Sunday, 31 October 2010

Tournament Report - Game Day *top 8*

By Wagz

Hi all! This weekend I attended a Game Day, the descendent of County Champs. Going into it I didn't realise how casual the event has become so brought a decent deck (RUG Control) and even did a bit of testing - this turned out to be overkill. We saw on Manascrew that the event started at 11 but the shop's own website claimed it began at midday. We erred on the side of caution and arrived at 10:30ish. Unfortunately for us the person running their FNM had told everyone it began at 1 so we cubed to kill some time. Here is the deck I played, given to me by Rob Catton:

4 Copperline Gorge
4 Raging Ravine
2 Halimar Depths
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Forest
4 Island
2 Mountain
4 Preordain
4 Explore
4 Lotus Cobra
3 Oracle of Mul Daya
4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Frost Titan
2 Avenger of Zendikar
4 Mana Leak
1 Deprive
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Flame Slash
4 Goblin Ruinblaster
2 Spell Pierce
2 Flashfreeze
1 Wurmcoil Engine
3 Pyroclasm
3 Obstinate Baloth

Round 1 I faced a serious-looking player with a poker shirt on. He was playing UB Control but I started off with t1 Preordain, t2 Explore, t3 Oracle of Mul Daya, t4 Jace the Mind Sculptor with 3 mana open. He had a Negate instead of the Mana Leak but I soon landed a Frost Titan. Game 2 I got heavily mana screwed (27 lands, 4 Preordain, 4 Explore....) but Game 3 played out in normal fashion and I took the win. We had to play quickly to get the round done before time was called and this was unusual for me because I'm a very fast player.

Round 2 was against a Black splash Red Vampires deck. I made the critical play of not laying out turn 2 Cobra having lost the dice roll so when he tried to turn 4 Gatekeeper it I was able to crack my fetch land and Mana Leak his removal spell. I ground out something big and took the game. Game 2 was less good for me and his quick aggression allowed him to bring my life total all the way down. Time was called as we were shuffling and I began to get suspicious. We intentionally drew but I went over to the store owner to ask how long the rounds were. I got told they were 50 minutes but I checked my time-keeping device and it had been 1hr25mins since the 1st round had begun. We were thus granted an official time keeper for the rest of the day.

Round 3 I faced a mirror-match of sorts. He had a couple of Garruks, Primeval Titans and Cultivates but lacked the Cobras and Oracles to really go nuts. I later found out he had Destructive Forces but I think his more-fair version of the deck caused him problems in the mirror and I controlled the tempo of the games to win 2-1.

In round 4 I faced someone who looked at my deck during shuffling. I asked him not to and he apologised but there was no judge to call over. I told the store keeper afterwards in case there was a history but I'm not keen on being cheated, even at a casual event. He was playing a janky mono-black control deck, some kind of midrange Vampires thing. He sided in Duresses against me which are pretty bad for him but I had no answer to a Liliana Vess which kept me discarding the cards I couldn't cast off my 3 lands, very annoying.

The win-and-in round was against a GB Infect deck which was quite innovative. His previous loss was to Elliot Coen who was playing the same 75 as me and Catton and it might just be a bad match-up for him as I was able to control the games, soaking up 9 poison game 1 before making Avenger of Zendikar and his many massive minions and Jace-ing him out game 2.

I received my foil Tempered Steel for top 8-ing and began my quarter finals match against a very nervous-looking UW player. We had three closely-fought games but he out-Jaced me and countered the threats I could muster up. I think this might be a slightly rough match-up for me and he played it well so I wasn't too annoyed to lose it. The rest of Team Leeds had buggered off before this match so I got a magazine and took the train home.

Overall it was a slightly disappointing day due to the casual nature of the organisation but it was probably my own high expectations that were to blame. I think the deck needs a bit of tweaking in the sideboard as it needs some better threats against control decks (or better ways of landing them) and it has a problem with Elves but it seemed to make a good showing at the Star City Games Open mere hours later.

How was your Game Day?

