PT RIX Tournament Report

By unexpectedly winning a preliminary qualifier in September, then the regional qualifier in November, I earned an invitation to Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan. So while Minneapolis girded its loins for the Super Bowl, Kara and I headed to Spain.

We spent two weeks in Basque Country leading up to the tournament – mostly Bilbao, plus short trips to Haro, Getxo, and San Sebastián.

The food was fantastic: wild boar steak, octopus risotto, brûléed goat cheese, and an endless variety of pintxos. The wine was delicious as well; we particularly enjoyed tempranillos from the nearby Rioja region. Kara loved the coffee. And we drank bucketfuls of juice, since there were automatic juicers in every bar, cafe, and supermarket.

Bilbao Skyline View of downtown Bilbao from Artxanda Mountain. We took the funicular up the mountain, then wandered down on foot.

The transit in Bilbao was great, but we spent most of our days walking. Bilbao is similar to Minneapolis population-wise, but it’s much more compact1. It took thirty minutes to walk from one end of town to the other… but we weren’t generally in a hurry, so we would stop here and there for a glass of wine, a crêpe, or a museum.

We stayed in Casco Viejo (Old Town), a neighborhood that exaggerated everything novel about Bilbao. The narrow cobblestone streets – open to foot traffic only – were lined with hole-in-the-wall shops and restaurants. Once in a while, we would turn a corner to find a beautiful plaza or an ancient church. And, between the graffiti and the hairstyles, there was a just a hint of an 80s cyberpunk vibe.

Our two weeks in Spain were a welcome break from work and winter. Then, before I knew it, it was time to sling some cardboard.

Steak This steak came out on an inch-thick piece of hot iron. It continued to sizzle through half the meal.


For the Modern portion of PT RIX, I played Titan Breach. The deck is straightforward: get some extra lands with [[Search for Tomorrow]] and [[Sakura-Tribe Elder]], then use [[Through the Breach]] to sneak [[Primeval Titan]] onto the table. [[Primeval Titan:Titan]] gets even more lands, including [[Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle]]. It’s possible for the deck to win as early as the third turn.

This is the same deck I played at the PPTQ and RPTQ, but I’ve made a few tweaks in the meantime.

A consistent concern I’ve had with Titan Breach is that eight copies of [[Primeval Titan]] (counting [[Summoner’s Pact]]) isn’t enough. The deck typically can’t win without [[Primeval Titan:Titan]], and sometimes it takes more than one. For the Pro Tour, I decided to add another pair of [[Summoner’s Pact:Pactable]] haymakers: [[Woodfall Primus]] and [[Hornet Queen]].

Most decks in the format want to win by attacking, and [[Hornet Queen]] shuts that down. She’s great against Humans, Affinity, Shadow, and Abzan, and still passable against UW Control, Eldrazi Tron, Infect, and Burn. [[Woodfall Primus]] is a slam dunk against Tron and Scapeshift, but honestly no deck wants to get hit by [[Rain of Salt]]2. It can also blow up problematic enchantments like [[Blood Moon]] and [[Runed Halo]].

A maindeck answer to [[Blood Moon]] gives me an excuse to play only a single basic [[Forest]], making room for a seventh [[Mountain]]. Drawing a [[Forest]] almost always feels awful, since it doesn’t count for [[Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle:Valakut]], and running out of [[Mountain:Mountains]] is a very real concern when games go long (such as against blue-based control decks).

There are four “flex” slots in the main deck. At the RPTQ, I ran [[Anger of the Gods]] because I expected to see a lot of Affinity and Company. At the PT, I ran [[Chalice of the Void]] instead. [[Chalice of the Void:Chalice]] is a slam dunk against Shadow and Lantern, and my only hope against Storm, Infect, and Bogles. Plus, on the play, [[Simian Spirit Guide:SSG]]-[[Chalice of the Void:Chalice]] has the potential to kneecap just about anyone.

