Thanks to Mick, Graham and our very own judge Simon Walker, Realms of Magic and Miniatures hosted another Grand Prix Trial in Townsville last weekend. Modern was the format and after the latest rules/banning amendments, modern looks more exciting than ever. It was a long hectic day with 5 rounds plus a top 8 playoff so I didn’t have much time to do any interviews or collect decklists but as I was the big winner I decided to write this article through my point of view to my path of victory.
My record during the day was a hard fought 3-2 which was only just enough to scrape into the top 8 to keep the dream alive. First prize was the FTV 20 promo pack plus two byes at Grand Prix Nagaoya so with that at stake, everyone turned up ready to play as every win had to be earnt. Here is the decklist that I chose to pilot – Link
4 Arid Mesa
1 Blood Crypt
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
3 Sacred Foundry
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Goblin Guide
2 Grim Lavamancer
4 Vexing Devil
4 Bump in the Night
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Boros Charm
4 Lightning Helix
3 Searing Blaze
4 Rift Bolt
3 Rakdos Charm
1 Searing Blaze
4 Smash to Smithereens
4 Sulfur Elemental
3 Volcanic Fallout
It’s basically a consistant burn straight to the head deck which will punish any combo deck that can’t find their combo pieces in time. The cards that pulled off the most work for me on the day was Vexing Devil and Bump in the Night which were 2 under rated cards from the Innistrad Block that I saw with lots of potential. Many decks side in Spellskite in hope to shut me down but I did run 19 spells that can not be redirected to Spellskite such as Lava Spike, Bump in the Night, Boros Charm, Skull Crack and Searing Blaze. Here is my story going through all 5 rounds.
ROUND 1: Anthony Poore – Soul Sisters
Anthony is a veteran to the Townsville scene and is a very good friend of mine from the old school days that I welcome back. Though he has returned purely for the casual play at Pre Releases and an avid fan of the growing commander format, he had never experienced this latest exciting modern format as he was more familiar with the old extended format. Being the good mate that I am I lent him a good fun yet very competitive deck with all my cool tech to try and bone everybody else. Here is the list – Link
1 Emeria, the Sky Ruin
4 Martyr of Sands
4 Serra Ascendant
3 Soul’s Attendant
3 Soul Warden
4 Auriok Champion
4 Squadron Hawk
2 Ranger of Eos
4 Path to Exile
4 Honor of the Pure
4 Spectral Procession
2 Sword of War and Peace
4 Ethersworn Canonist
2 Kataki, War’s Wage
3 Stony Silence
2 Suppression Field
4 Aven Mindcensor
Game one began with Anthony building up his hand after a Squadron Hawk while I was like a bull out of a gate burning him down to 2 life before he dropped a timely Matyr of Sands to regain all his life back. That was enough for Anthony to buy his time to beat me down with an army of Hawks while staying well out of burn range again. Game two was even more torturing for me as I was mana screwed and had a hand full of Volcanic Fallouts. They were dead cards to me as Anthony dropped 3 Honor of Pures in play before he cast all his creature spells to turn the game right around into his favour. After round one, I went down 0-2 which was a horrible start to my day. Anthony continued on to finish in a respectable 9th place with 10 points for the day. Note to all, Spinter Twin combo scoops to 2 Soul Wardens in play which happened alot that day.
ROUND 2: Simon Skene – Boros Soul Sisters
Simon maybe young but he’s been playing magic for as long as I can remember when I started playing in Townsville. A player who likes his quirky combos has splashed red into his beloved Soul Sisters deck to use the synergy of Norin the Wary and Genesis Chamber. Game one was very close but I pulled an impossible win out of the hat with 3 well timed Skull Cracks and a top deck burn spell for the win on a hunch that he won’t draw another Soul Warden for the rest of the game. Game 2 was well drawn out too but I got back in the game thanks to my Sulfur Elemental which cleared out his white wheenie army. Simon unfortunely drew nothing but land afterwards while getting beatdown by my 3/2 elemental creature which got me through round two with a 2-0 win.
