10-5 at #GPSeaTac

Hi!

About three weeks ago, I embarked on a Magic trip. The first weekend, I played in the Danish Legacy Masters in Copenhagen; the second, I played in GP Indianapolis; last week I played in GP Seattle/Tacoma. I will also play in GP Brussels this week, but that’s for another time.

Since the banning of Dig Through Time in Legacy, I have played Storm in every single paper event I attended, while toying around with Miracles on Magic Online. I liked the basic framework of my Storm list, but I did some tweaking every now and then. Miracles also seemed very strong.

The only problem I had with Storm was the fact that Miracles had changed so much. The deck has become very lean since the inclusion of Ponder. Add to that the amount of Flusterstorms and Vendilion Cliques Miracles runs at this point and you have a very hard matchup, at least after sideboarding.

Despite some very discouraging testing results against Miracles, I went with Storm for the Danish Legacy Masters. It went horribly, but that was mostly due to variance getting in my way. (Half the games I played, I whiffed on my first cantrip and then never cast another spell.)

Fast forward eleven days. The Thursday before #GPSeaTac, I decided to just play Miracles in the event. I simply thought it was the deck that allowed me to play actual games of Magic more often, which seemed like a good thing to me. Well, enter my friend Sean Fitzpatrick. Friday of the GP, on the way to our hotel, Sean convinced me to just play Storm with a rant about how bad playing actual games of Magic (with Miracles) is compared having straight up byes (with Storm).

I spent most of the evening agonising over my sideboard and rambling on about how terrible I felt about the deck. Here’s my list:

CTVFnLWUYAAAfzL.png-large

A few notes. I expected Storm and Miracles to be popular decks, so I went with two copies of Sensei’s Divining Top. That was most likely a mistake and I will replace them with two copies of Preordain for the near future. Apart from that, the maindeck was great as always. The sideboard was decent, but I probably shouldn’t have played Carpet of Flowers and played another Dread of Night and possibly a Chrome Mox instead.

I don’t think I have talked about the three copies of Empty the Warrens that I’ve been playing since before GP Lille. I started playing them in the Dig Through Time era because of the then-popular Grixis decks. They usually couldn’t interact well early in the game, but they had the potential to completely wreck Storm in the later stages of the game. Empty facilitates kills from little resources, which was great against them at pretty much any point they didn’t have Young Pyromancer on the board. Further, they do the same thing against Team America, which I seem to face more than anyone else ever.

The last thing I should mention is that I’ve been trying out one copy of Dark Petition instead of Tendrils of Agony in the maindeck. Dark Petition never made a difference while I had it in the deck, but I have won so many games by drawing Tendrils and killing people through layers of countermagic, I just feel better having the third copy.

Since I didn’t really play any Magic between March 2014 and GP Lille in July 2015, I came into this GP with zero byes. Also, I was too lazy to play trials on Friday. Let’s get to it.

Round One: Richard Wong on Death & Taxes

This match is very uneventful. Game one, I am on the play and we both keep seven cards. Since his first turn consists of Plains into Æther Vial, I safely go for a turn two Past in Flames loop. Game two, he mulligans to five, bottoms on his scry and leads with Mutavault into Æther Vial. I make ten Goblins on turn one and manage to exactly kill him in four attacks.

1-0

Sideboarding:

-2 Sensei’s Divining Top
-1 Cabal Therapy
-1 Duress
-1 Past in Flames
-2 Tendrils of Agony

+3 Abrupt Decay
+2 Dread of Night
+1 Ad Nauseam
+1 Empty the Warrens

Round Two: Andrei Krotkov on Elves

Game one, I mulligan to six and scry to the top, while he keeps seven on the play. He has Scavenging Ooze on turn two and since I can’t Past in Flames him this turn, that angle is pretty much shut off for the rest of the game as well. I can Tendrils him to two and put myself back up to 23, hoping to draw another Tendrils or Tutor, but he topdecks Natural Order and I lose.

