Thursday, 4 March 2010

Grand Prix Madrid - *30th place* Part II

By Wagz

When we left off at the end of part I, I had gone 7-2 in matches and 12-7 in games in the biggest Grand Prix of all time (even bigger than Beyonce's). This is obviously a good thing ™ and I was very happy. I got to bed quite late and had to get up at 7 to get to the venue in time for the player meeting. Some of the other players I was with came along too for the Vintage and PTQ side events but my eyes were on the main event. During the player meeting I looked through my sleeves and noticed a few of them had developed small splits so I changed those while listening to some Germans mocking their previous day's opponents.

Match 10: Steewen Boettger with Zoo

He had a more traditional build which meant his first turn Nacatl made my double Goblin Guide hand less good than it would be in most matchups. After removing each others guys and getting down to topdecks I am on 8 and he is on 27, not optimal. However, my topdeck is Elspeth which matches whatever he draws each turn and allows me to draw more cards. When on 12 counters I Ultimate her and I'm in a winning position. My opponent tries to burn me out but I have a Lightning Helix to 'counter' one of his and we're off to game 2. I mull to 5 which is kinda bad for me because when we're done trading 1-for-1 he'll still be 2 cards up which will be creatures on the board. Surely enough he beats me down and we move to game 3. Being on the play is also nice in the mirror because you get to cast your guys first, which tends to mean they get bigger first. My Nacatl is matched by his but mine is a 3/3 to swing in. My turn 2 Lavamancer stops his coming down and he leaves his Nacatl back on defence. Turn 3 I Helix his Nacatl and swing, Pathing his Knight of the Reliquary then dropping my turn 4 Elspeth which draws the concession, yay.

8-2, 14-8

Match 11: Enrique Garcia-baquero Rivas with Merfolk

During the last round and subsequent wander-round I found out that Rik had lost his wallet the previous night which is never fun :(. He missed the first round of the Vintage tournament too, poor guy. My luck seemed to be improving though as I drew Merfolk, aka Bye. Game 1 he got a couple of Silvergill Adepts down but I was easily able to play around Daze as he was on the play. I landed a Tarmogoyf and killed his lords to easily take the game. Game 2 was much of the same only I went down to 7 life. Only 5 of that damage was dealt by my opponent as I had to lean reasonably hard on a Horizon Canopy but I got to kill all his lords, then his mutavaults and then watch as he drew nothing, getting a cheeky peek along the way with trips Goblin Guide, GG indeed! In this game he used Mind Harness on my Wild Nacatl and immediately called a judge. I figured he was wondering if he got a 3/3, no dice my friend - you really want to save those for the Tarmogoyfs.

9-2, 16-8

Match 12: Rafael Truchado with Bant

A strange deck, some counterbalance+top deck but with Trinket Mage, Engineered Explosives, Jace and Goyfs. Game 1 goes on a while as he keeps removing all my creatures (I hate it when they do that). Eventually he is on 11 and I am on 30. I Price of Progress twice while I still have time so he is on 3 and I am on 13. My Grim Lavamancer gets him to 1 but he kills it with an Explosives. He has a Trinket Mage and a Goyf from his draws while I have nothing in play now. He has one card in hand, Counterbalance but no Top, is tapped out and has just attacked me to 6. Facing lethal on board and having no cards in hand I untap my 3 duals, 1 mountain and Horizon Canopy and draw.. Qasali Pridemage. He shows me a Force of Will on top of his library and I take my opportunity for greatness. I crack the canopy to draw a card, leaving Plateau untapped - it's a Lightning Bolt. Sick topdeck to take the victory, thank-you very much. Game 2 would be similar except he couldn't deal with the steady stream of cheap efficient beaters and Gaddock Teeg plus 2 Cats knock him to dead.

