March 25 Weekly Recap and the Power of Tron — Modern IQ Recap

kingslayer invitational season 2

Every new week at Kingslayer Games means a new week of grinding points and a new week of competition. Every Monday we will review the previous week and spotlight one or more decks.

Going forward, Standings will be updated at three times a week at minimum, on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

If you go undefeated at an event, let a Staff member know and they can take a picture of your decklist for the recap.

Standings have been updated. You can find them at or in the Invitational Standings tab above.

This week we have a special Weekly Recap, as our second Invitational Qualifier was on Sunday. As such, we have no featured decklists from weekly events this week, and have the full decklists of Top 8 from the IQ in the section below.

Monday Legacy

Following last week, Kevin once again rattles off a 3-0 Legacy finish, overcoming fellow regular Kourosh on Miracles.

Player Deck Record Points
Kevin Kiang Esper Stoneblade 3-0 3
Kourosh Alizadeh Miracles 2-1 2
Mike Chung Unknown 2-1 2
Kevin Celinder Aluren 2-1 2

Monday Standard

With players excited for Modern and all eyes turned towards the PAX East spoilers of War of the Spark, Standard has seen a homogenization of archetypes. In this case, Ryan Sanders would win Monday Standard, fighting through local powerhouse Nico Urrea on his way to the top.

Player Deck Record Points
Ryan Sanders Unknown 3-0 3
Nicolas Urrea Unknown 2-1 2
Peter Phan Izzet Burn 2-1 2

Tuesday Modern

A few weeks into our newest event addition, Tuesday Modern was dominated by the competitive crowd, all vying for valuable data in preparation for the Modern IQ. Ultimately, Thien fought through Joel’s Counters Company to earn himself yet another tournament win with Titanshift.

Player Deck Record Points
Thien Phung Titanshift 3-0 3
Joel Waters Counters Company 2-1 2
James Park Affinity 2-1 2
Chris Tolar Whir Prison 2-1 2

Thursday Modern

Boasting a player base full of eager competitors, Modern Thursday proved a fierce battlefield to practice in. Chris Tolar and Joel Waters both ended 4-0, their respective archetypes preying on a diverse field.

Player Deck Record Points
Chris Tolar Whir Prison 4-0 4
Joel Waters Counters Company 4-0 4
Cody Nord Hardened Scales 3-1 3
Sonny Le Golgari Rock 3-1 3
Tony Boozan Izzet Phoenix 3-1 3
Thien Phung Titanshift 3-1 3

Friday Standard

Player Deck Record Points
Max Curd Deathwhirler 3-0 3
Alexander Schremp Bant Nexus 2-1 2
Kevin Morris Naya Midrange 2-1 2
Dave Cyril Gruul Aggro 2-1 2

Friday Modern

With the IQ a few days later, many players wanted last minute practice for Modern, and timely wins resulted in no undefeated players as the event ended.

Player Deck Record Points
Wilson Tran Burn 3-1 3
Bobby McCamey Dredge 3-1 3
Anthony Garcia Amulet Titan 3-1 3
Phillip Vu Humans 3-1 3
Cole Werner Dredge 3-1 3

Standard Showdown

A preponderance of Blue decks made themselves known at Standard Showdown, with a narrow field full of Islands. Joseph Riccardi took this one down in the Reclamation mirror to earn himself a 4-0.

Player Deck Record Points
Joseph Riccardi Temur Reclamation 4-0 4
Josh Tenny Temur Reclamation 3-1 3
Jesse Brizuela Esper Control 3-1 3
James Packes Esper Control 3-1 3

IQ #2

Forty players came out in force for our Modern IQ, trying to earn themselves an elusive invite to our second Invitational. For many, the store credit and thrill of victory were motivation enough, while still others needed only Top 16 finishes to earn the requisite points. With the format being Modern, a high level of competition would promise an exciting and diverse tournament. Six rounds of coverage can be found at, where Kyle and I cover the competition in thrilling segments of Modern action.

The Top 8

With a clean cut Top 8 determined after just five hours, a diverse field of archetypes showcased the best performing lists of the tournament. With each player drawing the last round into Top 8, a satisfactory break would precede a long and grueling four-hour long portion of the single elimination rounds. Daniel Hemstedt was our first feature match, and he found himself against John Harmon on one of Tron’s kryptonite matchups — 8 Whack. Crucially on the play, Daniel deployed all three Tron lands before casting his Wurmcoil Engine and presenting an insurmountable life total advantage. Game two was over just as quickly, with Daniel’s risky hand paying off. A slow hand from John was met by Thought-Knot Seer into Thragtusk and Wurmcoil. A hand full of threats clashed against a hand full of lands.

Jesse Mckenzie took down Jose Santana, winning this clash of green and white decks. Knight of Autumn and Deputy of Detention proved too much for Bogles to handle, securing a win with flyers in a tight race. Michael Romero found himself facing off against James Packes in what would prove to be a difficult matchup. A highly interactive draw from James bought just enough time for Vendilion Clique to control the pace of play, promising a grindy Semifinals match for this Azorius Control player.

