#GPPrague 2016 Report — 24th at 12-3 with Canadian Threshold

Last weekend, I competed in #GPPrague. As you can see in the title, I played Canadian Threshold – the greatest deck of all time. To be perfectly honest though, I wasn’t sure about what to play until Friday.

I’ve been doing well on Magic Online with both Canadian Threshold and Team America over the last couple weeks. Canadian Threshold has been my weapon of choice for local paper tournaments. Friday before the Grand Prix, I played some Storm. I thought Storm was a bad choice, but I actually liked my list.

Whether to play Canadian or Team America was mostly up to the expected metagame. I have recorded all my results with either deck, so I have a lot of data on them (about 500 games total). Interestingly, Canadian Threshold had a higher Game Win Percentage, while Team America had a higher Match Win Percentage. What made this even more interesting was the fact that judging from my results, none of the common matchups were better with Team America, with the exception of Eldrazi.

Notably, Miracles was about infinitely better with Canadian than with Team America, while the Eldrazi matchup was only minimally better for Team America. My Canadian list had changed a bit since I started playing it again, so I assumed my Team America list was also better equipped for the Shardless matchup at that point.

Luckily for me, a friend took notes on the Friday trial metagame, which indicated a heavy presence of Miracles, making my choice easy between the two Delver decks. (In fact, the Friday metagame ended up being almost the same as the Top 100 metagame, the six most common decks were actually in the same order.)

So what about Storm? Well this happened:

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A friend drew this hand while jamming some games friday night and I immediately decided not to play Storm at the Grand Prix. I just didn’t want to draw hands like this in a metagame where sometimes you lost because you didn’t cast discard turn one but sometimes you lost because you did. This might seem like an exaggerated reaction, but I think this is a very real problem with Storm in the current metagame that can only be solved if you pretend Chalice of the Void does not exist. There’s too much pressure on Storm from unknown opponents to allow hands like this one.

So after taking a look at the metagame notes my friend made, I decided to play Canadian Threshold. A few words on the list. As you might know, I started playing a list with Winter Orbs in April and quickly added two copies of Painful Truths to improve my Shardless and Miracles matchups. I played this list a lot:

Canadian_14_05_16

(deckstats.net link)

However, at some point I realised that I was winning against Shardless even without Painful Truths and that I was never losing to Miracles when I had Winter Orb (sample size 50 games). So I decided to just cut the Painful Truths for an extra Winter Orb, giving me an extra slot to tackle other matchups. Initially I though I just wanted the third Tarmogoyf for the Eldrazi matchup, but I concluded that wasn’t impactful enough, even in the Eldrazi matchup. I wanted something for my combo matchups, especially Storm and Reanimator, so I was looking at Grafdigger’s Cage and Surgical Extraction. The former made more sense for those two matchups, but I figured I’d prefer something that was also useful against Sneak & Show and Lands, so I ended up running Surgical in that slot.

I registered this decklist:

CanadianPrague

(deckstats.net link)

If you are interested in my general ideas regarding the deck, check out this article from April, not much has changed since then. You can also check my deckstats.net archive if you’re interested in the evolution of my lists.

If you have any further questions regarding my deck, let me know!

With all that out of the way, let’s get started with the report!

Rounds One & Two: Byes

I actually had byes again for this Grand Prix, which gave me the time to get mentally prepared for the tournament (I was a bit tired in the morning, but it got much better once I had to play) and hang out with my good friend Kai Sawatari, who wants me to let you know how great he is (he really is great).

Round Three: Norton, Daniel – Burn

The 2-0 bracket might be the worst for my deck. Here you meet all the people who play a lot of Grand Prix but don’t play a lot of Legacy, many of which are on relatively inexpensive, linear decks. Most of these decks are not great matchups for Canadian Threshold. Burn is no exception, and Daniel quickly destroyed me game one with his 2-land 10-one mana spells draw, while I had to look at the two copies of Dismember in my hand. Game two was close; I decided to keep up Daze + Stifle rather than Daze + Wasteland turn four on the play when I was at twelve with a strong board. Daniel punished me for it by casting two Bolts in my endstep (couldn’t Daze either), then playing his fourth Mountain, a Goblin Guide and Price of Progress to kill me for exactsies with his last card and exactly enough mana to not get Dazed.

Sideboarding:

-2 Dismember

+1 Winter Orb
+1 Spell Pierce

0–2
2–1

Round Four: Ohra-aho, Jetro – Sneak & Show

I half-expected to face another deck like Burn this round, but fortunately, that was not what happened. Jetro mulled to five on the draw game one and managed to win the game despite the fact that I had Stifles for his first two lands. I had an aggressive draw, but I never found any countermagic, so when he cast Show and Tell for Griselbrand, I couldn’t do anything about it.