Charles' Titan Breach (PT RIX)
1 [[Hornet Queen]]
4 [[Primeval Titan]]
4 [[Sakura-Tribe Elder]]
4 [[Simian Spirit Guide]]
1 [[Woodfall Primus]]
4 [[Explore]]
4 [[Chalice of the Void]]
4 [[Search for Tomorrow]]
4 [[Summoner's Pact]]
4 [[Through the Breach]]
1 [[Blighted Woodland]]
1 [[Cinder Glade]]
1 [[Forest]]
7 [[Mountain]]
4 [[Stomping Ground]]
4 [[Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle:Valakut]]
4 [[Windswept Heath]]
4 [[Wooded Foothills]]
4 [[Ancient Grudge]]
4 [[Anger of the Gods]]
1 [[Gaea's Revenge]]
1 [[Obstinate Baloth]]
1 [[Reclamation Sage]]
1 [[Ruric Thar, the Unbowed:Ruric Thar]]
1 [[Thragtusk]]
2 [[Tireless Tracker]]

The sideboard should look pretty familiar: a lot of cards that are really good to see in an opening hand. [[Ancient Grudge]] feels downright unfair against Affinity and Lantern. [[Anger of the Gods]] is pretty much my only hope to beat Humans3.

The rest is [[Summoner’s Pact:Pactable]] role-players. [[Obstinate Baloth]] can be fetched in response to a [[Liliana of the Veil:Liliana]] activation. [[Thragtusk]] is big enough to trade with [[Gurmag Angler]] and [[Reality Smasher]]. [[Tireless Tracker]] can out-grind just about anything. And then there’s [[Ruric Thar, the Unbowed:Ruric Thar]]; he’s a miscellaneous must-answer threat in a handful of different matchups, and Lantern scoops to him4.

As an aside, I also did a bunch of testing with [[Leyline of Sanctity]], but came away unimpressed. The decks that care about it have plenty of answers post-board, and it’s irrelevant too often to earn a spot in the main.

Wine Cellar in Rioja Wine aging in the centuries-old caverns beneath a winery in Rioja.

Day 1

My draft is bumpy. GU Merfolk is clearly open, but I’ve had poor results with that deck. I force WB Vampires, my usual, even though it seems like I’m fighting with my neighbor. I also pick up a pair of [[Atzocan Seer]], and a few other miscellaneous green cards, but nothing worth ramping into.

My deck ends up mediocre. I have plenty of playables, good removal, and a splashed [[Huatli, Warrior Poet:Huatli]]… but my curve is shaky.

Day 1 Draft Deck Day 1 draft deck. In principle, I could side in the green cards to cheese people with T4 [[Huatli, Warrior Poet:Huatli]], but I was never gutsy enough to try it out.

Round 1: Loss 0-2 vs WB Vampires

Game 1: I’m matched up against Trent, who sat to my right during the draft. I’m not sure if his deck is better than mine, but he definitely draws better. I stumble on lands while he curves [[Radiant Destiny]] into [[Call to the Feast]].

Game 2: I draw a lot of lands and auras, but not enough creatures. Trent’s [[Pious Interdiction]] on my double-enchanted [[Exultant Skymarcher]] is backbreaking.


Round 2: Win 2-0 vs UBR Pirates

Game 1: Kazuyuki plays T3 [[Fathom Fleet Boarder]], which I hit with [[Baffling End]], then floods out.

Game 2: Kazuyuki plays T3 [[Fathom Fleet Boarder]], which I hit with [[Baffling End]], then floods out.


Round 3: Loss 0-2 vs UB Ascend

Game 1: Tyler shuts down my board with [[Gleaming Barrier]] and [[Sailor of Means]], bounces my enchanted creatures, and works around my removal with [[Pirate’s Cutlass]]. The games go long, since I chip away with lifelinkers, but my path to victory vanishes pretty quickly.

Game 2: This game goes about the same.

This match is a rude awakening for me. In my grinding online (about twenty drafts) the best decks I saw were always about tribal interactions. I was completely unprepared for Ascend.

1-2, now on to Modern!

The Vizcaya Bridge The Vizkaya Bridge in Getxo, the world’s first transporter bridge. Note the hanging cable car which shuttles back and forth at street level.

