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Arcane Laboratory: Grand Prix Boston Report

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

I’m finally back from GP Boston. It was an amazing time. We had some good battles, saw old friends, met some new ones, and ate some delicious steak. #TeamGeist performed amazingly well in the hands of Larry, Scott, and myself. We finished the GP at a combined total of 56-24-2 giving us about a 70% win percentage. These are some great numbers and I’m really proud of how we did. It really proved to me that all our time put in testing and analyzing really meant something in the end.

I won’t get into the specific’s behind Scott and Larry’s finishes. That’s their story to tell. Instead I’ll tell a story of setbacks, doubts, and rallies. Instead I’ll tell the story of my own GP Boston experience.

I arrived on site Friday and checked into the hotel. I then met up with Scott, distributed some tokens, and immediately entered into a grinder. My car-mates also signed up for the same grinder and as fate would have it, I’d play against one of them in the first round. @Astormbrewing had chosen Burn as his weapon of choice for the GP. Luckily during our match I drew multiples of Lightning Helixes and Snapcaster Mage. Then I missed my round 2 pairing and was dropped from the event. WHOOPS! There was a lot going on and I was tired. So we headed to get some food and sleep.

I arrived on site early Saturday morning with Scotty after eating some breakfast at the hotel. Larry met up with us soon after and we began a final discussion of our sideboard strategies and general thoughts on match-ups to ensure we were all on the same page. We also decided to make a last minute change to our sideboard replacing our two Pillar of Flames with two Magma Spray. Shortly after we were headed to the players meeting.

Round 1 vs UR Twin

The first game sees us playing some draw go until the end of turn 3 when I flash in a Vendilion Clique. My opponent bolts it with the trigger on the stack and I see for sure I’m playing against twin. I take his Splinter Twin away, play a land on my turn and ship the turn back. My opponent untaps, draws, and cast a Serum Visions. He draws a card, scrys a card to the bottom of his deck, then takes the other card and adds it to his hand. I try to stop my opponent except it’s already too late. We call a judge over. It is determined that since I no longer can know the full contents of his hand as he has drawn a card for turn, a card off Serum Visions, and the extra card he added to his hand. He’s given a game loss and we are moving on to an awkward game 2. I again have a turn 3 end of turn Clique which is promptly Remanded by my opponent. I move to my turn and slam a Geist. A few short turns later and my opponent is dead on board and sullenly scoops.
1-0 (2-0)

Round 2 vs UWR Geist Pseudo-mirror

I’m unsure which UWR my opponent is on until he attempts a turn 3 Geist on the play. I quickly fire off my Remand into my own turn 3 Geist. He laughs about how small the odds were to play in a mirror on round 2. I respond by beating his head in with my holy 2/2 and his 4/4 companion. Game 2 goes long as we both jockey for position. Eventually I make a mistake and spend too much mana fighting over a Restoration Angel. My opponent then finishes me off with the triple burn spell hand and Colonnade. We don’t have much time left for game 3. We find ourselves in a position where I have all the answers to his threats, but no real threat of my own. We go to turns and neither of us really have the win firmly in grasp. We decide that neither of us wants to concede and we move on with a draw.
1-0-1 (3-1-1)

Round 3 vs MonoU Tron

Game 1 starts off awkwardly as I keep a hand heavy on burn and a Snapcaster. My opponent leads off with the natural turn 3 Tron into Wurmcoil Engine followed by a turn 4 Sundering Titan to quickly put the game out for me. Game 2 I get the savage turn 3 Geist on the play while my opponent stumbles on his tron pieces. Game 3 sees me mull to 4 after a string of single land hands. Luckily my opponent has a slow start, giving me some time to get my feet under me. I still lack any form of pressure, but am able to keep him off of his Wurmcoil Engines with a few Path to Exile. Eventually my opponent returns a Mindslaver he discarded earlier to a Thirst for Knowledge with his Academy Ruins. I miss my chance to force him to shuffle it away with my Ghost Quarter. He slaver locks me out of game 3.
1-1-1 (4-3-1)

At this point I feel myself beginning to tilt. I don’t have much time before the next round so I take a break to hit the bathroom and listen to the soothing sounds of A Tribe Called Quest. Instead of focusing on my past games I decided to focus on the games that will be coming up. I quickly look over my side-boarding notes before heading to the pairings board.

