Competitive magic is one of the most enjoyable things there is for me. Modo is fun and all, but being able to play with actually cards and opponents is just an overall better experience. So usually I plan to go to ptqs a month or so in advance. This one was more last minute. I was thinking about skipping it because I hadn’t found an extended deck I really liked yet. I didn’t feel equipped to win zoo mirrors, UW tezzeret didn’t have the power I was looking for, scapeshift was way overplayed and so people would be packing serious hate, bant felt just worse than zoo, and no matter how much of the metagame it makes up people will always pack hate for dredge.
My friend Mark had decided he wanted to try playing dark depths for his ptqs, and since I had most the cards online already I finished up the deck so he could try it out. Since I had it built I decided to try it in some ques myself. I loved the deck. It felt kinda like merfolk used to where you get to play blue so against decks running green and red you were playing the controlling role, but against almost every other blue deck you were the aggressor. Dark confidant kinda felt like silvergill adept and Marit Lage felt like wake thrasher on steroids. About two weeks before the ptq I sent out an email to see if I could get the cards together. Long story short one of my friends Bryce really came through providing 70% of the deck along with a few cards from three or four other people I had the deck almost complete. I ended up forking out about 80$ on cards from channel fireball, but most of those cards I bought have good resale value and I could use them for other extended ptqs.
Round 1 ???? with White Weenie
This was probably my easiest round of the whole event. Game 1 he mulled to 5 and lead off with an ancient den, so I thought he was affinity, but then he played savannah lions. He didn’t put much pressure on me and ran his whole hand out which let me combo without needing to clique or thoughtseize first. He was able to chump once or twice before he died.
Game 2 I thoughtseized away his only 2 drop in hand, and on turn 3 he had put me down to 8 life with 5 one mana permanents in play. I played explosives whiped his board, untapped and then made a 20/20 and won
Round 2 ???? with Aggro Scapeshift
Game 1 was a very close game, went back and forth for a while. We both managed our resources well and eventually…oh wait now I remember… I got a game loss. Apparently 14 card sideboards aren’t tournament legal. Who knew? In reality, in my scramble to get the last cards I needed for the tournament I had forgotten to register doomblade in my sideboard. Oh well.
Game 2 wasn’t much of a game at all. I mulliganed a couple times, but had thoughtseize on turn 1, combo on turn 2 or 3, and the kill on turn 4.
Game 3 was very similarly to game 2. I double thoughtseized him on turn 2, and then ripped hexmage to kill him a few turns later. This match up is usually easy as long as they don’t get blood moon.
Round 3 ???? With Hive Mind Combo
This is another good matchup. They have no bounce spells pre-board usually, and while they have to spend a good deal of time setting their combo up, mine is easily assembled. Throw in the fact I run 7 hand disruption cards, 4 counterspells, and chalice of the void this matchup is strictly in my favor.
Game 1 I go turn 1 confidant off of a mox pitching something(beseech I think). He suspends lotus bloom. The confidant gets in some damage before he plays his own. He hits a hive mind on his first one and is quickly put to 10 life and I hit a beseech on my second trigger after hitting a land on the first, but my life total is pretty irrelevant in this match up anyway. I play a chalice for 0 for his suspended lotus bloom. We trade confidants, and I beat him down with a hexmage while I tutor for my combo pieces. The turn before he dies to hexmage he tries to use pact of the titan to block but forgot I had chaliced for 0. I remember somewhere along the line he forgot to use a fetch at my end of turn step and then used it to find a steam vents on his own turn quickening my clock by a full turn.
Game 2 I don’t remember much of the early game except we get to the point where I v-clique him and take his seething song leaving him with a pact, rite of flame, 2 hive minds, his own clique, and 4 lands in play. He decides his best chance to win is to try to combo before me which requires him to draw a land(if he didn’t already get one off of my clique. So he takes my thoughtseize leaving me with hexmage, confidant, and some other irrelevant spells in hand and a dark depths in play. The cliques legendary rule each other, I drop hexmage and he flips the top card of his deck. It’s a blood moon and I am now 3-0.
