Welcome to the Players Tour Finals! We continue our coverage of the tournament – on this page you will be able to read all about the events and matches of the Day 2. Today is when the Swiss play stage of the tournament concludes. Only players who have accumulated 12 points or more during Day 1 have advanced to Day 2 – seven more rounds and we will know the names of the Top 8 competitors!
Day 2 PT Finals coverage begins at 9 a.m. PDT. Below are the top of the standings after Day 1:
Here are the complete standings and pairings:
Day 2 Metagame Breakdown:
Also please visit our other resources dedicated to Players Tour Finals coverage:
The coverage kicks off with a flavour-of-the-week matchup: a Wilderness Reclamation (in this case, a 4-Color variant) deck versus Mono White Aggro. Kanister ended Day 1 with a 6-1 record, while Mike Sigrist piloted his White Weenie list to a 5-2 record.
Game 1 to Glogowski: Mike Sigrist kept a nice agressive hand, which really wanted only a second copy of Plains to pop off. Unfortunately, he got stuck on 1 mana for several turns, which did provide Kanister with a window to cycle thorugh a couple of Uros. By the time Sigrist managed to build a big board with Venerated Loxodon, Piotr have already had succesfully escaped Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath.
An Explosion refilled Glogowski hand nicely, and Shark Tokens helped him in holding Sigrist off during combat phases for an eventual win.
Sigrist’s sideboard plan:
|4 Gideon Blackblade||4 Glorious Anthem|
|1 Fight As One||1 Unbreakable Formation|
|1 Tithe Taker||1 Garrison Cat|
Gideon Blackblade is a potent threat on the play for Mono White, as it dodges creature removal and sweepers that would come out of Four-Color Reclamation’s sideboard (ex. Solar Blaze, Scorching Dragonfire). Tithe Taker taxes instant speed interaction while also leaves body behind to receive buffs even after it’s been dealt with.
Game 2 to Sigrist: This time Sigrist experienced no mana problems, though did miss on a 1-drop. This was to some extent compensated by the turn 3 development of Gideon Blackblade. Brazen Borrowers and a top-decked Solar Blaze came to Kanister’s defense, while Kenrith, the Returned King came down to help hold off Gideon. Eventually, Sigrist was able to deal with that by triggering Gideon’s minus ability, and powered through for lethal.
Game 3 to Glogowski: Mike spammed the board with all of his Garrison Cats, and backed up by Seasoned Hallowblade, it essentially blanked a single Deafening Clarion in Piotr’s hand. Things looked grim for Glogowski, until he found this very creative use of Expansion:
The second featured game of round 8 showcased a pure Four Color Reclamation mirror:
Kristof Prinz was the only undefeated player after Day 1 and went on to solidify his record even more. In game 3 Kazuhiro jumped significantly ahead in mana by resolving three Wilderness Reclamations, but he couldn’t find any gas to actually seal the game. Meanwhile, Prinz had no Reclamations, but did slam Teferi to shutdown any Explosion shenanigans. He also kept on developing Uros onto the board and so never run out of resources. After topdecking a couple of useless counter-spells, Kazuhiro eventually conceded.
Standings after round 8:
Both of these competitors were sitting on a 6-2 record after eight rounds, and their piloting of somewhat off-meta choices of Azorius Yorion Control and Jund Sacrifice was impeccable. This particular matchup is favored for Azorius but still fairly close, as both decks have a variety of checks for each other’s threats, and Jund have almost the same late-game staying power with engines of Trail of Crumbs and Bolas's Citadel.
Game 1 to Levy: Christoffer Larsen developed an early threat of Mayhem Devil supported by two Gilded Gooses, which forced Levy’s Shatter the Sky. Jund followed with two back to back Korvolds, but Azorius had access to Elspeth Conquers Death and Yorion, Sky Nomad, so Levy was able shut the opponent down once again. Yorions kept flowing for Levy, making up for an unstoppable value train, and Larsen conseded after his Bolas's Citadel was countered.
