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Top 4 at F2F Edmonton with 5c Niv to Light

a guest Feb 18th, 2020 226 Never
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  1. I got pretty lucky.
  2.  
  3. F2F Edmonton was coming around the corner, and frankly, I wasn't sure what I was going to play. My first foray into the format was a combo-centric build of GB Elves, with a couple of Panharmonicons and a Woodland Bellower for spice. It did quite well against the heavy amounts of midrange that was in Calgary, but was basically an auto-loss to Mono-Red decks. Following that, I built the deck that I played in Modern, 5c Niv to Light.
  4.  
  5. I hated it.
  6.  
  7. The mana felt inconsistent and the answers were poor. It felt like it just folded to combo, and I wasn't very high on the deck, especially after playing some very poor games against Mono-G Ramp and even Mono-Red. But I didn't really have anything else, and it was a deck I had at least an amount of experience playing. The night before, I stayed up quite late to figure out some deckbuilding choices, which I'll go over now.
  8.  
  9. Here's the list:
  10. Creatures (15)
  11. 2 Paradise Druid
  12. 4 Sylvan Caryatid
  13. 2 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
  14. 1 Hostage Taker
  15. 2 Siege Rhino
  16. 3 Niv-Mizzet Reborn
  17. 1 Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves
  18. Planeswalkers (5)
  19. 4 Teferi, Time Raveler
  20. 1 Nahiri, the Harbinger
  21. Spells (14)
  22. 1 Thoughtseize
  23. 3 Abrupt Decay
  24. 1 Dreadbore
  25. 1 Slaughter Games
  26. 1 Solar Blaze
  27. 1 Utter End
  28. 4 Bring to Light
  29. 1 Hour of Devastation
  30. 1 Repudiate // Replicate
  31. Lands (27)
  32. 2 Blooming Marsh
  33. 2 Breeding Pool
  34. 1 Godless Shrine
  35. 1 Hinterland Harbor
  36. 1 Overgrown Tomb
  37. 1 Steam Vents
  38. 1 Stomping Ground
  39. 1 Sunpetal Grove
  40. 2 Temple Garden
  41. 1 Watery Grave
  42. 1 Woodland Cemetery
  43. 1 Frontier Bivouac
  44. 1 Sandsteppe Citadel
  45. 2 Mana Confluence
  46. 1 Plains
  47. 1 Island
  48. 1 Mountain
  49. 1 Swamp
  50. 1 Forest
  51. 4 Fabled Passage
  52. Sideboard (15)
  53. 1 Infernal Reckoning
  54. 3 Thoughtseize
  55. 2 Voice of Resurgence
  56. 1 Rakdos’s Return
  57. 1 Rest in Peace
  58. 1 Selesnya Charm
  59. 1 Thought Erasure
  60. 2 Mystical Dispute
  61. 1 Deafening Clarion
  62. 1 Questing Beast
  63. 1 Enter the God-Eternals
  64.  
  65. The two copies of Siege Rhino and single copy of Tolsimir was a concession to the fact that I was playing in Alberta. I knew Mono-Red decks were still popular. Indeed, it was the most popular deck at the event, along with UW Control. I went with trilands over Temples purely because I believed Paradise Druid was better over Gilded Goose. I moved up to three Abrupt Decay to fight the aggro, as well as Hour of Devastation.
  66.  
  67. Then there's the 61st card. I love Repudiate // Replicate in Modern, and I believe that it's very good in Pioneer. It gives you game against Inverter and Ballista combo, and there are more creatures to copy with the Replicate side, though you rarely cast it. I didn't know what to replace in the maindeck, so I simply added it in.
  68.  
  69. Matchups:
  70. UW Control (2-0)
  71.     My first and second rounds were against UW Control. The first round felt like a bye unfortunately, as my opponent was missing on land drops. The second round was a very tough grind. A 43 minute G1 ended basically when my opponent couldn't clock me with 2 Dream Trawlers because their deck was too small, and my life total was too high due to Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath. Dream Trawler tapping down when given hexproof was a very big deal, as it allowed Tolsimir and Voja to take care of a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria + Narset on board. This matchup seems close, but I think Niv can definitely outgrind UW, mainly due to Uro.
  72.    
  73.     Sideboard:
  74.     In: 2 Voice of Resurgence, 1 Rakdos’s Return, 2 Mystical Dispute, 1 Questing Beast
  75.     Out: 1 Hostage Taker, 2 Siege Rhino, 1 Slaughter Games, 1 Tolsimir, 1 Bring to Light
  76.    
  77. Izzet Ensoul (1-0)
  78.     My third round was against Izzet Ensoul. Sylvan Caryatid was a very big deal in this matchup, as blocking a Stonecoil Serpent was huge. Paradise Druid was similar, and trading is pretty nice. Hour of Devastation overperformed here, as it takes care of basically every creature, including Hazoret. Obviously, Infernal Reckoning carried in game two. At the end of game two, I swung in with a Niv for lethal. My opponent Shrapnel Blasts Niv, saccing a Hangerback Walker, with the hope of blocking and killing Niv. Fortunately, an extremely sick Repudiate to counter the death trigger sealed the game.
  79.    