Round 4 vs UWR Control

My opponent starts out on Colonnade, Colonnade, Glacial Fortress, Spellskite. I play out my turn 3 Geist. His shoulders slump and I begin the beats. Four turns later we move to game 2. This time I lead with the blue Ambush Viper at the end of turn 2. He declines to counter it, instead countering my follow up Geist. I get in with my 2/1 over a few turns while throwing burn at the end of his turn. He eventually tanks then taps out for a Batterskull. I get to Restoration Angel my Snapcaster Mage for a Lightning Bolt and flash it back without fear, sealing the game.
2-1-1 (6-3-1)

Round 5 vs UWR Kiki Control

On the play I again resolve a Geist after my opponent taps out for a Wall of Omens. He tries to flash in Exarches and Restos to block by I have Remands and Snaps for days. Soon we head to game 2. He has the leak for my Geist on turn 3, but not my Resto on turn 4. He uses two consecutive Exarches to keep my Resto from attacking but he lacks the second red source to play Twin. He makes a weird choice and decides to try and race me his colonnade and 2 Exarches to my Resto. The two Bolts and Helix in my hand show him that his plan is faulty and I lock up the match.
3-1-1 (8-3-1)

Round 6 vs Ad Nauseam

At this point I’m starting to feel the Rally coming on, but I force myself to ignore the possibilities and play the games. I keep a hand full of burn and a snap on the play. My opponents’ first land is a temple. I start throwing burn at my opponent as fast as possible. Killing him dead is the primary objective. I get him low enough that he tries to go off, but I have the Remand for his Ad Nauseam and we move to game 2. I keep a hand that has two Helixes and a Clique. Unfortunately my Clique is met by a Pact of Negation and my opponent Angel Graces past the trigger. He combos the following turn. In game 3 I keep a hand much like my first game except it also has a Wear // Tear. He has the turn 0 Leyline of Sanctity. I really want to snap off the Wear but decide to remain patient. Instead I get an Ambush Viper and Clique on board seeing that my opponent has 2 Phyrexian Unlife, and Ad Nauseam, and not much else. I ship his Ad Nauseam away. I draw a snapcaster. I get in with my snap/clique duo and ship the turn. He casts an Unlife and passes. I take the time to Wear, Snap, Wear away the Leyline and Unlife. I untap, bash in and throw a burn spell. My opponent reveals that he drew an Angel’s Grace, casting it to not die. On his turn he casts his second Unlife and passes back. His Eot I bolt him to put him to 0 life so my next attack and Helix will put him to 10 poison. When I cast the lethal bolt my opponent Pacts. I ship the turn and my opponent untaps and draws for turn. I point out he has to pay for pact and he scoops up his cards, having drawn a blank anyway.
4-1-1 (10-4-1)

Round 7 vs MonoU TimeWalk

My opponent leads off with Snow-Covered Islands and a Boomerang on my Colonnade. He plays a Howling Mine and I’m just confused. I lay out my Geist on turn 4. His response is to play a Jace Beleren and give us each a card. At this point I think I’m playing against a weird mill deck. I bash with Geist to his face to kill him as fast as I can. During his draw I clique to see Time Warp, Jace, Walk the Aeons, and Temporal Mastery. I take the Time Warp. He has us draw with Jace and ships back. I bash in with Geist and Clique and then show my opponent 3 burn spells and he picks up his cards. Game 2 I resolve Geist on turn 3 and Remand his Time Warp two turns in a row to cleanly take the match.
5-1-1 (12-4-1)

Round 8 vs UWR control

Game 1 is basic as I cast turn 3 Geist as planned. My opponent tries two turns to flash in a resto to block but I have Remand and Snap Remand to keep him off it. Game 2 is awkward for me as I draw a lot of burn but not much else while my opponent has 3 restos over the game. Game 3 is a long drawn out affair. He has an Anger to answer my Geist, I have Path to answer Resto and we both play the “throw burn end of turn” game. Eventually I get my opponent down to 1 life while I myself am at 4. I’m tapped in a way so that I look dead to my opponents colonnade. He taps for colonnade, in response in helix him. He Remands only having an Arid Mesa left. I calmly crack my two fetches for basics and cast Electrolyze to seal the match on turn 4 of extra turns.
6-1-1 (14-5-1)

Round 9 vs Jund

My opponent comments that he watches Scott’s stream upon seeing my playmat but hasn’t gotten to watch mine because he usually plays a local Modern event on Tuesday nights. He knows what deck I’m on so I give him an angel token before we start.

Game 1 he opens with Catacombs, fetch for Blood Crypt, Inquisition, taking Geist. Turn 2 he Thoughtseizes away my Resto. Turn 3 he plays a Bob. I jam clique but he has the bolt. He then reveals and resolves Thrun. I’m too far behind and he seals the game with an Ooze. Game 2 has me see 3 Geists in the top 10 cards, so even though my opponent Thoughtseized away two of them I still resolved on one turn 3. I faded a Liliana of the Veil and bolted my opponents Ooze as he had only the green mana to cast it. The game continued with me trading removal with my opponent’s creatures, and he ended up succumbing to Geist.

