KTK/FRF: GP San Jose team sealed pool

Team Merchant-Comer-Luhrs had a decent run at GP San Jose. We won our first 4 matches before losing to Sperling-Williams-Reitzl (the eventual runners up). Our other loss was in round 8 to Rubin-Boccio-Bragg (#5 after the swiss), and that plus our draw in the previous round knocked us out of contention for day 2. 5-2-1 drop was disappointing after the preparation we’d put in, although we still placed 94th out of 656 teams.

I’ll talk more about the tournament itself in a subsequent post, but first I’m curious how others would have built our sealed pool. (The pool is also posted on TappedOut if you find that easier to work with.) I’ll post our build in the comments later in the week.

Land
Bloodfell Caves
Dismal Backwater
Frontier Bivouac
2 Jungle Hollow
Nomad Outpost
Rugged Highlands
Scoured Barrens
3 Swiftwater Cliffs
2 Thornwood Falls
Wooded Foothills

Artifact
Abzan Banner
Lens of Clarity
Mardu Banner
Temur Banner

White
Abzan Falconer
2 Ainok Bond-Kin
Alabaster Kirin
Firehoof Cavalry
2 Kill Shot
Mardu Hateblade
Sage-Eye Harrier
Smite the Monstrous
War Behemoth
Watcher of the Roost
3 Abzan Advantage
Abzan Runemark
Abzan Skycaptain
Arashin Cleric
Aven Skirmisher
2 Dragon Bell Monk
Elite Scaleguard
2 Great-Horn Krushok
Jeskai Barricade
Mardu Woe-Reaper

Blue
Crippling Chill
2 Embodiment of Spring
2 Glacial Stalker
Jeskai Elder
Jeskai Windscout
Mistfire Weaver
Mystic of the Hidden Way
Scaldkin
Scion of Glaciers
Weave Fate
Whirlwind Adept
2 Aven Surveyor
Cloudform
Enhanced Awareness
2 Lotus Path Djinn
Monastery Siege
Neutralizing Blast
2 Rakshasa’s Disdain
Reality Shift
Refocus
Rite of Undoing
Sage-Eye Avengers
Will of the Naga
Write into Being

Black
2 Debilitating Injury
2 Mardu Skullhunter
Mer-Ek Nightblade
2 Molting Snakeskin
Raiders’ Spoils
2 Rite of the Serpent
Ruthless Ripper
Shambling Attendants
Sidisi’s Pet
Throttle
Alesha’s Vanguard
Dark Deal
2 Diplomacy of the Wastes
Douse in Gloom
Gurmag Angler
2 Hooded Assassin
Mardu Strike Leader
Reach of Shadows
Sibsig Muckdraggers
Sultai Emissary
Sultai Runemark
3 Typhoid Rats

Red
Ainok Tracker
Barrage of Boulders
Bloodfire Mentor
Bring Low
Crater’s Claws
Goblinslide
Leaping Master
Summit Prowler
3 Swift Kick
Trumpet Blast
2 Bathe in Dragonfire
Collateral Damage
Defiant Ogre
Goblin Heelcutter
Gore Swine
Humble Defector
2 Lightning Shrieker
Mardu Runemark
Rageform
2 Smoldering Efreet
Vaultbreaker

Green
Archers’ Parapet
Awaken the Bear
Hooting Mandrills
Meandering Towershell
Pine Walker
Sagu Archer
2 Scout the Borders
Smoke Teller
Abzan Kin-Guard
2 Ainok Guide
Ambush Krotiq
2 Archers of Qarsi
Destructor Dragon
Feral Krushok
Formless Nurturing
Frontier Mastodon
Frontier Siege
2 Map the Wastes
Return to the Earth
Shamanic Revelation
Sudden Reclamation
Temur Sabertooth
Whisperer of the Wilds

Multicolor
Abzan Guide
Armament Corps
Bear’s Companion
Death Frenzy
Duneblast
Efreet Weaponmaster
Kin-Tree Invocation
Master the Way
Ponyback Brigade
2 Sagu Mauler
Trap Essence
Winterflame
Cunning Strike
3 Ethereal Ambush
Silumgar, the Drifting Death

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2 Responses to KTK/FRF: GP San Jose team sealed pool

  1. sameer says:

    Here’re the decks we built. I’m pretty sure we misbuilt them, so I will post the decks I think we should have built in the comments tomorrow.

    Deck A: G/U/r/b ramp (Merchant, 6-1-1 in matches)
    This deck was bonkers. It had bombs, mana acceleration/fixing to help cast them (with more nonbasic lands than basics!!), and some early creatures to hold the ground. The dearth of removal was a problem against certain bombs like Archfiend of Depravity, and the deck also had problems with fast starts backed by removal.

