The Big One: Avoiding the Scrubout (240th in the Blue Pod or something like that) by Ben Heath

The Big One: Avoiding the Scrubout (240th in the Blue Pod or something like that) by Ben Heath


Hi all, today we continue the story of preparing for the Grand Prix in Barcelona by actually going to the city. I went with Team Leeds, including Wagz, flying out on the Thursday. Rob does a far better job at explaining what we got up to away from Magic than I tried to do, so I highly recommend that you read his article for that (although I will mention some other things, too!)

On the Friday, I finalized my decklist and sideboard for the main event. I had planned on taking part in the GPTs, but due to bad time management we got there too late, nevertheless we met up with some of the other British players like Seb Parker and Marco Orsini-Jones, before heading back to the apartment for Ravnica drafting, complete with pre-M10 rules (hooray for damage on the stack!) before doing some more decktesting and heading to bed.

The Deck.

12 Mountain

4 Arid Mesa

4 Scalding Tarn

4 Teetering Peaks

4 Lightning Bolt

4 Burst Lightning

4 Searing Blaze

4 Staggershock

4 Goblin Guide

4 Plated Geopede

4 Ember Hauler

4 Kargan Dragonlord

1 Hero of Oxid Ridge

3 Koth of the Hammer



4 Ratchet Bomb

4 Manic Vandal

4 Arc Trail

3 Mark of Mutiny


As you can probably see, this list is based on Pat Sullivan’s list, the sideboard is the same because I thought it was right at the time, although in hindsight Forked Bolt should have been in there instead of Manic Vandal, which proved to be really, really underwhelming. It’s the changes in the maindeck though that I would like to talk about.

I took out the Spikeshot Elders because they just seemed really slow and terrible. Most of the time they were just pinging for 1. If I wanted to ping for 1, I’d do it with either Koth’s Emblem or Cunning Sparkmage. Instead I put in 4 Kargan Dragonlords. They seemed really good and a far better late game threat, not only as a 4/4 flyer, but also later on as an 8/8 flyer-trampler-firebreather. I also took out 1 Koth, because drawing multiple Koths was just so bad, and stuck in a Hero of Oxid Ridge. After the tournament, I stand by the 60, but I’m not sure about the sideboard, even after thinking about it and writing up this report.


Round 1 –MonoG Eldrazi.

Round 1 I played against MonoG Eldrazi Ramp. Game 1 started in pretty blistering fashion… for him. A turn 4 Primeval Titan fetched up an Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin. I had kept a pretty solid 7 of creatures, burn and 2 fetch land. However, I never drew the third land and I promptly scooped that game.

I brought in the Mark of Mutinies for Game 2, and soon found out he had brought in Wall of Tanglecords. Nevertheless, Lightning Bolt and Searing Blaze dealt with that, before a 4/4 Kargan Dragonlord soon starting hitting his face. He cast Primeval Titan, but I simply showed him a Mark of Mutiny and we went on to Game 3.

I kept a solid seven of Kargan Dragonlord, Lightning Bolt, Searing Blaze, double Mark of Mutiny and 2 land. Knowing he was running no removal (knowing = hoping), I simply powered up my Kargan Dragonlord and swung through the air. That’s right, one card won me this match singlehandedly. I should also note that I drew land all 6 turns of this game. True story

1-0   (2-1)


Round 2 – Darkwing Duck.

Game 1 I burned his face in. Kargan Dragonlord: Level 8 finished the job the burn had started. Brought in Arc Trails and Mark of Mutiny (for Baneslayers).

Games 2 and 3 Baneslayer hit the table. He wasn’t dead, I didn’t have Mark of Mutiny. Baneslayers have protection from Kargan Dragonlords (Sneaky ninja edit: No, they don’t! That’s what I thought at the time of the match, that’s what I thought at the time of writing this article! Thank you to everyone who pointed out this pretty big mistake). Dragonlords have no protection from Go for the Throat. GG.



Round 3 – B/R Vampires.

Game 1 I mulliganed to 4. The 7, 6, and 5 card hands had 1 land, no land and no land in respectively. The 4 had Goblin Guide, Plated Geopede and 2 land in. It was a solid enough start, unfortunately Vampires swarmed me and it was promptly onto Game 2. I brought in Ratchet Bombs and Arc Trails, taking out some creatures and going for the burn the board, place down Dragonlord strategy.

Game 2 started quite aggressively for me, unfortunately B/R Vampires packs in a lot of removal. A LOT. I saw no less than 5 different removal spells this game as I drew what felt like all the creatures in the deck, but not a lot of my own removal. Vampire Nighthawk and Vampire Nighthawk number 2 soon hit the table and it was goodnight for me.

As an aside, this guy went on the make Day 2. He was very pleasant company and we chatted between rounds for the rest of the day.

1-2 (3-5)

Round 4 – ‘Jund’ Rock.

Game 1 consisted of me laying down threats, and him answering with removal spells such as Bolt, Go for the Throat and Acidic Slime. Koth turned out to be one question too many, and I won Game 1. I sideboarded in Arc Trail for Ember Hauler (something I found myself to be doing an awful lot), as I noticed all his creatures seemed to have 2 toughness or less.

Game 2 it wouldn’t have mattered what I had sideboarded in. My opponent had mulliganed to 5 and kept and 1 lander. He didn’t draw his second land until turn 4. He was dead on turn 5.

