Accumulated Knowledge- 52nd Place Grand Prix Pittsburgh Report

For those of you who had read my last article you know I was on the Valakut Plan at the SCG Richmond Open event when I lost my bubble to the U/R twin deck to fall just short of top 8. Never the less I picked up my list evaluated it and tried to figure out the weaknesses. Back to the testing tables! Here is the 75 I decided to sleeve up.

3 Khalni Heart Expedition
1 Avenger of Zendikar
4 Primeval Titan
3 Inferno Titan
4 Oracle of Mul Daya
3 Summoning Trap
2 Lightning Bolt
2 Natures Claim (Probably should have been naturalize to play around mental misstep)
2 Green Sun’s Zenith
4 Explore
4 Rampant Growth
4 Forest
2 Verdant Catacombs
1 Raging Ravine
2 Evolving Wilds
3 Terramorphic Expanse
11 Mountains
4 Valakut, The Molten Pinnacle

3 Slagstorm
2 Pyroclasm
2 Obstinate Baloth
2 Combust
2 Gaea’s Revenge
2 Ricochet Trap
1 Nature’s Claim
1 Acidic Slime

I wanted a list that was still very strong against control but also had a better splinter twin combo seeing as it was my only losses in the SCG Open. I also really like the Summoning Trap and Zenith split is very good. Against agro you would rather have the zenith so you can tutor up your Obsidian Baloths, Primeval Titan and Avenger while trap is much better against the control allowing you to play multiple spells a turn and ensuring that they don’t counter Oracle of Mul Daya. (which is a beating against control)
If you have any questions on any of the card choices or side boarding I will be happy to answer them below in the comments sections.

Without further ado here is my tournament report…

Round 1- Bye
I only had one of these this time. I fell a little short of 2 on rating. (1924)

Round 2- Rachel Rodgers - B/R Beats
Rachel was very nice from Kent State, rocking her “elf ears” I thought I had a pretty good reed on what she might be playing, boy was I wrong.
Game 1
Her Turn 1 Goblin Fireslinger, Turn 2 Stormblood Berserker, Turn 3 Stormblood Berserker was just a little 2 fast for my keep. She easily won this game.
-4 Oracle of Mul Daya -2 Nature’s Claim -1 Summoning Trap
+3 Slagstorm +2 Pyroclasm +2 Obstinate Baloth
(This was pretty standard most the day for my agro and mono red matchups)
Game 2
This game was pretty simple; turn 4 titan was enough to set me up for the win on turn 5.
Game 3
This game I had 2 Pyroclasm and 2 Inferno Titan. Plenty to deal with her aggressive 2x Goblin Guide draw.

2-1, 2-0
Round 3-Chuck Bowser – U/B Infect
Deck Check! God I hate those they always make me nervous. We got our decks back no penalties.
Game 1
He leads with an Inkmoth Nexus followed by an Island and activation. My Nature’s Claim became an instant speed Stone Rain. This game went long though as I stumbled on land drops even though I kept 3 in my opener. He Corrupted Conscience my first Primeval Titan. I played a second and killed it with 2 Valakut triggers. He plays a second Corrupted conscience on that titan so I zenith up a 3rd and win.
-2 natures claim’s -2 Lightning Bolt -1 Khalni Heart Expedition +2 Gaea’s Revenge +2 Ricochet Trap +1 Acidic Slime
Game 2
This game I played an Oracle ramped into a Gaea’s Revenge revealing a Gaea’s Revenge off oracle. He had to read Gaea’s Revenge a couple times I drew my revealed Gaea’s Revenge and he replied with, “Are you serious?!?!?” I chuckled a little bit and filled out the match slip.
2-0, 3-0

Round 4 – Daniel Posey – Mono Red Goblins
Game 1
Mulligan to 5 kept a good hand with no green source and failed to draw one in time.
-4 Oracle of Mul Daya -2 Nature’s Claim -1 Summoning Trap
+3 Slagstorm +2 Pyroclasm +2 Obstinate Baloth