Round 4 ???? With Affinity
While we are shuffling we talk about what people tend to say before matches. He asked me what I’ve beaten so far and I tell him I’d rather not tell him. He says has played against the mirror, a dark depths and… a white weenie deck?(Is this an actual deck because this is the first time I’ve seen this deck and now twice in one day.)
I win the die roll and keep the worst hand I could possibly keep vs affinity. I had him pegged on thopter sword for some reason and so this hand seems decent for that matchup. Muddle Muddle, Mox Mox, Confidant, Tolaria West, Chalice. In retrospect this is probably a terrible keep vs any deck. When he leads off with spring leaf drum off of an ancient den. My hand is instantly terrible. Add to that that my first draws were chalice, explosives and then thoughtseize I was never really in this game.
Games two and three were a lot easier. Game 2 I went turn one confidant off of a mox. I could have chaliced for 0 but chose not to which I believe is correct. He then played 2 ornithopters, an artifact land, a spring leaf drum, and a frogmite. However none of the mattered since I comboed him on turn 4 and explosives for 0 to take out the ornithopters. He had a blinkmoth nexus to block with, but he just scooped.
Game 3 My opponent leads with thoughtseize, duress thoughtseize duress… GEEZ somebody doesn’t like combo decks. Problem is that he never landed a threat the entire game. He had two cranial platings one of which I stripped with my own thoughtseize and then the turn before I kill him with marit lage(I drew a tolaria west and beseech to assmemble the combo) he finally drew an arcbound worker.
Round 5 ???? With Affinity
I don’t remember much of either of these games except they were both blowouts in my favor. Affinity just doesn’t have what it takes to beat a 20/20 flying indestructible token.
Round 6 ???? With Faeries.
During round 5 there was a faeries mirror match to one side of me and a bant mirror on the other so I knew I was playing either bant of faeries this round. I think looking back I would rather play faeries because I practiced the matchup a lot more(it’s a lot more common on modo than bant). Game 1s are usually not that good since bitterblossom trumps marit lage and they have cryptic command to bounce the token. Most lists don’t seem to run repeal anymore which is nice, but it also makes chalices much worse. From my experience with this matchup though as long as they don’t resolve vision your good so always make sure you stick a chalice for 0. Sticking a confidant is also nice since their only answer is cryptic.
He wins the die roll and goes first. A turn one thoughtseize would wreck me so when he pops his fetch I am praying its just Ancestral Vision. When he gets an island I breath a sigh of relief. The chalice in my hand is going to go to work. I debate whether to play it on turn 1. It makes any mox I draw a dead card but ensures he can’t spellstutter it. I decide against it. When he follows with a turn 2 bitterblossom things look bad. I have no turn 2 play and pass back. On my turn 3 end step he v-cliques me and in response I repeal his bblossom(he has only made 1 token so far). He takes one of my two v-cliques(I think this is a misplay on his part). He replays bblossom with 1 mana up and passes back. This turn I play chalice for 0 and legendary rule his v-clique. I can’t remember what I took but whatever he drew off v-clique is what prompted him to call the judge. Apparently he forgot to desideboard so he presented an illegal deck and received a game loss. Afterwards I learned the card was threads of disloyalty. The thing is, he could have tried to play it out, but once I see the threads I am probably going to call a judge as that’s a very suspicious maindeck. Either way it was unfortunately that my opponent, who was a really nice guy, had to lose his preboard game like that.
Game 2 was pretty easy. I turn 1 thoughtseize him, turn 2 bitterblossom, turn 3 play hexmage and pass because I can only play tolaria west. Turn 4 he mistbinds me, so in response I v-clique him. I strip his cryptic leaving him with just jitte and mana leak and then play dark depths. He untaps, plays jitte equips to mistbind and leaves it back. By this point I have 3-4 tokens and now a 20/20 with it and my opponent is tapped out. I draw beseech off the top. Tutor for slaughter pact and that’s the game.