Game two, I keep a hand that’s just one mana short of Ad Nauseam and can go for it turn three, which is enough since he doesn’t do anything meaningful.

In game three, I Flusterstorm his turn two Glimpse and go off with Past in Flames a few turns later. I burn through four Ponders, four Brainstorms and three Probes in that turn, but fail to find a Tutor or Tendrils, so I lose.

1-1

Sideboarding:

-2 Sensei’s Divining Top
-1 Past in Flames
-2 Tendrils of Agony

+2 Abrupt Decay
+1 Ad Nauseam
+2 Flusterstorm

Round Three: Justin Neuschwander on 12 Post

I win the roll, so I’m on the play for game one. We both mull to six, and if memory doesn’t betray me, we both scry to the top. He doesn’t have Force of Will, so I can Infernal Tutor into Past in Flames turn three.

In game two, we both keep seven and I can Ad Nauseam from 20 very early on. I completely whiff with no business but 24 mana post Ad Nauseam and he has Primeval Titan shortly thereafter.

For our third game, I start on six while he starts on five. My notes for this game are lacking, but I win anyway.

2-1

Sideboarding:

-2 Sensei’s Divining Top
-1 Past in Flames
-2 Tendrils of Agony

+1 Ad Nauseam
+2 Flusterstorm
+2 Krosan Grip

I’m not sure if I actually boarded out the Tops for Flusterstorms, but I think I did to hedge against Show and Tell.

Round Four: Quinton Knauft on MUD

I’m on the play and keep a very strong seven card hand with Infernal Tutor and two copies of LED, no rituals, but a couple of cantrips, including Top. I fetch for basic Island on turn one and play my Top. He untaps, plays Ancient Tomb and casts Chalice of the Void for X=1. Nice. He then has Kuldotha Forgemaster and when I go for an Artifact-fuelled Tutor chain, he casually fetches for Platinum Emperion. Oh well.

In game two, I cast Ad Nauseam on my third turn but fail to win since I don’t find any initial mana sources, including lands. I have to pass the turn, he casts Lodestone Golem, equips it with Lightning Greaves and kills me.

2-2

Sideboarding:

-2 Sensei’s Divining Top
-1 Cabal Therapy
-1 Past in Flames
-2 Tendrils of Agony

+3 Abrupt Decay
+1 Ad Nauseam
+2 Krosan Grip

I’m not sure if I really boarded out a Cabal Therapy here, but I’m guessing I brought in all five removal spells, so this makes some sense.

Round Five: Micah Manary on Esper Deathblade

It’s worth noting that I feel completely terrible at this point, both physically and about my performance in this tournament.

I lose the roll and Micah leads on Underground Sea into Deathrite Shaman (at which point I am reminded of my testing games against Team America, which indicated that they won with Deathrite on turn one and lost without it, feeling even worse). Somehow he has a Tundra on his next turn though and doesn’t do anything else meaningful, so I can Infernal Tutor into another Tutor into Past in Flames on turn three, meaning I can play through his Deathrite Shaman.

In game two, he has a discard spell and a Surgical Extraction for my Tendrils and Meddling Mage on Infernal Tutor, all the while beating me with a Batterskull-powered Germ token. I have Past in Flames and Top though, so I start sifting through cards pretty hard. I fail to find Abrupt Decay or Empty the Warrens, so I lose after casting about thirty spells in that turn (we actually kept track of that).

Again, my memory and notes for game three are lacking, but he takes the first and only mulligan of the match. He also has a Thoughtseize at some point, but that doesn’t stop me from killing him.

3-2

Sideboarding:

-1 Sensei’s Divining Top
-1 Past in Flames
-2 Tendrils of Agony

+2 Abrupt Decay
+1 Ad Nauseam
+1 Empty the Warrens

Round Six: Keith Newyear on UB OmniTell

He wins the roll and mulls to five with a scry to the bottom, while I keep six and scry to the top. He has both Show and Tell and Omniscience very early on, but fails to find a third land, drawing two Forces and a Flusterstorm instead. However, I have drawn Tendrils and a pile of Cabal Rituals and Lion’s Eye Diamonds, so I can casually pay for his Flusterstorm while keeping two extra Diamonds around.