Game two he mulliganned again, this time to six cards.This time around, my aggressive draw was backed up by countermagic, so I managed to win.

In game three, it was my turn to mulligan and I kept a six card hand without lands nor Force of Will. Canadian Threshold doesn’t mulligan well, so you will often see me keep hands without lands on the draw. This hand had several pieces of countermagic that were live if I managed to find a land, so I figured at least I had a real shot at winning if I found land, rather than just losing on five cards. I scryed some random spell to the bottom and Jetro led with Mountain into two Lotus Petals. I thought I was already dead there, but he simply passed the turn. I drew the land (#skillgame), he cast Blood Moon turn two, which I countered. At some point I cantripped into a Wasteland, which allowed me to cast Winter Orb. Around turn ten or so, I finally drew a Nimble Mongoose, which won me the game over the course of six turns while Jetro was locked under Winter Orb.

Sideboarding:

-2 Tarmogoyf
-2 Dismember
-2 Spell Snare

+1 Winter Orb
+1 Surgical Extraction
+3 Pyroblast
+1 Spell Pierce

(I usually board out all copies of Spell Snare, but Jetro showed me Echoing Truth, which I wanted to be able to counter if it was aimed at Winter Orb.)

2–1
3–1

Round Five: Kockler, Karsten – Team America

This match was very straightforward; I played aggressively throughout the entire match. I had a turn one Delver game one on the play, which Karsten tried to Dismember twice, getting both copies countered. I was very far ahead, with him one life on turn four or so, but he managed to stabilise the board there. I had another Delver, but that one failed to transform for a few turns. Right before he could’ve completely taken over the game, my Delver did manage to transform and I could push through the last few points of damage.

Game two he mulliganned on the play, which made me keep Wasteland, Force, Force, Pierce, Snare, Ponder, Brainstorm or something like that. Again, my deck doesn’t mulligan well, but there’s a real possibility his hand only has one land, so if I can counter his one drop and Waste him, I’m in decent shape. He had a second land, but I also drew my first land turn one or two, so it was alright. I probably would have lost had he not drawn Sylvan Library, which is simply not a card in Delver mirrors and should always be boarded out. You can almost never afford to draw extra cards and in a matchup where all resources count, the extra filtering is not even that great because it’s hard to flood out in these matchups anyway. In fact, his Sylvan Library affected only one of his draw steps, because I was beating down with a Nimble Mongoose while Submerging his Tarmogoyf twice in a row – he didn’t have any better options than replaying Goyf anyway.

Sideboarding:

-1 Winter Orb
-4 Stifle

+2 True-Name Nemesis
+1 Spell Pierce
+2 Submerge

2–0
4–1

Round Six: Kalaica, Dominik – Storm (maindeck Ad Nauseam)

Dominik won the roll and we both kept seven cards game one. If I remember correctly, I had an early Delver and managed to prevent him from doing too many things with my mix of Stifles and Wastelands. This allowed me to counter his rituals while beating down with Delver & Mongoose.

Game two Dominik mulliganned to five on the play against my 2 creatures + 3 lands + countermagic draw. He was never in that game.

Sideboarding:

-1 Winter Orb
-2 Tarmogoyf
-2 Dismember
-2 Lightning Bolt

+3 Pyroblast
+1 Spell Pierce
+1 Surgical Extraction
+2 Rough // Tumble

2–0
5–1

Round Seven: Bartos, Martin – Pox

Martin was on the play for game one and if my notes don’t betray me, he led with a Thoughtseize. I can’t remember what he took, but I had a draw with two creatures, both of which I managed to stick because his draw was quite clunky with several CC3+ spells and a Cursed Scroll that didn’t manage to kill my Delver in two attempts because he had too many cards left in hand.

Game two he started on Swamp, Dark Ritual, Thoughtseize for my Force, Hymn. Fortunately I got to keep one of my two lands, but things didn’t get much better from there. He resolved a Smallpox when I had a Delver on board and I thought I was going to lose the game, but I cantripped into a couple of creatures, while Martin kept drawing irrelevant cards like discard spells and lands, so I managed to win.

Sideboarding:

-2 Dismember

+1 Winter Orb
+1 Spell Pierce

(It’s not impossible that I boarded out some Stifles for Ancient Grudges, True-Names or the last Orb.)

2–0
6–1

Round Eight: Foukarakis, Michalis – Colourless Eldrazi

Game one, we both kept seven cards. I had two Delvers on the play, but it took a while for them to transform. The pivotal decision of the game was when I decided to let his Jitte resolve and try to ride out the tempo advantage of denying him triggers with removal, which worked out perfectly, seeing as his Jitte couldn’t save him when he finally managed to get counters on it.

