Edison Standard PTQ Report

My tournament report for the Standard PTQ in Edison, NJ…

I played the now poorly named Rhox Meditant deck; cardboard — including M10 cards — was provided by the amazing Joshua Ravitz.

Rhox Meditant Deck version 1.5

1 Ajani Vengeant
4 Bituminous Blast
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Captured Sunlight
4 Enlisted Wurm
4 Kitchen Finks
4 Maelstrom Pulse
3 Naya Charm

4 Borderland Ranger
2 Primal Command

4 Exotic Orchard
1 Fire-Lit Thicket
4 Forest
4 Jungle Shrine
1 Mountain
2 Plains
4 Reflecting Pool
4 Savage Lands
1 Swamp
1 Wooded Bastion

sb:
1 Naya Charm
4 Cloudthresher
2 Primal Command
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Hallowed Burial

The PTQ exceeded 270 players, so a long nine rounds.

Round 1: Brad with Combo Elves

I was a little uncertain with my deck to start the day; I lost kind of a lot in Standard queues on Magic Online this week, but I kept losing to cards like Treetop Village and Boomerang, so I tried not to lose any confidence.

So of course Brad opened up with like Nettle Sentinel or a Heritage Druid, one of those jobbers, and I was like “oh man…”

Game One was not untenable, but I certainly wasn’t in a good position when he landed a turn five Primal Command, Time Walking me and gathering up a Ranger of Eos. I scanned the board and was pretty sure it was game, especially since I knew that I had a Savage Lands on top.

… But then a plan appeared in me olde noggin. I laid down the Ajani Vengeant in my hand — a singleton as you know — and kept his one Wooded Bastion tapped. Three or four turns went by, and it still hadn’t untapped! No Ranger, no more White sources, no combo. I was able to get in with Bloodbraid Elves and steal Game One.

I sided in Naya Charm, Lightning Bolt and Hallowed Burial (9) for Kitchen Finks, Cascading Sunlight, and 1 Bituminous Blast.

Game Two I had all the cards I needed to keep him off of combo killing me. Sadly, I somehow lost to creature beatdown ๐Ÿ™‚

Game Three was capped off by Enlisted Wurm flipping Hallowed Burial.

1-0

Round 2: Ryan with Kithkin

This was the most frustrating match of the day because Kithkin — probably the most popular deck — is a virtual bye for my deck. Game One I kept a hand that I kept at least five other times over the course of the day — Borderland Ranger and two lands — and I got killed before taking my fifth turn. He literally went second turn Cenn; Mutavault, Cenn; Cenn; Cenn. The irony (beyond missing my third drop with the Ranger in my hand) was that I had not one but two Maelstrom Pulses ๐Ÿ˜

Game Two I battled out of his tricks and stabilized the board ahead on life with a Kitchen Finks and a Borderland Ranger and four cards (but they were all lands) to his five lands and no cards, no board. Of course he ripped five straight head shots (including two copies of Ajani Goldmane, the most dangerous card out of Kithkin in this matchup) and I flipped five straight lands and inexplicably lost from 18.

To be fair, I sided kind of janky this matchup (but that matters less when you aren’t drawing any spells). I sided much better in the subsequent three Kithkin matches (see below).

1-1

Round 3: Joshua with Merfolk

Game One was kind of a whatever. He mulled to five, then played consecutive three mana Lords. I had a Maelstrom Pulse, so my first play put me up about four cards, which was essentially insurmountable for him.

Game Two he was ahead early with a Sage’s Dousing and Cryptic Command, but I caught up with my Cascades. Uneventful.

2-1

Round 4: Tim with Fae

I am trying to analyze my deck building right now. I don’t really get why I consistently build decks that are excellent against Reflecting Pool Control but consistently mediocre against Fae. His draws weren’t even that good (mine were actually pretty bad, but playably bad, and I saw a Cloudthresher and resolved two [unimpressive] Enlisted Wurms), but he won in two. The second one he needed a second Scion to kill me on the spot (though a Cryptic Command or Mistbind Clique might have kept me from winning on a counterstrike); he got the second Scion… I think I would have won otherwise.

