Day 2 Coverage of Grand Prix Brisbane 2013

Posted in Event Coverage on October 5, 2013

Brisbane: 466 players fronted up to Grand Prix Brisbane yesterday, but we did the cruellest thing we could think of and made them fight it out amongst themselves, and only 80 players survived* to play Modern constructed today.

(*figuratively, we've had no actual fatalities so far this weekend, fingers crossed.)

Dillon Kikkawa ramped his way up to the top of the field at the end of day one with his Urza's Lands, while Daniel Ball employed Goryo's Vengeance and Through the Breach to trick his monsters into play. Joining them at 8-0 was Wilfy Horig, who didn't Junderstand the appeal of getting ahead of himself, playing a Green/Black/White Midrange deck** instead.

(**you know, there was a time we used to call that deck "Junk," grumble, grumble, getoffmahlawn.)

Chasing behind them with their eye also on the Top 8 this afternoon are Jake Hart, Garry Wong, Justin "Juzza" Cheung, Zen Takahashi, Daniel Bretheron, and Dan Unwin, with plenty more way back at 6-2. We'll dig into the metagame today, as see if we can find you any interesting hidden decklist gems as we battle towards the playoffs.



Day 1 Undefeated Decklists

by Event Coverage Staff

Wilfy Horig

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Dillon Kikkawa

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Daniel Ball

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Round 9 Feature Match - Jake Hart vs. Dillon Kikkawa

by Pip Foweraker

Hart opened the game with a first-turn Inquisition of Kozilek, revealing an excellent Tron hand from Kikkawa. Hart took an Expedition Map to slow his opponent down, then followed up next turn with a Tarmogoyf. Kikkawa cast an Azorius Signet and passed, eager to ramp into his more powerful spells.

Hart put himself to 12 to cast another Inquisition of Kozilek, knocking Kikkawa out of non-land cards in his hand before playing a Lingering Souls and passing. Kikkawa, on the ropes, couldn't find an answer before Hart's Tarmogoyf and Spirits crushed his life total.

Kikkiwa finds himself suffering a total eclipse of the Hart.

The second game started off in a similar fashion, with Hart's Inquisition of Kozilek stripping a Talisman of Dominance from Kikkawa's somewhat greedy hand, filled with high-cost bombs and a Supreme Verdict but a little light on mana sources. Kikkawa's greed paid off as he cast and then used an Expedition Map, hunting down his missing Urzatron pieces while Hart summoned a Tarmogoyf.

A Thoughtseize from Hart revealed Kikkawa had drawn another Wurmcoil Engine, his hand dense with goodies. Hart summoned Scavenging Ooze, confident that Kikkawa wouldn't play his Supreme Verdict. Another Thoughtseize from Hart stripped Kikkawa of his second Wurmcoil Engine, and Kikkawa drew a colour-fixing Azorius Signet a turn too late to stop the incoming beats.

The match highlighted the power of the popular G/B shell, giving deckbuilders plenty of opportunity to throw off their opponents' game plans while leaving a third colour very splashable. Kikkawa's deck, previously undefeated, packed more powerful punches, but simply failed to land any in these two games - a classic example of well-executed disruption edging out over a powerful control/combo strategy.

Jake Hart 2 - Dillon Kikkiwa 0

Sunday, 11:25 a.m. – Quick Questions: What was the best card in your sideboard on day one?

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw and Pip Foweraker
Dan Bretherton - "Olivia Voldaren.”
Dylan Brown – "Leave No Trace."
Wilfy Horig – “Dismember.”
Luke Mulcahy - "Ancient Grudge.”
Garry Wong – "Ghost Quarter."
Dillon Kikkawa – “Sundering Titan.”

Round 10 Feature Match - Daniel Ball vs Justin Cheung

by Pip Foweraker

Cheung's opening Thoughtseize revealed Ball's game plan - to cheat massive creatures into play at obscene speeds. His hand filled with mana, draw and enablers but lacking a fatty, Cheung nabbed a Through the Breach to slow down the impending pain. Ball cast a Pentad Prism while Cheung summoned a pair of Deathrite Shamans.

Ball used a Faithless Looting to filter through his deck, dropping a second Looting and a Goryo's Vengeance into his graveyard. Cheung's Deathrite Shamans looked to disrupt Ball's graveyard, but Ball had a Thirst for Knowledge to power up his grip further.

Cheung summoned a Tarmogoyf, and an Inquisition of Kozilek revealed Ball had 2 Through the Breach and a Goryo's Vengeance, but no gigantic monsters were to be found. After the top of his library yielded a pair of lands, Ball moved to his sideboard.

