PT Paris Report

Posted on Monday, February 21st, 2011 by llarack
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Posted in mtg, strategy, Tournament Report

After reading Alex Majlaton’s tournament report on thefacebook, I decided I wanted to write a report summarizing my experience at my first PT.

The previous few weeks or so, I had spent a large amount of time playtesting Standard vs Reid Duke on Magic Workstation (since Mirrodin Besieged wasn’t arriving onto Magic Online). Reid was pretty sold on UB but also said Valakut was a pretty good choice in his opinion. I couldn’t get any of my non-Valakut brews to beat Valakut often enough for my taste, so I just decided to run with it. In the decision making process, I did work with some Maryland people (Tommy Ashton, John Moore and Alex Majlaton), as well as the proficient gamer Stephen King. Stephen King (a VS and Magic guru who has lost the fire) really liked Caw-Go. Tommy was ok playing anything but was convinced to play Caw-Go at the last minute when he found out about the Stoneforge Mystic package. John Moore was sold on U/B (he had Abyssal Persecutor in his deck right until up to the PT, I believe). Alex was convinced by Stephen to play Caw-Go as well.

As an aside: Another unfortunate thing predating this PT was the release of faction packs as prize packs at the Prerelease. As a result, we were not able to get in many drafts before the PT, but I had theories. My first theory was that red was one of the strongest colors to be still, since in Scars it was really good, and Besieged had Burn the Impure and a 4 mana 4/3 at common (which is pretty big in this format). Second, aggressive infect decks would be a lot weaker due to having one less pack of two-drops to pick up as well as white and green having great infect defensive blockers (Blightwidow and Priests of Norn).

I only managed to do 2 drafts in Maryland, 1 fake draft in Maryland (since we ran out of faction packs of the appropriate types), and 2 team drafts the day before the PT.

I got in (around 6:45am) after taking a flight from Dulles around 5:25pm. Falco had missed the flight because the plane in Buffalo had mechanical problems, so I had no one to talk to (although Shaheen Soorani was on my flight and was apparently sold on UW Mass Polymorph). I managed to watch two movies (Megamind and Unstoppable) and slept for 3 hours besides that. I went solo from the airport to the hotel at which Sti (Stuart Wright) said we were booked. There was a slight problem when I tried to leave my luggage there (and this turned out to be a huge problem later (ask Falco about it)) in that Sti’s name wasn’t actually on the reservation, and instead it was some French guy from the UK who had booked it for him in the French guy’s name. So I decided to take the Paris metro over to Alex/Tommy’s room. There I also discovered that Kenny Mayer was staying with them, and he was on Valakut as well. We ran into Reid Duke while going to a grocery store, and he decided to join our motley crew to chill for a bit. We ended up killing time in the hotel room as well as finding Reid’s hotel (for which he could not check in until about 3pm anyway). Then we went to the site around 5pm to see what was going on. It was disappointing that they had cut the Player party (no free food :pmosad: ), so I registered for the PT and got my free draftset and T-shirt (with Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas on it).

Eventually I found a teamdraft, with one caveat: There were no basic lands to be found anywhere. As a result, I had to proxy on my sideboard cards for basic lands, which gave me a huge headache when I was trying to figure out if something was a land or spell. I was also reasonably jetlagged by this point. Eventually Stuart Wright and Bill Nielsen (Falco) show up, and we head back to the hotel at a reasonable time since they had managed to check in before arriving at the site.


I woke up feeling relatively ok since I had decided not to take a nap at all yesterday to adjust for jetlag. We entered the lobby of the hotel to get some breakfast, where some French lady bothers Sti about why we have three people (only supposed to have two) for breakfast. Sti makes up some excuse (I don’t even remember what), and we decide every day afterwards, we’ll just sneak food up to our third in the room.

We arrive at Espace Champerret at the Hall of Expositions, and I sit down for my round 1 match. My apologies to anyone if I misremember a match, my memory for these things leaves something to be desired.

The list I end up registering is:

Round 1: Jonas Köstler (from Germany) (RUG Control)

This dude seemed to know was what going on judging from his mannerisms.

Game 1: He wins the dieroll, plays turn 1 Preordain, turn 2 Lotus Cobra, turn 3 Explore + Jace while keeping Mana Leak mana up.

