PT Khans Tournament Report 13th Place
I arrived in Hawaii a week ahead of the PT. I spent the first weekend testing and brewing with my friend and teammate Ray Perez. I already had a Naya deck I was working on for several weeks. It was very good but struggled against the Jeskai ascendancy combo deck. We tried several brews but couldn’t come up with anything that had favorable matchups against everything in our perceived metagame.
At the end of the weekend, we were joined by my wife, son, and several of our other team members. We moved into our testing apartment, which was across the street from the convention center and a short walk from Waikiki beach. This week was full of testing, eating good food, and spending some time at the beach, including an encounter with a sea turtle. The week flew by and suddenly it was Thursday and I needed to finalize my deck choice and register for the PT. The Naya deck had been testing well and felt favored against all the other midrange decks, so that is what I chose.
For reference here is the list:
I sat down at my first draft pod, which featured PV as the most notable player. This is the deck I drafted:
1 Salt road patrol
1 Sage-eye harrier
1 Zurgo Helmsmasher
1 Thousand winds
2 Warden of the eye
1 Jeskai windscout
1 Riverwheel aerialists
1 Icy blast
1 Treasure cruise
1 Bring low
1 Kill shot
1 Feat of resistance
1 Master the way
1 Crackling doom
1 Jeskai charm
1 Mardu banner
1 Jeskai banner
2 Tranquil cove
1 Wind-scarred crag
1 Dismal backwater
1 Nomad outpost
I was very happy with this deck. I ended up going 2-1, losing in round 3 to Vincent Eich, who was playing a 5 color deck that featured Hooded hydra, 2 Thousand winds, and Sorin, Solemn Visitor.
I was now 2-1 and it was time to go on to the constructed portion.
I played against Timothee Simonot, playing Mardu control. He defeated me in three games. Mardu charm was very good for him as he was able to use all 3 modes throughout the course of our match. The duress and damages modes were both very good against my coursers and he was even able to use the two soldiers mode twice in game 3. The first time was when I played Xenagos into an empty board. He was able to ambush the satyr with the solders and then on his turn attack Xenagos and finish him with Chandra. The second time he put 2 soldiers in at the end of my turn and then attacked me for exactly lethal with them plus the Sarkhan he played on his turn.
I was now 2-2. Not the start I was hoping for but it was still early in the tournament and I still felt good about my deck.
I played against Yuta Takahashi, playing Jeskai burn. I lost game 1 and then went on to win the next 2. In this matchup it is important to protect your life total, which means not letting their creatures hit you. It is almost always right to kill their creatures over advancing your board especially if you already have something in play.
I played against Martin Juza, playing Abzan. In Game 1 I mulliganed to 5. He played a thoughtseize and Anafenza in the early turns. Luckily for me, he drew pretty poorly after that and flooded out while I was able to play an Elspeth followed by a Sarkhan. In Game 2 we both played early coursers and I hit several lands off mine while he continually missed on his.
I played against Chris Sparks playing Sultai Reanimator. This matchup was relatively uneventful. In game 1 I was able to get out an early Elspeth and minus it multiple times throughout the game to kill his Necropolis fiend and Soul of Innistrad respectively. In Game 2 I had a fast, aggressive start and was able to win through an early whip plus necropolis fiend.
I played against Soo Han Yoon, playing U/W control. I won this match 2-0 despite him casting multiple dig through times and fated retribution in each game.
At this point I was happy to be going into day 2 at 6-2, meaning I was still solidly in top eight contention. Afterwards I grabbed a quick dinner and went back to the apartment to get a good night’s sleep so I would be ready to battle for day 2.
I woke up early for day 2 as I always do. I rarely sleep well between days at Pro Tours and GPs. After a nice breakfast I made my way to the convention center ready to battle once again. I told some of my teammates that Zurgo had been so good for me in the first draft, he was the card I was most hoping to open in the second draft. I sat down to my draft pod which featured Sam Black and Owen Turtenwald. As I looked through my first pack I got to the end and there was Zurgo looking back at me. It seemed like a sign of good things to come that I got my called shot mythic. I continually passed a bunch of good green cards and was rewarded in pack 2 when Owen, who ended up almost mono green, passed me a butcher of the horde. This is the deck I ended up with:
1 Mardu Hateblade
1 Kheru Bloodsucker
1 Salt Road Patrol
1 Sultai Scavenger
2 Sage-Eye Harrier
2 Rotting Mastodon
1 Mardu Roughrider
2 Ponyback brigade
1 Highspire mantis
1 Butcher of the Horde
2 Ruthless Ripper
1 Zurgo Helmsmasher
1 Dutiful Return
2 Feat of Resistance
1 Rite of the Serpent
1 Murderous Cut
1 Scoured Barrens
2 Wind-Scarred Crag
I won my round 9 match and then played Owen in round 10. He had a very good mostly green deck with a red splash. I was able to win in 3 games, was now 8-2 and feeling pretty good considering how happy I was with both my draft deck and my constructed deck. Round 11 I played against Spencer Garnier, a fellow Midwest player. I kept a loose hand game 1 with only swamps and never drew a red or white source. Game 2 he mulliganed to 5. My start was decent and I was feeling pretty good considering his mull to 5. On my turn 7 I was almost able to kill him. I had a highspire mantis and a morphed ruthless ripper. I drew butcher of the horde. I could have unmorphed the ripper, sacrificed it to the butcher for haste, and attacked for a total of 10 but he was at 12. I still liked my position at 19 life with a ripper, butcher and mantis in play against his salt road patrol, 2 ponyback brigades and 5 tokens. On his turn he cast rush of battle followed by barrage of boulders and I died. I was now 8-3 going into the constructed portion which meant I had to win out to make top 8.
