Birthing Pod at GP Madrid 2014 (8-1) by Andrew Devine

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Birthing Pod at GP Madrid 2014 (8-1) by Andrew Devine

I haven’t written any form of article in a while, had a sick run last year in Standard (had a 51 sanctioned matches in a row undefeated streak starting with a WMCQ win), but it seems that if I’m not writing about [card]Birthing Pod[/card] then I don’t quite get around to writing anything at all.

This is hopefully the first of 2 articles about how I made top 8 at GP Madrid, the first of which covers what I can remember from day 1 as it was a long weekend with a lack of sleep.

This is the deck I played:

Main deck

[deck]4 Windswept Heath
4 Verdant Catacombs
3 Forest
3 Razorverge Thicket
3 Gavony Township
2 Overgrown Tomb
1 Temple Garden
1 Godless Shrine
1 Plains
1 Swamp
4 Birds of Paradise
3 Kitchen Finks
3 Voice of Resurgence
3 Noble Hierarch
1 Thragtusk
1 Reveillark
1 Siege Rhino
1 Restoration Angel
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
1 Murderous Redcap
1 Eternal Witness
1 Orzhov Pontiff
1 Sin Collector
1 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Spellskite
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Viscera Seer
1 Eidolon of Rhetoric
3 Abrupt Decay
2 Chord of Calling
4 Birthing Pod[/deck]

Sideboard

[deck]1 Abrupt Decay
1 Orzhov Pontiff
1 Scavenging Ooze
2 Lingering Souls
1 Darkblast
4 Thoughtseize
1 Shriekmaw
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Memoricide[/deck]

Rounds 1 and 2 were byes (I used the time to correct my nationality from Spanish to English as per usual) I had missed getting byes on rating by a narrow margin as I didn’t play in GP Manchester so had to get them from a local GPT instead.

Round 3 – U/R Delver, Jamie (Spanish)

I won the dice roll.

Game 1, I played [card]Noble Hierarch[/card], on turn 1 he played [card]Delver of Secrets[/card], I then played a [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card] but chose not to cast the second [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] for fear of [card]Forked Bolt[/card]/[card]Electrolyze[/card].

His [card]Delver of Secrets[/card] didn’t flip and he played [card]Young Pyromancer[/card] and [card]Gitaxian probe[/card]d for life and saw my [card]Birthing Pod[/card]. I played the Pod (paying life) sacrificing [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card] paying life again and wiped his team with -1/-1 from [card]Orzhov Pontiff[/card], I then used [card]Birthing Pod[/card] for value while he didn’t put much pressure on board giving me the win.

Sideboard

Out
-3 [card]Birds of Paradise[/card]
-1 [card]Noble Hierarch[/card]
-1 [card]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/card]
-1 [card]Qasali Pridemage[/card]
-2 [card]Chord of Calling[/card]
-1 [card]Viscera Seer[/card]
-1 [card]Melira, Sylvok Outcast[/card]

In
+3 [card]Thoughtseize[/card] (normally board 4th in for [card]Sin Collector[/card] but saw [card]Lava Spike[/card] game 1)
+1 [card]Darkblast[/card]
+1 [card]Abrupt Decay[/card]
+1 [card]Orzhov Pontiff[/card]
+1 [card]Shriekmaw[/card]
+2 [card]Lingering Souls[/card]
+1 [card]Thrun, the Last Troll[/card]

Game 2, I mulligan’ed to 4 lands and [card]Eternal Witness[/card], on turn 3 I drew and played [card]Kitchen Finks[/card]. He had made 5 tokens off a [card]Young Pyromancer[/card] by this point, and decided to trade the Pyromancer for my [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] in order to start getting aggressive. He tapped [card]Relic of Progenitus[/card] to get [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] on persist but got a fetch land instead, I think he should have popped it but had a large graveyard and wanted to draw Cruise and take over.

Turn 4 I made a [card]Murderous Redcap[/card], killed a token and attacked with [card]Kitchen Finks[/card]. He attacked on his turn, I blocked with [card]Murderous Redcap[/card] taking him to 3 tokens and putting me to a low life total, I had seen him cast [card]Lava Spike[/card] game 1.

Turn 5 I attacked with [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] again and I paid 4 mana for [card]Birthing Pod[/card] when I had 4 lands and it got [card]Spell Pierce[/card]d.

