Fake Day 2 at Grand Prix Minneapolis

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I've been working on a Standard brew for about a month, and after taking it to a top 4 finish of a local even last Saturday, I was pretty excited to take the deck to GP Minneapolis. During the week in-between, I got beat up a lot in matches that I was generally winning before, though my draws were pretty poor and it would be too much work to audible if I wanted to. I would let last minute reps discourage me a lot in my college days, and it only ever resulted in picking up something worse unless I was deeply experienced with the format, and that's just not true for me and Standard right now. I still liked my deck, and I knew I had a fighting chance against anything with a few matchups that were pretty heavily skewed in my favor. This is what I took to the event:

The deck is built to abuse Eldrazi Displacer and Archangel Avacyn // Avacyn, the Purifier, and is capable of generating unbeatable draws in any matchup, though the curve does sometimes feel a bit clunky. I don't believe I'd go up to 27 lands, but it seems like I've kept a lot of two landers where I bricked on my third land and just lost. I'd consider subbing a second Foundry of the Consuls for an Anticipate then probably making the Anticipate something else like a maindeck Drowner of Hope, though I haven't experimented with this at all. The Anticipate slot was previously Hedron Crawler, and before that was Knight of the White Orchid, and for weeks has been the only slot that I have consistently been unhappy with.

I haven't accrued many planeswalker points this year, though the byes I "earned" the year before were still in play, so I had two for the event. I think that my deck is actually very good at beating up random decks, though byes are definitely preferred, and they enabled me to grab a decent breakfast, which I very rarely get before an event. I wasn't feeling especially "on" for the tournament, but I was in decent shape.

Round 3 vs. Monowhite Humans

This matchup basically only generates lopsided games, though they go in both directions. In this instance, I was on the receiving end of the beatdowns. Had I drawn an Avacyn in game one I probably would have won, though instead I drew four Skyspawner, which is great unless they have Always Watching. He did, and frankly I needed Avacyn exactly, so losing that game is reasonable. Game two was decided when my opponent had a Stasis Snare for the Avacyn that I did draw, and the game was actually otherwise somewhat close with him dying on four. I didn't respect the possibility of the Snare and don't believe that I could have won by playing differently, though it felt pretty terrible as it happened.

2-1 overall

Round 4 vs. Boros Eldrazi

I like my deck a lot against the other midrange Eldrazi decks. The red ones get Chandra, which is a very good card, though Reflector Mage and four Avacyn are huge here. I get a little jealous of Secure the Wastes plus Westvale Abbey // Ormendahl, Profane Prince from these decks, though I actually have a good number of answers to both.

3-1 overall

Round 5 vs. Esper Dragons

A lot of stuff went wrong in this match. In game one, I'm slightly unfavored, and drawing too many Reflector Mage and Declaration in Stone can just lose the game. The game actually ended up being a drawn out affair, though after I saw an empty hand with a Thought-Knot Seer my opponent draw Ob-Nixilis to kill the Seer into Dragonlord Silumgar which he also had mana to cast that turn... Game two I won very easily, and then in game three I kept a two lander on the draw that was exceptional but I bricked on the third land for several turns.

3-2 overall

Round 6 vs. Monowhite Humans

This time I got to do the crushing. In game one my opponent got very far ahead, and by that I mean they committed four creatures while I did some chump blocking with some creatures including a Skyspawner. On turn five I cast Avacyn, sacrificed the scion to Plague Wind him, and cleaning up from there was pretty easy. In game two my opponent stalled on one land.

4-2 overall

Round 7 vs. GW Tokens

If you know your opponent is on tokens, you're often supposed to just play Stratus Dancer face up on turn two to pressure their planeswalkers. Both decks have Avacyn, and you need to mitigate the "oops, I win" factor of their other cards while maintaining the status of your Avacyns as such a card. Play-draw is pretty important game one, and just casting the Dancer after getting a read from their first land can make all the difference. Post-board the Negates are huge, and can break serve against Nissa on the draw. Their deck is just kind of great, though if you play well you mostly only have to worry about getting blown out by Avacyn.

5-2 overall

Round 8 vs. GW Tokens

My opponent mulligained to five in game two of this match, which definitely helped, though the biggest swing was when I Negated his turn three Nissa when I was on the draw after mulling in game three. Having four Negates in the sideboard looks a little lazy, but they serve their purpose.

6-2 overall

Round 9 vs. Gruul Ramp

I had a bit of a rocky start, though I would have been happy to come out on top in round nine. Instead, I played against two draws from a Ramp deck that I don't believe I could have realistically beaten. Sometimes these games can be won with some crafty managing of counters, Thought-Knot Seer, and displacing Seer on their draw step. This time, my opponent's draws were just too good to disrupt.

6-3 overall

Over 400 players made two, and the payout is only to top 64. I was planning on just sleeping in and skipping day two, because starting from 249th place just isn't something that I'm very interested in. The birds were chirping early in the morning though, so I came out to battle. With some good luck I'd be able to win $250, and if I'm up anyway I could always drop if I wasn't feeling it at any point.

Round 10 vs. Bant Company

The nice thing about my deck, is that while it doesn't draw extra card, it does have ways of generating card advantage as well as large tempo swings. It may not look it on paper, though my deck shrugs off Tireless Tracker pretty well, and with the help of Gideon and Avacyn I won game one while my opponent had like, five uncracked clues. In game two I got to put on a clinic with Displacer, Avacyn, and Drowner of Hope. In case that doesn't sound absurd at first blush, it's kind of completely unbeatable. You sacrifice a scion to tap something or make a mana, flip Avacyn on the next turn, when Avacyn flips and triggers to damage creatures you displace her back to make your creatures indestructible, and your opponent can never control small creatures. Further, you can displace your Drowner to perpetually tap down their large creatures.


7-3 overall

Round 11 vs. Goggles Ramp

I made a mistake in game two that allowed my opponent to resolve Pyromancer's Goggles which was just dumb, though given the cards I drew in games two and three I think I was just going to lose. My opponent wasn't casting anything out of respect for counterspells in game three, and I tried to play into his fear and draw out of the fact that my hand was actually terrible, though I never found anything and just got crushed as soon as he started doing stuff.

7-4 overall, and dropped

A lot of 11-4s didn't cash this tournament, so dropping here just makes sense if you don't need pro points and aren't feeling playing Standard anymore. The current Grand Prix structure of 6-3s making day two and only paying out to top 64 is flawed in at least one way, though I'm sure you've heard enough griping about this before. I think it's a net positive that players are happy to make day 2 at 6-3, though it's a huge negative that such a small percentage of the day 2 field gets anything. I'm especially unhappy that Eric Hawkins missed cash in 65th place by a .007% tiebreaker. I'm actually pretty happy that I never committed to making it to GP Columbus, even though the opportunity to play Legacy does excite me somewhat.

I like my deck quite a lot, though it could be possible that despite the powerful synergies of my deck it's just a worse choice than the one-dimensional Tokens deck which has more avenues for easy wins. I have definitely been guilty of biasing against such decks in favor of trying to interact more when it was incorrect to do so, though if I had to choose between tokens and my deck I'd just run my deck back.

I think this deck is very good, it has free wins, and it allows you to outplay your opponent. That said, the fact that I have two cards sitting in a slot where everything just feels terrible is problematic. If you want to pick this deck up, I recommend putting in work to fix the Anticipate slot. Other than that I like the deck quite a bit, and if I end up playing and Standard before Eldritch Moon it's likely that this will be my weapon of choice.

Thanks for reading.

-Ryan Overturf
@RyanOverdrive on Twitter

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