In game two, he mulligans again, but this time only to six, while I keep seven. I Flusterstorm his turn two Show and Tell and see a hand of Force of Will, Lim-Dûl’s Vault, Leyline of Sanctity and land a few turns later. I can Tendrils him to three while his board consists of Island, fetchland and Ancient Tomb. He tries to string together something with Vault into double Ponder, but I find Past in Flames before he gets something going.

Sideboarding:

-1 Sensei’s Divining Top
-1 Past in Flames
-2 Tendrils of Agony

+1 Ad Nauseam
+2 Flusterstorm
+1 Empty the Warrens

This seems off and is likely not what I actually did.

4-2

Round Seven: Alex Navarro on Abzan / Junk

I lose the roll and Alex decides to play first. We both keep six, but he scries to the bottom while I keep my card on top. He has Dark Confidant going on for two turns, but outside of that, nothing happens in our game, except I win somehow. In game two, he mulligans to six again and I kill him on my first turn after Probing him and seeing a hand of annoying two drops, including Rest in Peace.

Sideboarding:

-1 Past in Flames
-2 Tendrils of Agony

+2 Abrupt Decay
+1 Ad Nauseam

5-2

Round Eight: Vanessa Nguyen on Jund

I win the roll and we both keep seven. She has a turn two Liliana of the Veil, but I have a turn three kill via Infernal Tutor into Past in Flames. I game two, she keeps seven, I neglect to mull a terrible six and rightfully lose to a good curve. Game three, I am on the play and it is Vanessa’s turn to mulligan. She doesn’t have much going on and I can Past in Flames through an active Deathrite Shaman.

Sideboarding:

-1 Past in Flames
-2 Tendrils of Agony

+2 Abrupt Decay
+1 Ad Nauseam

Maybe more.

6-2

Round Nine: Sean Mccarthy on UR Delver

I lose the roll, mull to six, scry to the bottom and lose game one with my only stack-based action being a fetchland activation from five to four life, which prompts Sean to Fireblast me after having seen my hand with Gitaxian Probe that turn.

In game two, we both keep seven and he has a turn one Delver of Secrets, same as game one. To his dismay, I have Cabal Therapy for his two copies of Flusterstorm and kill him after taking a couple hits from his Insectile Aberration and the Grim Lavamancer that joined it.

In game three, we both lead with fetchlands, but on his second turn, Sean casts Eidolon of the Great Revel, which I don’t have an answer to. However, after casting a Ponder and a Bolt of some sort, he is down to 14 life. On my third turn, I Probe him for life, his Eidolon dropping me to nine. He shows me Force of Will, Flusterstorm, Brainstorm, Lightning Bolt and Ponder. I fetch an Underground Sea (eight life) and cast a Dark Ritual (six life), which he lets resolve. I Cabal Therapy him (four life), he tanks and responds with Lightning Bolt (one life to twelve life). Therapy resolves, and since he’s tapped out at this point, I take Force of Will, play my third land, and Tendrils him for ten. I go to eleven, he goes to two and is locked under his own Eidolon, while I still have another copy of Tendrils in hand. On my next turn, I Probe him again, cast Dark Ritual and Tendrils again.

Sideboarding:

-2 Sensei’s Divining Top
-1 Thoughtseize

+3 Abrupt Decay

7-2

Round Ten: Jason Grigely on Sneak & Show

As we sit down, I immediately recognise him, but can’t figure out when and where we met. While shuffling, I realise we’ve met on Friday and he’s friends with Sean Fitzpatrick, who kindly forced me to play Storm in this event. I win the roll and mull to six, keeping my card on top. I cast Duress turn one to see Polluted Delta, 2 Lotus Petals, Brainstorm, Spell Pierce, Sneak Attack and Griselbrand. Likely taking the Brainstorm, figuring I can race Sneak Attack and ignore Spell Pierce. I cantrip on my next two turns and he Sneaks Griselbrand into play, using both his Lotus Petals in the process. He activates Griselbrand twice to find Lotus Petal plus Emrakul, doesn’t get there, attacks, and activates Griselbrand again after combat, dropping to three. I untap, Probe him to see zero Force of Will, cast Cabal Ritual and Tendrils him.

