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5 Queues: The One Where Things Go Poorly.

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern

My recent articles have been talking about Modern and how great of a format it is. Both here and at PureMTGO, I have put in a lot of effort to highlight the format, be it my own work and goals, or the successes of other players.

Modern is my favorite format, and everything else is not even close. I was super excited for the MOCS this season, the PTQ last week, and the Modern Festival Championship this weekend. My goal for all of this high level play on MTGO was to qualify for all three of these Modern events.

I guess the words of Meatloaf would be true. I may have missed out on the Modern Festival (which stung, I’m gonna be honest, that’s the one that I really wanted to get.) but I did qualify for the other two. Two out of three ain’t bad after all.

That’s not entirely true either.

I qualified for the Pro Tour Qualifier with Grixis Twin. I enjoy the Splinter Twin combo and the black splash for Kohlaghan’s Command, Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Terminate seemed to fit into the format rather well. Ten fetchlands and ten shocklands make mana almost perfect in Modern (though not as perfect as it is in Legacy, original duals are of course, better than shocks right?) and outside of Choke and Blood Moon, I felt like mana would not be an issue when I made the decision Friday night to run the deck back.

Mana was not a reason I went 2-5 in the event. A very small part of my record could be attributed to that, but after doing so well in the PreTQ, I needed to dig deeper, I needed to see what went wrong. What lessons could I learn from being the very best Ukud Cobra that I could be?

I have watched the replays of my matches more than I should have. I’ve thought about my play, and while most of the losses I had could be attributed to a lot of things, some of the games I played showed off a lot of issues with my play. I did not just lose because my opponents were better than me. That played a part in my losses to be sure. By playing poorly though, I made their jobs much easier.

Sometimes it would a be a fear about getting a shockland off of a fetch. Another time there was an issue with wanting to counter a non threat while I had the match in hand. I recorded four matches that show off the most glaring of errors, I’ll talk about them, and see what I can do to make sure that I do not make the same mistake again.

I did learn a lot from watching myself play, which is great. If there is anything that can be taken away from a 2-5, let it be something that can be easily learned from.

Let’s take a look at the first match.

Grixis Twin versus Gifts Ungiven

Thoughts:  Well, this was round one.  After winning game one with the combo rather easily, I think I might have turned my brain off here.  I know my opponent is not on a burn deck, and I take three to cast a Serum Visions on my first turn.  I know that my life total is important, but it is not as important as it is when Lava Spikes are being thrown at me.  My visions allowed me to see two fetchlands, which normally is meh, but with the COMBO IN MY HAND, it’s pretty great.  I can cast my dork on three and give them pants on four.  Combo off and everything is coming up Joshua!

That’s not what I do though.  It’s not even close to what I do!  At the end of my turn two my opponent has five mana and a Scavenging Ooze, which is not a huge threat, all I have to do is not mess this up.

I messed it up.  The Garruk for some reason set off alarm bells in my head and I decided that I needed to Remand that.  I needed to delay the spell not outright deal with it, just set them back a turn.

Cracking that fetch messed up the top of my known library, which I already knew had one more fetchland on top of that.  That mistake would be a bit more forgivable had I not suddenly caught a case of allergic to black mana, and at the very least fetched a black mana with it.

I still had the third land in hand so I could cast Exarch, I had the second chance at black mana at the ready (I ended up punting that too, in order to get a basic Island.) in my hand, all I needed to do was find the last mana for Splinter TwinSerum Visions would help with that right?  All I had to do was cast the Visions, cast the Exarch and give the creature pants.

Why did I not cast the visions?  I honestly don’t know.  I had time, and I let things get away from me.  When I diverted from my turn four kill plan (remember I mistakenly thought Garruk was a threat.)  I let things snowball out of control.

What could I have done here to get back on track?  I had plenty of time on the clock, I could have just gotten up, taken a quick second to myself and put my head back on.  Instead I just made things worse and died with a cast too late Serum Vision on the stack, and a ton of black mana needed cards in my hand.

I ended up losing game three to drop to 0-1.  I did not make any huge mistakes in that game I feel, or else I would have recorded it.  I failed to draw a fourth land to get the combo to go off.  The silver lining here was I was able to get myself into the position to win in game three despite being on a bit of a tilt.

Grixis Twin versus Grixis Delve

Thoughts:  My issue here is how I played the later end of the game.  I was trying to protect the combo, but did not exactly have it.  I was short a land, and while I was under a lot of pressure from the Young Pyromancer and Tasigur, I started to protect things that I did not have too early.  Instead of flashing back the Inquisition, I should have cast Visions.  Looking for the land I need to actually go off was more a little more important, and I ended up dying before I could find the fourth land.

If you notice, the turn before I died my opponent tapped out, so protecting the combo was less on me then, and I was in a position to get there if I drew the land I needed.

Grixis Twin versus Mono Blue Tron

Thoughts: Well I guess running Snapcaster into an empty board will win me the game.  I am not entirely sure that casting Remand on the Thirst for Knowledge was the best play.  I might have cast the Blood Moon a bit early.  Only having one blue source really hamstrung my ability to do anything.  Being able to Remand that Wurmcoil Engine would have been super sweet.  Blood Moon really did more harm to me than it did to the opponent that match.  I was not set up to take advantage of the enchantment and casting it played into my opponent’s hands.  Of course had I drawn Splinter Twin, it would have been moot.

That may be the biggest issue I have with the deck.

I just expect to draw it.  I expect to get there, and when I do not, I do not make adjustments on how I play.

So far I think every game I have posted was a winnable game that I either let get away or made a series of unfortunate decisions.

Grixis Twin Mirror Match

Thoughts:  Well that was a pretty ambitious keep.  Probably should have taken a mulligan on that hand.  My opponent did pretty well with the last play of the game as well, that was a super neat counter!

Well there you have it. Those mistakes did not keep me from making the top eight of this event.  Did they have a hand in it?  Maybe, but those examples are part of a bigger picture issue I had over the course of the PTQ.

Next week hopefully I’ll have a better report from the MOCS.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

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