Games Haven Monthly $1K Series 2020

16th Feb 2020

Games Haven Paya Lebar

Unlike the usual Standard 1K Series we do right after a new set release so we can showcase the brewing efforts of our Little Red Dot, this time round thanks to the Chinese New Year we had a new-set 1K Series event after the metagame had already taken shape and a Big Three had already been identified. And so we had 37 players gracing us with their presence to pit the Big Three against each other, as well as throw in a meme or two. How did they do?

It's no secret by now that our island loves Mono Red with an almost patriotic fervour. It has something to do with the local flag colours, I swear. Mono Red's resurgence in the metagame back to the ranks of the Big Three has to do with a combination of factors, but one of the big ones is the loss of Oko, Thief of Crowns. It's old news by now, but his banning means a less constant stream of lifegain, which is something any aggressive deck wants to hear. Another reason less talked about but no less significant is the addition of the angry demigod Anax, Hardened in the Forge, who both hits like a truck and allows you to commit a board without getting blown out by a boardwipe. The fact that the deck goes wide also incidentally enables the flashing of Embercleave, which makes trucks even truck-ier. Nothing like getting hit for 17 damage in one turn. Nothing like it at all.

Having mentioned the emboldening of Mono Red thanks to the loss of "a constant stream of lifegain", the next member of the Big Three to lead into is naturally the deck that attempts to regain the...... constant stream of lifegain. Temur Reclamation is the deck, its wincon unchanged from iterations past (doubling or sometimes tripling up on mana for a lethal Explosion). Its contents have changed drastically, however, receiving a lot of support from Eldraine and now Theros. Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, the latest in a series of strong and debatably overpowered Simic-coloured cards is the source of the "constant stream of lifegain" that attempts to survive long enough against Mono Red until they run out of gas as fast aggressive decks often do. The nature of the deck is also that they cycle through enough cards and gain enough card advantage that if the cards line up nicely, they are able to put up a fight against control. If the deck had one notable weakness, it would be that sequencing is so important for this deck that a player intending to do well with it would really need to learn the deck inside and out to be able to put up consistent results with it. The raw power of the deck's individual cards can only carry an unexperienced player to a certain point.

And with that, we come to the third of the trifecta - UW Control. The control arm of the Internet whooped in glee as the Banishing Light reprint was confirmed, but beyond that, strong additions in the form of Omen of the Sea, The Birth of Meletis and Elspeth Conquers Death incidentally give the control package a small enchantment subtheme that enables them to make effective use of Thirst for Meaning. Them control players, they thirst for cards no more. The strength of the deck is the same as with most reactive decks, in that its maindeck is easily configured for an anticipated metagame, meaning that if its pilot is adept at reading the metagame (Psst, we love Mono Red!), then the deck will have a good matchup for the entire day. In fact, that is exactly what our day's champion did. 

As always, we are indebted to the players who embrace the memes, as these players are ultimately who push the fun factor of an event over the top. We had attempts to revive the Mono Black Devotion deck of old, in the spirit of Theros, which honestly overperformed quite a bit (you often find that your life is too high for a lethal Explosion to kill you, and the colour naturally packs disruption for days). We also had a few attempts at Temur Adventures, although whether their pilots were trying to bamboozle their opponents into thinking it was a Reclamation deck, or they actually wanted to play an Adventure deck, we couldn't tell you for sure. All in all, we hope everyone got the WPNQ Prelim practice they wanted, and we wish all players all the best if they are intending to play in a WPNQ Prelim anywhere!

As mentioned, the day's winner had expected a lot of Mono Red and configured his deck as such, but even he could not have expected how well it would pay off. Alson Soh, our day's champion, played against nothing but Mono-Red until the Top 8, and took it down with a 100% match win rate against Mono-Red. Congrats to Alson the mountain killer!

Top 8 Decklists

1st Place - Alson Soh

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
UW Conquers Red (UW Control)

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Dream Trolley (Trawler)

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Omen of the Sea

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Drawing the second blue source

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Mono-Red players laying Mountain on Turn 1

 

What's your favourite card from Theros: Beyond Death, and why?

Elspeth Conquers Death. Exiles a card, taxes people, revives walkers and my trolley. Gimme more effects!

 

Haven't seen any elks in a while. Give your best meme-tastic answer, what happened to them?

They all went to the other side to accompany their master Oko.

