Yet again we find ourselves in full swing of another PPTQ session, with players the world over trying to prove they have what it takes to make it to the Regional scene and beyond. It has been a while since I have had the pleasure of competing in one of these events. With a work and family life taking up a lot of my time I haven’t many chances to get to a store over the weekend, and so I have had to watch from the side lines as others claimed their glory. However, I recently found myself with a free weekend just around the time my local LGS (Patriot Games Sheffield) where hosting their own PPTQ. So, I decided to dust off one of my Standard decks and to have a crack at some competitive level Magic. In today’s article I will go through my deck choice for the event and give you a blow by blow account of my escapades. Did I have what it takes to be the king of the mountain? Read on and find out.
I had recently traded out of my beloved Ramunap Red deck for Modern staples, having found the local meta a harsh environment for RDW. This would mean I would have to choose a new deck to pilot for the PPTQ. Luckily, I already had two decks I was well versed in playing. I have had much success with both of these strategies, but I was only allowed to bring one to the event. So, I had a choice to make. Would it be R/G Pummeler, or Temur Energy? The base of both decks where very similar, but how they play could not be more different. Pummeler is a super-fast combo deck that aim to slap the opponent with a lethal Electrostatic Pummeler as early as turn four, while Temur is….well we all know about Temur now don’t we.
The choice was harder than you might expect. While Temur Energy is the most played deck in the format, proving its worth over many top-level events, it also has a huge target on its back. A lot of players have begun to wise up and have begun playing more Control based decks to shift the odds in their favour. On the other hand, Pummeler can win games against these anti Temur brews with some explosive starts, but if it stumbles it can be almost impossible to recover. In the end I decided to go with Temur, as although it might not have the best matches against some of these Control builds, it at least can have an average game against most decks. I also choose to go with a straight Temur build over the Four Colour variant due to my love of Confiscation Coup over The Scarab God. This is the deck I ended up settling on.
4 Servant of the Conduit
4 Longtusk Cub
4 Rogue Refiner
4 Whirler Virtuoso
3 Bristling Hydra
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
4 Attune with Aether
2 Confiscation Coup
4 Harnessed Lightning
4 Botanical Sanctum
4 Aether Hub
3 Rootbound Crag
2 Spirebluff Canal
1 Sheltered Thicket
2 Vizier of Many Faces
1 River’s Rebuke
2 Deathgorge Scavenger
2 Aethersphere Harvester
1 Supreme Will
1 Chandra’s Defeat
2 Appetite for the Unnatural
1 Magma Spray
So that’s the deck, but how did I do?
All in all, forty-four players descended upon ‘sunny’ old Sheffield for six rounds of Standard swiss before a cut to top 8. I was joined by some of the Sheffield regulars, as well as my fellow Team MoM member Chris Vincent. The clock struck 11am and the first round began with me facing off against U/W Embalm Tokens.
Match 1-U/W Embalm Tokens.
The day started off well with a quick game one win thanks to an uncontested Longtusk Cub and a hasty Glorybringer. Game two didn’t go as well with my opponent Eternalizing multiple Sunscourge Champions thanks to Anointed Procession. I had River’s Rebuke in hand, but I was swarmed with Angel of Sanctions tokens before I could find my sixth land. Game three went more like the first, and was topped off when I was able to avoid my opponents ground Creatures thanks in no small part to a turn three Aethersphere Harvester.
Match 2-Jeskai God-Pharaoh’s Gift
The plan was simple. Get down a couple of early threats and ride them to victory. Surely my opponent wouldn’t be able to race me. They would need time to stock their Graveyard. Oh, how wrong I was. By turn four he had gotten a God-Pharaoh’s Gift online thanks to Refurbish, and returned two Combat Celebrants one after another before ending his turn with a returned Chaos Maw. Game two didn’t fare much better. I was able to copy The Locust God with a Vizier of Many Faces, but thanks to card draw spells like Strategic Planning I quickly found myself outnumbered by flying insects.
Match 3-Naya Dinosaurs
This game sadly showed how underpowered Ixalan is compered to Kaladesh block. Game one I was able to remove every threat my opponent could muster, and actually won the first game thanks to a Chandra, Torch of Defiance ultimate while my opponent was trying to ramp into a Carnage Tyrant. Game two I was able to get down a turn three Aethersphere Harvester and avoid the ground completely. My opponent did manage to resolve a Gishath, Sun’s Avatar, but a super charged Harnessed Lightning made short work of him. Still, a win is a win and my opponent was a superb sport about the whole thing.
Match 4-Mono Black Aggro
The start of this game saw me quickly going down to two life, while my opponent was sitting pretty on twenty-seven. Luckily, I was able to turn it around thanks to a Glorybringer and a few key pieces of removal. Game two started well, but then disaster struck as I was cursed with one of the worsed cases of mana flooding I had ever seen. Seriously, for six turns I drew nothing but lands and as a result we found ourselves in game three. What’s worse, the curse seemed to stick around with the start of game three seeing me draw even more lands. By the time I managed to hit some gas it was too late and my opponent took the match.
Match 5-Ramunap Red
Any hopes I had of making it anywhere near top 8 where dashed as my curse seemed to follow me to this match. My starting hand consisted of four lands, a Longtusk Cub, an Attune with Aether and an Abrade. And you guessed it, all I drew was lands. Game two didn’t go much better with my opponent hurling burn spells at my face, before Hazoret the Fervent finished the job. But there was still one more game to go. Maybe I could finish with a 3-3 record at least.
Match 6-Grixis Control
Truth be told, this was probably my favourite match of the whole day. It was a real back and forth affair, with each of us trading threats and answers in each of the games. I just about managed to sneak out a win in game one after finally been able to get a Bristling Hydra to resolve, and was then able to use my Harnessed Lightnings to generate the Energy needed to protect it. Game two was also going well, but this time my opponent appeared to have all the answers. He then resolved a Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh and the game ended quickly after that. Game three started well. I was able to put on early pressure with a Servant of the Conduit of all things. I was even able to protect it thanks to a couple of well-timed Negates. Things where looking up. Then I drew a land. And then another. And another. And so forth. It wasn’t long before the curse of mana flooding cost me the Match.
Well, so much for my shot at greatness. So what went wrong? Well apart from the unfortunate case of massive mana flooding over several matches, not much. Many of the games where very close, with the winner been determined by the luck of the draw. I only performed one mayor punt over the course of the day (attacking into Aethersphere Harvester because I forgot it has a crew cost of one) but apart from that I feel I played very well. In terms of the deck I might want to make some tweaks to this build, especially in terms of my sideboard opinions. I will continue to work on the deck in the weeks to come and hopefully sure it up against some of its unfavourable matches.
Luckily, I didn’t come away with nothing. As the prize pool was one store voucher per win, I ended up with two tickets. Added to my previous winnings from the last couple of FNM’s, I actually had enough tickets to get myself three packs of Iconic Masters. Since I was unlikely to be able to draft with them thanks to Christmas obligations on the horizon, I decided to play the Mana Drain lottery and crack them for value. But was it worth it? Well why not check out the video on our YouTube channel to see what I opened, and while you’re at it why not subscribe to our YouTube channel. We are very close to 100 subscribers, and once we get there we have some great content we will be able to produce, so help us get there. If you have enjoyed today’s article and want to read more, why not like and subscribe to keep up to date on the latest articles from us here at Master of Magics. But until next time remember, Good Look and Have Fun.