    Creatures (17):
    – 1cc: 2 Embodiment of Spring
    – 2cc: Whisperer of the Wilds, Archers’ Parapet, Smoke Teller
    – 3cc: 2 Sagu Mauler, Glacial Stalker, Mistfire Weaver, Cloudform, Write into Being, Bloodfire Mentor
    – 4cc: –
    – 5cc: 2 Aven Surveyor, Bear’s Companion
    – 6cc: Sage-Eye Avengers, Silumgar the Drifting Death

    Non-creatures (5):
    – 3cc: Winterflame, Trap Essence
    – 5cc: Rite of Undoing, Master the Way, Ethereal Ambush

    Lands (18): Frontier Bivouac, Wooded Foothills, 3 Swiftwater Cliffs, 2 Thornwood Falls, Bloodfell Caves, Rugged Highlands, Dismal Backwater, 3 Forests, 3 Islands, 1 Mountain, 1 Swamp

    Sideboard (23):
    – Blue: Crippling Chill, Enhanced Awareness, Glacial Stalker, Jeskai Elder, Jeskai Windscout, 2 Lotus Path Djinn, Monastery Siege, Mystic of the Hidden Way, Neutralizing Blast, 2 Rakshasa’s Disdain, Reality Shift, Refocus, Scaldkin, Scion of Glaciers, Weave Fate, Whirlwind Adept, Will of the Naga
    – Multicolor: Cunning Strike. Efreet Weaponmaster, 2 Ethereal Ambush

    Deck B: B/G/w control (Comer, 5-3 in matches)
    This deck had excellent early defense, but could switch to being aggressive if the opponent stumbled. It had good removal, some late game bombs, and a number of enters-the-battlefield effects to abuse with Temur Sabertooth, but didn’t have much manafixing.

    Creatures (16):
    – 1cc: Ruthless Ripper, Typhoid Rats
    – 2cc: 2 Mardu Skullhunter, Sultai Emissary, 2 Ainok Guide
    – 3cc: Mardu Strike Leader, Pine Walker, Frontier Mastodon, Abzan Guide
    – 4cc: Temur Sabertooth, Abzan Kin-Guard
    – 5cc: Feral Krushok, Armament Corps
    – 6cc: Destructor Dragon

    Non-creatures (7):
    – 2cc: 2 Debilitating Injury
    – 3cc: Kill Shot
    – 4cc: –
    – 5cc: Shamanic Revelation, Reach of Shadows, Death Frenzy
    – 6cc+: Duneblast

    Lands (17): 2 Jungle Hollow, Scoured Barrens, 8 Forests, 3 Swamps, 3 Plains

    Sideboard (41):
    – White: Abzan Advantage, Abzan Runemark, Arashin Cleric, Mardu Hateblade
    – Black: Alesha’s Vanguard, Dark Deal, 2 Diplomacy of the Wastes, Douse in Gloom, Gurmag Angler, 2 Hooded Assassin, Mer-Ek Nightblade, 2 Molting Snakeskin, Raiders’ Spoils, 2 Rite of the Serpent, Shambling Attendants, Sibsig Muckdraggers, Sidisi’s Pet, Sultai Runemark, Throttle, 2 Typhoid Rats
    – Green: Ambush Krotiq, 2 Archers of Qarsi, Awaken the Bear, Formless Nurturing, Frontier Siege, Hooting Mandrills, 2 Map the Wastes, Meandering Towershell, Return to the Earth, Sagu Archer, 2 Scout the Borders, Sudden Reclamation
    – Multicolor: Kin-Tree Invocation

    Deck C: R/W aggro (Luhrs, 5-3 in matches)
    This deck was aggressive but only had a single 1-drop, 3 flyers, and 3 early-game removal spells. It did have a few finishers but didn’t really have a lot of other ways to punch through.

    Creatures (17):
    – 1cc: Mardu Woe-Reaper
    – 2cc: 2 Ainok Bond-Kin, Jeskai Barricade, Leaping Master, Humble Defector
    – 3cc: Abzan Falconer, Watcher of the Roost, 2 Dragon Bell Monk
    – 4cc: Abzan Skycaptain, Goblin Heelcutter, Vaultbreaker, Summit Prowler, Rageform
    – 5cc: Elite Scaleguard, Lightning Shrieker

    Non-creatures (6):
    – 1cc: Collateral Damage
    – 2cc: –
    – 3cc: 2 Bathe in Dragonfire, Trumpet Blast
    – 4cc: Bring Low
    – 5cc+: Crater’s Claws