 

Azorius Control - Main Deck

4x Hallowed Fountain

4x Temple of Enlightenment

5x Plains

8x Island

2x Castle Ardenvale

2x Castle Vantress

3x Dream Trawler

1x Dovin's Veto

4x Shatter the Sky

1x Dance of the Manse

4x Absorb

4x The Birth of Meletis

3x Omen of the Sea

4x Elspeth Conquers Death

4x Teferi, Time Raveler

4x Narset, Parter of Veils

3x Glass Casket

Sideboard

4x Devout Decree

3x Aether Gust

2x Disdainful Stroke

2x Dovin's Veto

1x Dawn of Hope

1x Heliod's Intervention

1x Ashiok, Dream Render

1x Commence the Endgame

2nd Place - Erickson Borabo

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
UW Control

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Dream Trawler - it draws cards and crushes dreams.

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Birth of Meletis - Since I am playing a 25 land deck it is really essential in stabilising

my board.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Mono Red aggro seems to be a coin toss matchup, I may need to add more Aether Gusts or sweepers.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

I witnessed greatness. Kelvin Chew flashed in Spectral Sailor at the end of his opponent's turn to draw a card [working around Narset], and then on his turn he could kill Narset and play Niv-Mizzet. Then he smiled.

 

What's your favourite card from Theros: Beyond Death, and why?

Nyxborn Courser - it's a 3-to-cast 2/4, with that flavour text. Enough said!

 

Haven't seen any elks in a while. Give your best meme-tastic answer, what happened to them?

Waiting for the next Christmas holiday to show up.

 

Azorius Control - Main Deck

3x Castle Ardenvale

1x Castle Vantress

2x Fabled Passage

1x Field of Ruin

4x Hallowed Fountain

6x Island

4x Plains

4x Temple of Enlightenment

4x Dream Trawler

3x Dovin's Veto

4x Absorb

1x Mystical Dispute

2x Thirst for Meaning

3x Shatter the Sky

3x Omen of the Sea

4x The Birth of Meletis

4x Elspeth Conquers Death

3x Narset, Parter of Veils

4x Teferi, Time Raveler

Sideboard

2x Banishing Light

2x Aether Gust

1x Dovin's Veto

2x Heliod's Intervention

2x Mystical Dispute

1x Narset, Parter of Veils

2x Commune the Endgame

3x Archon of Sun's Grace

Top 4 - Leong Jiacheng

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Temur Reclamation

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Brazen Borrower, tempo all the red decks.

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Nightpack Ambusher, ambushed all the red decks.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

No Reclamation or Explosion.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Cheekiat played a Mystical Dispute only to have his opponent Chew pay 3 mana.

 

What's your favourite card from Theros: Beyond Death, and why?

Elspeth Conquers Death, too good.

 

Haven't seen any elks in a while. Give your best meme-tastic answer, what happened to them?

Back to Nature.

 

Temur Reclamation – Main Deck

4x Steam Vents

4x Breeding Pool

3x Stomping Grounds

1x Blast Zone

2x Temple of Mystery

2x Temple of Epiphany

2x Temple of Abandon

2x Fabled Passage

2x Castle Vantress

2x Forest

2x Island

1x Mountain

4x Brazen Borrower//Petty Theft

3x Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

2x Gadwick, the Wizened

4x Expansion//Explosion

4x Growth Spiral

4x Opt

4x Storm's Wrath

1x Scorching Dragonfire

3x Thassa's Intervention

4x Wilderness Reclamation

 

Sideboard

2x Nightpack Ambusher

3x Aether Gust

1x Chandra's Pyrohelix

1x Fry

3x Mystical Dispute

2x Negate

3x Scorching Dragonfire

Top 4 - Kelvin Chew

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Temur Reclamation

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Uro, ramp + lifegain + card advantage all in one card.

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Chemister's Insight allowed me to discard useless cards against different matchups.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

A resolved Teferi + Narset.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Nightmare Shepherd and Gray Merchant synergy with Witch's Oven.

What's your favourite card from Theros: Beyond Death, and why?

Uro.

 

Haven't seen any elks in a while. Give your best meme-tastic answer, what happened to them?

Matt, can help me think of something? [Editor's note: Honestly this is better than anything I was thinking of]

 

Temur Reclamation - Main Deck

4x Steam Vents

4x Stomping Ground

2x Temple of Abandon

2x Temple of Epiphany

2x Temple of Mystery

4x Breeding Pool

2x Castle Vantress

2x Fabled Passage

1x Forest

2x Island

2x Mountain

2x Brazen Borrower//Petty Theft

3x Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

2x Chemister's Insight

4x Expansion//Explosion

2x Mystical Dispute

4x Growth Spiral

4x Opt

3x Thassa's Intervention

3x Storm's Wrath

2x Scorching Dragonfire

4x Wilderness Reclamation

Sideboard

2x Mystical Dispute

2x Negate

3x Aether Gust

1x Scorching Dragonfire

3x Redcap Melee

2x Spectral Sailor

1x Chandra's Pyrohelix

1x Niv-Mizzet, Parun

Top 8 - Jason Loh

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Manfield-Mengucci Mono Red

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Anax into Torbran/Embercleave

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Stomp.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Lose die roll :(

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Played a 2nd Anax to make 4 Satyrs.

