Old news but, did you know that Siege Rhino is a good card? Here’s my latest tournament report for Grand Prix Oakland. Let’s start with what I played.
Clearly not a stock list. I’ll be the first to admit the 75 is incredibly greedy, but oh so powerful. Luckily, going into the Grand Prix I had two byes once again.
My 15 Rounds of Standard
Round 3 - Esper Dragons
Coming in to the GP, I felt great about playing against Esper Dragons. My only concern was the time and rate of play of these both of our decks. Game one I managed to take my opponent down to two, where he ended up stabilizing and resolving Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Can’t beat Ugin. Game two I caught him off guard by siding in to a more aggressive plan - Anafenza, the Foremost, Pitiless Horde, Transgress the Mind, and Tasigur, the Golden Fang all came in. Game three, big surprise, we hit time. I managed to whittle him down to 3 with Shambling Vent and then slap the top of my library and find a Siege Rhino to beat him on turn three of turns. Good game. 3-0
Round 4 -Dark Jeskai
I let my judgement of the player get to me. I played against this opponent in the past and put him on a deck he was not on and lost game one. Silly me. Game two I took him by surprise as I didn’t show him anything game one. Game three my opponent took a mulligan and that was the end of that game. Who would have known that battling through Pia and Kiran Nalaar would be so brutal. 4-0
Round 5 - Bant Tokens
This wasn’t even on my radar of decks I would be playing against. Game one I showed him a more controlling aspect which wasn’t enough to face his Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and double Retreat to Emeria. Game two he boarded incorrectly and I swarmed him before he could get his board state online. Game three I took aggressive lines and my opponent began to stabilize. He ended up with a Gideon Emblem, a Raided Wingmate Roc, a Flipped Nissa, Vastwood Seer with an Elemental, and some Tokens. I was pretty much dead on board with my opponent at 5. Then I casted an end of turn Crackling Doom and flipped a Rhino off the top. 5-0 and feeling good.
Round 6 - R/B Aggro
My opponent played a slew of cards that I was not expecting. From Bloodsoaked Champions, Thunderbreak Regents, and Drana, Liberator of Malakir I was overpowered. Needless to say when I cast Duress my opponent had zero non creature spells in hand. Game two I boarded out some duresses to find myself against a horde of removal spells. 5-1 Was later informed it was Saito’s R/B Aggro
Round 7 - Eldrazi Ramp
I was concerned about this match up. No matter which way I cut it, even with the four main deck Duresses, I strongly felt that ramp was going to be a bad matchup. Surprisingly, I took game 1 in convincing manner. My hopes were high. Game two I opened my hand with two duresses. I felt good until I casted one to completely whiff and see Leaf Gilder, Rattleclaw Mystic, and Oblivion Sower. Game three I managed to get my opponent down to 1 before we both went into topdeck mode. Evidently his top decks were stronger than mine. In hindsight I would have won if I fetched correctly and had the ability to activate Shambling Vent to apply more pressure on the beatdown. 5-2
Round 8 - Red Black Dragons
Getting exhausted. Game one my opponent went wide with Hordeling Outburst, and I couldn’t handle the pressure. Game two I brought the Anafenza, the Foremost in and hit the “aggro curve”, Anafenza, Rhino, Rhino. Game three it turns out I can’t beat triple Flamewake Phoenix. 5-3
Round 9 - Abzan Aggro
Unfortunately, I had to play against a friend I normally play at a local shop. Game one I got mana screwed, and he didn’t get to see much of my deck thus leading him to board incorrectly for game two. I casted a flurry of Rhinos and spells to close the game out. Game three was interesting in the sense that we were both missing triggers and not resolving the game state correctly. It was a long grindy game where I eventually won with a Soulfire Grand Master and Crackling Doom lock. 6-3 and into Day 2
Round 10 - Dark Jeskai
I was still exhausted from the previous day of magic and the commute to the convention center. I wasn’t ready to play. Game one I grinded him out mostly to not finding enough card draw. Game two he resolved a turn two Mastery of the Unseen and out valued me quickly by making two manifests a turn. Game three I punted. We had a fantastic back and forth all game. The turning pointing of the match was when he resolved a Monastery Mentor with me having two removal spells and Ob Nixilis Reignited in play. Opting not to use Ob Nixilis to kill Mentor and draw an extra card, I casted Crackling Doom and Murderous Cut to watch them be Negated and spawn two Monks. Hand to forehead. 6-4
Round 11 - Landfall
Game one I couldn’t get past two lands. Games two and three I happened to draw Radiant Flames and everything I needed to gain life, stabilize, and win. Pretty straight forward. I was concerned about this matchup as my deck is incredibly greedy and red preys on these decks. 7-4
Round 12 - Atarka Red
Or was it landfall? Granted my opponent flooded really, really bad in both games, he opted to play Atarka's Command to deal three to face and put a land into play. Wasn’t really sure what was going on there but I took the win. 8-4
Round 13 - Atarka Red
Please stop with the Mountains! Game one my opponent went very wide and I wasn’t able to stabilize the board. Game two, I drew my sideboard cards like the previous match in addition to Rhinos. Again, Siege Rhino, good card. Game three I mulled to Five. Not ecstatic of the hand I kept because it had lands and a Duress. Turns out my opponent didn’t keep a great hand either. Duress revealed Cinder Glade, Forest, Dragon Fodder, Dragon Fodder, Goblin Heelcutter, Rending Volley, and Zurgo Bellstriker. I managed to get my Rhino roasted, cast Kolaghan's Command the Heelcutter returning Rhino, and casted it for the win. 9-4
Round 14 - Abzan Aggro
Game one was not fun. Long story short, I fetched wrong and lost the game. Games two and three were probably some of the most fun games I’ve played though. Just pure good ol’ fun grindfest with Soul Fire lock. 10-4
Round 15 - Bant Tokens
Again?! Both games I flooded and drew blanks. I felt good when I duressed away the Gideon, but he ripped one off the top and I couldn’t hang. 10-5
All in all, Oakland was fun. Played a great deck and had fun with friends from out of town. I’m looking forward to the next GP. Maybe I can play another before Los Angeles.