Topdeck.gg Expo Champion Report


Round 1


Seat 1: Moira and Teshar Seat 2: Thrasios/Krark Seat 3: Blue Farm Seat 4: Blue Farm (Me)

I’ve played against seat 1 previously at my win and in at Surfside Showdown, I know he’s a decent player and his deck has quite a number of unorthodox win lines. I keep a hand with Esper Sentinel and Mystic Remora, but only 1 land so I really need them to feed the fish.

Seat 1 passes with marsh flats up, Seat 2 passes also with a fetchland up, Seat 3 ALSO plays a fetchland and passes. I sigh a little knowing they all have tutors up, and that was exactly what happens as a Vampiric Tutor and an Enlightened Tutor go on the stack back to back. Seat 2 was the one stuck with no tutors, but they motioned to lose life, then take it back, I make a note that they probably have mental misstep.

Seat 2 says “I will not feed the fish” and get seats 1 and 3 to agree (seat 3 agrees to only play crypt). I sigh a little knowing life is gonna be hard.

Seat 1 then untaps and confidently slams a Grand Abolisher, sending the table into panic mode, I tell the table I have my own Vampiric Tutor, and tell the table that if I draw a second land, I will let the Remora die and tutor for an answer to the board. Seat 2 sheepishly tells us that they thought they had a Mental Misstep, but it was a Gitaxian {Probe instead. They play Krark and land a Gitaxian Probe, successfully copying it, and seeing the hands of me and Seat 1.

Seat 1 apparently has Entomb and Reanimate, and they corroborate my story that I had no lands in hand and a Vampiric Tutor. Seat 3 says they can deal with the Grand Abolisher and tells me to tutor for a way to stop Entomb or Reanimate. They drop their mana crypt and play a Toxic Deluge for 2, killing both the Grand Abolisher and Krark. I find my second land but also a Mental Misstep and an Esper Sentinel.

I let Remora die, and play my Esper Sentinel leaving up Vampiric Tutor. Seat 1 tanks on their turn for quite a while, before attempting to cast reanimate on Grand Abolisher, to which I hold my end of the deal and Misstep. Seat 2 rebuilds with Thrasios and more mana, while Seat 3 plays an Imperial Seal, sighs, and passes.

I find my 3rd land and Mana Crypt, landing a Tymna and dashing a Ragavan hit onto Seat 3, exiling the Talion they just tutored for. From there I resolve an unopposed Vampiric Tutor for Grand Abolisher, into Breach and Gamble for Lion’s Eye Diamond, the table scoops. 1-0.

Round 2:


Seat 1: Najeela Seat 2: Bue Farm (Me) Seat 3: Blue Farm Seat 4: Najeela

Before the round starts we quip about how original our decks are and how its so rare to run into a bunch of brewers and have a good laugh about it.

I keep a hand with Vampiric Tutor, Phantasmal Image, Cyclonic Rift, Gemstone Mine and 3 other lands.

Seat 1 mulls to 5, but keep a turn 1 Najeela hand. I Vampiric Tutor on turn 0, and play a turn 1 Mystic Remora. Seat 3 plays land lotus petal and passes, while seat 4 also has a turn 1 Najeela.

Facing down 2 Najeela’s with purely reactive cards I decide that I need some roadblocks and Phantasmal Image a Najeela, Seat 3 thinks that’s a good idea and plays a Phyrexian Metamorph (personally I think Tymna might be a little better XD), this leaves him with just two lands for a while which they were really pissed about. We banter about being able to trigger Najeela FOUR TIMES and the table makes a no-warrior pact.


Seat 1 and 4 trade warrior hits and I eventually resolve a Demonic Tutor for Orcish Bowmasters. Orcish Bowmasters trim down the warriors a little and give me Tymna attackers to start pulling ahead. Eventually Seat 3 draws their 3rd land and plays a Rhystic Study.

Meanwhile seat 4 decide to go for it, they start off with Dark Ritual, which I Mental Misstep knowing they’re going for an Ad Nauseum, they fight back, Seat 1 chips in the fight with the last card in their hand (a Pact of Negation), ending their win attempt.

The turn cycle goes around with some Tymna attacks and Seat 3 passes with 4 mana open. Seat 4 Vampiric Tutors on end step and we all pass on that.

