I have returned from my trip to America just recently and I've decided to write about my time there.
A week before we left, there was also an european Grand Prix in Birmingham - me and Martin Juza decided to play RB vehicle deck with 《Magma Spray》 over 《Bomat Courier》 and we crushed the competition - I have ended 10th and Martin lost in Semifinals to a creatureless UW control; not really a surprise - we knew that control will be really bad for our version, but we figured that it won't be that popular at the tournament and 《Sprays》 gave us a significant edge in other matchups.
This was our list:
4 《Canyon Slough》
4 《Dragonskull Summit》
1 《Cinder Barrens》
3 《Spire of Industry》
-Land (25)- 4 《Walking Ballista》
4 《Scrapheap Scrounger》
4 《Goblin Chainwhirler》
2 《Pia Nalaar》
4 《Rekindling Phoenix》
4 《Unlicensed Disintegration》
3 《Heart of Kiran》
2 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》
I am actually very suprised that something similar to this list isn't more popular nowadays - being bad against control isn't that big of a deal in my opinion, but having 《Sprays》 over《Bomats》 is an insane upgrade in all the red and green matchups. I understand the common belief that you just want to be proactive game1 and then adjust postboard, but as I often say in my articles; all that ever matters is your win percentage - if playing 《Sprays》 over 《Bomats》 (or whatever else, it doesn't have to be this specifically) gives you a higher win percentage against the field, you should just do that.
Birmingham was dominated by RB decks and it became obvious that some variety of Red is the new king and you have to be prepared to face it in the upcoming tournaments. My teammates for the next GP in Toronto were Martin Juza and Andrew Baeckstrom and we did HORRIBLE. My personal record in Legacy piloting Czech Pile wasn't that bad, but our Modern and Standard decklists were outdated and we got quickly smashed out of the tournament.
For anyone interested, I played a decklist almost identical to the one that Brian Braun-Duin played to a Top 4 finish:
3 《Underground Sea》
1 《Tropical Island》
1 《Volcanic Island》
4 《Polluted Delta》
3 《Scalding Tarn》
2 《Bloodstained Mire》
1 《Verdant Catacombs》
-Land (20)- 4 《Deathrite Shaman》
4 《Baleful Strix》
3 《Snapcaster Mage》
2 《Leovold, Emissary of Trest》
3 《Lightning Bolt》
2 《Fatal Push》
3 《Hymn to Tourach》
3 《Kolaghan's Command》
1 《Toxic Deluge》
4 《Force of Will》
3 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》
GP Washington D.C.
Sometime during our stay in Toronto I have asked Martin what is our plan for the next GP and I have found out that it's actually a team GP (!!) and I don't have teammates. I panicked a little bit and made a post on twitter that I am looking for teammates.
Just found out I dont have a team for D. C. Anyone wants to team up?— Petr Sochurek (@PetrKikac) 2018年5月14日
It was all little confusing, but in the end I got to team up with Andrew Tenjum and Peter Ingram. We were extremely lucky - not only that we opened 2 completely insane sealed pools, but I was lucky enough to draft with Thomas Hendriks the entire week before the tournament which has helped me immensely in mastering the format.
I wasn't a really good teammate - in round 8 we were in a stressful situation - deciding game of the match between Andrew and Oliver Tiu with just a couple of minutes left in the round - we are in a great position and I tell Andrew what I think we should do, but he says that there is no time for that play and slams an equipment on a Double Strike creature into Oliver's untapped mana and bunch of cards in the hand which didn't go very well for us. Now what I should have done is to not say anything and try to give it my best to win the matches regardless, but I just got so mad and frustrated that I couldn't help myself. It is completely understandable that someone will panic and make a bad play under such circumstances and pressure.
I apologised to Andrew for my behaviour the next day. Although it has still bothered him a little bit, but we were able to win the GP regardless so everything worked out fine I guess.
Winning the GP was obviously a huge confident boost, but there was a Pro Tour coming up so there was no time to rest. Our team quickly realized that anything besides Red and UW is a bad choice and we were divided into 2 camps each working on either one of those.
In retrospect I regret a little bit for not working on the Red decks more, but I really didn't want to miss an opportunity to play whatever Brad Nelson plays so I sticked with UW which turned out to be good, but not amazing.
This is the decklist we ended up submitting:
4 《Irrigated Farmland》
4 《Glacial Fortress》
2 《Ipnu Rivulet》
2 《Memorial to Genius》
2 《Field of Ruin》
-Land (27)- -Creature (0)-
2 《Blink of an Eye》
2 《Essence Scatter》
3 《Settle the Wreckage》
2 《Glimmer of Genius》
2 《Approach of the Second Sun》
4 《Seal Away》
2 《Search for Azcanta》
3 《Cast Out》
4 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》
Playing 《Approach of the Second Sun》 might rise some eyebrows so I will explain the logic behind our decision - we thought that it is way better than 《Torrential Gearhulk》 in the mirror game 1 - there are not that many relevant cards in game 1 and the games usually tend to go pretty late and the fact that 《Hulk》 gets 《Scatter》ed is a big deal - yeah it's not like 《Approach》 is amazing in the mirror or anything like that, but it is a card they have to respect.
Another big fact going for it was that it was our plan to beat all those 《Winding Constrictor》 decks that started popping up on Magic Online. The matchup is really good game 1, but postboard it turns into a nightmare - their deck is full of 《Duress》, Planeswalkers and 《Lifecrafter's Bestiary》 so it's almost impossible to beat them fair and square. 《Lyra Dawnbringer》 isn't effective against them either, because they usually have access to 《Vraska's Contempt》 and 《Walking Ballista》.
We played couple of games and started to feel a little desperate, but that was when we've found 《Approach of the Second Sun》 - suddenly the games completely changed - you no longer cared about their staying power - all you had to do was to survive to the point where you Approached them - you can durdle around with 《Bestiary》 as much as you want to, it doesn't matter if you lose the game.
The tournament itself went fine for me. My first draft started with 《On Serra's Wings》 and White was extremely open after that so I just ended up in a UW agressive deck. It is very possible that I've made some horrible picks during the draft - I was used to the fact that 《the turtles》 often wheeled in the Magic Online drafts, so I was taking important cheap cards over them thinking that I will get 《the turtles》 later anyway, but that just didn't happen. My deck could have easily ended up a lot better.
I went 2-1 in limited and 4-1 in constructed day 1 losing to Mono-Green Stompy in a very close match last round. I was happy with my result and was hoping to do well on the next day as well.
My 2nd day started very similar, I went 2-1 in a draft with an insane BG deck featuring bunch of bombs in otherwise a very weak card pool in our pod only losing to Ken Yukuhiro - I got stuck on lands against him in a 3rd game, but I think he has played a lot better than me throughout the match so he has deserved the win.
I was able to win my first two matches in standard as well which has put me in a great position - if I 2-0 I am in top 8, 2-1 for top 16, 1-2 for top 32 and 0-3 for top 64. I got featured playing against Marcio Carvalho and boy it couldn't have gone any worse - my poor mulligan got nut drawn in game 1 and I didn't play a 3rd land in game 2. I was very upset about my loss and it highly influenced the way I played in the remaining 2 matches and I have promptly lost both of those as well :( This is the part of the game I need to work on the most - I think that I can play great, but often something gets stucked in my head and I just can't really focus anymore.
I ended up going 10-6, which was good enough for 55th place and some extra money and pro points, so overall not that bad, but I was definitely hoping for better. I guess that there is always a next time.
Thanks for reading,