GPT Richmond – AKA My intro into competitive Modern
Just recently I decided to attempt my first modern event, the GPT Richmond at my local card shop. When Innistrad had rotated out, I decided I wanted to try and utilize some of the cards I had accumulated since I got in during the Scars of Mirrodin block. So I figure I try a list that spoke to me, Mono-red Goblins. So I built it, trading and buying the singles I was missing and tried it out. In brief, the deck is pretty fun overall and gives control a run for it’s money. For the actual event, I made a few tweaks for my one known bad match up, Affinity. It ultimately looked like this going into the event.
Now I knew this was merely a budget deck compared to some of the top tier decks in the format, so I didn’t expect to do overly well, but I wanted to get into the format so might as well try and see what works and what doesn’t work! With over 20 players, the event was five rounds long with a cut to top 8. Without further ado, the round break down.
Round 1 – Four Color Control
Game one began with one mountain in my hand, plus two Goblin Guides, Lightning Bolt, a Krenko’s Command, a Foundry Street Denizen, and a Goblin Chieftain. With four 1-drops in hand, I figured the hand was playable and went for it. Being on the play, I swung with Goblin Guide, with the hoping I would get my second land sooner than later. But after a Birds of Paradise dropped, and no land came to my hand, I knew I had to remove his ramp with bolt to his BOP. Luckily, he seemed to also hit a land rut as I kept getting out my 1-drops, eventually forcing him to Path of Exile one of my guides. After which, I got all the land I needed and flooded the field with goblins which only got bigger with chieftain. Despite my opponent’s best efforts to bounce and kill my goblins, they just kept coming and eventually conceded.
At the point of choosing a sideboard, I didn’t know what kind of deck my opponent was playing, nor did I know what his win condition was. That said, I figured just so long as I kept up the pressure, I would win.
Game two went much like game one for the most part, except my opening had had better land base, which I thought would lead to a more assured victory, especially when the game began the same with a Lightning Bolt to his BOP. However, it seems my opponent just had more answers this time and thus was able to survive long enough and get enough mana to summon Elesh Norn, immediately killing my current goblins as well as guaranteeing the fact that I couldn’t summon anything else without it immediately dying. Even with over half my life remaining, I conceded.
After learning the my opponent’s deck was a reanimator deck, I decided that the extra offense from Shared Animosity wasn’t as good as getting rid of my opponent’s major threats when they hit. Removing a Shared Animosity for a Mark of Mutiny.
Game three was once again very similar to the first game, saved for instead of Birds of Paradise, my opponent put out a Sylvan Caryatid, rendering the Lightning Bolt in hand useless against to slow him down. Regardless, my opponent’s responses to my goblin assault were fewer this time and eventually was put down to 7 life. Upon the end of my turn, he cast Gifts Ungiven, choosing Unburial Rites and Elesh Norn. Clever, I thought. I checked my hand: Lightning Bolt, Mark of Mutiny, and one other card. He plays his turn like I expected, flashing back Unburial Rites to bring out Elesh Norn and kill all of my goblins. Upon ending his turn, he had no other blockers and no land open. I threw my lightning bolt at him and the next turn, use Mark of Mutiny on Elesh Norn for the win.
Generally if an Opponent is playing a lot of removal, getting on the pressure and over whelming the opponent with creatures is important, but it’s equally important to have an answer to the big monster they have to finish you off. I’d probably keep in the Krenko’s Command in future siding options in exchange for Searing Blaze.
Round 2 & 3 – Tron
I decided to group these two together because the experience and lessons were the same. Right before this match started I didn’t even know what Tron was until someone explained it to me, so when I saw the Urza’s Mine drop one turn one, I immediately knew what I was facing. And when the Wurmcoil Engine came out on turn three, I also realized how screwed I was, even if I managed to get two lightning bolts in hand to take down the first Wurmcoil Engine, the second Engine definitely did me in.
For sideboarding, I attempted my Mark of Mutiny along with Ancient Grudge, but as the Wurmcoil Engine came down so quickly again, my goblins just couldn’t out race the lifegain from it and the inclusion of Ancient Grudge didn’t help terribly much, especially when Karn came down and began exiling my boardstate. This was true for both rounds. Even when I acquired a Mark of Mutiny to take their Wurmcoil Engine, my opponent’s Nature’s Claim rendered it useless.
Blood Moon. Both rounds, my opponent suggested that as a way to combat Tron and certainly enough, it would’ve helped, though in both cases, my opponent had answers to even that.
Round 4 – Zombie Hunt
My Round 4 opponent had an… interesting deck, to say the least. Composing of Reliquary Tower, Contested Warzone, Zombie Infestation, Treasury Hunt… and nothing else but basic land, it was certainly an interesting concept for a deck. Fill your hand with a bunch of land with Treasury Hunt, drop Zombie Infestation and flood the field with Zombie Tokens. Hearing about that, I didn’t really know how I was going to fight it. However, once my opponent had mulliganed down to one card, the flaws of the deck began to be apparent, especially against an aggro deck like my own. By the time he had drawn his first non-land card, he was already dead three times over.
Game two he might have had more of a chance, except that one of the first goblins to lead to the charge was the Legion Loyalist, which made his small platoon of Zombies from his early on Zombie Infestation unable to block and unable to race the horde as more and more goblins joined the assault. It was a landslide victory.
Creative decks are neat and everything, but without at least partial consistency, it’s going to be very difficult to win.
Round 5 – American Control
Going into the 5th round, it was the deciding factor if I would make top 8 or not and my opponent was running American Control. Thinking back to my first round against 4 color control, I figured my aggressive goblins would overrun my opponent, and certainly enough, a swarm of Goblin Guides back by a Goblin Chieftain and Shared Animosity was just too much damage for my opponent to keep up.
I decided to keep my sideboard for the most part the same. Recognizing, he was control, I put in Goblin Assault to keep up the pressure, but never saw the card in my hand. As I went into game two, the game seemed very similar to game one, except about half way into the match, an old enemy from new Phyrexia appears, Batterskull. With almost no way to deal with the Batterskull, I was forced to concede into game three.
This time, I changed my sideboard to deal with the threat of Batterskull, including Mark of Mutiny with the hope I could use it against my opponent for the win, just like I had done against Elesh Norn, earlier. And even when Batterskull initially came out, I was able to dispose of it with a goblin grenade. However, I had forgotten that Batterskull could be returned to the owner’s hand and even when it came out again, along with Geist of Saint Traft, I had used my mana to get more creatures in hopes of defeating my opponent. Then the batterskull when to GoST… I still had the Mark of Mutiny in hand… and despite all my goblins, I didn’t have enough damage to keep up with the now Lifelinked-Vigilanced-Hexproofed Spirit. I conceded the match.
When you see something you have removal for (not taking over yourself, but full on removal) GO FOR IT. I beat myself up in not siding in Ancient Grudge against this opponent as otherwise I might have won. Alas, such is the life of a new modern player.
It was a rough introduction, but considering I went 2-3, I like to think it wasn’t half bad, especially considering it was done on what is basically a budget deck. In the future, I’d like to try other deck types, including the likes of GW Hate Bears, Burn, and eventually Zoo, but as a first outing to the format, I can’t say I was too upset about it. It was a new experience and it was very fun.
For the time being though, I think I’ll refocus on deck brewing for standard and lets just say, there’s a god out there that looks quite interesting to me. Until next time.