This past weekend I played in GP DC, and while it didn’t necessarily go to plan on day 2, I still enjoyed myself, felt I picked a good deck for the weekend, and think I played well. Before I get into the cheers and jeers of the weekend, let’s jump into a quick tournament report.

Last week, I detailed the U/W Approach list that I would be playing in DC, including my reasoning for certain card choices. I did deviate slightly from that list when I registered for the tournament, however, thanks to some last minute changes from Roman Fusco. Here’s the list I played:

U/W Approach by Jonah Gaynor

Creatures (0)

Non-Creature Spells (35)
Blessed Alliance
Censor
Supreme Will
Glimmer of Genius
Hieroglyphic Illumination
Farm // Market
Fumigate
Approach of the Second Sun
Cast Out
Stasis Snare

Lands (25)
Blighted Cataract
Irrigated Farmland
Island
Plains
Prairie Stream

Sideboard (15)
Authority of the Consuls
1 Dispel
Negate
Regal Caracal
Descend upon the Sinful
1 Linvala, the Preserver
Sphinx of the Final Word
Torrential Gearhulk

Rather than going over the individual card choices made here, I’ll leave that to my article last week, except the 2 cards in the sideboard that are different, as I think they warrant some discussion.

Dispel

The choice to add a third counter spell was not due to me thinking that control decks would show up in number, but rather I wanted more cheap counter spells to board in against Temur Energy. Pre-board the game tends to be in favor of U/W Approach, as Fumigate and Approach of the Second Sun are essentially left unchecked and Approach’s natural game plan can take effect. Until right before I submitted my decklist, I had 3 copies of Negate, but Roman Fusco convinced me to play a copy of Dispel, and frankly I thought it was a good choice. You want most of the cards in this slot to be Negate, since it can counter planeswalkers, but having a 1 mana counter for the 4 copies of Negate (or God forbid Invasive Surgery) that your Energy opponent is boarding in is a very nice luxury to have. Resolving a Fumigate post board is generally top priority, and being able to do it with 6 mana rather than 7 is significant.

Linvala, the Preserver

The one copy of Linvala, the Preserver was a second Sphinx of the Final Word up until I was standing up to hand in my decklist. Roman convinced me that having a copy of Linvala available was a big deal in a lot of matchups, and again I think he was right. I only got a 3/3 off of it one time, but the 5 life and a massive flying body was a big deal.

The Tournament

All thing’s considered, I’m happy with how I played. At 6-2 I was feeling pretty decent, but those round 9 matches that decide if you enter day 2 at x-2 or x-3 always feel just as stressful as any win and in. At 7-2, you still have to run hot and get lucky to top 8, but at 6-3, day 2 always feels like you’re not playing for much and just trying to salvage a pro point or two.

Up until this round 9 match, I had lost to The Scarab God U/R Control (feels like a nightmare because they have real counter spells and you don’t) and The Scarab God Temur Energy (which I think is quite favorable, but game 3 never came together). I had beaten Ramunap Red twice, The Scarab God Temur Energy, U/W Approach mirror (funnily enough against Roman), and U/B Control (which felt unwinnable but somehow I pulled it out).

I got paired in round 9 against Pro Tour regular and member of Team East West Bowl, Ben Weitz, who would be my third Ramunap Red opponent of the day. After I took a quick game 1 and he took a quick game 2, it all came down to game 3. Unfortunately, I needed to hit a fourth land after keeping 3 in my opening hand so I could curve Glimmer of Genius into Fumigate, but the land never came, and I couldn’t stave off Ben, who ended day 1 the much happier of the two of us.

Day 2 started off very well for me, beating two straight Ramunap Red opponents to take my record against the deck to 4-1 on the weekend. As an aside, most players seem to be very afraid of Approach’s Ramunap Red matchup, but I can tell you it is very 50/50, and you shouldn’t be afraid of it.

Unfortunately, that’s where the fun ended for me, as I lost to G/W Tokens (it’s very hard for this deck to beat 4 mainboard copies of Selfless Spirit, Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar each), and two players on Ramunap Red, both narrowly defeating me in game 3. At this point I was dead for everything. Cash had long passed me by, but a valuable Pro Point or two were available until this multi-round slide down the standings. It was certainly disappointing considering at 8-3 I sat in a position where 4-0 would get me 3 Pro Points, 3-1 would get me 2, and a mediocre record of 2-2 would get me 1. However, it wasn’t meant to be and I left Chantilly, Virginia empty-handed. As a small consolation prize, I won my last round over The Scarab God Temur Energy quite handily.

If you’re curious, here is a compiled list of my records in both matches and games this past weekend against specific decks:

Ramunap Red: 4-3 (2-0, 2-1, 2-0, 1-2, 2-1, 1-2, 0-2)

Temur Energy: 2-1 (1-2, 2-0, 2-0)

U/W Approach: 1-0 (2-0)

U/B Control: 1-0 (2-0)

U/R Control: 0-1 (0-2)

G/W tokens: 0-1 (0-2)

Now for the cheers and jeers for the weekend:

Cheers

  1. Zane Sweetman for the ride (check him out on Twitch).
  2. Zack Kanner for the connection (check him out on Twitch too).
  3. Roman Fusco for his last minute sideboard changes. I felt that he was 100% spot on with the changes he advised me to play.
  4. Riccardo Monico for lending me cards.
  5. Mission BBQ. Hot damn what a place.
  6. Massage chairs. I might be new to the party here, but the massage chairs on I-95 rest stops that you pay $1 and get a 3 minute massage is very worth it. Best couple dollars I spent on the whole trip.
  7. My sweet cube deck that I drafted in between day 1 and 2, featuring first-pick Grim Flayer and second-pick Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. I won’t get into more detail, but it was a spicy meatball.
  8. Dos Amigos restaurant in Chantilly, VA. Unbeknownst to us when we walked in, the innocuous Mexican-Salvadorian restaurant quickly turns into a Karaoke club after 11. Banger of a place.
  9. The karaoke singer who went around to every table passionately serenading people eating their dinner whether they liked it or not. My Spanish isn’t good, but I understand what “sexo y nada mas” means.
  10. Taco Bell breakfast. I had no idea this existed, but they actually have breakfast tacos that were…pretty damn decent.

Jeers

  1. Dos Amigos’ music choice, specifically the 6 minute solo Tuba interlude that was sandwiched in between a normal Spanish music playlist.
  2. Dos Amigos’ music choice #2. Ok, ok, I get it. Despacito is a jam, but it really doesn’t need to be played over and over again.
  3. The top of my opponent’s deck, which gave him one of his two remaining copies of Ahn-Crop Crasher for lethal when I was stuck with two copies of Approach of the Second Sun in hand (great games though!).

All in all, I would definitely recommend giving U/W Approach a go if you’re looking for something a little different before Standard rotates. Next up for me is GP Providence with fellow Spellsnare-ians Riccardo Monico and Charlie Rinehart-Jones. Hopefully we can all have something to write about.

See you next week.

Jonah

If the Ixalan spoilers have you as excited as they have me, you should read this article by Riccardo Monico, where he goes over some cards flying under the radar from the new upcoming set that he thinks could make a big impact.

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