    Lands (17): Nomad Outpost, 9 Mountains, 7 Plains

    Sideboard (28):
    – Artifact: Abzan Banner, Lens of Clarity, Mardu Banner, Temur Banner
    – White: 2 Abzan Advantage, Alabaster Kirin, Aven Skirmisher, Firehoof Cavalry, 2 Great-Horn Krushok, Kill Shot, Sage-Eye Harrier, Smite the Monstrous, War Behemoth
    – Red: Ainok Tracker, Barrage of Boulders, Defiant Ogre, Goblinslide, Gore Swine, Lightning Shrieker, Mardu Runemark, 2 Smoldering Efreet, 3 Swift Kick
    – Multicolor: Ponyback Brigade

  2. sameer says:

    Unfortunately, I think we misbuilt our pool. Not by a lot, but enough to matter; with a pool as strong as ours, we should have been able to make day 2. Part of the reason for the misbuild is that my teammates weren’t interested in trying the deckbuilding process that I’d been using previously. (They live near San Jose and I live near Seattle, so we hadn’t been able to test together, and they’d been too busy to discuss strategy over email.) Instead, they just wanted to look at the multicolored cards and try to play as many of them as possible. At the single-elimination team sealed practice events the day before the GP, we were knocked out in the second round of our first practice event, and the first round of our second practice event, but they decided to stick with the process they’d suggested since they thought mine was too complex for a tournament setting.

    Using this simplified method, we decided to build an Abzan deck since we had Duneblast and Armament Corps, and to build a U/G/X deck with the 2 Sagu Maulers and several of the other bombs. That meant that the last deck would probably be base red. Player C was interested in playing an aggro deck and looked at B/R before deciding to go with R/W. His deck turned out to be underpowered, with a couple of removal spells, a couple of evasive creatures, and a couple of finishers, while my deck (A) ended up with a bunch of bombs and several good blue cards sitting in my sideboard. In retrospect, I think he should have taken the blue evasive creatures from my sideboard and the pair of Aven Surveyors from my deck, and built a U/R tempo deck.

    Here’s how I would build the decks today.

    Deck A: G/U/b ramp
    This deck is very similar to the previous deck, but without the red. It gives the Aven Surveyors, Glacial Stalkers, and Bloodfire Mentor to deck C, along with Winterflame and Cunning Strike, and moves Bear’s Companion and Trap Essence to the sideboard, and replaces them with some of the green cards from deck B (Temur Sabertooth, Pine Walker, Feral Krushok, Destructor Dragon, and Shamanic Revelation), 2 more copies of Ethereal Ambush, and a much-needed removal spell (Reach of Shadows).

    This deck makes better use of Pine Walker since it has 4 morphs and 5 ways of creating manifest creatures, while our original deck B only had 2 morphs and 1 way to create a manifest creature. Shamanic Revelation can draw the deck to its bombs and buy it time to deploy them, Temur Sabertooth can sometimes protect the bombs from removal (especially Sandblast and Kill Shot), and Destructor Dragon can sometimes combo with Silumgar the Drifting Death to wipe the opponent’s board. Also, Ethereal Ambush has a 58% chance of hitting 1-2 creatures in a deck with 14 creatures, and had a decent chance of flipping a bomb.

    Creatures (16):
    – 1cc: 2 Embodiment of Spring
    – 2cc: Whisperer of the Wilds, Archers’ Parapet, Smoke Teller
    – 3cc: 2 Sagu Mauler, Pine Walker, Mistfire Weaver, Cloudform, Write into Being
    – 4cc: Temur Sabertooth
    – 5cc: Feral Krushok
    – 6cc: Silumgar the Drifting Death, Sage-Eye Avengers, Destructor Dragon

    Non-creatures (6):
    – 5cc: Shamanic Revelation, 3 Ethereal Ambush, Rite of Undoing, Reach of Shadows

    Land (18): Frontier Bivouac, 2 Thornwood Falls, Dismal Backwater, 7 Forests, 5 Islands, 2 Swamp

    Sideboard (30):
    – Land: Bloodfell Caves, Rugged Highlands, Wooded Foothills
    – Artifact: Temur Banner
    – Blue: Enhanced Awareness, Monastery Siege, Neutralizing Blast, Rakshasa’s Disdain, Reality Shift, Weave Fate
    – Green: 2 Ainok Guide, 2 Archers of Qarsi, Formless Nurturing, Frontier Mastodon, Frontier Siege, Hooting Mandrills, 2 Map the Wastes, Meandering Towershell, Return to the Earth, Sagu Archer, 2 Scout the Borders, Sudden Reclamation
    – Multicolor: Bear’s Companion, Death Frenzy, Kin-Tree Invocation, Trap Essence

    Deck B: W/B/g Warriors
    This deck has the same colors as the original deck B, but is W/B/g instead of B/G/w. It gives up some powerful cards like Temur Sabertooth, Pine Walker, Destructor Dragon, and Shamanic Revelation for a more streamlined mana curve that allows Armament Corps and Duneblast to be even more devastating when cast. It also has 7 creatures that can give +1/+1 counters alongside 5 lords (2 Ainok Bond-Kin, Abzan Falconer, Mer-Ek Nightblade, and Elite Scaleguard), and has 8 Warriors to go with the Raiders’ Spoils.

