Kind of a PTQ Report

Part 1: Deck List

Here is what I played, Naya Burn:

4 Lightning Helix

4 Tarmogoyf
4 Wild Nacatl

2 Incinerate
4 Keldon Marauders
4 Kird Ape
4 Mogg Fanatic
2 Pyrostatic Pillar
4 Seal of Fire
4 Sulfuric Vortex
2 Tarfire

4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Forest
3 Mountain
2 Mutavault
1 Sacred Foundry
3 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
3 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

3 Umezawa’s Jitte
4 Ancient Grudge
3 Lash Out
2 Pyrostatic Pillar
3 Kataki, War’s Wage

This is essentially what I posted at the end of last week. The only difference is a swap of two Incinerates for two Tarfires. I told Osyp I wanted to play like one Tarfire and he said that he thought that Incinerate was the weakest card in my deck. If I had to do it over again, I would have played all four Tarfires and no Incinerates; moreover I would have done something with those Pyrostatic Pillars. There is a longer winded way of putting this, but they under-performed.

Part 2: Anticlimax

I went 6-2.

Osyp beat Josh in the finals, Slide over Faeries. Josh went 9-1-1 with his only loss being to Osyp.

My favorite Josh moment was in the quarterfinals. Josh came back to win Game One. He was absolutely demolished in the Faeries mirror. Stuck on three lands. Down zero Riptide Laboratories to two, lands down three to seven or thereabouts. Pulled it out.

“At what point would you would you have given up?” he asked me between games.

So Game Two. He has three mana untapped and a bunch of lands. End of his turn. There is a relevant Spellstutter Sprite on the board, but backed up by no mana.

Josh Mana Leaks it rather than spending his Spell Snare (leaving up the one for the Snare). The implications of this decision were many but I only thought one thing, almost fatherly: At what point did you get so much better than me?

So of course this was followed by untap, Future Sight (tapping out), and the concession from Ravitz 🙂

Osyp played brilliantly against Josh in what was not only a lopsided matchup (in Osyp’s favor) but where Josh mulliganed several times, and both games.

Osyp’s facility with Ghost Quarter and Astral Slide to resolve spells was the kind of stuff that they write textbooks about. They were the kind of plays that seem absolutely correct when you see them going onto the stack, but that 80% of players will never see… The same players will complain about bad draws or being mana shy when they explain why they lost.

As for my tournament, I beat Tezzerator, Faerie Wizards, the Adrian Sullivan Ponza deck, Zoo, Bant Aggro-Control, and the Lightning Bolt Deck; I lost to Faeries and All-in Red. Notably I never played Affinity.

The only interesting matchup of the day was my second bout against Faeries. I have won literally every Game One I have ever played with Naya Burn against Faeries; that said, I have lost a fair number of sideboarded games, so it was obvious to me that I was doing something wrong at some point.

The problem was at least in part that I was winning all of those Game Ones (win the flip or no), meaning that I was always on the draw in Game Two. My model included valuing Pyrostatic Pillar, so I was forcing myself to make room for more Pillars… but they are not particularly good going second in sideboarded games. I was usually cutting two Lightning Helixes to fit my three Lash Outs (though this is something I am comfortable doing in many matchups, including Zoo-ish matchups… Lash Out is almost always better since you have to invest three life to make three life under pressure); and that was sub-optimal.

So Game One I won in a hurry. Concession on turn four, I believe.

Game Two I went to Paris, took some damage from lands, and foud myself with a pair of Lash Outs and a pair of Ancient Grudges in hand (I sided in two for this game). My board was a Wild Nacatl and a Mogg Fanatic.

He was doing not so much, played Thirst for Knowledge for no bonus, untapped, and played Threads of Disloyalty on my Nacatl (1/1 on his side, I believe). I ran Lash Out for value and got in with Mogg.

He played Sower of Temptation #1; I got him with the Mogg and got more value with the Lash Out, but nothing still.

He played a naked Sower.

I finally ripped a Tarmogoyf.

He ripped yet another Sower and killed me in basically one swing.

So I was on the play in the third game. I thought quite a bit about this and decided that I was going to morph into a 100% burn / anti-Jitte deck, taking out all my Nacatls, Apes, and ‘Goyfs. The reason is that even though I “shouldn’t” lose to Sower of Temptation very often, I was not likely to beat a Threads of Disloyalty on Tarmogoyf… and this game he showed me Firespout, Sower, Threads, and Chrome Mox… and since he played Thirst for Knowledge, I felt it safe to assume he was packing Vedalken Shackles, too.

Therefore he was an anti-creature Faeries deck, and if I made myself a creature-poor burn deck, I might be able to ride the repositioning. As it turns out, he out-sideboarded me and presented two Glen Elendra Archmages. I drew two Ancient Grudges and all three Jittes but he still out-Jitte’d me thanks to Academy Ruins. The sheet said “4” at the end of the game, but he had an active Jitte, so who knows what his true life total was? That said, it was probably closer than it should have been.