Turn 6 I made a [card]Reveillark[/card] and he yet again failed to add to his board presence. If I had paid life with the earlier [card]Birthing Pod[/card], I would have died as at end of the game my life total was 4 and he was forced to [card]Lightning Bolt[/card] an attacker to survive (after popping 2 [card]Relic of Progenitus[/card] and failing to find more burn. Later admission told me he drew [card]Treasure Cruise[/card] off of popping the [card]Relic of Progenitus[/card])

3-0

Round 4 – Kiki Pod, Ricardo (Spanish)

Birthing-Pod-banner

I’d lost the dice roll.

Game 1 was decided by the fact that I got an early [card]Birthing Pod[/card] into play and he didn’t. I sandbagged [card]Chord of Calling[/card] for [card]Orzhov Pontiff[/card] whole game with [card]Viscera Seer[/card] in play so I could deal with a [card]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/card] via -2/-2 (his creatures were double [card]Deciever Exarch[/card] tapping attackers and slowing game down further). It made the kill take longer as I had to leave some attackers back for convoke, but it also made the win more certain.

Sideboard

Out
-1 [card]Eidolon of Rhetoric[/card]
-1 [card]Thragtusk[/card]
-1 [card]Spellskite[/card]
-1 [card]Sin Collector[/card]
-3 [card]Abrupt Decay[/card]
-1 [card]Kitchen Finks[/card]

In
+1 [card]Reclamation Sage[/card]
+1 [card]Orzhov Pontiff[/card]
+1 [card]Aven Mindcensor[/card]
+1 [card]Shriekmaw[/card]
+1 [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card]
+3 [card]Thoughtseize[/card]

Game 2, he started with a turn 1 [card]Noble Hierarch[/card], I played [card]Birds of Paradise[/card] on mine, he then played another [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] but missed a land drop and attacked for 2 and passed turn. I made an [card]Orzhov Pontiff[/card] making his mana problems much worse, he missed a couple of land drops and made a [card]Birds of Paradise[/card] which I killed using [card]Restoration Angel[/card] to blink [card]Orzhov Pontiff[/card]. He showed me his opener was a double [card]Lightning Bolt[/card], double [card]Noble Hierarch[/card], [card]Restoration Angel[/card], [card]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/card] and a [card]Grove of Burnwillows[/card]. It was a risky decision, but I appreciated where he was coming from.

4-0

Round 5 – [card]Splinter Twin[/card], Paul (French, also later found out he was a testing partner of Jeremy Dezani and Pierre Dagen)

Splinter twin banner

I won the dice roll.

Game 1 I’m on the play with an aggressive draw, turn 1 [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] into turn 2 [card]Kitchen Finks[/card]. Turn 3 I make a second [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] which resolves and he [card]Remand[/card]s my other play, the fast exalted pressure was sufficient and he had to use [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card] to tap an attacker and also chump block with his [card]Spellskite[/card] at a crucial point a couple of turns later.

As I had lethal on board, he had to untap and go for [card]Splinter Twin[/card] on [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card], but I’ve been holding on to an [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] to seal the game.

Sideboard

Out
-1 [card]Thragtusk[/card]
-1 [card]Viscera Seer[/card]
-1 [card]Melira, Sylvok Outcast[/card]
-1 [card]Kitchen Finks[/card]
-1 [card]Murderous Redcap[/card]
-1 [card]Eidolon of Rhetoric[/card]

In
+4 [card]Thoughtseize[/card]
+1 [card]Memoricide[/card]
+1 [card]Abrupt Decay[/card]

Game 2 started with a deck check giving us a bit of a breather. My first play was [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card] which got [card]Remand[/card]ed on turn 2, I recast it turn 3 into another [card]Remand[/card]. On turn 4, I cast [card]Memoricide[/card] which resolved naming Splinter twin. His hand was lands and a [card]Splinter Twin[/card] and I saw no [card]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/card]s in his deck. This meant he was no longer a combo deck but one of the worst beatdown decks you could see, and it made wrapping the game up easy.

5-0

Round 6 – Junk, Andrea (Italy)

Siege Rhino banner

Lost the dice roll.

Game 1, I was on backfoot due to removal on my early guys backed up by a growing [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card]. At a key point I double blocked the [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card] with a [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] and [card]Restoration Angel[/card], he chose to trade with the [card]Restoration Angel[/card] and then tapped out for a [card]Siege Rhino[/card]. I untapped played [card]Melira, Sylvok Outcast[/card] and [card]Chord of Calling[/card] for [card]Viscera Seer[/card] to win the game by gaining a million life.

