My last few events have been really fun. Here are some quick and dirty highlights:
Intersting matches from GP Cincy:
Round 3 – My opponent sits down and immediately tells me that these are the first games he’s had to play all day. He asks where I’m from, and when he found out I had an 8 hour drive, he proclaimed that he would only travel that far for Pro Tours and Invitationals, and that he’d played in many. He really had me terrified . . .
Anyway, I quickly dispatch him in game one. In the second, I untap with lethal damage on-board vs his Desecration Demon and two open mana. I play a random creature, plus a Judge’s Familiar to ensure that his scope of possible tricks is greatly narrowed down.
He lets my familiar resolve, then tries to play a Devour Flesh that will give him enough life to live through the turn. I stop his trick with my now on-board Familiar, and he comments about how he shouldn’t have gotten so drunk last night, staying up past 3am and all. He’s now going to go “drop and crush all the noobs in the win-a-box events.”
Stay classy, friend.
Round 5 – I battled Jon Stern, who I mostly knew as “the guy standing next to Josh in a ton of pictures from the PT.” In game two (up a game) I had two 2/3-Cloudfins, a Thassa, and Frostburn Weird. I was facing down a lethal Desecration Demon and a few Pack Rats, but a Rapid Hybridization in my hand meant that the Demon wasn’t actually a major threat. Unfortunately, my life was low enough that his Rats would overwhelm me next turn. I needed a creative answer and a lot of luck.
Instead of frog-lizarding his demon, I would hit my own Thassa, evolve both my Raptors, sac the lizard to his Demon, and then by drawing any land for my next turn (with Thassa’s scry for backup) I would be able to make my ground guys unblockable and finish him off. I was so excited by my plan that I forgot to evolve my fliers, and my outs dropped to zero.
But we crushed em game 3. Better lucky than good.
Round 7 – Game two against Naya Hexproof. My opponent follows up my turn one Judge’s Familiar with a turn two Temple Garden-untapped-pass. Having played Skylasher myself, I knew better than to walk into the trap, and held back after playing a Frostburn Weird.
He did have the Skylasher, and when he untapped, he slammed a Chained to the Rocks right on top of it. I blinked, scanned his board, and noticed, sadly, that he didn’t have a mountain in play.
“While that would be nice,” I said “I don’t think you can cast that.”
Embarassed, he swapped it out with the intended Ethereal Armor and beat down for 3.
Over the next few turns we’re basically goldfishing each other. I know he’s only a mountain away from chaining a guy to the rocks, so I need to put down both copies of Master of Waves from my hand before he’s able to remove one.
I get out the first one, and need to fade a single draw step. If I can, I get to play my second copy and attack for about 40. He untaps and lays down the Chain, pointing at his WR temple. I inform him that his land isn’t a mountain, and quickly call over a judge.
After a minute or two of condescending explanations from the judge, we determine that the temple is not, in fact, a mountain and I’m sitting at 7-0.
Round 8 – I played against Brandon “Sandy_Dog” Burton, and it was one of the most enjoyable matches at the event. Both he and his mom seemed really excited just to be there, and they both had a ton of good things to say about Josh, who Brandon had just beaten. Our first game was really close, and I almost missed a mutavault that I needed to activate and block with. I ended up squeaking out victory, and rolled over him in game two with a pair of Domestications.
Round 9 – Undefeated feature match against Alex Hayne. I knew he was on control, which I wasn’t too pumped about. I wasn’t actually sure if we were on camera, since Ari Lax also had a match at the table, but I didn’t want to ask and find out. I really didn’t want to psych myself into playing differently (read: poorly) because I was being watched.
I got beaten pretty bad in the first game, and game two didn’t go much better, though I did get him down to 2 life. It was disappointing to lose the last match of the day, but 8-1 was a fine place to be.
Round 12 – Efro is known for talking about how unlucky he is, but in our first game he was sitting at 3 life, drew off an Underworld Connections, untapped and drew, drew off Connections again to go to 1, and ripped the lethal Gray Merchant. Doesn’t seem too unlucky to me :p
Standard was pretty uneventful. I played 73 of the same cards from the GP. In the end I went:
4-0 against RG / Jund
1-1 against control
0-1 against RWB midrange
1-0 against burn
2-0 against mono black
The RWB Midrange loss:
In game one he just plays a ton of removal, then sticks a Blood Baron and an Obzedat, but I’m too far ahead. I board into an anti-control package and get blown out by his Thoughtseize into Pack Rat opening. I mull to four in game 3 and get wrecked.
The Esper Control loss:
I punted. I had a Judge’s Familiar on the board that had been beating down for a while. On turn 5 I could either leave up both a Negate and a Dissolve, or play Thassa and just leave up Negate. I did that. He played an Angel and I got demolished by it.
