Winning GP Las Vegas

Hello guys! Today I will write about my win on the sealed portion of GP Las Vegas, that happened last weekend.

The format was Amonkhet Sealed, in which I was not confident at all because I had played only 2 sealed events before, and even though

I was lucky enough to Top8 in GP Richmond, the truth is that I was totally lost on deckbuilding.

To me, the format is 100% aggressive, so building with that in mind is what I was trying to do even on Sealed. When I received my pool

I saw that Red had the best cards, a good curve and a bomb (Insult//Injury), so I was pretty sure that I would play red. The problem was to find the color that combined the most with my red cards. I had a Samut but my Green had something close to 5 playables, so I had to discard it; my Blue had no playables as well.

While my White had some potential in form of 2 Fan Bearer, 1 Compulsory Rest, 1 Oketra’s Attendant and a lot of filler, I went to my Black cards and I had 2 Final Reward and some decent creatures that I felt that fit better in the curve than the White cards, so I ended up building this Black/Red deck (which I’m not sure that was right):

Honestly, I left the deckbuilding area devastated, talking with friends about how bad I thought my deck was, and that I
was going to drop on my first loss and needed a Modern deck to play the 3rd GP.

 

Since I don’t remember a lot of stuff of my matches I will just write the most relevant things that I can think about.

R4: BW 2×0

R5: BG 1×1: At some point during the third game I cast a Supernatural Stamina (Supernatural Stamina misplay #1)
targeting my Bloodrage Brawler to kill a 2/5 blocker, but the problem was that after combat I thought my Brawler died, and discarded a Miasmic Mummy.

I realized the mistake two turns later, called a judge and they couldn’t fix it (obviously), and I almost lost the game because I didn’t have enough blockers, but luckily I survived on turn 5 and escaped the round with a draw.

R6: GWU: 2×0 First game I had one card in hand, 5 lands on battlefield and 4 creatures on board, and I had to draw exactly a land on my turn to cast
Insult//Injury and draw a Final Reward on the following turn to win the game. Both things happened :).

R7: UW: 2×1 Third game I cast Insult//Injury and he forgot the Insult part, not blocking my 4/4 when he had 5 life #lucky. When the game ended he told that he would have lost anyway.

R8 BGr: 2×0 He had a sweet deck with Trial of Zeal 2 Cartouches, Sammut, Cut//Ribbons and lots of fixing, but Edifice of Authority won both of my games here.

R9 BW: 2×0 I played against Pat Cox who had a sweet BW with lots of cyclers, Liliana’s Mastery and Regal Caracal (which he didn’t draw). I remember casting By Force targeting his 2 artifacts!!

So I finished first day 8-0-1 with a deck that I thought I would drop in 3 rounds or so, but the problem going into Day 2 was I had no idea how to draft non Mardu colors; if I if things didn’t go in my favor I would not be able to draft either RW/BW/RB and probably wouldn’t do well, but that was the only plan that I had, so I was definitely going to force Mardu.

That was my first pod:

9 Deng, Steven [US] 27

10 Saporito, Thiago [US] 25

11 Orange, Gregory [US] 25

12 Tan, Richard [US] 24

13 Goles, Nicolas [US] 24

14 Jimenez, Cristian [US] 24

15 Timmler, Kye [US] 24

16 Michel, Gregory [US] 24

When I first saw my booster I had 4 real options, Sandwurm Convergence, Trial of Knowledge, Trial of Strength and Oketra’s Attendant.

I didn’t think a lot and took the White Card, got passed a 2nd pick Never//Return and a 3rd pick Start//Finish and after that started to pick the best black or white card until the end of the first pack. Second pack wasn’t good but I took a second Start//Finish and 2 Splendid Agony. When I opened the third pack I was thinking “Liliana, Liliana, please”, opened a pack with no good cards and had to hate draft a Green Cartouche, but then I got passed the Liliana!!! And then the cards that I wanted to complete my curve. I left the table very happy with this sweet Black/White deck:

R10 4C: 2×0

R11 UG: 2×0 this match I cast Liliana turn 5 both games and had everything to protect her (self milled Sacred Cat and Start//Finish on the first mill 2)

R12 GW: 2×1 my opponent had a sweet GW exert deck with Angel of Sanctions and Gust Walker, but on 3rd game he mulled to 6 on the draw and didn’t find the 2nd white source that he needed.

