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Pro Tour Ixalan Recap

As many of our readers know the four Pro Tours are the most iconic of all the Magic tournaments. Invite only, with 8 rounds of Magic on Day 1, all 4-4 or better records advance to Day 2, after another 8 rounds of Magic there is a cut to the top 8. One of our competitors Pyka finished 11th place and received $5,000 at Pro Tour Ixalan in New Mexico earlier this month!

Pyka was kind enough to share a recap of the event with us! Without further ado take it away Pyka!

Saturday night at the end of the Swiss rounds all the 36 pointers crowded by the feature match area. There were ten of us at 36 points vying for that sweet 8th place spot. As the names for the top 8 were listed off the 36 pointers looked at each other. Only one of the ten of us would make the top 8 and one of the ten of us would place in 17th!

“And in eighth place with 36 points from the United States” I do a quick look around as the Marshall spoke. After winning the last round there was an outside chance that I could make the top 8. “Playing at his first pro tour” ABQ was my third pro tour (but by far my best finish), so with those words out of the Marshall’s mouth, the dream was dead. The rollercoaster of emotions that lead up to those words follows below…

First off huge props to Jake Mondello who both walked me through how to draft this format and straight up gave me the list and general sideboard guide.

 

TemurBlack DeckList

Number      Creatures

4                      Servant of the Conduit

4                      Long Tusk Cub

4                      Rogue Refiner

4                      Whirler Virtuoso

3                      Bristling Hydra

3                      Glory Bringer

2                      The Scarab God

Number      Spells

4                      Attune with Aether

1                      Magma Spray

2                      Abrade

4                      Harnessed Lightning

2                      Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Number      Land

3                      Forest

2                      Mountain

1                      Island

1                      Swamp

4                      Botanical Sanctum

4                      Aether Hub

3                      Rootbound Crag

1                      Sheltered Thicket

3                      Spirebluff Canal

1                      Blooming Marsh

Number      Side Board

3                      Spell Pierce

2                      Negate

1                      Abrade

2                      Magma Spray

1                      Supreme Will

1                      Vizier of Many Faces

1                      Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2                      Confiscation Coup

2                      Vraska, Relic Seeker

 

Side Board Plans

MonoRed

The idea vs red is to take out the trump cards against the mirror in favor of more cheap removal. Cubs and Hydras quickly get out of hand and it is very important to be able to close the door on them quickly. Cub is the reason to play this deck over the four color Sultai-Red deck. Getting a Cub or Hydra to six toughness is the only real way of dealing with Hazoret main deck and they both allow you to end the game quickly. After boarding you pick up some more removal and Coup which is excellent in stealing the God.

Vs Red

Out

2          The Scarab God

1          Swamp

2          Chandra, Torch of Defiance

In

2          Confiscation Coup

1          Abrade

2          Magma Spray

 

Abzan Token is not as popular on paper as it is online, game one is extremely difficult but if you can hit the ground running, and they do not have a fumigate, on turn five you can pull out the win.

Abzan Tokens

Out

4          Harnessed Lightning

2          Abrade

1          Magma Spray

3          Bristling Hydra

In

1          Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2          Vraska, Relic Seeker

1          Vizier of Many Faces

2          Negate

3          Spell Pierce

1          Supreme Will

(-1 Vizer +1 Coup if they had The Scarab God)

 

Temur

The Temur mirror fluctuates wildly depending on what flavor of Temur they are playing. The idea is to kill the two drops on sight and draw more Rouge Refiners than they do. Post board is all about reading your opponent: try to figure out if they have a Negate or an Essence Scatter and play accordingly, constantly keep changing your sideboarding depending on what you see in game two. If you see more Chandra’s Defeats, Skyships, Confiscation Coups, or extra planeswalkers than you did in game one, consider bringing in extra counter magic.

