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Grand Prix Seattle Finalist Report : Sultai Midrange

2018.04.18 Jeremy Dezani

Hello guys,

Today, I would like to talk about Legacy. I recently reached Grand Prix Seattle Finals and I wanted to share this experience with you.

Before going to U.S.A. I was playing a lot of Standard and I really trust in my ability to play Mono White Approach.

Since there was a Grand Prix Standard in Seattle, I was mainly going for this event where I think I had a big chance to make a good result. I was so sure about it that I didn’t register for the Legacy main event and wanted to focus on Standard only. Tomoharu Saito told me that it was a bad idea and I should register for Legacy also since it is free to try. I listen to him and registered without any idea of the format, the metagame and the deck I will play.

EntombChancellor of the AnnexGriselbrandReanimate

I started my Legacy testing with a deck I think that is easy to learn and play: BR Reanimator. While the deck is able to kill turn one a decent amount of time pre board, you have to know that it's very easy to play against and have a good sideboard able to counter it. The win rate of the deck decreases very much post sideboard and I feel like there is no chance to win all the day with the deck against 《Surgical Extraction》.

Surgical Extraction

Then, I watched a Legacy video from Andrea Mengucci, my “Connected Company” team mate who is a big Legacy fanatic. It was video about a Sultai Midrange deck.

Image Copyright : Wizards of the Coast

Here is his list:

Deathrite ShamanJace, the Mind SculptorLeovold, Emissary of TrestBaleful Strix

I watched it carefully and discussed with Andrea about our feelings and thoughts. Then, I decided to change some cards:

Fatal Push
Hymn to Tourach
Abrupt Decay
Flusterstorm
Liliana, the Last Hope

I finally pull the trigger and start to play it online. I played four Magic Online leagues with it and went 17-3. Beating ANT, 《Show and Tell》 and Reanimator even game one, makes me like the deck very much. I also played against many Miracles decks and won each time. My 3 losses happened against a double combo deck with 《Thopter Foundry》 / 《Sword of the Meek》 and 《Painter's Servant》 / 《Grindstone》, Reanimator and Elves.

A card many players are using in this deck is:《Umezawa's Jitte》.

Umezawa's Jitte

The card is very difficult to set up. First, you need 4 mana and a creature is already not easy. Then, you have to dodge / discard 《Kolaghan's Command》, 《Reclamation Sage》 and 《Abrupt Decay》 but also removal for your equipped creature (if it’s not a 《True-Name Nemesis》) etc... The card used to be great against Elves but 《Wirewood Symbiote》 is basically countering it.

Adding to this, the fact that 《Jitte》 is not relevant in many match ups and you realize that the card is not that good in this deck. I finally choose to play a 《Liliana, the Last Hope》 instead, easier to set up and great against control decks where 《Jitte》 is miserable.

The Tournament:

Here is the list I registered for Grand Prix Seattle 2018:

Day 1: 6-2

Round 1 to 3: Bye

Round 4: Eldrazi Aggro (2-0), Round 5: Show and Tell (2-1) and Round 6: UWr Miracles (2-1)

I won the first 3 matches I played. Beating both Eldrazi which 《Chalice of the Void》 at 1 and Miracles with 《Liliana, the Last Hope》's emblem.

Emblem Liliana,the Last Hope

Round 7: Grixis Delver (1-2) and Round 8: Grixis Delver (1-2)

My 2 matches against Grixis Delver were very close and I lost both against 2 players who played pretty well. At this moment, I continue to feel great about my deck but I realized that I didn’t respect Grixis Delver's speed enough during my deckbuilding. I should have more 1 mana removal in the sideboard.

I slept at 9pm and woke up at 1am that is not great to start a day 2 at 10am.

Day 2: 7-0

I started day 2 with 2 losses and already decided to drop and joined Standard main event if I lost one of the first 2 rounds.

Round 9 and 10: Grixis Delver (2-0) and Grixis Delver (2-1)

I got paired against Grixis Delver twice and won each time. This match up was the only weak point I saw in my deckbuilding. It really gave me hope for the rest the tournament to win twice against it and I decided to continue the Legacy event at 8-2.

Round 11: Maverick (2-1)

At game 3, my opponent decided to draw 3 cards with 《Sylvan Library》 when I had a 《Leovold, Emissary of Trest》 in play. The ruling for this was to show me the 3 cards, I decided which one he draw, shuffle the deck with the 2 other cards then he had to put back on the top or pay 4 life points for his actual draw. Even if I understood the judges ’s arguments and I think the ruling was correct, it was very brutal and my opponent had no chance to come back from this mistake.

Round 12: Show and Tell (2-0)

This match up is very good after sideboard but not great maindeck due to the presence of many useless removals in my deck. Fortunately for me, my opponent mulligan to five, that is never great especially against 《Hymn to Tourach》 deck.

Round 13: Death and Taxes (2-0)

This is one of the best match I played the whole week-end. I was so behind both games and I was able to stabilize and win 2-0.

