Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Grand Prix Madrid - *30th Place* Part I

By Wagz

I am calling this Part I with the vague ambition of writing Part II but it was a very long weekend. It started on Thursday evening when I travelled down to Stevenage to get picked up by Rik Powell and Colin Ward to stay the night and get a bit of testing in. Not for my deck, mind, because I was pretty happy with mine, but we had a Dark Depths list which needed a bit of tuning. The next day we headed to Luton Airport where we went inside and met up with our flight partner Seb Parker. Having done so the fire alarm immediately went off and we all had to evacuate the building

Airport fail #1.

We were eventually let back in and headed through the gates before settling down for a beer before the flight because we're English. En route to the bar, we noticed on the screen that the flight had been cancelled

Airport fail #2.

We went to the information kiosk and they were as surprised as we were since they are usually informed about this sort of thing. They phoned someone up and apparently it was just a little typo or something, weird. We went and had our beer but with all the delays we had to drink it relatively quickly before going through to the plane. We get in the plane and are taken through the pre-flight monotony. We get onto the runway and start speeding up. Then we didn't really take off. Then we slowed down a bit and turned off the runway. An announcement comes over the tannoy to the tune of "As many of you may have realised we did not just take off. We noticed another plane attempting to land on the runway so we got off as quickly as possible. We apologise for the delay but please don't panic, we'll try again in a few minutes"

Airport fail #3.

We did eventually take off and have a safe flight. I tested my deck against Seb's ANT list and it didn't seem too bad. Oh yeah, I'm playing Zoo. ANT isn't a great matchup but I removed the sideboard cards against the decks I beat anyway to make room for the combo-beating cards and it didn't seem too bad in the end. We land and meet some of Rik's London-Legacy friends so head off the tubes towards our hostels. We meet up with Fu in town and have some dinner before going to bed. Fu had some cool tech from the trader's stalls so I amended my sideboard a little bit to include one of Mick Edwards' 3 favourite cards. Here's what I played:

4 Goblin Guide
4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Wild Nacatl
4 Qasali Pridemage
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Path to Exile
2 Swords to Plowshares
3 Lightning Helix
1 Umezawa's Jitte
4 Price of Progress
1 Elspeth, Knight Errant

3 Basic Lands
3 RW, 2 GR, 1 GW Duals
8 Fetchlands
3 Horizon Canopies

2 Gaddock Teeg
1 Ethersworn Canonist
4 Mindbreak Trap
2 Ravenous Trap
2 Tormod's Crypt
1 Umezawa's Jitte
2 Krosan Grip
1 Elspeth, Knight Errant

Having got to bed at 1 we get up at 6:30 to get ready and head off for registration. Turns out they weren't expecting anything like the numbers of players at the event, despite everyone's predictions of 2000-odd. You can read about this in articles by good players which you have to pay for but there were 2227 players in total (according to thedci.com) and they must have been expecting half that many. The player meeting was delayed by a long time and I wasn't handed my Umezawa's Free-tte until I requested it at the judge station. After a bite for lunch and my two byes I returned to the venue to begin my first round at about 2pm, more than 7 hours after I woke up.

Round 3: Vampires with Dark Depths

You will have to excuse me throughout these reports about lack of detail because it was 2 long days with little sleep and many rounds. I played against this deck in my first round, presumably still in the 'noobs with bad decks and wins' section of the tournament. I make a few guys and he has a couple of Gatekeeper of Malakirs which are exceedingly annoying for a Zoo deck. He eventually draws the Dark Depths combo off his Dark Confidant but his guys are more than enough for me to scoop anyway. Game 2 and 3 I pretty much just make some guys and swing a bit. He stumbled on stuff but I got a quick beatdown and had the removals for his guys. Always nice to win the first one because it puts you in a good mental place for the rest of it.

3-0 matches, 2-1 games

Round 4: Counter-Top

I get a quick couple of guys down but I think he gets a blocker because I didn't gain Swords life and he didn't lose attack life. I must have eventually got rid of his stuff because my Wild Nacatl got in for the winz after a bit. Game 2 He swords' my first couple of guys and lands a couple of his own. Qasali Pridemage was a bit too much for me to deal with and I was forced into bad trades after I couldn't land any bigger creatures. Game 3 he swords my first Goyf but I get a couple of Grim Lavamancers down for some slow damage before eventually getting a Qasali Pridemage and then an Elspeth to make my guys fly over and he can't deal with a 4 mana Planeswalker - cheers Fu!

4-0, 4-2

Round 5: Combo Elves

Not the Standard version I lost to the last time I played Legacy, this guy had Natural Order + Progenitus which pretty much beat me up in games 2 and 3 after I crushed his 3 mulls in game 1. Go me! I used my Lightning Helices wisely to Time Walk against Progenitus beats but it's not quite enough when they can also make loads of chump blockers and are immune to Price of Progress. My one hope game 3 was for him to forget to pay for his Pact after he didn't put a counter on top, but during his upkeep he tapped and I conceded.

