Sneak Attack: GP Minneapolis Report, 14th (Part 1)

Sneak Attack: GP Minneapolis Report, 14th (Part 1)

May 21, 2014

Welcome to another Sneak Attack Kid Article and it is along one. Today (two weekends ago when this article gets posted) we ventured out into the real world to play some Magic the Gathering against real people. This was during GP Minneapolis. If there is ever a GP near you, you should go even if you’re a MTGO only player. GPs are a ton of fun for 99 reasons (but a ***** ain’t one).

First as long as you show up to get your stuff it’s very close to a free roll event. GP Minneapolis was $40. But you got a Batterskull just for playing. These Batterskulls sell for $30, EBay for $20 and dealers were paying $15 on site. So now the GP is $25. But wait if you’re willing to stand in line for 15 minutes on Friday you also receive a playmat. Dealers were also buying these at $15 each. Now we’re down to $10 for entry. But we’re not done yet.

There were also “minimasters” in which they hand you a pack; you open it, add some lands and play vs an opponent. Beat your opponent, get a free pack and another opponent. Get to three wins, win an extra two packs. Get a fourth win and win an extra two packs and win the fifth round and get your GP for free (not all GPs give out free entry for winning, Chicago for example won’t be, but that’s because Pastimes is a terrible TO). Assuming EV to be 2 packs you’re now at $6 entry. So $6 entry for a GP with a 1st prize of $3500? Seems worth it to me.

Second you get to trade Magic with a ton of people. You’re looking for a specific card it’s probably there. Looking for Power talk to dealers / trade for it. Looking for Foils they’re there too. I saw multiple dealers selling Modern Masters packs as well. Anything and everything for Magic is generally available at a GP. Third and finally you’re at an event with 1500 + other people that do the same things you do. You’re going to hang out with people all day meet new friends and see people you haven’t seen in forever since hey it’s a GP everyone plays in them.

Now I’m going to go over my weekend Tournament Report style. Because this is a Tournament Report and stuff.

Obligatory Decklist time:

Melira Pod
by James Beltz (sneakattackkid)

Lands (23)
Forest
Gavony Township
Godless Shrine
Marsh Flats
Misty Rainforest
Overgrown Tomb
Razorverge Thicket
Stomping Ground
Swamp
Temple Garden
Verdant Catacombs

Creatures (28)
Birds of Paradise
Eternal Witness
Harmonic Sliver
Kitchen Finks
Melira, Sylvok Outcast
Orzhov Pontiff
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
Murderous Redcap
Phyrexian Metamorph
Reveillark
Shriekmaw
Spellskite
Voice of Resurgence
Viscera Seer
Wall of Roots

Spells (9)
Birthing Pod
Chord of Calling
Thoughtseize
Sideboard (15)
Abrupt Decay
Dismember
Entomber Exarch
Eidolon of Rhetoric
Kataki, War’s Wage
Obstinate Baloth
Qasali Pridemage
Realm Razer
Sigarda, Host of Herons
Sin Collector
Thoughtseize
Thrun, the Last Troll

Let me talk about my decklist for a little but because that’s what everyone does. Actually I’m going to save time and talk about differences. I hate Scavenging Ooze in this deck as it just sits there and does nothing towards comboing off. I’m a big fan of actually being able to combo off which is why there’s 2 Melira, Sylvok Outcast, and 2 Viscera Seer in the list. Phyrexian Metamorph was the breakout all-star of Melira Pod lists this weekend and I’ve been playing him long enough to know just about every trick. There are a ton of things it does that you can’t do with any other card. I ran 4 Wall of Roots are because I like them for Chord of Calling. But it effectively allows me to play Thoughtseize maindeck by soaking up damage vs random Aggro decks. It also allows me to play Harmonic Sliver main, and in multiple matches this weekend Sliver won me games where Qasali Pridemage would not have (foreshadowing). The sideboard is pretty basic; I’m still on the Realm Razer because Tron is a thing and was actually big at GP Minneapolis. Otherwise I’m a little more Aggro based in the Sideboard because Thoughtseize maindeck helps support combo match ups.

