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Posted: Jun 14 2012, 02:54 AM
Former Club Treasurer, Current Limited Fanatic
Member No.: 3
Joined: 6-August 08
This won't be as much of a detailed tournament report as it will be a note on my thoughts about standard right now framed as a discussion of how a PTQ went for me.
This past week, Phil Yam harassed me a bit online about whether I wanted to PTQ this past weekend. I wasn't entirely sold on the idea (because my sleep schedule lately has not been compatible with PTQ times) and because I'd have to borrow 75 cards from some source. But there were some things motivating me to get it done:
- I hadn't seen a lot of my friends in a long time
- There was apparently a decent Ux aggro control deck in the format
- PTQ was on Sunday following a WMCQ or whatever... meaning it should draw quite a few friends to it.
So early in the week I went out and borrowed a box of cards from Ralph Colby, which he said contained "most of a 'Delver deck.'" I did nothing else until Saturday, when at about 11pm Phil Yam GChatted me about the PTQ again. I insisted that I didn't have a deck, a list, or an understanding of the metagame, and that I was enjoying Diablo (I was about to cap my first character and wanted to get that done and finish Act III on Hell). Phil pressed harder, giving me a list Luis had used to "win" the WCMQ that day and saying he could spot me the Caverns of Souls that I'd need, and I broke, saying that I'd likely just stay up all night and then BART into Oakland to meet him at the site in the morning (deserved props also to my girlfriend, whom, when I told her I was thinking of not attending, came back with "why the hell would you not go play a game you like? Do it."). So it was settled. I would show up blind without a finished deck on 0 hours of sleep to play in a tournament in a format I had not so much as considered since Worlds in Novermber last year.
I arrived early and was able to barn all of the cards I needed (thanks for Frank Romero for a SoWaP; Mike (one of Ricky and Shahar's buddies) for a Seachrome Coast, 2 Hero of Bladeholds, and a SoWaP... and for lending cards to someone he completely didn't know just on faith that I wasn't going to be shady, and to CFB for having $90 in credit for me that I'd forgotten about so I could buy 2 Phantasmal Images and a Hero of Bladehold). So I sleeved up the 75, wrote my decklist down, and started shuffling to draw some practice hands. And they called for the player meeting -- I was going to go into this 100% cold. Awesome.
4 Seachrome Coast
2 Moorland Haunt
3 Cavern of Souls
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Geist of St. Traft
4 Restoration Angel
4 Vapor Snag
4 Mana Leak
3 Gitaxian Probe
2 Thought Scour
2 Gut Shot
2 Sword of War and Peace
3 Hero of Bladehold
2 Phantasmal Image
1 Mental Misstep
3 Celestial Purge
2 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
1 Divine Offering
Round 1 - Eric Freytag - BG Graveyard Stuff
I win the roll, Eric mulligans, and I Gut Shot his Birds. Unfortunately, this seems to be what he wants, as he Mulches (I didn't Mana Leak) and fills his bin with stuff and casts a Ghoultree. I didn't know that card existed. I read it. Oh, ok. Vapor Snag your Ghoul Tree. Game 2 is actually worse because I Mental Misstep his Birds of Paradise and he misses on his 3rd land drop. I make about 5 misplays as Ricky Sidher who is sitting at the table next to me watches (and remembers to remind me that I played like a complete donk later), but the game was about as close to unloseable as it could be -- I Gitaxian Probe'd him on Turn 1 on the draw to see a hand of Forest, Kessig Cagebreakers, 2 Ghoultree, Phyrexian Metamorph. That hand just goes nowhere and I had 2 Vapor Snag and a Snapcaster Mage.
Round 2 - David Myers - RG Ramp
David handily crushes me in 2 games, but his deck was heavily metagamed to hate what I was piloting, it felt. He played well and I Pondered poorly, shuffling on 4 Ponders and drawing blanks on all, but I'm not using that as an excuse. There just was nothing I could have done about that match. David made Top 8 and played well as far as I could tell. I think the ramp deck is a bit fragile for its own good, but that's how I've always felt about it. It has to play a bunch of cards that are very bad news for Delver or RG Aggro, but as a result ends up with slots that are softer against decks that are slightly less of the format (MGA, for instance).