Game 2
Being on the play with a turn 4 Inferno Titan was enough to get this one.
Game 3
I kept another non green source hand on the draw but this time it was only a mull to 6 however I had bolt, Pyroclasm, Inferno Titan and 3 lands. I ripped a green source off the top so I could start casting ramp spells as I drew them. The disruption was plenty to handle his goblins list.
2-1, 4-0

Round 5 –Kenny Oberg- U/R Twin
Kenny is a long time pro on the Swedish team. He’s had reputable finishes at the pro tour including a couple top 8 appearances.
Game 1
I was on the draw witch was extremely bad seeing as this is by far my worst match up. I had a good hand to be aggressive with a turn 4 titan I fetch up a Valakut and a Teramorphic Expanse so I can kill his creature in response to the splinter twin next turn if I untapped. I never untapped as he was able to combo that turn.
-2 Lightning Bolt -3 Inferno Titan -1 Avenger of Zendikar +2 Combust +2 Ricochet Trap +1 Natures Claim +1 Acidic Slime. (The slime is not great but it’s a decent card to trap into if they counter Oracle of Mul Daya and race there mana and better than avenger.)
Game 2
On the play he scooped to another turn 4 titan fetching the same thing , this time it was fast enough to race his combo.
Game 3
On the draw I mulligan to a hand with disruption (Nature’s Claim) he casts a Gitaxian Probe to see my and and ends up playing a Spellskite to ensure his combo then passes. I drew for turn cast the Explore in my hand play my lands and pass turn with a distraught look on my face. Kenny runs his combo out there and I played my Combust that I drew off the Explore.
2-1, 5-0
Round 6 – Andreas Nordahl – Caw Blade
Another Pro in town that made the trip up to the GP.
Game 1
He plays the aggressive rout casting turn 2 Squadron Hawk along with more in the turns to follow. This tells me he has no counter magic. On the draw I cast an early titan searching up some Valacuts. He Oblivion rings my Titan and I had the end step Natures Claim to answer it. Next game.
-2 Lightning Bolt -1 Nature’s Claim +2 Ricochet Trap +1 Acidic Slime
Game 2
On the draw again he had enough counter magic to disrupt me long enough for his Squadron Hawks to do work.
Game 3
I mulliganed to 6 and kept a 2 land Explore, 2x Khalni Heart Expedition, and titan. After casting my Khalni Heart Expedition, on turns 2 and 3 and explore on turn 4 I never made my 3rd land drop and picked up my first loss.
1-2, 5-1

