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GP Lisbon Report *2nd* - Day Two

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Elias Watsfeldt
Elias Watsfeldt

About Elias Watsfeldt

Elias is a Gold level player from Sweden, who started playing Magic in 2003 alongside most people in his school class. He generally prefers to play control decks, both in Limited and Constructed. Some of his accomplishments include:

  • Gold Pro Player
  • 53 Lifetime Pro Points
  • 2nd GP Lisbon 2012
  • 4th GP Ghent 2012
  • 5th GP San Diego 2011
  • 30th Worlds 2011
  • 20 PTQ Top8s (2 wins)

GP Lisbon Report *2nd* - Day Two

Hello again fellow Magic players.

Where was I? Yes, that’s right, something with Pack Rat.

At 8-0, I was up against David Ortiz of Spain, piloting, I am sorry to say, a pile of crap, 3 Swamp and a Pack Rat. Now, the deck was not all crap, but it had 12 3-drops, only 2 removal spells (one of them being Avenging Arrow) combined with three tricks, in Giant Growth, Swift Justice and Rootborn Defenses. You can find his deck in the coverage of Grand Prix Lisbon, under Day One Undefeated Decks, which should say something about how the match went. In the first game, his Vassal of Soul and Seller of Songbirds were up against my Skymark Roc, which, to be honest, is not a fair fight. In game two, he got good use out of his Rootborn Defenses and Giant Growth, killing two creatures (on separate turns) with Knightly Valor and Ethereal Armor. At some point in the game, I could topdeck Cyclonic Rift in two turns to, presumably, advance to 9-0, but I didn’t. Going into game three, I thought about the fact that Ortiz had played several black mana sources, in the form of Golgari Keyrune and Swamps, without casting a single black spell. He probably had Pack Rat, against which I could bring in Street Spasm and Izzet Charm, alongside 2-3 Mountain and Izzet Guildgate. Though, I already had Detention Sphere, and since I was on the play, racing Pack Rat was definitely an option. The following criteria had to be met for the splash to be worth it:

  1. He actually has Pack Rat in his deck
  2. He will cast in on turn two, off his three to four Swamps.
  3. I won’t be able to race it.
  4. I won’t draw Detention Sphere.
  5. I must have Street Spasm or Izzet Charm, alongside a red mana source in the top nine cards.

If it were not for Pack Rat, I would not expose myself to the risk of taking unnecessary mulligans by boarding in red, since the matchup already was, provided he does not have Pack Rat, in my favor. I decided not to add another color and kept the following seven:

2 Inaction Injunction

1 Skymark Roc

1 Voidwielder

3 Lands

He kept the following seven

Land

Swamp

Pack Rat

4 Copies of Pack Rat

Now, if I hit my fifth landrop, I will be able to play Voidwielder, bouncing one of his Pack Rat tokens, then attack with Skymark Roc, bouncing the last token, leaving him with just a single Pack Rat in play. I neither drew the fifth land in time, nor Detention Sphere.

I was rather pleased with my day one record of 5-1, especially since I felt slightly lucky in a few of the other rounds. I ended up in 8th place after day 1, with the rather absurd tiebreakers of 83.33%, which meant that I would be drafting at Pod 1 on day two. Some of the names in my pod I did recognize, for example David Ortiz (the nice Spanish guy with Pack Rat), Antti Malin (Former World Champion from Finland) and Matteo Versari (winner of Grand Prix Malmö this year).

Azorius was once again up, even though I had to sacrifice my first pick in Stab Wound. I reckon 3 power flyers (and Knightly Valor) to be extremely important in Azorius (as I emphasized several times in the last article) therefore, I was pleased to see the three Azorius amigos coming spread out across the next three packs. Skymark Roc, New-Prav Guildmage and Lyev Skyknight. And yes, I should never ever again call them the three Azorius amigos. From that point I made sure to pick up some nice defenders, some Knightly Valors, a couple of flyers and some tricks. Luckily, I got everything I needed. Apart from the Azorius amigos (sorry, did it again) I got 2 Voidwielder, 2 Knightly Valor, 2 Hussar Patrol, 2 Armory Guard, 2 Azorius Guildgate, 1-2 Dramatic Rescue, some early drops and flyers. My first match, against Antti Malin, played out exactly the way I wanted it to. While attacking in the air with Vassal Soul, I blocked his Centaur token with Hussar Patrol, straight into Common Bond. Then I created my own big creature, with the help of Knightly Valor. An Inaction Injunction, an Isperia's Skywatch and a Dramatic Rescue later, he was dead. In game two, I curved Doorkeeper, into Seller of Songbirds, into Armory Guard, into Skymark Roc. He could neither kill my Skymark Roc nor attack through my creatures.

In round two, I played the guy drafting to my left, who played some sort of combination between Izzet and Azorius. He was unable to get rid of Skymarc Roc, who, in combination with Voidwielder, proved to be too much for him to bear.

Despite not having lost a single game, I was still a bit nervous about playing another 2-0 deck in the finals. Apparently, that was not going to happen, as I got paired against Michael Milis of Belgium with a record of 1-1 in the draft. The only real benefit of going into the draft with fewer points than the others.

Anyway, he was playing Rakdos and led off with a Gore-House Chainwalker on turn two. Well then, I thought to myself, I should probably sideboard in my 2 Doorkeepers for game two...