Sideboard

Out
-1 [card]Eidolon of Rhetoric[/card]
-1 [card]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/card]
-1 [card]Birds of Paradise[/card]
-1 [card]Noble Hierarch[/card]
-2 [card]Chord of Calling[/card]

In
+1 [card]Abrupt Decay[/card]
+1 [card]Thrun, the Last Troll[/card]
+2 [card]Lingering Souls[/card]
+1 [card]Shriekmaw[/card]
+1 [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card]

Game 2, I made an early [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] then got great value by Podding and blinking it via [card]Restoration Angel[/card]. A series of [card]Birthing Pod[/card] activations including [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] into [card]Siege Rhino[/card] and [card]Restoration Angel[/card] into [card]Thragtusk[/card] made his deck look a bit too fair and I left him behind. [card]Birthing Pod[/card] value trains are awesome.

6-0

Round 7 – Affinity, David

Etched Champion banner

I’d won the dice roll.

I had seen David a couple of tables over playing Affinity in the previous round so I kept– what would normally be — a risky 4 land , [card]Restoration Angel[/card], double [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] hand.

I got to [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] when he played and equipped [card]Cranial Plating[/card] on turn 2 but his turn 3 and 4 [card]Etched Champion[/card]s made my removal plan awful. I did get to ambush a [card]Blinkmoth Nexus[/card] with my [card]Restoration Angel[/card] but didn’t draw the tools to race the [card]Etched Champion[/card]s.

He tried to claim he had won a few turns early when he played an [card]Arcbound Ravager[/card], but I pointed out that [card]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/card] says its just a 1/1… but still I lost the race a couple of turns later. I didn’t beat myself up about my first game loss too much as I ran well enough and I didn’t lose a game till round 7.

Sideboard

Out
-2 [card]Chord of Calling[/card]
-1 [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card]
-2 [card]Kitchen Finks[/card]
-1 [card]Viscera Seer[/card]
-1 [card]Melira, Sylvok Outcast[/card]

In
+2 [card]Lingering Souls[/card]
+1 [card]Darkblast[/card]
+1 [card]Abrupt Decay[/card]
+1 [card]Reclamation Sage[/card]
+1 [card]Orzhov Pontiff[/card]
+1 [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card]

Game 2, I kept a great hand for racing with turn 1 [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] into turn 2 [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] into turn 3 [card]Siege Rhino[/card] but lacked any removal. His turn 1 and 2 [card]Steel Overseer[/card]s made my plan to race a complete joke, even his [card]Ornithopter[/card] was a 5/7 on turn 4 and thats before he’d equipped it with a [card]Cranial Plating[/card].

I think if I had drawn my game 1 hand in game 2 and my game 2 hand in game 1, I could have won the match, but then people say this all the time. Affinity though is a deck that punishes stumbles and draws that don’t line up well.

6-1

Round 8 – Zoo, Juli

Kitchen Finks banner

I’d lost the dice roll.

Juli was playing Naya zoo. I had a good draw against his deck as my turn 2 [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] blocks his [card]Wild Nacatl[/card]s pretty well… except when I made the block he bloodrushed [card]Ghor-Clan Rampager [/card] dealing me 4 and saving his guy :/

I keep gaining incremental amounts of life and making blockers but he gets me down to 1 life with the 4th [card]Ghor-Clan Rampager [/card]. I untap and he gasps “maindeck [card]Thragtusk[/card] !” as I cast my Tusk getting me out of burn range. It trades with a [card]Tarmogoyf[/card] on his attack and I chump with my [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] to survive. On the next turn I play [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card] and [card]Eternal Witness[/card] returning [card]Thragtusk[/card] , he didn’t draw the burn to finish me and casting the [card]Thragtusk[/card] a second time puts game out of his reach.

Sideboard

Out
-1 [card]Eidolon of Rhetoric[/card]
-1 [card]Orzhov Pontiff[/card]
-1 [card]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/card]
-2 [card]Chord of Calling[/card]
-1 [card]Sin Collector[/card]
-1 [card]Qasali Pridemage[/card]

In
+1 [card]Shriekmaw[/card]
+1 [card]Abrupt Decay[/card]
+2 [card]Lingering Souls[/card]
+1 [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card]
+1 [card]Thrun, the Last Troll[/card]
+1 [card]Aven Mindcensor[/card]

In game 2 I gained almost every life point my deck could offer (apart from unlimited). I played [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] but he [card]Magma Spray[/card]s it, I cast another [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] but he played [card]Path to Exile[/card] on it. On turn 5 I cast the third and it trades with a [card]Wild Nacatl[/card] then [card]Burning-tree Emisary[/card]. I have a lot of lands in play due to his turn 1 and 2 [card]Goblin Guide[/card]s and his Paths on my [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] and [card]Murderous Redcap[/card], this allowed me to leverage 2 [card]Birthing Pod[/card]s.

