I’m back with another tournament report featuring my favorite deck at the moment, TJP Blitz. A lot has been said about the TJP Blitz style decks lately but after an ETS top 8 with the deck post nerf I thought I’d write a little about my tournament run along with my thoughts on the deck moving forward.
I was surprised DWD choose to drop the nerfs so late in the day and on a Thursday. Our team was left with a little more than 24 hours to figure out decks to bring for the ETS weekly. Most of us had been testing with the deck for a few weeks now and probably were planning to bring it again despite being heavily targeted the week before. We went straight to work discussing the deck and if it was still good, some team members didn’t think the levitate nerf was even an issue for the deck. We discuss slotting in strategizes, cutting disciple for the stronger individual unit, along with some other minor changes. No one had the opinion that deck was unplayable.
I tried out a couple of different iterations on ladder Friday night going 10-3 in high Masters. With those results and how much I enjoy playing the deck, I locked in playing it for the ETS, no one else on the team chose to pull the trigger on it. I made a few small changes just before the event after seeing Neon’s newest list, below is what I ended up registering for the event.
I kept the Valkyrie Enforcers that overperformed the week before and added Hooru Pacifier for weapon disruption. More Mirror Images because it was the first card from the market a high percentage of the time, and how much it synergizes with the deck overall. A couple of Strategize round out the extra slots. Also took Neon’s advice of having a gift in the market. It was clutch on at least one occasion, as you’ll see later. To the surprise on no one I was the only person brave enough to bring a nerfed deck.
Round 1- TheBoxer on Stonescar Grenadins
First game I slowplayed my hand and tried to only have 1 threat in play at a time to dodge madness combo blowouts. Second game my draw was such that I had to put multiple units in play, fortunately, they were only able to play madness without combust. Both games ended with me exploiting grenadins’ weakness to flying with large berserking units.
Round 2 - ArconteSoze on FJS Removal Pile
My opponent this round brought a more Argenport base for their removal pile control deck, notably no Torches and only Annihilate as fast speed interaction. In game 1, they eventually ran out of answers to my growing units and aegis threats. In the second game, it simply came down to them getting power screwed.
Round 3 - SooNo on FJS Removal Pile
I believe I lost the first game due to having a slow hand and not being able to play around Runehammers. In game 2, I ended up going all in on two 6/6 Alessis and they never drew a Harsh Rule. Game 3 ended up on camera, which you can watch above. I didn’t play a sigil plus a merchant on turn 3 because a Runehammer would have prevented me from having a turn 4 play with the banner I had. Turn 5 Runehammer wrecking me is prevented by several combinations of my hand. I played Kosul Battlemage over Hooru Pacifier on turn 4 even though them Rising for a Runehammer was likely to play around slay keeping the board clear, Battlemage and Finest Hour beats buffed hammers too. On turn 5, I tank to consider either Strategizing to try and hit power or to use the market. I decided to play the Merchant, pitching initiation because I already had Equivocate for their threat which should be far off given their power situation. I grabbed a gift of battle because I have lethal next turn if battlemage survives the turn cycle. They play a big runehammer and decide to go for the guaranteed kill on the merchant. The small pause at the end of their turn was double checking math and if holding sharpened reflex mattered, the seek power was irrelevant. After I start my turn we get this fitting quote from Neon, “God this is why I love the deck. This is what I’m here for. You were at 20 and HELD back a blocker.”
Round 4 - Grimfan on FTJ Charge Rod
They choose to play zero Torches but have four Desert Marshalls as their only early interaction. We ended up splitting the first two games and the decider was a real nail-biter. All three games featured an early Whirling Duo which I luckily had an Enforcer in game 3 on curve. I don’t think I would have been able to win the match otherwise. The final turns came down to a top-decked Icaria putting me to 4 life with two Battlemages on board, 4/4 and 3/3 respectively, and them at 18. My hand was an Equivocate, Crownwatch Tactic, and Finest Hour; I drew another Finest for the turn. A quick math check shows I have lethal if they don’t block. Luckily for me, the opponent chooses not to block since if I don’t have lethal or an answer to Icaria they win.
Round 5 - Drolicheck on Icaria Blue
This was a revenge match since Drolicheck knocked me out of top 8 last week with the same deck. Between the two matches, this feels like the nightmare match-up! Some tips for the matchup are to try to not run into Runehammers and finding Pacifier plus Stand Together. You can try to play around hailstorm but a lot of your threats die to it early on and the longer you wait the less likely you are to steal a win.
The match was over in quick defeat.
Round 6 - Sabriel on Xenan Killers
This deck had been talked about previously as a counter to the Blitz decks thanks to all the deadly units and killer effects. Their list had Ripknifes and Xenan Initiations for these. A combination of Enforcers and a slow draw allowed me to take a game 1. Game 2 was non-started because the opponent was stuck on two power the entire game. With the win, I secured back to back top 8s with a deck that got nerfed in between. Shoutout to Sabriel for sneaking in on breakers after an unfortunate way to end the swiss.
Quarterfinals- AromaNova on Praxis Tokens
A bad roll of the dice here meant I had to face off with a fellow TGP member. Just like Icaria Blue, this match-up feels awful. They come out faster than you and go wide around your units. This is where you really miss the extra flying from Levitate and not having Lightning Storm in the market (which I almost did specifically for this exact match-up). Games played out as expected with a large ground stall that saw me eventually get overwhelmed by units backed up with Rally.
Still a good run and I put myself in a great position to make it back to the ETS Invitational. Not to mention picking up points for team league.
Some changes I’d make to the deck would be to replace the Strategizes. You’d rather have a more interactive spell or a solid unit like Enforcer or Pacifier. You can mess with the Mirror Image/Stand Together numbers as well since both help you maintain a board, but Stand is better against board clear decks. I’m still unsure if you need Sharpened Reflex but it does nice things occasionally. I may try out lists with more Crownwatch Standards as that card is always great when you transform it or more initiation and accelerated evolution if the Combrei deck is very popular. The nerfs opened more spots in the deck for you to tinker with. Overall, I think the deck is still quite playable and a lot of fun.