2-2 (5-5)

Round 5 – Kibler Infect.

Game 1 was a walkover for me, despite him having some removal. I just constantly drew threats and swarmed him. It also helped that he didn’t draw a single Phyrexian Crusader, despite him desparately digging for it.

Games 2 and 3 I brought in Ratchet Bombs and Manic Vandals to destroy his Tumble Magnets and Contagion Clasps. The bombs seemed to do next to nothing though as they were proliferated way beyond 3 by Contagion Clasp and I was swiftly infected.  I think by the end of Game 3 my Ratchet Bomb was on 8, primed for killing that deadly Nicol Bolas, and of course I never saw a Manic Vandal.

2-3 (6-7)

P.S. Phyrexian Crusader vs Mono-Red? There’s only ever gonna be one winner…


Round 6 – R/G Infect.

Yes you read that right, it was basically deck that went:

  1. Artifact Infect Guy
  2. Assault Strobe
  3. Pump Spells Galore

So naturally I had the burn in hand to deal with the infect guy before swinging at an opponent with an empty hand and board. A pretty much perfect match-up for me, no sideboarding required.

3-3 (8-7)

Round 7 – Kuldotha Red.

Yes, that’s right, the very deck I had relentlessly panned two months ago was staring at me at the other side of the table. However, I had forgotten what Memnite, Ornithopter, Signal Pest, Mox Opal, Kuldotha Rebirth looked like on Turn 1. I had also forgotten what Turn 2 Goblin Bushwacker, Turn 3 Contested War-Zone looked like. Despite laying down some threats and burning the Signal Pest, I was soon overrun with stuff (Hero of Oxid Ridge came along to render my just-laid-down Plated Geopede useless) and it was onto game 2, where Ratchet Bombs and Arc Trails came in.

Game 2 was a much tighter affair, and by turn 5 I was on top… or so thought, until he Devastating Summons for 5. Then Goblin Bushwackered. Twice. With an empty board and Arc Trail, which I had just drawn, in my hand. That’s 20 damage. That I couldn’t prevent. I almost cried. I honestly thought I had kept a good hand, but in hindsight I think I could have kept some instant speed burn behind.

3-4 (8-9)

Round 8 – Err…

He never showed up, 2-0 to me! The dream of a positive record is alive!

4-4 (10-9) (I’m gonna take every win I can, so what if I’m still 3-4 (8-9) in theory!)


Round 9 – Machine Red.

Game 1 I got the 20 damage in before he reached turn 6 thanks to a level 4 Dragonlord and 9 points worth of burn in my hand. Which was a relief because he was gonna cast Inferno Titan next turn. In came Manic Vandals (for only the second time today) and Mark of Mutiny.

Game 2 his board was full of artifacts and the like, and he promptly put down an Inferno Titan. I calmly untapped, Mutinied his Titan (a Mutiny I had in my hand since the beginning of the game), and got in for 12, putting him on precisely zero.

4-4 (10-9) (Ok, Ok, I’ll take out Round 8’s result…)



I finished the tournament on 15 points… except I didn’t… because I filled in Round 9’s match slip wrong. I tried to find my opponent to rectify the mistake, before realising that it wasn’t that important, as it wasn’t as if either of us were going to make Day 2 anyway, and there were no prizes at stake.

I got back to the apartment, slightly disappointed at how I did, but psyched for the PTQ tomorrow. I had missed all the PTQs for Extended, because my employers are absolute (CENSORED FOR LEGAL REASONS), and wanted at least one shot at the Pro Tour slot. But that’s another story for another day.



–          All my opponents, for being really nice and speaking English to the ignorant foreigner. There was one opponent who spoke no English whatsoever, but even then he was pleasant company, so cheers guys.

–          My Team Leeds buddies for doing really well on Day 1 (except one, you know who you are), especially Andy Edwards, Andy Devine and Rob Wagner for making Day 2.

–          Rob Catton, for getting pissed afterwards on free Schnapps.

–          Andy ‘Little Spoon’ Devine. You know why.

–          Richard Bland for going 9-0

–          Seb Parker and Marco Orsini-Jones for putting up with me in between rounds when I was desperate to talk to someone and pretend to the popular.

–          All the judges, for being awesome.

–          Rich Hagon. I want to be him. Seriously.

–          Kargan Dragonlord. I love you, man.


–          Spanish Traders for claiming not to speak English. Do you want my business or not?

–          Trader’s prices at major events. 12 Euros for a Dragonlord? Sigh. Sure thing, seeing as no-one else has them…

–          Wizards Event Reporter for crashing. Twice.

–          That arrogant Frenchman Rob Wagner was playing. Seriously, his face was scrunched up as if he was constantly smelling something awful, and he didn’t seem particularly pleasant company. The match itself was intriguing, but I couldn’t stand being around the guy. Seriously. Yes I am that fickle sometimes.

–          Catalan energy drinks. They make your pee glow in the dark. Seriously.

P.S. The sleep w*nking story? Completely true. How do I know? The very next night, I woke up halfway through the night. Where was my hand? You get the idea…



Please let us know what you think below...

Visit our Manaleak online store for the latest Magic: the Gathering singles, spoilers, exclusive reader offers, sales, freebies and more!

Magic The Gatherig Freebies Giveaways