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RPTQ RIX Tournament Report

I’m going to Bilbao, Spain to play in Pro Tour: Rivals of Ixalan!

Below, I talk through the decklist I brought to the qualifier, as well as the matches I played… but, honestly, the matches aren’t that interesting. Titan Breach is a slow, resilient combo deck. Matchups matter a lot. If my opponent can go off before T4, I probably lose; otherwise, I probably win. There are plenty of ways to punt games – for example, by playing [[Summoner’s Pact]] into a [[Blood Moon]] – but, for the most part, games end with “then I played a [[Primeval Titan:Titan]].”

Decklist

Here’s what I registered:

Charles' Titan Breach
4 [[Primeval Titan]]
4 [[Sakura-Tribe Elder]]
4 [[Simian Spirit Guide]]
4 [[Anger of the Gods]]
4 [[Explore]]
2 [[Relic of Progenitus]]
4 [[Search for Tomorrow]]
4 [[Summoner's Pact]]
4 [[Through the Breach]]
1 [[Blighted Woodland]]
2 [[Cinder Glade]]
2 [[Forest]]
6 [[Mountain]]
4 [[Stomping Ground]]
4 [[Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle:Valakut]]
3 [[Windswept Heath]]
4 [[Wooded Foothills]]
3 [[Ancient Grudge]]
1 [[Gaea's Revenge]]
3 [[Grafdigger's Cage]]
3 [[Grim Lavamancer]]
3 [[Obstinate Baloth]]
1 [[Reclamation Sage]]
1 [[Ruric Thar, the Unbowed:Ruric Thar]]

In my previous post, I made a case for [[Oath of Nissa]] in Titan Breach, but in the end I chose not to play it. [[Oath of Nissa:Oath]] significantly increases the consistency of the deck, producing an extra T3 or T4 [[Primeval Titan:Titan]] about once per seven hands. I chose play extra interaction in those slots instead. I gambled that (in this metagame) [[Anger of the Gods]] will slow my opponent down more than [[Oath of Nissa:Oath]] would speed me up. Smart or not, the gamble paid off; half my rounds were against Affinity, where [[Anger of the Gods:Anger]] is fantastic.

My decklist includes a singleton [[Blighted Woodland]]. I don’t see anyone else registering this card, but I think it’s just good. Under normal circumstances, [[Through the Breach:Breach]]ing a [[Primeval Titan:Titan]] is worth 18 damage. [[Blighted Woodland]] bumps that up to 24, provided my opponent isn’t going to win before I untap.

I’ve been waffling for weeks on the last two maindeck slots. I’ve tried out [[Woodfall Primus]], [[Hornet Queen]], [[Emrakul, the Aeons Torn:Emrakul]], a 27th land, etc. Eventually, I settled on [[Relic of Progenitus]] as a hedge against matchups that don’t care about [[Anger of the Gods:Anger]]. I’m not confident that this is correct. I sided [[Relic of Progenitus:Relic]] out almost every match. The only time I drew it, I misplayed it and it cost me the game!

The sideboard is largely a holdover from Matthias’1 build. It has an emphasis on narrow-but-impactful cards rather than marginal value. Playing a sideboard card probably costs me a turn; if it only slows my opponent down by a turn, I haven’t really accomplished anything.

  • [[Ancient Grudge]] is among the most efficient hate cards in Modern, and MTGGoldfish thinks Affinity is the most prevalent deck right now.
  • [[Gaea’s Revenge]] is an obligatory one-off with [[Summoner’s Pact]]. It clobbers any deck with [[Cryptic Command]]. It’s also passable against Eldrazi Tron, Shadow, and other decks that don’t care about [[Anger of the Gods:Anger]].
  • [[Grafdigger’s Cage]] shuts down [[Collected Company:Company]]/[[Chord of Calling:Chord]] decks. It’s also part of the backup plan in case I fail to dodge Storm – that matchup is awful.
  • [[Grim Lavamancer]] made it into the sideboard to deal with Humans, another rough matchup. I haven’t had a chance to do much testing with it. There’s a decent chance it’s bad.
  • [[Obstinate Baloth]] clobbers Burn and trades with [[Thought-Knot Seer]]. Once in a while you can even [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]] for it in response to [[Liliana of the Veil]]!
  • [[Reclamation Sage]] is the other [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]]-able one-of. It’s meant for [[Blood Moon]]. It’s also fine against Affinity.