ROUND 3: Jarod White – Melira Pod
Jarod being one of the top players in Townsville to watch for was never going to be an easy match for me. In fact, every time I have to face Jarod, it is never been an easy match to win as there has been an epic history between the two of us. Both games played out the same, it was tight and the tension was at it’s peak as both of us took our time to make sure we time our plays right as the first person to break and makes a mistake will lose. With Birthing Pod active in play, Jarod had access to any trick he wanted to play but I held back on my Skull Cracks for his Kitchen Finks and was fortunate to draw many Searing Blazes to keep his options limited. I walked away with a hard fought 2-0 win which kept my dream alive of making top 8.
ROUND 4: Lachlan Buchan – Affinity
Lachlan has been playing for a couple of years now and has come a long way and is a member of a group of young talented players that call themselves “Team Proxy”. Game one was all about who came out faster, I fell into a land clump while Lachlan was down to 3 life but he sealed the game by swinging back with a 5/5 Vault Skirge. A bold move on his behalf to sac everything to his Ravager to make his Vault Skirge huge but his hunch was correct as I did not have a burn spell to kill his Vault Skirge in response. Game two went just as quick but I didn’t draw any Bump in the Nights as I had enough mana to pay it’s flashback cost which is all I needed for the win. Lachlan walked away with a 2-0 win which allowed him to ID his spot in the top 8.
ROUND 5: Andy Eccleston – Patriot Twin
Andy is a better known player that hangs with the Team Australian players while travelling the world competing in many Grand Prixs. Round 5 was a must win for both of us as we both wanted to make top 8. Splinter Twin vs Burn is like watching 2 players playing solitaire but I was more fortunate to burn him to zero life before he was able to draw the 2 cards that needs to obtain for a combo that beats my face in with infinite creatures. I walked away with a 2-0 win finishing in 7th place with a 3-2 record for the day.
PRELIMINARY FINALS: Robert Jackway – Splinter Twin
Robert Jackway is one of the top players in Australia and is well recognised by all with his friendly personality and his great successes at high profile tournaments. With him and I getting paired up straight away, it attracted the attention of all the bystanders as it was considered as the feature match of the day. Game one was interesting as Robby played a Blood Moon which surprisingly boned my burn deck as I had 2 Boros Charms in hand. Fortunately I got one of them off in response but hoped that I didn’t draw any more black or white spells after that. The game was more about luck my way as Robby could only draw Pestermites instead of Deceiver Exarchs which was easier for me to burn with my Searing Blaze as he attempted to to target it with Splinter Twin. After game one went my way, Robby started again by playing an early Spellskite. I’ve been down that road many times as I continued to burn straight to his head with spells that are unredirectable to his Spellskite. Robby spent most of the game digging deep in his deck searching for his combo pieces but I held back on my Rakdos Charm incase Robby was going to combo off. By the time I accumulated enough spells I chose to kill his Spellskite instead to steal the win and progress to the semis.
SEMI FINALS: Luke Gallagher – RUG Twin
Luke is another player from “Team Proxy” which had 5 of it’s members making Top 8. Luke’s deck is basically a Red/Blue/Green tempo deck that beats down with Tarmogoyfs and Scavenging Oozes with the Splinter Twin Combo as an alternative win condition. Both games played out very similar as Luke was beating me down hard with his early Goyf but I was lucky enough to burn him out quickly as I was always gonna be dead the following turn. After a 2-0 win, I progressed to the finals.
FINALS: Joshua De Valter – Azorius Control
Josh was the last man standing from “Team Proxy” as the whole team seemed desperate to stop me in my tracks. Don’t have Josh’s deck list but it seemed very similar to this. It is better known as the Blue/White Planeswalker Control deck which has been making more appearances lately winning in the daily MTGO events as it is becoming the deck of choice to control players. Josh had an undefeated run all day as he finished on top after the swiss rounds. His luck had ran out in the end as he mulliganed down to 5 for both games against my burn deck that won both games.
After a good long fun fulfilled day here are the results for the final top 8 placings:
1st Daniel Willing – RBW Burn
2nd Joshua De Valter – UW Control
3rd Matthew Holloway – Kiki Pod
4th Luke Gallagher – RUG Twin
5th Thomas Ulcoq – Esper Teachings
6th Robert Jackway – Splinter Twin
7th Lachlan Buchan – Affinity
8th Nathan Smith – Naya Zoo
After seeing the results, there is a vast variety of good decks in modern which shows how much fun this format really is for those that are interested in delving into it. Happy brewing and have fun 🙂