PPTQ’ing with the Saheeli Rai Combo [Standard] at Warez Gaming in Bournemouth, UK – The Grind, with Jack Copestake
Thanks for joining me on my second PPTQ of the year, I hope you enjoyed the previous article UW Flash (Standard) At The Dice Cup PPTQ In Nottingham – The Grind, I loved the feedback that you guys and girls gave me and I hope it shows. I also hope I have helped or gave some advice or insight into what it is that I am doing and what I’m trying to achieve. I hope that it helps inspire you and drive you to complete your own goals, what ever they may be. Now without any further delays… onto my second PPTQ of the year!
So there’s a new fresh set to add to the mix, and the new bannings are in effect. Going into this event, I had my eye on the Jeskai Combo shell. Now I know what you’re thinking, “so does every other man and his dog”. Well yes, they did, and so in terms of preparation for the event I built what I thought would give me the best chance of beating the mirror. I did a number of test games with my good friend and fellow grinder Dominic Gates, and I also read a bunch of articles and watched the Columbus Open coverage. The list I played was as follows:
January 29th 2017: PPTQ Bournemouth
Deck: Saheeli Combo
2 Heart of Kiran
1 Linvala, the Preserver
1 Authority of the Consuls
1 Quarantine Field
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Baral’s Expertise
The journey to Warez Gaming in Bournemouth
I decided to leave my house in the Midlands at around midnight. The plan was to drive down south to my military base, stop over the night, then travel half an hour to Warez the following morning. On the way down the owner of Warez Gaming kindly offered me a bed for the night to ease my travels. On the way down I also managed to get a flat tyre, and just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my car battery died, leaving me stranded on the M40. Long story short, I was on the M40, freezing cold and tired, stuck from 0100hrs to 0500hrs. I finally got to Warez at around 0710hrs and managed to get 2 hours sleep. When I woke I had some coffee and felt good to go… BIG MISTAKE… I cannot express how vital/important it is to get some decent rest before a big event, and if you can’t then DO NOT drink coffee to gain some energy. My brain was going into overdrive, especially playing control.
The venue and the main event
442 Wimborne Road
Tel. 01202 524706
The venue and staff were very friendly and extremely welcoming and kind. I can’t express enough my gratitude to Bradley Templeton for letting me stay the night and Rosie Kerr for providing me with coffee the next day. The shop itself is fantastic, spacious and very modern. What stood out were the milkshakes and great food on offer, they even offered a full breakfast before the tournament started! The tournament itself only had 16 players so the judge said it would be cut to a top 4, which was understandable and obviously I had to be on point with my game.
Round 1: Mono Blue Control
First game of the day and I felt awake, despite my lack of sleep and the long journey I was just excited to finally be playing some Magic. My opponent was a friend of mine returning back to the competitive scene, and also a fellow tester Adam Wallis. Both games he pretty much shut me down and played a nice Dynavolt Tower in both which when left unresolved was a real powerhouse as it deals with the combo which of course he knew about and due to his knowledge he knew the only threat left was Torriential Gearhulk which he simply did not let me resolve. I lost both games unfortunately without any real answer which felt disappointing as I felt I could have done better.
There wasn’t really a main play for me as I was allowed to get going or get any real threats down due to my opponent shutting me out of the game and putting on the pressure. The main takeaway from this, however, was how good Dynavolt Tower was in a control matchup, and gave me ideas for some deck tech. After the games finished I shook Adam’s hand and wished him the best of luck.
Round 2: BG Delirium
In this game I knew exactly what threats I needed to deal with when they appeared and what I needed to do, the only issue was, I was beginning to tire and felt slow. However, without any delay I got on with the game and decided to take this game a bit slower so that I could focus more. I made so many mistakes that cost me during this game, though, that I was snowed under by threats. The main mistake I made was playing my Saheeli Rai into a Walking Ballista with a single counter on it. Before I even played it I looked at it and knew something was not right but instead I committed. I was then run over with threats including a Verdurous Gearhulk. The next game I lost and again I made silly errors, the main one that stuck out was simply not Disallowing a Blossoming Defense as he got the extra damage needed to finish me by it. I take nothing away from how my opponent played, as he played well and around my spells. I felt like in both games I was lacking a Fumigate – the Radiant Flames I had just were not cutting the mustard, especially when his creatures were made bigger by the interaction from Verdurous Gearhulk.
