Hi all! Good attendence from Team Leeds (tm) today at the Nats Qualifier in Manchester. 50 players registered for round 1 and from Leeds came Andy Edwards, John Ingham, Kier, Andy Devine & pals, Kenneth Hall, Craig Stevenson and myself. To spoil the ending, Craig made top 6 (the spread for qualifying) and I came top of the rest of us at 9th. My decklist:
4 Ancient Ziggurat
4 Reflecting Pool
3 Yavimaya Coast
2 Karplusan Forest
4 Noble Heirarch
4 Birds of Paradise
2 Burrenton Forge-Tender
4 Gaddock Teeg
4 Rhox War Monk
4 Woolly Thoctar
2 Ranger of Eos
3 Rafiq of the Many
4 Wilt-Leaf Liege
4 Realm Razer
3 Path to Exile
1 Loxodon Warhammer
2 Burrenton Forge-Tender
1 Path to Exile
1 Ranger of Eos
3 Scattershot Archers
4 Caldera Hellion
3 Pithing Needle
A tournament report:
Round 1 vs. Andy Devine (Doran)
Having discussed the round how our decks were diverse in that his was tuned for game 1 mirror and mine was tuned for control decks all around, I wasn't happy with the pairing. I see an opening hand of 3 lands, Noble Heirarch, Burrenton Forge Tender, Gaddock Teeg and Loxodon Warhammer, my instinct is to chuck it. I override this instinct after looking closer at the Warhammer and realising it's the only way I'm actually going to win this matchup. We went back and forth for a long time, playing Rafiq wars to drastically change life totals (each of us having a warhammer in play). I eventually am swinging for 16 with my Rhox War Monk to 9 with his Doran and he scoops with the life totals at 98-23 and 9 minutes of the round left. Game 2 was much quicker but I had the tempo advantage and sneaked a win.
My Boarding: -4 Realm Razer, -2 Burrenton Forge-Tender, -1 Gaddock Teeg, +4 Caldera Hellion, +1 Path to Exile, +1 Briarhorn, +1 Ranger of Eos.
Round 2 vs. Kenny Hall (Fae)
Great, how many of my friends do I have to play today? Do I just know too many people? Erm, anyway, his was a "control" deck, the sort I'm tuned to beat. So game 1 a turn 5 Realm Razer yields the concession of course. Game 2 involves some sideboarding I wasn't sure about since he wasn't playing with Cryptic Command or Broken Ambitions, making Gaddock Teeg less than awesome. I keep a bad hand of 4 lands and 1 of each 4 drop, but it pulls out and I get 2 Scattershot Archers out to help me push through my big guy advantage.
My Boarding: -2 Burrenton Forge-Tender, -3 Path to Exile, +3 Scattershot Archers, +1 Ranger of Eos, +1 Briarhorn.
Round 3 vs. Chris Allsopp (Elementals)
Apparently a long time TO and a short time player, some mistakes are present in this match but my deck does its thing regardless. Game 1 I get attacking for 10 and we're off to game 2. He makes a turn 3 Horde of Notions and I have only a Burrenton Forge-Tender to help me. He kills my Lieges and Rafiqs until I get down a Caldera Hellion as a 4/4 to leave me that and the BF-T versus the Horde. He attacks and I double block, before damage he aims a Nameless Inversion at the Hellion, awkward. I forget to sac the BF-T to save the Hellion as I'm amazed I killed the Horde and I proceed to make Liege and another Forge-Tender ftw.
My Boarding: -4 Realm Razer, -2 Ranger of Eos, +4 Caldera Hellion, +2 Burrenton Forge Tender.
Round 4 vs. Noel Bresland (Kithkin)
I'm feeling pretty good at this point. I attended the event to gain rating but now I feel like I have a chance of taking one of the top 6 spots. I know that many people still don't know me so I am sometimes able to act like a noob for my own gain. With that in mind, I have been setting up the bottom card of my deck as I take it out of the box before shuffling as Reflecting Pool, and this game after shuffling and presenting I take two beads out of my bag of dice and set them aside. Noel immediately knows I am playing 5cc and I act like I'm annoyed I gave it away but ask him about how much of a tell it was. He plays first and I make turn 1 Noble Heirarch. Evidently confused, he Path to Exiles this and then when I make turn 2 Woolly Thoctar he clicks that he's been duped. He takes game 1 anyway and we side for game 2. I keep a good hand and get somewhere but a Stillmoon Cavalier keeps me at bay. I draw a Pithing Needle set to Figure of Destiny the turn after he taps out to play 2 and lay his hand down. He draws Ajani the Elder and makes counters. I haven't drawn a Caldera Hellion at this point so I lose :(.
My Boarding: -4 Realm Razer, -2 Burrenton Forge-Tender, -3 Path to Exile, +4 Caldera Hellion, +3 Pithing Needle, +1 Ranger of Eos, +1 Briarhorn.
Match 5 vs. Craig Stevenson (Doran)
Another Leeds player, srsly? Craig has friends in very high places and has a decklist provided by Patrick Chapin. Of course. I'm sworn to secrecy of the details but Pat might write about it in his article on Monday or else Craig might do it on Friday. Needless to say, I got horrifically spanked and was out of contention. Mise well play the last one for rating though, since that's what I came for.
My Boarding: -4 Realm Razer, -2 Burrenton Forge-Tender, -1 Gaddock Teeg, +4 Caldera Hellion, +1 Path to Exile, +1 Ranger of Eos, +1 Briarhorn.
Match 6 vs. Ross Silcock (5cc)
Good matchup for me I think, but Ross is a decent player. Excellent at Legacy - ask Andy Edwards. Erm, anyway, after mulls from us both I get turn 1 Birds, turn 2 BF-T and Gaddock Teeg. I make some big guys and press my soft lock until he deals with stuff and the board is clear. I topdeck a Gaddock Teeg (what else) and he can't stop me from getting in ftw. Game 2 I get stomped on, since my deck really likes going first. Hence game 3 I get turn 2 Thoctar, turn 3 Thoctar, turn 4 Rafiq and some stuff. I empty my hand of 2 Noble Heirarchs after he plays Broodmate Dragon and he is forced to chump my 4/5 Double-Striking Birds. He plays another Broodmate and I make some other guy. He spends a turn Cruel Ultimatuming me even though I have no cards in hand since he needs the life and really needs a Wrath. I of course topdeck a Realm Razer and he scoops.
My Boarding: -3 Path to Exile, -1 Loxodon Warhammer, +2 Burrenton Forge-Tender, +1 Ranger of Eos, +1 Briarhorn.
So, 4-2 overall but the results will have raised my rating in the Constructed, Composite and Total departments, putting me fairly firmly in the top 75 range for Nats Qualification. As Ben says below, I hope to see as many Team Leeds players as possible in Nats, and our own qualifier will help that, whenever it is (waits for Rik to announce it, even though I've already booked the room :p). Good luck to anyone playing in further Nats qualifiers - I would certainly recommend this deck, but the Chapin decklist looks even stronger. Thanks to anyone who actually read all this - let me know and I'll give you a kiss on the cheek.