Another regionals has come and gone, and another, albeit slightly improved, disapointing result for me, but overall a good day for Team Leeds, that saw Nick Doropolous and John Ingham take the first and 2nd place spots, and it was great to not only see some friends from Cambridge, but also to see Darran and Ben pick up 3rd and 4th, and give me some advice on how to improve my jund deck.
A couple of you will already know but i decided to make a last minute switch to a g/w token/aggro deck. I am almost certain that switching decks last minute is not a great thing, regardless of the power levels of either deck. I think if i had changed to a Type 1 deck for regionals i still wouldnt have won it.
So why the switch?
Well i have always had a problem with the Jund deck, i think despite the strength of each card, its much like reveillark in that you need to draw them in the right order, otherwise your deck just craps out. I thought something like a g/w deck could at least ut up a fight through bad draws and mana problems.
The deck i ended up playing was this (with special thanks to Mick, Wagz and Kenny for last minute card lending)
4 x noble heirarch
4 x steward of valeron
4 x quasali pridemage
4 x wilt leaf liege
4 x cloudgoat ranger
2 x dauntless escort
4 x spectral procession
3 x garruk wildspeaker
2 x ajani goldmane
1 x elspeth, knight errant
4 x path to exile
4 x treetop village
4 x windbrisk heights
4 x wooded bastion
4 x brushland
4 x plains
4 x forest
4 x kitchen finks
3 x martial coup
2 x wrath of god
1 x behemoth sledge
1 x elspeth, knight errant
4 x burrenton forge-tender
I was expecting a lot of b/w tokens, which would have made the pridemage a good inclusion in the main, but as it was, and being primarily a token type deck and not a g/w little kid aggro deck i would certainly play finks over the pridemage if i played this deck again.
So i had about 4 hours with this deck before playing with it in regionals, which i can tell you is just not enough time, i wish i could tell you my sideboarding for each match, but all my sideboarding was very haphazard throughout the day. I think i was under the illusion that this type of aggro deck is simple to play, being primarily a control player, and i soon found this to be very wrong.
Round 1) - Nick - b/w tokens
So Nick Doropolous is not the 1st round pairing i was looking for, and im pretty sure almost all the leeds players were paired against each other too, i know that Beard played Keir for sure.
Game 1 - Game 1 wasnt particularly long, i think i played 1 spectral procession but soon Nick's guys were too big for mine, and his double ajani draw was too much for me to handle.
Game 2 - in come the 5 wraths, the sledge and elspeth for the lieges and ajanji's and a steward of valeron. I think after sideboarding i have a decent matchup here, seeing the behemoth sledge in my opening hand gives my a good reason to think this game will be fine. I get the sledge on a dude and soon start gaining 3-4 life a turn. Still, all this time, Nick is developing a board and soon starts cracking back, meaning despite giving myself time to draw a wrath, i actually DO need to draw the damn thing. Double cloudgoat ranger gives Nick a huge board, and although im still over 20 life, i need to draw a wrath or martial coup in 3 turns. Sadly for me this doesnt happen, and an Ajani from Nick means i only had 2 turns anyway.
Round 2) - James - u/w reveillark
James is one of the guys i played against in an extended ptq here earlier in the season, he is a nice guy, i defeated his elves on that occasion, and i would need to do the same here to give me some chance.
Game 1 - I play out a few guys, leaving James no choice but to wrath away his own wall of denial that was soaking up some of the damage each turn. I had spectral backup and a cloudgoat from under the heights was all i needed to get there. Despite the win here i was really annoyed at trying to path his shroud wall, and i really felt like not sleeping the night before this tournament wasnt the best idea.
Game 2 - I got pretty good stuff going this game, multiple spectral processions and cloudgoat rangers, unluckily for me my opponant played 3 wrath of god's and 2 auster commands during this game, and despite keeping stuff back to combat wrath, there was a lot i could do to stop 5!. He eventually gets mistmeadow witch and mulldrifter going.