Cheung, wrecking Ball.

Ball opened the second game with a Faithless Looting, discarding a Griselbrand and threatening some dangerous Legendary action as early as Turn 2. Cheung had an Inquisition of Kozilek to stop the shenanigans, showing Ball's grip of Liliana of the Veil, Faithless Looting, Izzet Charm and a Through the Breach. Cheung took the Looting and passed, while Ball drew a blue mana source and passed.

Cheung had a Thoughtseize, which Ball countered with his Charm. On his turn, Ball flashed back his Looting, digging for more threats. Cheung resolved a Scavenging Ooze, which Ball killed off with his Liliana, but not before Cheung stripped his Griselbrand from the graveyard. Another Thoughtseize from Cheung stripped Ball of his single Through the Breach, leaving his Liliana looking a little lonely on the battlefield.

Cheung summoned a Dark Confidant and a Tarmogoyf, rapidly outdrawing Ball and ending the game in short order. After the match, Ball and Cheung discussed the challenges of pushing reanimator decks through a barrage of hate. "It was much easier in Day 1", Ball said, "Because people didn't know what I was playing. It makes a huge difference in whether they choose to lead with some discard or a Deathrite Shaman, or develop their own game plan."

Justin Cheung 2 - Daniel Ball 0

Saturday, 1:00 p.m. – Which God is your favorite?

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw and Pip Foweraker
Jack Ding - "Nylea, God of the Hunt.”
Justin Cheung – "Thassa, God of the Sea."
Dan Unwin – “Purphoros, God of the Forge.”
Wilfy Horig - "Purphoros, God of the Forge.”
Jake Hart – "Heliod, God of the Sun."
Simon Harnden – “Nylea, God of the Hunt.”

Sunday, 4:30 p.m. – Judge Judy and Executioner

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw and Pip Foweraker

So I told Pip this morning, "we have to get in early to take the Judge photo," to which Pip replied, whist stroking his beard, "I have an idea..."

Head Judge Fabian Peck demonstrates correct Judging procedure.

Round 13 Feature Match - Sam Sedgman vs. Ben Tudman

by Pip Foweraker

Both players settled in for their first-ever feature match, looking surprised at the crowd that gathered around them within a few moments of their sitting down. Newcomers to the GP scene, both had exceeded their expectations by making it this far - the penultimate round, both in a double-win-and-in scenario. They shook hands and leaned in, eager to get the match underway.

Searing Spear

Sedgman opened with a Mountain and a Lava Spike. "I know what you're playing!", laughed Tudman, summoning a Noble Hierarch. Sedgman had a Searing Blaze for it, knocking his opponent to 14 in short order. Tudman tried again with Birds of Paradise, while Sedgman had a Keldon Marauders.

Tudman went to stabilise with a Voice of Resurgence and a Phantasmal Image, giving him some blockers against any ground assault. Sedgman attacked with his Keldon Marauders, then killed the resulting Voice token with another Searing Blaze. He followed up with a Lightning Bolt to Tudman's dome, dropping him to 7 - never a good sign for the control player.

Tudman summoned a Wall of Roots and another Voice of Resurgence. Sedgman passed the turn with mana open. Tudman passed, and Sedgman tried a Flame of the Blood Hand, but Tudman had a Chord of Calling in response, fetching out a Glen Elendra Archmage and countering the Flames.

Sedgman summoned a Goblin Guide, which attacked unblocked, Tudman falling to 4 in order to keep his Birds of Paradise and Glen Elendra Archmage unmolested. Sedgman tried a Volcanic Fallout during Sedgman's upkeep, but Tudman had another Chord of Calling for a Zealous Conscripts, giving him enough creatures to attack for the win after the dust had settled.

Tudman keeps careful track of his plummeting life total.

Sedgman opened the second game with the eponymous Lightning Bolt To The Face, following with a Keldon Marauders. Tudman had a Voice of Resurgence, which jumped in front of Sedgman's Goblin Guide the following turn. Tudman shored up his defences with a Wall of Roots and a Qasali Pridemage, while Sedgman simply played a Goblin Guide and passed.

Tudman, down to 10 life but with a little breathing room, tapped out to play a Birthing Pod. Sedgman used a Searing Blaze to off the Wall of Roots before swinging with his Goblin Guide. Tudman upgraded his Qasali Pridemage to a Kitchen Finks, then copied it with a Phantasmal Image, gaining some precious life back. Sedgman threw what little burn he could find at Tudman's creatures, but a pair of Restoration Angels and a Kiki-Jiki clinched the match in short order.

