Harriet Wilder just came 147th at GP Bilbao, going 9-3-3, and winning the Play it Forward prize for highest-ranked woman or non-binary player. Here she shares her notes from the event. This is part one of our coverage of GP Bilbao, the rest of the coverage can be found here.
Here’s the link to my UW Midrange decklist. In this blog post, I’ll talk through my rounds – some of the details may be a bit hazy, but this is what I remember!
Rounds 1 and 2
I started with two byes… which I played perfectly!
Round 3 – Colourless Eldrazi 1-2
This is a match I felt I should have won. I made some big punts, maybe because it was the first match of my day, maybe because of time pressure in game three.
Game one, my opponent played Eldrazi Temple, so I played Runed Halo on turn two naming Thought-Knot Seer. Field of Ruin was useful against Inkmoth Nexus and Eldrazi Temple. Wall of Omens was an excellent blocker for Eternal Scourge and Matter Reshaper. I can’t remember how I lost that game but I felt it was close. Game two I won. Game three we were very short on time, and I misplayed under pressure, allowing an Eternal Scourge to resolve with a Ceremonious Rejection in hand. I could at least have bought myself some time, as I was also holding Absorb and on seven life.
Round 4 – UW Control 1-1
Game one, my opponent played turn three Gideon of the Trials, and later on Jace the Mind Sculptor, and then Teferi. When Jace was on 13 loyalty I scooped! Game two I sided in all my creatures and beat down for the win. We didn’t have time for game three!
Round 5 – RW Prison 2-1
Game one, my opponent quickly locked me out of the game and I lost to a Chandra emblem. Game two, my opponent couldn’t find red mana. I Vendilion Cliqued and Restoration Angel’d Clique to make sure they still couldn’t cast anything while beating down. Game three, I can’t remember the details except that my opponent said they were one mana from casting a Worship at the point when I won.
Round 6 – UW Control 2-0
I can’t remember much about this match except naming Jace with Runed Halo (remembering my experience from round 4), and siding in all creatures and beating down for game two.
Round 7 – Jund 2-1
Game one, my opponent played multiple Goyfs and Bloodbraids for a quick finish. Game two, my Runed Halo naming Liliana of the Veil allowed my sided in Geist of St Traft to beat down. Game three my opponent was stuck on mana and I was able to kill him with my Lyra Dawnbringer from the side. Field of Ruin, targeting Raging Ravine was useful in this match up.
Round 8 – Grixis Control 2-0 (my win and in for day 2!)
Round 9 – Izzet Phoenix 2-1
This was the toughest match of day one for me. The Phoenix deck felt relentless. Game one, I had a Runed Halo on Phoenix but they played through it to win finally with Awoken Horror, and double Lightning Bolt after surgically extracting my Paths. Game two, although I had read a few articles and facebook posts which advised not siding in Rest in Peace in the match up I decided to ignore that advice and sided in all three anyway. I felt that if they were going to surgical my Paths and potentially my Restoration Angels, how would I win? The plan worked. I played turn two Rest in Peace in games two and three and it definitely helped me. Somehow I won both games to go into day two with a 7-1-1 record.
Round 10 – Dredge 0-2
Game one, although I put up a reasonable fight I couldn’t win. Game two, I think I punted by not mulliganning to a Rest in Peace or Runed Halo. Then again, my opponent played turn one Thoughtseize so it may not have mattered anyway. In the end, I didn’t see my sideboard cards or Halos, and although once again I fought as hard as I could there wasn’t realistically any way I could win the game.
Round 11 – Izzet Phoenix 1-2
Game one I won with Restoration Angel beat down. Game two and three my opponent had sided in Pyromancer Ascension and Chandra. I don’t remember the exact details but in one of the games I decided not to Detention Sphere the Ascension straight away, thinking I could do it the next turn. That was a massive punt. The Ascension got out of control and my opponent had Spell Pierce to stop the Detention Sphere.
Round 12 – Humans 2-1
This round was against GP winner Gary Campbell! Game one, I had mana issues. Game two, Gary had mana issues. Game three was more interesting. Game three, Cataclysmic Gearhulk out of the sideboard was amazing, wiping his board and doing it again after blinking with Restoration Angel.
Round 13 – Thopter Sword Combo 1-1
Game one felt hopeless. My deck does not have enough ways to answer what that deck is doing. I probably should have scooped earlier than I did. Game two I won very easily after I became the prison deck, with a turn two Rest in Peace, and shortly afterwards a Stony Silence. We didn’t have time for G3.
Round 14 – UW Control 1-1
Game one was long and grindy. Again, I should have scooped earlier to try and avoid a draw. The deck just has too many planeswalkers mainboard for me to deal with. Game two I sided in all my creatures (this tactic had worked previously against UW Control!) and won quickly. Not enough time for G3.
Round 15 – UR Phoenix 2-0
Details are hazy but by this stage of the tournament I was feeling confident against the Phoenix deck, and it didn’t feel too difficult to win the match.
Final result: 9-3-3
Overall the deck felt great. I was not expecting such a good run, as I lack experience in the modern format, yet it gave me my best GP result so far (and a pro point!).
Turns out I was the highest placed woman at GP Bilbao and so won the Play it Forward prize too.
Going forward I will continue to play the deck, improve my play and hopefully achieve even better results.