PPTQ Report with Sidisi Whip *1st*

Greetings AZMagicPlayers, my brothers and sisters. In the immortal words of Boston…It’s been such a long time. Not only since I’ve written, but since I’ve done anything in the Magic community worth writing about. This weekend saw me get my arm twisted by local hooligan Eddie Caudill, who wanted to attend PPTQs at Mesa Comics on Saturday and, if need be, the new Samurai West location. He bribed me with a full 75 of Esper Dragons, which I had zero games with, but, under coercion, I played and we both missed Top 8 at Mesa Comics, despite tight play and an overall feeling of great hospitality on the part of the store.

I was on the fence about Sunday, but Eddie was not, and would drive out of his way to provide me with both a new 75 cards, and a ride to the tournament. Friends like this guy, it’s hard to stay quit. This weekend were my second and third PPTQs of the season, third and fourth overall. I’m not in love with the system, and I also has zero games with the Sidisi Whip deck that I audibled to, but with the goal in mind of playing as tight as I could, and maybe winning some free comic book swag, I had complete faith that Eddie would provide me with the tools necessary.

Creatures (28)
Satyr Wayfinder
Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
Sidisi, Undead Vizier
Den Protector
Merciless Executioner
Hornet Queen
Deathmist Raptor
Courser of Kruphix
Sylvan Caryatid
Rattleclaw Mystic
Silumgar, the Drifting Death

Spells (9)
Whip of Erebos
Murderous Cut
Hero’s Downfall

Lands (23)
Polluted Delta
Temple of Malady
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Opulent Palace
Llanowar Wastes
Temple of Mystery
Yavimaya Coast
Evolving Wilds
Sideboard (15)
Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
Bile Blight
Drown in Sorrow
Disdainful Stroke
Reclamation Sage
Treasure Cruise
Merciless Executioner
Archfiend of Depravity
Dragonlord Silumgar

I had the option of running back my performance with Esper Dragons from Saturday, but Eddie had this deck on hand (which he played to an almost in on Saturday), and had decided to try U/g devotion. Sidisi Whip was a favorite of Reid Duke, who is a favorite of both me and Eddie, and the deck looked proactive and powerful, even though Esper Dragons would more accurately fit my typical play style.

I guess the venue just opened up in this location about a week before the tournament, and I have to give major props to Ramon Velez for owning it. Between exemplary customer service, complimentary bottles of water all day, and rearranging tables multiple times throughout the day to open up more space. It did not show, at all, that they’d only been there a week. I’ve seen Ramon travel to all the Samurai events to help them run smoothly, and he is definitely the man.

Round 1: Joe Veth, G/w Collected Company

Joe won the die roll and quickly beat me down with an Avatar of the Resolute, into a Surrak. There was an Aspect of the Hydra involved, as well as a Valorous Stance for my attempt to get some traction with Courser of Kruphix. I left Courser in on the play, acknowledging the grip of answers he was liable to possess, but game two was not a Courser game anyway. Joe took a mulligan, and I curved a Rattleclaw Mystic into a Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, and started making tokens. I had removal for his blockers, and without white mana, we were on to game three. I don’t remember if Joe ever cast Collected Company, but I know he never found Fleecemane Lion, despite having his colors online, he came out of the gates slow, and didn’t have enough cards to put any real pressure on me.