Round 4: Win 2-1 vs Naya Burn

Game 1: I win the roll and keep an iffy six. Brandon gets stuck on one land, though, so my T5 [[Through the Breach:Breach]] is good enough.

Sideboard: -4 [[Chalice of the Void]], -1 [[Woodfall Primus]], +3 [[Anger of the Gods]], +1 [[Obstinate Baloth]], +1 [[Thragtusk]]. It seems weird that [[Chalice of the Void]] would come out against Burn – the whole deck is one-drops and two-drops – but after a lot of playtesting I found it to be mediocre. I don’t want to spend a turn playing [[Chalice of the Void:Chalice]] on one when they’ve already got [[Goblin Guide]] on the table, and on two it’s just too slow. It’s passable on the play, but on the draw I prefer [[Anger of the Gods]]. Notably, I usually bring in [[Reclamation Sage]] against Burn, but I figured I was unlikely to see [[Blood Moon]] in the same deck as [[Wild Nacatl]].

Game 2: This time, I get punished for my bad mulligan choice. I keep a hand with [[Obstinate Baloth:Baloth]] and [[Thragtusk]] but no ramp spells, and get run over too fast to play either.

Sideboard: -3 [[Anger of the Gods]], +3 [[Chalice of the Void]].

Game 3: Brandon mulls to five and gets stuck on one land again.


Round 5: Win 2-1 vs Eldrazi Tron

Game 1: Zhijan wins the roll and plays T3 [[Thought-Knot Seer:TKS]], but my topdeck lets me [[Through the Breach:Breach]] a [[Primeval Titan:Titan]] on T3 anyway.

Sideboard: -4 [[Chalice of the Void]], +1 [[Gaea’s Revenge]], +1 [[Thragtusk]], +2 [[Tireless Tracker]].

Game 2: He plays [[Chalice of the Void:Chalice]] on zero to shut down my [[Summoner’s Pact:Pacts]], then another T3 [[Thought-Knot Seer:TKS]], backed up by [[Basilisk Collar:Collar]]-[[Endbringer]]. I get [[Gaea’s Revenge]] on the table, but it’s quickly outclassed by [[Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger:Ulamog]].

Game 3: Zhijan plays yet another T3 [[Thought-Knot Seer:TKS]], this time into T4 [[Reality Smasher:Smasher]]. He uses [[Warping Wail]] to sneak an Eldrazi Scion in there too, forcing my [[Primeval Titan:Titan]] to block [[Reality Smasher:Smasher]] (rather than [[Thought-Knot Seer:TKS]]) and taking me to 1. But he can’t actually get rid of the [[Primeval Titan:Titan]], so I wrap things up as soon as I untap.


Round 6: Win 2-1 vs Eldrazi Tron

Game 1: Dominic wins the roll and makes T3 [[Thought-Knot Seer:TKS]] into a bunch of [[Reality Smasher:Smashers]]. It ends badly.

Sideboard: -4 [[Chalice of the Void]], +1 [[Gaea’s Revenge]], +1 [[Thragtusk]], +2 [[Tireless Tracker]].

Game 2: He makes T3 [[Reality Smasher:Smasher]]. I answer with T4 [[Through the Breach:Breach]] for 24.

Game 3: Dom plays triple [[Thought-Knot Seer:TKS]] to keep me off [[Primeval Titan:Titan]], and [[Ghost Quarter]] keeps [[Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle:Valakut]] stuck in my hand. He floods a bit, though, and I find [[Gaea’s Revenge]] to chew through his team.

4-2, and locked for Day 2!

Round 7: Win 2-1 vs UW Control

Game 1: I win the roll and ramp a bit. Huachao taps out for [[Gideon of the Trials:Gideon]] on T3, which gives me an opening to cast [[Chalice of the Void:Chalice]] – but I put it on 1 instead of 2. Oops. He proceeds to keep me off green with [[Spreading Seas]] and [[Field of Ruin]].

