Hey guys, welcome to another Modern Musings, this week I’m going to give you my GP Vegas tournament report for Modern.

First things first, I ended up playing Todd Steven’s list of Eldrazi Tron which you can find here:

I unfortunately did not have any byes walking into this tournament so I had to grind the first 2 rounds.

Round 1: Eldrazi Tron

Game 1

I started off the day playing against the mirror on the draw, which is not super desirable, since it’s often a tempo-based matchup.  Game 1 was interesting because I think my opponent made at least 1 large error. He played a turn 3 Thought-Knot Seer into my hand of Thought-Knot SeerReality SmasherReality SmasherDismember, and lands.  My board state was Expedition MapUrza’s Tower, and Eldrazi Temple.  What I think he should have done was take one of the smashers since he revealed the turn after he had a smasher of his own.  What he actually did was take my Thought-Knot.  I proceeded to gain back the tempo by  tutoring up a second Eldrazi Temple EOT then play a smasher attacking him down to 15. he plays a smasher, attacks me down to 11.  I play smasher, attack him down to 5, at this point, I’m mostly banking on him not having a second smasher, and he in fact does not, passing the turn back to me.  I attack, Dismember his smasher discarding something irrelevant, he pays 4 life and dismembers my smasher, going to 1 and my other smasher that was being blocked by Thought-knot tramples over for the last point.

Game 2

I sideboard out my chalices and other less useful cards and bring in collar, Wurmcoil Engine, and Hangarback Walkers.  I keep my opening hand with 2 tron lands, Basilisk CollarEndbringerGhost QuarterMind Stone, and Wastes.  He plays a turn 1 Temple, which makes me nervous.  I un-tap and draw my 3rd tron land to complete the cycle, at this point I probably should have just ghost quartered the temple, but I was excited by the natural tron, and thus played a tron land T1.  He un-taps, plays a second Temple, and Thought-knots me, taking my Endbringer once he realized I had tron.  I played a tron land and the collar and passed, drawing nothing relevant.  He plays a smasher and attacks me down to 11.  I un-tap, draw a Walking Ballista, do some quick math, smile, play my ballista on 2 equipping the collar and kill both his creatures.  He passes the turn, I draw an Endbringer for which he never draws an answer to.  He is extremely salty and doesn’t shake my hand.

My Record: 1-0

Round 2: G/B Goodstuff

Game 1

I’m get paired against B/G Goodstuff, what I consider to be a pretty decent matchup.  On the draw, I keep a 5 lander with natural tron, Endbringer, and All Is Dust.  He proceeds to Thoughtseize me turn 1, takes my Endbringer, then plays a Tarmogoyf on the next turn.  I draw nothing but lands for the rest of the game and lose to a steady stream of creatures after the All is Dust.

Game 2

I side in my Hangarbacks and my Relic of Progenitus.  I had some good hate cards in my opening hand, managed to get a Chalice for 2 down just after he played a Dark Confidant, which, while unfortunate, stalled out the game since most all his creatures were 2 drops.  The game came to a head when I drew Karn and up-ticked it targeting him.  I got a Scavenging Ooze, but he cast an Abrupt Decay on my Chalice EOT, untapped top-decked a Maelstrom Pulse for my Karn, and I drew lands for the rest of the game for his win.

My Record: 1-1

Round 3: Affinity

Game 1

I really needed a win after having 2 games in a row where I got mana flooded.  Fortunately for me, I got paired against Affinity, one of my best match-ups.  My opponent was having some bad luck of his own too and got stuck on 1 land while I proceeded to get a Chalice on 2 while beating him down with Matter Reshapers and Thought-Knots for the win.

Game 2

His draw was considerably better getting a Signal Pest and Cranial Plating down on turn 1 and a Ravager on turn 2.  I was almost able to stabilize with a Walking Ballista and a Warping Wail, but he drew a second Cranial Plating for the win.

Game 3

This game started off very poorly for me as I had to mulligan down to four to find land.  That being said, my four lander was very good.  I had Mind StoneEldrazi TempleUrza’s Power Plant, and Chalice of the Void scrying a matter reshaper to the top.  I chaliced for zero to keep him off his nut starts and played a Power Plant.  He played Darksteel CitadelSpringleaf Drum and passed.  My next few turns go something like this: draw second Matter Reshaper, Eldrazi Temple, Smasher, Smasher.  I end up winning, but it was super close and came down to my opponent missing a line of play that would have killed me with infect over the course of a couple turns.  If I had not top decked the second smasher, I would have for sure lost the match as he had lethal on the backswing.

My Record: 2-1

Round 4: Esper Control

My opponent for this round was a pretty cool guy that unfortunately had his deck stolen the night before. He fortunately had another deck to play for the event, but obviously he was pretty bummed.  His original deck was a Valakut deck, but he said that he played his Esper deck a fair amount as well.  Unfortunately for him, Esper is a great matchup for me, while Valakut is close to un-winnable.

Game 1

I had a Cavern of Souls and was able to play some Smashers and Thought-Knots to fight through 3 Cryptic Commands.  He wasn’t able to find an answer and scooped up his cards.