I play [card]Eternal Witness[/card] returning the [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] that his removal spells didn’t exile, cast it and used [card]Birthing Pod[/card] to turn it into a [card]Restoration Angel[/card] and blinked the [card]Kitchen Finks[/card], then [card]Birthing Pod[/card]’ed it again with the second Pod into a [card]Siege Rhino[/card]. On the next turn I [card]Birthing Pod[/card]’ed to [card]Thragtusk[/card] and get to a really safe life total and an overwhelming board presence. He scooped up his cards.

Pretty happy with the 7 wins at this point as it means I make day 2.

7-1

Round 9 – U/R Delver, Poya

Orzhov Pontiff banner

I’d won the dice roll.

I thought there was a problem with my previous results slip this round as I was a couple of hundred tables lower down than I had been all day, turns out I was paying against a guy who had paid for a VIP seat.

Game 1 he sets up his draws with [card]Serum Visions[/card] and I make a [card]Birds of Paradise[/card], turn 2 he plays a [card]Young Pyromancer[/card] which allows me to resolve a [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card]. On his next turn he plays [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] on [card]Serum Visions[/card] and pays life for the [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card] he draws to make a second token.

On my turn I pay 2 life for a shock land and 4 life to play and activate [card]Birthing Pod[/card] turning [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card] into [card]Orzhov Pontiff[/card] to wipe his board. He was able to use his full graveyard for a cheap Cruise, but the cards he draws are not enough to keep up with the value train that is [card]Birthing Pod[/card].

He tries to gain an edge by calling a judge after I [card]Birthing Pod[/card] into a [card]Siege Rhino[/card] as I forgot to note the life loss to [card]Birthing Pod[/card], I had declared to lose the life but hadn’t noted it in the sequence of searching library and resolving [card]Orzhov Pontiff[/card] trigger. I got a warning and play resumed but he couldn’t deal with my board state.

Sideboard

Out
-3 [card]Birds of Paradise[/card]
-1 [card]Noble Hierarch[/card]
-1 [card]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/card]
-1 [card]Qasali Pridemage[/card]
-2 [card]Chord of Calling[/card]
-1 [card]Viscera Seer[/card]
-1 [card]Melira, Sylvok Outcast[/card]
-1 [card]Sin Collector[/card]

In
+4 [card]Thoughtseize[/card]
+1 [card]Darkblast[/card]
+1 [card]Abrupt Decay[/card]
+1 [card]Orzhov Pontiff[/card]
+1 [card]Shriekmaw[/card]
+2 [card]Lingering Souls[/card]
+1 [card]Thrun, the Last Troll[/card]

Game 2, I [card]Thoughtseize[/card] his [card]Treasure Cruise[/card] and get to see his hand giving me scope to play around things. His turn 1 [card]Delver of Secrets[/card] flips straight away putting me under pressure and means I can’t catch it with the [card]Orzhov Pontiff[/card] in my hand.

On turn 4 he plays a [card]Young Pyromancer[/card] and attacks with [card]Delver of Secrets[/card], I cast [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] on it knowing he will use his previously seen Vapor Snag to save it and make a token. Post combat he uses his last mana to replay the Delver he had returned to his hand. I untap and yet again sweep a U/r Delver player’s whole board with [card]Orzhov Pontiff[/card]. I keep playing creatures turn after turn and he struggles to build a board presence sealing the game for me.

8-1

Really happy to finish my second Spanish GP on 8-1 (went 8-1 in Barcelona a few years back but finished badly as I put myself massively on tilt due to 6 deck checks) and it felt really surreal that I hadn’t played a game 3 in any match all day.

Community Question: What are your feelings towards Modern as a format right now? Do you want to see more or fewer Modern events?

WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS TOWARDS MODERN AS A FORMAT RIGHT NOW banner

Thanks to Mikolaj Bernaciak for his great editing.

You can find part 2 here – Birthing Pod at GP Madrid 2014 (Top 8) Part 2/2 by Andrew Devine

Andrew Devine

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