Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Heathy reports on PTQ conventry

By Ben Heath

PTQ Austin in Coventry – A Heathy Adventure

Having had two days to look back at the PTQ in Coventry, here’s my personal report on the day.

Deck: G/W Overrun
Experience with deck: Not enough. Five matches tops I’d say.
Prediction: Anything better than 3-3 would do.
Deck tech: Three Great Sable Stag main, one sneaky Martial Coup in there as well. 22 land and more mana bugs as well. This was gonna be interesting.

Round 1
Vs. Fae

Pre-Match – I had never met this player before, never mind played against him, so I didn’t know what to expect really.

Game 1 – Spec Proc turn 3, Cloudgoat Ranger turn 4. Draw land for the next five turns. I get Vendilion Clique’d twice, revealing land hands of 4 and then 6. However Ajani Goldmane comes to town, then leaves thanks to Cryptic Command. Garruk arrives along with Great Sable Stag and somehow I win Game 1.

Game 2 – Turn 2 Bitterblossom gets me worried. The deck is still working far too slowly, but I eke out a result due to my opponent not getting any Spellstutter Sprites or Mistbind Cliques. With both players getting bad draws in this match it wasn’t easy on the eye.

Aftermath – This guy went on to recover to 3-1 but lost the last two rounds.

Round 2
Vs. Neo-Fae

Pre-Match – Next up, some ginger guy. He’s from Leeds too, apparently. Jim is one of my deck-testing partners and we both knew each others decks inside out. I hadn’t lost to Jim in 3 competetive matches of Magic, so I was quietly confident going into this.

Game 1 – Stag and 3 Spirit tokens on the board with Overrun in hand. Firespout from Jim puts an end to that plan. Cloudgoat Ranger resolves, flip a Windbrisk to reveal Spec Proc. Jim makes the play of the game by scooping.

Game 2 – Quick out of the blocks again, but this time Jim’s deck was having a party, and countered everything and anything. My frustration was clear to see and despite having 24 life, that quickly disintegrated thanks to double Scion and double Bitterblossom.

Game 3 – If Game 2 was the Fae party, Game 3 was the morning after, the hangover. No red mana source meant no Firespout or Lightning Bolt, and it was one of those games that made you appreciate the traditional Fae build. Not how I wanted to win but a win is a win.

Aftermath – Jim went on to 1-2 drop. Shame.

Round 3
Vs Bant Aggro

Pre-match – The draw I had been dreading. Thomas whooped Rik 2-0 in Round 1 as this deck is very fast. He had Top 8’d at the last PTQ and had improved the deck since then. This wasn’t going to be fun.

Game 1 – Thomas shoots out of the blocks, landing double Hierarch and Rafiq. This usually means victory, but as I’m playing tokens I just kept on generating blockers until I had enough to swarm him. Wilt-Leaf Liege under the Windbrisk helped immensely.

Game 2 – He casts silence on my turns 4 and 5. With only 3 Spirit Tokens to save me, I don’t last long. It didn’t help that I had to mulligan to 5 and the only non-land cards I drew were Spec Proc, Ajani and Overrun.

Game 3 – This is the first game where I feel I was truly outwitted. I didn’t expect to see Jenara in the deck. After he Paths my Cloudgoat Ranger, I have two turns to find Spec Proc. It doesn’t come. I lose.

Round 4
Vs Kithkin

Pre-match – I had never met Steffano before, but had watched his last game against Mick Edwards so I knew what to expect. This guy was a very competent Magic player and a better player than I. He was also playing Kithkin. I didn’t think I was going to win this.

Game 1 – He plays Honor of the Pure and two Wizened Cenn. That’s right, on Turn 4 he has two 4/4 Kithkin on the table and 5 cards in hand. I’m stuck with two lowly 1/1 Spirit tokens and I’m staring defeat in the face. Suddenly though I find myself on the front foot thanks to token generators. He makes two Figures, which both promptly bite the dust. A second Honor of the Pure can’t save him from Ajani, Spirit Tokens and Cloudgoat Ranger though and we’re onto Game 2.

