My day started out where last Saturday left off when I parked the car, started walking to where the tournament was being held, reached for my wallet and realized that I’d left it at home. Stupid! So I had to rush back home and then rush back downtown. Fortunately I’d left in plenty of time so I had enough time for this unplanned round trip. I was hoping it was the start of one of those great stories, like “I almost didn’t make it to States but I’m glad I did because I wound up winning.” Unfortunately the day didn’t go quite that well.
I went with this build. If I had another chance I’d probably play a more controlling deck, maybe that RWB deck I’ve been toying with. Wrath of God is just so good, especially at States (or Champs or whatever).
4 Dryad Sophisticate
4 Gruul Guildmage
3 Jaya Ballard, Task Mage
4 Kird Ape
4 Magus of the Scroll
4 Ohran Viper
4 Call of the Herd
3 Seal of Fire
2 Karplusan Forest
2 Scrying Sheets
1 Skarrg, the Rage Pits
6 Snow-Covered Forest
8 Snow-Covered Mountain
4 Stomping Ground
4 Blood Moon
4 Krosan Grip
3 Thornscape Battlemage
4 Tormod’s Crypt
Round 1 - Dennis Hixon - UG aggro
Dennis was sporting the new Flores flavor of the month. From my testing it seemed like my deck owned UG but I was still nervous about the explosive +5/+5 Invocation or the multiple Cloak on a creature I couldn’t target. Game one, round one my worst fear happened: my opening grip included two lands and they were both Scrying Sheets. The two Scrying Sheets in the deck. That had only happened once in all my testing. Naturally I had to ship that back and kept a hand with no Forests. Unfortunately I never did find a source of green and he put a Cloak on a Looter and spashed for four until I was dead (naturally I couldn’t find burn either).
Games two and three opened with him playing Llanowar Elves and me blowing them up with a Seal of Fire. It was downhill for him in both games after that as my critters and burn finished him off.
Round 2 - Romain Hughes - Zoo
Romain is another one of those guys who I just can’t seem to beat. I’m not sure I’ve ever beaten him and I think I’ve faced him in 90% of the major tournaments I’ve attended.
Romain got the textbook Zoo draws in both games. Turn one Kird Ape, turn two Scab Clan Mauler, turn three another Mauler and he just crushed me. Again in game one I couldn’t find a source of green (apparently 12 in the deck just wasn’t quite enough) and I didn’t present much of a threat. Game two wasn’t any better.
As I told Romain, if I could get Zoo to perform that well I would have run it. I always seem to get color screwed with that deck.
Round 3 - Marcus Ledesma - RBW weenie
Marcus had an interesting deck full of one casting cost creatures like Kill-Suit Cultist and Shadow Guildmage. He’d hit a creature with the Guildmage and then finish it off by sacrificing the Cultist, then bring the Cultists back by forecasting Proclamation of Rebirth. This was a game I really wish I had Wrath of God or even Pyroclasm.
Game one we battled back and forth with lots of creatures in play and lots of creatures dying on both sides. He finished me off first. Game two I got a very fast start and rolled over his little creatures. Game three took a long time and I drew a lot of land. Really too much land. He must have forecasted Proclamation about 15 times and kept picking off my creatures. After drawing many land in a row I finally found a Demonfire and had a Magus in play. He was at 13. I was going to be able to burn him out next turn if the Magus stayed in play but he ripped a Lightning Helix off the top, both killing my threat and bringing himself out of burn range with one spell. I was at two after he swung with two weenies and I had to use the Demonfire to kill his Magus. Unfortunately I couldn’t draw anything else and he finished me.
I really feel like I should have won this game. I think if I’d seen the Proclamation in such extensive use in one of the first two games I would have boarded in Tormod’s Crypt. I just didn’t think it was that much of a threat. I still would have won if I’d have had a better balance of spells and land in that third game.
Round 4 - Ricky Fok - UWG control
In game one I got an early Magus and, once again, couldn’t find a Forest. I was stuck with two Vipers in my hand but the Magus kept picking him off. Eventually after about 100 turns of him playing a land and saying go he played two Sky Swallowers and finished me quickly. I had him down to six but the Magus could have used a little help.
In game two I actually played smart. I had a couple of early creatures in play and a Blood Moon and a Dryad Sophisticate in hand. He missed a land drop or two and couldn’t counter two things at once. I waited until I had five land in play (thank goodness I didn’t miss a land drop) and played the Sophisticate, hoping he would counter it. He did. I played Blood Moon. He scooped.
Game three I finally had the fast start. Two 2/3 Kird Apes were in play on turn two and they rolled to a quick finish.
Round 5 - Jared Shoup - BW Shadow
I had Savage Twister in my board for awhile just because of this deck (I sure wish I’d had it against that weenie deck!). In game one he Castigated my Call of the Herd, which was quite unfriendly, but otherwise my bigger creatures beat up on his.
Game two I boarded in the Battlemages again (those really did well all day) and they had fun killing a Soltari Priest and some other creatures. It was a back and forth battle but I was able to damage faster than he was. Go big green!
Round 6 - Nelson Dees - RW Firemane control/Searing Meditation
Nelson had just beaten Peter and Nelson had seen me watching the match. “Now you can get revenge for Peter!” he said as we sat down. I told him it would be patently obvious what I was playing very soon after we started and that this was a bad matchup for me. I drew my seven, played an untapped Stomping Grounds and showed him the Kird Ape. “See?” I said and he didn’t seem too scared of the monkey.
I played guys and he stalled at three land. My guys killed him quickly before he hit Wrath of God mana (he had “multiple” wraths in his hand). Game two I played more guys and this time he was totally mana flooded. He played a Firemane Angel but I banished it with a Demonfire. He mainly drew land and I kept swinging with creatures.
Round 7 - Michael Cardan - Boros
Michael was playing prototypical Boros, complete with the Skynight Legionnaire (although I didn’t see any Boros Swiftblades, I think he replaced those with Soltari Priest). Game one was an old fashioned prizefight. He beat on me, I beat on him, but he killed me first after I had him down to six. Game two he just drew burn spell after burn spell and had the cohones to throw them all at my dome rather than going after my creatures. I had him down to five but he burned me out.
The whole match took, literally, less than ten minutes. I think it was more like five.
Another mediocre showing at States, but it was certainly much better than I did at the PTQ. Maybe next year.