GP Charlotte Experience

Welcome to another exciting week for Magic. This past weekend was an exciting time for me. GP Charlotte was the first Grand Prix I have ever been to, although the end result was not one I would have prefered. I think this article needs to be split into four parts to fully explain the fun and excitement as well as the disappointment. Starting with one of most important parts which is the playtest. These steps to a GP is what I have learned in my first experience and I hope to keep advancing myself in tournaments I attend in the future.

Cosplay at GP Charlotte photo taken by Mirouku

The Playtest

From what I have been told, and have experienced myself, the playtest is probably the most important part of preparing for any tournament. So what did I do to prepare myself for this event? How did I finalize my decision on what deck to take to the event? What I did for Charlotte is not an exact science. If I had better success I would encourage the way I prepared for this event, but alas it was not meant to be I can’t be too unhappy for my end results though.

The first step I took to prepare myself for this event was get ahold of my good friend, and the closest thing I had to a expert meta-analysis, Bradley R. also known here at MtGDeckTechs as Nicol_Bolas. At first glance Jund was the best performing deck in the format on percentage followed by: Affinity, Infect, RG Tron, Naya Burn, and Abzan Company. With the card pool I had I narrowed down to a handful of decks Jund, Infect, Abzan Company, or Kiki Chord. With my decision narrowed down I began practicing with all four decks. Shortly into the playtesting two decks came from left field one had been around for a while under its variation, but not the other. Eldrazi & Taxes I play tested and I had actually started to settle on it when another person in the group going wanted to run it. Lending him my card pool for that I focused on something else. Once Eldrazi & Taxes and the other deck was added to my regular practices online and real time I realized quickly I was unimpressed with Jund and Kiki Chord so they were cut. Abzan Company was my next selection and I started practicing. One thing important is to constantly keep an eye on the meta and by the time SCG Open Indianapolis occurred I realized everyone was hating heavily on Abzan Company, and being aware of my limited seat time with the deck I decided to shelve it for the event and go with a new suggestion, Grixis Delver, or Infect both of which I had some seat time with. Infect was hosed effectively by several decks, and the Nahiri Control deck that I have been referring to was just too much hate for me to feel comfortable go forward with it as my selection. So Grixis Delver was my final decision.

The second step to this now that I had reviewed the meta and began practicing my potential decks and I settled on one. Was to take it from a stock list online and turn it to a deck that fit my playstyle best, and my opinion as to how the deck should run. Grixis Delver in my mind is a deck meant to have enough tempo in it to throw your opponent off balance to overwhelm them quickly after before they can regain control of the board.

Grixis Delver

Creatures (13)
4x Delver of Secrets
4x Snapcaster Mage
3x Young Pyromancer
2x Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Spells (28)
3x Gitaxian Probe
2x Inquisition of Kozilek
4x Lightning Bolt
4x Serum Visions
4x Thought Scour
1x Thoughtseize
3x Mana Leak
2x Remand
1x Spell Snare
2x Terminate
2x Kolaghan’s Command
1x Murderous Cut

Lands (19)
1x Blood Crypt
1x Bloodstained Mire
2x Island
1x Mountain
4x Polluted Delta
4x Scalding Tarn
2x Steam Vents
2x Swamp
2x Watery Graves

Sideboard (15)
1x Anger of the Gods
1x Countersquall
1x Counterflux
2x Dispel
2x Engineered Explosives
2x Grafdigger’s Cage
1x Izzet Staticaster
1x Olivia Voldaren
2x Thoughtseize
1x Tribute to Hunger
1x Shatterstorm

This was the final build for Grixis Delver. My argument for taking this deck was the thought Jund and Grixis Delver run similar. Both run hand disruption and high removal to keep your opponent from gaining any field advantage and then win with small costing creatures or large ones. The deck was put together with the help of Dillon, Bradley R., and Nathan. Local players that are exceptional deck builders in this local community. The deck tested very well, but it was one of those decks that doesn’t give you any easy win. Every single game you have to earn, nothing wrong with those decks but playing nine rounds with a deck like that exhaustion sets in and the potential for player error goes up exponentially.

