On The Tour Again – A PTQ Kobe Report *Winner*

Nick brings us the stories from his recent PTQ win, qualifying him for Pro Tour: Kobe. After receiving a fine RGD pool, the first he’s received in some time, he highlights the cards that brought home the metaphorical bacon. With detailed match walkthroughs and some interesting Limited insights, Nick’s report is a fine primer for those attending RGD Limited PTQs in the future.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking over the schedule of upcoming Magic events, and realized that I would be missing about five PTQs for Kobe during the month of August. I’ll be back out in South Dakota helping with wedding stuff. That left only the Columbus PTQ on July 15th as my chance to qualify for the next Limited Pro Tour, which was disheartening considering I have yet to receive a good cardpool in RGD Sealed. Anyway, five of us set out on that Saturday morning for the PTQ in Columbus, Ohio and it ended up being a good day after all.

The Deck
70-some players showed up for this PTQ, and there were plenty of solid players that are regulars in the Columbus and Cleveland tournaments. I’m going to do the usual drill here where I list the card pool and you guys can post your own builds in the forums.

Sadly I don’t have anything creative to say here except…

Bombshell you?

Okay then, have a look at how I built this card pool.

I know most of you wouldn’t choose to play Green just by looking at the cardpool, but it looks a lot better if you actually lay the cards out. I knew I was definitely playing Blue and Black with a splash for Faith’s Fetters and the real decision was whether to play Green or Red as the third color. After laying out both colors I decided that while the Red cards were possibly better overall, they were just pinging effects and not actually ways to win the game. The Green cards made the deck more explosive and able to trade with larger creatures, as well as giving me the awesome Putrefy and Grave-Shell Scarab.

Nightmare Void was my final cut from the maindeck, as I decided to play Clinging Darkness over it. I did board the Void in a number of times though and took out whatever card was bad in the given matchup for it. I am happy with how I built the deck and I think it is more powerful overall than the UBR build since it has a better creature set and also the Putrefy.

Round 1 against Nigel Higdon
Game 1 he wins the die roll and chooses to play, which I’m very happy about since you should almost always draw in this format. Not only are you usually playing three colors with a splash, but the format is also completely based around removal spells and getting card advantage off 187 creatures or things like Ribbons of Night. Neither of us do anything until turn 5, when I cast Sewerdreg. My hand is pretty solid, at this point but I think I was lacking a color of mana. He kills my Sewerdreg with Keening Banshee and Sparkmage Apprentice. The next turn sees me draw and cast Bramble Elemental, which is immediately trumped by his Simic Sky Swallower. I have no way to stop the Sky Swallower and it finishes me easily in a few turns.

I side in my Nightmare Void as an answer to his bomb for game 2. Things go as planned, as I Void him on turn four and see a hand of Ogre Savant, Simic Sky Swallower, Helium Squirter, Netherborn Phalanx, and Last Gasp. When I make him discard the Last Gasp, he makes a comment about how he is worried about what I might have. I Dredge the Void on the next turn and take his Simic Sky Swallower before he is able to cast it. The turn afterwards I drop my Dimir Doppelganger and use it on his SSS, which he has no way of stopping. He tried to get out some fliers, but I killed the Squirter with Putrefy. So my opponent’s Simic Sky Swallower won both of the first two games, and we were still shuffling up for game 3? That sort of thing doesn’t happen very often.

Game 3 could be considered anti-climactic in comparison to game 2, since I got a good curve of creatures, killed his, and he didn’t have any Blue mana to play some of his better spells.


Round 2 against Dan Cato
Game 1 was an odd affair, as we traded removal and creatures and I was on the defense the whole game. I tried to set up a strong Twisted Justice when he had out Nightguard Patrol and Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi by waiting a turn and hoping he didn’t play a creature, but he spoiled that idea by playing Stinkweed Imp. At any rate, I think I drew Compulsive Research and managed to stabilize while he had to Dredge the Imp twice to keep my Moroii from going on the offense. With the game finally stable and me at 6 life, he was at 17 and only had about 7 cards left in his library. With the small amount of creatures I had in play I decided to try to deck him out rather than leave myself vulnerable by attacking him and possibly killing him one turn before he would deck. The reason I wasn’t able to mount a better offense was that I had literally drawn all sixteen lands, Farseek, and my Signet, and still had about twelve cards left in my deck. At any rate, my decking plan succeeds and he scoops when I play Dimir Doppelganger, which could block anything he would throw at me. His deck had Hour of Reckoning and a ton of other removal.