Round 14: Infect (2-0)

We had a pretty good game one until my opponent fetch for 《Dryad Arbor》 and didn’t find it in his deck. He calls the judge and they realized the land was in his sideboard instead of the maindeck. Instead of 《Dryad Arbor》, he had another card. This card was registered in sideboard and maindeck. The ruling for this was Game loss. Anyway, at this moment of the game, I was very ahead and it was unlikely to lose it.

Game 2 we had a crazy turn. My opponent decided to pull the trigger and attack with an 《Inkmoth Nexus》 and 《Invigorate》 on it. I responded with a 《Fatal Push》 then my opponent 《Daze》 it.

I could have pay this mana but I played a 《Force of Will》 instead. My opponent used a second 《Daze》 and I was able to cast a 《Flusterstorm》 to win this battle. Judges, my opponent and I had a big discussion during this turn, about choosing targets and stack it correctly that made this situation confused and slow for people who watched it, but it was great to play this game.

Round 15: BG Dark Depths (2-1)

The first game is pretty hard for me. I had many removals which are kind of useless. After sideboard, 《Surgical Extraction》 and 《Life from the Loam》 with 《Wasteland》 are my best weapon. This match was very close. Game 3 I was able to remove all copies of 《Dark Depths》 with a 《Surgical Extraction》 but I missed time to finished the game. I cast a 《Ponder》 during the second extra turn and found a 《True-Name Nemesis》 which will win the game for me but not in time. My opponent had no way to win, he didn’t try to finish additional turns and kindly conceded the game to me to give me access to the top 8. He said he thinks I played very well during our match and this is why he was happy to concede. Thanks to him for his sportsmanship. Happy ending, he made top 16th of the GP that would have be the same if he chooses to draw.

I did it. I 7-0, the only score which could reach top 8.

Top 8:

Quarter-Finals: UWr Miracles (2-1) and Semi-Finals: UWr Miracles (2-1)

Game one against UWr Miracles is not great. It becomes very good after sideboard.

They basically can sideboard《Flusterstorm》 and 《Red Elemental Blast》 but you are adding annoying threats which are not affected: 2nd 《Liliana, the Last Hope》, 《Bitterblossom》 and 《Sylvan Library》.

Chaining 9 wins in a row is great.

Finals: Grixis Delver (0-2)

Many people told me they saw the finals and think I was very unlucky. The thing is even if it’s true that I was not very fortunate, Grixis Delver is a very oppressive deck that doesn’t let you have any mana trouble. Against a slower deck, maybe I would have won. The combination of having a good start and play well the whole match won the trophy for my opponent. Congratulation to him.

Anyway, I also got a trophy and I am very happy about bring it back in Tokyo.

My top 5 MVP cards during this tournament:

5) 《Abrupt Decay》

Abrupt Decay

In this format many decks play creatures (《Delver of Secrets》 / 《Young Pyromancer》 / 《Monastery Mentor》) or enchantments (《Counterbalance》 / 《Search for Azcanta》/ 《Back to Basics》) and protect it with counterspells. 《Abrupt Decay》is just the best answer against these strategies.

4) 《Sylvan Library》

Sylvan Library

Playing a long game with 《Library》 makes such a big advantage with fetchlands that is almost impossible to lose when you have it. Finding the best card every turn is just too good. I could play this card maindeck if Grixis Delver becomes less popular.

3) 《Leovold, Emissary of Trest》

Leovold, Emissary of Trest

This creature has too many abilities. People have a hard time playing against it and misplay very easily. It’s great in almost every match up you could play in legacy and this is pretty rare for a creature. Preventing draws from popular cards like《Brainstorm》and 《Ponder》 but also 《Griselbrand》 and 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》.

2) 《Liliana, the Last Hope》

Liliana, the Last Hope

During the event, I got the Emblem 6 times, killed a ton of creatures with +1 and combined -2 with 《Brainstorm》. The card does to many stuff and it’s a real pleasure to play with it.

1) 《Deathrite Shaman》

Deathrite Shaman

This card is probably the most powerful card in Legacy. It feels like a planeswalker for 1 mana. Mana acceleration, graveyard hate, lose life and gain ife, it dominated game from turn 1 to the last turn.

If I had to play a Legacy tournament soon, I would play the same maindeck but would change the sideboard a little to make it stronger against Grixis Delver. I played this match up 5 times and went 2-3 during the tournament and won against all the rest.

Fatal PushDisfigure
Diabolic Edict
Hymn to Tourach
Pithing Needle

Conclusion

This strong finish gives me 6 additional Pro Points which makes me only 6 extra points away from gold with 4 Grand Prix Finishes left (Actual GP Finishes: 6/5/3/3). It means that 2 X/5 and 2 X/4 will lock it.

I think I played pretty well the whole week-end even with a big jet lag and no sleep condition mode. This trip to Seattle was successful and very enjoyable, especially because of the company of 2 amazing guys: Tomoharu Saito and Toshiya Kanegawa.

I recommend this Sultai deck for your upcoming events in Legacy.

Thank you for reading,

Jeremy DEZANI

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