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GP Atlanta

Written by John Cuvelier on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Limited

I’ve often been told bad things come in three’s. The first thing was I gave a friend cards to get signed at GP Sea-Tac. Not all of those cards returned, about 2k worth of them roughly. Secondly as I’m pulling into the house I was staying at for the weekend at about 2a.m. I noticed the driveway was mostly full of cars and I didn’t want to block anyone in. I went ahead and tried to go around and park in the grass. Little did I know that there was a ditch right next to the driveway that I managed to partially drive in to. I had my front right and back left tires on the ground, with my front left tire dangling over the ditch and my back right tire in the air. This is my brand new car mind you. My passengers and I, along with everyone in the house we had to wake up manage to get enough traction and strength through pushing to get the car out with just minor damage to underneath the car. The third bad thing that happened was Friday I got disqualified from a side event (first time anything like this has happened since I started playing in Apocalypse) for lying to a judge. The irony here is I was the only was telling the truth and everyone was trying to not get disqualified by lying. Long story short if your opponent offers you anything for a concession at the table call a judge, even if/when you don’t take it (I didn’t and they said I did).

Now that I got all that bad stuff out of the way, I was hoping maybe the GP would treat me a bit better. I had two byes and high hopes. Packs began to be opened and grown adults began screaming that they opened an Expedition. I don’t get it. Meanwhile I had a very deep pool but nothing very obvious or exciting.

GP ATL - Sealed Pool

The rares I have aren’t very powerful, with only Conduit of Ruin and Ruinous Path as obviously solid rares and Gruesome Slaughter with the potential pending the rest of the pool. The things that really caught my eye were no Evolving Wilds, Red was bad and White was bad. Blue has triple Cloud Manta and some very solid awaken spells in Clutch of Currents and Coastal Discovery. The problem with blue is no matter what you pair it with the curve looks atrocious and I’d have a very hard time beating any Eldrazi Skyspawners since they trade up very well against my Cloud Mantas. Without any mana fixing I couldn’t justify splashing the Coastal Discovery and Clutch of Currents and that left me with just Green and Black.

GP ATL - Sealed Deck

My game plan for this deck is pretty straightforward and something you can apply to most sealed deck experiences. Play large dudes until your opponent dies. Playing bad cards like Broodhunter Wurm isn’t always the worst when you can curve Broodhunter Wurm into Territorial Baloth into any one of those six drops. The green offered the beef while my black gave me the best removal my pool offered in Ruinous Path and Grip of Desolation. I often boarded into a separate version of Green/Black that looked like the following.

GP ATL - Sealed Deck Option B

The main difference here between the two decks is I went up to 12 colorless creature spells to make use of Gruesome Slaughter. I did this change in matchups where I was less likely to be trading creatures in combat or against decks that lacked a lot of removal.

My day one started off pretty spectacular considering my deck was far from being considered good. I won a feature match against Derrick Sheets round 6 to get to 6-0 and beat Adam Yurchick round 7 after he cast an Ugin’s Insight with Breaker of Armies in play. Round 8 and 9 I played against Eldrazi Skyspawner decks and I didn’t draw my Rising Miasma to give myself a chance and finished day 1 at 7-2.

Day two starts and I get to see a daunting pod of players with only Marc Bushee as the only unknown at the table.

insane pod

The draft was quite rough and I got a lot of mixed signals from my left (the unknown drafter). I ended up with a mediocre Red/Green landfall deck that really just lacks removal and maybe one more combat trick. I didn’t see any removal outside a single Outnumber the entire draft and in that circumstance I wasn’t even Red at the time.

GP ATL - Draft 1

The short version of what happened in the pod is I barely beat Ben Friedman and his BW Ally deck. I got annihilated in my feature match against Shahar Shenhar and his UR Devoid deck. The last round I lost to the unknown in the pod. You know when sometimes you tell your friends “I never drew a spell, the entire game!”. But we all know you drew like 1 or 2 spells, but they just didn’t matter because you were still so flooded. My loss to this guy was like that, except I literally didn’t draw a spell. It was quite heartbreaking as even with my deck being not that great, it was still miles ahead of this guy’s deck. Finishing off this pod I’m sitting at 8-4 and needing a 3-0 in the final draft to still cash.

The last draft went just as tough as the first draft. I got a lot of mixed signals and it took me until the middle of pack two to figure out black, and subsequently Allies was quite open. Of course, by the time I figured this out my deck was all over the place and I really struggled to find the correct 40 out of the cards I drafted.

GP ATL - Draft 2

Your eyes don’t deceive you. That’s the mythical five Kalastria Healer. That’s being supported by three other colors and Allies in each. This was far from optimal but I was hoping that the power of Kalastria Healer could carry me to the promise land.

Unfortunately the variance gods weren’t on my side this weekend. I lost because I didn’t draw enough spells against a UW deck. The next two matches I drew a good split of lands and spells and won those pretty convincingly. I even got to live the dream of having multiple Kalastria Healers in play when I cast a Unified Front for four. It felt really good, in case you’re wondering.

I finished 10-5 and good for 125th. I’m actually quite proud of myself in the way I built my sealed deck and navigated my way through those draft pods. I feel like I read the signals the best I could and didn’t fall for any traps. I noticed one misplay the entire weekend (last round, I missed a Drana’s Emissary trigger once) and it didn’t cost me a game or anything.

As for this weekend I just booked an insanely cheap flight of 68$ round trip from Tampa, FL to Pittsburgh for the Grand Prix. The format is Modern and I’m going with my trusty Robots. Of course as I’m typing this the event is capped and I was unable to get in to the event. I’m currently waiting to see if they expand the cap and I can weasel my way in. If not I’m not quite sure what I’ll do. That’s what I get for deciding to go to events at the last second. Get a super cheap flight, at the expense of not being able to play. Value?

John Cuvelier
Gosu. on MTGO
@JCuvelier on Twitter

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