Seat 4 decides to go for it again, a bunch of stack war ensues and they resolve an Ad Nauseum, going from 28 to 10 and finding mostly mana. Seat 3 has been drawing cards off Rhystic Study all this time and I’ve been pinging seat 4’s face. Seat 3 finding an intuition and searches up a Silence and Breach + Sevinnes, Silence goes on the stack in response to the first spell being played, Seat 4 tanks for bit, and casts Final Fortune. I Cyclonic Rift their Najeela in response to remove a Cull the Weak target and turn off Mox Amber.

Seat 4 goes into their Final Fortune turn with 9 life and start their turn with a breach, they are however, stuck without another tutor or enough blue mana, they try their best to go off with breach but end up being a single blue pip short of and dies to bowmasters. Seat 1 is empty handed, and topdecks a Ranger Captain searching out Esper Sentinel, and passes.

I have a hand that deterministically wins through Ranger Captain with Thassa’s Oracle, Final Fortune and Wishclaw Talisman, I just need to fight through Seat 3’s massive grip for 20+ cards, thankfully they’re tapped out, at 19 life and I have over 20 power on the table, including a 16/16 orc warrior token. I swing in to kill him, then show the win, seat 1 scoops. 2-0.

Round 3


Seat 1: Blue Farm (Me) Seat 2: Kinnan Seat 3: Kinnan Seat 4: Niv Mizzet

I immediately know this was a hard pod. Seat 2 is an extremely tough opponent to play with and in general people are quite competent at 2-0, this is also a pod where everyone can play a strong long game and keep parity with TnK, so I’m already geared for the long game.

I mulligan my first hand of Mana Crypt, Exotic Orchard and Fellwar Stone in this sans-black-and-white-pod and keep a solid second 7 with Dark Ritual, Cabal Ritual, Esper Sentinel, lands and some light interaction.

We develop slowly, both Kinnan players play out mana artifacts while I eventually get to a Tymna and an Orcish Bowmaster.

Seat 2 has the ability to spin Kinnan, but its off just one Mana Vault while seat 3 has both Sol Ring and Mana Crypt, so I fire off a Red Elemental Blast on their Kinnan, this is something I do rather often, my thought process is that if we are past the initial “development” phase, the table is usually able to keep par with or stay ahead of Kinnan spins, but if Kinnan gets a good spin before everyone is developed then they can easily 1v3 the table.

Seat 3 replays Kinnan and plays a Phyrexian Metamorph cloning my Orcish Bowmaster and we pass through another turn cycle, I still don’t find a 4th mana source and say go, Seat 2 plays a Wandering Archaic and passes, which does slightly set off alarm bells because they only have 2 cards in hand and Seat 3 can easily pay for it, they probably only cast it because they’re afraid I can go off or are setting up for a win next turn (seat 4 is clearly a very meticulous player and is quite far from assembling a win).

Seat 3 spins Kinnan on their turn, hitting a consecrated sphinx, and the table groans. They get some draws and it comes to my turn, I still don’t find a 4th mana source and the only playable card I have are Rituals and Diabolic Intent, and I REALLY don’t want to cast a tutor into the Wandering Archaic, but the Consecrated Sphinx is clearly also an issue. I open the turn with a Dark Ritual, and consider my options, I could tutor for a Path to Exile, paying for Archaic, this would allow me some interaction that goes through Archaic, and also kill the Sphinx, or get a fire covenant, and just accept that it would also kill my board with Wandering Archaic.

Seat 4 seemed to understand my plight and just says “Lets not tutor into the Archaic” and plays a bounce spell on the Sphinx, it gets copied by Wandering Archaic and bounces my Tymna, so I simply replay Tymna and play a Mystic Remora.

Seat 2 then decides to go for it and plays a Hullbreaker Horror, with a Signet and a Mana Vault in play they easily have infinite colored mana, the table looks around and I tell them I have a Mindbreak Trap and will be able to chip in when it’s active. Seat 4 plays an Unsubstantiate, this triggers Wandering Archaic, which they paid for, Seat 2 activates Glen Elendra Archmage, stopping that, in response to the 2 draw triggers on the stack (Remora and Esper Sentinel), Seat 3 responds with An Offer You Can’t Refuse targeting the Unsubstantiate, putting another 2 draw triggers on the stack. The Archaic copy counters the original Offer, and with all 4 draw triggers on the stack, Seat 2 Boseiju’s the Phyrexian Metamorph Bowmaster. We let the stack resolve, and Hullbreaker Horror lands, the first bounce hits my Mystic Remora, and they attempt to start a loop.