Levy’s sideboard plan:
|1 Heliod's Intervention||2 Mystical Dispute|
|1 Archon of Sun's Grace||2 Thirst for Meaning|
|1 Aether Gust|
|1 Shatter the Sky|
Heliod's Intervention is a no-brainer sideboard tech-in for this particular matchup due to its ability to deal with engines of Witch's Oven, Trail of Crumbs and Bolas's Citadel. Archon of Sun's Grace is very well positioned against Jund who have no clean answers against it outside of triggering Mayhem Devil a bunch of times.
Thirst for Meaning comes out as objectively one of the weakest cards in the deck. By the way, check out Raphael Levy’s sideboard – it has a ton of one-of’s. Apparently, when running 80 cards with Yorion Levy can’t rely on redundancy as much, and so prefers a ‘toolbox’ approach when bulding his sideboard.
Game 2 to Levy: Once again Larsen slammed an early Korvold, the Cursed King and started growing him. Archon of Sun's Grace managed to stall the things out for a few turns with a free token generation until Shatter the Sky reset the board. Jund followed with a Citadel but Azorius wouldn’t ever let the opponent untap with it – between Teferi, Dovin's Veto, ECD and Yorion, Raphael Levy had plenty of answers. He kept on drawing cards, slowly choking the Jund player with counters and bounces while also pushing damage with Yorion. The game was effectively sealed long time before it actually ended.
Standings after round 9:
This was the top seed of the tournament, pairing Kristof Prinz, who was still undefeated, with Riku Kumagai, who only faultered once with his build of Mono-Black Aggro.
Game 1 to Kumagai: Pre-sideboarded games against aggro are always unfavoured for Reclamation these days due to its focus on beating mirrors. It is especially the case when facing either Mono Black or Mono White, as your Aether Gusts are completely useless. Prinz definitely suffered from a couple of such blanks being stranded in his hand during early game. Kumagai kept the pressure on with efficient creatures like Spawn of Mayhem and Hunted Nightmare, and Four-Color Rec deck never managed to catch-up.
Prinz’s sideboard plan:
Sideboarding against Mono Black is weird, because your go-to answers for aggro like Justice Strike and Solar Blaze are not particularly good against this deck. It runs a ton of creatures with power less than toughness at all points in the curve – Knight of the Ebon Legion, Tymaret, Hunted Nightmare. Even Deafening Clarion is not that impressive against the beef that Mono Black is able to build up (Knight, Spawn, Nightmare).
Game 2 to Kumagai: Second game in the series followed the same scenario: Mono Black’s train was running on full steam, deploying a threat after threat. Meanwhile, the only solid piece of removal Prinz managed to draw was a single copy of Glass Casket – but that obviously wasn’t nearly enough. Kumagai completely hosed the opponent’s gameplan of sticking Uro as well – Tymaret kept exiling cards from his graveyard, preventing the titan from ever escaping. As a result, Prinz suffered another beating with not much of a counterplay, and his undefeated streak on the tournament has come to an end.
Standings after round 10:
In a noble effort to escape Temur Reclamation mirrors, once again we are covering Raphael Levy’s Azorius Control (7-3 record) journey as in Round 11 he was paired against a spice of the tournament – Michael Jacob’s Mardu Winota aggro list (8-2 record).
Game 1 to Levy: Raphael Levy mulliganed to 6, still didn’t find an ideal mana, but had to took the gamble as key Shatter the Sky card was already in his hand. Michael Jacob rushed onto the board with Winota’s swarm of minions, and his army would have taken over, but Levy did find two white sources in time to resolve a massive sweeper. From there Jacob struggled to regain a dominant position as Azorius’s card advantage engines started to took over and eventually forced Winota into concede.
Levy’s sideboard plan:
|2 Sky Tether||2 Mystical Dispute|
|1 Brazen Borrower||4 Dovin's Veto|
|1 Glass Casket||1 Narset, Parter of Veils|
|1 Giant Killer|
|1 Shatter the Sky|
|1 Archon of Sun's Grace|
Azorius Control has a plethora of tools to stave off Mardu Winota’s all-in gameplan and so Levy had sided in quite a few cards. Sky Tether prevents creatures from attacking – which is good enough given that it denies Winota triggers. Giant Killer and Brazen Borrower both deal with Winota at a mana advantage. Increasing the redundancy of sweepers in the decks also goes a long way in this particular matchup.
