This deck is sweet, I'm looking forward to taking it to the next level as I have only been playing it for a few days so far.
Power Nine Challenge 7th Place
4 Polluted Delta
1 Flooded Strand
2 Underground Sea
2 Underground River
1 Snow-Covered Island
1 Strip Mine
1 Academy Ruins
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Black Lotus
1 Mana Vault
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Pearl
4 Thought-Knot Seer
3 Dark Confidant
1 Blightsteel Colossus
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Time Vault
1 Voltaic Key
2 Sensei's Divining Top
4 Mana Drain
4 Force of Will
2 Mental Misstep
1 Spell Snare
1 Steel Sabotage
2 Gifts Ungiven
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Time Walk
1 Ancestral Recall
4 Ravenous Trap
2 Curious Homunculus
3 Hurkyl’s Recall
1 Snuff Out
1 Volrath’s Stronghold
1 Toxic Deluge
I started with a traditional Gifts shell and play tested games with different configurations trying to find the best one. The idea for Thought-Knot Seer was inspired by a Modern format Gifts Tron deck. After a few practice games, it was clear that Thought-Knot Seer was very powerful in a big blue deck.
I played a Grixis version of the deck on Tuesday to a 3-1 finish in the Vintage Daily. The deck felt great for the entire tournament. I started out undefeated, but lost to Esper Mentor in round 4. I decided to cut red from the deck since the only card I was using red for was Dack Fayden.
Before the Power 9 tournament, I played 3 matches against a friend playing Storm. They were close games, but I felt like I had the advantage ultimately because of Thought-Knot Seer. This also allowed me the opportunity to test out my maindeck Dark Confidants. (Note: I sideboard Blightsteel Colossus out against Storm)
I built the sideboard for the power 9 tournament just 20 minutes before the event began. I decided that the Curious Homunculus were/are essentially useless but the Recoils definitely have some merit. I wanted a Blue card that dealt with big permanents like other Eldrazi.
Round 1: 2-0 vs. kuroyukihime (TKS Shops)
I Force his turn 1 Thorn, play a land and 2 moxes and cast Ancestral. His turn he plays a Sword of War and Peace and a Mishra’s Factory. On my turn I cast a Thought-Knot Seer and take his Phyrexian Metamorph, which clears the way for the Tinker in my hand. I decide to trade the TKS with his Mishra’s Factory because otherwise I would take 10. He draws a 2Sphere from TKS and casts it. I resolve Tinker for BSC and win.
he plays Wasteland, Lotus, TKS and I FoW it. I have an early Tinker again but he Metamorphs it this time. The BSCs trade and eventually I’m just in a grindy game in which I’m able to make my mana drops, counter some Thought-Knot Seers, survive under Wire, and eventually I beat him down with a Snapcaster Mage that flashbacked an Ancestral Recall. His own Ancient Tombs helped me here. He had 3 Wastelands this game and it made me realize the vulnerability of my mana base. At one point in the game, I could no longer cast the Snuff Out in my hand for free.
Round 2: 2-0 vs. TelefonTelAviv (Esper Mentor)
In this game he got down a Baleful Strix and quick Mentor. I knew after seeing the Baleful Strix that I was going to have to go the combo route this game with Gifts. I played the Dark Confidant on my second main phase, which he attempted to Force. I Mana Drained the Force and Confidant resolved. On my next turn I used the Drain mana to cast Thought-Knot Seer to reveal that he only had a Flooded Strand (And two Mentors w/ Monks in play). It took me five minutes then to come up with the pile of Snapcaster, Time Walk, Tinker, Yawgmoth’s Will. I had 5 Mana, with a Lotus still in play. I was 1 mana short of assembling an instant kill with Time Vault Key and the pile that I chose was for Tinker and Snapcaster, I planned to Tinker BSC and hope he doesn't top deck. He top decked Gush, but ultimately not enough. On my next turn I played Snapcaster and he conceded.
I didn’t like my hand in game 2 but it was good enough to keep. I only had 13 minutes left on the clock because of the Gifts Ungiven and I was set on playing quickly and conceding if I didn’t see a chance. But I top decked Library of Alexandria, turn 1 (on the draw w/ 7 cards). After a few turns, my opponent just conceded.
Round 3: 2-0 vs. P Fresh (Sylvan Mentor)
Look at this hand. I kept this. I top decked a Flooded Strand. I used my Force to defend a Mana Vault from Misstep. He then FoWed my Time Vault, but I was able to use the Mana Vault and Voltaic Key with Tolarian Academy to cast Thought-Knot Seers, which ran into 2 Swords to Plowshares. Eventually the game devolved into my Dark Confidant against his Sylvan Library. I believe Dark Confidant has the advantage here because he is essentially taking 6 life per turn.
This game was weird. I didn’t get any artifacts for the entire game and just played a grindy game off of my lands and creatures. I Thought-Knot Seered him to see that he had 2 Ancient Grudges in hand!. He fought well, but eventually I won with Bob and TKS.
Round 4: 2-0 vs. Evouga (Oath)
Some more weird games. He had Orchard turn 1 to Thoughtseize my Demonic Tutor and Misstep my Ancestral. He didn’t have Oath and I had two Spirit Tokens beating down for a good portion of the game.
I had a Blightsteel Colossus in play from his Show and Tell. He activated his first Griselbrand twice and passed the turn. I tried to cast Jace with Mana Drain, but that failed. I attacked and he blocked, 4 poison counters. He Show and Tells Griselbrand and draws 7. He cast Yawgmoth’s Will, Time Walk. He attacked and drew 7 cards. He could not find an answer to Blightsteel and conceded.
Round 5: 1-2 vs. Becks84 (Storm)
He had turn 1 Tinker of Blightsteel and I had no response.
I took a mean mulligan but scried TKS to the top, with the mana to cast it off Mana Crypt and a Mox. He turn 1 Duressed me, but my TKS and then another TKS quickly won the game.
My original hand had 2 Force of Will, 1 Mental Misstep, and 1 Spell Snare with plenty of other blue cards, but no lands. I didn’t think my luck would continue with the top decks, so I mulliganed to this terrible hand. I was Tendriled immediately.
At this point in the tournament, I am fatigued and develop a negative mindset. I didn't have faith in my deck in the last match. I'm in tilt and feel vulnerable. A little too much coffee. So I decide to put down the note taking and screenshots to just focus my remaining energy on playing the final, most difficult matches.
Round 6: 1-2 vs. i_b_true (Grixis Thieves)
I expected him to be on Grixis Therapy, but he got off the Notion Thief + Dack combo and surprised me.
I won. I don't remember how. I think it was a TKS clearing the way for a Vault/Key
This was a much closer game than the first, but he got off Notion Thief + Dack combo again.
Top 8: 1-2 vs. diophan (Grixis Therapy)
I won quickly with TKS? Don't remember.
I was winning with artifact acceleration, a TKS, and perhaps maybe a Top, but then he buried me with Null Rod (I only had 1 land)
I had a decent hand but I really needed to draw a land. My hand was Delta, Mana Vault, Dark Confidant, and some other good stuff. My plan was to play Land, Mana Vault pass. And then turn 2 Dark Confidant, hopefully drawing a land but not needing one. He stopped me cold by Strip Mining my Underground Sea. I didn't draw another land for 11 turns, but was just too far behind at that point.
So in conclusion
Thought-Knot Seer in Drain-based Blue is very good.
I need to take another look at my mana base.