Round 1: Win 2-1 vs Affinity

Game 1: Gabriel wins the roll and dumps six cards onto the board on his first turn. One of them may have been a [[Steel Overseer]]. I lost before taking my third turn.

Game 2: He dumps his hand again, but this time it’s not enough. I chain T2 [[Explore]] into T3 [[Anger of the Gods:Anger]] into T4 [[Simian Spirit Guide:Guide]]-[[Primeval Titan:Titan]]. He has [[Dispatch]], but then I play another [[Primeval Titan:Titan]] on T5 to seal the deal.

Game 3: My notes just say, “T1 [[Search for Tomorrow:Search]], T2 [[Ancient Grudge:Grudge]], T3 [[Anger of the Gods:Anger]], T4 [[Through the Breach:Breach]].”

Round 2: Loss 0-2 vs BW Eldrazi

Game 1: Derek wins the die roll. He plays T2 [[Collective Brutality]] to take my [[Explore]], then T3 [[Thought-Knot Seer:TKS]] into T4 [[Thought-Knot Seer:TKS]]. All I land is a [[Relic of Progenitus]]. I fail to cycle the [[Relic of Progenitus:Relic]], which costs me the game; on my last turn, I have 5 lands, a [[Through the Breach:Breach]] in hand, and a [[Primeval Titan:Titan]] on top of my deck.

Game 2: This game looks about the same. He strips my hand with double [[Thought-Knot Seer:TKS]], then plays [[Liliana of the Veil]]. I discard my topdecked [[Obstinate Baloth:Baloth]] to [[Liliana of the Veil:Liliana]], which buys me a turn, but he finds [[Reality Smasher:Smasher]] before I find another [[Primeval Titan:Titan]]

Round 3: Win 2-0 vs Affinity

Game 1: I win the roll. Nick’s start is pretty explosive, but I have [[Anger of the Gods:Anger]] on T3 and another [[Anger of the Gods:Anger]] on T4. He’s out of cards. Eventually I find a [[Primeval Titan:Titan]].

Game 2: This one is a nail-biter! He knocks me to 1 early on, then I [[Ancient Grudge:Grudge]] his [[Cranial Plating:Plating]] and clear his board with [[Anger of the Gods:Anger]]. I leave an untapped green for the rest of the game, preventing him from activating [[Blinkmoth Nexus:Blinky]]. I resolve a [[Primeval Titan:Titan]], which he answers. I buy a few turns by shooting a [[Vault Skirge]] with my [[Sakura-Tribe Elder:STE]]. In the meantime, he uses [[Inkmoth Nexus:Inky]] to deal me 9 poison. I draw multiple [[Wooded Foothills:fetches]], which I can’t crack. On the last possible turn, I find [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]] for [[Primeval Titan:Titan]], which finishes him off.

Round 4: Win 2-0 vs Burn

Game 1: Zach wins the roll, fetches down to 17, and plays a [[Goblin Guide]]. He follows it up with a [[Shrine of Burning Rage]] (pretty bad in this matchup). With the help of his [[Goblin Guide:Guide]], which finds me 3 lands, I [[Through the Breach:Breach]] a [[Primeval Titan:Titan]] on T4.

Game 2: He has no one-drop, but goes T2 [[Lightning Helix:Helix]] into T3 [[Lightning Helix:Helix]]. It feels like he’s conspicuously leaving up [[Atarka’s Command]], so I don’t bother with [[Obstinate Baloth]]. I [[Through the Breach:Breach]] a [[Primeval Titan]], but he has [[Path to Exile:Path]]. Next turn, I do it again, and he has another [[Path to Exile:Path]]. I [[Simian Spirit Guide:Guide]] into [[Explore]]; the land I pull off the top is exactly lethal.