Game 3 - I get stuck on lands for pretty much the entire game, i played a heirach and a couple guys who get wrathed. My back up guys stick, but i dont have the mana to drop the liege in hand, and i can get there. Eventually i drop the sledge to keep my life good, to at least ensure a draw against an increaing flying army made by my opponant. I eventually get 2 lieges down, as my only creatures, but these are'nt going to enough. My opponant cast austere command resetting the board, and neither of us have enough to finish the game in turns, i finish the game with 2 spectral processions and 2 cloudgoat rangers in hand.
so 0-1-1 is not the best start, and i have to win out to get in to nationals, which i am almost certain i will not happen, given my fatigue, and the new deck, but at least i can get a few wins under my belt so why not.
Round 3) - Chris - Jund Ramp
This was my only match against the deck i almost played, and Chris kindly informed me that he had been given the deck to play by the pilot who took it to a 5-0 record yesterday in Birmingham...great!
Game 1 - Chris ramps and i play spectral procession and a liege, we race and i win, there was sadly very little interaction in the game.
Game 2 - I get the sledge out and start bashing, im not really sure why i put it in, but the life totals in my notes suggest that i did. Most of my things get wrathed away by jund charms, but i am left with 2 treetop villages, 2 beast tokens to Chris' Lord of extinction. I send the guys in and something gets eaten, and after combat i play burrenton forge tender. Sadly Chris didnt have a blocker, and his double jund charm was no good here with forge tender about. He did reveal and infest in hand but of course he needed 2 spells to kill my other guys.
Chris was a really nice guy, i had heard his name before, and turns out he is a TO from Lincoln, and was kind enough to give me details on a really lucrative magic tournament going on over there in a few weeks, so hopefully we can get a car down there...especially as there is a CASE!!! of boosters for 1st place. Also, did some good trades with Chris afterwards too, which was cool, finally someone wanted all my textless cards.
1-1-1 - yipee a win, but still a have loads of work to do to give myself a chance, but im not in the strongest bracket so i can probably eek out another win or 2, then maybe get lucky.
Round 4) - Andrew - Swans
I really dont know if swans is a great matchup, but it feels like 6-7 main deck pyroclasm effects are good against me. I think i just get hyper aggresive and see lieges or ajani.
Game 1 - Andrew mulliganned on the play and i got turn 3 spectral procession which met volcanic fallout. Sadly i had turn 4 procession too, and a few more guys got there for me.
Game 2 - With the forge-tenders in i felt a bit better, especially a game up, and when i make turn 2 spectral procession, turn 3 ajani goldmane i feel a lot better. my guys get sick big and Andrew can only chain cryptics for a couple turns before scooping.
It felt good to have a comprehensive victory under my belt, despite not thinking it was a great match i always had backup for the sweepers and i played round the counter magic well.
Round 5) - Bryan - Shorecrasher bant control
This is the first time i had seen this deck, and i didnt really know what was going on, so i was kind of in the blind here.
Game 1 - I go to 5 on the draw against Brian's full grip, and despite putting up a bit of a fight with finks, it gets snakeformed and it didnt take a lot more for me to roll over.
Game 2 - i get early pressure on, which i think is the key in this match, meaning brian has to chump with his turn 2 mimic. Brian uses a cryptic or 2, which i fail to capatalise on by getting in with treetop village (a mistake i made throughout the day), but when i get to 5 lands a post combat cloudgoat ranger seals the deal when the cryptics run out.
Game 3 - I finally feel like i have my game face on and mull the sketchy hand to a half decent one on the draw. I get turn 3 spectral procession with a windbrisk heights in play with a cloudgoat ranger underneath it. Brian makes a mimic on his turn. I attack with the 3 guys on my turn, trading a spirit for the mimic. I think for a while then play Garruk, thinking that untapping and playing the cloudgoat ranger surely puts me in a game winning position. Sadly the Garruk get negated, which i hadnt anticipated. Brian then untaps and plays Jenura. I Dont have any guys in hand that i can play, and never have the chance to use the windbrisk heights, and Brians next play is a rafiq....shame.