All cuts are pretty easy – Dovin’s Veto’s are blanks against a creature deck, Mystical Disputes cast full 3 mana and so trade unfavourably, while Narset is quite underwhelming on the draw.
Game 2 to Levy: Despite being on the play, Mardu Winota failed to open up with a solid early start this time. Levy had no access to a sweeper on turn four, but managed all of his sided-in spot removal quite efficiently. It also didn’t help that Jacob’s Winota refused to show up at all. Instead, it was Archon of Sun's Grace that took over the battlefield and Mardu player gave up on the game very quickly.
Standings after round 11:
This one is a face-off between the two top decks of the tournament, Temur Reclamation and Bant Ramp – an incredibly close and skill-intensive matchup. Both competitors piloting it were on the brink of the top 8 – Autumn Burchett and Brent Vos both racked up an impressive comeback winstreaks following an underwhelming Day 1 performance.
Game 1 to Burchett: Things kicked off at a slow pace, with both players putting a huge amount of effort into mana-development. The play where Burchett used to copy their Growth Spiral on turn 4 with Expansion was very symptomatic of that. It was at that when Temur Reclamation managed to pull ahead and started to snowball the advantage by resolving Wilderness Reclamation and Nissa, Who Shakes the world. The resulting Explosion for X=8 was soul-crushing for their Bant Ramp opponent.
Burchett’s sideboard plan:
|1 Commence the Endgame||1 Wilderness Reclamation|
|2 Nightpack Ambusher||1 Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath|
Main deck choices of this particular Temur Reclamation build go very much in line with what it wants to do in Bant Ramp matchup, so not much sideboarding to be done for Autumn here. The only important change is that Nightpack Ambushers went in to help with an instant-speed side of the gameplan that goes along other counterspells.
Note that Burchett does not bring in Aether Gusts against Bant Ramp. These are more effective against faster decks to mess with their tempo. Remeber, there are still full playsets of both Mystical Dispute and Negate in Temur Reclamation deck that can do their job against Bant perfectly without asking for any more help.
Game 2 to Burchett: In this game mana advantage in the first turns was on the side of Bant Ramp player. Brent Vos just resolved more Growth Spirals – it was as simple as that. Autumn did not draw much ramp in the initial turns – instead they had to play on the instant speed with Nightpack Ambushers. However, the wolfs were little help against opponent’s big Krases and a Brazen Borrower that were threatening to close out the game in the skies very soon.
However, with a timely draw of their own Borrower, Burchett managed to stay alive for much longer than Vos has expected – it is the only explanation for a couple of loose plays that happened on the Bant Ramp side afterwards. The game went from seeming very one-sided to being incredibly close and came down to a race. Eventually Autumn managed to seal it with an Explosion – an insane comeback, a must-watch game!
Standings after round 12:
Riku Kumagai has been crushing his Reclamation opponents for the duration of the whole tournament, and here we went again. This time it was Andrew Baeckstrom to try and steal 3 points in an unfavored matchup – for what could be a win-and-in for Top 8.
Game 1 to Kumagai: Kumagai just overwhelmed his opponent with double Knight of the Ebon Legion, double Gutterbones nuts start. It helped that Baeckstrom also made a slight misplay, failing to wait until the end step to bounce Riku’s 1-drop, thus allowing him to immediately replay it. The game ended in the short order, in typical Mono Black fashion.
Baeckstrom’s sideboard plan:
|3 Glass Casket||1 Wilderness Reclamation|
|3 Solar Blaze||4 Mystical Dispute|
|2 Jolrael, Mvonwuli Recluse||2 Expansion//Explosion|
|2 Kenrith, the Returned King||1 Aether Gust|
|2 Dovin's Veto|
Once again, a Four-Color Reclamation player has to bring in Solar Blazes which are not even that great against Mono Black threats. Luckily, Baeckstrom’s list has Jolrael, Mvonwuli Recluse in the sideboard. If resolved on turn two, this creature can do a lot to combat Mono Black’s board pressure early on.
