This past weekend I played in the Orlando Area Grand Prix. After seven rounds of swiss, I ended up with a record of 5-2 and had to rely on tiebreakers to get into the top 8. After going 6-1-1 at AGP Collinsville, I was nervous that I was going to barely miss the top cut again. After the top 8 was announced, I ended up in 8th place and earned my first AGP top 8! As anyone would be, I was very excited and couldn’t wait to play in the top 8 the next day. Below is the list of the deck I decided to play. I decided upon a Blue/Black Shion Control Deck similar to the one Alex Blandin took to the top 8 of AGP Collinsville with a few changes for the new format.
Main Deck: 40
Stone Deck: 10
Going into the tournament, the decks I expected to be the most represented were Reflect Control, Green Machina Aggro and Shion Combo (not control). I felt like my match up was 50/50 against the Reflect Control deck as long as I can control the amount of Change the Worlds are on the table. The Machina match-up is up to whether or not I can flip double Ruler’s Memoria before they go off. Interdimensional Escape is huge in the match up and can easily win you the game when played at the right time. Shion Combo is usually a good match up as I have 12 removal spells in the main deck as well as a main decked Horn of Sacred Beasts.
I was paired against a Shion Combo deck. I was able to control the board game 1 and was able to take it without much trouble. Game 2 I stumbled a little bit and was stuck with Down the Drains in my hand as I saw Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flame game 1. It turns out he sided them out for game 2 and I had the wrong answers for the threats he presented game 2. Game 3 I flipped early and was able to ride the angels to victory to start off the day 1-0.
I was paired against a Reflect Sacred Beasts deck, a deck I wasn’t expecting to play against because of how hard the deck gets hit by Interdimensional Escape. In game 1 I was able to use The Scorn of Dark Alice twice to strip him of 2 Huanglong, Leader of the Four Sacred Beasts. I had a hand full of removal and was beating him down with a lone Hera, Goddess of Jealousy. When he finally was able to draw the last Huanglong, I had Interdimensional Escape to seal the victory in game 1. After game 1, we didn’t have that much time left in the round, maybe around 15 minutes. In game 2, I had a Seal of Wind and Light for his Huanglong and went on the Hera beatdown plan. We went into time in game 2 while I was up in life signifigantly. I played a Celestial Wing Seraph to get Lucifer and held up blockers and was able to win the game 1-0 bringing my tournament record to 2-0.
I was paired up against Lucas Richardson, who went on to get 2nd place and earn his pain invite to the World Championship. He was on a NecroLance deck, which got a nice addition with the new set in Blood Boil, being able to deal the last 600 damage for lethal or buff your resonator by +800/+800. I lost the dice roll which is never good against a red aggro deck. Red does what it does best and attacks you with swiftness resonators and after just a few minutes we were onto game 2. I saw a couple Down the Drains and Scorn of Dark Alices, but it wasnt enough as a couple Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flames quickly closed the game out bringing my record to 2-1. Good luck in Japan, Lucas!
I was paired against another NecroLance player. I again lost the dice roll and was steamrolled game 1. Game 2 my opponent got off to an unfortunate start and didn’t have a turn 1 play. I also was able to use Hera, Goddess of Jealousy his only regalia and he hit a Ruler’s Memoria the next turn. I had a hand full out Down the Drains and Dark Purges throughout the entire game. We entered game 3 with a good amount of time left in the round so I knew we were going to be able to get in an entire game. I had a hand full of one mana answers to his plays in Down the Drain and Scorn of Dark Alice. After I was able to control the board, it seemed as if my opponent drew the wrong half of his deck. He revealed to me a couple of Necromancy of the Undead Lord and Blood Covered War Axe. This brings my record to 3-1.
