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Through the Breach to Europe -With Friends and Titan-

2018/01/06 00:00 

    • Francisco Sifuentes
    • Column

Hey everyone!

My name is Francisco Sifuentes. I am 25 years old and this is my first article.

Last March, I played at Grand Prix Porto Alegre 2017 and, for the first time, I made it to the Top 8. I could not believe it! Later, in the middle of the year, I tried my luck one more time. played at Pro Tour Hour of Devastation in Kyoto, then joined Hareruya Hopes, became the MTG captain of Peru and by the end of the year, I travelled to Europe where I played World Magic Cup 2017, Grand Prix Lyon 2017 and Grand Prix Madrid 2017.

Trip to Europe

I had mixed feelings beforehand. I was nervous, excited and a bit scared at the same time, mainly for three reasons:

  1. My most recent Modern tournament had as a result a staggering 0-X-bye.
  2. It was my first time as a captain for my country (Peru) .
  3. I had not previously met in person my teammates for Grand Prix Lyon 2017.

Grand Prix Lyon

As I said, nervousness and worry were filling me up. However, they instantly faded away once I got to know my teammates Pedro de Diego (PDD) and Ariel Nagy; both amazing players and even better persons.

Finally, the tournament day arrived. I was rather surprised, as the safety measures were very strict (back-pack check and stuff like that), but I didn’t mind it. However, spending 35 minutes under the rain, completely, soaked, wasn’t one of the best experiences I had.

Nevertheless, our hopes were up. We were wet but ready to receive our sealed pool and build our decks. Our pool on day one was good. Not great, but good. We had a decent Merfolk, a spectacular Vampire and a bad 3-colour Dinosaur. After 5 rounds, we were 2-3, but somehow we managed to finish the day at 6-3! PDD didn't lose a single match throughout the day.

On day 2, it was my chance to play the best deck: RW Dinosaur with 3 《Territorial Hammerskull》. The pool was not the best and, after an unexpected 1-2 drop, I was able to learn a great lesson by watching Team Japan. Unlike the other teams, they allowed each teammate to play their match without interruptions, unless they asked for advice.

Territorial HammerskullTerritorial HammerskullTerritorial Hammerskull

Another lesson learned in this tournament was that, no matter whether you win or lose, what really matters is the team. Yes, I was the one who lost the most.

Tip: Kebabs are great, cheap and open until midnight.

World Magic Cup 2017

Before the tournament, I was lucky enough to test with members from teams Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Argentina and with Christian Calcano. I must say that I learned a lot and made new friends.

The day before the event, as we were having supper with Team Chile, we concluded that no country was 100% sure about what they were doing (although Japan probably was). On the other hand, what we were sure of was that most countries would play one mono red deck and we took notice of the importance of getting a good score in sealed. We had to end up with 2-1 or 3-0.

My team was good, one of the players I respect the most in Peru, Marco Sakugawa, and Meme Master, Diego Sánchez.

Team Peru

Image Copyright : Wizards of the Coast

Day 1

I didn't want to mention it at the moment so that I wouldn’t jinx ourselves, but our pool was great. We played Merfolk, Dinosaur and Vampire and ended up at 2-1.

In constructed, we came to the conclusion that we had to play 1 energy deck, 1 red deck and UW - either 《Approach of the Second Sun》, 《God-Pharaoh's Gift》 or Cycles.

When we had to decide who would play each deck, it was pretty simple as we all have very distinct preferences. Marco has always been considered a control player (UW 《Sun》), Diego can’t leave his 《Hazoret the Fervent》 aside and I must confess that I’m a fan of 《Blossoming Defense》 and 《Fatal Push》, so I played Sultai.

Blossoming DefenseFatal Push

Even though, we made a mistake as a team. We hadn’t brought with us a complete pool to make last-minute changes! It was bad, as we would have liked to play a better version of UW 《Sun》.

About the performance, we won, dramatically, the first round in constructed in turn 5. We just needed one more win, but after 2 more rounds we were 1-2. We won the win & in against New Zealand. Finally, we ended up at 4-3 and made it to the next day.

Day 2

This day we faced Japan - a hard contender - and we almost made it. Fun fact, I saw Shota Yasooka laugh after casting a 《Sand Strangler》 and no deserts for the win. In addition, they played UW 《God-Pharaoh's Gift》, superior to our UW 《Sun》.

We won the next round, but finally we lost the win & in for Top 16. One of the mistakes was that we had underestimated 《God-Pharaoh's Gift》, as most of our matches lost were against that deck. We ranked at Top 32 and I’m happy about it!

With Team Japan

With Team Japan

Team Peru vs Team Japan. I missed this Top-knotch photo, as I was having lunch at that moment.

Grand Prix Madrid

It was holiday season and our Air B&B got cancelled! At that moment, we didn’t know what to do, as it was so unexpected. Nevertheless, we did not allow this to get us down, we started a long search and finally found a hotel. Nothing could stop us now. We were ready for the tournament.

I want to add that I couldn't have asked for a better team: Luis Salvatto, Francisco Sifuentes, Lantern Master Pedro de Diego.

