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)
My Grand Prix Verona Experience
fellow Magic players.
In two days,
I will be leaving for GP Utrecht, a tournament I am very excited to play in,
and I will be teaming with two strong players from Stockholm, namely Joel
Larsson and Mikael Magnusson. Joel Larsson is mainly famous for his hairstyle,
which even Justin Bieber now has adapted, but also for three Grand Prix top8s,
a Pro Tour top 8, a Pro Tour top 16 and a strong (2nd place) finish at Swedish
Nationals 2011. Mikael Magnusson is an, according to Joel, old-timer who played
on the Pro Tour before I was even born. He is also very well-dressed, which
certainly is a bonus.
Utrecht aside, I played a Standard Grand Prix last weekend in Verona. Despite
not finishing in the money and the weather being really bad, I still had a good
time. Joel Larsson and his roommate Gerry Thompson had located a very good
pizza place where you bought delicious slices of pizza and paid per kilogram.
The place was filled with Magic players during Saturday and Sunday night. I
also got to play reasonably fair Magic, which is always nice. I played a Jund
deck based on Reid Duke's latest lists and some tips I got from Jan van der Vegt
and Michael Bonde. Some last minute optimizing of the deck, unfortunately led to me registering a 59-card deck. This is the list I
|Converted Mana Cost|
was really strong, but I was, and still am, ambivalent about Bonfire of the Damned. During the 13 rounds I played, I only miracled Bonfire once, and it
then served as nothing but a Lava Axe. I was never satisfied having it in my
opening hand and sideboarded it out in most matchups. Even against an
aggressive deck such as Jund aggro, you need to get to seven mana to kill those Flinthoof Boars and Dreg Manglers.
byes, I faced Hall of Famer Shuhei Nakamura of Japan, playing some kind of Junk
Reanimator. I honestly don't think my game loss ended up mattering, since the
matchup was kind of bad. While I was stuck with only green and black mana,
Nakamura curved Avacyn's Pilgrim, into Borderland Ranger, into Mulch and Grisly Salvage, revealing Craterhoof Behemoth, Angel of Serenity, Unburial Rites and
some lands. I think my chances of winning two straight games against that deck
were around 10 %.
match was quite interesting, and I might have been able to win if I only had
known about more decks in the format. I won the first game rather easily while
my opponent showed me the following cards:
I thought I
was playing against some sort of Grixis control with removal and planeswalkers,
so I naturally sideboarded out some removal for Underworld Connections, Duress
and Rakdos's Return, thinking he would do the same. While I was playing Underworld Connections among other sideboard cards, my opponent played Stromkirk Noble, Delver of Secrets and Duskmantle Seer and killed me pretty quickly. Had I actually known about that deck, my horrible sideboard cards would
have been some real removal instead. After a mulligan in game three, I was
forced to keep a hand relying on Olivia Voldaren to steal his Duskmantle Seer
or Stromkirk Noble, but when he found Searing Spear after drawing two with Izzet Charm, I was dead.
illustrated the importance of staying up to date with the decks in the format
and I can't really blame this loss on variance, even though I consider myself
to be strongly favored in game three. If I only had correctly identified the
deck I was playing against game one, I probably would have won that match.
0-2 is obviously quite miserable, but it comes with an upside as well. Winning
with a 3-2 record is way easier than winning with a 4-1 or 5-0 record, which
was shown in round 6. Even though the deck I played against was not completely
horrible, it can't really be considered a tier one or tier two deck. My
opponent played a GW deck, with Arbor Elf, Deadbridge Goliath, Silverblade Paladin and Rancor. In other words, a deck that the Jund deck is built to beat.
Next up was
Wolf Run Bant, against which I drew pretty well. I managed to win both games
with the help of my planeswalkers, despite facing multiple Sphinx's Revelation
in both games. In the second game, my opponent used Dissipate to exile my Olivia Voldaren and followed it up with Witchbane Orb. After that reasonable
opening, he did not find a way to deal with Liliana of the Veil (which crippled
his Sphinx's Revelation) or Garruk, Primal Hunter.
managed to win my next match after some uninteresting games against Jund aggro,
which meant I got to play a mirror match for day two. For reference, here is my
general sideboard plan against Jund, depending on the number of cards your
opponent boards in etc:
- 2 Tragic Slip
- 2 Abrupt Decay
- 3 Liliana of the Veil
- 2 Arbor Elf/Huntmaster of the Fells (depending on my gut feeling ^^)
+ 2 Underworld Connections
+ 2 Duress
+ 1 Rakdos's Return
+ 1 Staff of Nin
+ 2 Acidic Slime
+ 1 Increasing Ambition (a strong late game card)
I think the
mirror match is pretty interesting, as there is a lot going on. A very strong
card is Rakdos's Return, as it often forces your opponent to discard his entire
hand while maybe killing a planeswalker, but I don't think it is the strongest
card. If you sideboard into a very top-heavy deck, as I do, your opening hand
might look like this:
Now, this is
sort of what a typical opening hand looks like, which means it is really hard
to mulligan. Though at the same time, it is really not that impressive,
especially not on the draw.