Meanwhile, I had kept a sort of slow hand with only Explore and KHE as ramp spells, so Jace draws him into a bunch of Titans and permission before I can do anything.

Sideboard: +3 Thrun, the Last Troll, +2 Slagstorm (kills Jace postboard, and their deck has a bunch of small dudes), -4 Harrow, -1 Khalni Heart Expedition

Game 2: I keep a reasonable but slow hand again, and he starts missing land drops. Here, I deviate from the plan of waiting out Mana Leak and start throwing out things into it (which is completely wrong, since if he is stuck on lands, it is very likely his hand is permission). Eventually he starts draw lands and plays 2 Frost Titans to do me in. If I had waited on the last 2 threats (Primeval and Zenith) to play around Leaks, I think I would have a much better chance.

Round 2: Thomas Ma (of PT Amsterdam t8) (Valakut)

Game 1: He wins the dieroll, has a reasonable draw that plays a t4 Titan if he doesn’t brick off a land from Explore. He bricks, then I play a titan and kill him. (Not very exciting, but that’s how dumb the mirror match is).

Sideboard: -2 Oracle of Mul Daya, -1 Avenger of Zendikar, +3 Acidic Slime (oracle is just a really slow ramp spell, and Avenger is not really the card you want to draw in the mirror)

Game 2: He has a reasonable hand with a turn 2 Overgrown Battlement, but my draw of turn 2 Lotus Cobra, t3 Harrow, Harrow, play Expedition, the following turn play Titan has him almost dead, then he packs.

Round 3: Daniel Steinsdörfer (Valakut)

Game 1: He wins the dieroll, plays a few ramp spells, while I keep a hand with ramp but no gas. I start attacking him with Raging Ravine, and he takes enough hits to go to 4 life. I can then peel a Valakut or a Harrow to lethal him with vs his Primeval Titan that he has just drawn. I peel a Valakut, play Titan to go get 2 mountains, and he dies on like turn 8 in a very confusing game.

Sideboard: -2 Oracle, -1 Avenger, +3 Acidic Slime.

Game 2: He mulligans to 5, does nothing and dies to my Primeval Titan that arrives on turn 4.

Round 4: Gerard Fabiano (Caw-Go with mystics (he had equipment, but I never saw a mystic, but I would assume he had them))

Game 1: I just ramp past his Mana Leaks and play some duders that resolve and kill him with Titan/Valakut triggers.

Sideboard: -4 Harrow, -2 Avenger, -3 Explore, +3 Thrun, the Last Troll, +3 Acidic Slime, +2 Gaea’s Revenge, +1 Koth of the Hammer

Game 2: I play a turn 3 Thrun, the Last Troll which is quickly trumped by his turn 5 Baneslayer Angel, turn 6, attack for 9, turn 7, attack for 9, and I am dead.

Sideboard: (on the play I still want explore, I think) +1 Explore, -1 Koth of the Hammer (Koth doesn’t match up very well vs Baneslayers).

Game 3: I get another turn 3 Troll, which in conjunction with Raging Ravine bashes him for 8 once before he plays Squadron Hawk to find 3 more buddies. Eventually we get to a board state where he has to probably tap out to stop my men even though he has Hawk + Sword of Feast and Famine online. I manage to stick a Titan. Then he plays and equips Sword of Body and Mind to try to mill enough Mountains so he is not dead. This doesn’t happen, and I win.

Round 5: Shintaro Ishimura (Caw-Go with Mirran Crusader, and I find out later Student of Warfare as well).

Game 1: He wins the dieroll and leads with t2 Leak for explore, t3 Crusader, attack me with it 5 times with countermagic backup until I was dead :/

Sideboard: +3 Acidic Slime, +2 Slagstorm (not great here, but kills Mirran Crusader which is a huge problem otherwise), -4 Harrow, -1 Avenger

Game 2: He has t2 Stoneforge Mystic, t3 Mirran Crusader, t4 equip BG sword onto Crusader, t5 equip UG sword onto Crusader, and I am instantly dead.

At this point, I realize going 3-2 in the standard portion with Valakut is not horrible, but I was wishing that I had played the UW Mystic deck instead.

