Hi everyone and welcome!
In this report I aim to give you all an insight into the preparation for the event and the deck that I ended up playing and to how the tournament went.
I briefly want start by and touch on the fact that i attended the RPTQ in London a few weeks back and did terribly. This was due to poor decision on my part in deck choice. For the RPTQ i played Mardu vehicles, but could not beat Temur. EVER. Some may ask how this is relevant towards a national report? I played Mardu at nationals, so it is safe to say I was really worried about the decision as it had burnt me in the past. After the RPTQ I had about 2 and a half weeks of testing time to be ready for nationals. So let’s dive straight into it!
So I consider myself to be weaker in the limited format than the constructed format, so draft was a big worry for me as i had never, before the weekend there, drafted in paper. Sure, I had done some drafts on MTGO, its not the same though, right?. For about the first 4 days i played some constructed leagues as i had decided that after the RPTQ i would test out the UB control deck Featuring The Scarab God. I felt pretty comfortable with this deck and was happy with the way it played, after a string of 4-1 and a couple 5-0 leagues I got to testing out the draft format.
This was a bit of an eye opener to be honest, i scrubbed about 2-3 drafts in a row. I felt beat. I turned to some friends for a bit of advice as in what cards are better picks etc. It started to get better from here. We all agreed that base red is a good start as it pairs nicely within the archetypes in the draft format, after this, my record started to improve a couple of 3-0 and a string of 2-1 i began to feel a little more confident. That first week went to drafting and as it progressed I started to feel more relaxed in the draft format as I began to know what i was doing, all the while that particular weekend, 2 Grand Prix was on, both of which were standard, I kept a close eye on them to see what standard decks were performing well and boy was it surprising.
Leading up to nationals I believed the decks to beat were Ramunap Red and Temur Energy. These particular Gp’s showed that this format was far more diverse than i had expected! Mono White Eldrazi, UB Control, Mardu Vehicles, GW Ramp and RW vehicles had all put up a decent performance. I got into some more standard leagues to test out the UB Control deck that Robin Dolar took down GP Turin with:
UB Control – Robin Dolar
I added an extra summary dismissal to the sideboard as this was the best way to combat ramp. This i believe is where standard had changed for me. With more people becoming wise to the scarab god by having more ways to combat it in scavenger grounds and stasis snare it became a little harder in using it as a win condition which made me feel a little uneasy. About half way through week 2 i decided to try out trusty Mardu Vehicles. After Matt Severa took down GP Washington DC with Mardu featuring thought-knot seer I wondered if it helped the deck in any way, what a surprise it was! The card felt great in the deck. Getting rid of opposing glorybringer was the biggest upside I believe while also being able to nab things that could disrupt the aggressive start that Mardu vehicles most certainly has, I jammed some leagues online and i felt ready to go!
Fast forward now to the tournament itself. Here’s the 75 I registered for the event.
MARDU VEHICLES – AARON BROWN
I added a couple solemnity to the board to help against the temur matchup, they felt pretty good as we as mardu, could back them up with an aggressive start, sort of like 2 lines of attack against the deck.
ROUND 1: JESKAI GIFT – 2/0
This matchup feels pretty good, the deck is really aggresive and it gets through fairly well with heart of kiran. Angel of invention could be annoying, but unlicensed disintigration deals with that fairly well.
ROUND 2: JESKAI CONTROL FEAT the scarab god – 2/0
ROUND 3: JESKAI GIFT WITH HOLLOW ONE – 2/0
Exactly the same as normal version except their ground blockers are a bit better, we raced, I won.
ROUND 4: TEMUR ENERGY – 0/2
Not much of a match to be fair, I mulliganed to oblivion and got beat pretty badly by a certain longtusk cub. I was really beat by this as i felt this was the matchup i was most ready for.
ROUND 5: XXX – 2/0
This one I want to talk about briefly. My opponent got a match loss. Lesson to be learned here folks, dont tell your friend how to play a matchup when they are still playing, but hey, im not complaining in round 5 right?
Going into the draft portion i was 4-1 overall, which meant in an 8 round tournament, 2 more wins should secure me a top 8 slot. So thanks to a longish wait due to WER crashing, the draft began.
My draft started off ok-ish. I first picked abrade then a strong card if you get the deserts unquenchable thirst. After half way through pack 1, I noticed that blue was drying up, which led me to believe the person passing to me was on blue. I got passed aven of enduring hope, vizier of the true and sandblast so decided to go into white. I got rewarded in Amonkhet i picked up 2 honored crop-captain and an oketra’s monument. I believed my draft deck was OK, not great, but enough to hopefully pick me up the 2 wins i was so desperately wanting, here’s the deck:
RW DRAFT – AARON BROWN
Now admittedly this could have went better, aven mindcensor is really underwhelming, but i did what i could. Now for the limited portion.
ROUND 6: UG – 2/1
ROUND 7: RG WITH OVERWHELMING SPLENDOR – 2/1
Again my deck was aggresive enough to run my opponent over, i lost game 2 because my opponent synchronize strike his 2 attackers after I tried to sandblast one hitting me for 11.
After this round i was absolutely extatic. I believed that i could draw into the top 8 and was really looking forward to some food! Oh boy was I wrong. The fateful standings went up and i was 7th. The other person who was in my draft pod who was unbeaten was in 8th, his deck was a doozy. Featuring such standard hits as the scarab god andnicol bolas, god-pharaoh. We were on 18 points and 2 people below us were on 16 points, so we couldn’t draw. I HAD TO PLAY.
ROUND 8: UBR – 1/2
Hurts to write this, i won game 2. He won game 1, variance won game 3. I mulled to 5 on the draw and scooped to turn 5 scarab god. With red cards in hand and only plains on the field, I extended my hand and congratulated my opponent. Bitter taste, very bitter. This wonderful game we all play has variance, you win some you lose some. This time I lost some.
6-2. tie breakers horrible. Sad.
All in all though, we ended up with a very strong Scottish team and the event itself was great! Free cupcakes, win-win right?
I would have changed 0 decisions on the day and think that I played to the best of my ability.
“if at first you don’t succeed…”
I should aslo mention that I got to meet Riley Knight. The dude is awesome and he is just as funny in person! As for now though, Ixalan is very near and I bet that it isn’t only me that cant wait to cast some dinosaurs! Time to get the deck building cap on now!
Wait, you’re saying mono red will still be good? NAH.
Did you see what boneyard parley does?!
Thanks for reading.