Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir Tournament Report by Core Member of Team MTG Mint Card Lee Shi Tian
The Pro Tour
It is the Friday morning of PTKTK, I have my deck sleeves up with yellow and deck list filled in this way to honor the work done in Hong Kong Street:
Everything goes smooth as the way does and below is my match result.
Draft 1 2-1
4 junk 2-0 (3-1)
5 junk 0-2 (3-2)
6 UB control 2-0 (4-2)
7 Sidisi dredge 2-0 (5-2)
8 junk 2-0 (6-2)
Draft 2 3-0 (9-2)
12 jeskai 0-2 (9-3)
13 mardu planeswalker 2-0 (10-3)
14 naya monster 0-2 (10-4)
15 Gu devotion 2-0 (11-4)
16 junk 2-1 (12-4)
If you followed me in twitter @leearson where I posted both my draft decks, you will know how terrible my draft one pack one is. It simply looks like a random booster. I third picked a Chief of the Scale and thought it might be a Signal for BW warrior, turns out BW dries up relatively fast. Yet I did read the signal right later in the pack. Some quality Abzan cards keep flowing to me in pack 2 and 3 and I got a powerful deck with many Rares (double Siege Rhino!!) but bad in mana base.
Draft 2 is easier. P1P1 Butcher of the Horde is too good for me to pass. My next three picks are Ainok Bond- Kin, Feat of Resistance and Abzan Battle Priest. I move into Mardu with RW core splashing Black. While the creatures are easy to pick, I don’t really have enough playable spells. In the end I have to play Act of Treason, +2+0 and swift kick. Turns out they have some good synergy when they all come together. The deck treats me good and I go 3-0 in the pod.
For construct portion, I was lucky enough for keep matching with green based deck and I win the match that I expected to win.
My loses to junk and Naya monster featured some terrible draw.
Some incident happens when I was playing against Ari. I never see any Ascendancy for both games playing against him. I actually called judge when I saw 3 of my Jeskai Ascendancy was at the bottom ten cards of the library after game one picking up my deck for sideboard.
In game 2, I had my second fetch and once again found 3 of the Jeskai Ascendancy at bottom ten cards of my deck. In the end I hit neither draw spells nor ascendancy from my draw step and the game ended accordingly. Later I saw Park Jun York and Yuuya Watanabe both missing their black mana source for real long time in game three of the draft rounds facing Ari. Also the way he keeps one lander in top 8 and Yuuya being flooded out.
You might think that actually suggested he did some power shuffle. In my point of view, all of these incidents do not have a real pattern after all. In PTJOU, 4 out of 7 of Patrick Chapin’s game win in top 8 features mana problem of his opponent. That is the power of running hot and I tend to believe Ari is running super hot in this tournament. And I think I am right as he does won whole thing in the end.
Game two I kept a hand with double commune and double mana dork. While my both mana dork got killed, I casted double commune but never see any creature. These are the game of variance and it is fine when the odd is against me in both game of a single match instead of having it at multiple game 3s. Not to mention the round before, I have multiple top deck against Levy’s Mardu Planeswalker to pull me out from hell lots of removals and discards.
After round 15, I was at 9th with really good tie breaker. Yuuya got paired up against Owen which opens up one more slot for 36 points.
So my win includes a down to 4 win and a runner (Jeskai ascendancy) runner (tormenting voice) runner (dig through time) runner (Retraction Helix and Dragon Mantle) top deck at one life. Epic enough, right?
You can see it in here: http://magic.wizards.com/en/events/coverage/ptktk/round-16-feature-match-2014-10-12
Or youtube: http://youtu.be/abw9OJxD_CA?t=38m
After the round I basically burse out when I flashing back the week I have been though in Hong Kong. When I was out of Hong Kong, things are getting worse. I read news, twitter and facebook everyday. Crazy things happen. Police clear the barrier in the morning; the afternoon gangs come and attack the protestors. Police just let go those gangs. There are people defending the police said it’s just a coincident. To me, it is like opponent never cast Mantis Rider with 4 lands in play but snap cast it after he hit the fifth land. The odds for him having negate? 100%
Back to the tournament. top 8 matchup is terrible for me. Shaun’s Jeskai tends to be a more controlling one which I have basically zero chance to combo off after sideboard. Comparing to other Jeskai in top 8, they don’t really have much to stop me from comboing off even in the sideboard or at least the sideboarding part should be much more fun.