the same hand, but with Farseek instead of Dreadbore. Much better? My point is
that if you are on the play with Farseek, and your opponent lacks it, you are
I had one
very small, but crucial decision to make in game one. I played a Liliana of the Veil on turn three and used its first ability, having the option to discard one
of my three 5-drops, or my fifth land. Now, I don't remember the exact
situation, but the general decision remains the same. If I draw my fifth mana
source in time, discarding a land would just net me another Thragtusk. However,
if I don't, I will sit with three pretty useless spells in my hand. Since it is
game one, I really don't need to play around Rakdos's Return, which makes
discarding a land appealing. I had to evaluate how much I needed that third
5-drop, which is very hard considering the different ways the matchup plays
out. In the end, I chose to discard my land, which would punish me a couple of
fell behind, while my opponent played Thragtusk and Olivia Voldaren (with Kessig Wolf Run in play). Somehow, I managed to get back into the game, despite
wasting one turn playing a useless Rakdos's Return, and another drawing five
cards with Garruk, Primal Hunter. The key turn was when I reached seven mana,
and was able to kill Olivia Voldaren with Dreadbore (getting back my Thragtusk)
and then playing another Thragtusk from hand.
against boarding in my Increasing Ambition, due to the fact that my opponent
only brought in around 5-6 cards. According to Jan van der Vegt, some games are
decided by one player just curving out with creatures, and that is exactly what
happened in the second game. My opponent curved Vampire Nighthawk, into Huntmaster of the Fells, into Thragtusk, into Kessig Wolf Run, which nicely negated my
sideboard plan and pretty slow hand.
game played out according to plan, as I played Farseek on the play, while he
didn't. A Rakdos's Return later and I was in day two!
two after starting 0-2 really feels nice, even though I had my three byes. That
meant I could go to the pizza place with a relaxed mind.
didn't go too well, 3-4 to be precise. I began with a loss to Naya Midrange
where game one was decided on the dice roll. After beating him game two, I lost
the deciding game to Assemble the Legion with Murder and Tragic Slip in my hand
(after a mulligan).
remaining six matches played out in the same way. Half of the time I had the
correct answers (Liliana for Geist of Saint Traft or Tragic Slip for Falkenrath Aristocrat) and half the time I had the wrong answers (Murder against Geist of Saint Traft or Bonfire of the Damned against Falkenrath Aristocrat). If I got
to play the tournament again, I would still have played Jund Midrange, slightly
more adapted to a midrange meta. I would cut Bonfire of the Damned in the main
deck for two other removal spells and a planeswalker of choice. I am not sure
what removal spells or which planeswalker you want, since it is very dependent
on the meta. In other words, the creatures in this format are just too big for
an un-miracled Bonfire of the Damned to kill. I would also remove Increasing Ambition (in all honesty, it was more of a cool card than actually good) and Garruk Relentless for another Ground Seal, a Rakdos Charm (against decks with Unburial Rites) and Murder (or another real removal spell).
upcoming PTQs and WMCQs I recommend this deck based on its raw power and lack
of bad matchups, but there certainly are options in this format. In the top 8
of Grand Prix Verona, we saw 6 different decks, ranging from Naya Humans with
12 one-drops to Junk Reanimator with Craterhoof Behemoth. Even in the Grand
Prix in Rio de Janeiro the same weekend we had 6 different decks. A diverse
format, to say the least.
mention that the two RUW decks from Verona were also quite different from each
other. One used Boros Reckoner and Sphinx's Revelation while the other used Geist of Saint Traft and Thundermaw Hellkite. It is interesting to see how the
RUW decks evolve from the original lists from Pro Tour Gatecrash where most
people (if not all) had the four Boros Reckoner in main deck. As said, one top
8 competitor decided to use Geist of Saint Traft instead, and Gerry Thompson
decided to cut them entirely. Joel Larsson stayed put with his deck that
brought him to the finals of Pro Tour Gatecrash, main-decking both Boros Reckoner and Boros Charm, which gives him the ability to gain infinite life. He
finished just outside of the top 64, which might not be that impressive, but
still proves the fact that you can build your deck in different ways.
all from me this time and I will be back after Grand Prix Utrecht, with
hopefully some interesting stories and how we decided to approach this team
sealed format. As of now, I think the most important thing is to open a good Simic
deck. If you are unable to build a reasonable Simic deck, the other three decks
will probably take cards from each other. Ideally, you want one Simic deck, then
one Boros/Gruul deck and finally a combination of the Esper colors. If you
instead remove Simic from the equation, and for example build Esper, Boros and
Gruul, you will have to split the red cards between your Boros and Gruul deck,
which certainly will make both decks worse.