Monday, 25 October 2010

Tournament Report & Sealed Deck Exercise - PTQ Chesham - 3rd

By Wagz

Hi all, sorry for the lack of recent content. Jim is still in a job that doesn't allow him much (if any) time to play Magic and I've been busy with things - if anyone wants to write guest accounts then they're more than welcome :D. In any event, we're a week or so into the start of the new PTQ season and the set seems very exciting. And more importantly, it seems very difficult. I lost in the quarters of last week's PTQ in Altrincham and this weekend I lost in the semis of the 112-person PTQ in Chesham. This tells me I need to learn how to draft the set properly, but I think I know what I'm doing in sealed. I'll give you my sealed pool below and then my decklist and explanation. I went 6-1 in matches, losing round 3 and getting paired against a 5-1 with terrible breakers in the last round, squeaking a win with tight play, unfortunate mistakes from my opponent and good topdecks. What would you do with the following: (copy the cardname into for a picture)

1 Auriok Edgewright
1 Auriok Sunchaser
1 Fulgent Disraction
2 Ghalma's Warden
1 Loxodon Wayfarer
1 Revoke Existence
1 Salvage Scout
1 Soul Parry
1 Sunblast Angel
1 Tempered Steel
1 True Conviction
1 Whitesun's Passage

1 Bonds of Quicksilver
2 Darkslick Drake
1 Grand Architect
1 Neurok Invisimancer
2 Plated Seastrider
1 Screeching Silcaw
1 Stoic Rebuttal
1 Turn Aside
1 Twisted Image
1 Vault Skyward
1 Vedalken Certarch

1 Blackcleave Goblin
1 Bleak Coven Vampires
1 Blistergrub
1 Dross Hopper
1 Grasp of Darkness
1 Instill Infection
1 Moriok Reaver
1 Necrogen Scudder
1 Psychic Miasma

1 Bloodshot Trainee
1 Melt Terrain
1 Ogre Geargrabber
1 Oxidda Daredevil
2 Scoria Elemental
1 Turn to Slag
2 Vulshok Heartstoker

1 Acid Web Spider
1 Alpha Tyrranax
1 Bellowing Tanglewurm
2 Blunt the Assault
1 Carapace Forger
1 Cystbearer
1 Tangle Angler
1 Tel-Jilad Fallen
1 Withstand Death

1 Accorder's Shield
1 Bladed Pinions
1 Chrome Steed
1 Darksteel Myr
1 Echo Circlet
1 Flight Spellbomb
1 Gold Myr
1 Golden Urn
2 Golem Foundry
1 Grafted Exoskeleton
1 Iron Myr
1 Kuldotha Forgemaster
1 Liquimetal Coating
1 Moriok Replica
1 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Origin Spellbomb
2 Palladium Myr
1 Perilous Myr
1 Prototype Portal
1 Snapsail Glider
1 Strider Harness
1 Trigon of Corruption
2 Trigon of Infestation
2 Tumble Magnet
1 Vulshok Replica



I noticed that White and Blue were the only playable colours, so that was as good a place as any to start off with. I collected all the playables in those two colours but it seemed to add up to 84. I decided to just lay down the cards I would definitely be playing and this summed to 22 - a great start!

I deliberated over the last couple of cards, which were essentially the Bonds of Quicksilver and the Prototype Portal. I was also considering Trigon of Corruption and Flight Spellbomb. I went with the Bonds due to my lack of removal and it being a lot `faster' than the Trigon but I wasn't sure about the Prototype Portal due to lack of experience with the card. I had 2 Origin Spellbomb and 2 Tumble Magnet as really good combos but at worst I could stick guys under it. It turned out to be really good or really bad so the jury's still out but I might pass on it next time - I mostly played
mine because Ben Scoones (sat opposite me) was playing his.

I lost round 3 to Eduardo Saggygarlic's UW deck with infi Ghalma's Wardens. I didn't have the greatest draws but I was definitely playing a game, just losing. I found it easier to beat the massive bombs really - and the thing about this sealed format is that everybody has them. You _will_ play against Koth, Elspeth, Sunblast Angel etc EVERY ROUND (unless you're losing) so you MUST build your deck with these cards in mind. I sided in Bladed Pinions against Planeswalker decks, for example.