Game 2 I mulligan on the play and he mulligans to five on the draw. My draw is very strong as I play turn 2 Farseek and possibly the best card I had against him – Grave-Shell Scarab. I follow up with Bramble Elemental and he doesn’t have anything to stop me.


Round 3 against Ed Difiore
I learned after the round that my friend opened and registered Ed’s card pool and it was absolutely ridiculous. Dimir and Rakdos Guildmages, Skeletal Vampire, Last Gasp, Galvanic Arc, Cackling Flames, Douse in Gloom, and a ton of other stuff.

Game 1 he starts with Dimir Guildmage which I immediately Last Gasp before he can get to activate it. I end up Transmuting Drift of Phantasms to find my Seal of Doom, killing something else important before I cast Dimir Doppelganger. I managed to trick him by leaving up Forest, Swamp, Vesper Ghoul, in slim chance he wouldn’t realize I had activation mana and would try to kill the Doppelganger. It worked, as he forgot that I could activate using Vesper Ghoul, and he tried to Douse in Gloom on his turn while I simply changed into Bramble Elemental. I believe that if he doesn’t screw this play up, I probably lose this game. My plan was to change into Dimir Guildmage on his end step, and then empty his hand on my turn. If he simply waits with his Douse, I am in very big trouble. I finally end up emptying his hand two turns later, after attacking him with the Bramble. Afterwards, he draws Skeletal Vampire with Swamp, Mountain, Mountain, Island, Island in play, and I make him discard it on his next turn. Needless to say, I have no trouble winning with five cards in hand while he has absolutely nothing.

Game 2 I get an amazing draw that starts with Patagia Viper on turn 3, Mortipede on turn 4, and then removal for every guy he plays. On the final turn of the game I forecasted Govern the Guildless on his Dimir Guildmage, took control of it, and attacked for the win.


Round 4 against Cedric Phillips
Game 1 he plays Stormscale Anarch, which I have the option of Governing and then activating through my Vesper Ghoul, but I decide to just Last Gasp it and wait for a better target. His draw wasn’t so great and I slowed him down by trying to kill his Gelectrode and forcing him to Repeal it. In the end, I Govern his Snapping Drake and win with that and Bramble Elemental.

Game 2 he starts off by bashing me and countering a few of my spells with Convolute and Override, but Nightmare Void helps me to push through. He starts to manaflood, at which point I topdeck Govern the Guildless and take his Viashino Fangtail like a professional. With the help of Bramble Elemental, they go the distance.


Round 5 against Patrick Scott
Patrick’s deck was a ton of big monsters. He had Rumbling Slum, Siege Wurm, Ghor-Clan Savage, Streetbreaker Wurm, and Golgari Rotwurm.

Game 1 my better spells took control of the game, and it also helped that he played Terrarion on turn 1 and didn’t sacrifice it until turn 10 or so. I killed most of his guys and beat him down with Moroii.

Game 2 he gets out an early Rumbling Slum, which allows him to Bloodthirst up Ghor-Clan Savage even though he has to hold back with Slum or trade for my Bramble in a double block. I kill his Slum, and then take his Savage with Govern the Guildless after he plays Siege Wurm. The game goes on for a while, but I draw more removal spells thanks to Compulsive Research, and eventually push through for the win with the help of Minister of Impediments.


Round 6 ID

Round 7 against Nathan Bramlett
Nate wanted to play it out, since we were both already a lock for top 8. I beat him pretty handily in both games, with the first game highlight being Govern the Guildless on his Celestial Ancient.


