Magic: The Gathering – Pop-A-Lot #1 NSW

MTG_Popalot

GP Melbourne looms ever closer, and players looking to get in some last minute testing have had no better place to try out their brews or tried-and-true lists than at competitive REL events around the country. Pop-A-Lot #1 at Hornsby RSL in NSW was one such event which attracted 75 players this weekend. I didn’t get to play at this event, opting instead to judge; and while that meant I didn’t get in the testing for the GP that I wanted to do, it did mean that I managed to get an all access pass to as much information about the players and their decks as I wanted – which only means good things for ATGN and its readers!

It is always interesting to see the wide variety of decks that pop up at the bigger tournaments, and this weekend was no exception. Control made a big showing with Bant, UWR, Simic, Rakdos, Golgari, Mono Black, Azorius, and Esper variants floating around, and quite a few of them made strong plays for the top 16. GR Monsters also made quite a showing, but overall was unable to put a single copy into the top 8. And yet, while it had a relatively poor showing overall this weekend, two copies of Mono Blue Devotion made it into the top 8 and eventually took out the title.

riftThe card that sealed the deal in the final game of the match

After taking down Robert Liu piloting Esper Control in the final 2-0, I spoke to overall winner Anthony Hlaing:

Q. Could you tell me what deck you ran today?
A. I ran Mono Blue Devotion.

Q. How did you prepare for today?
A. To be honest, I realised that Mono Blue is the only deck that I really understood well, and I didn’t want to play control mirrors because I didn’t feel like I had the mental stamina for it. I just trust Mono Blue because sometimes you get the draw that just kills them.

Q. What match-up did you struggle with most today?
A. Going in I was most afraid of Green/Red Monsters and Esper control (or even just Blue/White Control). I realised that just a single Arbor Colossus killing one dude and then standing in the way of another dude just pretty much stonewalls my plan to kill them. The thing that I was most afraid of with Esper is that if I go mono dudes and they go mono removal then it’s pretty much over.

Q. Is there anything that you would change in your deck?
A. I would not run the Aetherling in the sideboard. I realised that in the control match-up you just want to play the tempo deck. Of course, you want to take out your Cloudfin Raptors because you don’t want to overextend into their Verdict, but you can board in an extra Bident and an extra Jace and you can play a more permanent based game, so that then becomes the keystone of the strategy.

Q. Are you going to GP Melbourne?
A. I am going to GP Melbourne.

Q. Same deck?
A. Potentially.

Congratulations to Anthony Hlaing for taking out the first Pop-A-Lot event of the year!

1959522_481473298631133_1249821288_nLeft to right: Patrick Kim, Anthony Hlaing, Robert Liu
Photo courtesy of Adan Weeks & Pop-A-Lot

Now for some desklist goodness. Feast your eyes:

1st – Blue Devotion – Anthony Hlaing

Creature [28]
4 Cloudfin Raptor
4 Judge’s Familiar
4 Tidebinder Mage
4 Frostburn Weird
4 Nightveil Specter
4 Thassa, God of the Sea
4 Master of WavesInstant [3]
2 Cyclonic Rift
1 Rapid Hybridization

Artifact [2]
2 Bident of Thassa

Planeswalker [2]
2 Jace, Architect of Thought

Land [25]
20 Island
4 Mutavault
1 Nykthos, Shrine to NyxSideboard [15]
1 Ætherling
1 Rapid Hybridization
3 Gainsay
2 Dissolve
1 Dispel
2 Ratchet Bomb
1 Bident of Thassa
3 Domestication
1 Jace, Architect of Thought

2nd – Esper Control – Robert Liu

Creature [1]
1 ÆtherlingInstant [14]
4 Sphinx’s Revelation
4 Dissolve
2 Syncopate
2 Azorius Charm
2 Ultimate Price

Sorcery [6]
4 Supreme Verdict
2 Thoughtseize

Artifact [1]
1 Elixir of Immortality

Enchantment [4]
4 Detention Sphere

Planeswalker [7]
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
4 Jace, Architect of Thought

Land [27]
4 Temple of Enlightenment
4 Temple of Deceit
4 Temple of Silence
4 Hallowed Fountain
1 Watery Grave
1 Godless Shrine
2 Mutavault
4 Island
3 PlainsSideboard [15]
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
4 Blood Baron of Vizkopa
2 Gainsay
4 Doom Blade
2 Thoughtseize

