There was only a single player battling with Restore Balance in his deck at Pro Tour Philadelphia, and that player was Peter Vieren. Though he ultimately ended up at .500 with an 8-8 record, the deck worked well enough for Vieren to make it to Day Two.
I sat down to talk with Peter about his deck, and ask him why he thought it was a good fit for the format.
Why did you choose to play Restore Balance?
"I played Restore Balance in Amsterdam. The format for Philadelphia changed just prior to the Pro Tour, and I was on vacation so I didn't have time to test. I was happy with the Amsterdam deck; it was very good for the Belgians who played it. In the weeks leading up to Philadelphia, the predicted metagame was mostly Zoo and Twelvepost, which are both very good matchups. But the metagame changed; Splinter Twins were sold out of the dealers—and that's by far the deck's worst matchup."
Tell me about the key plays for the deck.
"The deck wants to resolve Restore Balance with few or no lands on the battlefield, and no creatures. I usually cast it by cascading into it, because it's the only card my cascade spells can hit. I have 16 Borderposts to keep my land low so Restore Balance is always an Armageddon.
"Greater Gargadon helps you sacrifice any lands you do have on the table. Idyllic Tutor lets you search up Ardent Plea to cascade into Balance, and you also have an enchantment toolbox with March of the Machines, Blood Moon, and Oblivion Ring. Thieves' Fortune is a three-mana Impulse to help you find your combo pieces without messing up cascade triggers, and Gideon Jura is a secondary win condition."
What changes would you make to the deck after this weekend?
"I'd probably cut the Gideon Juras from the maindeck. You're already favored in a lot of game ones, so you don't really need it. Maybe it could go in the sideboard."
Speaking of game ones, which decks are favorable for you and which are unfavorable?
"Twelvepost, Zoo, and Elves are good. Anything that's not combo really. The rule is, if it has Islands it's probably bad for you, if it doesn't it's probably good."
Tells us about the sideboard.
"It has some basics like Leyline of Sanctity. Leyline of Singularity was sideboard tech for Splinter Twin, shutting off their combo. Krosan Grip helps with Splinter Twin, Pyromancer's Swath and Pyromancer Ascension, and against Affinity. I got a free win against a Storm player with Leyline of Sanctity earlier in the weekend because he didn't have an answer for it, and I had it on turn zero. But truthfully I think the sideboard should always be reevaluated for any given tournament."
Finally, what changes would you suggest for the deck after the Pro Tour?
"The main deck is mostly fine, but Gideon Jura could be cut. The sideboard should change depending on the metagame."
Peter Vieren's Restore Balance
Pro Tour Philadelphia 2011 (Modern)