Sideboard: -4 [[Chalice of the Void]], -2 [[Simian Spirit Guide]], +1 [[Gaea’s Revenge]], +1 [[Reclamation Sage]], +1 [[Ruric Thar, the Unbowed:Ruric Thar]], +1 [[Thragtusk]], +2 [[Tireless Tracker]].

Game 2: Huachao stumbles on lands and I punish him for it.

Game 3: He uses [[Mistbind Clique:Clique]] to get rid of my [[Primeval Titan:Titan]], but it draws me into [[Gaea’s Revenge]]. He has me on a clock, and uses [[Runed Halo]] to shut down my attacks, but eventually I use [[Through the Breach:Breach]] to eat a counterspell, throw [[Ruric Thar, the Unbowed:Ruric Thar]] under another one, and resolve [[Reclamation Sage]] to blow up the [[Runed Halo]]. Huachao has three turns to find a [[Cryptic Command]] and win the race, but he doesn’t.


Round 8: Loss 0-2 vs Abzan

Game 1: I win the roll and keep a top-heavy seven. Konstantinos [[Thoughtseize:Thoughtseizes]] my [[Explore]], then plays T2 [[Grim Flayer:Flayer]] into T3 [[Liliana of the Veil:Liliana]]. I discard [[Summoner’s Pact]] to [[Liliana of the Veil:Liliana]]; he plays [[Tarmogoyf]]. Then I draw and play [[Primeval Titan:Titan]]. [[Liliana of the Veil:Liliana]] eats the [[Primeval Titan:Titan]], then he plays a new [[Liliana of the Veil:Liliana]] to drop me to one card; I discard [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]], keeping [[Woodfall Primus:Primus]]. Then he plays another [[Tarmogoyf]], putting me dead through a blocker. I draw [[Through the Breach:Breach]] and scoop.

Sideboard: -4 [[Chalice of the Void]], -4 [[Through the Breach]], +2 [[Anger of the Gods]], +1 [[Gaea’s Revenge]], +1 [[Obstinate Baloth]], +1 [[Ruric Thar, the Unbowed:Ruric Thar]], +1 [[Thragtusk]], +2 [[Tireless Tracker]]. Against discard-based decks, [[Through the Breach:Breach]] is a liability, as it can easily become stranded.

Discarding the [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]] instead of the [[Woodfall Primus:Primus]] was sloppy. [[Woodfall Primus:Primus]] would maybe have gotten there, but with two active [[Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle:Valakut]] I really want a second [[Primeval Titan:Titan]] to close out the game. The [[Through the Breach:Breach]] just added insult to injury – it would have won on the spot.

This is the first time I punt a game due to fatigue. It’s not the last.

Game 2: Mulling against black midrange feels awful, but my seven and six are both unkeepable. Konstantinos goes T1 [[Inquisition of Kozilek:IOK]] into T2 [[Inquisition of Kozilek:IOK]]-[[Thoughtseize]] into T3 [[Liliana of the Veil:Liliana]]. He hasn’t got much of a clock – just a lonely [[Shambling Vent]] – so he ultimates [[Liliana of the Veil:Liliana]] twice in the time it takes to put me out of my misery.


Outdoor Climbing Wall in Getxo The housing we saw is all high-density apartments. Nobody has a yard. But there are tons of nice parks and playgrounds, like this outdoor climbing wall in Getxo.

Day 2

The draft, it seems, goes great. WB Vampires is wide open, so I jump right in. My deck ends up a bit light on removal, but my curve and synergies are good. I open [[Vraska, Relic Seeker:Vraska]] in pack 3 (passing [[Walk the Plank]]), then pick up a late [[Jade Guardian]] to hold my auras.

Day 2 Draft Deck Day 2 draft deck. I played what I know: WB Vampires with a splashed planeswalker.

Round 9: Draw 1-1-1 vs BRg Pirates

Game 1: I win the roll and curve T2 [[Martyr of Dusk]] into T3 [[Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle:Mavren Fein]] into T3 [[Voracious Vampire]]. Jon eventually finds [[Forerunner of the Empire]] and [[Raging Swordtooth]] to clear my board, but by then I’m at 40 and he’s at 2.