Round 7 and 8 ID. I draw in against a bant player and then an all in red player and get the third place seed after the swiss. During these rounds I had two friends, Basil and Phillip who were still in contention for top 8, and then Adam who had dropped was playing in the GPT. Bryce who was x-2 after losing to matt sperling in round 5 decided to play out the event since I was a lo
Quarterfinals ???? Playing Red Deck Wins
I go into this match thinking he is all in red, but a turn 1 goblin guide off of great furnace clarifies that. I untap, mox, chalice for 1 and he proceeds to some absurd amount of 1 mana spells. I drew fairly poorly after the chalice, but since he had no pressure I was able get a 20/20 and kill him with 5 life.
The next game he starts out with goblin guide followed by helspark. I chalice for one on my second turn, and then use thopter foundry to turn my extra chalices and moxes into thopters. Eventually I tutor for the combo at six life. He has two blinkmoth nexus to block with, but I don’t think I could have lost this one at that point since I was holding a muddle the mixture. I did misplay this round. I could have killed him one turn early by using beseech the queen for slaughter pact for one of his nexuses.
Semifinals ???? Playing Bant
This is the guy I drew with in the 7th round. We played a few games for fun then, but neither of us were really playing seriously.(during one of the practice games he kept a hand of treetop, bant charm, forest, forest and three tarmogoyfs and still beat me!) Game one I win the roll and assemble the combo with chalice for one out, but I think he has bant charm so I just keep my finger on the trigger till I draw a vendilion clique and find out he has nothing. I make a 20/20 and attack for the win.
The second game he has a pretty good start with hierarch into meddling mage turn 3 war monk. I repeal it on his turn 4 endstep. On my turn 4 he cliques me, but I have two thoughtseizes and a doomblade in hand. I double thoughtseize him and he is hold path bant charm mana leak and mage. I take the path and charm, but he replays the mage naming doomblade. I make another misplay this game and play my land before tapping my river of tears so I can’t transmute my tolaria west for a slaughter pact. The truth is I would have lost regardless, but that’s no excuse for sloppy play. The next turn I pact the mage, doomblade the clique and go for the combo at one life. At this point he is at 29 so it will take two attacks. His board is war monk and two hiearchs. He attacks into me and I have block so I made the token and kill his war monk. However he has threads and I am dead.
The last game was pretty funny. I open with chrome mox into chalice for one. Then drop hexmage and make the terrible play of playing a mox in my hand without imprinting anything and trying to cycle repeal on it. My opponent points out my chalice and I bin my
repeal which I could have used on my opponents 1/2 tarmogoyf. However luck is on my side, and I draw depths off the top. He scoops showing me his hand of path, path, hierarch, hierarch, spell snare and war monk. Apparently when I chaliced his hand was hierarch hierarch, path snare tarmogoyf and 2 lands.
That’s one thing I really like about this deck is how efficiently it combos. At any given time if you have on combo piece you can either draw one your 3 beseechs, 4 copies of the other combo piece, or 4 cards that transmute into the other combo piece.
Finals James Gates With Combo Scapeshift
I had watched enough of James’s games to pretty much know his list.
I win the roll and use a mox to turn 2 vendilion clique him. I am holding a confidant so I have to take his electrolyze over his scapeshift. I can’t remember if he then pondered or magma jetted my clique. I draw another confidant and play both out knowing he only runs two electrolyze and probably doesn’t have the second one. He does, he three for ones me and then I procede to draw mox mox explosives and lose to scapeshift while trying to represent muddle.
Game 2 I keep a hand with mox, extracts, two lands which are not urborg, dark depths, muddle, and beseech. I miss my third land drop, but draw it the next turn and resolve extraction. From there I draw hexmage which holds off his wood elves and double tribe elder. I get a chalice for one down which he is forced to into the roil to play his double ponder. Eventually I v-clique him and see blanks and an oracle. “You lose here right?” I said. “You know what coiling oracle does right?” is his reply. When he hits a search for tomorrow off of it he scoops.
I can’t remember much of the beginning of the final game, but I remember it got to the point where he had six lands out I clique him on his draw step. His hand is valakuft valakut and magma jet. I leave it be knowing that since I am holding muddle the mixture and my combo with mana for both he has no outs. I play out my combo and he jets my clique. I combo end of his turn and even forget to draw for my turn in my hurry to turn my token sideways.
And that was it. My first ptq top 8 and I took it down. Wish me luck in Puerto Rico!