 

What's your favourite card from Theros: Beyond Death, and why?

Dream Trawler at rare, Wizards R&D oh god why

 

Haven't seen any elks in a while. Give your best meme-tastic answer, what happened to them?

Killed by Geralt of Rivia

Mono-Red Aggro - Main Deck

4x Castle Embereth

18x Mountain

4x Runaway Steam-Kin

4x Scorch Spitter

4x Bonecrusher Giant//Stomp

4x Fervent Champion

4x Rimrock Knight//Boulder Rush

3x Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

4x Anax, Hardened in the Forge

4x Robber of the Rich

4x Light up the Stage

3x Embercleave

Sideboard

4x Lava Coil

4x Redcap Melee

4x Unchained Berserker

2x Experimental Frenzy

1x Tibalt, Rakish Instigator

Top 8 - Heng Chye Hwee

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Kanister Kats

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Cauldron Familiar

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Thrashing Brontodon

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Games were very very long.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Could have Bontu and Mayhem Devil for 24 damage but missed it.

 

What's your favourite card from Theros: Beyond Death, and why?

Elspeth Conquers Death.

 

Haven't seen any elks in a while. Give your best meme-tastic answer, what happened to them?

Elk-stinction.

 

Jund Sacrifice - Main Deck

3x Blood Crypt

2x Castle Locthwain

4x Fabled Passage

5x Forest

1x Mountain

4x Overgrown Tomb

3x Stomping Ground

3x Swamp

3x Korvold, Fae-Cursed King

4x Mayhem Devil

4x Cauldron Familiar

4x Gilded Goose

1x God-Eternal Bontu

2x Massacre Girl

1x Murderous Rider

3x Thrashing Brontodon

4x Agonizing Remorse

1x Liliana, Dreadhorde General

4x Witch's Oven

4x Trail of Crumbs

Sideboard

1x Casualties of War

2x Disfigure

2x Duress

2x Epic Downfall

1x Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger

2x Lovestruck Beast

2x Noxious Grasp

2x Shifting Ceratops

1x Garruk, Cursed Huntsman

Top 8 - Ju Yaqiong

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Red deck WIN.

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Robber of the Rich. Exile opponent's topdecks.

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Robber of the Rich. Exile opponent's topdecks.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Land screw.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Attack Teferi with lizard to keep it away, then flashed in Embercleave.

 

What's your favourite card from Theros: Beyond Death, and why?

Anax. He is my demigod.

 

Haven't seen any elks in a while. Give your best meme-tastic answer, what happened to them?

Eaten by me. me. (Get it?)

Mono-Red Aggro - Main Deck

17x Mountain

3x Castle Embereth

3x Grim Initiate

2x Rimrock Knight//Boulder Rush

2x Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

2x Phoenix of Ash

4x Anax, Hardened in the Forge

4x Runaway Steam-Kin

4x Scorch Spitter

4x Robber of the Rich

4x Fervent Champion

4x Shock

4x Light up the Stage

3x Embercleave

Sideboard

2x Experimental Frenzy

2x Redcap Melee

2x Lava Coil

4x Chandra's Pyrohelix

2x Tibalt, Rakish Instigator

3x Unchained Berserker

Top 8 - Mark Ng

Top 8 Profile

What deck did you play today?
Mono Black Gang.

 

What would you say was the best card in your deck, and why?

Cauldron Familiar (and Oven). Free blocks, gain life, 1 devotion for gang.

 

What card in your deck would you say performed unexpectedly well today, and why?

Ayara, First of Locthwain. Makes Cauldron Familiar + Oven 2 times sweeter.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced while piloting this deck?

Colour screw.

 

Any interesting plays you made or witnessed today at the $1K Series?

Activating Castle Locthwain 6 times and drawing 6 lands.

 

What's your favourite card from Theros: Beyond Death, and why?

Gray Merchant of Asphodel, because it helped me Top 8.

 

Haven't seen any elks in a while. Give your best meme-tastic answer, what happened to them?

Don't miss them. Sorry!

Mono Black Devotion - Main Deck

4x Castle Locthwain

20x Swamp

4x Cauldron Familiar

2x Gutterbones

2x Tymaret, Chosen from Death

4x Yarok's Fenlurker

4x Ayara, First of Locthwain

4x Murderous Rider//Swift End

2x Deathless Knight

4x Nightmare Shepherd

4x Gray Merchant of Asphodel

4x Witch's Oven

2x Bolas's Citadel

Sideboard

3x Duress

3x Noxious Grasp

2x Blightbeetle

2x Tymaret, Chosen from Death

2x Pharika's Libation

2x Drag to the Underworld

1x Massacre Girl