The top 8 draft didn't go so well for me, I began by attempting to force Infect but ended up in a kind of Green Black Rock deck with a bunch of card advantage but nothing really powerful. I'll write on draft when I actually figure out what I'm doing. I did 4 drafts on Modo since it came out on Wednesday and went 9-3 between them but real life is different, and PTQ drafts always require a 3-0.

See you in the top 8 of the next one - don't beat me!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Tournament Report - 15 Card Highlander Part 2 - the banning of Sadistic Sacrament

By Wagz

Hi all, as a follow-up to my previous article on 15-card I thought a lot more on the format and what the good cards were. We had a 15-card WNM on 29/09/10 and two of the decks I was interested in trying were Mono-Black control and Sti's Grixis deck with some improvements. After both decks were doing alright but having complementary weaknesses I amalgamated the two to create:

Inquisition of Kozilek
Lightning Bolt
Gatekeeper of Malakir
Liliana's Specter
Sadistic Sacrament
Consuming Vapors
Goblin Ruinblaster
Grave Titan
Crumbling Necropolis
Creeping Tar Pit
Lavaclaw Reaches
Dragonskull Summit
2 Swamp
Tectonic Edge
Pithing Needle
Doom Blade
Leyline of Sanctity

The deck is full of 2-for-1's with the key card being Sadistic Sacrament as it is just a blow-out and will now be banned from the format if I'm organising it. I gave my list to Rob Catton and we both went in to battle in the 18-man event.

Round 1 I faced Andy Pemberton with a good WRg planeswalkers deck. I made Sad Sac early both games and removed his opportunity to cast spells. I felt extremely mean as you shouldn't win by resolving a 3 mana spell as your only spell.

Round 2 was against Chris Simpson. He had entered the event and then just after round 1 pairings went up came to me saying that he hadn't got a deck. He said he had a bunch of standard-legal cards and I said he had 5 minutes to put a deck together. Turned out he meant future standard as he had a GB poison deck. Luckily the poison creatures are all a bit tiny and after I dealt with them he didn't have any way of winning.

For round 3 I was paired against Rob Catton and we agreed to ID rather than mirror it out. I beat him in the for-funsies game so I vaguely regretted playing it out but we were pretty sure we had the best deck in the room and would easily both 4-0-1 anyway.

Round 4 I played Mick Edwards who was back to Leeds for a week to see people. He had a mono-white control deck which had Luminarch Ascension and Elspeth to trouble me. Sad Sac did its thing and Pithing Needle after boarding dealt with our 'Spethial friend. 4 counters is a lot to get on the Ascension and I let him have 3 before stabilising the board - manlands are good for this.

The final round was against Steve Tyson with Naya planeswalkers. Once more I beat him with Sad Sac, including one for the last 3 cards in his library - Ajani V, Elspeth and Garruk.

Rob and I both went 4-0-1 with this sick deck. Sadistic Sacrament is definitely too good for the format as an unconditional 3-mana 3-for-1 but I think the deck is still really good anyway, with lots of card advantage. Planeswalkers are also very strong in the format but a lot of the good planeswalkers are rotating out so we'll have to see how they work out in new standard 15-card. The deck moves into new Standard by replacing Crumbling Necropolis and a Swamp with the new Black dual lands (so good in 15-card) and the sideboard Pithing Needle for something; it really doesn't lose much, if anything. If your TO doesn't ban Sad Sac (and does run 15-card, probably a harder find) then I'd run this deck as it is by far the best deck. Thanks, as always, for reading.

BONUS! I just won a 4322 with the following:
1 Preordain
3 Tome Scour
2 Doom Blade
2 Jace's Erasure
2 Augury Owl
2 Maritime Guard
1 Gargoyle Sentinel
1 Assassinate
1 Call to Mind
1 Mind Rot
1 Aether Adept
3 Scroll Thief
2 Foresee
1 Azure Drake
1 Nether Horror
1 Terramorphic Expanse
4 Swamp
12 Island
1 Cancel
2 Negate