Round 7 –Paul Rietzl – Pyromancer Assentation
Paul is one of my favorite Pros because of his normality. I remember when I was in Paris he was running back and forth between his feature match in the Grand Prix and his top 8 match of the Pro Tour. He ended up out of Top 8 reach in the Grand Prix because of his game losses received while he was playing the Top 8 of the Pro Tour.
Game 1
This game my Prime Evil Titan was a little to fast for his deck to get its engine running. He conceded after he bounced it. And didn’t have the counter magic to deal with it when it hit play the second time.
-2 Lightning Bolt -3 Inferno Titan -1 Avenger of Zendikar +2 Combust +2 Ricochet Trap +1 Natures Claim +1 Acidic Slime (I didn’t see the assentation but I assumed that what it was because of Foresee and burst lightning in game 1 I still brought in the combust in case he was playing the twin combo too)
Game 2
Paul resolved an early Pyromancer Assention and Archived Trapped me on turn two. The only relevant cards he hit were 2 mountains and an Acidic Slime. I got my Prim Evil Titan down before he could get his Assentation active.
2-0, 6-1
Round 8 - Michael Kennelly – R/B Vampires
Game 1
Lost to his quick draw I kept a pretty decent hand against control with an oracle and trap both cars less than optimal in this match up.
-4 Oracle of Mul Daya -2 Natures Claim -1 Summoning Trap +3 Slagstorm +2 Pyroclasm +2 Obstinate Baloth
Game 2
I Kept a 2 red source, 2 Pyroclasm, Explore, Zenith. I didn’t think my 5 would be any better than that but an early duress ruined my plans as I was trying to sand back the Pyroclasm to get more value than the one Vampire Lacerator. After he plays Duress on turn 2 he takes my Pyroclasm and proceeds to play Bloodghast. I finally hit my Green souce play explore an Pyroclasm he follows with a second Bloodghast and a land to bring the other back. I was out of sweepers and he had plenty of cards in hand. GG.
0-2, 6-2
Round 9 – Eric Landiz – Caw Blade
Game 1
This game was not going in my favor. My opponent deliberately tried to create a game state where I would make a mistake. He plays Squadron Hawk searches for 2 hawks putting 8 cards in his hand. I have an Evolving Wilds in play. He said, “Ok I’m done.” I replied with, “How many cards do you have in your hand?” He said, “8” and immediately discards. I told him to hold on I had EOT effects (Evolving Wilds). He’s replied with, “No it’s too late for that” because after a player discards a card you cannot respond with EOT effects. He called a judge and the judge ruled in my favor so he appeals and the head judge rules in my favor as well. This process took over 20 min, however, we were only awarded a 12 minute extension. So we played fast as a draw for either of us would mean no day 2. He had countered my first Primeval Titan and I trap into…NOTHING! 🙁 Im trying to grind it out with active Valakut and grid him down to 12. I rip an Inferno Titan that resolves and he has the Oblivion Ring. He tech edges my Valakut and then end step bounces his Oblivion ring with Into the Roil. He plays a Phantasmal Image copying my titan and then Oblivion Rings my titan again. I Bricked on my next couple draws and lost.
-2 bolt -1 Natures Claim +1 Acidic Slime +2 Ricochet Trap
Game 2
Time is of the essence so I play at a fast pace and make sure he also is playing at a reasonable pace. I win quickly on the play with a fast Titan that he had no counter magic for.
Game 3
I don’t remember the beginning of this game as I didn’t take good notes because I was playing so fast. However the end was quite interesting. On turn 1 of time, In Play he has 2 Emeria Angle 6 Birds (2 Untapped) 5 lands one being a colonnade. In play I have 2 Forest, 4 mountains, 1 Teramorphic Expanse, and 1 Valakut, an Oracle of Mul Daya revealing a Rampant Growth. I am at 6 life him at 19. In hand I have Rampant Growth, Ricochet trap, and Acidic Slime. I swing with my titan fetching up 2 Valakuts he decided to take the damage. Now all I have to do is flip a Mountain with Oracle of Mul Daya and I win. Spell on top after the shuffle with titan. I cast rampant Growth; shuffle Titan on top. I Fetch with Terramorphic Expanse, yet another spell on top. My opponent is jumping for joy as i assign my Valakut triggers killing his Emeria Angles and one token. A colonnade activation with the other two birds will kill me. Then I play the Acidic Slime with one red open for Trap Back up. His smile quickly turned to a frown as I blew up his colonnade and passed turn. He attacks puts me to 1 and passes. I won the following turn.
2-1 7-2

Round 10 - Zach Jesse – Caw Blade
Game 1
I bate the counter magic with a Red Titan. I figured he either had an answer for it or was out of counter magic when he let it resolve so I take a couple swings and sand bag the green titan and play my Oracle I ripped off the top. Once he hit a low enough life total I played my Primeval titan that killed him upon resolution.
Game 2
This game was almost identical to the first.

