The JSS Money Machine Is Dead – Long Live The Pro Tour! (New Orleans Report, *60th Place*)

When I got my email from Wizards telling me that I had qualified for Pro Tour: New Orleans on rating, I had a decision to make. If I tried my hand at the Pro Tour, I’d be throwing away two more years of Free Money Championships – most people call them the JSS champs, but I prefer Free Money. I won’t lie; playing eight rounds against kids and getting $1,000 to show for it is nice, but it was getting pretty boring. Since many of my friends were also qualified, I chose to go to New Orleans and play for the glory.

When I got my email from Wizards telling me that I had qualified for Pro Tour: New Orleans on rating, I had a decision to make. If I tried my hand at the Pro Tour, I’d be throwing away two more years of Free Money Championships – most people call them the JSS champs, but I prefer Free Money. I won’t lie; playing eight rounds against idiots and getting $1,000 to show for it is nice, but it was getting pretty boring. Since many of my friends were also qualified, I chose to go to New Orleans and play for the glory.

Since it was my first Pro Tour, I decided I would actually test for this event, something I hadn’t really done before. Tinker was hot since the beginning of our testing, even against all the hate we were throwing at it. I did want some sort of edge in the mirror, so I ran a Red splash for Rack and Ruin, which turned out to be just as good as I thought it’d be. (Mossy and Noah ran the mono-Blue build to some less than stellar records) The only time I considered a switch was when we got the Food Chain deck, which was about a week before the event. We heard it was the best deck ever, but it turned out not to be much better than regular Goblins.

When we arrived to New Orleans we checked into the Hotel Le Cirq. Zvi had complaints about the hotel, but I disagree; I think the hotel was fine and the employees were nice and helpful. Also important was a circular balcony we had to pass on the way to the room. I noted that it was good to jump off of if I should end up going 2-6 on Day One. After a Hooters lunch, we went to the site to register and do some last minute testing.

We thought it was important to see how bad the Food Chain matchup actually was for Tinker, since we had been incorrectly informed that it was awful. Mossy and myself played forty games, twenty pre-sideboard and twenty post. The Tinker deck won 12-8 pre-sideboard and it was a 10-10 tie post-sideboard. This confirmed the fact I was playing Tinker. After watching some friends scrub out in the Last Chance Qualifier, we went back to the hotel and I put my final deck together.

4 Tinker

4 Thran Dynamo

4 Grim Monolith

4 Voltaic Key

4 Metalworker

4 Masticore

3 Stroke Of Genius

2 Upheaval

1 Myr Incubator

1 Phyrexian Processor*

1 Urza’s Blueprints

1 Mindslaver

1 Mishra’s Helix

4 Seat Of The Synod

4 City Of Traitors

2 Ancient Tomb

4 Shivan Reef

3 Rishadan Port

2 Mountain**

4 Chalice Of The Void

4 Propaganda***

4 Rack And Ruin

2 Pyroclasm****

1 Upheaval

* – Phyrexian Processor was the most glaring problem with the deck I ran. We knew it was dangerous to have so many Mindslavers around, but for some reason never considered it in our cuts. If I could change one thing about my deck and play this Pro Tour over, this would be it.

** – The two Mountains proved unnecessary, and they would have been even more unnecessary if we had Gilded Lotus instead of one of the Masticores like we should have. If you run this deck in some qualifier, I recommend changing the Mountains to another Ancient Tomb and another Rishadan Port. You should also have a Gilded Lotus for access to colored mana in a pinch.

*** – These were a last-minute addition. Ten minutes before the tournament, Munk and Severa convinced me it is better than Chill, so I ran it. I’m still not 100% sure if it was the right call.

**** – Pyroclasm was the second biggest mistake in this deck. At about 2 a.m. the night before, I thought it’d be some hot tech against Goblins. Instead of hot tech, I had a thirteen- card sideboard.

So the tournament starts with:

Round 1 vs. Carl Dillahy – Tinker

It was his first Pro Tour as well, so that made me feel warm and fuzzy inside…or something.

Game 1 was pretty frustrating. I had a second-turn Metalworker that could produce eight mana with Stroke Of Genius and Tinker in the grip. On his second turn, he tapped his Island and Ancient Tomb to Tinker out a Phyrexian Colossus. All I had to do was draw Blue source to Tinker out Mindslaver and run it for the win, since I could tap his Ancient Tomb to put him down to sixteen then activate the untap twice on his animal. I didn’t draw Blue, so I played Tangle Wire. He tapped out during his upkeep then played City Of Traitors, Voltaic Key, untap my guy, attack for eight. What a master! It went on a few more turns and I kept drawing more Tinkers, Upheavals, and Strokes till I was dead.

