Welcome, everyone! Today I’ll talk with you about my preparation for the Strixhaven League Weekend, which took place in both Standard and Historic with a brief report about the tournament.
This time I worked with Sebastian Pozzo, Matias Leveratto, and Javier Dominguez from the league, plus some friends around the world.
We spent some days playing Standard and decided to trust in Sebastian’s metagame read: He thought that Cycling would be well positioned and the rest of us decided to follow his advice, working a bit before the deadline to have a plan against everything. It was a bold choice but if he was right about the metagame, it would be a good advantage.
This is the Standard list and sideboard plan.
Deck List: Jeskai Cycling
|Round 1||Chris Botelho
|Round 2||Ivan Floch
|Round 3||Mike Sigrist
|Round 7||Chris Botelho
|Round 8||Kenji Egashira
|Round 9||Ivan Floch
In round 1 I made a mistake that did not seem a big deal, but it was huge in the end since it cost me the entire game.
Here was the board at the time:
The right play was to play another 《Irencrag Pyromancer》, Cycling, kill the 《Goldspan Dragon》, attack with 《Flourishing Fox》, opponent at 8 lives against a 7/7 《Flourishing Fox》, 2 《Irencrag Pyromancer》 and 1 《Zenith Flare》 in hand… but, BUT, I decided to Cycling attack and go with 《Zenith Flare》.
As you can see, it looks “safe” from my side being at 16 life, but after the 《Disdainful Stroke》 he had an 《Alrund’s Epiphany》 + 《Embercleave》 on the extra turn, losing a game where if I play better I could easily win.
I still don’t know why I was so anxious to win since it was easy to play around his counterspells and win the game in the next turn… but well, we always have a lot to learn!
If you want to watch the entire match, you can always check my Twitch.
I end up wining game 2 and losing game 3… a pretty rough start that shook me a bit.
Round 2 (and round 9) were pretty similar, I won 2-1 and 2-0 losing a game keeping 2 lands on 6 cards and not finding the 3rd one. Lucky me that it was the game where he goes t4 《Emergent Ultimatum》 on the play xD
*(the land count is one of the problems that make this deck unstable sometimes and there is nothing you can do to fix it without butchering the deck)
We had a pretty solid plan with several counterspells, but since Sultai can adapt to everything, we expected few sideboard slots against us.
In this case, Ivan decided to register 0 copies of 《Elspeth’s Nightmare》 and 0 copies of 《Go Blank》, both broken cards against us, and no 《Eliminate》 game 1, which allow you to play your 《Flourishing Fox》 on the very first turns and spend the time Cycling, and then put the opponent on 1 《Zenith Flare》 range.
Game 2 I kept a hand of 6 cards with one land and the second one was in 7th position, while Mike has 4 attackers with 《Anax, Hardened in the Forge》 + 《Embercleave》 on turn 4. Nothing to do this time, I was still affected and sad with the very first game of the day.
After round 3, the rest of the day was Historic, so I’ll talk about that later!
Round 7, against Christian Botelho, I lost a close game 1 where the key card was guessed what? 《Embercleave》 (yeah, is a nightmare against us…).
Round 8 was a mirror match against Kenji, and it was incredible: I still don’t understand how I won the game. Game 2 was pretty tricky as well, having this finish (you can avoid the next photo if you don’t want to get spoiled at the end of the game! (I recommend watch it if you want to enjoy a mirror where topdecks are incredible, basically the one who cycle better and finds the 《Zenith Flare》 win).
Conclusions about Standard, after a 3-3 (that could be a 4-2)
I wasn’t happy because of the mistake, but overall I felt the deck choice was just “ok” We expected some Naya Adventures on the field since we had a good match up, but there was only 1 copy between both leagues, and didn’t payout in the end.
Now is time for some spicy Historic.
With enough time to try new decks, Matias brought to the table the 《Velomachus Lorehold》 deck, with a very good record on the ladder.
I tried the deck and felt it was a really powerful deck.
We spend some days tuning the deck and playtesting against the tier 1 decks, and since the last big changes, 《Fire Prophecy》 and 《Memory Lapse》 came to stay, both really powerful cards in this meta. The deck started to perform really well against pretty much everything, besides Izzet Phoenix and decks that can handle the 《Velomachus Lorehold》 efficiently.
Javier spent most of his time during those days working on Izzet Phoenix, and after some sessions, he felt better with Izzet Phoenix than with 《Velomachus Lorehold》 against most of the decks.
A few days before the deadline, Sebastian decided to play Izzet Phoenix, and told me that I should play it since I would love the 《Expressive Iteration》 in that deck (before 《Fire Prophecy》 I was trying 4 《Expressive Iteration》 in the 《Velomachus Lorehold》 deck, sadly is not the best house for the card).
I tried the Izzet Phoenix and I confirmed what Javier said, very good match up against Gruul and creatures deck, without losing against Jeskai (I´ll talk about Pact later I know).
On the other hand, Matias was trying his new technology (《Nezahal, Primal Tide》) and it was working pretty well, so I was in doubt between both decks, but in the end, I joined Sebastian and Javier and submit Izzet Phoenix with them. I think Javier is one of the best (if not the best, I really can´t tell) preparing for tournaments, and after failing to try to convince him to play 《Velomachus Lorehold》, I followed him.
Deck List: Izzet Phoenix
Deck List: 《Velomachus Lorehold》 Combo
|Round 4||Christian Hauck
|Round 5||Grzegorz Kowalski
|Round 6||Kenji Egashira
|Round 10||Luca Magni
|Round 11||Jacob Wilson
|Round 12||Shintaro Ishimura
The matches against rogues both were really good matches, I strongly recommend watching, a lot of cool plays on both sides.
In the round against Kenji, I felt the matchup was very good, and I was really lucky, having reactive draws with free 《Arclight Phoenix》.
The Pact moment arrived, with the fresh news about the ban, and in my case, really happy about it.
We tried the deck but we didn’t realize how strong it could be and dismissed the deck early in the process. That made us not expect many copies of the deck, but as you know we got it wrong, and it ended up costing us as we had a bad match up against it with Phoenix.
I faced 3 Pact decks, and won only 1 game, funny story, it was thanks to the 《Mystical Dispute》 that I asked to move to the maindeck to have at least 1 counterspell in case that the 《Tainted Pact》 opponents couldn’t play 《Wishclaw Talisman》 t2 and activate on 3 without any downside.
The game post board is quite much better, even favorable for Phoenix, but I couldn´t win any of the 4 games post board either, I guess I was a bit unlucky there.
I have a real shot to earn a spot in the last MPL and I’ll try my best to achieve it!
Thanks for reading, and see you online!