Temur On Play                               On Draw

Out                                                      Out

4 Whirler Virtuoso                              4 Longtusk Cub

1 Magma Spray                                   2 Whirler Virtuoso

1 Abrade

In                                                         In      

2 Vraska, Relic Seeker                        2 Vraska, Relic Seeker

1 Chandra

2 Confiscation Coup                           2 Confiscation Coup

1 Vizier of Many Faces                       1 Vizier of Many Faces

1 Abrade

 

UB Control

Game one is another very hard matchup, the goal is to get a Hydra to stick but besides that it is very difficult to win. Games two and three it becomes more of a protect the queen: Longtusk Cub. Play around their open mana the best you can. A lot of their spells cost more than yours, so post board Spell Pierces are excellent.

UB

Out

4          Harnessed Lightning

2          Abrade

1          Magma Spray

2          Glory Bringer

2          The Scarab God

In

2          Vraska, Relic Seeker

1          Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2          Negate

3          Spell Pierce

1          Supreme Will

2          Confiscation Coup

 

Black and Mardu Vehicles

Black Red and Mardu are basically a better Hazoret deck than mono red. Both of the decks operate on an axis that Temur does not fare well against in game one. The idea is keep your life total as high as you can because a well time Unlicensed Disintegration can end the game real fast.

BR Aggro

Out

2          Chandra

1          Swamp

2          The Scarab God

In

1          Abrade

2          Magma Spray

2          Confiscation Coup

 

Mardu Vehicles

Out

2          Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2          The Scarab God

1          Swamp

In

2          Magma spray

2          Confiscation coup

1          Abrade

 

UW Approach

The Approach deck is very much the dredge of the format it, has a great game one but the post board games are much easier. The Magma Sprays and Abrades having text on them makes all the difference. Again playing protect the queen (still Longtusk Cub) is just about the best game plan you can have.

UW

Out

4          Harnessed Lightning

2          Abrade

1          Magma Spray

2          Whirler Virtuouso

In

3          Spell Pierce

2          Negate

1          Supreme Will

1          Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2          Vraska, Relic Seeker

 

Bug Energy

You have more removal than they do and after board you bring in even more. Every single creature is a must kill sadly. Whirler does a good job at trying to stabilize the board while you whittle them out of resources. Chandra does work in this matchup even if it is just a removal spell.

Bug Energy On Play                     On Draw

Out                                                     Out

4 Whirler Virtuoso                             4 Whirler Virtuoso

1 Magma Spray                                   2 Longtusk Cub

In                                                        In    

1 Supreme Will                                   1 Magma Spray

1Vizier of Many Faces                       1 Vizier of Many Faces

1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance          1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2 Vraska, Relic Seeker                      2 Vraska, Relic Seeker

1 Abrade

 

Gift of the God-Pharaoh

This is another bad matchup game one, it’s almost as if the format revolves around Temur energy. The cards you side out are pretty bad and you try and play a goldfish game against them post board. A lot of time Vraska is just a Disenchant, but sometimes she is two Disenchants.

Esper GPG

Out

4          Harnessed lightning

3          Bristling Hydra

4          Whirler Virtuoso

In

2          Magma Spray

1          Supreme Will

2          Vraska, Relic Seeker

1          Abrade

2          Negate

1          Chandra, Torch of Defiance

2          Confiscation coup

(-3 Cub +3 Pierce if uw Gift)

 

Draft Portion

I came into the draft with the plan to p1p1 Charging Monstrosaur and go with it. Only pick Hostage Taker or Vraska over the mythic uncommon. Luckily I did p1p1 the lovely dinosaur, was passed a Repeating Barrage, followed by a Pirate Cutlass and went in hard. In the end of pack 1 both blue and black looked extremely open and I flip-flopped on which of those colors should be my second. A 6th pick Skulduggery as well as a p1p2 Skulduggery made a strong argument however black quickly dried up early in pack two. Pack three cemented me in blue getting passed a Dreamaller Siren followed by several pirates. My final deck was a ur piratesaur deck in which I went 2-1, losing to green white in the final draft round with the cost of playing two Fire-Shrine Keepers for my indecision. Since I expected to 0-6 the draft portion of the event starting off 2-1 was exciting to say the least. Over the next 5 rounds I go undefeated in standard with several close calls

