Going for the Gold: Prepping for the SSS Finals
This summer I received a pretty bad pool at GP Montreal and I was able to parlay my free time on Sunday into a qualification for the Sunday Super Series. This was the first time I played in one of these. A combination of availability, great prize support and fewer than normal attendees (18 points making day two really did shrink the size of these events) made it a great EV tournament to enter. If you want to hear all about my SSS experience you can read about it here.
So there I was qualified for a tournament that overlapped with the first Grand Prix of the year, and a legacy one at that. A few players had been pretty vocal about how they would choose to play in the Grand Prix and would actually skip the SSS Finals (SSSF) but since legacy was not a favourite format of mine, it was an easy choice to play in the SSSF. So the stage was set for the ultimate showdown, about 40ish players, and three different formats.
Day One would consist of three rounds of Kaladesh booster draft and then four rounds of Modern constructed. Day Two (Top 8) would just be the Eternal Masters draft format. Now if you’ve been following my articles for a while, you will know that I am so confident in my limited ability but I don’t talk much about Modern because it is a moot format to me. I’m also a control freak and suffer from OCD so I ran a couple models before I started my preparation for the event. First, I knew that there would be a maximum of 48 players at this event which meant that you would have to achieve a record of 5-1-1 or better to guarantee a birth in the top 8. By running various models it was apparent that between 2 and 3 5-2s would make the elimination rounds, depending of course on how the rest of the tournament shook out.
The first thing I assumed was that I would 3-0 Kaladesh booster draft. I still believe that BW is the best archetype but I did about 30 drafts over the holidays to keep my skills sharp. Looking at the player list there were only a few players that I think could have gotten in my way of this happening so it felt like a reasonable prediction. This would require me to win two out of my first three rounds of Modern. Not an unreasonable request by any means but Modern is very open format and you want to make sure that you pick a deck that doesn’t get crushed by what you expect your opponents to play. Since there were relatively few competitors, I put together a model based on what I expected each player to play and assigned unknowns to either playing Dredge, Infect or Bant Eldrazi.
This gave me U/R Tempo as the deck to play in Modern. I already knew that it was very explosive having seen other players able to take down their RPTQs with it. I was afraid of GBx decks, and thought that only 3-4 players in the room would be on it so that for a 4 round event it would be a great choice.
When it came to Eternal Masters, I didn’t have the opportunity to play in any EMA drafts since it was the PPTQ format of choice. There were a few EMA drafts that were held on the holidays but I had other personal commitments and was unable to attend them. I did a lot of reading online on the various pick orders and consulted with a few players that I knew grinded it a lot. The overwhelming suggestion was to avoid green and draft blue since it was very deep and could go UB control or UW fliers. Of course none of this would matter unless I top8’d so it was my lowest priority preparation.
Anyways, I hope this gave you some insight on my preparation and hopefully next week I’ll be back with a tournament report and a great story!
All the best,
Editor’s Notes: You can see the event details and qualified players here.