Amulet Bloom at the Northampton Wargames Workshop PPTQ by Dimitris Kiourtsoglou
So I thought I would do a small write up to talk a bit about my deck choices and to thank some friends who helped me.
I started playing during Urza’s Destiny. My first pre-release was Mercadian Masques and then I stopped playing around Lorwyn. I picked Magic up again with Theros. So apart from Kamigawa and Time Spiral block most of the cards in Modern were unknown to me – making me quite reluctant to play the Modern format. Since the PPTQ were either Sealed or Modern, I decided to give it a go.
I like combos, so Amulet of Vigor/Summer Bloom deck was on my radar. I saw it’s been played by some pro players in feature matches. So I began trading cards towards it. Then Goryo’s Vengeance Reanimator deck showed its head and I really liked it. I proxied it up and it was great fun (for me). Killing someone on turn 2 in response to the sacking of their fetchland is real. Unfortunately, the cards were not available to me. So I borrowed some cards from friends and tried out Amulet Bloom.
Every article about Amulet Bloom says the same thing and I agree: the deck is really hard to play. If you are like me, you may think “Sure, it’s hard, but I got skills, I can do this”. THIS DECK IS REALLY HARD to play correctly. Don’t get me wrong: all decks need skill and have complex decisions to make. Even Naya Burn. But Amulet Bloom has so many different lines of play and every land drop you make might cost you the game. It will definitely reward you for your skill of play, though.
First games were at an FNM some Fridays ago and I realized I was over my head: 2-2. But I continued to practise. I gave the deck a real run at PPTQ Milton Keynes. I won against 2 Burn decks and one Infect deck, but lost to 2 Splinter Twins and one Bogles deck. Two of the games I lost because of mistakes I made, and the other one because poor sideboard choice. Also in one game I went like this:
* Amulet of Vigor,
* put a bounce land, untapped it and bounced it back to my hand,
* Pact of Negationed the opponent’s Nature’s Claim targeting my Amulet,
* Summer Bloom, played a bounce land 3 times, cast Primeval Titan, brought Boros Garrison and Slayers’ Stronghold, activated Stronghold, bounced Stronghold, attacked, brought 2 Tolaria Wests and passed the turn,
* paid 3UU for the Blue Pact, attacked with the Titan to kill.
I realised that Twin is not a good matchup. I had Forest in the sideboard and I felt like I wanted more in the main deck to be a bit better against Blood Moon. I had a look at recent Bloom decks and found one from Olivier Gheysen who won a Grand Prix Trial. I liked some of his changes, but decided to keep the Pact and Serum Visions to the max number allowed.
So this was my list for Sunday for my PPTQ.
1 Hornet Queen
1 Swan Song
2 Nature’s Claim
2 Obstinate Baloth
3 Rending Volley
2 Back to Nature
Round 1 vs Ian P. He is playing WB Spirits. Game 1 he Thoughtseizes my Amulet. Turn 2 I play Summer Bloom, turn 3 I cast Titan, turn 4 another Titan. He has played Intangible Virtue and some Spirits, but they are not enough. Game 2 he plays lots of Spirits. I cast Hornet Queen, but still lose because of his Sword of Body and Mind that gives his Spirit protection from green. Game 3 I play an early Amulet and a Titan. He Path to Exiles my Titan and Ghost Quarters one of my dual lands. I play Serum Visions, leave both cards on top and pass the turn. He casts Thoughtseize, I show him a Titan and a Pact. He chooses the Titan, attacks and passes the turn. I flip Hive Mind, cast Pact and win.
Round 2 is against Rob B playing Grixis Twin. Game 1 he is very unlucky: 2 lands, Serum Visions, and no third land in the top 5 cards. Game 2 I naturally have Cavern of Souls and 2 Amulets. I chain Titan into Tolaria West into Pact into Titan. I play it super safe, allowing him to tap my Titans with Pestermite, keeping my counter in hand. I Rending Volley when he tries to combo and win in the returning attack.
Round 3 is against my friend Will, he is playing Temur Twin. I draw no gas in game 1. I cast Hive Mind and counter his Cryptic Command. The next turn he casts Cryptic Command and selects to bounce Hive Mind and draw a card. For my copy from Hive Mind I select to bounce his land and draw a card. If the card is Pact I win. It is not, so I lose. Game 2 comes on a time limit. I mess up greatly playing for no reason Forest and failing to blow my own Amulet for 4 life. In the end it does not matter, because he plays Snapcaster Mage to cast Cryptic Command to tap and draw… another Snapcaster.
Round 4 is against Mike G. We played the weekend before (that Bogles deck!), so we both know what each other is playing. Game 1 he has a 7-power “protection from creatures” creature and I have a Titan. I chain Titan into Titan holding him at bay. In the end I attack with four Titans with two Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion activations. Game 2 goes on time, because I mess up royally casting Hive Mind and Pact, counting his 3 lands but not Dryad Arbor that attacked – and I lose. So it’s a draw.
Round 5 is a win-and-in against Rob B, who tells me he did not play against Amulet yet. He is playing Jeskai Burn-Control: Remand, Cryptic Command, Snapcaster Mage, Lightning Helix, Lightning Bolt. Game 1 I get Cavern of Souls from Tolaria West and chain Titans. Game 2 he is low on life with two Titans staring at him on my main phase. I transmute – he has no responses. I get Pact of Negation, he realises that now he can’t Cryptic Command and scoops. To be honest, if he cast Cryptic Command, I could just bring another Summoner’s Pact for Titan.
Quarterfinals! I play against Ed S. After he suspends Rift Bolt I feel confident. Turn 2 I Summer Bloom, turn 3 Titan, turn 4 Titan. Game 2 I go with Amulet and Titan which gets Path to Exiled. I play Thragtusk, then Obstinate Baloth, then Hive Mind before I attack, respecting Deflecting Palm.
Semifinal is against another BW Tokens deck. I have Serum Visions, Amulet, 2 Titans and lands. Rolph Thoughtseizes my Amulet, Visions does not help. He casts Liliana of the Veil and slowly discards my hand. Game 2 and 3 I win with Hive Mind.
The final is against Mike G and his Bogles deck again. Game 1 is similar again: I need to chain Titan into Titan to win. Game 2 he mulligans to 5, when I have Amulet, lands, Summer Bloom, Ancient Stirrings and Back to Nature. I get all my lands down, blow up 3 enchantments. All I need is a Pact or Titan or Tolaria West. I cast the second Ancient Stirrings and see Titan, Pact, Titan, Stirrings, Gruul Turf in that order. He draws more enchantments and I lose.
Final game in the final match. I go first Serum Visions – seeing Back to Nature and Ancient Stirrings I leave both on top. Turn 2 I play Amulet. Then on turn 3 I cast a Titan and attack with mana up for Back to Nature. He does not block. On his turn he attacks, I play Back to Nature and block. On the return I kill him.
I win a PPTQ! With a lot of luck and little skill.
Closing I would like to thank all my opponents for their sportsmanship and patience they showed me during rounds 3-5. I would also like to thank Raoul, Callum and Simon for the cards they lent me. And finally Graham from Inner Sanctum, Rob and Will for the transport. And all the Cambridge crew that “played” games with me.
Community Question: With the release of Magic Origins and the fact that there has been no changes to the ban list, what do you think will be the best decks in Modern?
Thanks for reading,