th

[deck]
[Creatures]
1 Dawnfeather Eagle
1 Deadeye Harpooner
1 Ghirapur Osprey
1 Aether Herder
1 Aetherstream Leopard
1 Druid of the Cowl
1 Lifecraft Cavalry
1 Ridgescale Tusker
1 Thriving Ibex
1 Trusty Companion
1 Wispweaver Angel
1 Bristling Hydra
1 Highspire Artisan
1 Thriving Rhino
1 Restoration Gearsmith
1 Narnam Cobra
1 Snare Thopter
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 Conviction
2 Highspire Infusion
1 Prey Upon
1 Acrobatic Maneuver
1 Attune with Aether
[/Spells]
[Lands]
8 Island
8 Plains
1 Swamp
[/Lands]
[/deck]

Massimo Gordillo – RB – 7th

[deck]
[Creatures]
1 Fen Hauler
1 Aether Chaser
1 Lathnu Sailback
2 Quicksmith Rebel
1 Sweatworks Brawler
1 Cogwork Assembler
1 Embraal Bruiser
1 Maulfist Squad
1 Syndicate Trafficker
1 Thriving Rats
1 Filigree Familiar
1 Self-Assembler
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 Cruel Finality
1 Perilous Predicament
1 Resourceful Return
1 Release the Gremlins
1 Shock
1 Implement of Combustion
1 Live Fast
1 Fateful Showdown
1 Animation Module
1 Torch Gauntlet
[/Spells]
[Lands]
8 Mountain
9 Swamp
[/Lands]
[/deck]

Simon Tubello – URb – 8th

[deck]
[Creatures]
1 Aether Swooper
2 Bastion Inventor
1 Quicksmith Spy
3 Foundry Assembler
1 Treasure Keeper
2 Watchful Automaton
1 Welder Automaton
1 Aether Theorist
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 Ice Over
1 Release the Gremlins
1 Implement of Examination
1 Servo Schematics
1 Chandra’s Pyrohelix
1 Welding Sparks
1 Fireforger’s Puzzleknot
1 Prophetic Prism
1 Sky Skiff
1 Unlicensed Disintegration
[/Spells]
[Lands]
9 Island
8 Mountain
1 Swamp
[/Lands]
[/deck]