    The main loss in this version of the deck is Temur Sabertooth since this deck has several creatures with abilities that trigger when they enter the battlefield or are turned face up: 2 Mardu Skullhunters, Armament Corps, Elite Scaleguard, Ruthless Ripper, Watcher of the Roost, and Mardu Woe-Reaper. Mardu Strike Leader also benefits from Temur Sabertooth’s ability since it can attack and be returned to your hand if your opponent blocks it. However, this deck can’t support the double green needed to cast it.

    Creatures (17):
    – 1cc: Ruthless Ripper, Mardu Hateblade, Mardu Woe-Reaper, Aven Skirmisher
    – 2cc: 2 Mardu Skullhunter, Sultai Emissary, 2 Ainok Bond-Kin
    – 3cc: Mardu Strike Leader, Abzan Falconer, Watcher of the Roost, Abzan Guide
    – 4cc: Mer-Ek Nightblade. Abzan Skycaptain
    – 5cc: Elite Scaleguard, Armament Corps

    Non-creatures (6):
    – 2cc: 2 Debilitating Injury
    – 3cc: Douse in Gloom
    – 4cc: Raiders’ Spoils
    – 5cc+: Throttle, Duneblast

    Land (17): Nomad Outpost, 2 Jungle Hollow, Scoured Barrens, 5 Swamps, 7 Plains, 1 Forest

    Sideboard (43):
    – Artifact: Lens of Clarity, Abzan Banner, Mardu Banner
    – White: 3 Abzan Advantage, Abzan Runemark, Alabaster Kirin, Arashin Cleric, Aven Skirmisher, 2 Dragon Bell Monk, Firehoof Cavalry, 2 Great-Horn Krushok, Jeskai Barricade, 2 Kill Shot, Sage-Eye Harrier, Smite the Monstrous, War Behemoth
    – Black: Alesha’s Vanguard, Dark Deal, 2 Diplomacy of the Wastes, Gurmag Angler, 2 Hooded Assassin, 2 Molting Snakeskin, 2 Rite of the Serpent, Shambling Attendants, Sibsig Muckdraggers, Sidisi’s Pet, Sultai Runemark, 3 Typhoid Rats
    – Green: Abzan Kin-Guard, Ambush Krotiq, Awaken the Bear
    – Multicolor: Ponyback Brigade

    Deck C: U/R tempo
    This is the deck that I think benefits most from the reconfiguration. It does lose some early drops, but has access to 6 creatures with evasion, instead of 3. It replaces Collateral Damage and Bring Low with Winterflame, Cunning Strike, and Master the Way. There are a number of blue tempo cards like Crippling Chill and the pair of Aven Surveyors that give the deck a chance to punish an opponent that stumbles. And Crater’s Claws and Master the Way can both act as finishers (although the former rewards playing extra lands while the latter rewards holding onto them).

    Creatures (14):
    – 2cc: Jeskai Elder, Humble Defector
    – 3cc: Jeskai Windscout, Mystic of the Hidden Way, 2 Glacial Stalker, Gore Swine
    – 4cc: 2 Lotus Path Djinn, Goblin Heelcutter, Summit Prowler, Vaultbreaker
    – 5cc: 2 Aven Surveyor

    Non-creatures (8):
    – 2cc: Refocus
    – 3cc: 2 Bathe in Dragonfire, Winterflame, Crippling Chill
    – 4cc: –
    – 5cc+: Master the Way, Cunning Strike, Crater’s Claws

    Land (18): 3 Swiftwater Cliffs, 8 Islands, 7 Mountains

    Sideboard (24):
    – Blue: Rakshasa’s Disdain, Scaldkin, Scion of Glaciers, Whirlwind Adept, Will of the Naga
    – Red: Ainok Tracker, Barrage of Boulders, Bloodfire Mentor, Bring Low, Collateral Damage, Defiant Ogre, Goblinslide, Leaping Master, 2 Lightning Shrieker, Mardu Runemark, Rageform, 2 Smoldering Efreet, 3 Swift Kick, Trumpet Blast
    – Multicolor: Efreet Weaponmaster

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