Game 2 – Another Rapido start from Steffano and I promptly find myself on 6 life. Martial Coup makes it’s first appearance of the tournament for 5 and it seems to swing the match in my fasvour…until two Cloudgoat Rangers appear on his side of the board. We’re onto Game 3 folks.

Game 3-
I’m on the play, It doesn’t matter though as Steffano immediately hits the front foot with Double Stillmoon Cavalier, 3 Spirit Tokens and Honor of the Pure in play. I’m sat there with a single Cloudgoat Ranger, no tokens, 4 life, manaflooded (9 land), 1 card in hand (Ajani). One hope, a one in forty chance of drawing it. I do the corniest thing I can think off. I copy Gabriel Nassif. I arrange my mana for Martial Coup for 7. I draw the card, face down. If it’s not Martial Coup, I lose. I flip it over. I win the game.

Aftermath – Steffano drops after being lucksacked out of the tournament. I realise that in that one instance, I have used up all my luck. How right I was…

Round 5
Vs. 5 Color Cascade

Pre-Match – A PTQ debutant, Jake was 3-1 with a pretty darn good Cascade build. I went into this round 8th in the standings. I was on the bubble, I had to win.

Game 1 – Jake plays. Kitchen Finks followed by Bloodbraid Elf into Kitchen Finks puts him in ridiculously good position. At this point I only have Spirit Tokens. They soon get Pulsed. Only 3 land on the table, all the cards in hand need 4 or more to play. We’re onto game 2 and I fear the end is nigh.

Games 2 and 3 – These were exactly the same so I’ll put them up together. Spirit tokens + Cloudgoat Ranger + Ajani + Overrun under a Windbrisk. Jake’s starts were slower this time round and by the time he played anything with any meaning, it was too little too late.

Aftermath – Jake would go on to finish 3-3, a good first outing to a PTQ then, considering mine was 3-3-1.

Round 6
Vs. Time Sieve

Pre-match – I was 7th going into this final round, and I was up against Daniel, who was in 8th place. We had to play. Richard Bland wanted to make us the feature match, and from the spectators it quickly drew I could see why. But we both refused. Not sure why really, it would have been cool. But this was it. Winner would be 1st seed, loser would crash out of the PTQ.

Game 1 – I keep a good hand on the draw. However my opponent decides to get God hands and draws all 4 cryptics. I see no Stags. I don’t stand a chance.
I force him to combo out hoping he’ll screw up. I’m not worried about time because I know I have to beat him quickly anyway to stand a chance of winning. He doesn’t screw up. I’m 1 game away from falling at the last.

Game 2 – Again God hands gets two Cryptics and a Pollen Lullaby in his opening hand. However, I draw two Gutteral Responses and despite preventing one wave of attacks, Daniel can’t prevent the second wave and it’s 1-1.

Pre-Game 3 – I quickly make a note saying that I’ve pushed my luck far enough, and that I’ll be happy no matter what the result was. That last one turned out to be BS…

Game 3 – Double Noble Hierarch, Great Sable Stag, and 6 Spirit Tokens. Ajani hits the board. Game over, surely? No! Pollen Lullaby No. 1 appears. He’s some way to comboing off, here comes wave number 2. Pollen lullaby again! I’m glad to see the back of them. After his good luck in drawing the previous two games, surely he hasn’t drawn like a God again? He has! Pollen lullaby number 3 appears. I couldn’t believe it. It’s bought him all the time he needs. All he has to do now is not to make a mistake. First warning! Missed trigger off of the Howling Mine. Three of his turns later...second warning! All he has to do is screw up a trigger again!

He doesn’t. Game over. After not seeing a turn for 20 minutes, I actually fell asleep. I won’t lie, I was devastated. Despite Rik trying to comfort me, I couldn’t believe it. I thought I’d blown it. In hind sight I hadn’t, Daniel had drawn better than I had. Looking back I’m happy with how things went. Bring on the next PTQ season! Oh wait, it’s sealed…I won’t bother then.

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