I feel like the game 3 could have gone either way, and i dont know whether the garruk was just a greedy play, especially because i dont know whether the overrun is that great against any cryptic command deck that has the mana available. Either way i dont know about the play, maybe someone can enlighten me, although seeing as it lost me the game it doesnt feel that strong. O well.
I decide to play the last round because Kenny is doing pretty well and can make 4-2, and there is a strong possibility that me and Beard can get paired, which we decided would become some sort of drinking game. Sadly we dont get paired, but sit next to each other against the bad guys.
Round 6) - The mighty Barry Dilly - Tezzerator?
Yeah pretty much Barry is playing with the win condition of tezzeret and borderposts. Barry asks me to scoop to him because he is close to the rating cut off. I know Barry is a strong limited player, but i am a bit bemused by how he thinks his 3-1-2 day will push his presumably 1870 ish rating up above the required amount, but i cant really be arsed to play and decide why the hell not. I probably should have dropped before the round, i only wanted to play if it was against andy. I do hope Barry gets in, because i would like to think that people in similar positions would scoop me into contention for a tournament....but probably not.
So all things considered it wasnt quite the disaster that Leeds was, playing against 6 different decks in the 6 rounds, quite a few of them unknown, and of course not having any experiance with my own deck and on zero hours of sleep was never going to produce a 6-0.
I feel, however, that i only performed at my best during round 5, and possibly 6, when i really concentrated, i think i am going to write an article on the importance of being in a good mental strength when going to a tournament, because i simply wasnt 100% in it at Leicester, and as i said before, i think i could have had the best deck in the room and still not won.
Nevertheless, i am still really glad i went. Before the last few weeks i have had a really good run of magic tournaments, and although winning is great and it shows you are playing well, i am glad that i have had a couple of bad results recently, because i have been able to learn lessons about magic and myself every time, which i think is the most important thing.
Also, i really did have the most hilarious day out, it was great to have such a strong showing from Leeds, and also i hadnt seen some of the guys and gays from cambridge in ages so it was great to see them, i cant wait to go back to Inner Sanctum in the summer, those guys are awesome.
Highlights of the day!!
1) Andy's game against 'puntington bear', who literally made the worst play i have ever seen in my life, handing Andy the game, and then thereafter defending his play and saying that he had examined all other options.
2) Rakka Mar! For some reason we decided to cheer loudly when all the Leeds players got called out for prizes, which was pretty funny, and Beard (obv getting biggest cheer of the day), having said he was probably going to get a Rakka Mar in his pack opened it to find none other than our favourite 2/2 haste bear.
3) Me getting hit in the balls by the shop owner carrying deck boxes before i left to go home. Luckily for me i got a similar treatment by several of my opponants during the day but what more of a souvenir for the day could i have asked for than a severly swolen scrotum.
4) Kenny for being so kind to drive us there, im pretty sure i owe you some more money as your lunch wasnt too expensive.
5) Whitley Bay winning the F A Vase.
Lowlights of the day
1) Path to exiling (only card in hand) my rnd 2 opps shroud wall.
2) The Jabberwocky piri-piri chicken. Delicious as it was, my mouth was on fire for round 4 and 5
3) Not being worse than 49 other people in the room on the day. Yes thats all it took for me to get to nationals, sadly it wasnt to be this time round.
I definately want to write about the changes i have made to my Jund deck, and i want to write somehing on the important of having your game face on when playing in important tournaments, but this article is really long so ill do those separately.
Just a final note, i want to say i was pleased to see some of the guys from Leicester who i played in the ptq there remembered me, they were all great guys over there. Also, i was great to see one of them had read the report of our game on the blog, its great to see people from outside Leeds are reading too.
Ill see everyone on THURSDAY!!, for magic at Tj's, its standard this week, ill see you all then.
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