Friday

I actually didn’t play a whole lot on Friday. I actually had two byes for this event from coming in ice-cold to a sealed PTQ two months ago opening Brimaz, King of Oreskos and riding that cat to victory. So I didn’t play any GP Trials which I highly highly recommend to everyone to play in. Furthermore always play the sealed GPTs as in the United States the standard is $20 for of format GPT or $25 for Sealed GPT, same prize support. Why yes I’ll pay $5 to open up six packs, thank you. So instead I went around for five to six hours watching friends and most importantly selling off excess stock to dealers. I own a local game store and was buying up singles like crazy from people knowing I could quickly flip them at the GP and make 20 – 30 % profit. At GPs dealers put out their buylists. You can go take 3 dealers’ buylists and just play them against each other. It’s awesome. So after selling $2500 in card to dealers I then was about to go back to the hotel room test a little bit and sleep. Except I had 1 friend without a hotel room key still in a GPT. So I waited for him to lose in Round 3. He was playing the RUG Twin mirror and learned more losing that match than in about half of the testing matches we’d done at the store. Side note I’ve learned people don’t actually know how to test their decks properly from this GP. If you guys have any suggestions please leave them in the comments as I may be writing an article on this, but honestly I’m not a good enough teacher to do so in my opinion. So we went back to the hotel room, had some Papa Luce pizza (amazing pizza in Minneapolis) and got some sleep. Which of course was minimal because it was a three person hotel room and there’s always one fucking snorer.

Saturday

So I show up at the player meeting, turn in my decklist and go back to the hotel room for a few hours. I decide to skip the breakfast at the Hilton because I was getting back there at 9:55 and breakfast closed at 10. Whatever I’ll just get lunch at 11. So I get back to the hotel room play some Hearthstone and watch Sportscenter. BTW drinking game of the weekend, watching Sportscenter for three straight hours and seeing how many times Micheal Sams kisses his boyfriend.

Bye

Bye

Round 3 vs. Dakota West

As we sit down shuffling my opponent starts shuffling facing towards me. Please do not do this ever at any event. I see Mountain, Signal Pest and Vexing Devil. What deck do you put him on? At this point you notice him talking to a friend sitting next to him. So I start the small talk, find out where their from and find out the friend won an 8 person GPT. So I put him on Kuldotha Red which in my mind consisted of Galvanic Blast, Goblin Bushwhacker, Memnite, Mox Opal, Signal Pest and IDK what else.

Game 1

My opening hand on the play is Birthing Pod, Harmonic Sliver, Kitchen Finks, Marsh Flats, Orzhov Pontiff, Temple Garden and Thoughtseize. Considering what we’re mentally putting him on this is a snap keep. The game plan is Turn 1 Thoughtseize, Turn 2 Temple Garden, Turn 3 draw land, Kitchen Finks if he has nothing or whichever answer we need. This is how the game played out. Turn 1 Thoughtseize. His hand is 3 Mountain, Galvanic Blast, Signal Pest, Steel Overseer and Vexing Devil . Now at this point there’s two lines of play. Line #1 we take the Steel Overseer. This forces him to run out Vexing Devil turn 1 and we go to 13 with him having minimal action. Line #2 we take the Vexing Devil assuming he’ll go turn 1 Signal Pest turn 2 Steel Overseer and we Pontiff his board away and quickly win after that. So I decide to go the greedy way and take the Galvanic Blast. Which is strictly worse than taking Vexing Devil. I realize it as soon as he played turn 1 Vexing Devil. But no worries I miss the third land and quickly die to Steel Overseer.

Sideboard

– 1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence – 1 Melira, Sylvok Outcast – 1 Shriekmaw – 2 Thoughtseize – 1 Visera Seer – 2 Voice of Resurgence

+ 2 Abrupt Decay + 2 Dismember + 1 Kataki, War’s Wage + 2 Obstinate Baloth + 1 Qasali Pridemage

Game 2

I quickly Mulligan to six and he follows us to Paris. Our opening six is Birthing Pod, Kataki, War’s Wage, Kitchen Finks, Orzhov Pontiff, Temple Garden and Wall of Roots. We can’t not keep this despite it being a one-lander since any second land is going to probably win it for us, as long as we hit by Turn 3. So we fire off Turn 1 Temple Garden go. He fires back with Turn 1 Vault Skirge. We go Turn 2 go. He goes Turn 2 Memnite, Vexing Devil. We go to 15. We go Turn 3 go. Welcome to the GP where variance is king.
Except not so much. He fires back with nothing on Turn 3 but a Mountain. We go to 13. On our turn we draw Verdant Catacombs. I fetch for Swamp going to 12 and play Kataki. My logic was if he had the Galvanic Blast, I’d rather him kill this off than burn my face. He doesn’t and on his turn pays the two mana and a fourth Mountain before firing off a Kicked Goblin Bushwhacker. I start chuckling because in my mind I heard “LEEEEEEEEEEROOOOOOY Jenkins”. Opponent looked at me funny but whatever. I make the smart play of blocking the Goblin Bushwhacker. At this point I figured artifact of Memnite was easier to kill than the non-artifact Bushwhacker. On my turn I draw a Forest and play the Kitchen Finks. He plays Cranial Plating, attacks for 4, I then play Orzhov Pontiff and wipe his board. A few turns later Birthing Pod hits and the game ends.