I played against John Sittner in the Naya mirror. His version was much more controlling than mine with End Hostilities, Chained to the Rocks, and Anger of the Gods in his main deck. I beat him in three games.
I played against Matias Leveratto playing Abzan. This one went to three games. Game 3 stalemated for quite a while. He played a Garruk which ended up killing an Elspeth and making multiple beasts throughout the course of the game. Eventually I was able to overwhelm it with the help of hornet queen and revel of the fallen god. During this game I was able to cast a 15/15 genesis hydra and find a Sarkhan to kill his courser. I was now 11-3 and the possibility of making top 8 was becoming more and more real.
I played against Lee Shi Tian who I knew was on ascendancy combo. This was the matchup I was most worried about as it was by far my worst matchup in testing. Game 1 I kept a hand that would let me play a turn 3 Stormbreath Dragon. Because I have no interaction with caryatid or ascendancy game 1 I had to just be as aggressive as possible and hope to kill him before he comboed. He played a wooded foothills and passed. On my turn I played elvish mystic. On his turn he cracks foothills, dragon mantles my elf, and passes without playing a second land. On his next turn he plays another mantle on my elf and misses on land again. The next turn I played a dragon. In his turn he plays a third mantle and finally hits his second land. I played a courser followed by another dragon and then he died. Game two I had an awkward draw but so did he. I sided in anything that had haste or could interact with him and took out coursers and elspeths. Thankfully he did not have an early caryatid and I was able to magma spray his first two mana creatures. After that I won fairly quickly. I had just won against my worst matchup and was feeling really good. The next round was my win and in for top eight.
I played against Thiago Saporito playing Abzan in a feature match. In game 1 I was pretty far ahead with him at 10 life and a courser and stormbreath versus his sorin with 2 loyalty and vampire token. I had the mana to monstrous the dragon so I figured I would just attack and keep my options open, considering he only had 2 mana up so I didn’t have to worry about heros downfall. He blocked the dragon, which was fine because I could monstrous to take out the Sorin still. Here is where I punted away the game. Not thinking of what I lose to, I allowed damage to resolve then went to monstrous the dragon to kill Sorin. He had bile blight, and I was now down a dragon that he otherwise couldn’t have killed and he was up a Sorin. I promptly lost that game after that to back to back Wingmate Rocs. I was a little tilted after punting so hard in what was quite possibly the most important match of this tournament but I knew I needed to shake it off and just play good magic from there. Game 2 was captured on camera where we each missed some early land drops but I had mana creatures and got my courser down first so I was able to draw out of it faster. Game 3 I had an awkward hand but it was passable. He played a fleecemane lion and thoughtseized my fated conflagration. I had a few turns to draw a white mana source for my banishing light before he could monstrous but I kept missing. I even sacrificed a Xenagos one turn when he had four mana by playing it so he would have to spend his turn killing the satyr so he could attack and kill Xenagos in order to give me one more draw to hit a white source to banish the lion before he could monstrous it. I missed again and he slammed a land and made his lion monstrous. At this point I drew a dragon that I was able to cast, so I decided to try to race. On the next turn I played a genesis hydra for 3 hoping to hit anything. I hit an elvish mystic. That actually seemed really good. I now had a dragon attacking in the air and several chump blockers. I still had a banishing light along with multiple elspeths in my hand but no white sources. On his turn he cast end hostilities. From there I was in trouble. I knew I needed to hit running white sources to play Elspeth before I died to the fleecemane. Unfortunately I did not get there and died to the fleecemane, ending my hopes of making top eight.
I played against Zach Jesse, a regular on the PT circuit and a friend of mine. He was playing UW heroic. Since we did not know if a draw would guarantee top 16 for both of us we decided to play. I beat him in 2 fairly uneventful games.
With that my tournament was done. In the final standings I was 13th place. I knew I should have been happy but I wasn’t. I made a mistake that cost me an important match and that was hard to accept. I did not sleep that night and instead sat at the beach alone watching the waves come in. After a few hours of quiet contemplation I made peace with everything. I made a mistake, it happens. I still had a good finish and need to use this to drive me to succeed in the future.