Game 2: I have the same opening, but this time it doesn’t go over as well. He has [[Raging Swordtooth:Swordtooth]] right away, then [[Angrath, the Flame-Chained]].

Game 3: My opening isn’t as explosive, and Jon draws better removal, so I’m on the back foot from the start. I topdeck [[Vraska, Relic Seeker:Vraska]] to stabilize while staring down lethal, then pretty much eat his team – first [[Raging Swordtooth:Swordtooth]], then [[Angrath, the Flame-Chained]]. Unfortunately, with haymakers going back and forth, our match goes long.


This round is officially a draw, but I’m counting it as a moral victory. At the start of game 3, we looked at the clock and agreed that we shouldn’t draw. When we went to time, I had a win on the table. I asked Jon to concede, but he declined.

Round 10: Loss 0-2 vs WUB Ascend

Game 1: Luis has a nutty deck with 3 [[Sailor of Means]], 2 [[Deadeye Brawler]], and 5 [[Waterknot]]. I go wide on tokens and manage to get him down to 5, but he puts a [[Waterknot]] on all my creatures that matter and then eventually he plays a [[Zetalpa, Primal Dawn:Zetalpa]] of his own to close out the game.

Game 2: I have an aggressive start (at this point I’m 5-for-5 on drawing [[Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle:Mavren Fein]]) but he stabilizes and ultimately rides [[Air Elemental]] to victory.


Round 11: Loss 0-2 vs WU Ascend

Game 1: Kentaro’s well-timed [[Pious Interdiction]] turns the race in his favor, and my removal doesn’t line up well with his [[Spire Winder:Spire Winders]].

Game 2: He taken an early lead in the race, but I land [[Jade Guardian]] with [[Squire’s Devotion]] to slow the bleeding. I have six lands on the table. My hand is [[Plains]] plus [[Evolving Wilds]]. I think to myself, “play to [[Zetalpa, Primal Dawn:Zetalpa]].” Then I play the [[Plains]]. Then I draw [[Zetalpa, Primal Dawn:Zetalpa]]. Kentaro has a pump spell to finish me off that turn.

Greg points out that if I had sequenced my lands correctly, I would have shuffled away [[Zetalpa, Primal Dawn:Zetalpa]]. This makes me feel better, but doesn’t make the play any less wrong.


San Sebastian A stormy day in San Sebastián, a coastal town near Bilbao.

Round 12: Loss 0-2 vs Affinity

Game 1: I win the roll against Niels, play [[Sakura-Tribe Elder:Steve]] on two, and topdeck [[Simian Spirit Guide:SSG]] on T3 to [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]]-[[Through the Breach:Breach]]. I’ve drawn [[Blighted Woodland:Woodland]] and [[Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle:Valakut]] naturally, so I search up two more [[Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle:Valakut:Valakuts]] and a pair of [[Stomping Ground:Stomping Grounds]]. This sets me up to win on my upkeep by popping [[Blighted Woodland:Woodland]] for eighteen damage (my attack had already knocked him to thirteen). Unfortunately, Niels topdecks a zero-cost artifact, plays [[Arcbound Ravager:Ravager]], and eats his board to hit me for ten poison exactly.

Niels goldfished faster than I did, and there’s nothing I could have done to race him. I couldn’t [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]] for [[Hornet Queen]], since I didn’t have double-green to pay for it. And if I got extra [[Mountain:Mountains]] (instead of [[Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle:Valakuts]]) to kill his [[Signal Pest:Pest]] and [[Ornithopter]], he would just poison me over two turns while I paid for [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]].

But I still think I punted this game.

If I had mana up, I doubt Niels would have gone for the T3 kill, opening himself up to an 8-for-1 [[Lightning Bolt]]. With only four lands on the table, I wasn’t broadcasting a win on my T4.

So I was supposed to wait, leave mana up on his turn, and use [[Simian Spirit Guide:SSG]] to crack [[Blighted Woodland:Woodland]] on his end step. Then on my T4, I can [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]]-[[Through the Breach:Breach]] for 24.