Game 3

Honestly I don’t remember a whole lot other than Turn 1 Vexing Devil, Turn 2 Vexing Devil and not enough action to stop Obstinate Baloth. I was just happy to survive.
3-0, 2-1 games, opponent’s final record 2-X
I start doing a little happy dance having survived variance Round 1. I’m not going to lie for some reason the first round of any IRL tournament is always one of the hardest for me, as there’s always a little doubt on how well I’m going to play since I don’t play very often IRL. Then I start playing and it generally goes away quickly.

Round 4 vs. Francis Baumann

Game 1, our hero (me) loses the die roll. I don’t remember my opening hand as it didn’t matter. He goes Turn 1, Urza’s Power Plant go. Well this is GP Minneapolis’ way of getting back at me for surviving Round 1. Here’s my worst match up. I play land go. He plays Urza’s Tower on Turn 2. I play land go. He plays Karn Liberated on Turn 3 and ganks a land. I play land go. He plays some land takes another land and fires off a second Karn. Welcome to the GP.

Sideboard

– 2 Kitchen Finks – 1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence – 1 Shriekmaw – 2 Voice of Resurgence

+ 2 Abrupt Decay + 1 Entomber Exarch +1 Qasali Pridemage + 1 Realm Razer + 1 Sigarda, Host of Herons + 1 Thoughtseize

Game 2 is much better as we have Birds of Paradise, Kitchen Finks, Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Viscera Seer and 3 lands. Turn 1 we play Birds. He plays land, Expedition Map. Turn 2 we fire off Kitchen Finks. He plays Grove of the Burnwillows and says go. Turn 3 we have the infinite life combo. However of note, the infinite life combo is not game ending against Tron since they can use Karn Liberated to reset the board or an Emrakul decking plan. However I feel fairly safe here as I “Vampiric Tutor” for Birthing Pod for Murderous Redcap next turn. EOT he finds a Tron piece. On his turn he plays Chromatic Star and sacrifices it for red. He misses Pyroclasm and plays Relic of Progenitus and says go. My turn I attack him down to 11 and play Birthing Pod. I then sacrifice Kitchen Finks and he says wait. I ask if he would you like to use Relic to exile all graveyards? He thinks and says yes. I’m like K… Redcap kill you? Oh shit.

Game 3, I look at my Kitchen Finks, Sigarda, Host of Herons, 5 land hand and think about it, as he keeps. I mulligan and he asks no lands? I’m like well if you were going to lose to Turn 3 Kitchen Finks no other action it was a gooder, otherwise…. He chuckled a bit. My actual hand sadly is Kitchen Finks and 5 lands. He plays Tron. I I play some lands and a Wall of Roots and on his Turn 3 he has natural Tron. And says Go. I run out Finks, and on his Turn 4 he plays an Oblivion Stone. On my Turn 4, I attack for 3, and then play Entomber Exarch to see his hand. I take a second Oblivion Stone and see his hand is all lands. At this point I’m sandbagging a Birthing Pod. He blows the Stone EOT. On his turn he runs out an Eye of Ugin and says go. On my turn I draw a second Pod. So I hit him for 2 and upgrade Kitchen Finks into Murderous Redcap. EOT he find Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre. On his turn he play Oblivion Stone. Well then. On my turn I attack and he blows the Stone. I then hit him for 1 and play the second Pod and get Reveillark. I feel comfortable here until he has the fourth Oblivion Stone. And he blows it. I get back Entomber Exarch and Wall of Roots and return Reveillark to hand knowing that Ulamog will still beat this. At this point I have no cards in hand. I need an out. And off the top comes….

And I slam it for 6. And search the deck for the BOMB, Realm Razer. Then the opponent has to read the card. And goes oh shit. Then his friend reads the card and goes wow. Then a random judge comes up behind and RTFC’s Realm Razer. Then 2 turns later the game ends.
4-0, 4-2 games, opponent’s final record 5-2-1
Boom we survived not only a terrible draw, but now a 15% matchup. I’m not going to lie; I started feeling pretty good on my chances, but I don’t get complacent at 2-0 in a GP.