Game 3 was likely the tightest game of Magic I have played in a very long time. My opponent Inquistioned my Geist, followed with a Dark Confidant and the resolved Liliana. I played a blank Snap to pressure the Lili. My opponent responded by Slaughter Pacting. This gave me a turn to resolve a clique, taking away my opponents Courser, and finish off Lili with a clique and Helix. During this time my opponent’s Bob had dealt me 6 but had dealt my opponent 9. When I cliqued my opponent I saw he also had Goyf and Ooze. After finishing his planeswalker, he revealed another Bob and then played out his whole team. I smiled and looked at the Engineered Explosives in my hand. I had to take a turn of punishment, dropping to 5 because I missed my 4th land for two turns, but I got EE online. My opponent decided to all in on an attack including a Raging Ravine after I fell to 4 from a fetch. However, my opponent was also had to crack a fetch, falling from 4 to 3 that turn and I had a helix waiting in hand.
7-1-1 (16-6-1)

Both Scott and Larry had been watching my final game and when my opponent extended his hand they both let out a cheer. Scott gave me the biggest hug I’ve ever received in my life. I was stunned. I had done it. I had rallied and battled back from a 1-1-1 start to make day two at a very respectable 7-1-1. Not only that, but Scott and Larry had made day 2 also at x-2 and x-1 respectively. It was an amazing feeling. Almost as amazing as the steak we had at dinner.

A HUGE group of us went to dinner at the 111 Chophouse. Somehow master @squash86 was able to secure a reservation for 26 people. If you’re ever in Worcester I cannot recommend this place enough. It was literally like putting heaven in your mouth.

After dinner I was beat and knew I needed to get sleep before the next day so we headed back to the hotel. I set my alarm and crashed. The next morning I hit my snooze button once, took a shower, and headed off to meet Scott at breakfast. We grabbed some water on our way to the site and soon had our #TeamGeist pre-day 2 meeting.

We went over our day 1 matches and experiences, revamping our sideboard plans as we saw fit. We didn’t change them much, a good sign that we knew what we were doing and on the correct path. While talking we miss that they had posted tables for the players meeting and we scrambled to find our spots.

Round 10 vs Jund
My first round of day 2 I was paired against eventual finalist Andy Boswell. Game one he had turns 1 and 2 inquisition for my Geists followed by a turn 3 Liliana. Stripped of my resources his double Goyf team demolished me quickly. Game 2 my opponent again inquisitions me on turn 1 and laughed seeing double Geist in my hand. I understood his mirth when he cast a Thoughtseize on turn 2. Turn 3 he cast Liliana again. I lay a blank snap to pressure her. Andy flowed her with a Thrun and things got verrrry bleak. However I managed to navigate the game in a manner to survive at 4 life for multiple turns via Moorland Haunt. Meanwhile Andy fell to 3 from his Bob. Sadly I couldn’t find the burn spell in time and it was for naught.
0-1 (16-8-1)

Round 11 vs UB Faeries
His turn 1 Mutavault had me put him on Merfolk. When he played turn 2 River of Tears into Bitterblossom I knew I was wrong. Fortunately I was on the play and resolved my Geist of Saint Traft. Some number of Bolts, Remand, and Electrolyze later and we were onto game 2, Geist having shown my opponent his folly. My opponent led off with a Thoughtseize taking my Geist. He then played a turn 2 Pack Rat. I expected this and had boarded in EE. Unfortunately he had a Spellstutter+Mutavault to stop it and I succumbed to Rats. Game 3 he had double Thoughtseize into a Clique taking all my relevant spells while I drew blank lands. I soon fell to clique+double Mutavault.
0-2 (16-10-1)

At this point I was a bit tilted and sat trying to figure out how far I could get in the coming rounds. It looked like I could reach 110th if I won out. A judge nearby told me that the player count was actually just under 2400. This meant only top 100 would cash. So I chose to drop, get lunch, and play commander.

This was a mistake.

Had I paid attention Saturday morning I would’ve know they announced 2400+ players and that they were paying out to top 150. We were just under 2400 total because of some no-shows but WotC had agreed to pay out the higher amount anyway.

To make top 150 all I had to do was go 3-1 over my next 4 matches. I had also rallied back from a bad start the day before. Cashing was definitely in the cards. I had also made day 2 of my second GP and should’ve been battling the entire time for the honor anyway. Next time I’ll know better. Just battle.

I’ll be back streaming on Tuesday with some constructed Vintage. I’ll be playing a UR Young Pyromancer deck. Make sure to come check it out or ask me questions about #TeamGeist. 8:30pm est over on twitch.tv/legitmtg.


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