How is everyone doing? This past weekend was Grand Prix Toronto hosted by Face to Face games. The event was held at the Enercare Center located on the EX grounds near the Toronto lake shore. Without further ado, let’s get it underway!
Friday, my local level 2 judge and friend Jason Malott and I traveled to the venue early in the morning to inspect the area. Upon arrival we met up with some other Jack’s on Queen locals. First thing in the morning I participated in a 32-player single elimination Last Chance Trial, winner gets byes for the main event the following day. First round I get paired with a Jack’s local playing aristocrats…and everyone knows my opinions on aristocrats, if you don’t feel free to scroll down and read for yourself. Long story short, I lost and was eliminated. A couple hours later, a handful of Jack’s regulars and myself entered a sealed Shadows Over Innistrad event. My pool was bad, three of my six rares were land, and my bomb was a Goldnight Castigator. I threw together a decent red/black deck that ended up going 2-3 and I narrowly missed prizing. The other regulars went 2-3 as well with the exception of Mr. Malott whom went 3-2 and made prizing, he never let me forget the entire weekend, and it’s not going away any time soon. After that I just roamed around the event floor and inspected the decks, did some play testing, and prepared myself for the main event.
Saturday – Main Event
Super hyped for the main event! I met with a gang of Jack’s regulars before the main event.
After the player’s meeting we got off the races. This was the deck I was running in the main event. Jund Mid-Range
Round 1; Loss in 2 vs G/W Tokens
Man, white is becoming the most powerful colour in the format. With things like Declaration in Stone, Archangel Avacyn, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, white just trounces anything it comes up against. Splashing in one or two colours gives access to a plethora of other super strong white based cards. Anyways, game one I got Ormendhal’d, and game two I got double Avacyned. Just a bad matchup, seems everything that plays white is a bad match up.
Round 2; Win in 3 vs G/R Goggles
I enjoy the green/red goggles deck. The list played by Brad Nelson at the pro tour caused an influx of people to play the deck. I managed to take round one as my opponent never drew into a threat. Game two really hurt me, she managed to ramp super hard and land Dragonlord Atarka on turn four. I proceeded to lose the next turn because Atarka hurts. Game three was pretty close. My opponent managed to stick Atarka on curve, turn seven, and pretty much wiped my board state. My opponent was at 10 life and I was at 17, I was empty handed and if I didn’t draw into my one sideboard card that I needed it was pretty much over. My opponent passed the turn, and by the grace of God I drew into Eldrazi Obligator and obligated Atarka to finish off its’ owner. They were very good games.
Round 3; Win 3 vs Mono-Red Goblins
This was a deck I was not expecting to see what so ever. Mono red goblin beat down, featuring Magmatic Chasm. Game one I managed to just get there by swapping damage back and forth with my opponent, his wee goblins could not contain the might of the eldrazi menace. Game two I just go annihilated. I kept a super greedy hand with no green land, hoping to draw into it, and I never did. I just got Goblin Piledrivered into the ground.Game three was basically a game of removal for me, I kept another greedy hand without any waste mana, had two eldrazi and a bunch of removal. I kept his board clean for seven turns until I drew into a waste source and was able to begin dropping eldrazi creatures.
Round 4; Loss in 2 vs B/U Control
Both games consisted of me attempting to resolve something, then if it resulted, immediately throwing it to my grave after him announcing some sort of removal spell on my end step. It was not a fun game…
Round 5; Loss in 3 vs G/W Tokens
Remember what I said about white? Yea game one I managed to keep him at bay, my opponent never actually got to token flood at all, it was probably just a bad keep for my opponent. Game two and three were quite similar for my opponent. As both games my opponent managed flood the board with soldiers, thopters and plant tokens, which were all pumped by double Gideon emblem. Bruh, it was at this moment in the event that I was losing steam, I was 2-3 and not feeling so hot.
Round 6; Draw in 3 vs G/B Aristocrats
Game one I got turn five Ormendhal’d. Literally nothing I could have done to prevent this monstrosity. Game two my opponent pulled the trigger on Ormendhal way too early. He sacrificed his entire board to flip him, then once declared as an attacker, I cast Clip Wings forcing him to sack Ormendhal. I managed to get there this game. Game three made me quite irritated. My opponent was playing quite slow, and shoulder checking to look at the time. He had been playing quite slow the entire round but this game became excruciating. A judge came over and spectated us, so he picked up his game a bit. But it was too late, I managed to him to one life when the final turn was taken. I was angry, not that we drew, but that he forced the draw, I dominated him that third game and he knew it.
Round 7; Loss in 2 vs…G/W Tokens
So at this point in the event I am 2-3-1 and I’m pretty done. My opponent drops Hangarback Walker and by my opponents land base I come to the conclusion that they are playing G/W tokens. Two games in a row I got destroyed by Hangarback tokens and Gideon emblems. I was just done with running into white tokens all day. So after the second game of getting smashed by thopters I decided to drop the event. My ending score was 2-4-1.
