MTG Reporter - Grand Prix Seattle-Tacoma, 142nd [Qiushi Sun]
The stage is set. In the heart of Tacoma, the most powerful cards in Magic were going to be played. Legacy is an interesting format, full out powerful spells and complicated turn sequences. Last year, at Grand Prix New Jersey, I chose Esper Deathblade as my weapon of choice. I found the decision trees were far too complex to be able to play it over a long tournament, and ultimately switched to a different type of deck this year: Elves. I wanted to play a combo deck to reduce interaction, and even though Elves can have very crucial and complicated decision points, I don’t have to tank on so many turns searching for the right play.
Here is the list I ran with:
Elves - Qiushi Sun
I was in general very happy with this list. Going forward, I will probably change the sideboard to have 4 Cabal Therapy and 2 Thoughtseize. Marsh Casualties is also a potential change, maybe to Surgical Extraction to help the matchup against Reanimator and other decks that rely upon the graveyard. Let’s get down to the way the event played out:
Round 3: Mud (Loss, 2-1)
Coming off 2 byes, I was excited to start playing Elves. Unfortunately, my opponent had other plans. He won the die roll and led with City of Traitors and Chalice of the Void on 1. It completely killed my game plan, and he went off with Metalworker turn 2 followed by Sundering Titan turn 3. In game 2, I had to mulligan to 5, which definitely didn’t help, and I lost to raw card disadvantage.
Round 4: Deathblade (Win, 3-1)
This was an interesting match, as I had put several creatures into play on turn 2. On turn 3, I suspected he had Force of Will in hand along with another removal spell. I led with Green Sun’s Zenith for 1, which he forced. I then cast the second GSZ, which he allowed to resolve. I grabbed Heritage Druid, making him think I needed it for my combo. He took the bait and tapped out to cast Council’s Judgement to exile my druid. I then triumphantly cast Natural Order the following turn for a lethal attack. Game 2 was a long and drawn out game, but it ultimately ended with me killing my opponent through Deathrite Shaman and Nettle Sentinel.
Round 5: Shardless Bug (Win, 4-1)
Game 1 was pretty easy with a turn 3 Natural Order for the kill, as my opponent kept a hand without Force of Will. Game 2 was interesting as I boarded in Progenitus. I kept a solid 6 cards + Progenitus in my opening seven, correctly assuming my opponent would try to use Hymn to Tourach to tear my hand apart. Lo and behold, he Hymned me on turn 2 and hit Progenitus, which I then promptly Natural Ordered. The game was over 2 turns later.
Round 6: Merfolk (Loss, 4-2)
I kept a slow hand against Merfolk in game 1, and I eventually just got aggroed out. Game 2 was another tight race, but I managed to go off at 4 life and rally more than 20 damage on my board with Craterhoof. Game 3 was turning out to be a long game, but I had some trouble drawing lands. Unfortunately, though I was stalling for a while, I couldn’t find the third land in time to win the game.
Round 7: Merfolk (Win, 5-2)
My opponent led both games we played with turn 1 Aether Vial and turn 2 Umezawa’s Jitte. I fortunately managed to go off on turn 2 with the aid of Birchlore Rangers and 2 Nettle Sentinels. Game 2 was much closer, and I took a lot of damage. Fortunately, a Natural Order off the top won the race.
Round 8: Storm (Win, 6-2)
This was an interesting match. I killed my opponent off Nettle Sentinel and Deathrite Shaman in game 1. However, I didn’t see much of his deck, so I had to make an educated guess. I brought in my hate for faster combo decks and used Thoughtseize and Cabal Therapy to rip his hand apart in game 2. Without any fuel, my opponent was helpless to defend against my army of elves.
Round 9: UR Delver (Win, 7-2)
I correctly pegged my opponent to having Daze in his hand in game 1, which allowed me to resolve Natural Order. In game 2, I led with an innocent-looking play of Elvish Mystic, then proceeded to go off with 1-drops and Glimpse of Nature, expanding my board to 6 creatures. When my opponent’s best play was to Wasteland Gaea’s Cradle on turn 3, I was happy to play the second Cradle and hardcast Craterhoof from my hand for the match.
Round 10: Infect (Loss, 7-3)
I hadn’t tested this particular matchup at all, and I lost to the combat tricks that legacy infect uses, but not modern ones. If I had been more well-versed in the matchup, I would’ve boarded in Cabal Therapy. However, I chose not to board optimally because I wouldn’t be able to name accurately without knowledge of the deck.
Round 11: UR Delver (Loss, 7-4)
My opponent led game 1 with Grim Lavamancer, which shut down my elf plays for the entire game. I couldn’t get enough of a board presence and conceded soon after. I didn’t draw any spells to bait out Force of Will, and my opponent had drawn 2 in the course of the game. Without the ability to cheat out a big attacker, I soon succumbed to the onslaught of Insectile Abberations.
Round 12: Death and Taxes (Win, 8-4)
One of my most favored matchups, I lost game 1 to Umezawa’s Jitte on Mirran Crusader. Turns out when your opponent’s creature has protection from green, things are likely to go awry. I got back at him by attacking for 78 on turn 3. I tried to go off turn 3, but I just kept casting creatures and making no more than 3 mana. I counted on my opponent to not have a good play turn 3, and he didn’t, which allowed me to Natural Order for an enormous Craterhoof attack.
Round 13: Sultai Delver (Win, 9-4)
I almost missed lethal due to bad math in game 1, but I luckily checked my math when I Natural Ordered for a relatively small, but exactly lethal Craterhoof attack. My opponent was tapped out at 6 life with 2 Deathrite Shamans as blockers, and I was certainly dead next turn. I could natural order to have Craterhoof and Quirion Ranger as my only creatures. I kept thinking Craterhoof would become a 6/6, which wouldn’t be lethal, but once I checked and saw he became a 7/7 after the trigger, I made the attack for the win. Game 2 was a blow out, as my opponent attacked me with a Tarmogoyf, which I ignored. I cracked back with over 20 damage when I cast Craterhoof the next turn. He revealed his last card as Abrupt Decay and extended the hand.
Round 14: BW Stoneblade (Loss, 9-5)
This game was very back and forth, but the power of Thoughtseize really hurt my game plan. Even though I managed to go off in game 2, I couldn’t prevent my opponent from executing his own game plan, and my own hands were relatively slow to go off.
Round 15: Merfolk (Win, 10-5)
I ended the day on a good note. I won the race game 1 very handily with a lethal Craterhoof. Game 2 was interesting since my opponent led with 2 Cursecatchers. I looked at his hand with Cabal Therapy and saw only Harbinger of the Tides and land. With that, I went for a huge Glimpse of Nature on turn 4. I was surprised, but ecstatic when he chose not to fight over the Glimpse. I went ahead and expanded my board to 11 creatures and cast a Natural Order for a lethal Craterhoof. He tried to fight over it, but I managed to use Quirion Rangers to untap enough elves to make mana with Heritage Druid. Helpless, my opponent succumbed to the 16/16 Craterhoof.
All in all, it was a good run, resulting in 1 Pro Point, and I will probably continue playing Elves going forward. It’s a resilient deck that has a great plan B, and I was very happy with my ability to play the deck despite being relatively inexperienced with it. I’ll see you guys next time at Grand Prix Atlanta playing Battle for Zendikar Limited!
Thanks for reading,
Peace, love, and have fun…