Main play was again lacking, as more misplays and misreading of the game cost me dearly. I needed to wake up before this day turned into a total disaster. At this point I was out of the top 4, but I think it’s very important to keep on playing, not give up and see what I could learn.
Round 3: Saheeli Combo
This game I felt the drain and was very tired, but I wanted to stay and play Magic, so I just simply buckled down and played. The first game I lost due to playing far too aggressively into open mana and getting hit by the combo, which is a big mistake. The second game was the most embarrassing moment I’ve had in Magic, as I misplayed the killer combo not once but TWICE. I untapped the wrong lands the first time round when I blinked in my Felidar Guardian, so for example the only lands I could blink back to use for my Saheeli Rai were lands that came into play tapped like Wandering Fumarole. The second time around was playing Saheeli Rai and not leaving the correct mana open for my Felidar Guardian. However, I still managed to win this game with my Torrential Gearhulk due to bad draws from my opponent. The last game my opponent played fantastic Magic and really showed me how to play the deck, by taking his time building his hand and keeping up mana for answers.
Main play for me was mis-playing the combo, this was a valuable lesson as I vowed never to repeat this mistake and class it as an important lesson learned. I also took notes about how my opponent played and took these into the next game.
Round 4: BG Delirium
At this point in the tournament people had dropped and left, which I find frustrating, because I feel for the people left behind who still want to play the rest of the day regardless of results. This game did not go well for me, as my opponent pretty much ran me over again, and like in round 2 Verdurous Gearhulk spread the counters and was simply too much to contain. The second game I was caught out by numerous copies of Transgress the Mind which as a control deck messed up my game completely, and my opponent went onto win.
The main play of this game was seeing how powerful Fumigate was in this matchup.
Round 5: BG Delirium
Last game of the day, and the Top 4 was pretty much set in stone. I still treated it the same as any other competitive game, and took to the game with great enthusiasm and determination to win. Now beforehand I would like to give my opponent a shout out, George Sc as he is known. This lad is a real gentleman of the game who I can only hope does well in the Magic scene as he is a real credit to the community. I watched him play in round 4 where he let an opponent take back his blockers as he did not realise the size of his creatures due to counters, and therefore George let him take back and rearrange them and in the end ended up losing the game. Funnily enough, his opponent went onto win the PPTQ!
Now my games with George are always great fun and I actually managed to win. I had good draws in game 1 whereas George flooded out so I felt lucky. Game 2 I won (just), but again, having to hope and pray to draw a Fumigate when the board got clogged. Luckily, I did draw it and managed to cast it and gain enough life to survive.
I had the worst record and felt really rough at the end of it all. However, my Magic friends gathered around me and helped lift my spirits. I did manage to achieve a Magic goal I set for myself and I learned a great deal. I think it’s important to turn a negative into a positive, and what I learned most is that sleep and rest is vital to any tournament. I learned that Fumigate and board sweepers are vital for my deck, and also how to play the combo correctly and effectively. I also saw a few cards I have considered adding to my deck to help me for my next PPTQ, which is this coming Sunday at AXION. I am super excited to go to this event as AXION have a dedicated Magic team called Team Axion which I’m stoked to meet and hopefully beat! Join me next week, where hopefully I’ve improved on this result or better yet have won the event.
Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to leave any feedback and comments. I really value your input and if you have any ideas or advice please leave them. If any of my readers are at the next event please come and say Hi!. Kind regards planeswalkers, and see you next week.
Thank you for reading,