Hello everyone, my name is Lukas Blohon, I am a Platinum pro from Czech Republic and this is my first article for Hareruya. I won [Pro Tour: Eldritch Moon] last week, so I will write about my expectations, preparation, about the tournament itself, sideboarding and how would I change the deck for the upcoming weeks.
Going into the tournament, I was sitting at 51 points, locked for Platinum and looking to secure my spot at the World Championship. To do that, I would need a 10-6 record, which is worth 6 points that would put me at 57 – a threshold I thought would be good enough to qualify. I did not know that it actually was 58 points, so I would need one more win or draw.
Preparation was done as usual with my team: Cabin Crew. Most of our team met in the cabin on July 19, in the middle of nowhere in the Czech Republic near the city Prachatice. As usual we started drafting, 3-4 drafts a day and a little bit of constructed.
First deck we built was Bant Spirits, courtesy of Niels Noorlander(2015 MOCS winner). The deck reminded me of faeries, because most of the cards had flash, used some of the most powerful cards in standard (《Spell Queller》, 《Collected Company》) and was hard to play against because of those elements. This continued to be the deck most of us considered playing for the PT, because it was solid, fast and powerful.
It was a bit soft to Liliana and Aerial Volley, but the biggest problem was that it was really hard to play properly, because you had to play around everything and once you screwed up there was no coming back from it. That was, at least for me, the main reason not to play it and try to find something I would feel more comfortable playing and that fits my play style better.
We started with BG delirium control, but didn’t find a version we liked, so we dismissed it after a while. Then I built BW creatureless control with planeswalkers, similar to what Seth Manfield used to win GP New York with. Only new additions were 《Liliana》 and her 《Oath》, both of which over performed. Both were great at protecting your other planeswalkers and made your opponent overcommit to the board and into a well-timed Languish.
The problem I had with this deck was that after sideboard, bant decks with their 《Negate》 would be really problematic, because they can just counter your expensive planeswalkers for 2 mana, while getting ahead with their card advantage creatures (《Duskwatch Recruiter》, 《Tireless Tracker》, 《Nissa, Vastwood Seer》). To fix that, I tried to add creatures to the deck, starting with an angel package (2 《Gisela, the Broken Blade》 and one of each of these 《Archangel Avacyn》,《Thalia's Lancers》《Linvala, the Preserver》, 《Bruna, the Fading Light》 + 2 《Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet》). I was really impressed by them, but after a while I realized that Gisela is just a worse Kalitas & Lancers are too cute and the Bruna/Grisela package is not really needed, although good in some matchups (mainly GW tokens).
On the other hand, 《Archangel Avacyn》 over performed, mainly because no one was expecting it out of BW control, and a flash finisher was great against bant decks trying to play the instant speed game against you. 《Linvala, the Preserver》 was great against both bant decks (Company & Spirits) and fine against all other creature decks. Also adding creatures made Liliana even better. Now Negates weren’t that great, instead Ojutai’s Command got way better, but that one is usually only played in 1-2 copies.
At this point, I was just tweaking numbers and figuring out last minute details. Just to name a few – cutting the second 《Sorin, Grim Nemesis》 for a second 《Ob Nixilis Reignited》– it is actually amazing how big a difference there is between these 2 cards, 《Ob Nixilis Reignited》 is great and 《Sorin, Grim Nemesis》 is pretty much unplayable in comparison. I wish I did not play any 《Sorin, Grim Nemesis》 and had instead played 3 《Ob Nixilis Reignited》 (but that might be pushing it).
Rest of the maindeck was pretty straightforward, with two 《Hallowed Moonlight》 against Company, various 《Prized Amalgam》 decks and some added value against 《Ishkanah, Grafwidow》, 《Chandra, Flamecaller》, 《Hangarback Walker》 and a few other cards. Last minute additions to the sideboard was the third 《Anguished Unmaking》, mostly against problematic enchantments like Fevered Visions, slower decks with planeswalkers and 《Elder Deep-Fiend》and two 《Infinite Obliteration》 as suggested by Martin Juza to help combat ramp, 《Emrakul, the Promised End》 and 《Elder Deep-Fiend》 decks.
