Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The WNM GPT and going Rogue

By Wagz

Recently I played in a PTQ for Pro Tour San Juan and was lucky enough to win it. The next day I played in a GPT for Madrid in Manchester. I am going to the Grand Prix in Madrid, which is next weekend so decided trying to get some byes and practicing my deck would be top notch. I went 3-0, ID, ID, win Quarter Finals and lose Semi Finals. I checked my DCI Total Rating the next Wednesday to find with horror that I had actually lost 10 points at the GPT, bringing me to 1943 which is 7 points below the level for 2 Byes.

I had actually lost a Bye at a GPT.

I therefore had to play in WNM to get my rating up to the level. However, since my rating was so high I needed to outright 3-0 two WNMs in a row and hope that one of my opponents had a decent enough rating to give me 2 points from the match. Half of my wish was answered when 2 weeks ago I played Time Sieve Combo at WNM and went 3-0, gaining 4 ratings points in the process. I went into tonight's battle needing to 3-0 to succeed. Here's what I played:

4 Birds of Paradise
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Hedron Crab
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Ranger of Eos
4 Baneslayer Angel
3 Path to Exile
4 Ponder
2 Trapmaker's Snare
4 Archive Trap
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Terramorphic Expanse
3 Halimar Depths
3 Plains
4 Island
5 Forest

4 Rhox War Monk
4 Negate
1 Path to Exile
3 Wall of Reverence
1 Trapmaker's Snare
2 Felidar Sovereign

The plan was to mill them game 1 and side into fat lifegain creatures games 2 and 3 after they screw up their deck in sideboarding (or get more mill in against control decks).

Round 1

Was against Colin Ward piloting Jund. I kept a slightly sketchy Birds, 2 Forest, 2 Island, Path, Archive Trap but draw a second Trap straight away to 26 him off a fetchland. I made the Birds turn 1 and turn 2 was able to EOT Path his Sprouting Thrinax and use the Trapmaker's Snare I'd drawn to fetch my third Archive Trap. I drew the Hedron Crab now (how lucky) and milled him another 3 cards and another 3 the next turn to put the game away.

Game 2 I get two mana guys down by turn 2 and he had a Pyroclasm to wreck my team. I wasn't so happy with this but was able to make a 4/4 Knight of the Reliquary on turn 3, discard 2 lands to the Bloodbraid-Blightning combo and then make a second 6/6 Knight of the Reliquary. I didn't attack to keep the option of Pathing my own guy (only card left in hand) to avoid getting wrecked by Maelstrom Pulse but he doesn't have it so I Path his Putrid Leech EOT and start swinging with my fat monsters.

Round 2

This round I played Dan Hiscutt who was running a B/R Unearth deck. He was unable to get hold of some Extractor Demons before the tournament started but I didn't fancy drawing him cards by milling his Unearth cards. I therefore used my Crab to mill myself to 'level up' my Knight of the Reliquary to stem the tide of his attacks before getting a Baneslayer Angel down who is just obnoxious really.

Game 2 it takes me a lot longer to get there as I kept Terramorphic Expanse, Birds, Hierarch and spells (I kept Terramorphic Expanse, 2 Birds and spells last game) but he had the removals. I draw turn 3 Plains, turn 4 Terramorphic Expanse to start casting my spells on turn 5 but luckily my massive creatures stop his from killing me and I take the match.

Round 3

Crunch time - win and in, as they say. I faced John Ingham who always has wacky brews. He borrowed 2 Sunpetal Grove and a Stoneforge Mystic off me at the start of the tournament so I dread to think what he has. He starts with Kitesail Apprentice into Bone Saw, swinging in for 3 on turn 2. I was a bit surprised but I get a start with a mana guy and 2 Hedron Crabs to start the milling about. I make a Knight of the Reliquary after getting put to 9 life opposite a Kitesail Apprentice with a Bone Saw, a Knight of the White Orchid and a Kor Skyfisher. John tapped 3 of his 4 lands for a Sigil of Distinction, equipped it to the Skyfisher and used Brave the Elements to give his guys protection from White. He'd forgotten that my Hedron Crab could block his Knight unfortunately and so only dropped me to 2. I untapped, used Ranger of Eos for the last 2 Crabs and used Knight to get a fetch into a normal land, dropping me to 1 life but exhausting his library to make him lose in his draw step. Sorry John :(

Game 2 I keep a bit of a slow one with turn 3,4,5,6 lifegain monsters. Sometimes it's just not good enough though as he makes turn 1 Kor Duelist, turn 2 Mystic for Sigil, turn 3 Sigil for 3 equipped to Duelist and knock me to 12, I make my Rhox War Monk but he has a Kor Hookmaster and swung me to 5. A Wall of Reverence for me briefly gained me 3 life but a Path to Exile took it to game 3, jinkies!

Game 3 I keep another slowish one but I have the advantage of being on the play, so I don't take 50,000 damage before I cast a spell. I get turn 3 War Monk, turn 4 Knight of the Reliquary. I make a turn 5 Wall of Reverence but it is pathed before I gain any life. He uses the Mystics to fetch and make Unscythe which he equips to a Kor Skyfisher and I make a Baneslayer so we start to develope a stand-off. I get a second and a third Baneslayer down, using Ponder and Fetchlands and Knight into Halimar Depths to generate good cards in hand and have Path to Exiles to clear a Path for my Baneslayers to start swinging in and dropped John to 0 life, who knew Baneslayer was bonkers?

I don't think this deck is the bees knees but it took people by surprise, which is often what it takes to get a few wins. I don't think going rogue gives you a huge advantage if the deck you are playing is crap but it does generate an advantage you wouldn't normally have - confusion. So long as the deck you're running is good enough and you don't lose much value by not playing the good deck instead then going rogue can provide a lot of value to win a tournament.

I'll have to play something else a bit funny next WNM but I won't be so scared of losing next time, that's for sure!

P.S. Make sure to watch the Pro Tour San Diego coverage this weekend, Team Leeds' very own Andy Edwards is going to win it.