My last "One Game" article was well received, so I'm back for more!
This time, I'm taking a look at one of my own matches from Pro Tour Gatecrash against Melissa DeTora. We were 10-1 and had just returned to the Constructed portion. I knew she was playing a Bant Control list similar to Reid Duke's, except she had Kessig Wolf Run instead of Nephalia Drownyard. I saw a French player with a similar deck and caught a glimpse of some weird sideboard cards like Gisela, Blade of Goldnight and Akroma's Memorial.
I thought it was weird but didn't necessarily know they were playing the same deck. After all, how would those Americans and Frenchmen have joined forces? At the Pro Tour, I lost a little edge by not knowing who was on the same team as everyone else, but fortunately it didn't come back to bite me all that much. Going into the match, I also knew little about Melissa's specific card choices.
As always, open a separate browser and try to follow along. If you have two monitors, it should make things super easy.
0:40: I mulligan a land light hand with some removal spells into a reasonable three lander. Basically, all I want to be doing is making my land drops, so a two lander probably isn't going to cut it. Previously, I had lots of Think Twices to ensure that I could make my land drops, but I didn't expect a whole lot of control decks at the Pro Tour.
1:59: After some deliberation, I choose to Searing Spear her Centaur Healer and start bringing the beats despite having two Restoration Angels in hand that could make her Centaur Healer irrelevant. With Wolf Run being her primary threat, I know that I don't want to take three to six damage before successfully resolving a Restoration Angel. The only thing I might want to save that Spear for is Thragtusk, but I still have Snapcaster Mage in hand if I care.
2:33: Her hand had some animals, and then she draws Think Twice into Sphinx's Revelation. At that point, things are going exactly as planned for her. She's dropping threats, forcing me to deal with them, and is going to reload with Sphinx's Revelation.
3:13: I tap out to cast Restoration Angel on my blocking Augur of Bolas. If I take the hit for five, she isn't going to play anything into my Rewind, so I figure I might as well tap out and prevent the five damage.
With my Augur, I see Think Twice and Sphinx's Revelation, both of which I want. However, only the Think Twice will help me at that point, as I'm about to be "stuck" on four land. Obviously, I want to draw into a Sphinx's Revelation at some point, but there are two others in the deck. Also, with the way the game is going, I won't be in a position to cast a Revelation for roughly five turns anyway.
3:25: Here's where my lack of knowledge cost me. If I had known their deck had a million Restoration Angels in it and had very few counterspells, I likely wouldn't have Speared the Centaur Healer. Killing Thragtusk before it can be Blinked matters a lot. I figure even if she has the one or two Angels that Reid had, I can still deal with it.
Of course, it did put me pretty far behind.
4:48: Regardless of how much I've fallen behind, I am very glad I didn't take unnecessary points of damage earlier.
6:06: Augur of Bolas digs me up a Mizzium Mortars, which is sort of fortunate since I want to kill her Restoration Angel, but it may have ended up leading me down a poor path. With my play, she is free to tap out for Sphinx's Revelation.
Had I not revealed Mizzium Mortars, she may have wanted to get a little more aggressive with her Wolf Run or spend her turn casting Think Twice, allowing me to untap with Rewind. Now, the fact that she knew I had Rewind meant that she probably wouldn't allow me to untap before casting Revelation. That's where something like Izzet Charm or Syncopate comes into play, as people don't often expect them.
Anyway, I could have not done anything that turn, let her hit me with Angel, and then hope to draw a bunch of land in a row. I'm typically against that sort of plan though, as it's not even a guarantee she has Sphinx's Revelation in hand. If she doesn't draw a land, her Revelation is only for three, which isn't that difficult to fight through.
7:45: Knowing I have Rewind and not really caring what creatures of hers resolve, Melissa leads with her "bad" creatures.