Not a good way to start my first Pro Tour, but there was nothing I could do.

I boarded in the four Rack And Ruins and the extra Upheaval for Phyrexian Processor, Mishra’s Helix, two Masticores, and a Tangle Wire.

Game 2 showcased the power of Rack And Ruin in the mirror, as I skillfully drew two of them. I played Mindslaver and he played Phyrexian Processor for zero. I had nothing to do the next turn, so I activated the Mindslaver anyway. I Tinkered out his Phyrexian Colossus and he died, since he was at sixteen from Ancient Tomb.

When I Mindslavered him he was like”Slaver whaaat?” as if it was awful. I saw him a few rounds later and he told me that he lost to another”Tinker deck with Mindslaver.” He was a nice guy but not knowing about Mindslaver was not something you wanted to do in this tournament.

Game 3 he Parised to five, which earned a mental fist-pump from me. Which brings me to this: When I mulligan many times and lose, please don’t say you’re sorry, because you’re not. You know you are pumping the fist mentally if not physically, just like I do when my opponents mulligan.

Anyway… A Rack And Ruin tore up any hopes he had of winning his first Pro Tour match, and a gigantic Stroke Of Genius and Upheaval were only formalities, as he had basically nothing this whole game.

Matches: 1-0

Round 2 vs. William Postlethwait – Food Chain

Game 1 of this match is very much a blank. I know his draw was good but I restrained it with many Tangle Wires. Eventually I either locked him with Mishra’s Helix, or I Upheaval-Masticored – I honestly don’t remember which. After sixteen rounds, it is hard to remember every game without notes, but the short answer is that I won the first game.

I boarded in four Chalice Of The Void, four Propaganda, and two Pyroclasm for Myr Incubator, Phyrexian Processor, Stroke Of Genius, four Metalworkers, Urza’s Blueprints, and two Upheavals.

Game 2, I remember I was holding him down with Mishra’s Helix and had a Masticore beating down. He had a Food Chain down however and many things could happen for me to die. On the last turn before Masticore killed him, he played Mountain, Chrome Mox, Goblin Piledriver, and for a few seconds I thought the Goblin Matron and”Gee Gee” were soon to come. However, he said”go” and during his end step I used my last four mana to shoot down his goblin. He responded by removing it for mana to Food Chain and casting Rack And Ruin on Masticore and Mishra’s Helix

He scooped after I told him to read Food Chain. Thanks, barn.

Matches: 2-0

Round 3 vs. Niels Jensen – U/B Tog

Niels Jensen was a very bitter man. Granted, its not fun losing to random fourteen-year-old in a Pro Tour, but he was still 2-1 and with his deck choice that is a great accomplishment in my opinion.

Game 1 was all about Force Spike for him. Our Psychatog decks cut it for Duress, so I walked right into the first one. A few turns later he had one Blue up and I knew he had Annul from a Cunning Wish. I tapped out for Thran Dynamo and was shown not Annul but another Force Spike. Metalworker was countered by a third one. Meanwhile he had been drawing cards, and I had resolved a Tangle Wire.

In case you are not aware, Tangle Wire is the main card that puts this matchup so much in Tinker’s favor. If a Tog player doesn’t counter it, much more dangerous cards come through uncontested. However, if Tog’s four hard counters are used up on this, there won’t be any left for the true threats. Thus the Tog player is screwed either way and this card has a lot to do with that.

Back to our story…

I had Tangle Wire out and he had many cards in hand to my one Mindslaver in hand. He tapped low on this turn from Tangle Wire, then tapped out completely for Psychatog. Since I had nine mana available, if I could topdeck any land to play and activate Mindslaver the game was mine. Instead, I drew Mishra’s Helix. I couldn’t play Mindslaver because I would just die to a lethal Psychatog. However, with Mishra’s Helix I could use it with Tangle Wire on the stack and force him to tap out. This went on for many turns. When my first Tangle Wire was at one counter, I drew another to lock down the game for four more turns.