I sided Cloudthresher for Maelstrom Pulse in this one.

2-2

Round 5: Chris with Kithkin

This round was mentally indistinguishable for me with the next one (I took no notes and it was a long tournament, sorry). 2-0 win over Kithkin; opponent was even named Chris! The Kithkin matchup is favorable but still competitive in Game One, a complete blowout in sideboarded games.

I used the same sideboarding strategy in this and the subsequent two Kithkin pairings: I sided out all the Bloodbraid Elves, three Bituminous Blasts (or two Blasts and one Captured Sunlight), and Ajani Vengeant for Lightning Bolt and Hallowed Burial. Bloodbraid Elf isn’t really a card against Kithkin because of all their first strike and Burrenton Forge-Tenders (plus they are just one more janky thing you lose to a Hallowed Burial). Sunlights help force them to commit to the board while you fix mana or blow up lots of tokens.

Incidentally you may have noticed I basically never side out Primal Commands (though I do side them in).

3-2

Round 5: Chris with Kithkin

As above.

4-2

Round 7: Bill with Jund Aggro Cascade

This was a weird match because of what cards he showed me in Game One… Hellspark Elementals, Bloodbraid Elf, Maelstrom Pulse, maybe a Bituminous Blast. I put him on some cross between Cascade and burn, so I sided in two Primal Commands for two Maelstrom Pulses. I am not sure if it’s right to leave in Maelstrom Pulse (or how many) against burn decks. On the one hand Maelstrom Pulse is horrendous in Game One but on the other hand, they might have Everlasting Torment.

Anyway I won both games north of 20. I spent most of Game Two Primal Commanding a Savage Lands and searching up (and sandbagging) Enlisted Wurms while beating down with one Borderland Ranger (I think I ran six Primal Commands with Naya Charms helping out). I just wanted to know what his last card was; turns out it was a Ball Lightning.

5-2

Round 8: James with Boat Brew

Strange matchup. Three complete blowouts, two for me and one for him. I drew terribly in three games; he drew terribly in two games (but apparently my terrible draws far out-lasted his terrible draws). Maybe my third game wasn’t that terrible… I had two Hallowed Burials in hand at the end of the game (but I didn’t really want them… I wanted some guys so I could cast a Hallowed Burial). He was quite flooded in both the games he lost, but I was even more flooded in Game One than he was (though James made the point that I was playing a Ramp deck and he was playing with Path to Exile). In the third game, James was somehow flooded and color screwed at the same time, which is really awkward if you think about it… But I guess the loss of Battlefield Forge really hurts decks like Boat Brew. All in all, a bit of a sloppy match all the way around.

6-2

Round 9: Oliver with Kithkin

Game One he mulled to five in what is already not a great matchup; he made it competitive with multiple Cenns and Figures, but I set up offensive Ajani and Naya Charms to attack him to death.

Game Two Josh says I played one of the worst blowouts he had ever seen. I won by a mile but apparently I played it quite badly. I had a superb draw with Kitchen Finks, multiple Lightning Bolts, Hallowed Burial, and lands. I decided to Bolt and Pulse all his guys (Ethersworn Canonist, Wizened Cenn, and Wilt-Leaf Liege) and go offensive. He had a trio of Cloudgoat Rangers but I had four Hallowed Burials, including one off of an Enlisted Wurm, to make it look easy.

Josh’s contention is that I shouldn’t have even Bolted his Canonist; I could have just blocked his Liege and traded my Lightning Bolt and half a Kitchen Finks for it; at this point he would have still been forced to commit more cards, which would have made my first Burial very worthwhile (instead of just taking out a Ranger and his buddies, and maybe one more card). Essentially I won the Cascade lottery to make a badly played game appear deceptively smooth. Oh well.

7-2

I am not sure what to do at this point.