8:45: She takes what appears to be a slight risk in taking her Dissipate shield down by casting a Think Twice. However, since I played my Hallowed Fountain tapped, I think it's safe to say that I either don't have a Sphinx's Revelation at all or at the very least am not planning on casting it that turn.
9:27: I like her decision to cast threats rather than attack and use Kessig Wolf Run into my six open mana. She's playing cautiously, but as her decision to cast Think Twice on the previous turn shows, she's not being overly cautious.
10:17: I Thought Scour her over me for a couple reasons. First, I have plenty of reasonable things to Snapcaster into. Second, I've already cast my singleton Think Twice, so I can't mill over any flashback spells. Finally, I've played similar matches that have come down to decking. She has no Snapcaster Mages and only a couple of Think Twices for ways that it could backfire.
11:30: Melissa is in the high thirties, so she can definitely afford to play her duals untapped and start using to Wolf Run to grind me down.
11:55: With Flash against Thragtusk decks, this is what it all comes down to. Augur of Bolas and Snapcaster Mage tag team the first part of Thragtusk, and Restoration Angel holds off the Beast. Of course, Kessig Wolf Run and/or Gavony Township throw a wrench in those plans...
14:48: She flashes back Think Twice main phase to try to find a threat and hits.
15:06: I use Snapcaster Mage to Rewind her Augur of Bolas, but she obviously doesn't take the bait. I'm not sure why I thought she would considering how careful she had been to save her Dissipate for Sphinx's Revelation. I am basically grasping at straws here, but at the very least I should have used Snapcaster on a removal spell after she spent some of her mana to Wolf Run the Augur next turn.
16:30: I know she'll Dissipate my Revelation for five, but I'm hoping she hasn't found another Sphinx's Revelation. There's not much I can do if she did though. It's worth noting that if she did, it's much better for me to try to Revelation for five rather than untap and give her a chance to Revelation with Dissipate backup and then have an untap step before I get to try to Revelation again.
17:23: Now we're sort of back to parity, and it looks like I can deck her if things keep being grindy.
18:51: I have the Boros Reckoner / Harvest Pyre combo in hand, but unfortunately she gained so much life that it's impossible to kill her with it. It's also worth noting how awesome a Boros Reckoner would have been earlier in the game when she was making all of those attacks with Wolf Run.
19:00: I Thought Scour me, thinking that maybe I can deal her enough damage with Harvest Pyre in the course of a couple turns. Since she's committing to the board, I have to think that she is running few Supreme Verdicts if any at all.
22:28: She elects to not force through her lethal attack because she has another Angel in hand and thinks I might be up to something. She also doesn't use her Detention Sphere since her life isn't really in danger and using it to clear out my first striking blocker might get her the W.
22:56: I'd used my good cards to deal with her threats, so she must know I am very close to dying.
23:49: I start going through her graveyard, making mental notes, knowing full well that I am dead on board and that she's probably going to go for it.
In the end, she drew more cards than me, and even though I pieced together my combo finish, it couldn't actually kill her. Game 2 went better for me, but I foolishly kept one of those two landers in game 3 and missed a lot of land drops. Overall, the matchup isn't terrible by any means, but it didn't go my way. Hopefully, by watching this you'll learn that a resolved Thragtusk doesn't beat Flash despite what some people say.
I typically beat decks like Melissa's, but I have lost to her and Reid Duke playing it. I've been skimping on control hate as of late, and it's definitely cost me.
There were two things I could have done game 1 that might have changed the outcome. First, I could have saved my Searing Spear for her Thragtusk, but with the information I had, that seemed ludicrous.
Second, I could've taken Sphinx's Revelation over Think Twice, but that would have been a huge gamble. The game played out exactly how I wanted it to after I took that Think Twice. If I had taken Revelation instead, there's a decent chance that I'd have fallen way behind on land drops and lost the game before it ever got going.
After watching the video, I'm happy with both my and Melissa's play in that game. Hopefully, this will give you some insight into how Sphinx's Revelation mirrors play out and how they should be played.
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