The third step for this would be the field test. Which is what I spent the Grand Prix trials doing and even the few days in the hotel room before hand doing. Though I wished this was a perfect world and it ran perfect. Everyone knows the world isn’t perfect and I actually have to return to reality and admit the deck was soundly stomped. With this revelation I went ahead and jumped the sinking ship, and jumped onto the bandwagon of Nahiri Control.

Nahiri Control

Creatures (5)
4x Snapcaster Mage
1x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Spells (31)
3x Ancestral Vision
4x Lightning Bolt
4x Path to Exile
4x Serum Visions
1x Spell Snare
2x Lightning Helix
2x Mana Leak
3x Remand
1x Anger of the Gods
2x Cryptic Command
4x Nahiri, the Harbinger
1x Supreme Verdict

Lands (24)
4x Celestial Colonnade
4x Flooded Strand
2x Hallowed Fountain
2x Island
2x Mountain
1x Plains
2x Sacred Foundry
4x Scalding Tarn
2x Steam Vents
1x Sulfur Falls

Sideboard (15)
2x Dispel
2x Relic of Progenitus
2x Celestial Purge
2x Negate
2x Stony Silence
2x Wear // Tear
2x Timely Reinforcements
1x Anger of the Gods

This was the deck list I came up with after looking over the shell. Most of it is the normal list, but I changed a few things where I found appropriate. Twelve hours before the tournament gave very little time to playtest so with limited testing this is what I brought to GP Charlotte.

The Tournament

So I showed up right when the doors opened and I registered my deck and began play testing it trying to squeeze in as much practice as possible. I started the event playing against Grixis Control which my opponent was very good, but Control happens to be my favorite play style and this is not my first time playing American Control. I won the first game with little trouble by burning my opponent out of the game. The second game I was patient and watched the clock to make sure I wasn’t killing time; however, as the clock ticked by each turn my opponent began panicking and began spending all his spells trying to win, thus when his gas was spent I finished the game. Round two I faced Infect and first game I kept a hand with no immediate removal at hand not knowing what I was playing, so I was easily defeated and game two I had two removal spells he happened to have three creatures. Good games, but unfortunate loss. The next game was Jund and it was won by an Emrakul on turn seven. Now the excitement happens. Round four all chaos breaks through as the entire tournament system collapses. The event ended up going into a tail spin and that round I faced Abzan Company luckily this round my opponent had the same record as I did. My friend who came with me had a different result my friend had gone 0-3 and was now forced to play an opponent 3-0. SCG announced that this was unfortunate and could not be helped, but they would attempt to fix it. My opponent went infinite in game one and beat me soundly. Game two and three were a struggle and I kept his board as empty as possible. In my third game I almost panicked considering I drew Emrakul three times and discarded him every time before I could ultimate him. Round four they announced that the tournament was on hold while they attempted to fix it. So skip two and half hours later I face my opponent playing Junk and defeat him 2-0. They announced that they believed the problem was fixed and so the next round I faced Jund where I lost to a major player error on my part. I also lost to Merfolk and Naya Zoo in the next two rounds. I dropped from the event 4-4 a little disappointed by the outcome of the event and the deterioration of the tournament. I do have to commend StarCity on their attempt to make everything alright and allow everyone to play in free side events if they dropped back in round 3. If I had done better I would encourage you to do exactly this except building a deck twelve hours before the event.

In Conclusion I was happy for the beginning part of how my event went, but I wasn’t able to keep myself into Day 2 which was my goal. Though in other exciting news I did get to meet Jon Finkel, Sam Black, and Reid Duke. All of which are great people and was happy to discuss magic and even signed my playmat. Reid Duke and Owen Turtenwald happen to be among my two favorite pro players so it was just a great feeling overall to meet one of them.

Mike Reed (Mirouku) & Reid Duke

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