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Travel with Friends and Grand Prix Atlanta Top 8

2017/11/22 00:00 

    • Petr Sochurek
    • Hareruya Pros Blog

Hello everyone!

It's Petr again and today I am going to share my experience at Grand Prix Atlanta 2017.

Couple of months ago before the entire trip started, I agreed to join a trip after the Pro Tour Ixalan with Martin Hrycej, Niels Molle and his girlfriend Miwa.

Image Copyright:Wizards of the Coast

I am that kind of a person who is fine with anything, but I hate endleslly arguing about small random things, that doesn't really matter to me, so I wasn't really following our group chat; as a result I woke up on Sunday after the PT planning to go to the site cheer for my teammate Seth Manfield just to find out that we are leaving in an hour and I need to get to a car rental place at the airport. Fortunately there are taxis everywhere in US so it wasn't really a big deal, but everything was a little bit too rushed for my taste.

We travelled through Arizona and saw infinite cool places on the way - most notably the Grand Canyon; I knew it would be awesome and I had some expectations, but what emerged ahead of me was completely outside of my imaginations. the place is HUUUGE . It’s just a majestic, massive view of awesomeness.

Besides that I really enjoyed just the road itself it might sound odd, but it doesn't really happen to people from large cities like me to experience travelling through a desert with no other cars around you.

Me and Martin messed up and we booked our flight too late, which meant that our only reasonable option was to take a layover and arrive to Atlanta on 5 a.m. Our plan was to get to the airbnb (Niels and Miwa were already there) before 6 and go to sleep for 4 hours (thanks to sleep-in), but we weren't blessed with such a luck our bags didn't land and even though we shortly found out that they arrived with a previous flight it took us significant time and we got to our place later. That wasn't the biggest problem though.

There were problems with the apartment the wifi didn't work, things were not cleaned etc. And Niels was raging about it. I obviously understand that it sucks and it is the airbnbs fault, but at the same time we were about to play a Grand Prix in couple of hours and I don't think he has his priorities sorted right Niels woke us up early and started arguing on the phone. Eventually he decided to move to a hotel, so we had to leave sooner with all of our baggage.

We made it to the site pretty late, but Gps are always slow so it wasn't really a big deal, but we still had our bags on us to deal with. I would like to say thank you to Miwa and my friend Rachel who got our stuff to hotel.

Grand Prix Atlanta

We didn't really play a ton during the week leading up to the tournament. I was a little exhausted after month of endless playing and I was glad I could take a break, but we frequently talked about the metagame and our card choices. I knew for sure that I am going to play energy. I think you have to be either very bad or crazy to play anything else. It is just doing better thing compared to the other decks and you can tune it to beat anything. What we talked about the most was if its worth it to splash for 《The Scarab God》 or not.

Whirler VirtuosoAttune with AetherThe Scarab God

The common belief is that if you expect a lot of mirrors then playing black is better and if you expect the metagame to be wider open, you should play just straight Temur because it's more linear and it curves out better. The idea behind this is that your cards have higher powerlevel than your opponents anyway and it is crucial to have the right mana and untapped lands in many games, but I disagree. I think that the main problem most players have is that they always think only about game1s. I will tell you a secret .

I would propably have 0 GP top 8s now if magic was only about game 1s . Not because I play them worse, but because I usually built my decks to be the strongest in post board games . It is just a fact that you will be playing more games with sideaboard than without and therefore you should mainly focus on that. Where I am going with this is that even if you play against decks where this is important, you would propably still rather swith to 4C postboard. Games go a lot slower . Not only you have more answers, but people also expect you to have more answers so they bring in additional expensive cards and it often becomes a lategame slugfeast and nothing is more powerfull than the God.

This is a list that me, Martin and Niels played:

Petr Sochurek - 4C Energy
Grand Prix Atlanta

3 《Forest》
2 《Mountain》
1 《Island》
1 《Swamp》
1 《Sheltered Thicket》
4 《Aether Hub》
4 《Botanical Sanctum》
3 《Rootbound Crag》
3 《Spirebluff Canal》

-Land (22)-

4 《Servant of the Conduit》
3 《Longtusk Cub》
4 《Rogue Refiner》
4 《Whirler Virtuoso》
2 《Bristling Hydra》
2 《Glorybringer》
2 《The Scarab God》

-Creature (21)-
4 《Attune with Aether》
1 《Magma Spray》
4 《Harnessed Lightning》
3 《Abrade》
1 《Skysovereign, Consul Flagship》
3 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》
1 《Vraska, Relic Seeker》

-Spell (17)-
2 《Negate》
2 《Hour of Devastation》
2《Nissa, Steward of Elements》
1 《Deathgorge Scavenger》
1 《Vizier of Many Faces》
1 《Chandra's Defeat》
1 《Magma Spray》
1 《Abrade》
1 《Appetite for the Unnatural》
1 《Supreme Will》
1 《Confiscation Coup》
1 《Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh》

-Sideboard (15)-

Rogue RefinerVraska, Relic SeekerGlorybringer

I think that the list was good, but I underestimated the other players a bit I think. I built our deck with Gift and Sultai in mind, because I though that there will be a bunch of people, who would not want to play infinite Temur mirrors and choose one of the decks from finals of the PT. Don't get me wrong I think that these decks are garbage, but I thought that other people might not figure that out.


As a result I played 1 more 《Abrade》 main than I should have and was little too weak against control - definitely mistake. Control is in my opinion not a great choice because of the aggresive decks, but it's a fine deck and it would be my second choice after energy and it makes sense that some people would gamble and play it. My sideaboard should have had atleast 1 more card against control (most likely 《Spell Pierce》).

