Monday, 25 May 2009

Tournament report - Regionals, Newcastle

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

So following on from last weeks article i had pretty much decided on a modified 5 colour bloodbraid list for Newcastle, right? of course not!

I have a few problems with the 5 colour blood list, things i just cant put my finger on, like when do i want a 3/2 haste guy when im getting the crap beaten out me by kithkin, o wait, i can have a kitchen finks too, yippee, another turn to be embaressingly smashed by white men. I dont want to dwell 5cb too much because i plan to write a bit more of an article on it and my current perspective on the whole standard format - so look out for this in a couple days.

I was faced with the same problems of wondering why i am splashing for cryptic in 5cb, it seems to be a half arsed aggro deck when it wants to be and a half arsed control deck when it wants to be, but when it plays against a successfully controlling or aggro deck, for example faeries or kithkin, i just think it loses.

So....what now then, dust the ol' fae off again? That was my first thought, i spent a little while trying to get the faeries deck to where i wanted it, i put a couple of infests in the main deck and put sower of temptation back in as well as more agony warps plus terror.

Faeries then right?

I get to the tournament and fill out my deck registration form for the day, happily jotting down my list from memory, then when we are talking before the event a few people keep saying that they have seen a lot of ram gangs around, and that there seems to be loads of red based aggro decks, be they RDW, blightning or jund type aggro. Obviously this is not ideal for me with faeries, who do a little poo in the face of boggart ram gang, or any spell that is red pretty much.

Having realised im crapping out i wonder over to Craig and Paul who are having a cheeky game, and Paul is playing RDW against Craigs 5cc list. After the game i asked if Paul was playing the deck, he said no, so i gobbled it up to use for the day.

YES! - i actually played red deck wins.

Luckily for me the judges for the day informed me that there was 5 minutes to get registered, upon which time i wet myself and began scribbling cards on the back of my old sheet, luckily though i though i would be pretty safe if i ever got deck checked, because im pretty sure i could pass 4 x boggary rhuah guan, or 4 x flamyt janvei as any cards i liked.

I dont actually have a copy of the list, but here (from memory) is what i think i played today?!

4 x figure of destiny
4 x mogg fanatic
4 x hellspark elemental
4 x anathemancer
4 x boggart ram gang
3 x goblin outlander

4 x flame javelin
3 x volcanic fallout
4 x magma spray
2 x banefire
1 x terror

3 x ghitu encampment
6 x mountain
4 x auntie's hovel
2 x reflecting pool
4 x sulfurous springs
4 x graven cairns


2 x slave of bolas
3 x deathmark
2 x terror
3 x infest
3 x everlasting torment
2 x chaotic backlash

Round 1) - Alex - esperlark?

Game 1 - I fan out various red cards saying 3/3 haste and realise im well out of my comfort zone here, and when alex plays turn 2 sculler i drop the cards on the table, at least i get a better look at what they are anyway....o whats that, 2 magma sprays, awkward. The sculler eats it, and a ram gang gets in there, soon to be joined by an anathemancer. Alex makes a sower of temptation but my magma spray resolves and every turn i announce beginning of combat expecting cryptic but it never comes, and Alex is soon pretty dead.

Game 2 - I mull to 6 on the draw in game 2, and once again alex makes a tidehollow sculler on turn 2, i have played a land turn 1 obv, and then reveal 2 x magma spray, 2 x anathemancer and 2 x land, which seemed to cause my opponant to call me an tosser using only his face, amazing! I was quite enjoying this obviously, and my opponant then played 4 or 5 non basics, and was forced to allow my anathemancers to resolve. He died with 4 cards in hand, which all happened to be non-basic lands he was scared of playing in the earlier turns, god bless you anathemancer.


Round 2) - (sorry didnt write your name down) - boat brew

Game 1 - Without any knowledge of this matchup im pretty sure im roughly a 95% favourite if not more, and the first game im on the play and set my opponant on fire with a hellspark, ram gang and 2 flame javelins.

Game 2 - On the draw i didnt keep the fastest hand, but i didnt mind this as my hellsparks had come out for infests and other stuff, which was the boarding strategy Me and Andy had been working on for a couple weeks prior. Anyway i manage to infest some dudes and get everlasting torment et al, but my opponant gets ranger into reveillark into ranger, which is just too much card advantage for me to deal with and i cant get him anywhere near dying before he has lots of men.

Game 3 - Im on the play and keep a ridiculously risky 1 lander with a mogg fanatic and magma spray. The might of Wagner was with me and like a pro i rip lands for my first 2 draws, meaning i can make turn 3 ramp-gang, sadly however all 3 of my lands are pain lands. Luckily im getting some decent hits in on my opponant, who seems to have kept a pretty slow hand. My opponant gets stuck on 4 lands, and i beat him down with an anathemancer and ram gang while clearing his figure of destiny blockers. My opponant makes a wispmare with only colourlous mana left up to my two guys, but obviously i rip a flame javelin anyway, must be nice. Funnily enough, i manage to take 13! points of pain from my lands this game, the only damage i took all game.


Round 3) - Enrique - Jund Cascade Agrro

Obviously Enrique has been netdecking from the Team Leeds Magic blog, but hey thats fine, when your as good as me you have to expect people are going to play the decks you make. Enrique is playing a deck similar to the one i posted here -

Game 1 - We both go to 6 but im on the draw and get two anathemancers which do most of the work, but sadly both get magma sprayed. I manage to get him low enough to attack, cast volcanic fallout and sac mogg fanatics for the win.