Obviously I cannot complain about the good run I had in this weekend. Had I face one more Jeskai, I might not be even close to top 8.
Thank you team MTGMintCard: Cheung Tung Yi, Chapman Sim, Haung Hao Shan, Kevin Chew, Kuo Tzu Ching, Nam Sung Woo, Park Jun York, Ryan Lou, Yam Wing Chun. We did a perfect job on the Meta game predicting though we have different approach to the Meta.
Chan Sze Hang and George Newbould trusted and helped me test out the deck. Building a perfect mix is not easy for a new combo deck in a completely new format. I will say I have a perfect 60 plus that 3 Swan Song out of my 75 cards.
Special thanks to gatheringmagic having my deck naming under my will and Adrienne Reynolds for a wonderful article about me and Hong Kong. In case you do not know about the article, here is the link: mtg.mn/55x
Also thanks everyone that supports and loves my deck. It’s been a long time for Standard having a real combo deck since Humanimator.
So that is it, my next premium event will be Player Championship and World Magic Cup featuring the clash of my girlfriend’s birthday. Sounds perfect!
Filed under: Uncategorized | Leave a Comment
Tags: 2015 core set, deck tips, decklist, Honolulu, Honolulu 2014, khans of Tarkir, Khans of Tarkir cards, ktk PT top 8, magic the gathering, mint card, mint cards, mtgktk, planeswalker, pro tour khans of Tarkir, PTKTK, Team MTG Mint Card
Looking back, Pro Tour KTK is just unreal to me.
If you read international news, you might found Hong Kong is in chaos lately. And I am one of those who go to the street every single day. The protest started one week before GP Shanghai and I dropped the play test from table since that day.
So I actually only spend the pre-release weekend for draft and the week after to proxy some deck that I think have potential.
From Scapeshift to Humanimator and then Blue Moon, people familiar with me knew I am a hardcore combo player (P.S. Blue Moon is a one card combo at PTBNG Meta). Chan Sze Hang, one of the more competitive players from Hong Kong, suggested me to look at the potential of the combo with Jaskei Ascendancy, Retraction Helix and some zero mana artifact. At first I think it is a four-card combo which needs to be based on creature. It needs enchantment, an artifact, a creature without summoning sickness and to resolve a instant spell when you get all these permanent in play. It just looks too fragile as a competitive combo deck. However, I was proven wrong.
Thanks to Chan’s insistent and resilient, he finally drafted a list using Massager’s Speed as winning condition. When I saw that card, I tell him I don’t want playing that card simply because how bad the card is. Couple of game later, I was convinced that it might be the best win condition that does not flip off by Commune with the Gods…..
Another important thing I notice is that it is a 2 card combo, Jeskai Ascendancy and mana dorks. Jeskai Ascendancy is basically doing everything you need, help you dig up your deck and getting discount for your card drawing spells off your mana dorks. With 10+ mana dorks within the deck, the only part you really need to dig into is the game changing enchantment and a combo deck like this is actually fundamentally playable.
Fast forward to one week after during the protest (it is relatively peace and we do have time browsing internet via network), we saw Andrew Baeckstrom’s list in SCG open. Twinflame is genius addition to the deck. As you really need 2 mana dorks to go infinite, having Twinflame allow you having only one mana dork in play and go off from nowhere. Furthermore, it is a winning condition. When you go infinite, you will be able to bounce every non-land permanent if your opponent and you will cast all your mana dorks in your deck and copying each of them to make multiple 689/689-ish haste attacker for the kill. Most important, it allows me to cut Massager’s Speed. =)
One of the key of a good combo deck is the deck keep flowing and set up for the goal of the deck. Our goal here is to set up mana dork and ascendancy in play.
You can find my deck here.
We cut all the do-nothing cards in the deck. There were cards looks wonderful when you combo off. But when you can combo off, one or two winning condition is fairly enough as you get to access to your whole deck. Below are some card choices and reasoning:
Briber’s Purse over Astral Cornucopia: I never cast Astral Cornucopia before I go off. It does not help when you are losing. However, you can always cast purse for 2 or 3 to get you room to breathe. It specially shines at UW heroic when you stopping a 10/10 unblockable creature.