Kithkin took out Osyp playing G/W Combo Elves in the finals when Osyp shipped to five cards. Kithkin is probably going to stay a top tier deck, and the Rhox Meditant deck appears to be one of the finest anti-Kithkin decks in the field. The problem I’ve encountered is that it is very difficult (for me) to beat Fae and anything else simultaneously. I have built decks that are awesome against Fae and Reflecting Pool Control simultaneously, viz. Blightning Beatdown, but can’t beat Kithkin. Right now I think I have a deck that is very good against Kithkin but will not be able to beat Fae consistently. I have been shredding Fae online with Kithkin, but then I have the mirror… plus I am not going to be able to compete with a competent Reflecting Pool Control player basically ever.

Another option is aggro Cascade instead of control Cascade. I think I am going to come back to the Naya-based 4x Primal Command (sideboard) Cascade deck I was playing immediately prior to the Rhox Meditant deck, and just try out Lightning Bolt over Volcanic Fallout (main) to start. Could be an option… Then again, there are worse strategies than to run this deck again, one match (again!) out of Top 8.

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.

LOVE
MIKE

PS With this 7-2, the Optimus Prime Tee Shirt is still batting one thousand in packs acquisition.

facebook comments:

17 comments ↓

#1 bk on 07.19.09 at 11:41 am

why not just board stag vs. faeries? think of it like a one way, uncounterable volcanic fallout that only hits them.

#2 bk on 07.19.09 at 11:41 am

and by volcanic fallout, i mean sulfuric vortex.

#3 RealEvilGenius on 07.19.09 at 12:48 pm

In my own experiences with your build I made a few changes I felt made it better against faeries, yet keep the deck solid vs Kithkin.
My mainboard is -1 ajani vengeant, +1 primal command. The real difference is in my board. It’s: 4 cloudthresher, 4 hallowed burial, 4 spellbreaker behemoth, 3 ajani vengeant. Against fae I side the pulses and sunlights out for behemoths and threshers. If you get a Behemoth to stick they are typically in trouble when you start throwing out uncounterable threshers and endless wurms. I simply just side bloodbraids for burials vs kithkin. The matchup is already in your favor game 1 and is moreso game two even without Lightning Bolts. Vengeants come in against midrange decks where they can really wreak havoc, taking out whatever wasn’t particularly good game 1.

#4 TinderWall on 07.19.09 at 1:22 pm

Doesn’t Behemoth just eat like a Doom Blade? I think I’d rather have the Stag [that being said, I’ve never ever played your deck soooooo].

#5 rprice on 07.19.09 at 2:03 pm

i’d have to 2nd what realevilgenius said, if ur matchup is still hard after game 1 against fae maybe try to find slots for Spellbreaker…

if i can ask, was Osyp running anything special in his list?
i plan on running Combo Elves at the PTQ in Kansas City.

#6 RealEvilGenius on 07.19.09 at 2:18 pm

Currently the Fae players in my meta have been playing Agony Warps over Doom Blade or Deathmark because of it’s ability to blank one attacker and kill another (I.e blank stalwart and kill Cenn). If this changes I will change accordingly to the Stag.

#7 BitterSting on 07.19.09 at 3:08 pm

Just curious. Why would Stag be bad against Agony Warp?

#8 Xeriae1 on 07.19.09 at 3:45 pm

I think you underestimate RB blightning and I think you should re-look it, attempt to be faster then kithkin, if that’s possible.
Also, saw you play yesterday at the PTQ, shirt ruled, and am not a fan of the control take on cascade.

#9 Seryph on 07.19.09 at 10:22 pm

How necessary is Captured Sunlight? I just feel like the better Cascade cards are the ones where the effect of both the Cascade and the card itself (3/2, 4 damage to creature, 5/5) is worthwhile. In the case of Captured Sunlight, I’m just not positive devoting 4 slots to it is worth it. Although, you do mention that against Kithkin Sunlight is > Bloodbraid Elf, but I’m not sure I agree even if your reasoning. You talk about First Strike and Forge-tenders but really 4 life is about what you’ll likely save even if Bloodbraid Elf is simply a chumpblock that doesn’t kill anything. If it trades, you’re likely ahead more than 4 life, so I’d imagine that Elf is almost always about even or better than Sunlight.

