Setting Goals: A PPTQ Journey *1st*

joel110x110Hi, my name is Joel, and I’m kinda new at this whole writing thing, so bear with me. I recently won the Wyoming, MI 1k PPTQ with a deck I’m calling RW Carroll, but I’ll get to that a little later.

This journey all started a couple of months ago at the TCG Player 50k Invitational. I traveled there with a good buddy of mine Mike Vasovski, who by the way is one of the coolest people I have had the pleasure of meeting and being able to call my freind. The tournament itself didn’t go all that well for me. I ended up losing my win-and-in to day two against a man who eventually made Top 8, Caleb Durwald.

Still, I had a great weekend, thanks to some great people and some great news for another good MTG buddy. Man, was it some great news. Raymond Perez Jr, a guy I have known for years, was well on this way to earning a achievement you only get one shot at – Rookie of the Year. To see him get such a achievement was insane.

I felt that “Well, if he could do it, whats stopping me?” I have played this game for just as long and have done just as well as him, but I never broke through. I knew I had to do something different. Something had too change. Goals needed to be set and accomplished.

Pro Tour, and nothing less. No SCG invitational qualification, No TCGPlayer qualfication. Just the Pro Tour. Which lead me to the first PPTQ in driving distance, where a judging error cost me a Top 8 berth. {EDITOR’S NOTE: I partially blame myself for not being more clear about my leaving the event, though I was pretty plain about it} Drove me nuts. The next stop was Midland, where I made Top two with the following list:

During the finals my opponent played miserably and still has able to get there thanks to some good draws and some Hornet Queens. I didn’t realize how weak my list was to that card until I had to play against it during seven of the 10 rounds. I felt I could make some changes and do better the next weekend.

Boy was I wrong about that.

A few more events went by, and it seemed like I couldn’t win a match if my life depended on it. Five events of either 1-2 or 2-2 drop led me to dropping Abzan entirely. I had worked really hard testing on MTGO with the deck, and it was the only thing I knew in and out. I didn’t have a deck lined up, and I didn’t have enough time to figure out something new all together.

Enter RW Carroll.

This deck changed everything. All credit for the list goes to Jacob Carroll. Everything about the list screams me. Dragons, Chandra, good removal, an aggressive game plan, and lets not forget lots of Mountains to channel my inner Dan Cato. I hope you guys don’t drool to much over this list, there’s an updated one at the end.

Now that I had a list that I felt good about, it was time to crush some dreams. The first event I planned on playing it in was the 10k old school ptq in Columbus, But that fell through because I didn’t trust my truck on such a long drive. Instead I decided to go to the 1k pptq in Wyoming, MI which was two hours less of a trip. Thank whatever higher being is out there I made this decision.

I don’t know if any of you have driven a couple of hours in a vehicle with out working heat, but it is not fun. I had to stop and get toe warmers and gloves. Once I got to the event, the only thing I could think about was getting signed up and getting warm!

In the event itself I went 5-1-1, drawing into the 4th seed. I don’t really remember the first four rounds too well, but I do remember what I played against and a few details.

Round 1: Jeskai Tokens 2-0 (Scouring Sands was a huge blow out in game two)
Round 2: 5-color creatures 2-1 (Siege Rhino, Mantis Rider, Savage Knuckleblade, other good stuff)
Round 3: RW Mirror 2-1 (pretty sure he mulliganed to four in game three)
Round 4: Abzan Aggro 2-0 (the most one-sided games ever)

Starting out 4-0 put me in a good position to top 8 with number of people in attendance. knowing I had to win one of my next 2 rounds and draw into top 8 in the final round. This is were it got a little scary for me. In round five my opponent was on Sidisi Whip, and I couldn’t find a third land both games. He downright crushed me. A little heavy-hearted after that loss, I got ready for round six, which was against another Whip deck. Luckily for me I stole game one with a aggressive draw, and game two of the back of Hushwing Gryff into Chandra into dragon.

Feeling better knowing I was going to be in Top 8, I walked around the hall and hung out with some buddies to kill some time and scout what the Top 8 was going to be. This was huge by the way, as going into every match knowing what I was playing against makes mulligans so much easier.

I played against Abzan aggro in the quarterfinals, which was another relief because the match up seemed so much in my favor. Basically, he played dudes, I killed them and then dropped a dragon or a Rabblemaster, then rode it to victory.

In the semi-finals I had the pleasure of playing against the Sidisi Whip player who gave me my loss in swiss. This time Around, I had to mulligan to five in game one, and didn’t stand a chance. I felt like that was it, another Top 8, but no win. In game 2 I kept a decent seven, but not an amazing one. A few dragon hits and some burn later and we were off to game three, where his luck just flat failed him. Nothing but mana, mana, and more mana came off the top of his deck.

Another Top 2. I had to win this time. My opponent was on Abzan Whip, which I felt so-so playing against. The Whip decks are very hard game one since alot of your cards are dead against them unless they stumble.

Game one was one-sided because of Hornet Queen plus Whip. In game two he decided to get aggressive with his Queen and tokens instead of blocking my guys, which allowed me to get him into Stoke the Flames plus Lightning Strike range.

In game three, my opponent started to stumble, and as he did so a grin began growing on my face. I knew it was over by turn five. He could not stop me. Finally, he extended his hand, and all the stress of the previous weeks of effort suddenly felt like nothing.

I had won!

With this win I am one step closer to accomplishing my goal of making it to the Pro Tour. All I have to do is make Top 8 of a regional pro tour qualifier. Wish me luck. If you would like to see me write some more let me know, and give me some feedback, as I have no clue how good I am at this whole thing. With that, I leave you with the updated list for RW Carroll, even if Fate Reforged may shake things up:

P.S. When your down on your luck, just dragon them