Two turns after drawing the second Tangle Wire, I drew Upheaval and cast it. I replayed most of my artifact mana as well as Mindslaver. I still hadn’t yet drawn that fateful tenth mana source I would have needed to play Mindslaver and activate in the same turn. Preceding his third turn in the post-Upheaval game, I activated Mindslaver. He got to play his Psychatog and removed his whole hand and graveyard. How lucky for him! He refused to scoop, but I attacked for the kill a few turns later with a Masticore. This game took about fifty-five minutes and I didn’t think he could possibly win the next in time.

I boarded in four Chalice Of The Voids. I don’t remember exactly what I took out. We hadn’t decided exactly what to take out against Tog, mostly because we knew the match up was very good anyway.

Game 2 he starts out by stalling on two lands. However, I can’t capitalize because he has many Counterspells and I’m short on threats. When he played his third land on turn 5, he immediately casts Psychatog. I respond by Tinkering for Mindslaver, but I don’t have the mana to activate that turn. He plays Cunning Wish for Gush, and attacks me down to three by getting rid of his whole hand and graveyard. On my turn, I draw another Tinker and I sacrifice my now-useless Mindslaver (very upsetting, as I love telling Mindslaver stories) to get a Masticore and shoot down his Psychatog. Time is called and we draw. I win the match 1-0 but I would have bashed him had we continued.

Matches 3-0

Round 4 vs. Tim Bonneville – Hermit

Here’s where it started to go downhill. This master got here by top 8’ing Grand Prix: Atlanta, so I knew I was in for a battle with a lucksack. And lucksack he was…

Game 1 is somewhat blurry in my mind, but I know he played a turn 1 Hermit Druid going first. I played a Tangle Wire; quite feeble, given his opening. We sat there and I died a few turns later when I got nothing.

I sided in four Chalice Of The Voids and two Pyroclasms (spot removal for Hermit Druid) and I took out the two Upheavals, Phyrexian Processor, Myr Incubator, and two Stroke of Geniuses.

Game 2: I lead with a land, and he skillfully casts turn 1 Hermit Druid again. I Pyroclasm it away on my turn. He Exhumes it back into play. I play Ancient Tomb, tap for Grim Monolith, tap it and an Island to Tinker it away with one floating, get Masticore, tap my Shivan Reef for colorless, and shoot his Hermit Druid. The Masticore got Naturalized. After a few turns of no action, twin Chalice Of The Voids for one and two along with Mishra’s Helix prompted his concession.

Game 3: He mulligans and thinks for a long time before keeping his hand. Mine isn’t too spicy, but it has Tangle Wire, which should slow him down assuming his draw isn’t ridiculous so I keep. He plays a land and says go. On his next turn, he plays Hermit Druid. After I’m dead, he confesses the Hermit Druid was off the tizzy. Derf…

Matches 3-1

Round 5 vs. Nicolas Labarre – Mana Severance/Charbelcher

When I sat down across from Nicolas, it was not his Pro Tour Top 8’s that scared me. You’d be scared, too; just peep the picture!

Game 1 we both mulligan and he empties his hand on turns 1 and 2 with Grim Monoliths, Talismans, Duresses, and a Goblin Charbelcher. On turn 3 he literally just flipped his top card. Most obviously it was Mana Severance. I’m not a bit surprised he went on to top 8.

I board in my four Rack And Ruins and the extra Upheaval and I take out three Masticores, Phyrexian Processor, and a Tangle Wire. After seeing the list they ran, I know that bringing in Chalice Of The Void is the right call, but at this time I didn’t know that they had that many one drops.

Game 2 I mulligan to five and my hand consists of two lands that don’t make Red, a Tinker, and two Rack And Ruins. He Duresses early, taking the Tinker. I get a Metalworker and some more artifact mana, but nothing else going and I still don’t have red mana. He Tinkers for Platinum Angel. Meanwhile, I am sneaking some attacks in with Metalworker, and his Ancient Tombs are dealing him some damage as well. After attacking with the Platinum Angel, he plays a Goblin Charbelcher.

I finally draw a Mountain so I Rack And Ruin his two threats. A few more turns go on, with me attacking with my Metalworker, while both of us draw land. He draws and casts Tinker, then searches out Mindslaver. After tapping an Ancient Tomb to activate it, he’s at nine, with four Ancient Tombs in play. I Rack And Ruin my Grim Monolith and my Seat Of The Synod during his end step, since he had no artifacts in play and he was going to control my turn anyway. Nothing of importance happens while he controls my turn, or on his turn. I draw Tinker, find a Mindslaver of my own, and attack him to eight. I activate the Mindslaver and his four Ancient Tombs kill him.