Round 2: Scott, Mono Red Burn

I took the play, and Scott took a mulligan. I observed my role early, focusing on keeping my life total high, running him out of cards, and finding a Whip of Erebos. I think I fed him a face down Deathmist Raptor, which died to Searing Blood, but after a couple of Satyr Wayfinders milled through my deck, I was able to Den Protector back both the Whip and the Deathmist Raptor. Game two, I took a mulligan, He was isolated on one land for a couple of turns, but led off with a Monastery Swiftspear, demonstrating tight play and familiarity with his deck by casting Titan’s Strength on his first upkeep to dig for land. He missed for two or three turns…enough for me to cast creatures that would demand his attention. I had a plethora of removal spells, and had milled a lot with Satyr Wayfinder, but had not found much pressure. Thoughtsieze revealed larger plans in his hand, namely Chandra, Pyromaster, as he was starting to hit land drops. I remember taking Arc Lightning, which was his only removal spell, to clear the way for a morphed Den Protector, so that i could play Whip and lock up the game. He drew Lightning Strike, and killed my morph whilst I was tapped, but still didn’t have any real pressure. I used another Satyr to find land 8, so that I could play and activate whip, and he drew and cast Searing Blood, which I countered with Murderous Cut. It was a well played match on his part, and my apologies to him for not recognizing his concession as quickly and succinctly as I prefer to.


Round 3: Eddie Caudill, U/g Devotion

Well, at least one of us would make it to 3-0. Eddies deck looked absolutely sick. Lots of decisions, rather difficult to play well, but very rewarding. When it’s better to Collected Company in response to a pre-combat spell on the part of your opponent, in order to find Silumgar Sorcerer, or to try and ambush mid-combat with stuff like Shorecrasher Elemental and Thassa. Lots of decisions, but it’s a rather intimidating deck to attack in Eddies capable hands. He won the roll, and cast a face up Stratus Dancer on turn two. I drew a Sylvan Caryatid (lucky, games with this card are so much easier), and curved out on the ground, but had to be very careful with my attacks. The second time I attacked him was for 10 damage, I believe with some tokens off of a turn three Sidisi that stuck(also lucky). Game two, he had a Thassa going early. I managed to keep his devotion down with removal spells, but my Courser beatdown was ‘trumped’ by Encase in Ice. That said, Eddie had the benefit of playing with perfect information for most of the game, and was able to trade off enough cards, and leverage enough value out of Thassa to chunk me, through no less than 8 Courser triggers. Game three I came out strong, I believe turn two Caryatid into turn three Courser plus land drop. He had some sky beatdowns, punished my attempt at a Whip with Disdainful Stroke. I had more trouble resolving a Sidisi than I should have, as Eddie pointed out after the game, I had forgotten that Silumgar Sorcerer could have been countered by my Murderous Cut, and I missed a small window where he drew another morph, Stratus Dancer, that resigned me to pressuring him with what I had on board first and foremost. Imperfect play on my part, but he wasn’t able to punish me.

3-0-2 into fifth place, 32 person tournament. I haven’t played many PPTQs recently, as stated before, but the draws I’ve taken have punished me for not playing, pretty consistently putting me in the lower half of the bracket, and therefore likely to be on the draw all day. It depends on my opponents, and my deck choice, but see myself taking less intentional draws trying to lock up Top 8, especially with the real goal in mind being to win.

Top 8: Cole Hill, Abzan Whip

We both came out slow, and I think the goal in the matchup is to be just a little bit slower than your opponent. He had some Siege Rhino action (we both opened up on Temples into Caryatids into Coursers). I had Hero’s Downfall for his Rhino, but he resolved a Sidisi, Undead Vizier trigger. He did nothing with his remaining two mana, so I Den Protecter’d a Thoughtsize, taking the Hornet Queen I knew he’d just tutored for. He did have a Whip (I was making very good use of the perfect information…Cole I think caught on and got real good at writing the stuff down game two), which I thought I could battle with my own Whip, but with his second Demonic Tutor, he was able to nab a maindeck Reclamation Sage, and end the game at 47 life.

Matt Goslar, Eddie Caudill, and Devin Jones had the inenviable task of observing this match, and keeping us accurate with our triggers, Coursers, and life totals. I appreciate it a lot, the game state definitely bordered on absurd, and Cole did a better job than I did managing some of the nuances. Game two was the last match going for Top 8, and we had dueling Whips as I fought for my tournament life. I let him resolve a Sidisi trigger, and he cast Tormod’s Crypt. I cast a face down Den Protector, and the turn after used my Whip to force his hand on the Crypt. I was able to save my Deathmist Raptors and get back (I think?) another Den Protector. Eventually, after we’d blown up each other’s Whips, I was able to get mine back. His board eventually contained 8 Hornet tokens, but without a Whip, my Den Protectors were able to attack past despite most of my guys being too cool to attack into bees.