Draft Portion

I open Consecrated Sphinx and take it over Burn the Impure (so I probably won’t see any red pack two). I pick up 2 Leonin Relic-Warders, and a bunch of reasonable men but nothing special (Hexplate Golem 14th, and this card is actually reasonable when you need a finisher). Pack 2, I take a bunch of mana myr, two Volition Reins but decline to take a 9th pick Scrapdiver Serpent (which my deck sorely needed). Pack 3, I take Arc Trail and Scrapmelter on the splash deciding my deck needs more power to even have a shot of winning.

I immediately go 0-2 (r1 vs Olle Rade, he plays 2 flamefiends in games 1 and 3, I draw 10 extra cards or so in game 2 with Consecrated Sphinx). (r2 vs Matthew Griffin, both games go long, but in g1, I die to his Argent Sphinx, and in g2, my last 3 cards (in my library) are Volition Reins, Island, Consecrated Sphinx. If I had drawn Sphinx midgame in game 2, I would have easily won on the stable board state (or if Hexplate Golem had been a Scrapdiver Serpent that I should have taken. I decide to drop after this, not thinking about top 200 getting an extra pro point.

I find out that Sti has gotten a bye into day 2 (the other person in his pod who was 0-2 dropped, so Sti just got a bye into it). I decide that I want to play Goblins in the Legacy Challenge tomorrow (lol, when will I ever learn?).


I enter the Legacy Challenge, beat some dude in the mirror r1, lose to some dude playing infect r2 (g1, he goes t1 land Lotus petal, plague stinger. My t1 is land vial, go. His t2 is, rancor, invigorate, invigorate, BAM YU DEAD.) r3, I lose to some guy in the Goblins mirror because he has 2 sharpshooters postboard (easily the most important card in the mirror), even though he left in Warren Weirding (easily the worst card in the mirror, and had Lightning Bolt (an awful card in this deck). R4, I just get steamrolled by elf combo (g1 he had me dead on t3, g2 I kill 4 of his guys with pyrokinesis, then he plays Caller of the Claw and attacks me). At this point I drop, and decide to go railbird and teamdraft some. I team with BJB and Harry C and we fight 3 guys from France/Canada (not sure) and defeat them. Psychosis Crawler beats me in 1 match, but I 2-0 the other guys fairly easily. I also sign up for the GP!


I open a reasonable pool, but nothing exciting. Also turned out I only had 1 bye (1943, damn you PR) :/ Won my r2 match easily vs a dude who had also played in the PT, and his sealed deck appeared to be monowhite (????). r3, lost to a friendly guy who was R/b. I misplayed in g2 by not clasping his iron myr to keep him off 6 mana (to return his shrunk Phoenix with metalcraft and equip bonehoard). R4, I gave some guy an unreal beating by playing a bunch of removal and idiots. R5, I lost to a guy who played ok, since I got stuck on 2 lands for 5 turns in g3. After this I decide to drop and railbird / draft with friends.

I make friends with Thomas Ma and Jason Ford this day, since I’m doing stone-nothing and watch Ma go 8-2, BJB go 9-1 (his deck was average, but he should have started by splashing red), and Falco go 8-2 with his awesome Tezzeret deck. I also run around the hall looking for a Faeries deck for the PTQ tomorrow, since I am pretty sure the PTQ will be a lot smaller than other GP PTQs because of a cash sealed tournament starting around the same time. I end up getting back to the hotel room very late after finishing a team draft with people.


I still manage to wake up around 7am (to go with Falco to the site). Sti staggers in around then (he said the metro restarted at 6am!)

I register the following deck (Faeries YU):


A few quick notes: I spent a bit of time discussing what the sideboard would be with Reid (who was also entering the PTQ with his homebrew Bant deck). Basically I wanted to make sure to have enough cards to board in/out for the matchups I expected (Jund/Naya/RG and UG/UGW scapeshift, as well as Faeries mirror).

I really don’t remember many of the games well, so I’ll just go over a few interesting board states/decisions I had to make, as well as a quick rundown of the matches I played.

R2g2 vs Faeries (Masayasu Tanahashi) in the mirror (I had lost game 1).

My opening hand is Secluded Glen, Sunken Ruins, Tectonic Edge, Bitterblossom, Thoughtseize, Jace Beleren, Cryptic Command.

I Thoughtseize him on t1, revealing Blossom, and see his hand of: Secluded Glen, Island, Tectonic Edge, Bitterblossom, Inquisition of Kozilek, Vampire Nighthawk, Mana Leak.