In game two, it’s his turn to mull to six on the play, also keeping his top card in place. He casts two Ponders and a Brainstorm throughout the game, but I kill him through a Force and a Spell Pierce before he has the mana to Griselbrand me.

Sideboarding:

-2 Sensei’s Divining Top
-1 Past in Flames
-2 Tendrils of Agony

+1 Carpet of Flowers
+1 Ad Nauseam
+2 Flusterstorm
+1 Krosan Grip / Empty the Warrens

8-2

Round Eleven: Christopher Ahlquist on Death & Taxes

I lose the roll, Chris plays first and mulls to six. I keep seven. He leads with Plains, go. I’m pretty sure he is on Death & Taxes, because that start just doesn’t indicate a hand you would keep with Miracles. On my first turn I have a Misty Rainforest as my only land. I can either Ponder to dig for another land or Therapy him for Thalia. You can usually beat Thalia, so I go for Ponder, also because I don’t want to be left with zero lands in case he has Wasteland. I find two more lands, but he has both Wasteland and Thalia on his next turn. I Ponder again, but he has another Wasteland and Vryn Wingmare. I can cast a Brainstorm, but I’m locked out of casting any more spells for the remainder of the game. In all this misery, at least all my lands are in Sultai colours, so there’s a chance he puts me on some sort of control deck.

Game two, I play first and we both keep seven. He has Mother of Runes on turn one and I have Dread of Night. When I see his hand a bit later, he has no creatures but a Wilt-Leaf Liege, which I view as a major threat to my Dread of Night doing work. I Therapy him the next turn and only have that in mind, so I name Liege. Well, he shows me his hand, which contains another copy, and I suddenly remember why there is so much text on Liege. Combined with the Stoneforge Mystic he already had, I just put twelve power on his board. I untap, cast Ad Nauseam from seven life, and kill him. #skillgame

Game three he has a turn one Mother of Runes. I have Cabal Therapy and a turn two kill of some sort. I’m not sure if I should name Thalia or Ethersworn Canonist. My gut tells me he has Canonist, but Thalia is much more likely. To complicate matters, it is much easier to beat Thalia than it is to beat Canonist. I go with Thalia, he has Canonist. I never draw a removal spell and die.

Sideboarding:

-2 Sensei’s Divining Top
-1 Cabal Therapy
-1 Duress
-1 Past in Flames
-2 Tendrils of Agony

+3 Abrupt Decay
+2 Dread of Night
+1 Ad Nauseam
+1 Empty the Warrens

8-3

Round Twelve: Kevin King on Combo Lands

Kevin wins the roll, so he’s playing first in game one. We both mull to six and bottom our cards. He has Exploration on turn one but nothing else meaningful in the first two turns, so I kill him with Past in Flames on my second turn.

Game two and three are pretty much the same. Both games he has an early Sphere of Resistance (maybe turn one both games) to slow me and then another copy to lock me out while I don’t draw any of my removal.

Sideboarding:

-2 Sensei’s Divining Top
-1 Past in Flames
-2 Tendrils of Agony

+3 Abrupt Decay
+1 Ad Nauseam
+1 Empty the Warrens

8-4

Round Thirteen: James Johnson on Canadian Threshold

I win the roll and we both keep seven cards game one. He has an early Delver, but not much in terms of countermagic, so I kill him with Past in Flames & Tendrils, both drawn naturally.

Game two is a bit more interesting — he again has a Delver on turn one that he immediately transforms. He also has Null Rod, whereas I have several copies of Lion’s Eye Diamond. I fall one spell short of amassing a natural Tendrils kill, so I just drain him for a bunch, going back up to 18 in the process. He’s added a big Mongoose to the board at this point though, and his creatures kill me in three attacks.