Game 3: I mulliganed to six and his draw was a textbook opening for his deck – the quick mana, the Duresses, the Goblin Charbelcher, the Mana Severance. Oh, and my draw was awful. Unsurprisingly, I lost.

Matches 3-2

Round 6 vs. Tom Guevin – Food Chain

I didn’t do anything and died on turns 2 and 3 to his masterful draws. If anyone cares, I sideboarded the same as in round 2.

Matches 3-3

Round 7 vs. Takahiro Fukuchi – U/B Tog

Game 1 I mulligan, and then stall on two lands while his turn 1 Nightscape Familiar is beating me down. He is getting a lot of card advantage and when my third land comes, it is too little too late.

I sideboard the same as I did in round 3, and I get ready to play two games I can’t lose if I want to stay in this tournament.

Game 2 my draw is quite ridiculous. On turn 1, I play a Grim Monolith and Metalworker. He answers with Chrome Mox, Nightscape Familiar. On my turn, I reveal five artifacts and cast Mindslaver and Metalworker. The next turn I refill with a Stroke Of Genius, but there’s no action in the newly drawn cards. I activate Mindslaver. I make him Deep Analysis me, then attack his Nightscape Familiar into my Metalworker. On my turn I play Upheaval, followed by many artifacts, including Masticore. A few turns later he’s Masticore food.

Game 3 is probably my favorite game of the weekend. I get off to a good start, getting two Metalworkers in play and a Tangle Wire. I have many artifacts left in my hand, but no action. After he taps out from Tangle Wire, I have free reign on my turn. I cast Stroke Of Genius for a ridiculous thirteen cards, leaving one Metalworker open.

I don’t draw anything but more mana and Chalices. I then tap the Metalworker for twenty-two, and cast Chalice Of The Void for two, three, and six. This locks him out of the game with his only potential out being Chain Of Vapor if he runs it. I start attacking with my two Metalworkers and he is doing nothing. After about five turns of this, I ask if he can win this game. It takes a while for him to understand – but when he finally does, he points to my Chalice Of The Voids and goes”Oooooooooh two, three, six…” and extends his hand.

Matches 4-3

At this point many of my friends are 4-3 and about to play for the next day. One of them is Mike Krumb… And I am playing him.

Round 8 vs. Mike Krumb – Food Chain

He audibled into Food Chain at the last minute, not having enough trust in our Tinker deck. Most of my test games were against Mike, so it sucked that only one of us could go on to Day Two.

Game 1 my draw is very good and I’m on the play. He gets Food Chain in play, but after that I thoroughly lock his mana with Tangle Wires. Masticore finishes him. He still could have won this game with something like one-drop, remove to Food Chain, two-drop remove, Goblin Matron, or with land, Chrome Mox, two-drop Goblin Matron

But luckily for me, he didn’t have it.

I sideboard the same as in rounds two and six.

Game 2 is pretty dumb as he keeps a”Forest, Mountain” hand with the combo and Pulverize in it and he never sees another land. I just play Masticore and keep regeneration mana up the whole time. I know he doesn’t have Pillage because I know his list, so I was free to ride the Masticore to victory.

I stuck around the site for a few more hours then went back to the hotel, got pizza, and went to bed at about eleven. I slept for a few hours until my friends got back to the room, completely wasted. I didn’t sleep very much after that, and I got up the next morning tired as hell and not ready to play in Day 2. I went to the site and resleeved, since I had bought awful ones the day before and they were kind of dirty anyway. This leads us to…

Round 9 vs. Brad Thies – U/G Madness

His version was very unorthodox, with Treetop Village and Merfolk Looter in his deck as well as multiple Gilded Drakes main. Good thing he had the metagame pegged.

Game 1: I start slowly by using Rishadan Port on his land and playing a turn 3 Metalworker. When I untap he has two Basking Rootwallas and a freshly-played Merfolk Looter. I added ten mana, played Thran Dynamo, played Seat Of The Synod and tapped both, putting me back up to ten mana. This allowed Masticore to shoot down his whole squad. I still had my Rishadan Port and an Island open to boot. I attack with Masticore for a few turns, until he Intuitions for three Gilded Drakes on my end step. He plays the one he gets and I kill my Masticore in response, leaving him the Metalworker. I attack twice with the Gilded Drake for the kill.

