After waiting an hour and a half to start building our deck they let us skip straight to deck construction with no registration of the card pool or the deck itself. I’m not sure how much cheating this enabled but at least I couldn’t make stupid mistakes with my deck registration like I did last time. (Aside: please, Cascade Games, get your heads out of your asses and start the events on time. I got there at 8:25 and didn’t start playing until just before 11:00, which is simply inexcusable.)
My card pool was OK but I didn’t have any bombs and precious little removal. The only removal spell I didn’t play was Orcish Cannonade. I didn’t have enough good red to go into it and I certainly couldn’t splash it with the double red requirement. I put in the black at the last minute to have some sort of removal with the Dark Withering and the Necrotic Sliver.
Here’s the deck I went with, from a rather tame card pool:
1 Amrou Scout (fetches Aven Riftwatcher and Errant Doomsayers)
1 Ana Battlemage
1 Aven Riftwatcher (better than I expected, especially with the Whitemane Lion)
1 Castle Raptors
1 D’Avenant Healer
1 Errant Doomsayers
1 Giant Dustwasp
1 Icatian Crier
1 Malach of the Dawn (a timeshifted Ghost Ship for white!?)
1 Mindlash Sliver (feeds Madness and also works with the Necrotic Sliver)
1 Mire Boa
1 Nantuko Shaman
1 Necrotic Sliver (Vindicate on a body at instant speed!)
1 Plated Pegasus
1 Uktabi Drake
1 Whitemane Lion
1 Witch Hunter
1 Wurmcalling (the closest I had to a bomb)
1 Yavimaya Dryad
1 Dark Withering
1 Search for Tomorrow
1 Strength in Numbers
1 Griffin Guide
1 Basal Sliver (if I needed more to feed to the Necrotic Sliver, probably should have been main)
1 Sporesower Thallid (for beef, I didn’t have a single other Fungus for him to help)
Round 1 - Jeremiah Haney - RWb
My deck actually worked as planned. I got a fairly fast start and got him down to three fairly quickly. I sent an alpha strike at one point but he had the white Fog charm and soaked up all the damage. He didn’t have enough creatures to mount an alpha strike of his own but had been starting to chip away at my creatures with Magus of the Arena. By the time I got him down to three I had only one creature left and he had several on the board.
Game two he got the RWB dragon Oros, the Avenger (not the prerelease version) out—I don’t remember which one it was but I knew that I had literally no way in the deck to kill it unless he fell for a combat trick with the Strength in Numbers. Unfortunately I was stuck on one Forest and one Plains and everything in my hand needed two of one or the other.
I was not feeling good after this match. I thought my lack of removal was going to lead to a very long day.
Round 2 - Adam Bailey - WG (with a surprise)
The first game against Adam went much as the first game against Jeremiah had but this time I finished the job. In game two he played a Mountain on turn one and I thought, “Aha, that’s why he held a couple of cards all the last game, he was color screwed!” When he played the Island on turn two I was really confused. Was he playing a five color deck? When he played the turn three Swamp he admitted that he’d boarded to a different deck using the other three colors. His new deck got off to a fast start with two of the 1/1 pinger guys that drain life and a Tiefling which slowly but surely killed off my creatures. It was over relatively quickly.
Game three was back to the flyers for me and I was able to get them rolling pretty quickly. Thanks to the Aven Riftwatcher I ended the game with 22 life when I hit him for the final six.
I was joking around with Adam throughout the match and he was the first of two people to tell me our match was the most fun he’d had all day. Perhaps that didn’t mean too much in round two but still, a nice thing to say.
Round 3 - Tim Siekawitch - RGW
Another aside: I’m surprised at all the three color decks especially when very few of them are running mana fixing. The storage lands seem to be enabling a lot of this. I think a bit of spot land destruction from the sideboard might be a good play. Now, back to the countdown.
Our first game went back and forth. Aven Riftwatcher kept me in the game for a long time but I wasn’t able to do any damage and Tim had be down to seven when I found Wurmcalling. By that time I had a ton of land and was able to create a 6/6 wurm every turn even with keeping three white open for the Malach of the Dawn. Eventually my flyers and wurms beat Tim down.
Game two I was color screwed at first but Tim was totally mana screwed. He was stuck on two land for much of the game and my flyers did their work.
Round 4 - Benny Gonzalez - RWB
This round started with another game one that went back and forth. He killed my Malach of the Dawn with the 3RR sorcery that does 13 damage to a creature but I had Benny on the ropes and down to five. Then he cast a Bogardan Hellkite and killed all three of my creatures. This after I had already killed a Serra Avenger—the guy got some bombs.
Game two he just pounded me with the Serra Avenger. I was able to kill it but then the Hellkite made another appearance. I even killed it by blocking with a flyer and casting Strength in Numbers on it but it wasn’t enough to save me.
Benny was the second person who said ours was the most enjoyable match of the day. At least I’m getting better at entertaining my opponents.
Round 5 - J.W. Dalton - BR
A two color deck! Amazing. J.W. had the full removal suite including a FOIL Damnation, which he got in all three games. I walked right into it in the first game. I was beating down with flyers and he cast Damnation at nine life, then smushed me. I took game two by holding a flyer back and forcing him into the Damnation. It was close though, he had me down to six. Every time I cast a creature he killed it with spot removal or Melancholy until I finally got enough on the board for him to cast Damnation.
Game three I got a faster start. He cast Damnation again but I bounced my Riftwatcher and sacrificed the Lion instead. Then I drew the Dustwasp to go along with the Uktabi Drake and he finally ran out of removal.
So basically a .500 finish which is about what I expected with this card pool. As it turns out, having removal that costs less than six is really handy.