Just when we thought all hope was lost Seat 3 cracks the 2 treasures they get from their Offer, and channel a Skyturtle on the Hullbreaker Horror.

We go into Seat 3’s turn with about 10 minutes on the clock, and Seat 3 goes into the tank. Seat 2 brings up an intentional draw, and at that point I still don’t have a 4th mana source and my only way to win is to cast multiple tutors into a Wandering Archaic, so I also agree, Seat 4 reveals a Mystical and a Gush that they can cast into a Wandering Archaic as well to back up my known Mind Break Trap and we agree to a draw.

Round 4


Seat 1: Sisay Seat 2: Blue Farm Seat 3: Edric (in 2023!!) Seat 4: Me

TBH I don’t remember most details this game as its been quite a long day, but we get into a spot where Sisay player has a Selvela and Sakashima cloned, but was stopped by seat 2 Demonic Consulting for an Opposition Agent. Seat 3 has a cloned Orcish Bowmasters, a One Ring and Edric, and they are in a position to win very soon, all i have are 2 fetchlands, 4 tutors and a swan song looking very sadly at the Opposition Agent.

Given that seat 2 has zero win conditions left, and seat 1 was completely locked out under the Opposition Agent, I offer a draw with about 3 minutes on the clock, revealing the Intuition that I can cast into the Opposition Agent at any time. Draw, 2-0-2.

Round 5


Seat 1: Blue Farm (Me) Seat 2: Kenrith Seat 3: Rograkh/Silas Seat 4: Niv-Mizzet

The game started off with a bang when Seat 3 went land, land Defense Grid, this probably started putting on some alarm bells and Seat 4 decided it was worth a Force of Negation. Things go slow for another turn or 2, and I’m slowly accumulating cards with an Esper Sentinel.

Seat 3 casts a Tainted Pact end of turn for a Pact of Negation, and passed their turn 3 with 5 mana up, clearly signaling and Ad Nauseum, and I also pass my turn with all my mana, keeping up Mental Misstep, Chain of Vapor, Red Elemental Blast and Swan Song.

At the end of my turn, Seat 2 casts an Eladamari’s Call, and we ask them if they’re getting something that can help against Seat 3, or a Grand Abolisher/Dockside to win the game, they tank about it and say “Probably a dockside”, this felt threatening enough that I decided to Swan Song. I could’ve allowed the Call to resolve, let Seat 3 cast their Ad Nauseum, then counter that with Swan Song, but then we just lose to whatever Seat 2 is doing, or I could hope that they will now look for ways to stop Seat 3, like play a Ranger Captain. The other variable is that Seat 3 is only playing for an intentional draw, but seat 2 needs a win, so I think Seat 3 is someone I can more reasonably negotiate with.

Seat 2 decides to still go for it, with a Finale searching for Dockside, Seat 3 obviously responds with an Ad Nauseum, and proposes a draw, both Seat 4 and I take draw, and Seat 2 agrees after a bit of discussion, but they want to see the Ad Nauseum cards, just for closure. Seat 3 flips the cards and get there with absolutely no issues. Draw, 2-0-3.

Round 6


Seat 1: Najeela Seat 2: Rograkh/Silas Seat 3: Kenrith Seat 4: Blue Farm (me)

This was quite a tense game, given everyone was on a win-and-in, and that it was the first game in of day 2 and everyone is still waiting for caffeine to kick in.

Seat 1 keeps their first 7, and everyone else starts mulliganing. Seats 2 and 3 keep their 5 cards, and I keep an extremely sketchy 6.


I put back Mox Diamond, and keep on a game plan of “Drawing a land” for a turn 1 Kraum and hoping that gets me there.

The game begins and seat 1 drops a turn 1 Najeela off a mana crypt, the other 3 players talk about how scary this is and seat 1 says “Don’t worry I kept an interaction heavy hand”.

Seat 2 proceeds with their turn of Land, Rograkh, Mox Amber, Lotus Petal and hitting me with a Praetor’s Grasp. They play the last card from their hand, a Lion’s Eye Diamond, sacrificing it to cast the Rhystic Study they took from me (Note: this was the first time my Rhystic Study was placed on the stack, it’s fired). Seat 1 proceeds to blow him out with a Mindbreak Trap.

