The 2011 PTQ Season
Last week, the PTQ season was announced for PT Barcelona. MTGO will host sixteen Modern PTQ events between January 14, 2012 and April 1, 2012. Open to everyone who hasn't qualified yet, you can earn an invitation to PT Barcelona, and an invitation to compete in the Pro Tour Avacyn Restored Superdraft; all without having to wear pants! Pro Tour Barcelona takes place May 11–13, 2012. The online PTQ events will take place in the Scheduled Events room (Menu > Play > Tournaments > Scheduled Events), and will cost thirty tickets to enter.
This is going to be an exciting time in the Modern world. Since this current flurry of SEs started, the Modern meta has been in a constant state of flux. At the time of this writing, Jund seems to be the largest segment of the SE meta. Splinter Twin is appearing in increasing numbers. Merfolk, UW Tron, Affinity, Martyr Proc, Pyro/PiF Storm, and Melira Pod all seem to be putting up good numbers, as well. A half dozen other decks (Blue Zoo, Teachings, Tokens, Death and Taxes, etc.) are in on this action, as well. It will be interesting to see how the PTQ meta shapes up.
Throughout this PTQ season, I will be trying to bring you the results, and how I think those results will affect Modern. If I can scrape together thirty tickets, and have a free day, I will play in one myself, and bring you first hand coverage. Not because I have any hope of winning, but because I want to. I am learning to use Hypercam, as well, so this first hand coverage may include video!
Two hundred and four players entered the first online PTQ of 2012, and Matti walked away with the gold, piloting Splinter Twin. (There were three Splinter Twin decks in the Top 8.) tkgons took the silver with a W(g) Tokens deck that made it to the brackets. Fae ended up in the bronze position, piloted by stainerson. (Isn't it nice seeing Fae rearing it's head again!?) The first non-podium finish was a Melira Pod run by Gainsay. Places five through eight were, in order: UW Aggro/Control, Splinter Twin, Splinter Twin, and Geist of St. Bant.
Looking at the Top 32 decks, I see six Splinter Twin, five Affinity, four Pod, a smattering of Merfolk, Jund, Bant, and Delver, and a few others. Even Boros and Elves!.
Deck Numbers in Top 32:
Splinter Twin - 6
Affinity - 5
Pod - 4
Jund - 3
Merfolk, Bant, Delver - 2
W(g) Tokens, Fae, UW Aggro/Control, Teachings, UB Control, Reanimator, Boros, Elves - 1
I'm thinking that Splinter Twin is the deck to beat. I'm sure many more showed up that weren't listed in the Top 32, and the numbers put up by Splinter Twin in the SE's and PE's are increasing daily. It is a resilient combo, and right now seems to be poised to take it's place near the top of the food chain.
The second online PTQ of 2012 had two hundred fourteen entrants, and kbr3 got the gold running Boros. U/W Control, piloted by haiSOOOOdesu, took the silver. MTGO Academy's ChrisKool took the bronze with Pod, and eh loko took the first non-podium finish with Jund. Places five through eight were, in order: Fae, Splinter Twin, Jund, and Affinity.
Deck Numbers in Top 32:
Delver, Jund, Pod - 4
Affinity, Splinter Twin - 3
Jund, Pyro/PiF Storm, UW Control, W(g) Tokens - 2
3c Tron, Blue Zoo, Boros, Fae, RDW, Reanimator - 1
Even though Boros won this PTQ, I still think Splinter Twin is going to be showing up in large numbers when we get to GP Lincoln. There will probably also be large numbers of Jund, Pod, Delver, and Affinity. In fact, let me make that my predictions: 1) those 5 decks will make up over half the field, and 2) there will be surprisingly little Zoo. As a corollary to that, I also predict that any Zoo that does show up will most likely be Blue Zoo, and will fall by the wayside early. Only time will tell if I'm speaking prophecy, or merely spouting nonsense out the side of my neck.
This GP is now about a month away. Looking at the wide variety of decks in the Top 32 from both events, and what's going on in the SE's and PE's, it really is anybody's game.
