This past Sunday was the last Modern PPTQ of the season and the last chance Nik, Tim, or I had of getting a RPTQ invite. All season we had been on the same three decks; I played Amulet, Nik played Infect, and Tim played Zur Midrange. After not having any luck the past couple of weeks, we joked about putting all of our Modern decks in a bag with each of us blind picking one and playing it in the next event. The only problem was of course that no one else wanted to play Amulet Bloom as the deck is not very friendly to people just picking up the deck. Since no one wanted to play Amulet roulette, well except for me, the idea was scrapped.

However, Nik did decide to put together his old Merfolk list after having a bad run on Infect the past few weeks. Since Tim had been wanting to try dolling out poison counters, Nik shipped him his deck. Not wanting to be left out, I borrowed Tim’s Zur, the Enchanter list and hoped to Spreading Seas the shit out of my opponents.

For the last PPTQ of the season Tim and I were going in cold with decks we’ve never played. To be fair we totally could have tested, but instead decided to go to the drive-ins to see Straight Outta Compton. It was pretty good.

We got to Excelsior games on Sunday morning and filled out our decklists. I made sure to list the Zur deck as “Best of Commander” since Tim hates the name and then credited him as the deck designer. I also made sure I included “Magic Celebrity” at the end of his name as an ode to his local fame as “That Zur Guy”.

Tim Fay Magic Celebrity's Best of Commander

LANDS (24)
Polluted Delta
Creeping Tar Pit
Marsh Flats
Darkslick Shores
Flooded Strand
Godless Shrine
Eiganjo Castle
River of Tears
Watery Grave
Hallowed Fountain

Zur the Enchanter
Geist of Saint Traft
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Vendilion Clique
Thassa, God of the Sea

Inquisition of Kozilek
Path to Exile
Mana Leak
Spell Pierce
Spell Snare
Lingering Souls

Spreading Seas
Detention Sphere
Steel of the Godhead

Steel of the Godhead
Kitchen Finks
Timely Reinforcements
Supreme Verdict
Phyrexian Arena
Rest in Peace
Threads of Disloyalty
Stony Silence

I shuffled up the deck and was very quickly dispatched by Elves. Both games I was stuck on land and instead of drawing any, I just drew Zur and had to stare at his weird glowing eyes as my life total was reduced to zero.

The next round I managed to beat Infect as my opponent made a few play errors including using a Pendelhaven instead of a lethal pump spell when I was tapped out. I then played against RG Tron which Tim convinced me is an unloseable match-up. The Zur deck has maindeck discard, the pretty much unanswerable Geist of Saint Traft, manlands to get around Oblivion Stone, Detention Sphere for Karn, and Spreading Seas to keep them off Tron. I somehow managed to lose and started my tournament off at 1-2.

Nik was also at 1-2. Tim on the other hand had a 3-0 start.

I did manage to win my next three rounds beating Infect, Nik playing Merfolk, and my friend Eric playing Jund. It is really satisfying getting to attack with Zur and Detention Sphere their creatures, Spreading Seas their lands, and put Thassa into play to ensure your creatures are unblockable and your draws are reasonable.

Nik finished 3-3 and Tim was able to draw into the top eight as the third seed. I finished 9th on breakers which is about par for the course.

Tim’s list looked like this:

Tim Fay Magic Celebrity's Borrowed Infect Deck

LANDS (20)
Windswept Heath
Misty Rainforest
Inkmoth Nexus
Breeding Pool
Dryad Arbor
Verdant Catacombs

Blighted Agent
Glistener Elf
Noble Hierarch
Ichorclaw Myr

Gitaxian Probe
Mutagenic Growth
Vines of Vastwood
Become Immense
Might of Old Krosa
Apostle’s Blessing
Distortion Strike

Wild Defiance

Wild Defiance
Twisted Image
Spell Pierce
Nature’s Claim

We figured out pretty quickly that Tim would be playing against Affinity the first round, which seemed like a reasonable match-up. Aside from Galvanic Blast, they usually don’t have a lot of ways to interact with you pre-board. Post board, the Infect player can bring in four Nature’s Claim and some Twisted Images to kill Spellskite, Ornithopter, Signal Pest, and even blank Cranial Plating for a turn. The Affinity player probably will bring in some additional removal in Whipflare and Dismember as well as Spellskite or Blood Moon. Though Tim did get destroyed one game by a turn two Blood Moon, he managed to attack right through the opponent’s robot army to win the round.

We figured out pretty quickly that Tim would be playing against Grixis Control and started to go over a sideboard plan. The match-up seemed pretty bad as they have a lot of ways to interact including cheap removal, discard, and countermagic. However, a resolved Wild Defiance is pretty good against most lists as it completely blanks Lightning Bolt and Kolaghan’s Command. Tim was able to win in two games, including one where he faced down a turn two Bitterblossom.

The finals pit Tim against another Affinity player. They decided first place would get the RPTQ invite and the loser would get two boxes as a consolation prize.

Tim won each game by turn four.

We drove back to Brighton to celebrate his win with some drinks at a bar called the Lincoln. The bar is not only on Lincoln Street but it’s Abraham Lincoln themed with pictures of Honest Abe, Lincoln quotes on the wall, and a bunch of pennies glued to the floor by the bathroom. Townie bars are weird.

Anyway, congrats on the win Tim. Now I have to find a deck for Standard season.


At age 15, while standing in a record store with his high school bandmates, Shawn Massak made the uncool decision to spend the last of his money on a 7th edition starter deck (the one with foil Thorn Elemental). Since that fateful day 11 years ago, Shawn has decorated rooms of his apartment with MTG posters, cosplayed as Jace, the Mindsculptor, and competes with LSV for the record of most islands played (lifetime). When he’s not playing Magic, Shawn works as a job coach for people with disabilities and plays guitar in an indie-pop band.

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