I don’t remember what I sideboarded, but it was probably some combination of Chalices Of The Void and Pyroclasms.

Game 2: He starts with turn 1 Careful Study, discarding two irrelevant cards. My play is land, Voltaic Key. For some reason unknown to all, he played a Forest and Naturalized my Voltaic Key. About five turns later the rest of his hand was played out and he didn’t have the three or so other Naturalizes that might make that play something close to feasible. He got some guys though and Stifled my Mindslaver that would have sealed the game… But when his hand was depleted, I just played Masticore against his Arrogant Wurm and Wild Mongrel and went to town.

Matches: 6-3

Round 10 vs. Daniel Steinsdorfer – W/u

This round was very frustrating, as my opponent made mistake after mistake in his quest to throw the match, but my deck just didn’t want to let me win. This was one of Kai’s barns, and they chatted a bit before the match. This only matters because I think Kai told him what I was playing. This was before the deck lists were available, and actually mattered in game 1.

Game 1: I mulligan to five. He leads off with Plains, Cursed Scroll. My play is simply Island, which could be many decks. On his turn he plays a second Plains.”Island, go” for me and he Enlightened Tutors on my end step. Knowing I am playing Tinker, he fetches his Energy Flux. He plays it turn 3 and I play Metalworker. On his turn, he just throws away his Cursed Scroll to the Energy Flux. Clearly this doesn’t matter much – but honestly, it is pretty awful to play the Cursed Scroll turn 1 when you know you’re throwing it away in a few turns. Then he kills me with a bunch of Whipcorders and Savannah Lions while I draw many cards with Stroke of Genius and none of the fifteen cards I draw are Masticore or Upheaval.

I bring in my four Chalice Of The Void, two Pyroclasms, and extra Upheaval. I take out all five of my one-of artifacts and two Tinkers since there aren’t any silver bullets left to tutor out.

Game 2 brings yet another mulligan for me. He gets turn 3 Energy Flux again. It gets to a situation where my end step Stroke Of Genius for five, plus the card I draw, plus the card for my turn, or for the turn after that needs to be Upheaval, Pyroclasm, or Masticore. After the first six are blanks, he attacks and plays out three more guys on his turn. This empties his hand, and the guys all die to Pyroclasm.

I was at two life, he already had four guys out, so he was asking to get owned, but obviously I drew nothing. The fact that I lost didn’t piss me off as much as how miserable my opponent’s play, but he beat me anyway.

Matches 6-4

Round 11 vs. Pierre Malherbaud – Mana Severance/Charbelcher

Game 1: I just lose to his deck’s best opening. He is on the play and there is nothing I can do about it.

I sideboard the same as I did against Nicolas Labarre in round 5… Again, I make the mistake overlooking the power of Chalice Of The Void in this match up.

Game 2 goes very long. I have Mindslaver on the board for a while, and he had already used Mana Severance, but he only had about five mana available, so as long as the Mindslaver was out he couldn’t kill me in one turn. I make the mistake of randomly using the Mindslaver instead of just keeping it on the table. He has Goblin Charbelcher and Platinum Angel in his hand.

Unfortunately, I have drawn none of my Rack And Ruins, so I just make him take two damage from his Ancient Tomb. With the threat of Mindslaver gone, he plays out the Goblin Charbelcher, forcing me to Upheaval. I have a ton of artifact mana to back it up, but no threats since my last three or four draws have been land. He plays out his Goblin Charbelcher on turn 2 of the post-Upheaval game, forcing me to Upheaval again into no threats and much mana. He again plays his kill card on turn 2 of the new game… And since my last seven or eight draws at this point have been land, I scoop and show my grip of seven lands of many different varieties.

It was funny when, after I showed him my hand, he pumped his fist very visibly and triumphantly and then breathed out a large sigh of relief. Some would get offended by the fist pumping but I didn’t really care -I just thought it was funny.

Matches 6-5

Round 12 vs. Benjamin Caumes – Food Chain

Rumor had it that this man had made the hot selection of Grab The Reins over Shatter in a random money draft. I was hoping this was true for obvious reasons…

Game 1 doesn’t give me a chance to check out his play skill and make an educated guess about this rumor, since he shows his sheer mastery by killing me on turn 3. Sigh.

