I’m Back… Again
Hi everybody. I’m back in the tournament scene after taking a few weeks off due to a rock climbing accident (it’s not as cool as it sounds). This time I headed down the freeway to Erina to compete in a PPTQ. The format was sealed (4 x Eldritch Moon, 2 x Shadows over Innistrad). I was mostly using this tournament as testing for the upcoming Grand Prix which is the same format, but I thought it would be nice to qualify for the regional qualifiers again too.
There are fourteen players in total so it’s gonna be four rounds of Swiss then a cut to top eight, with a draft for the top eight. We all open our packs and register the contents and get down to deck building. I am not happy with my pool as it is really lacking in decent creatures. I work out that red and black are probably my best colours mainly because they have the best curve of creatures. it also helps that I have an abundance of removal spells in those colours. Here is what I ended up registering for the day.
Round 1: Damien, Black White
Game 1: We trade some early threats then I am able to use a flurry of removal spells to wipe his board. He untaps and plays Liliana’s Elite as a 5/5 which is way bigger than anything I can play. I think I can eventually handle it but then he plays Sorin, Grim Nemesis to kill off one of my guys and it allows him to push in for lots of damage. I can’t deal with both threats and scoop.
Game 2: We both get stuck on mana but I am able to play several two drops and also Conduit of Storms to help with my mana problems. Damien can’t hit any more lands and I quickly win it.
Game 3: This game I immediately begin to flood with mana and struggle to keep up with his creatures. Eventually I stabilise the board but Faith Unbroken on a Nearheath Chaplain takes out my only creature and punches through for lethal.
Round 2: Zac, Black Green
Game 1: I manage to curve creatures from two mana to five mana while Zac gets stuck on his third land drop. He can’t keep up and I quickly win it.
Game 2: This game is almost identical except this time he has too much mana and nothing to do with it. I play creatures on turn three to six and he can’t do anything to stop me. Bit unfortunate for him but magic is cruel sometimes.
Damien (front left) thinks of his plays
Round 3: Jess, Black Red Mythics
Game 1: I start to control the board with my creatures but a Nahiri’s Wrath discarding a Emrakul, the Promised End and a land manages to kill my two biggest creatures and puts her pretty far ahead. Luckily I have enough removal spells to wipe her board, and I draw threats while she draws lands. I take this game.
Game 2: I have a slow start as I can only seem to draw high mana spells or creatures. Jess gets a bit stuck on mana but has two flyers that are putting a lot of pressure on me. I start playing creatures to the board but I don’t find an answer to the flyers in time and die.
Game 3: We both trade our removal for creatures throughout the first five to six turns and then we both begin to flood. I think I have a chance as I have a lot of powerful cards to draw but Jess casts Abundant Maw then Emrakul, the Promised End. I am able to kill the Emrakul with my Sinister Concoction but I can’t deal with the other creature and die.
Meld in action
Round 4: Unkown Name, Black Red White
Game 1: My opponent is fairly new to the game so we play at a slower pace to make sure he doesn’t make any mistakes which I am happy to do. He has a bit of weak opening while I once again am able to curve my very few creatures and use removal to clear the way for lethal.
Game 2: He has a very aggressive start this time and manages to get me down to three life before I am able to stabilise the board. Eventually I use Vildin-pack Outcast to swing for lethal in two turns.
Lots of complicated board states in this format
Now going into this match I assumed I was out of range of top 8 with a bad record of 1-2, winning this round takes me to 2-2 and I expect to get around 10th in the standings. The judge announces the top eight and surprisingly to me I sneak in at 8th place thanks to some crazy luck on my tie breakers and a few matches that went my way. I am pretty pumped and ready to draft a sick deck.
The Top 8 Draft
I start the draft pretty well by picking a Liliana, the Last Hope and hope to be in black. However, black quickly dries up and I switch into white and green as it is clearly open. The packs go well for me and I get a nice curve of creatures but I am a bit lacking in decent removal spells. Overall I am happy with the deck I drafted. I think it’s a bit weak but it’s the best possible deck I could make with what was being passed. Here is what I ended up playing.
Quarter-Final: Damien, Black Red
Game 1: Damien has some early aggro, but I land Heron’s Grace Champion and put Wolfkin Bond on it to gain huge amounts of life. Damien has a few very large creatures that threaten to double and kill my huge lifelinker, but Sigardian Priest is able to tap them down and he can’t stop me.
Game 2: Very similar to the first game. He has some early aggro, but Sigardian Priest helps lock down his best creature each turn. I play Swift Spinner and put a Wolfkin Bond on it so that it’s the biggest creature on board. I am able to use Blessed Alliance to kill an Abundant Maw and I slowly build my board until eventually it’s big enough to swing for lethal.
Thanks to Grant for his picture
I know Damien from my local store. He and his friend Grant have recently come back to the game after a decade long break. They are taking their first steps into the competitive scene and I am super proud of how they did. Damien made top eight convincingly and Grant fell just short but showed a lot of promise. It’s great to see some more local guys catching the competitive bug.
Semi-Final: Ryan, Black White Vampires
Game 1: Ryan is on the play and plays Stromkirk Condemned on turn two followed up by discarding a Weirded Vampire on turn three and casting it for madness. I am pretty far behind and play some defensive creatures, but he has too many removals spells and I quickly die to his vampire army.
Game 2: Once again he plays Stromkirk Condemned on turn two, and this time he gets to use madness to play Twins of Maurer Estate. I have Choking Restraints for his two drop and set up a decent block to kill his other vampire, but he uses Anguished Unmaking to kill my best guy. I lose my whole board while he loses nothing. I try to recover, but he floods the board with creatures and plays Campaign of Vengeance to finish me off.
I’m finally in some pictures, thanks Grant!
It’s Over… Again
I fall short of taking out first place again, but I am happy with my results for the day. I did not expect to make it far with my initial sealed deck, and I had no chance of beating such insane draws from Ryan in the semi finals. I learnt a lot about the format in just the few hours of playing, so overall this was a pretty good day. The GP is coming up and I have two byes, so I’m hoping I can make day two and give you guys a super awesome tournament report to read.