mtGP Antwerp Report Part 1 – On the Bubble
Writing was never one of my strong points but Dave’s passion (One of the owners of this site) motivated me so much that I pushed myself into writing a review of GP Antwerp.
Step 1: Preparation
One month ago I began preparing for it in a minor tournament in Belgium.
I won a modern masters box with Infect in Waremme where I faced Amant Dosimont in the semi-finals with his Birthing Pod deck. I lost to him in the swiss but won in the semi before winning against Hexproof in the finals. The deck was nice but really complicated to play and the matches were tense.
But the good part was discovering a Pod deck that runs 4 Magus of the Moon maindeck as well as Lotus Cobra and basic lands to improve the mana base.
The idea was simple: playing a Birds of Paradise or a Noble Hierarch turn-1 and following it with a turn-2 Birthing Pod, Magus of the Moon or Domri Rade
I tested the deck during the following week and ended up with this version:
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Arid Mesa
2 Scalding Tarn
4 Grove of the Burnwillow
1 Temple Garden
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Breeding Pool
1 Steam Vents
1 Stomping Ground
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Lotus Cobra
3 Restoration Angel
3 Kikki-Jikki, Mirror Breaker
2 Deceiver Exarch
2 Fauna Shaman
1 Zealous Conscript
1 Murderous Redcap
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Phantasmal Image
4 Magus of the Moon
4 Birthing Pod
2 Domri Rade
2 Fiery Justice
2 Mirran Crusader
2 Linvala Keeper of Secrets
2 Aven Mindcensor
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Obstinate Baloth
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Sigarda Host of the Heron
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Harmonic Sliver
Step 2: Expected Schedule
7:20 Joining Joey (Patriarcha) and Geoffrey (Siron) in Brussels to attend Antwerp.
8:30 Collecting my All is Dust promo card.
9:00 Meeting a lot of “long time no see” buddies.
10:00 Congratulating Pierre and Jeremy (Dagen and Dezany) for their outstanding performances in Dublin.
10:20 Collecting my MTG Madness T-shirt.
15:10 Joking with Mattej and Marijn on MTG channel.
18:50 Explaining to Mattej and Marijn why my deck is so good.
19:00 Complimenting Amand on his amazing deck.
20:00 Returning to Brussels for some rest.
Step 3: Burning Down to Hell
So far everything is running according to plan except for the timing: it’s already 11:45.
Round 1- Bye
Round 2 started against the familiar face of Gert Willems from Belgium.
He was playing the Archangel of Thune version of Pod and I destroyed him in the first game just by playing Magus of the Moon. Every entering land was a big problem for him as he didn’t know how Blood moon was interacting with most of his lands. The second game was a race of Kitchen Finks, backed up with a Gavony Township, while I struggled to find a fifth land or a Birds of Paradise to play my Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. In the third game, my wonderful turn-2 Magus of the Moon, turn-3 Magus of the Moon were only followed by Birds, Hierarch and lands. 1-1.
Round 3 was against Michael Hoss from Germany playing tokens.
My turn 2 Magus of the Moon was facing a tapped Godless Shrine and his mystified face. The second game went better for him, as he fetched for a basic land and played a turn-2 Intangible Virtue, turn-3 Lingering Soul, turn-4 Honor of the PureIntangible Virtue. The game was clearly his but he forgot to flashback Lingering Souls. He played Vault of the Archangel, which he used every turn for some life gain while I was chumping with Glen Elendra Archmage and Phantasmal Image. Birthing Pod helped me make some angels, rebooting Glen Elendra before I could play the combo. 2-1.
Round 4 was against Petr Sochurek, a competent Czech player whom I met at a previous pro tour. This was the fatal mistake that cost me the game: my Murderous Redcap was facing a just played Lord of Atlantis and 2 untapped Mutavaults. I attacked with my Redcap, backed up by a Restoration Angel. He activated a Mutavault and blocked with it. My Redcap returned with persist and I assigned 1 damage to my opponent, playing my angel to bounce the Redcap. I assigned 2 damage to the Lord and killed both cards. Big mistake!! I should have put the extra damage on the Mutavault, killing it and the Lord. If I had done it he wouldn’t have killed my Redcap in response to the angel with a Dismember! 2-2.
Step 4: On the Bubble
Here I am, on the bubble. The race to survive has begun and every win will keep the dream alive.
Round 5 was against Patrick Schepman from the Netherlands.
The guy was really fun and I enjoyed speaking to him in Dutch. He was playing Merfolk as well but failed to find a removal or a counter for the combo in both games. 3-2
Round 6 against Jacques Bittner from France.
I have known Jacques for a long time and last played him back in 2007 where he played Red Deck Wins. He used the same deck and destroyed me on Game 1. Sideboard did its job in the second game as I had both Kitchen Finks and Obstinate Baloth on the draw but game 3 was really unbelievable. On turn 6, I was on 5 life facing 3 mountains and 3 cards in his hand before drawing. I tapped mana during my upkeep and my angel (my last card) bounced my Deceiver Exarch. He burned me to 1 with Flames of the Blood Hand and passed priority. I untapped and drew a Birthing Pod for the combo. His hand was made up of 2 Volcanic Fallouts and 1 Keldon Marauder. He forgot to play one of the Volcanic Fallouts. Lucky me! 4-2.
Round 7 was against David Salomoni and Hatebear.
This deck is one of the good match-ups. It’s slow and my mana acceleration neutralizes cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Leonin Arbiter. I can easily play the combo if playing around Path to Exile. The second game was really fun. His mana-base was cut by Magus of the Moon and my combo was blocked by Torpor Orb. My Magus was attacking, empowered by Noble Hierarch and I then played Kiki-Jiki to win the match without comboing. 5-2.
Round 8 against Damien Mayor from Switzerland.
Damien was pretty nice and played Infect. He destroyed me in Game 1, even with Spellskite and angel on the table. Noble Hierarch is sooooo good.
Game 2 saw me playing a turn 2 Magus of the Moon that destroyed him.
Game 3 – Magus shut his Nexus and colored mana while I was facing a Plague Stinger. Murderous Redcap kept me alive until I drew a Kiki-Jiki. 6-2. Keep the dream alive!!!
The last round was against a fellow Belgian, Axel Van Rossom. He is a nice guy whom I often meet at pre-releases and he was playing Hatebear. I love this match-up but both Game 1 and 2 were pretty close. In the deciding game he mulliganed to 6 and couldn’t find a solution to an early Magus of the Moon. 7-2.
Day 2 Here I come!!