I board just like against all the other Goblin decks, except I bring in a pair of Rack And Ruins instead of Pyroclasms in deference to the three Damping Matrix in his sideboard.

Game 2 one of those Damping Matrices came out on turn 3. Rack And Ruin didn’t show up and neither did Upheaval. That was the game basically, as Damping Matrix shuts down my deck.

Matches 6-6

Round 13 vs. Scott Dove – Rock

A few minutes into Game 1, he pulls out a piece of paper when he’s about to Cabal Therapy me. A judge asked to look, and apparently he had written down my deck or some cards in it. They went and confirmed that it was indeed my deck list that he was looking at and he got a match loss. I don’t know if any further penalties were issued. I don’t especially like winning this way, but I take them how I get them.

Matches 7-6

Round 14 vs. Dave Humpherys – Scepter Oath

Game 1 we both mulligan and after I resolve a Tangle Wire I am free to do whatever for a few turns. I play much-maligned Phyrexian Processor and I win with the tokens. Somewhere in between these I play another Tangle Wire as well as find a Mishra’s Helix with a Tinker.

I sideboard in my four Chalices and one Upheaval. I’m not sure exactly what I took out but I’ll be honest, it was on the spur of the moment and was probably wrong… we hadn’t tested against Oath.

Game 2: I mulligan and get land screwed. I am putting up a fight with some artifact mana, but when he imprints Illusion / Reality on an Isochron Scepter, I pack it in quickly.

Game 3: I mulliganed again but started out well and get a Chalice Of The Void out for two, which is the card I most want in play against his deck. However, after getting a Phyrexian Processor in play, I had absolutely no action and he had time to Cunning Wish for Illusion/Reality for my Chalice Of The Void, and established complete control with http://sales.starcitygames.com/cardsearch.php?singlesearch=Shattering PulseShattering Pulse and many counters in hand.

However, I still had one 5/5 token sitting around that he hadn’t been able to kill. I was at five and he was at seven, and he had a pair of Treetop Villages threatening to kill me at any time. We played draw-go for a few turns until they announced time in the round. He took turn one of extra time. On this turn, he activated both of his Treetop Villages and attacked. He lost one of them and put me to two life. It’s worth noting that he tapped Dust Bowl while activating his Treetop Villages. This left me the out of drawing Rishadan Port.

He played another Treetop Village and said go. To punish his mistake (and because I am a sheer master), I drew the out of Rishadan Port. He passed the turn and I entered turn 4 of the extension. At this point, I needed to draw another Rishadan Port for the draw, since otherwise he could just Dust Bowl the first one during my end step and kill me. The odds of two Rishadan Ports in a row are smaller than I’d like to even think about…

But keep in mind I am an ex-JSS Master. JSS Masters obviously peel Rishadan Port when they need it.

So I did. Dave was pretty pissed off that I wouldn’t scoop since he’d win on his next turn after the extension – but after all, if he hadn’t tapped the Dust Bowl, I would have had no outs.

Matches 7-6-1

Round 15 vs. Craig Krempels – CMU Tinker

I knew he was running the CMU Tinker deck, and I know it sounds like a bold statement, but in my opinion there are a lot of things wrong with that deck. I am not saying my build is prefect by any means, but there are just as many things I think should be changed in theirs.

For example, they bring in Chain Of Vapor in the mirror – which is extremely risky due to Mindslaver. The main deck Chalices Of The Void are also an issue, thought not as much as the Chains. It is true that they are very good in many matchups, and we had them main for a while, but the fact that it is almost a mulligan in the mirror makes me feel it is not worth it main deck. But on to the match…

Game 1: I mulligan and my draw is awful. I have to go all-in with pocket Masticores – not the best mirror plan. I get him to four, but on his turn he taps a lot of mana and Upheavals for the win.

I bring in my four Rack And Ruins and one Upheaval, and I take out two Masticores, Mishra’s Helix, and Phyrexian Processor.

In between games, Craig mentions how awful Tangle Wire is in the mirror, and while I feel it’s not the best, at least a few copies deserve to remain in the deck after sideboarding. Even though the Tinker deck has many permanents to tap, it turns out to be worth it, especially when it buys time for your bad draws against their good ones.

Game 2: I mulligan but I get an early advantage when I Rack And Ruin his two Thran Dynamos. I attack a few times with Masticore and then I Mindslaver him. He gets to cast his Upheaval and discard all his good cards. Masticore finishes what he started.

