Last week we took a look at an Izzet deck that was based around Ensoul Artifact and Ghostfire Blade. I played the deck in a few of the only Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers, and kept going 3-2, just falling short of the needed fourth win to get an invite to the actual Pro Tour Qualifier. I enjoyed the deck greatly, but it had some flaws to it. Goblin Rabblemaster is a fairly awesome card, but it does not match up well against Courser of Kruphix. Stoke the Flames provides much needed reach and removal, but it just felt like it was lacking. I wanted to play in the qualifier badly. I want back on the Pro Tour, it’s been ten years since I last played on the tour, and that may have just been the culmination of a month of running hot.
I tried again with a Temur deck that I found on Saitos magic site, but ended up going 1-3 with it. I’m not sure why I did poorly with the deck, but I pushed it out of my memory. If I were going to play in this qualifier it was going to be on the back of Darksteel Citadel and Ornithopter.
Yeah I did not think very highly of my own chances.
While waiting for the last PreTQ of the day to fire off (and the last one of the week) I was watching Pro Tour coverage. They were starting to do deck techs, and Todd Anderson was talking about something that I was not paying much attention to. I heard him mention Ensoul Artifact, and started to pay significantly more attention then. He was talking about the deck he played at the Pro Tour, and then mentioned Heliod’s Pilgrim. After seeing what that card did I was pretty much sold on Todd’s deck. I copied the list down while the deck tech was going on, got what I needed for the deck from MtgoTraders.com, and spent my last thirty tickets on the entry fee.
Also I played in four PreTQs. Thankfully the prize from each one (outside of the train wreck with Temur) covered the costs of the next one. Spending 120 dollars on the week for tournament entry fees is awfully hefty for a player such as myself. I mean I could afford it, I’m just REALLY BAD at Magic.
Let’s take a look at the deck that I played in that final PreTQ.
Azorious Ensoul Blade
Here is a link to the deck tech that was featured at the Pro Tour.
While I was playing in the event, Todd was on Twitter, and said that he would trade a number of Stratus Walks for more Singing Bell Strike. I would agree with that thought after playing the deck. Bell Strike was outstanding in conjunction with Pilgrim, as it essentially allowed me to play with five copies of the card in the deck.
Pilgrim is what makes the deck tick in my eyes. Being able to tutor up an Ensoul Artifact to make one of your dumpy artifacts great is awesome! Having the ability to toolbox the auras is nice as well, as I was able to tutor for Spectra Ward a few times to be able to swing the race back in my favor. I kinda want to go really deep with the toolbox. Aqueous Form can fill a similar role to Ward while smoothing out your draws. Oppressive Rays can do the same thing that Bell Strike does but also makes it harder to activate monstrous abilities. Ordeal of Heliod can help out with life, and could be a neat inclusion to help out against the Red decks in the format.
I’ve never wanted Pacifism in the Standard format as much as I do now.
I do not think that I am in a position to go super deep with the deck though. It played quite nicely as it was, but I do agree with Todd in the assertion that the deck wants more Singing Bell Strikes. The only change I would really make is to have the deck run three of them and two Stratus Walk. I could also get behind the deck having zero Walks, and making the Bell Strike count three, and adding a Ordeal of Heliod and an Aqueous Form as toolbox auras. Ordeal of course for the aggro matchups, and the Form as a way to punch through, similar to the role that Walk played in the main.
Are those right? They might be!
Anyways, the videos below are from the PreTQ that I played in. I went 4-0, and since the PTQ started at noon, I decided to go to bed after getting the fourth win. The extra packs between 4-1 and 5-0 did not matter to me as much as the extra hour of sleep did.
Round one versus Jeskai Aggro
Round two versus Bant Control
Round three versus Jeskai Midrange
Round four versus Naya Midrange
Outside of a terrible terrible misplay that I was fortunate to not have to pay for I think I played this event pretty well. I got lucky with a Spectra Ward, but a little bit of luck is needed from time to time right? I enjoyed this deck a lot, and prefer it to the Izzet deck we looked at last week. The ability to tutor up auras whenever we get the chance just feels better than the burn spells and Rabblemasters.
Next week we’ll be taking a look at one of my favorite clans in Khans of Tarkir, the Sultai Brood!
Have a great weekend, and thanks for watching!
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