Seat 3 plays a land and passes, and I draw a Badlands that lets me play turn 1 Kraum (I asked Seat 2 to show the top card of my deck as they were searching, and it was a Tundra).

Seat 1 attacks and passes, and everyone else passes, with Seat 3 also missing a 2nd land drop.

Seat 1 plays an Opposition Agent at end step, then untapped and plays a Culling Ritual, it looks like they’re in a dominant position, but this is where it starts going awry, they get 7 mana, and spends 4 on a Beseech the Mirror, unable to bargain anything, they look through their deck for a very long time, then finally making a decision and passing the turn.

Seat 3 mentions they have something that help drag the game out, and draws the land they need to cast a Gilded Drake, taking Najeela.

Seat 1 sighs and plays their Samut, almost definitely the card they tutored for, and now we are stuck in a super low econ game with Seat 1 only very slightly ahead.

I’m stuck with a Vampiric Tutor, Underworld Breach, a fetchland and another non-white land in hand and have no way to win into an opposition agent, then my Kraum triggers and seat 3 responds with an Orcish Bowmasters, killing the Oppostion Agent. I take my chance there and Vampiric Tutor for a Mnemonic Betrayal, almost certainly guaranteeing a win if I resolve into everyone’s well stocked graveyard.

Seat 3 unfortunately has a Mana Drain for me, and I have to pass. Everyone else does nothing and we go to Seat 3’s turn again and they play Kenrith off the Mana Drain mana.

I go for it again with an Underworld Breach that resolves, and escape Mnemonic Betrayal. The table groans and neither Seats 2 nor 3 can stop me, Seat 1 sigh and plays a Demonic Consultation, naming Force of Will, then immediately switching it to Force of Negation, they start flipping and 20 cards down they say “Guys I think I fucked up I might’ve cut the Force of Negation”, and sure enough they did. They exile the rest of their deck and the Betrayal resolves.

I start a brain freeze loop and the other 3 players trade hands and start murmuring, I know their plan was to wait for me to play Thassa’s Oracle, then kill me with Kraum triggers, at some point I should have just played a Silence or Grand Abolisher, but I wanted to be cute and instead I placed the Kraum triggers on the stack, then escaped a Borne Upon a Wind for a win on top.

In retrospect, there was no reason to expose myself to any risk if I just escaped Silence way earlier in the turn and I definitely should have been tighter with my play. 3-0-3.

Round 7


Seat 1: Talion Seat 2: Blue Farm (Me) Seat 3: Vial-Smasher/Thrasios Seat 4: Kenrith

I did not know this at first but all four of us were discord pals and I’ve played with everyone online before, we talk about our records and Seat 3 needs a draw, and Seat 4 need a win. Seat 1 and I are both ok with a draw.

I open with the stone nuts of Gemstone Caverns, Mana Crypt, Esper Sentinel and Wheel of Fortune, meanwhile Seat 3 mulligans to 3 cards, going more and more frustrated with each mulligan, I want to tell him about the wheel so bad but I keep quiet.

Seat 1 play land, Mox Diamond, pass. And I start the turn off with Esper Sentinel followed up with a turn 1 Wheel of Fortune. Seat 3 gets a pretty insane new 7 with 3 mana rocks into a Windfall for 8 cards (feeding my Esper Sentinel). Seat 4 really wants it to happen and Seat 1 tanks for a second, and plays their Delay.

Seat 4 dejectedly plays a fetchland and pass, while Seat 1 develops their mana. I untap and play a Mnemonic Betrayal, an almost guaranteed win with 4 mana in graveyards and 2 Wishclaw Talismans, no one can stop it, and I offer the table a draw since that’s the highest EV play for everyone, and even Seat 4 has a very outside shot of squeaking in. They take the draw and I think I lock up first/second seat in the top 16 rounds. Final Swiss Record: 3-0-4.

Top 16 match

This entire match was streamed here: https://youtu.be/_MXRhnPNT2E?t=14753 and the casters do an INCREDIBLE job covering this so I’ll just add my thoughts here.

There were 2 primary misplays I made in this game.

