Standard B/G ENERGY at MTG GP Utrecht
Firstly, I hope you have enjoyed my articles so far, the responses and comments have been fantastic – both kind and constructive. This report is from my first GP experience in Holland at GP Utrecht. In this report it won’t be a round by round analysis, as it was suggested by one of my readers to try a different approach. So, like I mentioned, I am willing to try my readers’ suggestions, as these articles are intended to help myself and you the reader improve our Magic game, so as a community we can compete on a national level and challenge the bigger competitive countries.
So, going into the event, all preparation went accordingly as I had tested both online and in paper and taken notes. However I do have a few tips when planning a trip abroad to a GP.
- Book in advance – You can save so much money and effort just by being organised. Being married and working away with the army, I sit with my wife and plan three months in advance for events. This helps as I can book time off and spend time with my family as well as chase my dream of a Pro Tour.
- Arrive early as possible – This is vital if you’re testing with team mates, as the earlier you arrive, the more testing you can do as a team. Arriving late on Friday won’t help yourself or your team mates and is part of a commitment asked by most teams.
- Learn some language – Learning some words or phases will help you an awful lot. Worst case scenario you’re lost, at this point just being able to ask for the event hall or directions will pull you out of a mess, especially if you’re late.
- Attitude – I’m planning a article on this but showing some respect and being polite will get you far in life rather than being ignorant or obnoxious.
- Cash – I find cheaper exchange rates are at post offices, however it always helps to check online.
- Resourcefulness – Use price comparison websites for places to stop and flights then go directly to the websites rather than booking through them. I also found it cheaper to book one way.
So, onto a different approach. I’m not going to go into round by round as suggested by one of my readers, instead I have broken this down into different parts. Now onto the event itself and the deck I played:
[d]4 Aether Hub
4 Blooming Marsh
4 Hissing Quagmire
4 Fatal Push
4 Attune with Aether
2 Blossoming Defence
3 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
3 Grasp of Darkness
3 Longtusk Cub
4 Winding Constrictor
3 Rishkar, Peema Renegade
3 Tireless Tracker
1 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
4 Verdurous Gearhulk
4 Walking Ballista[/d]
[d]1 Harsh Scrutiny
1 Natural Sate
3 Transgress the Mind
1 Grasp of Darkness
1 Heroic Intervention
2 Natural Obsolescence
2 Scrapheap Scrounger
1 To the Slaughter
1 Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
1 Ob Nixllis Reignited
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship[/d]
Thoughts On The Deck
As a whole the deck is fun and fast, one of my cherished things about it is the fact that there are so many variants, and as long as you keep the shell of [c]Walking Ballista[/c], [c]Winding Constrictor[/c], and [c]Verdurous Gearhulk[/c] you are well on the way to building a deck of your choice.
The deck has real potential to absolutely take off and when it goes off it’s tough to stop but not impossible. The deck is very prone to removal spells as a whole and the main cards I found it difficult to come back from were sweepers such as [c]Fumigate[/c] and [c]Radiant Flames[/c]. It’s interesting in that as much as [c]Winding Constrictor[/c] is a key card, it is not the end of the world when it is removed from play or simply does not even come into play. There are workaround cards such as [c]Rishkar, Peema Renegade[/c] which do a similar job. I think the deck is lacking protection, hence the reason I put in [c]Blossoming Defence[/c].
I did find land lacking a few times but the curve is not much of a issue to be honest. Another point I found out is that once your hand is empty it lacks firepower, as the deck needs combinations of card plays for example, [c]Verdurous Gearhulk[/c] coming into play on its own and onto a empty battlefield is not as great as say there being a [c]Longtusk Cub[/c], as spreading counters is critical to the deck because of removal spells. Being able to hold back and not just slam every creature and card down is the key to piloting this deck successfully. Also, holding up removal is vital as the deck does not have a great deal of it, but that is where a big [c]Walking Ballista[/c] helps remove nuisance creatures such as a [c]Thopter[/c].
Moving forward I would consider putting in [c]Servant of the Conduit[/c] as this helps the curve and solves any mana issues, and above all helps cast bigger threats in the mirror quicker which I think is the key in that matchup.
Before the event and during the event it was really well positioned especially with the amount of Mardu I had seen in between rounds. However there was a abundance of control in the event which is a real tough matchup for my B/G deck. This type of deck build is also lacking speed as in one of my games i was outmatched by my opponent being able to cast multiple threats and plays with [c]Servant of the Conduit[/c] resulting in myself being unable to keep up tempo wise. I do however think that some of the builds with [c]Gifted Aetherborn[/c] are not a great concern as it does not really stop what I am trying to achieve.
Standout Plays and cards
The main standout plays for myself were casting [c]Blossoming Defence[/c] when a opponent was trying to remove a creature with spells such as [c]Unlicensed Disintegration[/c] and [c]Fatal Push[/c]. Also think the plays of using a [c]Walking Ballista[/c] up to activate revolt (or cracking a clue) is pretty strong. The main standout cards for me this GP were [c]Blossoming Defence[/c] and, surprisingly, [c]Scrapheap Scrounger[/c], as sideboarding this card in caught so many of my opponents out and helped me win against control a number of times. Another vital card which I consider highly underrated is [c]Glint-Sleeve Siphoner[/c]. This card left unanswered is an absolute powerhouse, menace and card draw and with the potential to get bigger from [c]Verdurous Gearhulk[/c] and [c]Rishkar, Peema Renegade[/c] early in the game, it gets early damage through effectively.
Work On Points
The main takeaway is observing the meta, I plan to observe MTGO more as the meta online there seemed to reflect the standout decks at the event. Using this I can hope to gain an advantage on some of the newer or improved decks and also the older decks. I also will be note taking and observing previous footage of decks I run to see certain plays and sideboarding. Sideboarding is massive and needs a lot of work to get right and be able to understand what to side in and out and also what your opponent is also going to do. Lastly is simply slowing my play down as again I get too aggressive and love to slam everything down and go for the kill, I need to sit back and manage resources correctly and efficiently.
Overall Result and Feelings
Overall the GP went from a incredible high to a low back to an incredible high. I went from 1-0 to 1-4 being out of day 2 was rough to take but looking back having been paired against control three times on the bounce was bad luck BUT I should have been more prepared, so no excuses there. Going from 1-4 to then 4-1 thus finishing 4-5 for day was a fantastic feeling. I will use this as a bench mark for the next event. It is hard to see all your friends on day 2 and sitting at the sidelines just wandering around playing side events, but at the same time it was fantastic to see them doing so well. I could not have asked for a better group of Magic players to be around, so I would like to thank them all for their contribution, help, and guidance. I would also like to mention that Magic is tough and there are ups and downs but above all I will just keep grinding away. It could come to it that I never reach a PRO TOUR but above that, I am sure I will enjoy the journey and making friends along the way.
You know who you are.
Last but not least, I would again love to hear from you guys and girls what you think, the next article up is GP Barcelona. How I would love to open that article with me and the trophy. Hopefully I’ll get my first day 2 and above all enjoy the event.
Take care and have fun and above all keep ‘grinding on’.