So I 3-0ed the first draft needing a 2-1 at draft #2 to surely make top8 since I had a draw. That was my second pod:

1 Herr, Paul [US] 36

2 Saporito, Thiago [US] 34

3 Cuneo, Andrew [US] 33

4 Simon, Michael [US] 33

5 Cheon, Paul [US] 33

6 Rubin, Steve [US] 33

7 Baker, Chris [US] 33

8 Chen, Tzu-Mainn [US] 33

I opened the first pack and saw Sandwurm Convergence again in a very weak pack that had Cartouche of Ambition and Grim Strider. Here I think I made an awful pick, picking Grim Strider over Cartouche, but it got way worse when I got passed a Vizier of the Menagerie which I picked (no Green in Mardu…) and ended up the first pack with a pile of 4 playable black cards and 3 playable green cards. But I open the second pack and here it is, Glorybringer! I thought a lot here since I had a second Naga Vitalist that would be very good in a green/black deck but, come on, it’s a Glorybringer!

No way I’m going to pass it, and after I picked it Steve passed me double Emberhorn Minotaur and a 4th pick Thresher Lizard. I just took all the red cards on the second pack and a Magma Spray P3P1 and saw no more red, but who cares, right? When I started to building my deck I realized that I had no 2 drops, only a Dune Beetle and a Miasmic Mummy, so I thought I would have a hard time making 2-1 since was the 1st pod of the GP.

 

R13 BW: 2×0. second game he was on the play, mulled to 5 cards, he cast Miasmic Mummy on turn 3 and I cast Glorybringer on turn 5.

R14 UR: 2×1. second game I tried to save my Blighted Bat that was targeted with a Magma Spray with a Supernatural Stamina (Supernatural Stamina error #2) which
obviously doesn’t work. But third game I cast turn 5 Glorybringer and he carried me to the top8!

R15 RG: ID I was almost sure that if I drew the last round I would be first seed anyway, so I had no real reasons to play this round.

13-0-2

So that was the Top8: (and yay, 1st seed)

1 Saporito, Thiago [US] 41

2 Zhang, Bolun [US] 40

3 Chen, Tzu-Mainn [US] 40

4 Cuneo, Andrew [US] 39

5 Herr, Paul [US] 39

6 Sigrist, Mike [US] 39

7 (16) Rubin, Steve [US] 39

8 (19) Pardee, Samuel [US] 39

I opened the first pack and I saw a rare enchantment…again, but this time it was a Liliana’s Mastery (sadly, had to pass a Gust Walker for it). Sam passed me a weak pack if I remember well and I 2nd picked a Final Reward, following them up with Trial of Ambition and Electrify, ending the first pack with a lot of black and a few red cards. I opened a Magma Spray and took it over another Gust Walker ( 🙁 ) getting passed an Insult//Injury,  so I happily took it. After a string of good playables I got passed an Archfiend of Ifnir P3P2, so I took some cyclers in the end of pack 3 and left the table really happy with this deck:

Creature (15)

1 Archfiend of Ifnir

1 Blighted Bat

2 Cursed Minotaur

2 Horror of the Broken Lands

1 Miasmic Mummy

1 Soulstinger

2 Wasteland Scorpion

3 Emberhorn Minotaur

2 Pathmaker Initiate

Sorcery (2)

1 Wander in Death

1 Insult // Injury

Instant (5)

1 Final Reward

1 Supernatural Stamina

1 Electrify

1 Fling

1 Magma Spray

Enchantment (1)

1 Liliana’s Mastery

Land (17)

8 Mountain

9 Swamp

40 Cards

 

Quarterfinals: I’ve faced Bolun Zhang playing an aggressive Red/White deck but unfortunately for him he flooded hard both games and didn’t do much.

Semifinals: I played against Paul Herr for the second time on the event, and this time he had a sweet U/R spells featuring 3 Cryptic Serpents. First game he
got stuck in 3 lands and I curve him out, second game I was the one having mana problems, so I had to cycle a tons of powerful spells, even discarding an Electrify to hand size, but I’ve managed to rip my 5th land just in time to Final Reward his first Serpent. Had an answer to his second one, and then he ran out of gas.

 

Finals: I played against Steve Rubin that you can see here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/152498517

The key turn of the match was in the second game, when he cast Stir the Sands and decided to not play his land drop to play around Miasmic Mummy,
getting punished by Insult plus Fling; I ended up killing 2 Zombies and a Colossopede in that turn. If he had left his pump spell up, I’d probably not have won the game. Third game he just mana screwed, and I could walk away with the trophy 😀

I finally got my first trophy, and I could not be happier about it! Before signing off I would like to thank my family who has always being so supportive of my career! And also my sponsors, Dex Protection, LigaMagic and Central Magic for everything that have provided for our team.

Now, let’s head to Kyoto where a 11-5 will give me Platinum for another year!

See you soon!

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