3rd – Esper Control – Patrick Kim

Creature [1]
1 ÆtherlingInstant [13]
4 Sphinx’s Revelation
3 Dissolve
1 Syncopate
2 Ultimate Price
2 Hero’s Downfall
1 Devour Flesh

Sorcery [6]
4 Supreme Verdict
2 Thoughtseize

Enchantment [4]
4 Detention Sphere

Planeswalker [9]
4 Jace, Architect of Thought
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
2 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver

Land [27]
4 Temple of Enlightenment
4 Temple of Silence
4 Temple of Deceit
4 Hallowed Fountain
2 Godless Shrine
4 Watery Grave
2 Island
1 Plains
2 MutavaultSideboard [15]
4 Blood Baron of Vizkopa
2 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1 Ætherling
1 Negate
3 Doom Blade
2 Thoughtseize
2 Revoke Existence

4th – Rakdos Aggro – Michael Vanderhaven

Creature [26]
4 Ash Zealot
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Frostburn Weird
4 Boros Reckoner
4 Fanatic of Mogis
2 Purphoros, God of the Forge
4 Stormbreath DragonSorcery [7]
3 Dreadbore
2 Mizzium Mortars
2 Rakdos’s Return

Artifact [2]
2 Hammer of Purphoros

Land [25]
4 Temple of Malice
4 Blood Crypt
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
3 Rakdos Guildgate
10 MountainSideboard [15]
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
3 Doom Blade
3 Dark Betrayal
2 Slaughter Games
1 Rakdos’s Return
1 Dreadbore
1 Thoughtseize
1 Hammer of Purphoros
2 Chandra, Pyromaster

5th – Black Devotion – Tey Phokmanee

Creature [17]
4 Pack Rat
4 Nightveil Specter
4 Desecration Demon
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
1 Erebos, God of the DeadInstant [10]
2 Devour Flesh
4 Bile Blight
4 Hero’s Downfall

Sorcery [4]
4 Thoughtseize

Enchantment [4]
4 Underworld Connections

Land [25]
4 Mutavault
4 Temple of Deceit
17 SwampSideboard [15]
3 Lifebane Zombie
2 Erebos, God of the Dead
2 Dark Betrayal
2 Doom Blade
3 Duress
3 Drown in Sorrow

6th – Blue Devotion – Gary Wong

Creature [28]
4 Judge’s Familiar
4 Cloudfin Raptor
4 Frostburn Weird
4 Tidebinder Mage
4 Nightveil Specter
4 Thassa, God of the Sea
4 Master of WavesInstant [1]
1 Rapid Hybridization

Artifact [2]
2 Bident of Thassa

Enchantment [2]
2 Domestication

Planeswalker [2]
2 Jace, Architect of Thought

Land [25]
20 Island
4 Mutavault
1 Nykthos, Shrine to NyxSideboard [15]
1 Ætherling
3 Gainsay
2 Negate
1 Dispel
1 Rapid Hybridization
2 Cyclonic Rift
1 Bident of Thassa
2 Domestication
2 Jace, Memory Adept

7th – BG Devotion – Harry Jackson

Creature [17]
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
4 Pack Rat
4 Desecration Demon
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
4 Nightveil SpecterInstant [12]
2 Bile Blight
2 Ultimate Price
4 Hero’s Downfall
4 Abrupt Decay

Sorcery [4]
4 Thoughtseize

Enchantment [3]
3 Underworld Connections

Land [24]
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Golgari Guildgate
13 Swamp
3 MutavaultSideboard [15]
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
3 Mistcutter Hydra
4 Lifebane Zombie
2 Golgari Charm
2 Devour Flesh
3 Duress

8th – Boros Midrange – Bradley Tran

Creature [11]
4 Satyr Firedancer
3 Young Pyromancer
4 Chandra’s PhoenixInstant [26]
4 Shock
4 Searing Blood
4 Magma Jet
4 Lightning Strike
3 Skullcrack
4 Boros Charm
3 Warleader’s Helix
Land [23]
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Temple of Triumph
4 Temple of Silence
2 Mutavault
9 MountainSideboard [15]
4 Boros Reckoner
3 Spark Trooper
2 Glare of Heresy
2 Revoke Existence
4 Chained to the Rocks

Phew! Well there you have it. Good luck to everyone going to GP Melbourne. Come say hi if you see me around.

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