I say this because looking at the list it seems to me that something needs to be reworked since if this past weekend is anything to go by, crushing Kithkin but losing/having a hard time with Faeries, 5CC and Elves is an unplayable deck. Many of the later should gain popularity and I’d imagine Kithkin should probably lose at least some of its following as well.

I’m not sure about what can be done to fix the Fae matchup, or if this is enough, but it seems to me that you must be running more sweepers going forward. Elves can get out of hand very quickly, and with limited disruption I think sweepers main are important. This being the case, I might consider cutting the Captured Sunlight and including a 3rd Primal Command and 3 Volcanic Fallout. The Fallout will obviously be useful against Elves and Faeries while at the same time continuing to help against Kithkin since this deck seems quite good at blowing up Anthem effects, no matter their source.

As many have mentioned, Great Sable Stag in the sideboard can continue to shore up the Fae matchup, but is also strong against 5CC as well. If you look at the Japanese coverage, both Shuuhei and Kazuya Mitamura had this card in their 5CC sideboards and each boarded it in against the other. Those decks typically use cards like Plumeveil, Volcanic Fallout, and counterspells to control opposing creatures, all of which the Stag laughs at. If this guy jumps into play quickly enough I could see him softening them up and forcing an answer such as Hallowed Burial, at which point you punish by laying Ajani or Bloodbraid or what have you. I think in terms of uncounterable dudes, Great Sable Stag gets the nod over Spellbreaker Behemoth.

With Volcanic Fallout I’d imagine this deck could do quite well against Elves by controlling out of hand hordes and simultaneously taking out engine pieces with spot removal. Naya Charm to hopefully do whichever one is more necessary if the game goes long seems sweet. Against Faeries I’m not sure if just cramming 3 Fallout in the deck is going to do it, but it will certainly help and naturally things can get better after boards. Perhaps some more room can be made for some other good anti-Fae stuff, but I’m not totally sure what that might be. Perhaps making room for some Sable Stags in the main and including Anathemancer in the board would do it, since he’s a pretty strong drop against Faeries as well. This would simultaneously gain ground against 5CC as Anathemancer is obviously bonkers against them. Kithkin should remain a good matchup, so it seems to me that with a little tuning this deck could be quite strong.

I have one question: Considering the proliferation of Kithkin (W), Elves (Gw) and Faeries (UB) is 4 Exotic Orchard a safe move for your manabase? Perhaps its strong enough regardless, I just thought of asking.

I might consider:
-4 Sunlight
-1 Pulse
+3 Fallout
+2 Great Sable Stag

SB:
-2 Cloudthresher
-1 Naya Charm
-1 Hallowed Burial
+1 Great Sable Stag
+3 Anathemancer

#10 matt_sperling on 07.20.09 at 9:48 am

is a second loss in round 4 and then some wins in the 2 loss bracket really a match away from top 8? In your rock paper scissors articles you seemed to have a more nuanced understanding of a swiss format tournament, specifically the selection effects driving which decks are in which loss brackets as the tournament goes on.

#11 goraiden on 07.20.09 at 10:20 am

Since you’re already in Naya colors, ever consider main-decking Wooly Thoctar? Bloodbraid Elves + Thoctar = serious beats. And lightning bolt doesn’t kill Thoctar. You’d have serious beef on the ground.

What is your plan against artifacts and enchantments? No Qasali Pridemage in the SB?

#12 admin on 07.20.09 at 6:01 pm

@matt_sperling
Fair.

#13 MTGBattlefield on 07.20.09 at 8:08 pm

Edison Standard PTQ Report…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#14 PJ on 07.23.09 at 8:32 pm

more content, plstks

#15 PJ on 07.23.09 at 8:33 pm

to be clear, not saying this article lacked content. Saying that there was new content 4 days ago, but that was the last time ๐Ÿ™

#16 Marianz on 07.25.09 at 8:11 am

great sabel stagg is the Sideboard that all decks with green must have, lots of faeries are being played right now, some fallouts maybe

#17 Joe on 07.26.09 at 10:14 pm

I like the control take on Cascade. My only suggestion is to throw down some Path to Exile. There’s nothing more annoying than a creature with toughness greater than 4 (Baneslayer) when your only answer is a sorcery.

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