10-2, 18-8

Match 13: Angelo Cadei with ANT

The bogeyman. Not Angelo, ANT. I mull in game 1 and beat him down a little bit and then he waves his hands around a little bit, draws half his deck and kills me. I consider calling a judge but I've seen people do this before and apparently it's alright. I sideboard in my Mindbreak Traps, Teegs and the Canonist, taking out my Paths, Swords and Jitte because cards which are super-relevant are much better than cards which do absolutely nothing (I should write more strategy articles). Game 2 I make Wild Nacatl, Ethersworn Canonist, Goblin Guide + Lightning Bolt with Mindbreak backup and he can't do anything, nice draws. Game 3 I bash him down a lot and Lightning Helix myself up to 22. He's not drawn all that well and starts tanking a lot after I've attacked him 4 times. He uses Angel's grace in response to my lethal Lightning Bolt but can't combo off next turn from 1 life because Ad Nauseum just doesn't work that way.

11-2, 20-8

Match 14: Amaiur Gonzalez Monreal with Merfolk

Another Merfolk matchup where I mull to less than optimal. My 5 is facing his 5 with me on the play but he gets some lords quickly and even my Grim Lavamancer can't save me because I can't power him up enough. Game 2 I do the usual Daze dance and get 2 Wild Nacatls and a Tarmogoyf in play, taking damage only off a fetch and a Horizon Canopy. Game 3 he has sideboarded a lot of cards in and out and mulls once. Unless he knows something I don't I'm pretty sure Merfolk has a lot of cheap counters in its board which are actually quite ineffective against me. I get a quick Tarmogoyf down and he counters my other stuff with Spellstutter Sprites, cute. Basically he was hoping to get and protect a quick clock but I had cheap fatties so he didn't really stand a chance.

12-2, 22-9

Match 15: Jan Sudmann with Dredge

I was now up to table 16 but we'd been called for a (fake) feature match. This was my first ever feature match so I was a little nervous until I sat down and realised it was just a game like any other. I keep my decent hand but he mulls down to 5. He has an elaborate shuffling technique and a stack of empty sleeves so I figure he's probably dredge. Sure enough he turn 1 Unmasks himself to get a Dredge card in the bin and the race is on. My turn 1 Nacatl is joined by a turn 2 Tarmogoyf but he hits 3 Narcomoebas pretty quickly. With his two Ichorids he is able to start flashing back his spells and making guys to his 2 Bridges - nice draw. I am stuck on 2 land and probably punt by not pathing his last guy end of turn in the hope of drawing a burn spell. I did it so that I could always path the next thing that comes along. Sure enough I draw a Lightning Helix and proceed to get Iona locked with Zombie blockers, damn. Game 2 he mulls to 5 again but I keep a 2-hate hand with some aggression and I swing him to zero before he can do anything serious. I wish him luck in mulling 4 more times but he only manages to do it 3 times. He plays a City of Brass, casts Breakthrough for 0, draws 4 and discards his 6 cards. I Ravenous Trap him and he extends the hand, nice match. I got to lean over and thank LSV for the Tezz deck I won the PTQ with recently which is nice because I can be a little fanboyish sometimes.

13-2, 24-10

Match 16: David Do Anh with ANT

After my previous match I was chatting with Rich Hagon and he informs me that I wasn't actually at table 16 because tables 1-10 had been removed. The standings go up and I'm in 8th place with 2 rounds to go. It looks like the winner of this round will be able to ID but the loser will have to get lucky in the next one with tie-breaks and winning. I play against David Do Anh who I met for the first time in the morning at the tube station with Gavin Goh. He seems a nice guy and I wasn't sure knowing what he was playing was going to be any kind of advantage. I get turn 1 Grim Lavamancer, turn 2 Qasali Pridemage but on his turn 3 he starts going off and there's nothing I can do when he finds everything while still on 8 life. I tried to tilt him when he announced a second Lion's Eye Diamond by saccing my Pridemage to kill the first but he had enough mana to put Ad Nauseum on the stack and sac the targetted LED. Wasn't sure if his lack of rules knowledge would confuse him into not going off correctly but it's worth a try at this level. Game 2 I keep a few guys, Canonist and Mindbreak Trap. He thoughtseizes away the Canonist and later duresses the Trap but doesn't have enough gas to go off. I beat him down to 6 and EOT Price of Progress him for 2 when I have another Price in hand and 2 Pridemages in play. I untap and attack with my two guys for lethal. He tries to Mystical Tutor for a Slaughter Pact, Brainstorm into the Pact and kill a guy but I drew the Mindbreak Trap to counter it ;).