Luis Fransisco Pedro Calcano

And of course, Christian Calcano, to level up the photo.

Seat Player Deck
A Pedro de Diego Lantern Control
B Francisco Sifuentes Titan Breach
C Luis Salvatto Elves

Day 1

So Grand Prix Madrid started, and you could feel the excitement in the air. Abzan combo and Eldrazi Tron were, by far, the most played decks. Day one ended at 7-0-2 (yes, we were one of the draws for Ondřej Stráský team). Great day.

Day 2

Our luck changed dramatically. Round 1, we were brutally (I am not exaggerating) destroyed. We had to win the four remaining rounds to make it to the top. After a glorious no-see-throw-on-the-table 《Ensnaring Bridge》 topdeck, we made it to the Top 4 and back to the Pro Tour!

We lost the finals vs. Abzan combo, Valakut and Storm. However, we could not be bad losers. We had a great match.

Match

Image Copyright : Wizards of the Coast

Congratulations to the champion team and to my team for such a great tournament!

To end the Day 2, Luis and myself played a turbo draft. We closed the day with a victory (cherry on top of the cake) and cashed the prize in Kaladesh boosters. When we thought our luck had abandoned us, we opened up the packs and this is what we opened:

Image 5

We still had our Magic touch!

My Deck - Titan Breach

ScapeshiftPrimeval TitanThrough the Breach

If you ask me why I played this deck, the answer is simple. I like to play following a plan, always to be the active player (offensive, if you may say ) and, most of all, it was important to have a deck that allowed me to stand by my teammates.

Among other reasons, I think this deck has a great game 1 against most decks, and also it has access to the best sideboard colors. I was close to splash white because of 《Stony Silence》 against Affinity and Lantern. Besides what I already mentioned, I had tested the deck a lot and felt pretty confident.

This is the decklist:

Card Choices

There were only two cards I didn't play because of it being a unified tournament. 《Grafdigger's Cage》(Lantern Control) and 《Reclamation Sage》(Elves).

Grafdigger's CageReclamation Sage

One of my main concerns was Lantern Control. I ended up 1-1 in the tournament. I felt that 《Shatterstorm》 was the way to go, but after testing I came to notice quickly that 《Ancient Grudge》 was better.

Another of my worries was Grixis 《Death's Shadow》, but as I was playing teams, I figure that there would be a lot less than in a normal tournament, blue fetchs, black disruption, some 《Bolt》.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

I also considered 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》, but I felt that with so many 《Ensnaring Bridge》 and 《Thoughtseize》, it would be a bit hard. One of the main reasons for having 《Anger of the Gods》 in the main deck was because of the growing popularity of 5C humans. I played against one in the tournament and it went spectacularly.

Over perform:

Prismatic Omen

《Prismatic Omen》 was great. My idea was to be able to activate 《Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle》 one turn early and it ended up being a damage machine.

Woodfall Primus

《Woodfall Primus》, nobody plays around it and it can give you the match. It is a good target for green 《Pact》 and comes back with a counter if you play it with 《Through the Breach》.

Underperform

Summoner's Pact

《Summoner's Pact》: sadly it is a necessary evil, but I only tried to use it as a last resource.

Hour of Promise

《Hour of Promise》: it’s like a bad 《Primeval Titan》 and can be countered with 《Negate》 and 《Stubborn Denial》.

Chameleon Colossus

《Chameleon Colossus》: It used to be good, but now every Grixis 《Death's Shadow》 uses 《Liliana of the Veil》.

Tips and conclusions:

It’s better if the lands that fetch for red are different (《Pithing Needle》).

Sacrifice fetchlands only as a last resource, because with 《Prismatic Omen》 in play each of them becomes a 《Lightning Bolt》.

Through the Breach

If you play 《Through the Breach》 at the end of your opponent's turn, your creature gets to attack in your turn.

Always leave a fetch land available to search for green in case of 《Blood Moon》.

Against Affinity and decks with red, always search for a 《Forest》 with the first 《Search for Tomorrow》 or 《Sakura-Tribe Elder》(《Blood Moon》).

Prismatic OmenHour of Promise

《Prismatic Omen》 + 《Hour of Promise》 is way too slow against aggro.

Obstinate Baloth

《Obstinate Baloth》 is good against control, as they have 《Geist of Saint Traft》 and you have 《Summoning Trap》.

Anger of the GodsRelic of Progenitus

Depending on the metagame, you can switch 《Anger of the Gods》 for 《Relic of Progenitus》.

Grixis 《Death's Shadow》 is the absolute worst match ever and Affinity is harder than it seems.

With this version is much more explosive than an ordinary Titan Shift so this can win mirrors, but loses a bit of solidity.

It’s excellent against any deck playing green. Tron destroyer.

MountainForest

Unstable lands are better for this type of decks.

Fact:

If Grand Prix Toronto 2018 was tomorrow, my list would look like this:

Throughout this article, I have tried to convey a bit of what my trip to Europe was. Thanks to my teams and everyone who made it possible.

I hope I have entertained you, and thanks to everyone who read through the whole article. Soon, I’ll be back telling you about another of my adventures.

Francisco Sifuentes

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