The sideboard is the biggest advantage of this deck, and I think you improve more than your opponent in every matchup but Bant.
4 《Caves of Koilos》
4 《Shambling Vent》
4 《Forsaken Sanctuary》
1 《Blighted Fen》
3 《Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet》
3 《Archangel Avacyn》
1 《Linvala, the Preserver》
4 《Grasp of Darkness》|
2 《Hallowed Moonlight》
2 《Transgress the Mind》
2 《Ultimate Price》
3 《Read the Bones》
2 《Anguished Unmaking》
2 《Ruinous Path》
3 《Liliana, the Last Hope》
2 《Ob Nixilis Reignited》
1 《Sorin, Grim Nemesis》
4 《Gideon, Ally of Zendikar》
2 《Infinite Obliteration》
2 《Dead Weight》
1 《Ultimate Price》
1 《Transgress the Mind》
1 《Anguished Unmaking》
Three people on our team settled on the BW deck, rest split on Bant Spirits and Dredge Emerge and one person played GW tokens.
For the tournament itself, I managed to draft G/W Humans twice, which we thought was one of the best combinations and went 5-1 with it, losing only to Ben Weitzs great U/G emerge deck. In standard, I lost to a BG delirium deck with 《Mindwrack Demon》 and Yuta Takahashi playing Bant Company. I managed to beat two other Bant CoCo players, UB zombies, 2 RUG emerge/ramp (Pantheon deck), GR ramp and GW Tokens with 《Dragonlord Atarka》 and 《Thalia's Lancers》.
In the top 8 I had to face the Japanese version of Ramp, which is a tough matchup game 1, because you don’t really have anything to pressure them and they have an amazing card in 《Collective Defiance》 which answers both 《Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet》 and 《Archangel Avacyn》, also preventing 《Liliana, the Last Hope》 from ultimating and is great at enabling delirium and cycling through the deck. Eventually they will just play an 《Emrakul, the Promised End》 or two and win. In testing we played a bunch of games and I don’t think the BW deck ever won. But first game in the quaterfinals I actually managed to somehow get in a situation where I win unless my opponent draws two 《Emrakul, the Promised End》 in a row, but unfortunately that was exactly what happened. I also think I could have played that game better so he wouldn’t even have had those outs, so I only had myself to blame that I didn’t win that horrible game 1.
After sideboarding, it’s a completely different story. The BW deck improves tremendously, and although ramp gets some good cards too side into as well and they cut most or all of their instants, it becomes way harder for them to have delirium, so 《Traverse the Ulvenwald》 is basically a 《Lay of the Land》 and 《Ishkanah, Grafwidow》 is an overpriced 《Giant Spider》. Also 《Collective Defiance》 mode to loot away hands gets way worse because they get hit by more discard spells. And lastly, with 《Infinite Obliteration》 naming 《Emrakul, the Promised End》, you suddenly have way better lategame than them, unless things get out of the hand with an unanswered 《Tireless Tracker》 or something similar. Luckily I managed to win three straight games after sideboarding and I was up against Sam Pardee with B/G delirium control.
On paper the matchup looks miserable, but Martin and Robin playtested the matchup for me and discovered a few problems with the BG deck.
1) They don’t have many answers to planeswalkers, so I can easily have planeswalkers run away with the game while they are stuck with useless removal spells in hand
2) It is not that easy for them to hit delirium, especially if I don’t play any creatures so they have no targets for 《Grasp of Darkness》/《Ultimate Price》/《Murder》
3) I have 《Read the Bones》 in my deck and they generate card advantage with creatures that I can get rid of easily, so unless they get 《Liliana, the Last Hope》 going, they don’t have that much going for them and can easily get stuck with nothing but removal spells in hand. After sideboarding as usual the matchup improves, thanks to 《Gideon, Ally of Zendikar》 being an all star in matchups like this.
