Pioneer Week: PTQ 2.

Written by Joshua Claytor on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Pioneer

Pioneer Week:  PTQ 2.

Joshua Claytor

Joshua is the current content manager of Legitmtg.com and Puremtgo.com.

I made changes to the deck I played on Monday, and went 2-4 drop.  Then instead of getting article ready for Wednesday, I played a lot of Pokemon Sword.  Like an unreal amount.  Just an irresponsible amount of the game.  I am a liar, and I am sorry, but Thanksgiving should be a treat with an article from me!  The end.

The short version of the story is I did go 2-4 drop.  I was very happy with the changes I made, and the work that I did on the deck, and while talking about it with a friend on Facebook, I just reached the conclusion that the deck wasn’t good enough.  It couldn’t compete in a field full of Fog, Smuggler’s Copter and Field of the Dead. I thought it was good enough to do well in leagues, but over the course of a nine round tournament, it may not be strong enough, and the predators that the deck has may be too strong. 

I was fine with reaching that conclusion.  Then I checked the results and decklists from the event, and saw that decklists that others worked on came very close to mine.  Those three decks finished in the top 9.   Maybe the deck isn’t the problem at all, and maybe, as I seem to have forgotten, the problem isn’t one that I can control. 

I can’t control who I battle with, what they play, and what I draw.  What I can control is how I build the deck to battle the format that I expect, and you know what?  I think I have done a fine job with the deck. Some times you curve out for 4 turns, other times you draw 4 lands in a row and run out of gas.

That is part of what makes Magic great, and also so incredibly frustrating. 

While I went 2-4, looking at other players results and progress fills me with determination. 

Here is the decklist I played on Tuesday.



I lost round one, to Temur Energy, and watching replays of the game, I can see where I am making just small mistakes.  Not complete game breakers, just ones that over a period of time, cost one the game.  I see that on turn 3 of the first game I can make an elf, play a Stomping Ground untapped and Abrade their own elf, but I neglected to make that play. I got punished with a Glorybringer on their turn.

Round two I beat Aetherworks Marvel.  Abrade did real work in the first game, and when my opponent failed to do anything with the Marvel in the second game, they showed me their hand after conceding.  Two copies of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger clogged their hand and they didn’t hit another copy. 

Round three I was against a Field of the Dead deck.  We split the first two, and game three I made another mistake.  Late on Monday I asked my followers on Twitter what the better turn two play was, and I presented the options as Goblin Rabblemaster or Legion Warboss.  This was against an unknown opponent, and after doing the math, and seeing that both killed on turn five, someone asked me why I would want to cast Warboss over the Rabblemaster.  My reasoning was against Field of the Dead, if I cast Warboss, I will have a board full of 2/2s to trade with zombies whenever they start to stabilize.  In that one situation, against that specific matchup, I feel Warboss is right.  When it came up in game three though, I cast the Rabblemaster.  When they started to make zombies, instead of trading, I couldn’t push through.  This allowed them to transform a Westvale Abbey.  When it flips in to Ormendahl, Profane Prince, you have an incredibly small window with which to win the game. Naturally that small window gets slammed rather quickly when you have a small board presence. 

Round four I won a three game set against Black Red Vehicles.  Round five I was quickly combo killed by the Kethis, the Hidden Hand deck.  Turns out Scavenging Ooze isn’t quite enough to beat that one, and round six I got my soul snatched by the mirror.  Well the mirrorish deck.  They were also Gruul, but had main deck Glorybringer and that did a number on me.

I felt like the deck was right.  At least it was right for me.  I loved the work I did on it, and the choices I made in regards to its composition.  I didn’t like that I made minor mistakes while playing it. 

What was different this time from last time? 

I added 4 Bonecrusher Giant, 3 Abrade, 1 Forest, and 2 Ghor-Clan Rampager.  

I took out 1 Smuggler’s Copter, 4 Lovestruck Beast, 1 Elvish Mystic, 2Collision//Colossus and 2 Wild Slash

I also redid the sideboard. 

I explained a lot why last time, but here is a quick breakdown. 

With Bonecrusher Giant, Wild Slash was expendable, because well, I didn’t need it against the Nexus decks because I had Bonecrusher Giant and Questing Beast to allow damage to happen.  However, the absence of Wild Slash is more then likely incorrect.  I wish I had it so many times in the PTQ, because it’s really the best way to deal with x/2s.  Christiano7, the 4th place finisher, also ran Bonecrusher Giant, but did not run Legion Warboss. I found that interesting.

With Abrade in the main, I no longer needed Collision to take out a Smuggler’s Copter.  I had that with Abrade, plus the flexibility to burn out a dork.  Ghor-Clan Rampager gave me a Colossus and an additional body.  I felt like this was a net improvement for the deck.  I liked where I was going with the deck. 

Thankfully though, christiano7 made the top four with their build, and I really like it.  For reference, here it is.



I am not sold on the miser’s copy of Domri’s Ambush and my gut feeling says to make it in to a third Wild Slash.  I know that there are reasons for it there.  The two copies of Once Upon a Time is a bold choice, and I would be afraid to go with it, but honestly, I understand it.  It’s not the best top deck, and it’s really at it’s best on the first turn, before you cast anything.  Vine Mare is an inspired choice, and should be great against the mono black deck, and gives you another crucial body against Field of the Dead, because they can’t really block it well.  It wears an Embercleave forever.  I am a little wary of the board, and I am not a huge fan of Shapers’ Sanctuary, but the rest is really close to what I was already playing.  This is probably what I would play if I were to register for another PTQ. 

ProTourFreddie’s list though, is awfully close to where I was already at.  In fact the changes are Lovestruck Beast for Bonecrusher Giant, and -2 lands for a third copy of Rampager and a fourth copy of Questing Beast.  20 lands is a bit to low for me though.  It gives me the fear. 

I am not entirely sure if I am playing in anymore of the Pioneer week events.  As a person with agoraphobia, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to try to qualify and steal an invite from someone that would use it.  However, the prizes are pretty decent, but could be better.  I like playing in the PTQs, because I want to prove that I do belong, however, 30 tickets is also 3 leagues, and that’s 15 rounds instead of 9.  I would get more Magic out of my entertainment budget. 

I took Wednesday off, because I was struggling with that, but I might be back and playing on Thursday.  I have yet to make a decision in regards to that.  Maybe I’ll just play more Pokemon! 

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