Game 2 - Thie game went really long, and i feel like i punted this one. We had been slogging it out and trading ram gangs and bloodbraid elfs etc. I attack with a ram gang and a ghitu encampment, putting my opponant down to 5 but leaving me tapped out. I knew this was stupid becase my opponant had been considering making plays a couple turns before when i was attacking with 2 ram gangs, so i had a read on an incinerate in hand, but i guess i thought if he didnt have it i won right. He attacks for 2 and incinerates me, crap.

Game 3 - Another epic between hellsparks, ram gangs and the like is bashed out, with me being forced to aim most of my burn at a seemingly endless supply of ram gangs my opponant is drawing. Luckily i manage to get my opponant to 4, having swung in, i rip a hellspark elemental like a pro and my ghitu encampment gets there.

3-0 - you got it!!

Round 4) - James - g/w tokens

Iv played James a couple times before (see u/w reveillark in leceister regionals and elves in leicester ptq) and he doesnt seem the most confident player, but i am really worried about these matchups if forge tender becomes too much of a problem.

Game 1 - I keep a pretty slow 6 on the play and draw a couple more lands when my opponant gets a sick gassy hand and i take a bit of a rogering here, despit managing to fallout some guys.

Game 2 - This time i have a decent 7 and manage to deal with a forge tender but my opponant has another, which again i deal with. My opponant doesnt have too much gas in hand because he doesnt seem to be playing too many creatures. He finds a garruk and makes some beasts, by now i have burnt him down to 8 life. He goes for an overrun and i manage to terror one of his guys and go to 14, and he makes a spectral procession, meaning i need him to just make 1 more white permanent for my only card in hand, chaotic backlash, to be lethal. He untaps and plays overrun, poo.

Round 5) - Richard - Kithkin

Richard is the guy that won the ptq at game 08, and i knew beard had punted against him earlier (by punted i just mean played)

Game 1 - i knew richard was playing kithkin but sadly theres little i could do when my figure eats a path to exile, and eventually i have to allow richard to activate his windbrisk heights, and believe you me under those heights was darkness no man should have been allowed to see. This game is one in which i made probably my only large mistake of the tournament, by magma spraying a knight of the white orchid when my opponant had played a glorious anthem the turn before, nice.

Game 2 - Once again, forge tender manages to hold back my ram gang and fanatic to get his cloudgoat out, and he manages to put enough pressure on so i have to use my terror on something other than the forge tender which if i had been able to kill i would have been able to cast a chaotic backlash for more than enough damage.

O well, never mind, i feel like i did pretty well, but never mind. I tick the drop box but my opponant says that he is almost certain that a 4-2 will make it in and advises me to not drop, seeing as i have the best tiebreakers of the guys in my bracket. I undo my drop.

3-2 drop...then undrop

Round 6) - (sorry no name this time either) - Kithkin

This round was a 3 game epic in which my deck pretty much crapped out epically in the game where i lost. After every game my opponant was nice enough to show me the goods in his hand, including cards i hadnt seen before such as thistledown liege and...springjack shepherd? You know when you shouldnt be losing when your opponant shows you his best combat trick, but when hes playing springjack shepherd too its a little bit silly. Anyway it seems to be working for him and two burrenton forge tenders game 3 make my men pretty crap to his double ajani, shame.



Well all things considered i was pretty happy with this result having only just picked up the deck today, especially because i have never played red deck wins in any format before, ever!

I think Pauls deck is pretty awesome though, but sadly when i got to the 3-0 stage i was surrounded by various W/x decks, which made my anathemancers a lot worse and the 4th fallout and infests not my deck quite a lot better...o well.

Im glad my round 5 opponant got in, with the last place, on 15 points. I do hope he was trying to be realistic when he said a 4-2 will make it, because it would make me sad to think he just didnt want me to drop to affect his tiebreakers. I think i trust my opponants way too much when they tell me things like this, and i need to focus and actually think about it for a second. O well, doesnt matter i guess, 3/3 may even do my rating some good considering how low it is now.

Thats about it for this regional season, barring some miracle meaning i can make it to London. Of course im disappointed to have not made it this year, but i didnt play half as well as i can, and i only feel like i am getting back into form now. I think the fact i have being going to most of these events with between 0-3 hours sleep has had a profound effect, and i think when things start going badly they they tend to compound with a mental realisation that you may just be rubbish at the game (which i am, incidently).

Obviously there are still the grinders, which will be very interesting. Im not sure if i will do sealed or constructed, although i could see myself entering in the sealed, seeing if i won the elspeth lottery, then dropping if not to play constructed. Either way, i think a solid week of getting pissed and playing magic in one of my favourite places in England is going to be amazing. Also, last time i was in Brighton i found this shop that does magic cards for ridiculously low prices. I know there has been the price hike in boosters since i last went but this shop was selling all sets between Lorwyn and Shards for £1.75 a pack, not too shabby.

So hopefully i can catch up with people in the summer, if anyone fancies a trip down to sunny Bury St Edmunds, im sure i can arrange putting a person or two at mine and we can go out and wreck the local FNM as well, but if not, have a great summer, and keep me updated with all the events in Leeds.

See you all soon

Until then,


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