Dragon mantle: It is a 1cc cantrip and combo piece.
Tormenting voice over Taigam’s Scheming: Card disadvantage is something I would like to avoid in a combo deck, the card selection is huge but I wanna have more cards in hand. I saw list from other team playing more dredge and delve spells. That might make the deck flow faster than my build, but the set up time might be huge and drawing 2 or 3 big delve spell is not something I would like to see at my opening hand. It helps out the fetch land basis a bit also. Also had my top decking Taigam’s Scheming instead of Tormenting Voice in my epic last turn, I won’t be making top 8 in this event.
Nissa, Worldwaker: She is both win con and mana dork all in one. Although she costed 5 which is a bit over costed in game one, she did free up a slot for other cards by replacing third Twinflame and forth Kiora’s Follower with only one card. With only Jeskai Ascendancy in play, and Briber’s Purse and Retraction Helix in hand, you can win from a relatively empty board by turning a blue source land into a 4/4 trample using Nissa’s ability. It is not a must, but I do want third winning condition to prevent some flipping accident from Commune with the Gods.
The Mana Base
After more play test, I found out the pain land mana base is the only reason losing to Green decks. You simply dont get to win if you lava axe yourself every single game. I then ask Chan Sze Hang in Hong Kong if there is any chance a relatively painless mana base could be worked out. 5 minutes later, he sent me this master piece:
Temples and mana conference…
Going deeper to the mana base, green is the color you need for the first 2 turn and then red and blue for the card digging spell, then a single white mana for Jeskai Ascendancy.
We got all our tap land with green as it is the land we wanna play in turn one while green is basically colorless mana at the rest of the game.
Drawing the same land is terrible as you will have less choice of mana to cast your spells. It is kind of interesting that playing large variance of land does actually fix your mana problem better. Although it does not sounds right, it is the fact.
Notice that fetch before you need to cast Commune with the Gods or you have one side of basic in your hand already. Make sure the land won’t become a blank card, though the looting effect from Tormenting voice and Jeskai Ascendancy does help you out a little.
One thing I strongly believe in: if there is any reason my deck performed better than other build, it will be because of the mana base instead of the spells. Even in different build, all the functional spells are merely the same. However the pain land mana base will give you at least one turn less against any aggressive deck. I do survive multiple games at only 1-2 life.
Frankly speaking, there are only 3 real cards in the sideboard, Swan Song. This is the card goes in whatever match up.
The other 12 slot is only for Jeskai Win. I will say having alternate plan against Jeskai Win is a must.
4/4 and 5/5 is to dodge negate and they Jeskai Win should be boarding out high cost and sorcery speed spells, like stock the flame, banishing light and Sharkan.
Swan song is to protect your monsters or a one mana 2/2 flying when your bait spell is being negated.
The match up will become a one-for-one attrition and you try to win by letting your opponent drawing blanks.
The sideboard plan for Team Face to Face has another angle to win the attrition war. Though I do not really try out before the tournament, I believe it is worth a try.
At that time, the first shell of Meta game was developed. During Team MTG Mint Card‘s playtest, we figured out level zero is Green devotion variance and the villain is Jeskai Tempo. To next level Jeskai, Junk mid-range based on Siege Rhino and Wingmate Roc, or even Sorin the Solemn Visitor will be the choice. Jeskai Wins basically beat all the brews we had except the Unwritten Junk which piloted by Kuo Tzu Ching.
The team has different preference to attack the meta. While most of the team members choose the Unwritten Junk to prey on Junk midrange and Jeskai Win, I decided to prey on all green deck and give up the Jeskai match up.
In the end, the Meta game breakdown shows our prediction is correct. 20% of the field is Jeskai and my expected result will be 8-2 as I consider myself having favorite match up against rest of the field, which is obviously good enough to put me into top 8 if I can keep up my draft result in Pro Tour. Sometimes, you just have to gamble on the Meta and get the paid off from it!