The Crew – The Rest of the Jack’s Regulars
Andrew Fugslang – 1-4 drop with Assault Formation
Joseph Balderson – 1-4 drop with G/W Cryptolith Tokens
Matt Manuel – 2-3 drop with Mardu Control
Mikey Dolman – 1-2 drop with Bant Company
Steve Nutbean – 2-2-1 drop with B/G Aristocrats
Jaden Malott, Jason’s son, participated in the Face to Face modern open on the Saturday. He was piloting a mono-green stompy deck and dropped after going 1-5. He played very tightly and just got some unfavourable match ups. I was proud of the little guy for sticking it in there for so long. Way to go Jaden!
So, after the main event I was disappointed in how my deck under-performed. I was quite upset in the meta and just wasn’t interested in building white wheenies. So I made the slightly rash decision to sell my standard deck and build my long in the works modern deck. Orhzov Eldrazi.
So Sunday comes around and I decide to enter the Sunday Face to Face modern open. I had only participated in one event before and that was with mono-red elementals. I was nervous, but I definitely surprised myself.
Round 1; Win in 2 vs America Control
If there’s one thing I know sucks when your playing control, is when your hand gets picked clean. Both games I picked his hand clean with a variety of sorcerys’. I was able to exile cards from his grave so he wasn’t able to flash them back via Snapcaster Mage.
Round 2; Win in 3 vs Naya Burn
These were some very very close games. For reference, the life totals for the three games were 4 to 0, 0 to 15 (all the burn) and 6 to 0. If he had decked any sort of burn spell in games one and three it would have been over. But luckily I was able to pick most of them out of his hand before he could bolt my face off.
Round 3; Loss in 2 vs Esper Control
We went to time at the end of game two. But these games were so close, I actually enjoyed playing against control. The ending life totals for the games were 0 to 6, and 0 to 1. Not only did I take my opponent to one life in game two, but he had no cards in his library so he would have lost the following turn. It was intense, and I finished that round with a smile on my face.
Round 4; Win in 2 vs Skred Red
This deck, I had genuinely never seen before. Using the card Skred and a bunch of basic snow mountains, this deck would have put up quite a beating if I didn’t make him pitch Koth of the Hammer turn one off a Duress. He drew nothing but land and I managed to punch my way to victory. After sideboarding our decks were collected for a random deck check. Our decks were returned and my opponent was asked to be spoken to in private. He was issued a game loss for marked cards. Apparently four cards in his sideboard were prerelease promo foils, and were heavily bent, therefore easily identifiable in the 60 card deck. I asked my opponent if he wanted to play a game just to see how it would have went, and he agreed. I out raced him and managed to win, so I would have won in two regardless of the penalty.
Round 5; Win in 2 vs Infect
I was worried about this match up. I had always been scared of infect due to an early magic experience with Blightsteel Colossus. But never the less I went in the intention to win. Game one I picked his hand clean and killed his only creature, it was over pretty quick. Game two I brought in my secret sideboard tech for these decks that only run one or two suites of creatures, Infinite Obliteration. I dropped one on turn three naming Glistener Elf, and a second on turn four naming Blighted Agent. He had no more threats in his deck and conceded on the second obliteration. At this point I’m 4-1 and super hyped, ready to take on the world.
Round 6; Loss in 3 vs Ad Nauseum
I had wanted my brother to build this deck for the longest time, because I enjoyed the look of it, never did I think that playing against it would be literal torture. Game one I took to six before he managed to combo out, game two he never got the combo off in time, and game three he combo’d off on turn four. I knew once I reached good results I was going to play against tougher decks, but decks that only interact with themselves suck to play against.
Round 7; Loss in 3 vs Affinity
If I had to pick what I hated to play against the most, it’d have to be robots. It is, in my opinion, the modern equivalent to aristocrats. Game one my opponent destroyed me, I got rushed so hard. Game two I boarded in Kataki, War’s Wage and my opponent conceded on the spot. Game three I kept a kind of greedy hand, with the intention of picking some cards of my opponents’ hand turn one. On turn one he dropped every card in his hand except for two. Once I cast duress, I saw two Cranial Plating, and I knew I was in for some trouble. Next turn dropped it and just started beating my face with fliers. I never drew Kataki and lost the game, and the round.
Round 8; Loss in 2 vs Merfolk
Do you want to know what is more frustrating than not knowing what cards do because you’re new to the format? Well, it’s not knowing what cards do because you are new, and those cards happen to be all Chinese foreign versions. So every time he cast a new merfolk, I had to call a judge over to get the oracle text on them. Especially when my opponent doesn’t even speak Chinese, or have any Chinese ethnicity, and before people jump down my throat I know this because I asked him why he played with those cards, and he said straight up, “To mess with my opponent.” Boy was I tilted.
So all in all, I went 4-4 with a very poorly optimized sideboard. I am surprised that I managed to do better in modern than I did in standard. Maybe I’m focusing on the wrong format? I think I’m going to try modern a little more.
Anyways, thanks for reading, if you made it this far congratulations! Until next time, stay salty my friends.
*All photos were taken by Mikey Dolman*