Sideboard: -4 [[Chalice of the Void]], -4 [[Simian Spirit Guide]], -1 [[Through the Breach]], +4 [[Ancient Grudge]], +4 [[Anger of the Gods]], +1 [[Reclamation Sage]].

Game 2: My seven looks great: 2 lands, 2 [[Ancient Grudge:Grudges]], [[Anger of the Gods:Anger]], [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]], and [[Sakura-Tribe Elder:Steve]]. I draw zero lands in the next five turns, while Niels shrugs off my removal with double [[Arcbound Ravager:Ravager]].


Round 13: Win 2-1 vs Scapeshift

Game 1: I take the play, and it seems like Pang Ming draws poorly. I cast [[Primeval Titan:Titan]] on T4. He double-[[Lightning Bolt:Bolts]] it on his next turn, but I make a land drop and [[Sakura-Tribe Elder:Steve]] to seal the deal.

Sideboard: -4 [[Chalice of the Void]], +1 [[Obstinate Baloth]], +1 [[Ruric Thar, the Unbowed:Ruric Thar]], +1 [[Thragtusk]], +1 [[Tireless Tracker]]. None of these cards are much good against Scapeshift, but [[Chalice of the Void:Chalice]] does literally nothing. Luckily, my opponent is probably thinking the same thing about his [[Anger of the Gods]] and [[Lightning Bolt]].

Game 2: I buy a turn with [[Thragtusk]], but he takes it back with [[Beast Within]]. He [[Lightning Bolt:Bolts]] me for style points, then casts [[Scapeshift]] for 36.

Game 3: He goes to 24 with [[Obstinate Baloth:Baloth]], then makes the mistake of turning it sideways. He’s on six lands when I draw [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]], so I consider [[Through the Breach:Breaching]] [[Woodfall Primus:Primus]] in case he has double-[[Lightning Bolt:Bolt]] again. I choose to live dangerously and jam [[Primeval Titan:Titan]] for exactly 24.


Round 14: Win 2-0 vs Eldrazi Tron

Game 1: I mull to 5 on the draw again, but luckily it’s against Eldrazi Tron. Leon makes T2 Matter Reshaper into T3 [[Thought-Knot Seer:TKS]] into T4 [[Endbringer]], knocking me to 4. But I drew a [[Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle:Valakut]] naturally, so my T4 [[Primeval Titan:Titan]] kills his [[Endbringer]] and shuts down his attack. He plays [[Chalice of the Void:Chalice]] for 0; I respond with [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]] for a second [[Primeval Titan:Titan]]; he scoops.

Sideboard: -4 [[Chalice of the Void]], +1 [[Gaea’s Revenge]], +1 [[Thragtusk]], +2 [[Tireless Tracker]].

Game 2: Leon again knocks me to 4 before I land a [[Primeval Titan:Titan]], but then I blow up a pair of [[Thought-Knot Seer:TKSs]] and drop a [[Hornet Queen]].

Probably ten times this weekend, my opponents could have topdecked [[Walking Ballista]] for the win. Lucky for me, none of them ever did!

Round 15: Loss 1-2 vs UW Control

Game 1: Eugen drops a quick [[Runed Halo]], then goes after my green sources. I punch him for six with a [[Through the Breach:Breached]] [[Primeval Titan:Titan]], then continue chipping away with [[Simian Spirit Guide::SSG]] and [[Hornet Queen]] (though her tokens get [[Detention Sphere:detained]]). I use [[Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle:Valakut]] triggers to blow up his [[Celestial Colonnade:Colonnades]], but draw my last [[Mountain]] at an inopportune moment5.

Sideboard: -4 [[Chalice of the Void]], -2 [[Simian Spirit Guide]], +1 [[Gaea’s Revenge]], +1 [[Reclamation Sage]], +1 [[Ruric Thar, the Unbowed:Ruric Thar]], +1 [[Thragtusk]], +2 [[Tireless Tracker]].