Round 5 vs. Dustin Patton

Game 1, I keep a Birds of Paradise, Birthing Pod, Kitchen Finks and 3 land hand on the play. I’m playing the mirror and I played Pod on T3, Redcap’ing a Birds. That slowed him down enough to where I won a few turns later.

Sideboard

– 2 Kitchen Finks – 1 Melira, Sylvok Outcast – 2 Voice of Resurgence

+ 2 Dismember + 1 Entomber Exarch + 1 Qasali Pridemage + 1 Thoughtseize

Game 2, my hand was Birthing Pod, Thoughtseize, Wall of Roots, 3 lands and X. I don’t remember X but it didn’t matter as I Thoughtseize him Turn 1 to see 2 Birthing Pod. I take one. My Turn 2 was Wall and his Turn 3 was blind Pod. I then Turn 3 Pod into Harmonic Sliver to kill his Pod. He frowned and then on Turn 4 ran out a third Pod. I drew Kitchen Finks and sacrifice them for Phyrexian Metamorph, turn it into Harmonic Sliver throwing both targets at his Pod. With Pod defeated, he quickly lost the match to something.
5-0, 6-2 games, opponent’s final record 5-3

Round 6 vs. Oliver Tiu

I apologize I don’t remember much of this match other than a Game 2 judge call which was hilarious. It was a Birthing Pod mirror and I had Pod advantaged Game 1. Game 2, I have Birthing Pod, Harmonic Sliver and Orzhov Pontiff out. He uses Murderous Redcap to kill my Pontiff. In response I Scry 1 and look at the top card. Obviously there’s no Seer in play and opponent points this out. I instantly bellow, “Judge”, keep my hand raised and go, “Oh shit.” The judge comes over and I explain the situation as follows. “Judge, hi I’m a moron and here’s what happened. My opponent plays Murderous Redcap and I in response sacrifice my Ozhov Pontiff to my evil stepmom who’s always there even when she isn’t. Unfortunately she’s actually not here, or just hiding I don’t know and so I’m making an illegal Scry 1 and looked at the top of my deck, cuz I’m a moron.” The Judge looks at me like I’m stupid, and it’s just a warning. I then play Viscera Seer and Melira, Sylvok Outcast on my turn and fetch up my own Murderous Redcap and kill him. The End.
6-0, 8-2 games, opponent’s final record 9-6
And that ladies and gentlemen is how to not get flustered when you blatantly fuck up. That is something that a lot of people need to learn how to do as I’ve seen games that were unlosable get lost when you make a mistake.

Round 7 vs. Cam Platt

Game 1, I keep what I think is the nuts, Birthing Pod, Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Viscera Seer, Wall of Roots and 3 lands on the play. I run out a Turn 1 Seer and my opponent smiles. I’m like okay let’s do this. He plays [c]Urza’s Power Plant and Expedition Map. Shit not again. Thankfully, I set up a Pod on Turn 3 for Kitchen Finks, and he doesn’t have Karn on Turn 3, instead playing Oblivion Stone. I kill him Turn 4.

Sideboard

– 2 Kitchen Finks – 1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence – 1 Shriekmaw – 2 Voice of Resurgence

+ 2 Abrupt Decay + 1 Entomber Exarch + 1 Qasali Pridemage + 1 Realm Razer + 1 Sigarda, Host of Herons + 1 Thoughtseize

During sideboarding we start talking and he’s pretty happy to play against Pod. I’m like yeah winning Game 1 just turned this into a 50-50 match up. He still thinks it’s favorable, but doesn’t know about the Realm Razer.

Game 2, he keeps a slow hand and I have a quick Birthing Pod. He runs out a Turn 2 Expedition Map which gets destroyed by Harmonic Sliver[/c] on Turn 2. Thank you Birds of Paradise. On Turn 3 I get Entomber Exarch off the Pod and see minimal in hand so I take his Tron piece. He then had to read it and was shocked it could do that, but he topdecks Firespout. He does Firespout away my team, but I eventually get out Reveillark and an active Pod. The turn before I get to Realm Razer him he use Eye of Ugin to find Wurmcoil Engine and plays it. Well that changes everything. So on my turn I Pod my two-drop into an Eternal Witness for Seer and play Seer. I attack with Revillark to put him to 8. On his turn he plays Relic of Progenitus and tanks for a minute trying to figure out my play. He then swings with Wurmcoil Engine expecting a block and sacrifice. I take the damage and he goes to 14. He tanks for awhile and says go. At end of turn I Chord of Calling for 2 to get a Qasali Pridemage. On my turn, I sacrifice Eternal Witness to get Phyrexian Metamorph copying Revillark. I then sacrifice Pridemage to kill Relic. In response he uses it, and in response I sacrifice Metamorph returning itself and Harmonic Sliver. Metamorph turns into Reveillark and Harmonic Sliver kills Wurmcoil. I knew he didn’t know what was going on when he went to dig for his two tokens from Wurmcoil dying. I’m like don’t worry they’re dying too. Then I keep sacrificing Metamorph and returning it, wrathing his board returning everything and using Entomber Exarch on his entire hand. His hand had a Karn Liberated, but that wasn’t going to be able to stop my combo anyway. I quickly get the win when he realizes I can take his draw every draw step.
7-0, 10-2 games, opponent’s final record 11-4, 37th
Success kind of. Now I’m sitting locked for Day 2 and still hungry. Time to see if I can go into Day 2 undefeated.