I was paired against a Reflect Matchstick deck. I had previously tested against this deck as a couple of my teammates played it at states the weekend beforehand and my teammate Greg Meier was playing it at the AGP. I knew I had a really good match up game 1 as I have a bunch of removal for their win conditions and it only got better after sideboard. If I recall correctly, game 1 took about 30-35 minutes, leaving us only with a 15 minutes for game 2. I sided in Down the Drain for Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flames and The Little Match Girl. I also sided in Seal of Wind and Light for the angels I saw in game 1. I was able to trade resources and flip Shion into the angels. When he tried to resolve a Celestial Wing Seraph of his own I had the Seal of Wind and Light to seal the game and bring my record to 4-1.
I was paired against a Green Machina Aggro deck. We got deck checked at the beginning of the round and received a 16 minute time extension. Game 1 I was able to use Scorn of Dark Alice to strip my opponent of his Dark Machinas and Marybells. I think I actually played all 4 Scorns in this game. I set up a board state where I had a Possessor Princess of Love, Valentina with a Laevateinn, the Demon Sword on board. He flipped and I was able to use Interdimensional Escape to wipe his board and was able to steal what was left with Valentina. Game 2 I wasn’t able to draw either of my Interdimensional Escapes and was quickly run over by his swarm of Machines followed by a March of the Machines or two. Game 3 I was able to use Scorn of Dark Alice to strip anything relevant out of his hand, leaving him with only a few small creatures and mana dorks, but nothing to actually close out the game with. I was able to close out the game shortly after bringing my record to 5-1 and making my next match a win-and-in.
I was paired against Ken Tober and his Reflect Control deck. Game one took forever as we traded resources and both had Horn of Sacred Beasts up to refill our decks. No damage was dealt the entire game and I was left topdecking after he played a Celestial Wing Seraph. After drawing my card for turn I knew I wasn’t able to come back from his board state and scooped it up so we can have time for game 2. During game 2, I was attacking him low with a Hera for most of the game. We went into turns with him at a low life total, around 1000 or so. I misplayed and missed lethal damage to bring it to game 3. I pumped by ruler before my turn and before I flipped. He inresponse used The Last Drop to bring back Hera, Goddess of Jealousy to blow up my Laevateinn so I wasn’t able to attack with Shion. I had a Horn of Sacred Beasts up and missed the fact that I could have used it to shuffle his graveyard back into his deck, making the Last Drop not bring anything back. Anyways, I wasn’t able to deal lethal damage on the last turn and ended up losing the match 1-0. I wish the best of luck to Ken who already has his invite to the World Championship!
After the swiss rounds, I was 5-2 and had great tiebreakers. My two losses were the #2 and #3 seed, securing my spot at 8th place, just making it in!
I played against the #1 seed Zack Tufford and his Reflect Stealth deck. I hadn’t anticipated this deck taking the tournament by storm like it did, it’s a really sweet deck! In game 1, we traded resources for a while and he was able to stick a few stealth resonators and attacked me down to 200. He then used Blood Boil to finish off the last amount of damage. Game 2 I stumbled a little bit as I didn’t have a regalia in my hand after mulliganing 4 cards and hit Ruler’s Memoria turn 1. He back to back Scorn’d me and took a Hera, Goddess of Jealousy and a Blessed Holy Wolf. He also played a Barrier of Shadows. I was able to top deck a Hera, Goddess of Jealousy and blow up his Change the World which drew me into my own Regalia. Next turn, I was able to draw my other Blessed Holy Wolf and destroy his Barrier of Shadows. Unfortunately for me, he was able to use Space-Time Anomaly to kill my Angels and use his stealth resonators to close out the game 0-2. Good luck to Zack at the World Championship as well!
I would like to thank my team for helping me test for weeks leading up to TCGPlayer States and AGP Orlando. I would also like to thank my teammate Greg and his family for letting me stay with them in Florida for the weekend, it’s much appreciated! He also got top 8 in the ARG Sunday and took home the top 3 mat, congrats! And congratulations to Ryan Miles for taking home the title of AGP Orlando Champion.
In closing, it was a great time and was awesome to be able to travel for the first time. I hope to see everyone at AGPs next season. I really look forward to traveling more to events and playing more Force of Will!