Top 8 Draft
Thankfully this PTQ still used RGD as the Top 8 Draft, and not Coldsnap. The draft went very well for me, as Chris Mondon (who was feeding me) was cutting off Green in pack 1 so well that I figured I would get all of the Gruul cards in pack 2. My deck was mainly UR after pack 1, with the option of going URW, URB, or preferably URG in some form. The plan worked out and I got hooked up with all of the Gruul goodies and then some more stuff in pack three. Have a look at the final build.

Relevant Sideboard:
Golgari Brownscale
Flame-Kin War Scout
Skarrgan Pit-Skulk
Psychotic Fury

After the draft I was already having visions of killing someone with Feral Animist and Wildsize. I was very happy with my deck overall, and very glad the guy feeding me in Guildpact took Repeal over Invoke the Firemind for his UGx deck, allowing me to get it second. The only pick that I possibly could’ve made differently was taking Ulasht over a third Wildsize, but the deck was a little short on guys overall and Ulasht was pretty good for me. Rakdos Guildmage was still awesome, even though my only Black sources were Terraformer and Rakdos Signet.

Quarterfinals against Kyle Tracy
Game 1 had some weird stuff happening, involving Haunt and Orzhov Euthanist. He telegraphed that he had a removal spell to kill both of my guys with the Haunt ability, since he had chumpblocked with Mourning Thrull putting damage on one of my guys. This caused me to make a weird play, since I knew my Terraformer was going to die and I wanted to cast my Rakdos Guildmage before it went away. Anyway, I took a lot of time on this turn and I made a play that caused him to use his removal on my Guildmage, and I used Fiery Conclusion to kill one of the fliers he was using to try to race me. After all of this happened, I was in complete control of the game. He played out Protean Hulk, but I just chump blocked with Ulasht and made tokens. I killed him in the air with Torch Drake after I had killed his other flier.

Game 2 I felt like there was no way I could lose after the first few turns, as I kept playing out good spells but I was stuck on three lands. My hand was complete gas, and I came very close to losing as it took forever to draw the fourth land. When I did, he had played out Protean Hulk and Indrik Stomphowler, but I managed to swarm him and finish him with Cackling Flames just before I was going to have to start chump blocking.

Semifinals against Eric Taylor a.k.a. EDT
Eric had just dispatched my good friend Jason Martel in the quarters, so I assumed his deck was at least respectable.

Game 1 I slowly develop board control, and I wreck him with Fiery Conclusion, trading a Bloodscale Prowler for Burning-Tree Shaman and another good creature. After that I’m not under any pressure, and have time to stop and Invoke for five fresh cards and then Chronarch it back to Fireball him for the win.

Game 2 Eric mulligans to four on the play, and it really wasn’t much of a game as my creatures easily took it down with the help of Wildsize.

Finals against Chris Mondon
Game 1 starts with me playing Pure/Simple on his turn 4 Assault Zeppelid, and then dropping out some guys. He starts to get slightly flooded, and I push the issue by drawing four cards with Invoke. On the next turn I play a 6/6 Ulasht, and he promptly scoops.

Game 2 was long and drawn out, and I feel like I could’ve possibly won if I’d played differently. I was at 9 and he has Assault Zeppelid, out and I used Invoke to draw five cards instead of killing the Zeppelid. This ended up backfiring, as he had Pillory for my Squirter, and also a Wildsize that took me all the way down to one before I stabilized. At that point I had Feral Animist out, and another guy, staring down his Gristleback. I needed to topdeck Wildsize to kill him from 15 with Animist (which could technically be a 32-power trampler). It wasn’t to be, as he drew his Wildsize first after a bunch of turns of each of us drawing a land and passing the turn.

Game 3 I mulliganed on the play, and things were looking bleak. My six-card hand was much better, and I started out with Feral Animist and Rakdos Guildmage, and then Cackling Flames on his Assault Zeppelid. I got in with the Animist and trampled over for six with the help of Wildsize. I finished him off by making tokens, and also used Fiery Conclusion to clear the way.

I was ecstatic to be qualified again, and even happier that I didn’t have to pay for a plane ticket.

I should have another article soon, looking at my performance at GP: St. Louis.

See you on the tour!

Nick Eisel
[email protected]
Soooooo on MTGO