4-1, 5-4 :(

Round 6: Dutch? Stax

I don't know the names of the different Staxes but he was trying to beat me with Baneslayers. He had Armageddons, Trinispheres, Tabernacle and Crucibles but no Smokestack or Tangle Wire. Game 1 he goes for a Magus of the Tabernacle and Armageddony stuff but I have a Swords for his guy. My Qasali Pridemages go the distance. During this game I think he played a Karakas but it was an Italian one so I had to ask LSV on the table next to me if I could please read his (he was playing Enchantress) and after reading it confirmed that the oracle text said it could bounce only Legendary Creatures. Woo judge skills! Game 2 my opening hand was a little awkward because I had double Horizon Canopy which I needed to take a bunch of damage from to cast my spells. This isn't so bad against Stax though because they don't actually kill you until you're really dead anyway. His is a bit worse though as he takes 10 damage off an Ancient Tomb. He slowly locks me down while assembling Trinisphere, Crucible + Wasteland, double Ghostly Prison and stuff. He Oblivion Rings my Grim Lavamancer before making 2 Baneslayers which I send to the Exile zone. I don't know a stock list but I don't expect any more than 1 more Angel from him so I have some time to take his last 5 life. I have to keep the lands I draw in hand because I have 3 basics in play but really want 4 mana to either pay for 2 Prisons or play a Pridemage + Activate it. I did eventually get the Pridemage and killed the Ring on my Lavamancer so I could untap, 2 him with the guy and 3 him with a Lightning Bolt for good ole' exactsies.

5-1, 7-4

Round 7: Merfolk

Game 1 we shuffle up and I enjoy the shuffling so much that I mull 7 spells, 6 spells, 5 lands, 4 spells into 2 Lavamancers and a Lightning Bolt. If I draw a Mountain then this has a chance against creature decks so I keep it. Having won the dice roll I just pass the turn. He makes Island and Aether Vial. I draw another Lavamancer and when he starts making guys I just scoop to save time because this match is unwinnable without the ability to cast spells. I get to sideboard for game 2 and he doesn't, which is only a small advantage because Zoo smashes Merfolk all day every day anyway. Game 2 I get a Lavamancer down and that's pretty much game because he can't land enough lords if I get double use out of Lightning Bolts. Game 3 I have 2 Lavamancers in my opening hand and simply play around Daze to start my onslaught. He has a cute techy Spellstutter Sprite but I don't think it's that good against me because even if it gets value out of countering a Wild Nacatl it's a 1/1 that's not going anywhere. So yeah I get down a couple of Wild Nacatls and a Goblin Guide and there's not much he can do, so I get to win-and-in.

6-1, 9-5

Round 8: Staxless Stax I think

This was against Irish judge+player Mark McGovern. He won a PTQ for San Juan as well so we chatted about looking forward to it briefly. Just before this round Seb and I were chatting with the Orsini-Jones' and Dan Gardner and they were playing a game which involved finding Stelios Kargotis, ever-present greek/english judge. He moves pretty quickly and is quite small so is quite hard to find in a room of 2000 people. As we're shuffling up Stelios walks past our game so I pat him on the shoulder (easy to do while sat down) and say hi, turn to Matteo 2 seats away and announce my having won the game. Matteo ignored me a little bit I think, but maybe that was just game face. Mark doesn't really have a great start game 1. He gets down a Chalice for 1 and a Tabernacle but my Qasali Pridemage allows me to cast 2 Goblin Guides and a Price of Progress is more than enough to get him. Game 2 he uses Ancient Tomb to make a turn 1 Chalice for 1, essentially making me discard 4 cards. I make a land and he makes turn 2 Elspeth off a Mox Diamond. Does not suck to be him. Unlucky for Mark though it doesn't suck to be me either. I cast a Tarmogoyf off my basic plains and forest (crucible + wasteland makes non-basics risky business). He flies a soldier over for 4 looking to race me but lucky for me I know about Chalice so I cast 1-mana spells into it to Battlegrowth my Goyf. After a couple of swings the Elspeth is dead and another Goyf really puts the hurt on. He has another Elspeth but I aggro in and eventually a Price of Progress is enough for the win. I am in Day 2, feeling pretty happy :D

7-1, 11-5

Round 9: Steppe Lynx Zoo

My deck isn't really built as well for the mirror in some sense because Goblin Guide just doesn't block anything and it dies to Lavamancer. I knew this in advance because the GG is GG against the slower decks so hopefully my Elspeths would get there because she owns the mirror. I don't remember the match too well as I was very tired but he got a board presence together and destroyed mine in games 2 and 3 after I did the same to him in game 1. That's pretty much how the mirror match goes though.

7-2, 12-7

Very tired Seb and I set off back to the hostel for a sleep. We soon bumped into the usual English Legacy crowd so Seb got some dinner with them while I went to sleep. It was an awesome day and I was happy to make Day 2, my second from 3 Grand Prixs. Joining me were Richard Bland, Matt Light, Jason Christie and a few more (hard to keep track of so many people) and I know Rich Hagon was impressed at the quantity of British players getting so far in the tournament. I guess this concludes Part I of my report because if I write the rest now then this will be a very long report indeed. Thanks for sticking with me and reading all this (or slops if you skipped ahead to this sentence) and big Props to all the British players at the tournament who were all very friendly and good fun.

1 comment:

  1. 'this match is unwinnable without the ability to cast spells' - Gotta love the insightful commentary :D