Overdrive! # 29 Round-up
After sitting out the first round as a seeded bye, ThyShuffler took on all comers, knocking out Wolf Run Humans, Doran Rock, BUG Control, and finally BR Vampires for his second Overdrive! championship. (He took Overdrive! #26 with RDW) This a solid aggro build; none of that fancy-schmancy-watch-the-clock-nancy combo stuff here. Just straight up in your face aggro.
I somehow missed seeing ChrisMH77's seed points, so he had to start from the ground floor. On his way to the finals, these Vampires devoured UW Control, Boros, W(g) Tokens, and Tezzerator. They apparently couldn't take the taste of Elf blood, though, and were trampled underfoot by TheyShuffler and his Elf brigade.
Black Knight, while evoking time warps to the late 90's, proved to be a solid meta choice. The Protection from White allowed this non-vamp to cruise through practically unmolested in the first three matches
After taking down RDW, Project Melira, and another RDW, toolazytostand's Tezzerator finally got the big bite from BR Vampires. And once more I find myself without anything meaningful to say about a controlish deck, other than "nice beaters!"
Event newcomer _BIG_BROTHERS_ piloted this BUG Control deck to the semifinals, plowing through Bloodcrank, Affinity, and Elves before being taken down by ThyShuffler's Elves. With it's four Garruk Relentless, and four Liliana of the Veil, I was almost tempted to call it Superfriends. If I had seen a Karn Liberated lurking in there, I would have.
Eurodrive! #13 Round-up
milegyenanevem took his Goblins to the top of the heap for his second Eurodrive! championship. He took the Eurodrive! #3 championship with Goblins, as well. There are some interesting Goblins in this deck. Intimidator Initiate is not a card you see every day, but it certainly seemed to get the job done. I rarely see Goblin Cohort outside of Pauper. But with the concentration of little green men in this deck, it works just fine.
Sbena waltzed this Tempered Steel build through Vampires, Kaio, and Dark Splinter before losing to mile's Goblins. I think the addition of Mikaeus, the Lunarch is a cool choice as a "fifth Steel Overseer", and is interesting tech. There's not much to say on this deck archetype that hasn't been covered already. So let me just say this is a rockin' deck.
Asia sat out the first round as a seeded bye, then killed BW Control. Splinter Twin showed up twice in this week's Eurodrive!: the other Splinter deck fell in round one to 5c Aggro. This deck fell to SBena's Tempered Steel. Despite Splinter Twin's mediocre performance at Eurodrive! #13, I stand by my guns that it will feature prominently in GP Lincoln.
marcio costa brought this poisonous little number to the dance. GW Tokens and Goblins both lay dead, with The Coasters - Poison Ivy playing as background music. Then he met up with milegyenanevem's (say that three times fast!) Goblins. These Goblins had thicker skin, and marcio's fangs couldn't sink in.
We are well past one hundred SE's having fired since our initial "SE Party" on December 11th, 2011, and are well on our way to hit the one hundred fifty mark before the month is out. Forty nine SE's fired in December, and sixty two more fired in the first two weeks of January.
There is weirdness in the SE/PE/PTQ scheduling. Although all four scheduled PE's fired, their placement within a hour of a SE or PTQ means attendance may have been lower than anticipated. PE 3284020 fired with the minimum number of players needed, and was scheduled for start 1/2 hour after the start of SE 3283869, which had 52 players. SE 3283877 was scheduled for start 1/2 hour after PTQ 3290352 start time, and had a significantly lower number of players than "normal".
Blippy's Bio Blurbs
Mom and Dad on their Honeymoon
March 13, 1963, Lyndhurst Freight Terminal
The diesels shut down, and a sudden silence filled the hold. They were here! Uschi quickly gathered up Blippi, and scrambled back into her crate. She latched the lid from the inside. She sat in her crate, shivering with anticipation. An interminable while later, there was a series of loud clanks as her crate was secured, and lowered onto the bed of a waiting truck. After a short jaunt, her crate was deposited in a warehouse. Uschi huddled in the darkness, listening to the machinery and shouts of men as they filled the warehouse with more crates from the Zeppelin.
After a few hours, the warehouse became quiet. Uschi cautiously peeked out of her hiding crate. Seeing no one around, she crept out of the crate and grabbed her backpack. She made her way to a door with a glowing red EXIT sign above it, and taking a deep breath, stepped into the cold New Jersey air. A quick glance showed no one around. Uschi ran into the night.