I tank on a while on taking Inquisition vs Blossom, and eventually to decide to take Blossom. Postboard, he should only have 4 Sprite, 3 Blossom left in his deck as reveals to Glen, as well as 2 Swamp and 4 Darkslick Shores. Blossom is still the most important card anyway in the mirror based on our hands, so I take it. His turn 1, he bricks on a Faerie or untapped black land, so he just plays t1 Glen, pass. Turn 2, I play Mutavault and Blossom, his t2, he inquisitions me, takes a nighthawk I have drawn (note, I can’t even cast Nighthawk as it is), and plays island and ships. On my t3, I decide to gun out Beleren, and he shows me Spell Pierce. I wasn’t sure if I should attack with Mutavault or play Beleren. I end up losing this game to his Nighthawk + Sword of Feast and Famine as well as double Cryptic Command (since Nighthawk + Sword let him untap all of his lands).

R1 vs Jund (Pierre Compan) win 2-1.

R2 vs Faeries (Masayasu Tanahashi) Lose 0-2.

R3 vs Naya Allies (hadrien Peudecoeur) Win 2-0.

R4 vs Jund (Hugo Tranchant) Win 2-0.

R5 vs RG Scapeshift (Johnny J. Niemeyer) Win 2-0

R6 vs Soul Warden + Ajani’s Pridemate deck (Ray Doyle) Win 2-0 (He presented 59 cards in g2).

R7 vs RG Scapeshift (Jonathan Rotstejn) Win 2-1 (He played Fallout at the incorrect time in g3 (he was supposed to wait for Spellstutter’s trigger to be on the stack before Fallouting).

R8 vs UGW Scapeshift (Marien Couvertier) Win 2-1 (His hand in g3 was 2 Autumn’s Veil + Scalding Tarn at one point. I asked for an Oracle wording since his Veils were in French, and I wanted to make sure that Spellstutter Sprite was unaffected by them.)

Top Eight

R9 (r1 of t8) vs Combo Elves with Zenith (Bernhard Lehner) Win 2-1. G1, I get SMASHED since he is on the play and he just dumps his hand and casts Primal Command, knowing not to go after my manlands when I have mana up. G2, He makes a risky attack that hinges on his Warcaller living. I show him go for the throat after declaring blockers, and we move to g3. Also of note this game, I played 2 early Bitterblossoms, since basically they can’t burn you out ever and having infinite men is an easy way to win. The only card that could possibly worry you is Windstorm (which Reid had in his board, but I don’t think anyone else played) or Cloudthresher (more likely). G3, he mulls into a risky hand, and I trade Mutavault for a dude early and start mowing down his guys with removal, as well as taking his only gas card with Inquisition.

R10 (r2 of t8) vs GW Trap (Chikara Nakajima) Win 2-1. G1, I win barely without bitterblossom due to Vendilion + Mistbind Clique as well as killing his mana idiots. G2, he plays a t3 primeval titan on the play, and that is game. G3, he plays an edge precombat on t4, so I edge him inside his combat step, then he tries to go to edge me, and realizes I now only have 3 lands in play. Eventually I just kill his guys with 2 cryptics in my hand while taking damage from Noble Hierarchs. Very unexciting.

R11 (finals of PTQ) vs Faeries (Masayasu Tanahashi) Win 2-0. He just mulligans to 5 twice, and sort of makes a game of game 1 and 2, but in the end can’t pull it out.

It was a huge relief to already requalify (just after my first PT, basically!). I am determined to do much better in Nagoya!

As an aside, if you would like to play Faeries in the remaining PTQs, I would suggest adding 2 Sword of Feast and Famine, cutting 1 removal spell, and 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor from the maindeck. In the sideboard, Negate should become Countersquall.

Again, any comments or suggestions about how I could improve my writing are greatly appreciated.


Tom Ma, Maryland dudes (Alex Majlaton, Tommy Ashton, John Moore, Stephen King), Reid Duke, Jason Ford, Bill Nielsen, Stuart Wright, Levi Hinz, Chifley Cole, Stephen Murray, as well as other GoodGamery people.

I appreciate the support that you guys gave me during all of the tournaments as well as during preparation for the PT.