Game 2 to Kumagai: On the play Baeckstrom felt more comfortable, and sided-in Glass Caskets did some work initially in tandem with Brazen Borrowers. Still, a lone Kumagai’s Knight of the Ebon Legion managed to squeeze through and he was enough for yet another Mono Black checkmate – Four-Color Reclamation player conceded with a Solar Blaze in hand, which was quite ironic by itself.
Standings before the last round:
In the final round of the Swiss, there’s a lot at stake as the last places in the Top 8 were being decided. Both Piotr Glogowski and Christoffer Larsen desperately needed to win this one to get into play-offs stage of the tournament. Kanister is a renowned Jund Sacrifice expert, but this time he is not playing the deck, but facing one. Will his knowledge of the archetype help him exploit its weaknesses and find so very much needed win?
Game 1 to Glogowski: Piotr managed to pull off a perfect start for a Reclamation deck: turn 2 Growth Spiral, turn 3 Wilderness Reclamation, turn 4 Explosion for X=6. After that the game was already beyond reach for Larsen as Kanister was able to chain-draw Explosions and stay protected at all times from Bolas's Citadel or other comeback cards from Jund by keeping counterspell mana open.
Larsen’s sideboard plan:
|1 Duress||1 Cauldron Familiar|
|4 Agonizing Remorse||1 Witch's Oven|
|1 Bolas's Citadel||3 Priest of the Forgotten Gods|
|2 Return to Nature||1 Solemn Simulacrum|
|1 Cindervines||1 Korvold, the Cursed King|
|2 Claim the Firstborn|
Jund was obviously well-prepared to face a Reclamation matchup, so Larsen knew what he has to do very precisely. Hand disruption in form of Duress and Agonizing Remorse, enchantment removal Return to Nature to blow up Wilderness Reclamation and additional copy of Bolas's Citadel to go over the top is the standard sideboard plan for this matchup.
To make room for all of this, Larsen cut all copies of Priest of the Forgotten Gods and Claim the Firstborn’s as they are not so impressive against decks with a few creatures. He then also trimmed other less impactful cards that were there to mainly enable redundancy – such as Cats and Ovens.
Game 2 to Larsen: Larsen stumbled on mulligans, and had to go down to 5. He quickly came back from it however, drawing perfectly into Goose + trail of Crumbs opener. Meanwhile, Kanister failed to find a 4th land in time and got stuck with 2 copies of Wilderness Reclamation in hand. He cycled desperately to look for that coveted mana source – if only he would’ve been able to resolve Reclamation, he would then come back with Aether Gust and Justice Strike. Unfortunately for Kanister that was not meant to happen, and the match went to game 3.
Game 3: This time it was Glogowski who had to mulligan, as he reluctantly kept a mediocre 6-card hand with 2 lands. Unfortunately, the bad run of luck continued for him, as he struggled to find early land drops while Larsen has been developing threats.
The bad 4-color mana played a funny joke – Kanister was stuck with Justice Strike without either red or white source, but then suddenly managed to string back to back Fabled Passages to answer Larsen’s Korvold in time.
However, Jund then resolved Bolas's Citadel and pulled off that famous kind of a crazy turn the deck’s capable of – Larsen put 10 permanents onto the battlefield directly from the top of his library and sacrificed everything to Citadel for the win.
Kanister’s hopes for Top 8 were crushed by the same deck that once brought him a Mythic Championship title.
Final Standings: Top 8
- Four-Color Reclamation by Benjamin Weitz
- Temur Reclamation by Allen Wu
- Temur Reclamation by Patrick Fernandes
- Mono Black Aggro by Riku Kumagai
- Mardu Winota by Michael Jacob
- Four-Color Reclamation by Kristof Prinz
- Azorius Control by Raphael Levy
- Jund Sacrifice by Christoffer Larsen
Thanks for following the events of Players Tour Finals on our website! The Top 8 returns next weekend August 1, don’t miss our coverage of the final day of the competition!