My other loss was to All-in Red in two non-competitive games where he mised on the first turn. In either game if he didn’t follow up with Blood Moon I think I could have won. Nothing to say here… That deck shouldn’t do well, but you can’t complain about those kinds of matchups in the loser’s bracket.

Of the rest of my matches the most interesting was v. Luis Neiman (aka Luis not Vargas) right after I had dropped. He convinced me to un-drop and then we were paired! Pulled it out after getting face planted by Blistering Firecat in Game One (actually tagged all three games by that guy to one degree or another). Luis Molten Rained me to a Mutavault in Game Two and drew nothing, so I came back to force the third.

Part 3: What If… ?

I have to think on the new version of the deck list for a while, but I think I would play this again. Probably look something like this main:

2 Umezawa’s Jitte

4 Lightning Helix

4 Tarmogoyf
4 Wild Nacatl

4 Keldon Marauders
4 Kird Ape
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Seal of Fire
4 Sulfuric Vortex
4 Tarfire

4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Forest
3 Mountain
2 Mutavault
1 Sacred Foundry
3 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
3 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

The Jitte’s a little out of place… Maybe Lash Out or Incinerate? Lash Out is the best burn spell in this deck after Tarfire and Seal of Fire. Yes, better in most cases than Lightning Helix. For example against one of the burn decks There was a Sulfurous Vortex in play before I even had the White for Helix! (Though admittedly it saved me from Zoo with a little careful damage stacking). In general you have to invest a couple of life to get back a couple of life… Still a great card, just not as good as Lash Out in a strategy that wants to hurt the opponent.

More later…


facebook comments:


#1 GRat on 02.23.09 at 11:07 pm

Good stuff, I can’t believe how hard I punted this Q.

#2 DavePetterson on 02.24.09 at 4:42 am

Well Mike, maybe it’s not so bad that you didn’t Q. Now we’ll all get to enjoy a few more posts leading up to the next PTQ, and maybe be treated to another tournament report afterward. Reading this blog lately has been a lot like reading Deckade. Good theory, interesting (and usually good) decklists, and now we get a post like this. As mentioned in the “Best Article of All Time” thread, not a lot of tournament reports around these days.

On another topic, do you have any thoughts on She & Him? Zooey Deschanel might turn into dream girl #2, just a hair behind Jenny Lewis.

#3 wills on 02.24.09 at 7:35 am

I know you are speaking semi-metaphorically at the end about the burn spells, but what do you mean by “Lash Out is the best burn spell in this deck after Tarfire and Seal of Fire. Yes, better in most cases than Lightning Helix?” If that were really true, wouldn’t you put Lash Out in your second deck list instead of Lightning Helix, or even Shock over both?

#4 schwarzott on 02.24.09 at 9:09 am

do you really think incinerate is your worst card? i feel like pillar is. i ran a naya deck as well to a 5-2 finish in Detroit this weekend here’s my list and thoughts on my card choices:

4 tarmogoyf
4 wild natcal
4 kird ape
4 mogg fanatic
4 keldon marauders
4 incinerate
4 lightning helix
4 puncture blast
4 seal of fire
2 sulfuric vortex

2 mutavault
2 forest
3 mountain
2 stomping ground
2 sacred foundry
1 temple garden
4 wooded foothills
4 windswept heath
2 bloodstained mire

2 kataki, wars wage
4 shattering spree
4 pyrostatic pillar
3 volcanic fallout
2 mystic enforcer

i beat faeries three times and zoo twice, i lost to merfolk and bant. i have no clue why i lost to merfolk and beat faeries three times. they seemed much like the same deck. the bant player had maindeck loxodon hierarchs which was just a nightmare, and he went on to top 8.

i ran blasts in the molten rain slot from my previous ptq and they were very good. they make rhox war monk, loxodon hierarch and even tarmogoyf reasonable to deal with while also being good vs affinity (atog, that is), kitchen finks, and vs creatures carrying jitte. speaking of jitte, I’m of the opinion that this just isnt the deck for it to be in. when i played with it, the times i was happiest seeing it were when it would kill an opposing jitte. i couldn’t even justify it in the board.

volcanic fallout was also very good (as said i played vs faeries all day), i wish id listened to people telling me to run it a week ago.

mystic enforcer was a poor decision. hes big, and wins the game, but i didn’t take into account path to exile when choosing him. if you’re going to play some fatty for the mirror i feel it should be loxodon hierarch, so if it gets offed you at least have 4 life. though enforcer does force rock decks to play aggressively if hit early enough.

from here, id like to add bigger burn spells to my deck. ideally I’m trying to tweak the manabase to support flame javelin, but i feel like its just going to end up being char. these spells deal with several of the problem creatures for the deck listed above as well as give me more reach, and my though was to cut 2 seal of fires to run 2 of them.

since this is the complete opposite of your plan (cutting 3 dmg burn for 2 dmg burn) could you please elaborate a bit on what that decision is based on, why you want tarfire in the deck over incinerate?

also, what makes you so high on lash out? its a card i often considered, but i just couldn’t talk myself into running a spell i couldn’t send upstairs.