Throughout the tournament, this is the only matchup where I change up my boarding between games two and three:

-1 Lion’s Eye Diamond
-1 Infernal Tutor

+2 Carpet of Flowers

(For game two.)

-2 Lion’s Eye Diamond
-2 Infernal Tutor

+2 Carpet of Flowers
+2 Flusterstorm

(For game three.)

He had Null Rod in game two, so I want to draw Lion’s Eye Diamond even less than I already do, and without them, Flusterstorm becomes decent against Canadian.

In game three, he just goes Canadian Threshold on me — again, he has the turn one Delver, which is soon joined by a friend, all while blowing up my lands left and right. However, I have Carpet of Flowers and Flusterstorm for his third or so Stifle, and I somehow manage to string together enough Rituals to cast Past in Flames and then cantrip into a lethal Tendrils.

9-4

Round Fourteen: Eric Wagner on Reanimator

I win the roll and we both keep seven cards game one. I have Top turn one and he leads with just Basic Swamp, which indicates to me that he must be on Reanimator. Sure enough, he Entombs Griselbrand in my endstep. I try to Thoughtseize him out of Reanimate effects, but he has a Force of Will for that. There’s nothing I can do about the Griselbrand, but I am floating Tendrils with my Top, so as long as there’s no other creatures, I might just be able to win. He activates Griselbrand twice on his next turn, doesn’t find the means to put another creature into play, attacks me and goes back up to eight. I manage to resolve a Cabal Ritual after he counters a Dark Ritual and I kill him.

Game two is very uneventful. I keep seven, Eric mulligans to five, scries to the bottom and casts Ponder off Lotus Petal. At least he finds an Underground Sea with his Ponder. I Probe him turn one to see Abrupt Decay, Reanimate and Bayou, Flusterstorm his Thoughtseize on his next turn, and proceed to kill him after making sure the coast is clear with a discard spell.

Sideboarding:

-2 Tendrils of Agony

+2 Flusterstorm

10-4

Round Fifteen: Paul Roulston on Dredge

He wins the roll and leads with Mana Confluence into Putrid Imp. He dredges, I see eight lands in three cantrips, he casts Cabal Therapy for Infernal Tutor when he knows I also have Dark Ritual, Past in Flames and Tendrils, I untap and kill him.

Game two, he goes off turn one, doesn’t cast the one Cabal Therapy he hits, I go Bayou, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Ad Nauseam and fizzle from 20.

Game three, he leads with Looting and LED again but somehow doesn’t crack his Diamond. He Dredged into some Mindbreak Traps game two, so I figure he has one of those. When I Probe him, it turns out he only has a Faerie Macabre. Somehow, I am still hellbent on casting Cabal Therapy, so when I resolve Brainstorm on turn three and hold Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor, Past in Flames, Tendrils of Agony, Island, Ponder, Cabal Therapy before putting any cards back, with an untapped Underground Sea and a Lotus Petal on the battlefield, I fail to see the kill, and set up a win over two turns. Well, he has Iona on black on his next turn and I lose.

Sideboarding:

-1 Sensei’s Divining Top
-1 Past in Flames
-1 Tendrils of Agony

+1 Ad Nauseam
+2 Flusterstorm

10-5

All in all the tournament was great, but losing the last round felt very bad. Tilting is not usually a problem I have, but it might just have been the case in round fifteen. One thing that I have noticed, however, is my tendency to do well the first day of a competition, but failing to keep up on the next day(s). This might have to do with the fact that I usually eat a fair bit, but don’t eat well while travelling — I’m probably the only person that ever lost weight on a trip to the US.

There is nothing else I want to say, but if you have any questions, let me know! Likewise, if you are one of my opponents and I butchered your name, let me know. I am only using the info I got from my Planeswalker Points history.

I already made a cheesy comment about this on facebook, but I want to thank everyone I hung out with throughout the weekend. You’re the best!

Thanks for reading.

J

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