PPTQ: Dredged out of the Top8

Koper hosted a Modern PPTQ this Saturday and our playgroup decided to spend a weekend on Slovenian coast so we could attend a Modern FNM as well, and we did so in style as three of us finished in the Top3. But truth to be told, the Modern scene on the coast is still growing and this was one of their first Modern events so I was pleased to learn that their timing was awesome. Needless to say, it was a fun evening, and if we would have known, we could have brought extra decks or tried out some brews of our own.

As it was, I wielded UB Faeries and went 2-1, which was enough for the 3rd place. I got to face a Treasure Hunt deck, Abzan Midrange (Junk) and Eldrazi Tron against a friend of mine (who crushed me 2-0). A quick note: I’m loving Kalitas mainboard and also liked the Tasigur from the side. Against Treasure Hunt with Seismic Assault, both games ended after I countered his spell (Mana Leak and Spell Snare). Either way, it was a memorable experience and a change of scenery for smaller Magic tournaments is always refreshing.

FNM Modern (Koper, Slovenia, 19th of August 2016) - 3rd out of 8

Creatures (10)
Spellstutter Sprite
Vendilion Clique
Mistbind Clique
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

Spells (25)
Ancestral Vision
Cryptic Command
Mana Leak
Spell Snare
Thoughtseize
Inquisition of Kozilek
Bitterblossom
Go for the Throat
Smother
Murderous Cut
Disfigure
Doom Blade
Dismember
Lands (25)
Darkslick Shores
River of Tears
Polluted Delta
Watery Grave
Secluded Glen
Creeping Tar Pit
Drowned Catacombs
Mutavault
Island
Swamp

Sideboard (15)
Sower of Temptation
Disfigure
Damnation
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Countersquall
Negate
Dispel
Flaying Tendrils
Engineered Explosives
Hurkyl’s Recall
Relic of Progenitus

MTGOAfter a successful FNM, the guys showed me how to Draft on MTGO and went almost infinite with Zendikar Flashback. Thanks to all the fetchlands we cracked, I decided to invest into a Modern Merfolk deck online and am looking forward to stream some school of Fish. But lets get back to the main storyline.

We didn’t really get a good night’s sleep but luckily we had a 5 round event in front of us, which is something we are used to from our local Modern Magic tournaments. For the PPTQ, I planned on going with Merfolk, and I did so with the following 75:

PPTQ Modern (Koper, Slovenia, 20th of August 2016) - 5th out of 25

Creatures (28)
Lord of Atlantis
Master of the Pearl Trident
Cursecatcher
Silvergill Adept
Harbinger of the Tides
Tidebinder Mage
Merrow Reejerey
Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
Master of Waves

Spells (12)
Aether Vial
Spreading Seas
Dismember
Vapor Snag
Lands (20)
Island
Mutavault
Wanderwine Hub
Cavern of Souls
Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds

Sideboard (15)
Hurkyl’s Recall
Tectonic Edge
Echoing Truth
Tidebinder Mage
Dispel
Negate
Relic of Progenitus
Grafdigger’s Cage
Gut Shot

I was feeling alright about my deck selection and was ready to face the day. In the first round, I played against Jund in a match-up that dragged for three long games and resulted in a tie. My opponent made a critical error in one of the games when he Engineered Explosives for 2 and cracked it, getting rid of my Spreading Seas but also killing his own Tarmogoyf. It’s probably a cheesy line to say, but I would have won if not for the time (considering the boardstate on Turn 5).

In the second round I was paired against one of my friends from my playgroup who was on Elves, and he beat me down quite hard. Game 2 I Dismember his turn two Elvish Archdruid only to see him slam another one, and that’s when I drew a dead Gut Shot. However, knowing Elves are not the best match-up I didn’t let my motivation down, but after starting the tournament with a score of 0-1-1, I felt that the Top8 was slipping away. And that’s when my hot streak started.

Maybe next time...
Maybe next time…

During my next two rounds against Jund and Junk, my opponents had a mix of mulligans, bad keeps and mana screws that enabled me to cruise to two fast wins, and there I was, yet again in the game for the Top8. Last round was a Win-and-in for me, and similarly to the previous games, my opponent didn’t really do anything other than try to assemble mana after my Spreading Seas. First game was over so fast that I didn’t know what exactly I was playing against (I knew it was Abzan based). Later, it turned out he was on Abzan Company, but the games were over before anything relevant happened, as I pushed back his blockers with a bounce or a kill spell, and even landed a couple of Tidebinders and Harbingers. Key turn was when he had to play Melira and Viscera Seer in order to block, and I had Echoing Truth and Gut Shot at the ready, firing away during his end step to take the game and the best-of-three series.

All was well after I saw the final standings and felt happy and lucky that I managed to do well in the last three rounds. This was also a sign that you mustn’t give up even when you open the tournament as badly as I did.

Playing Top8 vs Diego, photo taken by Tim Vakselj.
Playing Top8 vs Diego, photo taken by Tim Vakselj.

Top8 pairings were up and it was either a big coincidence or fate (former I guess), but I faced a now friend-rival from Italy, Diego, whom I have played before on PPTQ Udine (won against him in the semi-finals) and later on Nebraska’s War (won in the 7th round of Swiss in a feature match with stream). Needless to say, there was some rivalry going around but all in a friendly manner as he was eager to finally revenge himself, and he did so with his Dredge, leaving me helpless and behind on board in two quick games. Diego went on to win the whole PPTQ, so congratulations to the Italian friend.

My next stop is GP Lille, where I will probably go with Merfolk yet again, but will look to change some slots in the 75 in order to maximize value of cards in a predicted metagame. But first I have to solve the “predict the metagame” puzzle, so wish me luck and see you around!

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