Game 3 I mulligan and have a hand with no answers but some aggression. I really really need both in this matchup but it's unlikely that a random 5 will be any better so I keep it in the vain hope that it'll be enough. End of my turn 2 he cracks a Scalding Tarn and announces that he'll use the blue mana he's fetching to cast a Mystical Tutor. He finds an Ad Nauseum and puts it on top, untaps draws and casts 2 Lotus Petals. At this point I notice that he didn't actually find a land with the Tarn. I figure it hasn't made any different to any decisions because he was always going to draw the same card but I called a Judge anyway to resolve the situation - mise get free wins? Martin Juza, who was watching, called me a cheat because I had noticed straight away apparently, and wouldn't accept my insistence that I really hadn't noticed until just then. If he'd noticed then perhaps he should have called a judge maybe? I think it's a bit off to call someone a cheat when you're not following the rules yourself. The judge undoes the sequence of plays so my opponent finds a land, gives my opponent a Warning for Game Rule Violation and gives me one for "being a bit slow". I didn't bother to appeal the ludicrous Warning because it wouldn't matter anyway, but I don't like that judge much now. My opponent untapped and went off but there was a slightly bitter taste in my mouth. I wished him luck in the top 8 anyway and headed off to my friends. I was actually a bit gutted that I'd not made top 8 despite having been extremely happy to just make Day 2 but I tried to shrug it off quickly because I was still exceeding my expectations.

13-3, 25-12

Match 17: Rafael Del Riego with UGRW control

We were potentially playing for top 8 but with the 4 tables above us playing Feature Matches it was far more likely we were playing for 9th place. He seemed to be playing a slightly janky UGRW deck with Jaces, Vendilion Cliques, Bolts, Swords and Goyfs. Plenty of good cards but a bit Rock-ish with a bad manabase - 4 colours _and_ Wasteland? Needless to say he always had the counterspells and removal spells for my stuff and I couldn't fight through so I lost the match.

13-4, 25-14

My last opponent finished 9th but had better tie-breaks than I would have. I ended up in 30th place which is perfectly respectible but slightly lower than it could have been. I won myself a tidy $400 which more than paid for the trip and I'd had an excellent weekend. I'd had an on-off friendly rivalry with Matt Light the whole weekend and having been streaks ahead of him the whole way he pipped me by 1 place on tie-breaks right at the very end, curse you Matt :p!

Seb and I joined up with Matt Light and his mates for an 8-man random boosters draft then took a train back into town (chatting with Sam Black along the way) before Cube Drafting which I took down with a solid WG monsters+equipment+anthems deck after everyone was extolling the power of the blue cards in the cube. Overall it had been a very good weekend and I'd recommend my deck heavily to anyone looking to play Legacy Zoo. Maybe I'll win the next Grand Prix I go to, but I've Day 2'd 2 of the 3 so far and top 32'd one now, on with the Pro Tour :D

  • Rik for lending me cards
  • Rik, Colin and Seb for being good friends and travel buddies
  • Richard Bland for making top 4
  • Matt Light & crew for providing draft entertainment
  • All the British players for being there for Legacy
  • The judges who structured the weekend after being overloaded with players
  • The judges who didn't expect 2000+ players and got overloaded with players
  • Luton Airport for being a bit faily
  • Madrid Airport for being really expensive
  • Whoever stole Rik's Wallet
  • Martin Juza for calling me a cheat + the judge who agreed
  • Me for not top-8ing :p

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