2-0, 8-2

Round 11 - Josh W Utter-Leyton (Of team Channel Fireball) – Caw Blade
I saw the Channel Fireball team playing this caw blade list earlier in the tournament so I tried to do some research to see if they had any interesting card choices. One thing I noticed was main deck Mirran Crusader.
Game 1
I lost this one to the one and only Mirran Crusader on turn 3 and a sword on turn 5.
-2 Nature’s Claim -3 Khalni Heart Expedition +2 Combust +1 Acidic Slime +2 Slagstorm (This is not my typical Side board plan against Caw Blade however I knew he was playing Emiera Angel and Mirrian Crusader and I wanted to be able to kill them at all times. This is a great example of how side boarding is subjective to the particular builds your opponent has. Don’t ever thing that just because someone says to sideboard a particular way it is always right to do so.)
Game 2
My 7 had one land, my 6 had no green source, so I mulligan to 5. I keep a hand with 3 land Oracle trap. I drew a rampant growth and then a Primeval Titan. My Oracle resolves my titan does not. By then I drew a second trap he has a counter spell for the Titan and the first trap but not the second. I get another Primeval Titan and it was enough to get that one.
Game 3
My removal I boarded in was enough to by me lots of draws but his Jace Beleren created a little too much card advantage for me to handle. Eventually he got there with a Inkmoth Nexus and a Sword of Feast and Famine.
1-2, 8-3

Round 12 - Richard Q Nguyen - Valakut
Game 1
I wasn’t feeling good that morning. I was sick in the bathroom and when I came out I realized that time was already started. I was awarded a game loss.
-2 Inferno Titan +1 Acidic Slime +1 Nature’s Claim. I don’t have a lot of sideboard for this match because I feel that the best cards in this match are the cards you are playing in your main deck. After testing Memoricide and Act of Treason effects they just seem subpar. Killing their KHE before its active can be a huge swing in tempo.
Game 2
I had the faster draw and was able to kill his titan with Valakut triggers to lock it up.
Game 3
I’m not exactly sure what his sideboard plan was against me but he ramped into a Obstinate Baloth. My Primeval Titan trumped it.
2-1, 9-3

Round 13 – Marco Cammilluzzi – Valakut
Game 1
This game was tight but he was a little quicker than me being on the play.
-2 Inferno Titan +1 Acidic Slime +1 Nature’s Claim.
Marco mulligans once and kept a no green source hand, bad decision in the mirror. My fast hand punished him.
Game 3
Similar to the first game his hand was faster than mine even with a turn 2 ramp spell.
1-2, 9-4

Round 14 - Jeph W Foster – U/B Control
Game 1
He countered the titan on turn 5 and I trapped into an avenger that got there.
-2 Lightning Bolt -2 Nature’s Claim -1 Khalni Heart Expedition +2 Gaea’s Revenge +2 Ricochet Trap +1 Acidic Slime

Game 2
Another forced though with a Ricochet Trap sealed this game up.
2-0, 10-4

Round 15 - Dean C Bilz – Naya Pod
Game 1
Without the twin combo this match was pretty easy a natures claim bought me plenty o3 f time against his Blade Splicer token. I dropped an Inferno Titan and killed 2 Birds of Paradise and the Blade Splicer itself.
-4 Oracle of Mul Daya -3 Khalni Heart Expedition +3 Slagstorm +2 Pyroclasm +1 Nature’s Claim +1 Acidic Slime
Game 2
The sweepers created an obscene amount of card advantage and bought me seemingly endless amounts of turns to set up my combo.
2-0, 11-4

Round 16 – Jack Wang – Valakut
Game 1
His first ramp spell was an explore on turn 3 as I had a faster hand I was able to kill his titan upon resolution with a trigger from my inferno titan and a bold.
-2 Inferno Titan +1 Acidic Slime +1 Nature’s Claim
Game 2
he dismembers avenger with the come into play trigger on the stack. I kill his titan with my titan next turn and win the following turn.
2-0, 12-4

In conclusion, I would say this list is a great Valakut list for anyone looking to play it competitively. The great thing about this deck Is that it’s easy to swap a few cards in order to adjust it for the meta game. Id also like to note that the cards I would change if I played it again would be swapping the Natures Claim with Naturalize to play around Mental Miss step. Id also consider putting to Slagstorm/ Pyroclasm in the main over the 2 bolt and add additional cards in the SB.
Thanks for reading!