A few days ago I did my write-up of the 4th Middle East Film and Comic Con in which I talked about my experience playing in the Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier for Milwaukee. It was a huge event with some 60-62 players, and it also was the biggest Magic the Gathering event to be held in the Middle East, which in itself is a huge achievement for the game in the region. I played the tournament with a funky deck that, while not realistically competitive, was a lot of fun to play in a lot of different ways, especially given the kind of decks I faced off against.
As part of that entire play experience, there were some cards from my deck that were pretty much MVPs. Matches where these cards stuck out on the board, I was able to win most of the time, and in many of the matches I lost, I lamented not being able to draw them (except lands of course, which doesn’t really count!). I’ve talked about my deck before and even some cards that I’ve been looking forward to playing in a competitive tournament, and this was a great opportunity to find out whether or not my excitement was justified. Which it was!
To the surprise of no one, I’m sure, one of the two biggest MVPs of the day for me was Dragonlord Dromoka. This is a pretty insane card and most pros and commentators hold the opinion that this card works much better in the sideboard for games 2 and 3 rather than maindecking for the first game. Given the way that my deck works, I needed a strong finisher and Dragonlord Dromoka ends up being exactly that. There was a match in round 1 of the tournament where I had this down along with a Citadel Siege in a previous turn, and this ended up being a 7/9 when I went to combat the turn it came down. But then the opponent just cause a Crackling Doom, leaving me with a lot of sad. In round 2 however, this card was stellar. My opponent, playing a somewhat aggressive Abzan Aggro deck, had a lot of trouble dealing with this card and just couldn’t work around it, which did net me both a win and a draw that round. In rounds 3 and 4 I didn’t really see the card much, and when it came down at all, it fell soon after. But I will definitely remember that round 2 where this caused no end of trouble for my opponent, justifying the inclusion in my deck.
And then we have Dromoka’s Command, a card that either won me or almost won me a ton of matches throughout the day. Insanely efficient in that it so cheap for what it does, modes 2-4 were what I used all day. Playing against an opponent running a lot of enchantment creatures, this was a 2-for-1 removal spell most of the time, and even in the third and fourth modes, it proved to be a beast. Suffice to say, a lot of the buzz about the success of the card is justified in my opinion, and thankfully the prices on this haven’t spiked as much as I’d feared in response to how successful it has been all across the board.
The mana on this card was painful to manage, but when this card came down and got boosted by things like an Abzan Charm or a Dromoka’s Command, it was amazing. There were also some fun combos to be had when I had this down with an Anafenza the Foremost in combat, and the combat tricks proved to be a boon for really upsizing my creatures. I run three of these bad boys in my deck and I’m happy with the number. Now, if I can just find that sweet Game Day alternate art version, I’ll be set for my full playset.
This is another insanely good card that has been a staple in many Abzan Aggro decks since the launch of the Khans of Tarkir block last September, and it proved itself yet again last weekend for me. The way that my deck worked, I had two copies of this in my sideboard, since I preferred to run with two copies of Dromoka the Eternal mainboard for the 5-mana slot. But it just so happened that I would be bringing Wingmate Roc into the mainboard after every first match and the card performed really well in rounds 2 and 4 especially as a response to my opponent’s own Wingmate Rocs. With that Raid ability on, that card is a really major threat, no mistake.
So that rounds up some of my favourite cards from the PPTQ. There were some other cards that I was looking forward to playing with that day, but things didn’t pan out well unfortunately on that front. These cards just couldn’t stick it out for more than the turn they came out in, and that’s fine with me.
In my 75 cards for the deck I run with, I’m pretty damn happy sticking with the four I’ve mentioned above, as well as some of the cards that I couldn’t play with as much as I wanted to. I’m going to be tweaking my deck slightly in the coming days, so we shall see what happens there. Here’s my decklist from the event again:
- 2x Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit
- 4x Anafenza, the Foremost
- 2x Den Protector
- 2x Dragonlord Dromoka
- 2x Dragonscale General
- 2x Dromoka, the Eternal
- 3x Fleecemane Lion
- 3x Phalanx Leader
- 2x Scaleguard Sentinels
- 4x Siege Rhino