Game two he started with Leyline of the Void and I lost without doing much.

Game three he had Leyline again, but I was on the play, so I managed to disrupt him enough to race him. I think I had two Delvers again, but just like game one, it took me a while to turn them into insects.

Sideboarding:

-4 Nimble Mongoose
-4 Stifle

+1 Winter Orb
+2 True-Name Nemesis
+2 Ancient Grudge
+1 Spell Pierce
+2 Rough // Tumble

2–1
7–1

Round Nine: Lagarde, Antoine – Lands

Game one, I was on the play. Antoine had Mox on turn one, but I don’t remember what he did with it. Upon realising that he was on lands, I focused on getting Nimble Mongooses with my cantrips, which worked out perfectly. I had two Mongooses and countered his Life from the Loam a few times, allowing me to win the game without him doing anything meaningful.

Game two I got demolished. He had Loam with two Moxen and Wasteland on turn one and made a Marit Lage token turn two or three.

Game three my draw was very bad. I had an early Delver, but I was short on countermagic, so Antoine managed to resolve Life from the Loam on his third attempt. My Delver quickly died, but I had Winter Orb to keep Antoine from doing work with his Thespian’s Stages despite his Mox Diamond. I had a very land-heavy draw with many cantrips. Even with my intensive digging, I failed to find my Surgical Extraction, but I did manage to find a Nimble Mongoose at some point, at least allowing me to throw otherwise useless Wastelands at his Glacial Chasms for three damage and a land each. At one point Antoine decided to create a Marit Lage token against my Delver of Secrets and Nimble Mongoose with zero cards in hand, while he was at two life. This meant that I was a big favourite to win if my Delver transformed, because he couldn’t keep a Glacial Chasm around and I could block his Marit Lage while threatening lethal on the backswing. I ended up revealing Lightning Bolt, leaving him with no outs.

Sideboarding:

-2 Dismember
-4 Stifle

+2 Winter Orb
+2 Ancient Grudge
+1 Spell Pierce
+1 Surgical Extraction

2–1
8–1

Round Ten: Romanchuk, Alexey – Mentor Miracles

(Short disclaimer: I write Mentor Miracles if I see Mentor game one and Miracles if I don’t. Postboard games have no influence.)

I mulliganned to six on the draw, and Alexey led with Island, go. I was afraid of Merfolk at this point, but when I cast a Delver on my turn and he Brainstormed in response, I was quite relieved. That Brainstorm set up a turn three Terminus, which I countered despite the fact that my Delver had not transformed by then. I ended up winning by aggressively countering Alexey’s removal spells, closing out the game with three Lightning Bolts to make up for the damage I missed with my Delver early on.

Game two was very uneventful. I kept seven, Alexey went to six. I countered his Counterbalance turn three, then cast Winter Orb on an empty board turn four, quickly locking Alexey out of the game while beating with a Nimble Mongoose.

Sideboarding:

-1 Delver of Secrets
-2 Tarmogoyf
-2 Dismember
-4 Lightning Bolt

+2 Winter Orb
+2 True-Name Nemesis
+3 Pyroblast
+1 Spell Pierce
+1 Surgical Extraction

2–0
9–1

Round Eleven: Juza, Martin – Aggro Loam

I was on the play for game one and when Martin cast a Deathrite Shaman off Badlands turn one, I was somewhat confused – a friend had done some scouting and I thought he told me Juza was on burg. Either way, Martin’s draw didn’t line up well against mine, plus he had mulliganned, so I won game one on 20 life (albeit not without the help of his Grove of the Burnwillows).

Game two it was my turn to mulligan and I got demolished similarly to Round Nine Game Two – Juza already had me Loam-locked on turn two.

Game three I was in complete control of the game. Turn three, I cast True-Name Nemesis with double Daze, Lightning Bolt and Counterspell in hand, which Martin couldn’t do anything about after I used the Dazes to counter his Golgari Charm. I ended up adding a Tarmogoyf to the board one or two turns later, locking up the game.

Sideboarding:

-4 Delver of Secrets
-4 Stifle

+2 Winter Orb
+2 True-Name Nemesis
+1 Ancient Grudge
+1 Spell Pierce
+2 Submerge

(On the draw, I brought in the second Grudge for the third Orb.)

2–1
10–1

Round Twelve: Henriksson, Per – Reanimator

Game one, I mulliganned on the play. I failed to find a second land with my Ponder, Per Reanimated Griselbrand on turn two with counter-backup.

Game two I drew a Nimble Mongoose, three lands, a couple Stifles and a billion counters – Per had to discard to hand size a few times while I beat him down to nine life in increments of one. At that point I finally managed to get seven cards into my graveyard and won the game with four or so counters left in my hand.