Round 8 vs. Jordan Pollack

Before the game, my opponent asks me if I’m willing to talk during the match because his last opponent was one of those MTGO grinders that never talk. I respond I’m also a MTGO grinder, but don’t worry I will definitely talk during the match.

Game 1

I keep a hand capable of Turn 4 infinite life on the play. He is on Bogles and hits me Turn 3 for 11 untrampled damage. He responds normally when I don’t block there and that’s not a good sign. My response is I might be gaining infinite life soon. He says, “We’ll see.” At this point a bystander responds, “Well he knows his hand and knows the answer.” I then gain infinite life and concession happens.

Sideboard

– 1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence – 1 Shriekmaw – 2 Voice of Resurgence

+ 2 Abrupt Decay + 1 Qasali Pridemage + 1 Thoughtseize

Game 2, he lands Kor Spiritdancer on the play. I don’t have removal, but he whiffs on Auras and loses quickly when I kill the one Aura he has and use Murderous Redcap the Kor Spiritdancer. Funny thing that happens. While in can’t lose position aka have everything but a sacrifice outlet, I Pod away a three-drop to get a four-drop. I then don’t have another four-drop in my deck and go meh. This gets the crowd to start laughing as this is something I’m known for doing when it doesn’t matter.
8-0, 12-2 games, opponent’s final record 10-6, 102nd
I sit at 8-0, one round away from the Day 1 sweep. I go check out how my local team is doing. We still have four people playing for Day 2, and the usual bad beats stories from the other guys. Please note you have to listen to bad beats stories for the amount that you share them yourself. If you’re always telling a bad beat story and never listen to them yourself I have no problems telling you to STFU. With that said make them funny at least. The best one though was from a guy who was playing the exact 75 as myself. He 3-3 dropped and told me he’d played perfectly but everyone had a god draw against him. Now count the number of mistakes I’ve brought up in this report and I’m still 8-0. It’s not luck here. Modern is a very skill intensive format, and that’s why MTGO grinders do very well in it. A week later he tried to bring up that he wasn’t good enough to see his mistakes, I accepted that as an apology but that also tells me he has a long way to go to get better. Anyway onto Round 9.

Round 9 vs. Taylor Laehn

Game 1, I mulligan to 5, on the play and keep a one-lander with Birds of Paradise,and get Turn 1 Gitaxian Probe, Lightning Bolted. His Turn 2 is Tarmogoyf, Turn 3 he has another Probe and sees the board is clear for Deceiver Exarch and Splinter Twin. Well then.

Sideboard

– 1 Birds of Paradise – 3 Chord of Calling – 3 Kitchen Finks – 2 Melira, Sylvok Outcast – 2 Viscera Seer

+ 2 Abrupt Decay + 2 Dismember + 1 Entomber Exarch + 1 Qasali Pridemage +1 Realm Razer + 1 Sigarda, Host of Herons +1 Sin Collector + 1 Thrun, the Last Troll + 1 Thoughtseize

Game 2 goes really long I don’t remember every play. I get to 6 life and throw out a Spellskite that gets Spell Snared and yes I knew about the Spell Snare. This makes his Tarmogoyf have 6 power and he has Anger of the Gods and Pestermite to stop my team from blocking. That’s it.
8-1, 12-4 games, opponent’s final record Top 8
After Day 1 we go to the hotel room and have a twenty minute argument over where to go for food. Some of us didn’t want to have to drive twenty plus minutes for food, and we inevitably got Pizza delivered. Then I got my own bed because Day 2 rules apply. Day 2 equals unshared bed and we will make people sleep on the floor before sharing beds. So tune in next week to read about the legendary Sneak Attack Kid’s Day 2.

James Beltz (sneakattackkid)
Owner of Sneak Attack’s Games
Twitter: sneakattackkid

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