Round 5: Win 2-1 vs Ponza

Game 1: I win the roll and suspend [[Search for Tomorrow:Search]]. Andrew plays [[Arbor Elf]]. On his second turn, he plays [[Utopia Sprawl]] into [[Madcap Experiment]] into [[Platinum Emperion]]. I answer with [[Simian Spirit Guide:Guide]] into [[Through the Breach:Breach]], blowing up his [[Platinum Emperion:Emperion]] and [[Arbor Elf:Elf]]. He doesn’t have [[Blood Moon]], so I coast from there.

Game 2: He plays T2 [[Blood Moon]], then blows up my basic [[Forest]] on T3. I have [[Reclamation Sage:Sage]] in hand, but never get to 3 lands.

Game 3: I deliberate for a while about my sideboard choices. Does it make sense to bring in [[Ancient Grudge:Grudge]] or [[Grafdigger’s Cage]] against [[Madcap Experiment]]? I think I decide to leave them out, since [[Platinum Emperion:Emperion]] isn’t all that scary. It doesn’t matter in the end. He mulls to 4 cards, and I resolve a [[Ruric Thar, the Unbowed:Ruric Thar]].

Round 6: Intentional Draw vs Storm

Going into the final round of Swiss, I’m in 8th place with 12 points. I’m paired against Jason, one of my testing partners. However, we can’t safely draw into the top 8. The guy in 9th also had 12 points; if he wins his match, he’ll leapfrog us.

Jason plays Storm, a terrible matchup for me. He wins the roll and takes the first game. Things are looking grim.

Luckily, the table down from us finishes quickly; the guy in 9th loses his pair-down to Infect. At that point, it’s clear that Jason and I can intentionally draw into the top 8.

Top 8: Win 2-0 vs Affinity

Game 1: Blake (1st seed) chooses to play first. By T3, I’m at 15, and his side of the table is [[Inkmoth Nexus:Inky]], [[Blinkmoth Nexus:Blinky]], [[Springleaf Drum:Drum]], [[Ornithopter]], [[Vault Skirge]], [[Steel Overseer:Overseer]], and [[Arcbound Ravager:Ravager]]. Everything (including both2 lands) has an extra +1/+1 counter from [[Steel Overseer:Overseer]]. On my turn, I [[Through the Breach:Breach]] a [[Primeval Titan:Titan]]. I misplay my [[Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle:Valakut]] triggers, allowing him to eat his board and keep a 7/7 [[Arcbound Ravager:Ravager]]. If he draws a 0-cost artifact on his next turn, he wins. But he doesn’t. He puts the counters on [[Inkmoth Nexus:Inky]] and hits me for 9 poison. Then I untap and play another [[Primeval Titan:Titan]].

Game 2: He keeps a weak hand with [[Blood Moon]]. He stumbles on lands, so I [[Ancient Grudge:Grudge]] his [[Mox Opal:Mox]]. On T4, I play [[Summoner’s Pact:Pact]] then [[Through the Breach:Breach]] a [[Primeval Titan:Titan]]. I failed to play around [[Blood Moon]] – I should have grabbed a second basic [[Forest]] – but luckily for me he doesn’t draw a red source. So the [[Blood Moon]] remains in his hand and I [[Breach]] another [[Primeval Titan:Titan]] on the next turn.


There were 52 people at the tournament, so there was just one single-elimination round in the top 8. The four invitations shook out as follows:

  • (8) Titan Breach beat (1) Affinity
  • (7) Storm beat (2) Eldrazi Tron
  • (3) Dredge beat (6) UR Breach
  • (5) Storm beat (4) BW Eldrazi

All in all, a pretty bad day for “fair” decks. Not sure what this says about the Modern format. I guess we’ll find out in Spain!

  1. Matthias hates losing to Affinity. 

  2. If Blake had hit me with [[Inkmoth Nexus:Inky]] instead of putting a counter on [[Blinkmoth Nexus:Blinky]], my mis-allocation of [[Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle:Valakut]] triggers would have cost me the game. 

© Charles McEachern 2017 under CC-BY
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