I had a PTQ this weekend and was planning on attending right until my friend called me up with an emergency, a â€˜must help me or I am totally SOL here,’ To give you a better understanding of the long profanity-ridden chat that took place following this opening sentiment, allow me to share a snippet. The words, â€˜drunken idiot,’ â€˜Impound lot,’ â€˜jail,’ â€˜stuck in San Francisco,’ and â€˜whyyyyy?’ were used a number of times. Turns out my friend showed poor judgment in which malcontented boob he lets drive his vehicle around.
To that end, my Saturday morning was spent helping him rectify the impounded car situation and going back to sleep around noon instead of playing at my PTQ which unfortunately started about an hour before I had even gotten home. If I had attended, this was the seventy-five I was going to sleeve up and bring into battle.
- 1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
- 3 Tireless Tribe
- 4 Putrid Imp
- 2 Ichorid
- 1 Flame-Kin Zealot
- 4 Golgari Grave-Troll
- 2 Golgari Thug
- 4 Stinkweed Imp
- 4 Narcomoeba
The reason I picked Dredge was because the field just isn’t prepared enough for it. You have 80-85% against the field game 1, according to pretty much all my testing and everyone else I talked to. There was a single match that wasn’t that big a blow-out, and that was game 1 against Affinity with Fatal Frenzy and Tormod’s Crypt maindeck. Unfortunately for me, whereas most maindeck hate options are too slow (See Living Wish — Yixlid Jailer) or not all that impressive (See Mogg Fanatic by itself), Affinity combines sacrifice guys with a zero mana grave hoser, which although not that scary by itself, when backed by a turn 4 or 5 kill is one easily good enough to stall out all but the best Dredge hands and then kill you before you can recover. As for Fatal Frenzy being a big deal… I have lost with Akroma before to an 18 power Ravager that simply trampled over and crushed me.
Anyway, everything else just doesn’t really have a chance in hell against me until we go to board. Post-board things get tricky, and I’d like to thank Feldman for sharing some of his boarding plans with me as it got me to rethink my sideboarding plan of heavy Merchant Scroll — Bounce. Instead with a modified board, I now board differently on the play or draw based on the amount and type of hate I believed that would affect me in post-board games.
Unfortunately this was actually a horrid metagame choice and I probably wouldn’t have lasted past round 6 even if I had showed up to the PTQ. It turns out a huge portion of the field decided to run the Dredge plan, some even going as far as netdecking Valencia builds and maindecking Leyline of the Void for the mirror and against Mogg Fanatic and Arcbound Ravager. Although from what I hear, most of these players were… what’s the nice way of saying it… not playing so optimally. For example, my friend Mark got paired versus Dredge four times over the tournament, and he went 8-0 against them with a Red deck. Before I get all the, â€˜omg idiot, I told you Fanatic beats Dredge,’ let me explain.
He scored a free win from one of his opponents not realizing Putrid Imp couldn’t block after it reached Threshold. Another win from playing the entire library into the face of Tormod’s Crypt, not realizing Dread Return flashback triggering bridges could be responded to. Another person kept a six-card hand with no discard outlet and nothing else of relevance and proceeded to die long before seeing one.
From all descriptions I’ve heard, the California PTQ had a bunch of sub-par Dredge builds / players with a very competent people in there as well. From what I hear, the Dredge guy who made Top 8 also threw his game away just from being so nervous, but that might have been someone else. The rest of the metagame was basically Next Level Blue variants, Goblins and a decent smattering of RDW / Zoo. Affinity didn’t make much of an impact, nor did any non-Dredge combo or the Doran legion. One Doran deck did very well, making it to the finals, but past that I didn’t hear about any remarkable results.
From what I’ve been told, this was the top eight deck-wise.
Zoo versus Dredge
Goblins versus UG Tron
Tog versus U/B control (Scepter maybe?)
Aggro Loam versus Doran
UG Tron versus Tog
Zoo versus Doran
Doran versus UG Tron
If this is accurate, then we had one of the most diverse PTQ Top 8s I’ve seen with no deck doubles and a number of less popular decks making Top 8. Tog I’ve seen on Magic Online, but almost nowhere else, being replaced largely by Next Level Blue and MUC. U/G Tron had yet to make a solid impact anywhere, yet it seemingly plowed through the field here despite a number of not so fun matches.
My buddy Mark Santos ended up going 5-2-1 (losing to the UG Tron that made the finals and the Aggro Loam player that made Top 8). His RDW list is as follows:
I couldn’t convince him of the awesomeness of Terminate, but Ensnaring Bridge ended up saving him in a number of post-board games. In game 2 against the Aggro Loam player, it locked out two Terravore and three Tarmogoyf long enough to draw some more burn and win the game. There are other examples, but the card is just very good against any deck that looks to outmuscle you on the ground. Otherwise the deck is a pretty standard RDW build, beats, burn and mana denial being the main tenets of it. After throwing it around the gauntlet a bit, I’d recommend a 21st land over the 4th Fireceat, but then again I play 22 land in most of my aggro builds and this only has 20 as it stands.
Post-Morningtide, Mutavault is the most obvious addition. The deck really doesn’t like Treetop Village, and being an extra beater late in the game can really help to break open some of the stalemates that occur in the Red mirror. Shard Volley is another consideration simply because Seal of Fire feels really weak as a four-of, since you already have Firebolt and Mogg Fanatic. I wouldn’t recommend the full set, but it remains a possibility as a solid finishing spell.
As always, best of luck at your Qualifiers and if anyone has any interesting stories, decks or hilarious road trip stories to share; feel free to e-mail me or shoot me a response in the forums.
E-mail me at joshDOTsilvestriATgmailDOTcom