This past weekend my friends and I participated in two tournaments, and I must say it was one of the best weekends I’ve experienced playing magic. On Saturday morning Jamie, Josh, Murray and I made our way to Prince-Edward-Island for Grand Prix Trial Montreal. I went 4-2 losing my win and in match to a turn 6 Sire of Insanity in game 3. However all was not lost. Mike Sheng a member of Team Comic Hunter who travelled in a different car finished top 8, and Josh ended up winning the whole event securing himself 2 byes to the upcoming GP.
Murray also lost his win and in match and we both felt like our decks and our play were worthy of a top 8. So we vowed to top 8 the MDSS the next day. I was particularly excited for the event as I was defending champion from last year’s MDSS Halifax.
With the GPT in the books we headed home to get some rest before the early morning trip to Halifax. For reference below is the list I registered for both events.
UWR Control – Alex Lavoie
3 Temple of enlightenment
3 Hallowed Fountain
4 Steam Vents
3 Sacred Foundry
4 Temple of Triumph
1 Elixir of Immortality
1 Mizzium Mortars
3 Izzet Charm
2 Azorius Charm
4 Detention Sphere
4 Supreme Verdict
4 Sphinx’s Revelation
4 Jace, Architect of Thought
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
1 Revoke Existence
2 Pithing Needle
3 Archangel of Thune
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1 Fated Retribution
1 Blind Obedience
I’ve been playing this deck for the past 8 weeks so I know most match ups rather well. The main deck is only off by about 5 cards from our PTQ list from before Born of the Gods was released.
As with any big tournament I was unable to sleep most of the night. I resigned myself to watching some Pro Tour coverage from earlier that day. The four of us got to the venue in the nick of time after a late departure from Moncton. The tournament organizer had set up the Olympic gold medal hockey game on the projector screen at the back of the room. 78 Players registered for the event meaning 7 rounds of battling before the top 8 was to be decided.
Round 1 VS. UWR Control
In the first round of the day I got paired up against the mirror match. I must say I was not exited due to the fact that I had never played the mirror. This was a deck no one else was playing so I never actually got to play against it. Game one kicked off with both of us playing tapped lands, until turn 4 where he missed his land drop for the turn. If you have never played Control vs. Control you should note that this is disastrous. A few minutes later I attempted to resolve a sphinx’s revelation with which he responded to by casting a dissolve…wait, what?
My opponent was playing a full-fledged UWR deck but was not running Counterflux. At that moment I became actively excited for this match up. The game was a drawn out affair but I was always in an advantageous position, and with about 8 minutes left on the clock I emerged victorious after an ultimate from Elspeth. By the time sideboarding and mulligans had been completed only 5 minutes remained on the clock and my opponent was unable to resolve a threat in time to win game 2 before time had run out.
Round 2 VS. Esper (White-Blue-Black) Humans
Game one went as planned. My opponent had a little bit of a slow start and my hand was full of counters and Planeswalkers. After a few Revelations for 6 we went to game 2. The train stopped here however as my opponent played turn 5 Obzedat, Ghost Counsil in games 2 and 3. Game 3 was particularly tilting as he also played 3 bloodbarons on 3 consecutive turns and I was only able to answer 2 of them. With Obzedat triggers poking at my life total every turn I was unable to mount a comeback.
Round 3 VS. BW Control
I don’t remember much of the first part of the round but with a loss on my record already I knew any mistake could cost me the entire tournament. I won game 1 and he crushed me in game 2 once again playing Obzedat while my defenses were down and I didn’t have counter mana available.
Game 3 was literally a race against time. He had a slow start and I had a very good draw, playing a turn 2 Blind Obedience shutting down any future Obzedats from attacking for the remainder of the match. Around turn 20 with only 2 minutes left in the round and my opponent on about 30 life from Obzedat Triggers I knew I had to make some headway with Elspeth tokens quickly. Blind Obedience and Revelations had kept my life total similarly high but with a blood baron getting destroyed by my elspeth’s ability there was not enough time to ultimate my Planeswalker. With the help of 15 tokens and some extort triggers I was able to attack for lethal on turn 5 of extra turns and keep my hope for top 8 alive.
Round 4 VS. Esper Humans
This round was much easier as a random deck check resulted in my opponent getting a game loss for presenting a deck with sideboard cards in the maindeck. Game 2 my opponent opened on Thoughtseize but didn’t play another spell until turn 7, by which time I had been able to sculpt an unbeatable hand of multiple Sphinx’s Revelations and Counters with an Elspeth already on board.
Round 5 VS. BW Control
Not much to say about this round. Game one my opponent played a Herald of torment on turn 6 and followed it up by casting a thoughtseize leaving me with Detention Sphere and a few other goodies in hand. I drew a Sphinx’s Revelation and decided that it was better to just draw cards and save the Sphere for a better target later on in the game. It would be sooner than expected however when my opponent bestowed a Herald of Torment onto his existing one in play, not realising that my Sphere would still take both of them even if one wasn’t a creature.