Hour of Devastation

The card that has overperfomed for us was 《Hour of Devastation》. The main reason that we brought it to the tournament was because of how great it is against Sultai and we expected non-zero% of the vampire deck give how often if was shown on camera. In fact, Martin played against it round 6.

I am not sure if these 2 fringe decks would still make us play the card, but as it turnes out, it's also great in the mirror on the draw. I am not sure how good it is against someone who expects it - most likely still really good. Even though there are things you can do to make it worse, you are still forced to just jam in a lot of spots and its just a blowout if they do. For example they can keep energy to pump up 《Bristling Hydra》 or 《Longtusk Cub》 to 6 toughness, but most players will just keep energy for tokens and then you just completely destroy them.

I was very lucky during the tournament. Don't get me wrong I think that the vacation helped me a lot; I had other things to do and think about and it has lighten up my fire and desire to win and I think I played great across the weekend, but there were definitely a lot of mistakes (mostly during keeps and sideaboarding) on my part, but I got rarely punished and there were several games in which my opponents struggled with mana etc. I guess that is Magic though and we should try our best, so that when the right time comes we do well. (Unless your name is Brad Nelson or Courey Baumeister and you crush every single event).

I went 9-0 the first day, beating my friend from Europe Oscar Christensen. He played 4c Jaberwocki deck. Energy with more black for 《Fatal Push》, 《Glint-Sleeve Siphoner》, 《Vraska's Contempt》 and 《Gonti, Lord of Luxury》.

I misboarded for game 2. I didn't bring in 《Hour》. He knew I play it and his deck is way better setup to play around it compared to regular energy deck and I also wanted to keep in more cheap removal for 《Glint-Sleeve Siphoner》 and I didn't want to have infinite removal in my deck, but that was still most likely wrong . Turnes out that the effect is just way too powerfull in so many games on the draw that it's just worth it. There is such a huge amount of situation in which they are just forced to play into it that I should definitely had had it my deck. I lost game 2 because of it (I had《Glorybringer》 in my hand that I would have cut for it in my hand), but he got mana screwed g3 and I won easily. Phew.

We went for a dinner to celebrate Rachel's birthday afterwards and I felt great about my d1 result, but I was also worried that I will blow it the next day so I went to bed early. I won my first 2 rounds and I needed to win 1 of my 3 next rounds so I already kind-off locked the top 8 in my hand.

I lost the next 2 rounds and I started to get super nervous. Me, Brad Nelson and Corey Baumeister were hanging out and someone mentioned that Shaheen Soorani is x-2 and some of us might get paired against him, so we watched his feature match from the PT. He is also friends with Noah Walker and Noah told me that Shaheen never looses to Temur so I hoped that I won't have to face him. Sure enough the pairings were up and me and Shaheen went to the feature match area.

Game1 was extremely frustrating. I passed on turn 3 with an empty board and Shaheen tapped his blue source end of turn, untapped it and drew. Now many people might have missed this, but it's actually very interesting. I think that weaker player might think that he though about cycling 《Censor》 there, but I know that Shaheen is pretty good and experienced player and he wouldn't give away such an information for free so I thought that he is just trying to make me think that he has it.

On turn 4 my hand was 《Chandra》, 《Glorybringer》 and 《The God》 and I have to decide if I play 《Chandra》 into 《Censor》. If he had 《Glimmer of Genius》 mana then I would snap play it, but he didn't which made it close. Yes I understand that I have 2 big plays still in my hand, but his deck is full of answers, but not that many answers for planeswalkers and getting one of my most important cards censored, when I can just wait doesn't seem that great. I think that I would have waited if he didn't give away that he doesn't have it so I just played it and he said ok.

Vraska's ContemptGlimmer of GeniusSupreme Will

At that point I thought that I will steal game 1, but he had the 《Vraska's Contempt》 for 《Chandra》, I started to draw a lot of lands and he was always able to 《Glimmer of Genius》or 《Supreme Will》 into the right answer. At some point he needed exactly 2nd 《Contempt》 (he played only 1 at the Pt) to survive and he did so I was devastated. I mulliganed in game 2 and at that point I had to hold all of my nerves together to be able to focus and not panic. Fortunately my draws game 2 and 3 were great and I won relatively easily.

I knew that draw would be good enough for me, but it was questionable for my last round opponent, because it largely depended on a different match. I explained to him that if we play he is propably about 45% to make it, but if we draw then he is way more. Whoever wins the other match is 50 already and my opponent's tiebreakers are most likely going to go up, so he might get there even if the wrong person wins. As most people he wanted to play at the beginning, to have his own destiny in his hands, but I explained to him once more that numbers are numbers and if he wants to make top 8 he should really draw. Afterall it gives him the highest chance to top 8. In the end he did and I was reliefed.

I know that what I said was advantegous to me, but at the same time it was the truth. I really think it was right for my opponent to draw in that spot. In the end, the guy with lower tie-breakers won and we both made top 8. See a right decision!

I got quickly destroyed in the top 8. My Mardu opponent nut drawn me and I didn't find a 2nd land in game 2. I kept a 2 drop and spray on six. I don't think I've done anything wrong in the top 8 match, but thats Magic and sometime you just loose. I was still really happy for the result as it made me feel a lot better about my last PT.

I will be at Grand Prix Lyon 2017 this weekend battling with Martin Juza and Hareruya Pros colleague Grzegorz Kowalski.

Wish us luck!


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