My End-of-Year Pro Point Dash (Part 1)

by Thomas Enevoldsen on 03 October 2018, Wednesday

Thomas Enevoldsen

Hello everybody! My name is Thomas Enevoldsen, I am a Gold-level professional MTG player and member of the newly formed Team Snapcardster x MTGMintCard alongside my fellow Danes and friends/frenemies: Michael Bonde, Christoffer Larsen, Martin Dang, Martin Müller and Simon Nielsen. We hope to make a big splash in the upcoming Pro Tour Team Series competition and Snapcardster and their wonderful app is supporting us along the way.

As part of my many pro player obligations, including complaining on MTGO when my opponent is lucky, drawing first in limited even when it seems like a bad thing just to look smart, and answering questions on Twitter (under the handle @therealenevolds) whenever Wizards of the Coast prints new creatures that require Plains to cast, I am also going to be producing an exclusive amount of content for Snapcardster x MTGMintCard.

This article is my first foray into these uncharted territories, and seeing as the European GP scene is on hiatus until late October, I thought I’d introduce myself by recapping these last two months of gaming, in which I made a dash to obtain enough pro points to receive a Gold-level membership to Wizards' club of underpaid delusionals for the first time in my 12-year Pro Tour career - and ultimately succeeding in that endeavor! Because who doesn’t love a good underdog story (see Seabiscuit, The Mighty Ducks, Rocky, etc)? 

I might as well admit from the start that this will be a three-parter to buy some time before having to come up with actual strategic content, so look for parts 2 and 3 as we get closer to Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica in Atlanta, in which I will be travelling, playing Magic and racking up wins for 3 weeks straight.

Setting up this late-season sprint was a (by my standards) great Pro Tour performance at Pro Tour Dominaria in Richmond bringing me to 30 Pro Points, having already earned 20 points from Grands Prix alone prior to that thanks to two Grand Prix Finals appearances (including one win) with my best friend Michael and Andreas Petersen (Madrid) and Christoffer Larsen (Lyon), respectively.

So with the golden ticket in sight, I made arrangements to travel to the four remaining Euro GPs (Barcelona, Brussels, Prague, and Stockholm) as well as GP Minneapolis and Pro Tour 25th Anniversary to get the last 5 puntos professionales.

First up was GP Barcelona and Modern. My experience in Modern is quite broad, as I have played many different decks throughout its existence as a format at premier events, but I have never been able to quite settle on a deck I was comfortable with. I have most experience with Blue Scapeshift (when it was closer to Tier 1), which I used to qualify for the Pro Tour via a Magic Online PTQ. I have since played UW Control, Infect, Esper Death’s Shadow, Abzan, UR Breach and finally Living End, but I always found something wrong with any of the decks I played. Prior to Barcelona I had picked up UW Control again, inspired by Gabriel Nassif’s stream and different builds, and I felt like it had a good spot in the metagame. I tested a lot with it online (which for me is something like five leagues, but five leagues is a lot of gameplay when you play UW!)

I went 11-4 overall after 2 byes with this list:

Highlights from the tournaments were:

  • In round 3, game 1 (first game of the tournament), playing a Celestial Colonnade tapped, then untapping, playing a Serum Visions, thinking long and hard about the scry before passing turn 2 without playing one of my three lands in hand. Yeah, I didn’t win that one.
  • In round 9 (first round of day 2), my opponent decided not to show up at all. From his name, I assumed he was from Finland, but he was in any case Finnished.
  • Twice during the tournament against GWx I was on the play, played a turn 3 Timely Reinforcements (making soldiers, yes) and a turn 4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor*, at which point the game was factually over, but my opponents apparently didn’t realize and allowed me to Brainstorm so much I could have come up with a new cure for Polio (if we hadn’t already cured Polio, mind you).

(A strategic aside on sideboarding: About two years ago, I decided I wanted to take Magic more seriously, prepare more (and importantly, more effectively), which included having better sideboard plans. With all the data on MTG results floating around on the internet, I figured I might as well take advantage of this and started making “sideboard books”, which I take with me to every tournament. A sideboard book is basically a printout of a commonly played decklist for each of the major (and minor, if you want do the effort) decks of the format along with your sideboard notes (as you are used to seeing from internet guides). It is an important rule of sideboarding that you don’t just prepare for the opponent’s maindeck, but take into consideration their sideboarding too. By having access to stock sideboard lists, you are better equipped to anticipate what they’ll most probably be doing for games 2 and 3. Having an idea from stock lists about whether they, for instance, might bring in Fulminator Mage, extra removal, Planeswalkers and so on can help a lot with your own sideboard plan. It is important to stress here that the value of such a sideboard book is only as good as the player using it. You got to be prepared to make changes based on what your opponents actually do in the games and what they emphasize in the matchup, but it certainly frees up a lot of brainpower by having a set input that you may then deviate from, rather than thinking all of it up on the fly. Especially for older formats like Legacy and Modern, this can be a huge help as the formats are so wide and it is hard to memorize all archetypes and their individual gameplans pre- and post-board. And that is the end of the aside.)