Round 6 VS. Mono Black
This round I was paired up in the standings against an undefeated player at 5-0. Game 1 he drew 3 underworld connections and 3 thoughtseizes and was able to grind me out before I could get my hands on a Revelation for a large amount. I won game 2 quickly on the back of a turn 4 Jace, Architect of thought on an empty board. Game 3 was the long drawn out game that I’ve come to expect from this matchup, but I was never in a position where I left myself open to death due to some tight play and using my life total as a resource. With 30 seconds left on the clock and about 30 people looking on I was able to secure the win a spot in the top 8 with a draw next round…or so I thought…
Round 7 VS. Esper Humans
After round 6 standings were posted and I found myself 7th in the standings playing against 8th. In 9th position there was another player on 15 points playing against someone on 12 points. My opponent and I decided to draw (quite stupidly I might add) and roll the dice hoping for a win for the 12 point player to guaranty us both a spot in the top 8. I certainly should not have drawn, but I couldn’t believe that my opponent offered it to me, as his breakers were worse than mine, he would likely be the one to get bumped out of top 8. After 40 minutes of gruelling agony the 12 point player won a literally unwinnable game 3 and we both made top 8. As it turned out, I ended up 7th, my friend and team mate Jamie ended up in 8th and my opponent ended up in 5th, I would have felt like an even bigger idiot had Jamie gotten knocked out of top 8 for a foolish decision on my part. But in the end it all worked out and in addition to Jamie and me, Murray made top 8! We both called a top 8 and we both followed through. Our team was on top of the world at that moment as 3 out of 4 of us made top 8.
Quarter-Finals Vs. Mono Black (Murray)
In the Quarters I was paired up against Murray who got the 2nd seed and the play for this match. Game one was one of the longest games of magic I have ever played in my life. Murray played 4 thoughtseizes within the first 8 turns with the help of Underworld Connections, and before I knew it I was without any cards in hand with 8 lands in play. Luckily he didn’t really draw anything that could put a clock on me and I was able to dig with scry lands to a Revelation. I gained 6 life, drew 6 cards, one of which was another revelation and the game was almost locked up at that point. The game lasted about 60 minutes and 52 of 60 cards in Murray’s deck were either on the table, in the graveyard or in his hand.
Game 2 I was a little light on action and he had a good draw. I don’t quite remember the specifics of the game but Gray Merchant of Asphodel killed me. Game 3 I had an interesting opening hand which included: Mountain, Temple of triumph, Pithing Needle, Detention Sphere, Elixir of Immortality, Divination, and Supreme Verdict. I thought about mulliganing for a good 45 seconds and I couldn’t bring myself to do it, I had too many of the cards I wanted for the match up. I played turn 1 temple and wouldn’t you know it, Temple of enlightenment was on top of the deck. Murray played turn 1 Mutavault and I slammed turn 2 Needle. I’ll let you all figure out what I named. Murray proceeded to play a total of 3 Mutavaults over the first 5 turns, and we all got a good chuckle out of it. I ended up winning the match and was off to the semis.
Semi-Finals VS. Mono Black
Again I was on the draw this match, my opponent Thoughtseized me on turn 1 and left me with a Revelation and 5 lands after taking Turn/Burn. He then played Pack Rat and I proceeded to draw 3 lands and 3 Revelations over the course of the game. Game 2 was my favourite game of the day. My opponent came out of the gates quickly with some Mutavault hits, 2 discard spells and a Desecration Demon all by turn 6. I had very little relevant action in my hand to answer his threats. He hit me down to 2 life before I cast Revelation for x=4. The first 3 cards weren’t what I needed to survive and then I drew it. Fated Retribution! I played a tapped land and in the best case scenario he activated both his Mutavaults and swung with the team. Needless to say the game was over at that point as I killed 2 out of 5 of his lands and his Demon. Not much happened in game 3, he missed his 3rd land drop and I played a Jace onto an empty board. The game dragged on with him playing threats and myself having all the answers due to being up so many cards. At the end of the game I flashed 3 Revelations and 2 Counterfluxes and it was enough to get a concession and send me to the finals!
Finals VS. Esper Humans
Wouldn’t you know it, my opponent for the finals was none other than the same guy I drew with in round 7. We split the first 2 games with both of us imposing our game plan on the other in decisive victories. In game 2 I made a rather large mistake forgetting that I could turn Obzedat into an 0/1 creature and detention sphere it on the following turn, but I was low on land and would have still lost the game in all likelihood.
Game 3 was very close. I Detention Sphered a few of his early threats, he did the same to my Jace and we then traded haymakers: Obzedat vs. Elspeth. He then followed it up with Ephara, God of the Polis and a few turns later a Detention Sphere for my Elspeth. I played another Elspeth, hit my opponent down to 9 life and made tokens 7-9. Obzedat came back into play draining me down to 6 life and gaining him 2 life up to 11. He tapped out for Blood Baron and exiled his Obzedat. I untapped and looked at the board state; he had 2 Detention Spheres, an active Ephara and a Blood Baron versus my 9 tokens and Elspeth. I thought for a moment looking at my turn/burn in hand and considered killing the Baron with it. Then I saw the play and destroyed the 4/4 Lifelinker with Elspeth reducing his devotion to 6 and turning off his Ephara. I swung in for 9, Burned his last 2 life points for exact damage and that was it!
I captured my second Mana Deprived Super Series tournament in a row, and had a great time doing it. This one felt especially satisfying for a few reasons. Firstly I was the only Sphinx’s Revelation deck to make it into the top 8 which meant I was doing something right. Secondly it convinced me that the last MDSS was not just a fluke.
I just wanted to thank Jamie, Josh and Murray for their support over the weekend, Mike Sheng and Rob Bull for their help in tuning the deck. Though they cut the Basic Mountain for the 4th Sacred Foundry due to the white creatures in the sideboard and neglected to tell me. Finally I’d like to thank the Comic Hunter for bringing us all together and helping us out for these tournaments.
As always you stay classy Magic community.
Article submitted by Alex Lavoie. For any questions or comments feel free to email Alex at AL_X11@HOTMAIL.COM