  80.     Sideboard:
  81.     In: 1 Infernal Reckoning, 1 Selesnya Charm, 1 Enter the God-Eternals
  82.     Out: 1 Thoughtseize, 1 Niv-Mizzet Reborn, 1 Bring to Light
  83.    
  84. 5c Niv to Light (1-0)
  85.     Man, the mirror is incredibly stressful. Game 1, I cast a Teferi, Time Raveler on turn 3, and a Slaughter Games on turn 5, naming Niv-Mizzet Reborn. I looked at his hand, and cried a little, as I saw a very dead Bring to Light in their hand. This was swiftly followed up in Game 2 by the exact same scenario, except in reverse. Game 3, I had a Teferi out once more, and a couple of Bring to Lights. I decided that the correct play was to BtL for Niv, as the only way I get punished was for my opponent to naturally have Niv. I get a couple of cards, but he punishes me with his own Niv. They end up trading, and I follow up with a second Niv from BtL, as I figure the window for Slaughter Games is over, and I need to start being the beatdown. I completely whiff for the first time ever with Niv, but having a 6/6 is plenty fine. He stumbles on lands, and I follow up with Uro, but I start to run out of gas. He eventually drops a T3feri, which I respond to with instant-speed BtL for Questing Beast. After a stressful few minutes, I manage to punch through with the few creatures I had. Uro was insane for my opponent, allowing him to stabilize his life total while adding to the board. Fortunately, my opponent also makes top 8, which I was very happy about.
  86.    
  87.     Sideboard:
  88.     In: 1 Rakdos’s Return, 1 Selesnya Charm, 2 Mystical Dispute, 1 Questing Beast
  89.     Out: 2 Siege Rhino, 1 Solar Blaze, 1 Hour of Devastation, 1 Tolsimir
  90.    
  91. Mono-Red Aggro (2-0)
  92.     After the mirror, I played against two Mono-Red aggro decks. The first match, Siege Rhino and Hour of Devastation were all-stars, and Tolsimir finished the game very well.
  93.     My win and in was supremely unfortunate, as my opponent got a game loss for a deck error. I doubt that they were cheating, but it was very unfortunate how it played out. Game 2, I stabilized with Hour of Devastation into Siege Rhino to end the game.
  94.    
  95.     Sideboard:
  96.     In: 2 Voice of Resurgence, 1 Deafening Clarion, 1 Enter the God-Eternals
  97.     Out: 1 Hostage Taker, 1 Thoughtseize, 1 Slaughter Games, 1 Repudiate // Replicate
  98.    
  99. Sultai Delirium (1-0)
  100.     My top 8 was against Sultai Delirium, which I was very confident in facing. In Game 1, even though I got wrecked by To the Slaughter, my hand was incredibly stacked, and I found enough land drops to start outvaluing my opponent. BtL to Utter End their Uro was backbreaking for sure, and he stumbled on lands, allowing me to pull ahead. Game 2 was also a grind. I was hoping to find my game-ending Rest in Peace, but it wasn't needed, and Niv-Mizzet + Uro gained me enough value against his Uro to fight through to Top 4.
  101.    
  102.     Sideboard:
  103.     In: 1 Rest in Peace, 1 Selesnya Charm, 1 Questing Beast
  104.     Out: 1 Slaughter Games, 1 Solar Blaze, 1 Tolsimir
  105.    
  106. Bant Spirits (0-2-1)
  107.     Bant Spirits was the only deck I lost to, both in Swiss and Top 8. Mausoleum Wanderer is a very annoying card. My hope in the matchup is landing Teferi, and being able to deal with the early threats to lead into a game winning Niv. The Swiss games were close, but in top 4, I stumbled on mana, and I missed a game-winning Hour of Devastation when I couldn't find my 3rd land drop with two dorks. It would have unlocked a Caryatid under a Spell Queller, allowing me to stabilize with a relatively fine board. Alas, I missed, and Top 4 was where I ended.
  108.    
  109.     Sideboard:
  110.     In: 2 Mystical Dispute, 2 Voice of Resurgence, 1 Questing Beast
  111.     Out: 1 Thoughtseize, 1 Solar Blaze, 1 Slaughter Games, 1 Repudiate // Replicate, 1 Bring to Light
  112.    
  113. Conclusions
  114.     Overall, I felt like I played very well, but I also recognize that I dodged quite a few bad matchups, such as Inverter, Lotus Breach, and Mono-G Ramp. I was under-prepared for Bant Spirits, and got punished for it, but I was able to fight off the Mono-Red that was around. Solar Blaze underperformed immensely, but Hour of Devastation overperformed. I'm also going to try Temples + Arboreal Grazer over trilands and Paradise Druid, to see how they compare. I expect it to feel quite good. Top 4 was far higher than I could have hoped, and the fact that 61 cards were in the maindeck made it that much sweeter, even if it wasn't optimal. I guess I like Pioneer now.
  115.    
  116.     Also, I'm keeping Repudiate // Replicate.
  117.  
  118. Decklist: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2780072#paper
  119. Event: https://magic.facetofacegames.com/a-massive-weekend-for-pioneer-on-the-f2f-tour/?_ga=2.233614680.796360725.1581979498-1179996784.1528146527
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