Both matches highlighted the glass-cannon, all-in nature of mono-Red burn decks - the final points of damage being frustratingly elusive for Sedgman, while providing some heart-stopping moments for Tudman on defence.

Bed Tudman 2 - Sam Sedgman 0

Saturday, 4:45 p.m. – School’s Out For Summer!

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

These events are not just about the Name Players you've come to love reading about year after year, but the hundreds of people who travel just to be a part of festival atmosphere so abundant at Grand Prix gatherings around the globe.

One group taking advantage of the School Holidays here in Australia, are the members of the Strategic Games Club at St Francis Xavier College in Canberra. Headed up by Maths/History/IT/Psychology Teacher extraordinaire Ryan D'Argeavel, the group boasts around 40 members, including another staff member, Matt Pham.

Ryan keeps what he describes as "a massive Magic collection" at the Club, from which players can build decks during lunch breaks, or just bring their own. "We were up late the night before we flew here digging through my boxes to build 7 Modern decks for everyone to play," Ryan admitted. "One of our guys, Glen Goodwin, even made day two!"

Today, Ryan and the rest of the group are enjoying the Public Events here on offer this weekend, and as I left Ryan, one of his students came up to tell him all about the sweet play he made in the Theros Sealed Super Sunday event, pointing a burn spell at his Heroic creature to get enough damage through to take the match.

Matt Pham (far left) and Ryan D'Argeavel (red shirt) and some of the members of the St Francis Xavier College Strategic Games Club.

Sunday, 5:00 p.m. – Modern with Dan Unwin

by Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

I can't remember the first time I sat down to talk to the Premier Australian deckbuilder Dan Unwin, but I know this won't be the last time. A long time fan of the format, having played at the first ever Modern Pro Tour in Philadelphia in 2011, Unwin had a lot to say about it.

"I agree when everyone says that it's a healthy format, I just think it could be even better if they unbanned some cards," he explained. "The first round of cards they banned after the first Pro Tour made sense, but after removing cards like Preordain, now it's got to the point where Modern plays a lot like Standard."

I asked Unwin about his preparation for this event. "I didn't get to prepare nearly as much as I would have in the past," his new slimmed down physique hinting at what he's been doing with his spare time, "but when there's an event on with a great prize, I'm gonna be there.

"I audibled away from the deck we had been working on for the event because I had a bad day playing it in the Grand Prix Trials on Friday, and I just wasn't confident I could play it properly in the main event. Patty Robertson is playing for the Top 8 with it, though, and Sam Loy made day two with it as well."

Patty Robertson

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And what about the deck Unwin ended up playing? "I went with the best build of what we considered the best deck of the format. We knew Tectonic Edge was great and we wanted to play that, so when we were running the numbers on the 4 color Jund deck, we decided Edge was more important that Lightning Bolt, and went with the version without Red. Wilfy Horig was undefeated on day one with the exact 75 I'm playing."

Dan Unwin

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Sunday, 5:15 p.m. – Ad Nauseam Combo with Wedges

by Pip Foweraker

In a sea of decks both familiar and novel, it behooves coverage staff to keep an ear out for scuttlebutt around the top tables for unusual plays. After a few rounds of catching mutterings like "Drew his entire deck" and "... can't believe he played that", I traced the source of so much contention to Matthew 'Wedges' Hare, a mainstay Sydney player who's been tearing up the tables with his Ad Nauseam deck. I pulled him aside to have a quick chat.

So, why pick this deck to run at the GP?

Well, I'd had some experience running it and other variants on the Ad Nauseaum engine in the past, so I know how to pilot it against control, aggro and other combo decks. It's off most people's radars and is pretty non-interactive, so it was easy to throw in a ton of goldfishing practise to get myself up to speed.

Looking around the expected field, none of the new or emergent decks were a particular concern, and many of them were more than half blank against an entirely creatureless combo deck, so it seemed like a good choice.

Ad Nauseam

Where did you get the list?

Erikbobo on Magic Online has been posting some great results with it in recent weeks. I pulled the list and made a few minor changes for what I thought the metagame in Brisbane would present - adding a Spoils of the Vault and taking out one of the Phyrexian Unlife's sped the deck up a fraction.

What are your matchups like?

Anything that doesn't have a decent disruption package or is non-interactive and slower than me is pretty much dead in the water. Jund has been surprisingly favourable, especially with Leyline of Sanctity helping slow or shut down their disruption suite.

The deck's also surprisingly resilient - I won my last match despite being attacked with an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn on turn 2 in or 3 in all the games, something which most other decks wouldn't be able to battle through.

Matthew 'Wedges' Hare - Ad Nauseam Combo

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