#5 DAisaka09 on 02.24.09 at 10:30 am

8 shocks seems really weak to me especially in the mirror where you need to kill 3 toughness guys. You pretty much only have lightning helix to deal with kird ape and wild nacatl and it seems like your giving up a lot of removal. Wouldn’t something like rift bolt be better than tarfire at the very least? Also maybe i need to play test more with lash out, you seem really high on it but i can’t say i understand that. Also i’ve seen some lists that play woolly thoctar as a two of. I’m testing it right now and so far it seems pretty decent. I’d like to echo schwarzott with his puncture blast suggestion, they seem awful at first but are actually pretty good when i tried them.

#6 admin on 02.24.09 at 10:31 am

I don’t feel like you punted. Making a sub optimal deck decision is different from punting. Maybe I punted… Not you.

I have loved her since Elf. She was wonderful, gorgeous. I of course have She & Him. It’s fine. Not my favorite, but I’ll put it on in honor of you. 🙂

Manu Ginobli is the most efficient scorer on the San Antonio Spurs (well not this season). He was sixth man of the year last year. People who can actually do math put him on par with Kobe Bryant at shooting guard. He has just as many rings. Manu doesn’t start. Part of his value is that as the sixth man on a team with two unstoppable offensive players, he can disrupt the opposing team’s defense in a way that most other teams can’t boast.

Part of the value of Lash Out is that it is only in the deck in games where it is going to be relevant. Therefore it is much more effective. It never has Game One drag (not that, based on my matchups on Saturday it ever would… I think I sided it in eight times). It is significantly better than Lightning Helix because this deck doesn’t care about gaining life except against Zoo or some such (as I said Helix saved me against Zoo in an awesome display of discipline on my part if I do say so myself). Therefore I don’t see myself starting it. It is much better than Incinerate I think.

I can look at your deck and tell you why you lost to Bant Aggro-Control where we have been beating it, if you want.

I don’t think Volcanic Fallout is very good. Faeries beats you by overwhelming you with Jitte and basically no other way. Fallout has no interaction with how they beat you. I hate taking collateral damage in matchups that might actually come down to racing.

Overall I was happy with my build but for the two Tarfires main. The Pillars were inefficient but part of that was my fault. I think they are good in general and would absolutely still play four, even if they were all in my sideboard. Losing to All-in Red was really annoying but that can only be solved by playing Path to Exile and hoping they don’t manascrew you. Even Dead // Gone is probably too expensive.

#7 GRat on 02.24.09 at 10:32 am

Perhaps, but, I still had fun! Plenty of Qs to attend…

#8 schwarzott on 02.24.09 at 1:39 pm

I can look at your deck and tell you why you lost to Bant Aggro-Control where we have been beating it, if you want.

if you could do this it would be much appreciated.

#9 zsievers on 02.24.09 at 7:38 pm

Maybe I am stupid but what exactly is pillar good against?

#10 The American Nightmare on 02.24.09 at 9:18 pm

[QUOTE]Maybe I am stupid but what exactly is pillar good against?[/QUOTE]

TEPS mostly, but it does have some value against Elves if you have a lead I guess.

Mike, did you find Maraduers worth it? Every time I’ve played it I wished it were something else, like another burn spell, or a different two drop like Kataki (even main), Teeg, Watchwolf, or even a lousy Dryad Sophisticate.

Also, is there a reason this archetype has so many basic Mountains? It dosen’t seem necessary since the only real hate against nonbasics is Blood Moon/Magus of the Moon. I’d think at least a Plains should be in there incase you drew a Helix under a Moon or at least to keep the Nacatls full-size. Am I missing something here?

#11 thewachman on 02.25.09 at 8:57 am

Could you give some more details on Osyp’s slide deck. I am very interested in this arctype and I have not seen much about it.
Eric from Saint Louis
Mr. Suitcase on

#12 ReAnimator on 02.25.09 at 10:14 am

Why no Magma Jet? As suggested in the thread last week.

Also to the guy who doesn’t like mauraders, you could do worse than tin street hooligans, even in they main they aren’t’ really lacking for targets in this meta.

#13 mpace on 02.25.09 at 11:49 am

I started reading dune because of one of your articles. Pretty amazing. I have an overwhelming sense that there is something profitable for magic to be learned from paul’s first fight with jamis. hmm.

as far as incinerate or pillar replacements, it seems the deck would benefit from more permanent threats.

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