Filed under: Uncategorized | Leave a Comment
Tags: 2015 core set, decklist, How to Build Your Sideboard, Khans of Tarkir Tournament, Magic cards, magic the gathering, mint card, mint cards, MTG, pro tour, pro tour khans of Tarkir, PROTOURKTK, PROTOUTKHANSOFTARKIR, PTKTK, Sorin the Solemn Visitor, The sideboard, top 8 decklist PTKTK
Congratulation to Team MTG Mint Card Lee Shi Tian be one of Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir Top 8! Here is the decklists of Lee Shi Tian – Jeskai Ascendancy Combo:
3 Kiora’s Follower
4 Rattleclaw Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Commune with the Gods
3 Tormenting Voice
4 Retraction Helix
3 Dig Through Time
4 Dragon Mantle
4 Jeskai Ascendancy
2 Briber’s Purse
1 Nissa, Worldwaker
4 Mana Confluence
2 Frontier Bivouac
2 Temple of Abandon
2 Temple of Mystery
2 Temple of Plenty
2 Yavimaya Coast
2 Wooded Foothills
2 Flooded Strand
4 Savage Knuckleblade
2 Polukranos, World Eater
3 Arc Lightning
3 Lightning Strike
3 Swan Song
Filed under: Uncategorized | Leave a Comment
Hello again Magic: the Gathering fans. The long wait is now finally over – Khans of Tarkir English Singles, Chinese Singles, English Foil Singles Now Available at MTG Mint Card. It has been a flurry of pre-orders and now, as of Friday, orders for this new set. The popular opinion is overwhelmingly positive from PreRelease events and players are absolutely loving the new set. With new and returning mechanics / key word abilities of Delve, Ferocious, Morph, Outlast, Prowess and Raid, this new set has a pile of gems for every player and their game style.
Here at MTG Mint Card, our thoughts are now turning to the constructed format applications of the new set and each of the staffers here have their own favorites. We really can’t quite go through them all but we do want to give you a brief summary of some of the staff picks.
Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
This Mythic Rare planeswalker is returning to standard constructed. The one ability for this five-cost, 4 loyalty ‘walker that everyone is talking about is it’s plus +1. Having Sarkhan become a legendary 4/4 red Dragon creature with flying, indestructible and haste is about as powerful an ability we’ve seen for a bit and we’re certain it will may huge waves at the game table.
The Allied Color Fetch Lands
Wooded Foothills , and Windswept Heath.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Leave a Comment
Hello again Magic: the Gathering fans. The latest set, Journey into Nyx officially 2released on Friday 2nd May, 2014 and the game is ready to evolve and adapt to encompass the 165 new cards. How each game format will change is based almost entirely upon the players themselves as they pick through the new cards to see what will work and what may not. With the first large Magic: the Gathering tournament event, SCG Standard Open Cincinnati taking place over the weekend, many players were looking at the results here to serve as a barometer for how the standard format game was shaping up. The results though do not point to any one particular strategy and we can likely say that the field is still open.
What we here at MTG Mint Card can say is look to our top selling Journey into Nyx cards if you want to attempt a look through the crystal ball and forecast where popular or powerful decklists may be. Here’s a handful of new Journey into Nyx cards which our customers have been eager to snap up –
Mana Confluence, Temple of Malady and Temple of Epiphany – any good decklist starts with a solid mana-base in which to cast spells (the exception of course are those weird decks with no lands). Mana Confluence is a huge hit with any players running more than one color and the two remaining ‘scrylands’ have ‘Golgari’ and ‘Izzet’ players happy as well.
Prophetic Flamespeaker – a 1/3 red three-drop with double strike and trample – yes please. Amazing ability to pull and fling more (burn) spells at your opponent.
Eidolon of Blossoms – a lot of players – and not necessarily standard at looking at this card to compliment existing white and white / green ‘Enchantress’ decks which are always happy to be able to draw an additional card.
Deicide – Lastly, this lovely instant spell. If you thought the pantheon of 15 Theran gods were too powerful, then go packing with this two drop which will not only exile an enchantment but should it be a god card, you can strip your opponents deck right down.
Drop by MTG Mint Card today to pick up some of these best selling Journey into Nyx and of course a huge host of others. Happy deck-brewing!