...and speaking of the devil, what did I find on top of my library? One of my 2 Doorkeepers had apparently taken his chances to see what he can do in my main deck. I did not take this as a miracle, nor a nice gesture from Doorkeeper, but as a superb opportunity to ask the closet judge for a game loss. A game loss at 11-1 was a bit frustrating, especially since I can’t recall the last time I got a game loss for not desideboarding correctly. Either way, his Rakdos deck (at least what I saw) was not that great. I won the other two games fairly comfortably with Armory Guards, Voidwielders and Knightly Valors.

Once again, I got the honor of drafting at pod 1, into which all players with X-1 made it. The following players were in the pod:

1. Matteo Versari

2. Elias Watsfeldt (that is me!)

3. Sveinung Björnerud

4. David Ortiz (you know, the nice Spanish guy with Pack Rat!)

5. Robin Dolar

6. Johan Verhulst

7. Lasse Nörgaard

8. Ricardo Duarte

My draft was covered by Tobi Henke and this is his pretty accurate description of my first three, highly debatable picks.

“He opened Corpsejack Menace, Phantom General, Azorius Arrester, Gatecreeper Vine, Izzet Guildgate, and Rogue's Passage, and indeed went for the Passage, setting his sights on a strong aggressive deck rather than hedging his bets. He followed it up with Giant Growth over Ogre Jailbreaker, Golgari Longlegs, Voidwielder, and Dramatic Rescue all of which he considered. Clearly Watsfeldt wasn't determined to draft Azorius no matter what, but a third-pick Sphinx of the Chimes did bring him into blue.”

Rogue's Passage over Corpsejack Menace?? Giant Growth over Voidwielder/Dramatic Rescue?

As you can tell, I do like Rogue's Passage, and as you can tell from my second pick, I would rather play it in a green deck than a blue. Rogue's Passage is a card I have never ever cut from a draft deck and I have always been happy with its performance. By that reasoning, I am first picking a good card that I will play every time. Corpsejack Menace also is a good card, but it is only playable in one fifth of the archetypes, which makes it less appealing. To me it doesn’t really matter what 2nd pick you take, as the cards are at about the same power level. Giant Growth did fit slightly better with Rogue's Passage, so I took it.

In the second pack I got myself a Supreme Verdict, and I ended up with a decent Azorius deck. I would need a 2-1 record to make top 8, which I thought would be tight since the quality of the packs was pretty high. Apparently, the quality was higher than I thought.

In the first round of the draft, I once again faced Sveinung Björnerud of Norway, piloting a Selesnya deck with Trostani, Selesnya's Voice, several Common Bonds and some other goodies. I managed to Supreme Verdict away a lot of cards in the first game, but since he followed up with Slime Molding and Risen Sanctuary it was not really close. In game two, he got Trostani into play and started to populate 2/2 Knights and when I tried to Supreme Verdict he had Rootbound Defenses ready. Prompt 0-2.

David Ortiz was next up...yeah, the guy with the Pack Rat. The winner of this match would play for top 8 next round, not to mention the sweet revenge I could get from winning here. Since he lost his last round, I was hoping his deck wouldn’t be that good. Or if it was, maybe I could draw Supreme Verdict.

His deck was good. I did not draw verdict. Still, I got my sweet revenge.

He was on Rakdos, and somehow I managed to race Deathrite Shaman and Guttersnipe (combined with with Augur Spree and Explosives) mainly with Sphinx of the Chimes. At one crucial point, I had Sphinx of the Chimes, a pretty useless creature and 12-14 life, and I was facing down the already named creatures, but also Desecration Demon, with him at 10 life. In his beginning of combat step, I sacrificed my “pretty useless creature” to tap his Demon. If I drew a creature, I would be able to yet again tap his Demon, coming in for 5+5 with the Sphinx. Hussar Patrol came at a timely manner.

In game two, I got to see his last rare. Same as yesterday, David? Indeed it was Pack Rat. Luckily for me, it was his first creature, and it came down on around turn 6, whereas I curved Concordia Pegasus, into Vassal Soul, into Runewing, into Knightly Valor etc. etc. He was favored in this match, but so was I the day before. Sweet revenge!

In the final match of the swiss, I got paired against Italian Grand Prix winner Mateo Versari, with Golgari and a record of x-1-1. He offered me a draw, which was an offer, I simply could refuse. Despite the hard to refuse Italian charm, if I wanted to make top 8, I had to battle his deck with Golgari Charm.

My plan the first game was to set up a nice Supreme Verdict, which was easier said than done, since he stumbled on 3 mana for ages. But when he finally played his fourth, and fifth land, Supreme Verdict took the game with the help of some large flyers. I don’t remember anything interesting happening in game two, I just drew reasonably well, whereas he didn’t.

My total combined record in the three Grand Prix events previous to this one, was (while in contention for day two) 2-9. While being thrilled to have made top 8, I did feel more satisfaction. This was the last big tournament with Return to Ravnica sealed as the format and I would quite frankly have been really disappointed if I did not make top 64. All my drafts and all my sealed decks would have been in vain (or that is how I saw it at the time) due to a total of three Grand Prix events with RtR Limited and also the draft portion of Pro Tour Return to Ravnica resulting in nothing.

Instead (luckily) of resulting in nothing, all my practice carried me to a Grand Prix top 8, with 50 % Scandinavians!

To find out how the Scandinavians did, please return in about two weeks for the final part!

(A particularly bad cliffhanger)

Thanks for reading!

Elias

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