The Chain of Vapor on my Mystic Remora, I’ve been pretty vocal about me keeping up interaction and I think the table knows I have a Flusterstorm, so I probably should have fired it off on the Remora, it’ll constrain 3 mana from Connor at worst and at best someone might tell me to save it and play a narrower piece of interaction (highly unlikely). Connor is too good of a player to walk into a Flusterstorm and Max was on a mulligan to 4 so we don’t expect him to have a counterspell. I had a fetchland in my hand and just played the Hallowed Fountain like I was brain dead. I wish I could say I was tired, but I knew it was the wrong decision the moment I played it, this left me unable to defend my Fire Covenant which would have almost definitely won me the game.

My other thought would be how Kellen sequenced their turn, they started off their turn by casting an Orim’s Chant targeting me, then tutoring for a Dockside, a crucial piece in their Dargo combo deck. I think this triggered some very loud alarm bells inside Max’s head and given how aggressive they were with the Chant and didn’t want to tell us what his plan was, Max decided to cast a Mindbreak Trap on the Dockside Extortionist.

I also thought that Connor should have attacked me, at least for 2 with the bird, if only to keep me off Ancient Tomb or Fetchlands. I still firmly believe I didn’t deserve to win that game, given that the perfect confluence of events had to happen for me to win, in a very slightly different world I would be attempting a win against a Scrapgorger, a Mindbreak Trap and an Orim’s Chant and I would’ve been crushed. Instead all of those things were gone and I was free to steal a completely undeserved win.

Top 4

Top 4 is covered here: https://youtu.be/_MXRhnPNT2E?t=24082 once again by some really incredible casting. It took a while for us to get settled because the final Top 16 match took 2 hours with 6 back to back win attempts by different players, but we’re there.

Since the match is covered, I’ll just discuss some thoughts throughout the game.

I kept a 6 of 3 lands, Mana Crypt, Silence and Path to Exile. I know this was going to be a very long game, and given the nature of Kinnan and Blue’s Clues I knew I was gonna see Stony Silence or Collector Ouphe, so having lands is absolutely critical.

I chose to remove Kinnan to delay the spin for a turn, which I think is important if I want the game to go long, but do slightly regret not playing Kraum when Drannith Magistrate came down. If people were confused by not blocking Tymna’s, Alex and I made a Tymna pact because the other two players had pretty gummed up boards.

I wasn’t really drawing into very good cards, (lots of lands) and my primary game plan is the Mnemonic Betrayal in my hand, that is stopped by the Drannith Magistrate. I needed people to start trying to go for it so I can have a window, so I made a decision to trade off the Boromir and see if folks would take the bait.

My Intuition timing was objectively wrong, but I need to seem desperate enough to “try and resolve my intuition in the one window I have”. I even showed Travis my hand of Silence, Land, Mnemonic Betrayal so he’d not interact.

I also could have gone for a better pile of Reanimate, Sevinne’s Reclamation, Metamorph, but I thought that might be a little too obvious. I did not have a direct winning line before both Demonic Consultations were played, but I knew I’d have a pretty insane chance to win even if I just replayed Remora, Rhystic, Esper Sentinel and Orcish Bowmasters.

Eric played that final turn gloriously, they defended the Gamble so well that I thought the coast was clear once it was countered. My heart skipped a beat until we got saved by Alex.

After Mnemonic Betrayal resolved, I could’ve just gone for Demonic Consultation -> Thassa’s Oracle -> Demonic Consultation, but since I had 2 more mana I decided to cast Lim Dul’s Vault first just to make sure it was not in the top 5 cards. Turns out it was the 4th card down. I would’ve been absolutely devastated if I just played loose again (though I think the casters would’ve had a blast).


At the end of it, it was just a surreal feeling to meet so many friends I’ve played with online, hung out with excellent company, and to take it home for the West Coast boys getting flamed all year.

Before we sign off, I wanna give some shout outs to the props and slops for this weekend.


Eminence Gaming, the judging staff and TO, CCS and the casters - The event was run impeccably, round turnover was under 20 minutes the entire tournament, the place had plenty of space, food, water, bathroom space and tons of awesome vendors.

My opponents (and all the participants) - Ya’ll were great, everyone was an absolute class act and I really want to go back for more.

Mnemonic Betrayal: I’ve never had this end so many games but somehow this just kept showing up and coming through.


Rhystic Study: Literally never drew it the entire tournament, only time it went on a stack was via a Praetor’s Grasp, bro you’re fired.

Atlanta Weather: Seriously? Nice and sunny all week and you rain the 2 days I’m there?