Game three, I led off with my singleton Duress. Seeing a low pressure hand with a Caryatid I couldn’t take, and a bunch of removal, I took a Murderous Cut, and moved a Caryatid into a Courser to start digging. I think he Templed into a Doomwake Giant, but I had a Murderous Cut of my own. He drew well and got in some beats, I’m pretty sure this game saw him Demonic Tutoring as well, all the while shooting down my attempts to tutor masterfully.. But my Disdainful Strokes came in the clutch, and dancing Den Protectors and Deathmist Raptors got the job done.

Top 4: Eddie Caudill, U/g Devotion

Not like he gave me a ride and a deck, right? I took a mulligan. I think Eddie led with a Stratus Dancer, but I had Caryatid into Courser(must be nice). I once again had to wait until I had a decent amount of mana and pressure to mount an offense, but his board was Stratus Dancer (no+1/+1) and Silumgar Sorcerer when I drew the slowly drifting Silumgar, which he couldn’t beat. Game two, he took a mulligan, but came out with a Stratus Dancer and a Shorecrasher Elemental. I traded a Courser for the Elemental, and he shipped the turn with four mana, representing, among other things, the dreaded Collected Company. I think he cast it in response to my Sidisi (Brood Tyrant), but missed on Silumgar Sorcerer. I still had to pass, and he had a second Collected Company, but luckily (I guess) found only Thassa. He made me play tight, and chunked me down to four life with one turns worth of devotion, but I was able to deactivate the Thassa relatively safely.

Thanks for the deck bro. And everything.

After a prize split, Phil on Burn had conceded to my finals opponent after beating him. Which I don’t mind, but I know there’s a lot of talk around our community about when it’s appropriate to concede to someone. In my humble opinion, very rarely. You don’t owe it to anyone…in my 60 ptq career, I’ve never gotten a concession in any type of top eight environment. If you have to think about it too much, or feel guilty, or don’t know the person, beat them. you’re not dreamcrushing them, if they can’t beat you. Just my two cents.

Finals: Paul Cuillier, Esper Dragons

I started off game one with a mulligan. He waited a couple of turns on his Thoughsieze, which was pretty tight on his part, he cleared the way for an Ojutai, and used his near perfect information to counter through all my counterplay. Game two, I chipped away at him. Two damage, three damage, with a Courser, and then a Den Protector, which rebought my Duress to keep him on empty. He saw my hand, and couldn’t slip any action past my Merciless Executioner or Hero’s Downfall.

Game three was fought on the brink of disaster. No mulligans, he showed no white mana early. We were both very conscious of Crux of Fate being the elephant in the room, I had an early face down Deathmist Raptor applying some beats, that he killed. He cast a dig in response to my Thoughtsieze, and I took Crux. He had to Dig again on the next turn to try and stabilize the board, and came up with a Thoughtsieze that saw two copies of Den Protector and a Merciless Executioner. Over the course of the game, he had come up with a Temple of Enlightenment, which certainly signaled Ojutai. I drew Deathmist Raptor….which allowed me to continue with the same face down shenanigans I’d been up to all day. I cast it face down, with him being fairly sure it was a Den Protector. I remember him finding another Crux, but my remaining Den Protector in hand was able to close the match past Ojutai and Tasigur on the following turn, by bringing back Merciless Executioned and a pair of Deathmist Raptors.

Big thanks to Ramon and Eddie, and all of my opponents throughout the day. I’m sorry I couldn’t do our matches more justice: you were there.

I have every intention of representing Arizona at a RPTQ (the R stands for real, right?), for no greater reason than because I cost Eddie Caudill the opportunity this weekend. Thank you for your time, I hope this could offer some insight into Sidisi Whip ^_^