Filed under: Uncategorized | Leave a Comment
Tags: Journey into Nyx cards, Journey into Nyx gods, Journey into Nyx singles, Journey into Nyx top cards
Hello again Magic: the Gathering fans. The third and last set in Theros Block, Journey into Nyx is finally set to be released this very weekend and as per usual, here at MTG Mint Card we want to do a brief summary of some the very lovely Journey into Nyx Foil Singles. Whether you are a casual card collector or a more serious one wanting to hit that ultimate pinnacle of ‘foiling out’ your Commander (EDH) or Cube build, MTG Mint Card has a large number of foils ready for you. Here are just a few foil cards because of the epic art or potential for inclusion in our deck or collection that are on our radar :
• Launch the Fleet, illustrated by Karl Kopinski – the foil on this art is simply impressive and we think that this card will appeal to just about every constructed format player. The synergy with Battlefield Thaumaturge is just downright crazy and potential in further formats solid.
• Sage of Hours, illustrated by Matt Stewart – the foiling here on the Wizard’s gears in the background is beautiful. There are a few players we know that are picking up this beauty for their Prime Speaker Zegana build where you’ll need more than a bag bull of tokens.
• Hydra Broodmaster, illustrated by Steve Prescott – with the foil highlights on the Hydra’s nested eggs, it just looks like a pot of gold, which the card spell essentially is in most strategies wanting to churn out tokens or an awesome mana-sink.
• Keranos, God of Storms , illustrated by Daarken – the dark stormy sky and the lightning bolt are a perfect canvass for the very cool and subtle foiling. As for the card, there has been about six Izzet Generals / Commanders to date and most have not been all that crazy good. Keranos will now be the Commander of Choice with some very sweet abilities.
Remember to drop by MTG Mint Card soon and check back often as we continually update with fresh stock.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Leave a Comment
Tags: Journey into Nyx cards, Journey into Nyx Foil, Journey into Nyx Foil cards, Journey into Nyx Foils, Journey into Nyx gods
Hello again Magic: the Gathering fans. With all the new cards now revealed for Journey into Nyx, MTG Mint Card has now the complete set loaded up on our page and all singles available now. This set contains a total of 165 cards with a rarity break-down of 10 Mythic Rare, 35 Rare, 60 Uncommon, and 60 Common. Like the two previous sets (Theros and Born of the Gods) in the same block, Journey into Nyx features an ancient Greek Mythology theme and has a strong enchantment motif. Constellation and Strive are newly introduced keyword abilities in this set while Bestow, Scry, Monstrosity, Devotion, Inspired and Heroic return for an appearance from the two previous sets.
New Journey into Nyx cards most anticipated by players are of course the five multi-colored gods (each are mythic rare legendary enchantment creatures) – Athreos, God of Passage, Keranos, God of Storms, Pharika, God of Affliction, Iroas, God of Victory, and Kruphix, God of Horizons. Additionally, many players have been looking forward to finally getting the last two ‘Temple’ Scrylands – ‘Temple of Epiphany ‘ (blue / red) and ‘Temple of Malady’ (black / green).
Here at MTG Mint Card we all have a list of our favorite cards for specific game formats but we can all agree that the following three cards certainly do stand out -
• Ajani, Mentor of Heroes – finally a gree / white Planeswalker. Ajani can pump creatures with hard +1/+1 counters, dig the top of your library for a relevant creature, aura or Planeswalker and the ultimate is a crazy-good 100-point lifegain making it pretty much impossible for your opponent to catch up.
• Athreos, God of Passage – An incredibly inexpensive god card to cast (only 3 mana!) nets you a 5/4 indestructible enchantment creature which becomes animated once your devotion to white and black are seven. This is rather a mute point considering most players will be happy just for the amazing static ability – ‘Whenever another creature you own dies, return it to your hand unless target opponent pays 3 life’. Pure gold.
• Mana Confluence - Land is of equal importance as spells in Magic: the Gathering and being able to fix the correct color of mana in a multi-colored deck is critical. Mana Confluence requires just one life to tap for any color of mana making this card a player favorite.
Click on over to MTG Mint Card to check out the best prices around for Journey into Nyx.
Filed under: Journey into Nyx | Leave a Comment
Tags: Athreos, God of Passage, Journey into Nyx cards, Journey into Nyx gods, Journey into Nyx sets, Journey into Nyx singles, Mana Confluence, Temple of Epiphany, Temple of Malady