The rounds went as followed:

Round 4 – 2-0 against Temur

Round 5 – 2-1 vs Mardu in which game three my opponent had two Spire of Industry, two Plains, a Haozret and a Bomat Courier. My opponent is tapped out on my turn one card in hand. I have nothing on board and at thirteen I use Lightning Strike against the Bomat and hope to strand him off red mana. He draws Spire plays it and I go to eight. I play Refiner and pass, he whiffs and passes. I slam Hydra and attack with Rouge putting him at fifteen. He whiffs and passes, I attack with Hydra and Rouge putting him to eight and play a Hydra. He whiffs again and extends the hand.

Round 6 – 2-1 against Temur. My opponent does not account for me having to use energy to reanimate his whirler. He believed that I could make enough blockers and swing back for lethal. I could not make enough blockers, but after he opted not to swing for lethal I was able to swing in for lethal.

Round 7 – Won 2-0 vs Temur

Round 8 – Won 2-1 vs Mardu at 2 life after Coup’ing his Hazoret. Finishing 7-1 I’m excited until I see the standings and look at my pod. I talk with the team a bit and Mondello who suggests my best way to win the following draft was to just draft Grixis pants. So I went hard on rb Swashbuckling and the deck was medium but I got a solid 2-1.

Round 9 – vs Siggy on RB mirror. What this matchup came down to, besides Mike being a way better player than I am, is that he played an Elaborate Fire Cannon and it destroyed me 7-2.

Round 10 – vs Saito on GW dinosaurs. Game one he got stuck on three lands for the longest time and I had some flyers and Mark of the Vampires. Saito also brought in an Elaborate Fire Cannon however, unlike Siggy who always had it up and never had shields down, Saito did not untap the Canon every turn giving me moments where I could suit up my x-2s with some pants allowing me to win game three 8-2.

Round 11 – vs Wilson Hunter on UG merfolk. Game three I drew 1 creature and a bunch of pants and removal. Turn three I played Bloodletter and turn four I played a Mark on it. On his turn he bounced it. I played it again and Swashbuckling’d it. Then we trade some removal and some creatures and on the last turns he had a Jade Guardian with double One With the Wind on it, a River Sneak, and I had a Bloodletter (still the only creature I drew all game) with double Swashbuckling. At nine life I draw a Mark of the vampire and he was forced to chump with Jade and I killed him shortly after 9-2.

Round 12 – Elias on Temur Black 2-1, 10-2.

Round 13 – Pascal on UW God Pharoah’s Gift 0-2, 10-3. I lost game one as expected and then got deck checked. Apparently I submitted my decklist wrong and had two incorrect sb cards which lost me the match.

Round 14 – Jelco on Temur Black 2-1, 11-3. Qualified me for Spain and I got super excited!

Round 15 – Francisco on Temur 0-2, 11-4. Game one I could play around either Glorybringer or Coup, but not both. I chose Glorybringer and died to Coup.

Round 16 – Gary on Temur 2-1, 12-4. Game two he River’s Rebukes me and wins the game because of it. I did end up boarding in Spell Pierces because of that card, but my opponent ended up stumbling on lands as I played Chandra into a Vraska on curve.

Temur has been talked about near ad infinitum and it is a very strong deck moving forward. The old saying of nothing beats Jund is very true here. I may be jamming the same 75 cards next weekend although the Channelfireball plan on moving the Vraskas into the main deck is very tempting. However I did beat both my Mardu opponents because of the large amount of Abrades in my 75 cards.

Overall I can not complain about my results this weekend and looking at the prospects of being silver for the first time since starting to play this game decades ago. The entire Dave and Adam’s team was amazing all weekend and I cannot wait to join them all in Spain.

Cheers,

Pyka

Thank you Pyka for the write-up and congratulations from everybody at Dave & Adam’s on the impressive 11th place finish! Good luck at the next tournament!

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