A combination of the above happened and I managed to 3-0 my semifinals match.
In the finals my matchup was again pretty bad before sideboarding. But Owen had pretty bad draws so I was able to win three straight games one more time. And that was it, 0-2 into 9-0 and I was the Pro Tour: Eldritch Moon Champion.
I will walk you through some of the matchups, but please, take my sideboarding guide with a grain of salt, the most important thing is to understand which cards are at their best in the matchups. Another important thing to realize is that even against people with the same 75, you can (and should) sideboard differently, because some people tend to play around cards like Languish more, while others just play everything into it.
vs Bant Company
This matchup is pretty good before sideboarding, because they don’t have any 《Negate》 and have to overcommit into 《Languish》 sometimes, which shouldn’t happen after sideboarding. You can’t really play super long grindy game against them, they will just grind you out because of cards like 《Duskwatch Recruiter》 scale so well. The easiest way to victory is to resolve 《Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet》, 《Archangel Avacyn》 or 《Ob Nixilis Reignited》 and start to generate advantage with them. You have to take risks, you can’t play around everything, because if they have it all you will just lose anyway (especially after sideboard). 《Liliana, the Last Hope》 isn’t that great, because it only kills 《Selfless Spirit》 (if they play it, and even then they should sideboard it out), their creatures don’t get stopped by her + ability and it takes too long to get to her ultimate.
Out (on the play)
Out (on the draw)
vs GW Tokens
Make sure to have an answer to 《Gideon, Ally of Zendikar》 and you should be fine. 《Evolutionary Leap》 is very good too, but your creatures (especially 《Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet》) can beat it. 《Liliana, the Last Hope》 is good on the play because it deals with 《Hangarback Walker》 well, but on draw I found it to be too slow (and you want more answers for 《Gideon, Ally of Zendikar》).
Out (on the play)
Out (on the draw)
vs BG Delirium (Face2Face)
Keep in mind that it’s not that easy for them to have delirium (especially after sideboarding), so sometimes it‘s correct not to play your creatures and just pull ahead with planeswalkers or 《Read the Bones》.
vs Temur Ramp/Emerge (Pantheon)
《Liliana, the Last Hope》 is good game 1 because it gives you some kind of clock against them, but after sideboarding you have 《Gideon, Ally of Zendikar》, so you don’t need them anymore.
Going forward, should the metagame remain similar to the Pro Tour, I would make some changes. I don’t think you need 4 《Languish》 anymore, because no one plays WW and there should be less Bant Company around. For some reason, 《Gideon, Ally of Zendikar》 is great against pretty much anything, especially on the play. While playing the deck I was pretty unhappy with the 6 drops, so I would cut those for extra 《Ob Nixilis Reignited》. All in all, I would start with these changes to my Pro Tour decklist and see if the deck works like that.
I would move Languishes into the sideboard and I can also see playing a third 《Infinite Obliteration》 if everyone is playing 《Emrakul, the Promised End》/《Elder Deep-Fiend》.
I hope you enjoyed my first article for Hareruya and hope it will help you to prepare for future standard tournaments. If you have any questions, ask me on [Twitter] and I will do my best to answer them.
Cards found in the Article
He’s represented the Czech Republic on the international magic stage for a long time.
Always devoted to his goal of becoming a better magic player, as remarked on by fellow Czech pro Petr Sochurek few people work as hard as Blohon at improving their game.
Achievements include a PT: Dark Ascension Top 8, GP Brussels 2015 Champion, 6 GP Top 8’s & just recently he was the PT: Eldritch Moon Champion. Now he joins the Hareruya Pros to continue making his mark on magic history.
- Breaking! 4 European Pro Players Join Hareruya Pros!
- Hareruya Media Team