Game 3 I don’t mulligan for the first time in six games. He goes for the quick kill, Tinkering out Myr Incubator. Rack And Ruin gives me a huge advantage, offing his Myr Incubator and Gilded Lotus. I don’t have much pressure though, and the following situation arises: I have Urza’s Blueprints, two Voltaic Keys, two tapped Grim Monoliths, Seat Of The Synod, and Ancient Tomb in play. He has Thran Dynamo, Voltaic Key, many lands, and a freshly-cast Kill Switch. If he activates the Kill Switch on his turn, I’m basically locked down and I can’t do much.

For some reason though, he passes the turn (thanks barn!) with Kill Switch, Voltaic Key, three Islands, and Ancient Tomb untapped. I untap and he still does nothing, even during my upkeep. I draw Tinker and prepare to find Mindslaver. First I draw with Urza’s Blueprints, then untap it and use it again. Then I use Voltaic Key targeting Grim Monolith and he responds by tapping his three Islands by activating Kill Switch with one floating. He responds to his own Kill Switch by untapping it with his Voltaic Key, thus using his last remaining mana and leaving only an Ancient Tomb untapped.

I respond by tapping my Seat Of The Synod for a mana before the Kill Switch taps it. After the Kill Switch ability resolves, my untapping of Grim Monolith resolves. This leaves me with a Blue in my mana pool and an untapped Ancient Tomb. I play another Island and tap that along with Grim Monolith and Ancient Tomb for seven total mana in my pool in my pool. Tinker finds Mindslaver, and Mindslaver is activated and finds Chain Of Vapor in his hand. He concedes rather than let me bounce all his artifacts and sacrifice all his lands.

Matches: 8-6-1

Round 16 vs. Daniel Zink – Goblins splashing Black

After seeing his list, I know I am in for a nightmare match up. Not only does he have a main deck Rack And Ruin, but after sideboard he has three Rack and Ruins, three Mogg Salvages, a Damping Matrix, and a Pulverize he can tutor for.

Game 1: I played a quick Masticore without regeneration mana up. At this point his lands are Sulfurous Springs and Mountain, both tapped, so he can’t tutor for Rack And Ruin during his upkeep and still cast it unless he also has Chrome Mox – unlikely, since he probably would have played it already. But Daniel is the World Champion for a reason, and he is most definitely holding his main deck Rack And Ruin. It takes out my Masticore and Thran Dynamo, and things are looking down. All was not lost, though, as I ripped my Mishra’s Helix. I have enough mana to play it and use it that turn and he is locked under it for the rest of the game.

I sideboard just like I have against all the other Goblin decks.

Game 2: I mulligan and lose despite playing three Propagandas, since I drew nothing else and he just attacked with two guys every turn until I played the third Propaganda. At that point I was at six, and between Goblins he could sacrifice to Skirk Prospector and his land he had the necessary twelve mana to kill me with two Goblin Piledrivers.

Game 3, he has a decent opening but the combination of Propaganda and Pyroclasm takes out six guys with me remaining at a pretty safe life total. I get out a Chalice Of The Void for three, crucial because he only has one way to remove it. After that Masticore goes all the way. At the end of the game he shows me his hand with three Cabal Therapies. During the five turns I attacked with Masticore, I only had two cards in my hand. I don’t understand why he didn’t try to take them out with his Therapies and force me to have no cards to pitch to Masticore.

Matches 9-6-1

So I bounced back from 3-3 to make Day 2, and I bounced back from 6-6 to make money. My record was good for 60th place, and $540.

This may seem kind of random, but I think this is as good a time as ever to publicly congratulate Brant Faulkner for playing a land when he had no library and Horn Of Greed was in play.

Props to my friends for being cool, my opponents for throwing games, IanB for rapping and climbing rocks, and Mike Linn because he asked for them.

I wasn’t going to do slops, but I think I have to after reading Nicolas Labarre’s report, since he made me sound even worse than I am, and that’s pretty bad. So slops to Nicolas. I might as well throw in slops to Kai’s barn who asked Kai what I was playing before the round as well.

That’s it for my Pro Tour: New Orleans. I know it was longwinded and I admire you if you are still reading at this point. Feel free to email feedback or questions to gadiel at coqueico.chem.purdue.edu.

Gadiel Szleifer (Gadiel on modo)