Mardu Ballista at Standard MTG Grand Prix Barcelona
Today’s blog comes from the stunning city of Barcelona. I’ve decided to keep this layout of blog due to the kind comments I received from you the readers, so without any further chit chat, let’s dive into the report.
The deck of choice for this GP was Mardu Ballista. After watching the MOCS I decided to run Mardu Ballista as it seemed to have super explosive cards and some of the draws people had in some of the games I watched just seemed absurd. The deck I ran is below, more on that after the list itself.
[d]4 Aether hub
4 Concealed Courtyard
4 Inspiring Vantage
1 Needle Spires
4 Spire of Industry
4 Walking Ballista
4 Thraben Inspector
4 Toolcraft Exemplar
4 Fatal Push
4 Heart of Kiran
4 Scrapheap Scrounger
2 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
4 Unlicensed Disintergation
2 Aethersphere Harvestor
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance[/d]
2 Oath of Chandra
2 Oath of Liliana
2 Painful Truths
1 Anguished Unmaking
2 Archangel Avacyn
3 Release the Gremlins[/d]
Thoughts On The Deck
This deck is insane, the power level of the cards are ridiculous and I truly believe this is the deck to beat in Standard, it is very difficult for any deck to combat this pre-sideboard and post-sideboard as the switch to control and planeswalker friends is difficult to combat.
What I found most frustrating over the course of the GP was the mana base, as it can trip you up, as some of the time [c]Spire of Industry[/c] would be the source of either my black or red mana at the expense of a life point. Another interesting point was the amount of times I had to mulligan due to getting hands consisting of only [c]Spire of Industry[/c] and [c]Aether Hub[/c] which never helps since you need an artifact to be able to trigger [c]Spire of Industry[/c] for specific mana, and need energy to use [c]Aether Hub[/c].
The best bits of the deck are the turn 1 [c]Toolcraft Exemplar[/c] followed by an artifact – either [c]Heart of Kiran[/c] or [c]Scrapheap Scrounger[/c] as this enables the deck to get out of control.
While the deck is simple to play, mastering it is another thing. Being able to remember triggers and what to do with [c]Gideon, Ally of Zendikar[/c] is, I think, the difference between winning and losing the match, especially so in the mirror. Another interesting argument of the deck is the choice of playing [c]Walking Ballista[/c] or [c]Veteran Motorist[/c]. While both have their advantages, I decided to go with [c]Walking Ballista[/c] as it is easy on the mana curve and I enjoy playing with it in the mirror and against the combo.
It speaks for itself really; as one of the top tier decks it is easy to pilot, but like I mentioned, difficult to master.
Standout Plays and cards
In a lot of mirror matches the main card for me was [c]Walking Ballista[/c] especially as it can’t really be targeted by [c]Unlicensed Disintegration[/c] for its full value as you simply remove all the counters on the card to wherever you want, therefore [c]Unlicensed Disintegration[/c] is unable to destroy it and cause a further three damage.
One card I used a lot in the mirror and against 4c Saheeli was [c]Fragmentize[/c]. For one mana it did some real work, and mainly using it on turn 3 or 4 it was fantastic, and I will be adding a second for sure. [c]Aetherworks Marvel[/c] and [c]Dynavolt Tower[/c] were the main victims to this as your opponents tend to tap out for these cards. I mentioned this card last week and I will again but I still think [c]Scrapheap Scrounger[/c] for me is one of the best cards in Standard. It’s unable to block, but can crew your vehicles and be returned at the opponent’s end step and is a nightmare for control players. Its main downfall is exile spells such as [c]Incendiary Flow[/c]. Some people had a couple main deck, which is worth taking note of for future events.
Work On Points
My biggest weakness by an absolute country mile is the speed I play at. I play like a mad man possessed and I simply need to slow my thought process down. I know this and I think my opponents know this during games as you will read about below.
Overall Result and Feelings
The day started off fantastically, I went 2-0 but eventually I died at 3-4. The main takeaway of the day was my work on points. Every event I go to I take a notebook and take notes as a way to read back and improve my game. One key thing that pops up a lot was tempo. I will work on this point and rectify it for the next event hopefully improving.
As a whole though I loved Barcelona, I felt like I really got to play Magic and whilst some of my draws were rough I never felt like I was getting run over by any of my opponents, unlike GP Utrecht. The biggest let down was one opponent who really tested my patience. Long story short he called a judge on me a number of times in round 1. All the calls were ridiculous and whilst I shall not go into detail what the judge said to him I will give you a example of one of the calls he made. On my turn I played a [c]Scrapheap Scrounger[/c] whilst totally aware he had a [c]Thalia, Heretic Cathar[/c] in play. Now once I played the card I then said go whilst turning the card to a tapped position to which he quickly drew a card in his draw phase shouted judge and then explained I had not tapped it in my main phase but his! I told the judge this was correct but I did however acknowledge the static effect and with the speed he drew his card I had finished in his main phase. He did similar tricks to me throughout that round and I really had to bite my lip. The thing that annoyed me was the total lack of respect and his attitude, especially after he told me to focus and that I could not cope under pressure. This tipped me slightly so I called for a judge and informed him of the tension and the situation. I went on to lose this game 2-1 and he walked off not even shaking my extended hand because, as always, win lose or draw, I will shake my opponent’s hand.
Before I sign off I would like to congratulate the British Magic players that went to GP Barcelona, as the majority I know made day 2 and had some fantastic results. I would also like to congratulate Matthew Pope on runner up and he really did himself and the British community proud. I am thrilled for the British MTG community as I hope to see us become stronger and take on the might of the other top nations.
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