2/23 PTQ – Green Bay, WI *4th*

Modern season is nearly at a close, with only another week of PTQs, including one at Games & Stuff’s new location. Unfortunately, stuck as I am up here in lovely Wisconsin, I’ll be absent for the grand occasion. Hope somebody local takes it down!

I was able to make it out to two semi-local tournaments this season, finishing 4th in Green Bay and an always-depressing 9th in Madison two days ago. I decided to invest in a set of Daybreak Coronets after the Hexproof Auras (Bogles) deck had a string of good finishes in online dailies. The MODO metagame is typically quite different from IRL, and although people on the Internet have been packing Back to Natures and Tempests of Light into their sideboards for Bogles, I was confident that paper Magicians would either dismiss the deck or under-prepare for it.

I played the same list in both PTQs, and I’m pretty satisfied with it.

1 Dryad Arbor
1 Forest
4 Razorverge Thicket
4 Horizon Canopy
4 Temple Garden
3 Misty Rainforest
3 Verdant Catacombs
4 Slippery Bogle
4 Gladecover Scout
2 Silhana Ledgewalker
2 Kor Spiritdancer
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Rancor
4 Daybreak Coronet
4 Hyena Umbra
3 Spider Umbra
4 Spirit Mantle
1 Keen Sense
1 Spirit Link
3 Path to Exile

SB
1 Gaddock Teeg
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Rest in Peace
1 Spirit Link
2 Spellskite
2 Suppression Field
2 Stony Silence
2 Nature’s Claim
3 Leyline of Sanctity

The only change I would make is -1 Suppression Field, +1 Gaddock Teeg from the ‘board as a nod to the large Tron presence around here. Both tournaments were comprised of something like 20% UWR decks, 15% Tron, 10% Monored/Zoo, 10% Pod, and all the rest. I find my creature matchups to be heavily favorable in any games involving lifelink, which probably goes without saying. Pod is also pretty good; if I have any reasonable sort of draw, they’re usually forced to chump at least once, which can disrupt their Pod chain and make the game way easier for me. RG Tron isn’t so great, since Pyroclasm gets me pretty hard and makes it tough to keep any hand without Ethereal Armor or an Umbra (totem armor). I typically cut the Spirit Link and two Spirit Mantles for the Stony Silences and Gaddock Teeg, but even that doesn’t feel like enough to swing the match in my favor. As odd as it sounds, I can usually just ignore a Karn; Oblivion Stone and Pyroclasm are the important cards.

I’m playing splits of Ledgewalker/Spiritdancer and Keen Sense/Spirit Link, both of which are fairly atypical. I don’t like 4x Spiritdancer because in the matchups where she’s bad, she’s REALLY bad, and I didn’t want to devote sideboard slots to Ledgewalkers. Keen Sense (Curiosity in green) is always pretty good, Spirit Link can be either awesome or mediocre, and I’m happy with one of each in the main.

I headed out for Green Bay with plenty of time to spare, since it inevitably snows whenever I try to get anywhere up here. I wasn’t disappointed, as it began dumping from the skies only ten minutes into my trip, but nevertheless I arrived safely and early. Gnome Games is a spacious store, and the turnout was far greater than I had anticipated for being so far north and relatively out of the way for commuters. We started with 170 players, and the TO stated that they only expected around 100, but Magic tournaments are exploding everywhere, which is pretty sweet. The venerable Pete Jahn was our head judge, always a good guy to have in your orbit. One of the two on-site dealers was giving away free donuts and bagels, so I grabbed some nourishment and prepared for battle.

The Swiss went quite well for me. I ran pretty hot, mulliganed sparingly, and faced an abundance of good matchups. I did find myself across from Pro Tour veteran and deck builder Brian Kowal in the third round, but I successfully dispatched him along with the rest of my Swiss opponents.

Round 1 v. Dredgevine: 2-0
Round 2 v. RG Tron: 2-1
Round 3 v. UWR Geist: 2-1
Round 4 v. Monored: 2-0
Round 5 v. UWR Midrange: 2-0
Round 6 v. Monored: 2-0
Rounds 7 & 8: ID

I was genuinely surprised by how many opponents were caught off-guard by my deck. Three of my last four opponents in played matches had to read Daybreak Coronet (and neither Monored player was particularly happy to learn about it), and I was able to get Dredgevine and Brian Kowal pretty good by fetching up Dryad Arbor at different points.

Against Dredgevine, I chose to play around Liliana after he led with Deathrite Shaman by casting a single enchantment on my one-drop and following up with another Bogle instead of double-suiting the one guy on my second turn. He had the Liliana, and I sacrificed the Bogle. I didn’t have another creature in hand or a fetch to find Dryad Arbor, so instead of attacking Liliana and risking his playing another and getting my only guy, I chose to attack him on turn three, which really surprised him. This gives me another draw step at finding another guy or a fetch; I ripped the latter on turn four, played it, and swung at him again. He quickly -2’d Liliana, I fetched for Arbor, and his face fell. He didn’t have the follow-up copy, and that was the match.

Brian was playing a more aggressive version of UWR than I was used to, since MODO has a bunch of Larry Swasey’s deck and not many decks like these, with Goblin Guides, Delvers, Geists, and Boros Charms. He had a slow start in game one with multiple Vendilion Cliques and no countermagic, and my Spirit Linked guy prompted a scoop. His curve of Goblin Guide into double-Delver was too fast in the next game. I probably should have lost the third. My keep was sweet (2x Thicket, fetch, Silhana Ledgewalker, 2x Ethereal Armor, Rancor), and when he went to six, I felt pretty good. However, he had a dagger Spell Snare for the Ledgewalker, and things got awkward. He didn’t play a guy on his second turn, and I didn’t draw one on my third, so I was sure his hand was full of burn and Dryad Arbor wouldn’t be long for the world. He again had no play on his third turn, so I crossed my fingers and fetched EOT for the Arbor… He let me untap, which was a great start, and when he announced Clique during my draw step, I knew the game was mine. I even drew a Coronet for the turn, which he had to ship to the bottom, and a Path to Exile replaced it, which locked things up pretty easily.

The Top 8 paired Splinter Twin v. Dark Zoo, RG Tron v. KikiPod, KikiPod (Matt Severa) v. Grixis Delver (Drew Levin), and myself battling Infect for the first time ever in Modern. I suspected that the matchup would not favor me. Game one, my only cards that matter are the three Paths, and after sideboarding, his Spellskites are way better than mine. As it turns out, sometimes you just draw multiple Paths both games.

Drew, Tron, Zoo, and I advanced. In the semis, Drew beat the Tron deck 2-0, and I fell to Dark Zoo after a series of mulligans into terrible keeps. Dryad Arbor is basically never your plan, but sometimes you have to go for it, and if they have removal, well, game that is. Zoo beat Drew in the finals, but I didn’t stick around to watch. I wasn’t nearly as crushed as when I lost the finals in November, but I was bummed, hungry, and ready to get back to Watertown for intramural basketball.

Major props to MJ, Voltaire, Donnie, and Dan Glennon for the support and encouragement during the tournament, as well as to my girlfriend Liz for permitting me time to be a nerd every once in a while. I’m a lucky dood!

Next up: 9th place by 1.6%. Maybe not-so-lucky.

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One Response to 2/23 PTQ – Green Bay, WI *4th*

  1. Derek says:

    Great read. Impressive deck to say the least. +1 that it is not as commonly used as others. Gotta love the women that let guys be nerds!

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