Game 2

I managed to play a turn 3 Karn and started eating through his lands and hand, eventually I drew some creatures to close out the game.

My Record: 3-1

Round 5: Affinity 

Game 1

As I said earlier, affinity is one of my best match-ups and I was happy to be sitting across from it once again.  I had 2 Dismembers in my opening hand and was able to stall out the game long enough that I could play a Walking Ballista for 5, which promptly killed him.

Game 2

He had a fast aggressive hand with 2 Signal Pests and 2 Blinkmoths.  I was able to play a Walking Ballista for 2 to kill both his Signal Pests and top-decked a Pithing Needle to shut down his Blinkmoths.  I managed to close out the game with a Smasher fairly quickly.

My Record: 4-1

Round 6: Grixis Death Shadow

Game 1

Like affinity, I’m fairly certain through my testing that this is a pretty good matchup.  I was able to take an early lead by playing Turn 2 Chalice of the Void leaving him unable to play most of the spells in his deck.

Game 2

I had natural tron and was able to outpace him by playing Endbringer, Smasher, and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon ( the only sideboard card that me and Todd Stevens differ on).

My Record: 5-1

Round 7: Knight/Vizier Combo

Game 1

Not too much to say about game 1 as my opponent was able to combo off and kill me on turn 3 with the Vizier + Devoted Druid into a string of Collected Companies looped by Eternal Witnesses.  Eventually he found what he needed and tutored up a Ballista to hit me for a bazillion.

Game 2

This game was pretty interesting as I saw that his third colour was blue, which I didn’t see game 1.  This game was completely different than game 1, mostly due to the fact that I had Chalice on 2 pretty early on in the game.  This would have normally made the game very difficult for him, but he then started playing Knight of the Reliquarys.  I was able to deal with the first one he played, and played a second Chalice for 3 to protect myself from a Retreat to Coralhelm combo kill.  I did however need to draw additional removal to deal with his second Knight, but failed to do so in time, and he trampled over my blockers with a Kessig Wolf Run activation.  I don’t know how often his deck functions like it did, but it seemed really strong and left me pretty impressed.

My Record: 5-2

Round 8: Bant Eldrazi

Game 1

My draw was a little awkward here as a result of maybe a bad keep, but my opponent gave me a taste of my own medicine by playing turn 3 Thought-Knot into turn 4 Smasher, turn 5 Smasher for game.

Game 2

I had natural tron in my opening hand and managed to land a turn 3 Karn, from which he was not able to recover.

Game 3

This game was super frustrating for me because it highlights the sometimes huge difference between going first and going second.  My opponent mulliganed down to 5 cards and the sequence of plays went something like this:

Him: play Noble Hierarch

Me: tron land, Expedition Map

Him: Stony Silence.

Sometimes, going second loses you games, and this was one of those cases as I never drew my third tron land.  He then played two Reality Smashers to win the game.

My Record: 5-3

Round 9: Valakut

I was pretty downtrodden as this point in the tournament as I had gone from x-1 to x-3 so quickly and frustratingly.  I can’t say I was thrilled to find out I was playing Valakut in my final round as It is by far my worst matchup.  On the plus side, my opponent was a pretty funny guy and managed to keep the situation light and amusing and definitely got some laughs out of me despite my frustration.

Game 1

My first mistake that I made in this match was not trying to find the most aggressive hand possible as killing them before they can resolve Primeval Titan is the most likely avenue to victory.  Instead, I kept a pretty middle of the road hand and really didn’t do much before he cast a Scapeshift to kill me.

Game 2

I once again, in retrospect, did not mulligan aggressively enough and ended up with a hand that was too slow.  There came a point in the game where my only out was my opponent forgetting to pay for his Summoner’s Pact trigger.  Like most magic players he put a dice on top of his library to remind himself to pay for his pact.  The best I could do was try to Surgical Extraction  to try and make him move his dice and forget about the trigger, a desperation play for sure, but in my mind was the actual only out I had.  I cast the Surgical, and then passed the turn while he was still shuffling his deck.  When he untapped and paid for his pact, I scooped up my cards and extended the hand.

My Record 5-4


Overall, I can’t say I was pleased with my results, as I started out so strong, but finished so weak.  I couldn’t be too mad at myself though because I felt like I had mostly played pretty well throughout the day.  I made mistakes to be sure, but outside of my mulligans (or lack thereof) against Valakut I don’t feel I made any game losing mistakes.  If I were to play the deck again though I think I would go down to 23 lands, especially with all of the redraw effects in the deck.  I also wasn’t super impressed with the Relics main, and would like to replace them with either more removal spells or additional threats as I felt kind of light on threats in some of the longer games.  As for the sideboard, I think I would take out the Hangarback Walkers, and put in Witchbane Orbs to try and improve my Valakut matchup.  Despite my frustrating losses, I still had a good time overall and did get to play a full box sealed event on Sunday, which I ended up winning with a sweet b/w tokens deck.  Anywho, that’s all for this week, next week I’m back to the drawing board to see what the meta looks like post-GP.


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