Game three, I cast exactly one spell: Force of Will. Unfortunately, Per also had Force and Grave Titan was too strong. But considering by how much I won game two, my deck probably still delivered an above-average performance throughout the match.

Sideboarding:

-2 Tarmogoyf
-2 Dismember
-1 Lightning Bolt

+3 Pyroblast
+1 Spell Pierce
+1 Surgical Extraction

On the play, I like to have the second Orb over the third Bolt.

1–2
10–2

Round Thirteen: Mackl, Valentin – Eldrazi Stax

Valentin and I had a fair bit of banter before our match, which was was more entertaining than our games, to be honest.

Game one I drew four or five lands in two Brainstorms while trying to find an answer to his turn two Trinisphere (at least I found the Daze for that one!), but then Valentin started casting uncounterable Reality Smashers. I could Dismember the first one, but they kept coming.

Game two I went Canadian Threshold on him and he was never in the game.

Game three he had turn one Hangarback Walker, turn two Thought-Knot Seer with a Spirit Guide for my Daze and turn three uncounterable Smasher again. Add all these together and you get probably the shortest match I played all weekend.

Sideboarding:

-4 Nimble Mongoose
-4 Stifle

+1 Winter Orb
+2 True-Name Nemesis
+2 Ancient Grudge
+1 Spell Pierce
+2 Rough // Tumble

1–2
10–3

Round Fourteen: Wall, Oskar – Colourless Eldrazi

I was on the play game one and we both kept seven cards. I had a very aggressive draw with two creatures and a counter for Oskar’s Dismember, so I easily won the game. (In case you haven’t noticed the pattern here: Dismember is very bad against my deck and tends to help me winning.)

Game two I had a Delver again and Oskar made the costly mistake of blowing up a Ratchet Bomb on zero counters to kill it. Of course, with the DFC rules change, this no longer works, so I got to keep my Delver. On his next turn, Oskar cast a Reality Smasher, which I Dismembered. I untapped and cast Winter Orb, from which he never recovered.

Sideboarding:

-4 Nimble Mongoose
-4 Stifle

+1 Winter Orb
+2 True-Name Nemesis
+2 Ancient Grudge
+1 Spell Pierce
+2 Rough // Tumble

2–0
11-3

Round Fifteen: Euser, Kasper – Miracles

I had a gut feeling that Kasper was on some non-blue deck, but he showed me he was on Miracles on his first turn, which was a big relief. I had a few creatures in game one, and when it was Nimble Mongooses turn, Kasper suddenly stopped killing my creatures. He chump blocked a few times with his Snapcasters, but when he went down to two life from my attack, I killed him with two Lightnings Bolts through his Force of Will.

Game two was rough. Kasper cast Ponder off Volcanic Island on turn one and then cast Counterbalance on turn two into my open Volcanic without shuffling after his Ponder. I didn’t have any life countermagic, but I Brainstormed into Surgical Extraction and Pyroblast. Counterbalance resolved and I tested the waters with a Ponder on my turn. He didn’t reveal his top card and the Ponder showed me Wasteland and Force of Will. I drew the Force and attempted Pyroblast on his Counterbalance, which I was surprised to see resolve – I was prepared to scoop up my cards and go to game three. He wanted to go to his turn, but I cast Surgical on his Counterbalance for good measure, nabbing a second copy from his hand and showing me Flooded Strand, Moat and two Swords to Plowshares. I forced his Moat, resolved Winter Orb, drew two copies of Nimble Mongoose and won several Top activations and one Terminus later.

Sideboarding:

-1 Delver of Secrets
-2 Tarmogoyf
-2 Dismember
-4 Lightning Bolt

+2 Winter Orb
+2 True-Name Nemesis
+3 Pyroblast
+1 Spell Pierce
+1 Surgical Extraction

2–0
12–3

At first, I was disappointed I didn’t get to play against Miracles at all day one, but I had a good showing anyway and got to play against it twice on day two to make up for it. I also realise that many of my games read: “I made a bold decision and got really lucky”, but I can definitely recommend my list for future tournaments and there’s nothing I would change – after all, I have put a fair amount of time into it.

If you want to try out this list, please do yourself a favour and don’t start replacing good cards with Tarmogoyfs. It makes many of the other cards worse and messes with your boarding plans for many matchups. Further, you don’t want eleven creatures maindeck and True-Name is too important in matchups like Death & Taxes, which can otherwise be hard. You should especially not cut any copies of Winter Orb, it’s way too important in a bunch of matchups.

As I said in the beginning, if you have any questions regarding the list or matchups, let me know! You can comment on the article, hit me up on twitter (@JonLX) or message me on facebook.

I posted a long list of shoutouts on facebook already, so at this point I only have one person left to thank: You, for reading.

Take care!
J

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