As the GP point cap of six finishes was still in place, the 2 pro points from the 11-4 finish didn’t really help me, as that was already my lowest score from my previous six GPs, so I needed to do better.

Next chance was GP Minneapolis, which was the week prior to Pro Tour 25th Anniversary, in beautiful (and surprisingly entertaining) Minneapolis. I traveled there with my best friend and Trusty Companion, Michael Bonde and we had an amazing week hanging out in the city. We went to a “soccer” exhibition match in their new football stadium, played “soccer” with our good friends and hangarounds from Hareruya Latin, rode around town on electrical Lime-scooters (which is basically the most fun you can have, period), went to the biggest mall in the US (Mall of America) and generally just had an awesome time while eating great food, seeing friends and, of course, testing Legacy for the Pro Tour. There may have been some Pai Gow Pack Wars at various points as well. A literal highlight was also visiting Dmitryi Butakov, Andreas Ganz and Marcelino Freeman’s palace of an apartment in a skyscraper with an amazing common room at the top, where I perfected my sideboard strategy and absolutely crushed Butakov’s Aggro Loam deck 11-9 with my trusty Death and Taxes deck. They also had a Chipotle nearby, so perhaps I am confusing that with the highlight, as I absolutely love Chipotle (bowl please, add guac, yes I know it’s extra but I still want it). I have included some pictures to do my eloquent description justice:





GP Minneapolis was Core Set 2019 Sealed, and I hadn’t done much preparation except for my usual Two-Headed Giant prerelease with Christoffer Larsen (which we 6-0’d on the back of Patient Rebuilding).

The sealed format was actually quite interesting, as the card quality varied greatly based on your opponent’s strategy, which was evidenced by all the cards that made the cut in post-board games, as pictured here:

Draft deck

I snuck into day 2 at 6-2, and without having played an M19 draft before (even if I have tried drafting before) I decided to, in line with my emphasis on preparedness and generally knowing the cards I am playing with, fire up a late night draft on MTGO just to get into the kick of things. I was promptly handed a UW fliers monstrosity, 3-0’d without much hassle and didn’t learn much. It did boost my confidence though!

For day 2, I went 2-1 in the first draft playing UW fliers again, but the wheels came off in the second draft, where I got a decent UR spells deck with fan favourite Patient Rebuilding, which unfortunately didn’t hold up against competent opposition, and I was out of the tournament without a point to show for it.

Here are my draft decks:

Draft deck

Draft deck

Highlights of the tournaments included:

  • The only two cards that remained steady in all my decks on day 1 were Meteor Golem and Skyscanner. Even my Chaos Wand had to be boarded out once against my opponent’s GW brew with 2 combat tricks and 21 creatures.
  • In the finals of the first draft, my opponent had quadruple Regal Bloodlord and infinite ways to gain life, literally and figuratively draining the lifeblood from me. Along the way, I did make a very nice attack, if must say so myself: I sent a crucial 2/2 flier into combat on the turn my opponent tapped out for the Bloodlord. My hand was all blanks, and it was probably a bad attack in that I needed the flier to hold off the inevitable army of bats that was going to follow, and the matchup was such that (at least by my account) it did not make sense for me to have a combat trick still in the deck for post-board games, however I knew my opponent was practically in love with his Bloodlord, so I figured he was unlikely to block in any case. He didn’t, I won the game at 1 life and the cherry on top was that Thomas Hendriks was sitting next to me watching the game so it made me look really smart! Okay that didn’t actually happen, he did take the damage, but I lost a close race and the 2 damage ended up not mattering. But they could have, and Thomas agrees, I’m sure!

After the GP, Michael and I hung out and did some team drafts with fellow Danes Martin Dang and Christoffer Larsen before visiting the Dave & Buster’s arcade, which is apparently where people under the legal drinking age go to have fun on dates in the United States. We certainly had a ton of fun battling in various arcade adventures against each other, culminating with me winning top spot and (more importantly) all our precious prize tickets on a one spin winner-takes-all lottery draw against finalist in Pro Tour Arcade Games Martin Dang. I exchanged the tickets for a dragon plush toy for my niece and she carries it around wherever she goes, so it all worked out well - I chose to include this paragraph to show the readers that yes, I do have a heart, forgetting the fact that Martin’s newborn daughter Thea would probably also have been interested in the cute little animal, but you know what they say. “if you dunno’ how’ta’ spin, you dun’ deserv’ ta’ win”.

Okay, so that’s it for Part 1, which featured an introduction, some strategy, some historic events and some personal moments which should be more than enough my debut here with Snapcardster x MTGMintCard.

Stay tuned for Part 2 and 3, which feature more of the same and maybe even some timeless Death and Taxes strategy alongside more Modern content and generally very little lunch.

See you then!

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Thomas Enevoldsen wraps up the story of his Pro Point chase!

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