With three of the four semifinalists determined, it all came down to the grueling Amulet Titan versus Whir Prison matchup. Chris had established a full lock in the first game, finishing the game with an Ipnu Rivulet after an hour-long marathon. A difficult matchup for Anthony, he managed to pick up Game 2 off the back of silver bullet sideboard card Consulate Crackdown. Chris Tolar dove into his sideboard in for Game 3, equipped with the knowledge of such a key aspect of the matchup. Ultimately a timely Reclamation Sage would buy Anthony enough time to position for a game-ending Primal Command.

By the time Anthony had won his match against Chris, Daniel had already won his semifinals matchup against Jesse, locking up his spot in the finals. This would prove crucial, as the only qualified player left in the event was Anthony. If the two met in the finals, a handshake and a smile would likely secure Daniel his ticket to the second Invitational. The pivotal match would prove a long affair — Amulet Titan versus Azorius Control. James would win Game 1 off of the back of cheap interaction and difficult to remove planeswalkers. Game 2 came down to a deciding turn for Anthony, as James had just deployed a Jace. Getting aggressive with his Vendilion Clique, James left a window open for Anthony to remove the Jace with an untapped land. A quick draw step led to an animated Vesuva turned Colonnade and a dead Jace. With the loss of his card advantage engine, James missed land drops and found himself heading back into the sideboard for Game 3.

The final game of the semifinals showcased a battle of haymakers, as a double Sakura-Tribe Scout start from Anthony forced counterspells out of James’ hand. A resolved Primeval Titan would prove too difficult for James to efficient overcome, and a few missed land drops later a back-up Titan would resolve. Unable to stabilize against an unending series of threats, James conceded. Daniel would meet fellow Big Mana enthusiast Anthony in the finals.

Top 8 Photo

Some discussion ensued as the players sat, with the recognition that Anthony was already qualified. For Daniel, a win here would represent his only likely method of qualification. A smile and a handshake did in fact ensue, and Daniel excitedly offered to play the match out. Showcasing the power of Amulet of Vigor, Anthony quickly won Game 1, a double Amulet start overpowering Daniel’s few resources. Daniel would claw back in Game 2, assembling Tron and deploying his haymaker’s ahead of Anthony. On the play again in Game 3, Anthony was off to a slow start, but natural Tron from Daniel deployed back to back Wurmcoil Engines. Anthony assembled a backbreaking Primeval Titan turn, using the mana denial package of Ghost Quarter, Azusa, and Ramunap Excavator to prevent Daniel from resolving any further threats. With Anthony at low life, he was priced into looping Khalni Garden to generate blockers, while a single Spatial Contortion from Daniel would threaten to end the game. A few turns and a Titan later, Daniel scooped up his cards, falling victim to his fellow teammate. At this moment the fabled Scoop sign entered the table, signifying that Anthony gave Daniel the win, heralding the way for this highly strategic Inland Empire Champion to express his exuberance.

When asked why he chose Tron, Daniel spoke fondly of memories involving 8 card sideboards (with the other 7 cards being Leyline of the Void and Leyline of Sanctity) and Ben Stark videos. “I’ve always been a 4,” Daniel stated, proud of his accomplishment. “Showing that you can accomplish what anyone else can is what playing Tron means. We can’t win without teamwork, and I’m proud of my team for helping me succeed. I’d never have gotten this far without the help of Urza’s Mine, Urza’s Tower, and Urza’s Power Plant.” Always a true poet, I asked Daniel if he had any advice for new Tron players. “Yeah, just draw Tron. Oh and make sure to just pick the deck up for the event. I won a PTQ with Tron with little practice. When you play the best deck, it’s only a matter of time.”

The Breakdown

I’ve broken down the complete archetype counts from all 40 players in this chart. With Arclight Phoenix representing 15% of the metagame,  at least a copy or two in the Top 8 would be expected. Players came prepared for the iconic bird, and not a single copy made Top 8. The best performing Arclight List was Joseph Riccardi’s, coming in at 12th place with a 4-2 finish.

Recap Sample

Player Place Deck Points
Daniel Hemstedt 1st Tron 25 + Invite
Anthony Garcia 2nd Amulet Titan 20
James Packes 3rd Azorius Control 15
Jesse Mckenzie 4th Bant Spirits 15
Michael Romero 5th Cheerios 10
Chris Tolar 6th Whir Prison 10
Jose Santana 7th Bogles 10
James Harmon 8th 8 Whack 10
Anthony Opferman 9th Bant Spirits 4
Nicolas Johnson 10th Cheerios 4
Jamel Salah 11th Bridge Vine 4
Joseph Riccardi 12th Arclight Phoenix 4


Modern IQ Decklists — Top 8


Thanks for reading our extended Recap, and as always feel free to let me know what you think below. As always, you can follow me on Twitter at