Game 2: He mulls, plays [[Runed Halo]], then misses his third land drop. I play [[Through the Breach:Breach]] on his end step, which he counters, then main phase [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]]-[[Through the Breach:Breach]] a [[Woodfall Primus]] to blow up both his lands.

Game 3: He plays [[Spreading Seas]] on my [[Stomping Ground]] and leaves up double [[Field of Ruin]]. I pact for [[Gaea’s Revenge]] to knock him down to six. He then blows up my green sources.

I know. It’s real bad. He wasn’t even putting pressure on me – I could have just waited to draw [[Gaea’s Revenge]] naturally.

This loss wasn’t even tilting. It just made me realize how exhausted I was.


Round 16: Loss 0-2 vs Jeskai Geist

Game 1: Sean wins the roll and has [[Logic Knot]] for my [[Explore]], then curves T3 [[Geist of Saint Traft:Geist]] into T4 [[Lightning Bolt:Bolt]]-[[Snapcaster Mage:Snap]]-[[Lightning Bolt:Bolt]]. I bait out a [[Spell Queller]] with [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]] to resolve [[Primeval Titan:Titan]], then use my land drop to shoot his [[Spell Queller:Queller]], but at that point it’s too late. He suicides [[Geist of Saint Traft:Geist]] into my [[Primeval Titan:Titan]] and burns me out.

Sideboard: -4 [[Chalice of the Void]], -1 [[Forest]], -4 [[Simian Spirit Guide]], +4 [[Anger of the Gods]], +1 [[Gaea’s Revenge]], +1 [[Ruric Thar, the Unbowed:Ruric Thar]], +1 [[Thragtusk]], +2 [[Tireless Tracker]].

Game 2: No [[Geist of Saint Traft:Geist]] this time, but Sean starts beating down with [[Spell Queller:Queller]] (snagging nothing) into [[Lightning Helix:Helix]]-[[Snapcaster Mage:Snap]]-[[Lightning Helix:Helix]]. I draw a pair of [[Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle:Valakuts]] naturally, and knock him to ten with [[Gaea’s Revenge]], but I’m not exactly winning the race. It seems like he’s going to flash something in on my end step to ensure a lethal attack. I leave up [[Through the Breach:Breach]] instead of casting [[Anger of the Gods:Anger]] in case it’s a [[Spell Queller:Queller]]. He casts [[Snapcaster Mage:Snap]], and I try to [[Through the Breach:Breach]] a [[Primeval Titan:Titan]]. Unfortunately, he has [[Disdainful Stroke]].


The Guggenheim Museum The Guggenheim Museum in downtown Bilbao.

Teaching an Old Dog New RIX

At 7-8-1, I placed 217th out of 463 competitors. My drafts were a bloodbath; I was unfamiliar with a powerful archetype, and I got run over by it. My Modern pairings were lucky – not a single matchup was unfavorable – and I punted several relevant games due to fatigue.

Perhaps I could do better with more practice, but honestly I don’t plan to. I’m proud to have made Day 2, and grateful to the folks who helped me get there6, but as far as competitive Magic is concerned, Bilbao was my victory lap.

The Day 2 Crew! Greg, Sam, Tyler (round 3 opponent), me, and Kai.

  1. Minneapolis: 3k people/km2. Bilbao: 22k people/km2

  2. When you [[Through the Breach:Breach]] a [[Woodfall Primus]], you get to blow up one land when it comes into play, then another at end of turn when you sacrifice it and it persists back. 

  3. Humans was the most-played deck at the event, and most Humans players made Day 2. Luckily, I was never paired against it. 

  4. The stock list of Lantern plays a single [[Maelstrom Pulse]] in the 75 as the only answer to a resolved [[Ruric Thar, the Unbowed:Ruric Thar]]. They can’t just hold the spells in their hands, since that turns off their [[Ensnaring Bridge]]. 

  5. I can only use [[Wooded Foothills]] to blow up a [[Celestial Colonnade:Colonnade]] if there are [[Mountain:Mountains]] left in my deck. 

  6. Especially Matthias, who put the deck in my hands in the first place! 

© Charles Fyfe 2020 under CC-BY