Regarding 6-0 against monsters and black:
I think most people over-board for these matchups. I really just want to make 3-4 power worth of fliers and force them to play defensively. We can’t win the long games unless we have a good Bident draw, and those are best with fliers anyway. I only like bringing in 2-3 cards against RG (cutting 1-2 bident on the draw because it sucks sometimes, but always leaving them in on the play) and 3-4 cards against black.
Saturday Night (I know tellis already told all this, but felt that I should tell it from my perspective as well):
Fresh hundo in my pocket, we made our way back to the hotel. Steve Wise and I track down a food menu and place an order that will likely leave us with an hour to kill until we get to eat, so we drink to pass the time.
Tellis had mentioned that he really wanted an Old Fashioned, so I get the gears in motion and order up a round. It is at this point that I notice that our bartender, a mid-20’s looking woman with lots of tattoos, has no shame, which is both entertaining and dangerous.
After Logan does what Logan does, and after I had finished my decidedly mediocre Old Fashioned, I figured I needed to turn it up a little and order a straight bourbon. She asks if I want it tall or short, and since I’m planning on passing out (from exhaustion, not booze) in the next hour, I order a short.
Or so I thought. After ordering, I hear Logan say something to the effect of “atta boy” and the bartender is looking excited. Maybe instead of “short,” I accidentally said “all the fucking bourbon you have,” because she emptied her bottle into my glass, then got a new bottle and kept pouring until it was trickling down the sides.
Within a few minutes, she’s talking about how great she is at giving blowjobs, singles me out, and asks if I would take one if she offered. I told her I didn’t deal with hypotheticals, and she said it wasn’t – she’d take me on right now if I just said the word, and that she was very proud of her talents. I just laugh, my ego swelling but my conscience holding steadfast. I turn her down and she tells me that her own ego isn’t fairing as well after I’ve shot down the opportunity, but I point out that I’m a taken man.
My drinks are basically free when I try to pay my bill, and instead of messing around with the aggressive bartender, I spend the next twenty minutes dipping my pizza into my milkshake and devouring it like the drunken bear I am. A night well spent.
My deck works like this. You make a Food Chain (2G enchantment, exile a creature, you get x mana where x is its CMC+1, only spend that mana on creatures). You make a Misthollow Griffin (can be cast from exile). You exile and cast it over and over again. Then you either make an Emrakul or a Tidespout Tyrant (whenever you cast a spell, bounce a permanent) and play your Griffin repeatedly to return all their permanents to their hand. You also play this card that costs 1U and exiles 3 cards from your deck, allowing you to remove all your Griffins and flood the board with them once mana isn’t an issue.
My first three matches are pretty basic. I kept a lot of hands with Food Chain, won a lot of die rolls, and said “upheaval you” a lot.
In my fourth match I win my first game against what appears to be a UR countertop deck. He is set back on mana after double-dazing my food chain, and I spend the next three turns making Griffins, which are enough against his board of stone-nothing.
In game two he leads with a Delver on turn 3, and flips a Stifle on his upkeep. I let him put it in his hand and start cursing myself for not using my fetchland before he had a chance to stop me. Luckily (unluckily?) he laid down a Phyrexian Dreadnaught instead and burned his stifle. After his next attack, I was down to two life. . .
My hand was just Vendillion Clique. My board had nothing but lands and a Food Chain, with a Griffin in exile. On my upkeep I cracked my fetchland to go to 1 life. I drew a blank. Time to pray – I played my Griffin repeatedly, making a billion mana of each color. Then I flashed in my Clique, targeted myself, and drew . . . Tidespout Tyrant! UPHEAVAL YOU!
I lost to Sean Weihe in the next round, and was stunned that we didn’t get a feature match – I have no idea what match was supposed to be better than Food Chain vs Aluren in the 4-0 bracket.
After a 5-1 start the wheels fell off – I lost my last 3 rounds.
I lost to storm when he killed me on turn two through a Force of Will.
My next opponent made a turn 2 Griselbrand on the play, Dazed my Force (I used my mana for a Hierarch), then Forced my second Force.
In the last round my opponent led with a Deathrite Shaman and I did the same. On turn 2 he blind-Cabal Therapied me, naming Brainstorm. I had two of them. He also saw that I had two Shardless Agents, so he played another Deathrite and got those too, leaving me with just lands. I mulled to 4 in game 2.
In our post-tournament Winston cubing, I got to Avalanche Riders Tellis’ Karoo, then Ninja of the Deep Hours it, kill another land, then Vapor Snag my guy and eat another Karoo. I felt much better about my life.
If you’re going to be at a PTQ in the next few weeks, bring a Modern deck too! I want to get my reps in for GP Minneapolis!