Round 3 - Mary Jacobson - Tempered Steel
Mary and I had talked briefly at the player meeting when I commented to JJ Janeseiwicz or however you spell it that I felt weird being at an alphabetical player meeting and not having Matthias Hunt to talk to. Mary lamented having to sit across from Michael Jacobs at many meetings. But I didn't really know what to expect of her deck choice. I win the roll and choose to play, but drop game 1 to little artifact men beating my face in. To be fair, I made a critical error on turn 2 and attacked with an unflipped Delver that should have traded with a Memnite. I took 2 extra points of damage here and ended up being on 0 outs on turn 9 rather than having live draws left. Game 2 was very uneventful -- Mary mulliganed and got stuck on 1 land when I killed her creature that would have turned on Mox Opal. Game 3 was one of the more interesting games I played all day, but sadly I forget the details -- this tournament report is great, isn't it?
Round 4 - Jeph Foster - MGA
I lose the roll. Jeph plays Forest, Birds. Forest, Sword of War and Peace, Forest, Strangleroot Geist/equip. I die very quickly. I assess the matchup as RG aggro on a slightly skewed draw due to my unfamiliarity with the format. As it turns out he's on Dungrove MGA. This is a HUGE problem, because I boarded out 2 Mana Leaks vs. RG Aggro. I die in game 2 to a pair of Dungrove Elders and a 6-mana sorcery that makes one guy huge and gives it lure. As terrible as all of these cards sound, I think this deck is actually real on the back of Strangleroot Geist (which I had to read... cool card).
I stay in because I am live for prize and am having fun and learning a lot.
Round 5 -Kevin O-Mara - UBR Zombiepod?
Kevin's deck choice is sort of suspect, and I'm lucky he doesn't have any 4-drop that he can Pod into that is good for 3 damage or I'd have lost game 1. Game 2 is less of a game once I know what's up, but his deck still seems capable of causing some amount of hurt... just not enough for me to believe it's real. It's certainly less real than the actual Pod deck, which seems ok and hilariously fun, but not something I'd play in a large event.
Round 6 - Eric Pei - Delver
Hey! There's the mirror! I LOVE the aggro control mirror! Even if I've never piloted the deck or tested the mirror, I was pretty jazzed about this one. I win the roll and Eric draws 4 Restoration Angel in game 1. I had run out a naked Snapcaster Mage on Turn 2 and Geist on turn 3, and he really didn't have anything to say about it. He did Geist my Geist... but the 2nd Geist got him. That and all of his Angels. Game 2 I remember less of, but it was a bit more back and forth, but I was able to steal the initiative from him on the back of a free spell (Misstep, I think) and ride a Geist to victory again.
Round 7 Evan Ernstson - RG Ramp
And there's me playing a repeated match-up. It wasn't to be 8 decks in 8 rounds. Evan's deck shits itself and doesn't draw sweepers, while my Ponders suck a lot less this time around. This is sadly as much of a round as my first RG ramp match was, but in the opposite way.
Round 8 - Chris Thiem - Delver/UW Control
We arrange a 70/30 split for the hell of it (even though I'm pretty sure I'm favored, I agree and even proposed the split... I don't really care about the prizes anyway). Chris gets dismantled by me in 2 games where my lines were just strictly better than his, even though his draws seemed ok. I don't even remember the games, but they weren't remotely close. In game 2 he had Day of Judgment, Feeling of Dread, and Entreat the Angels... and none of it mattered at all... but I also had Probed and knew what was going on.
I end up in 22nd and win 10 booster packs -- yay! But the true victory was catching up with a buddy of mine who had bought my Ancestral Recall and needed to pay me and also managing to sell a set of SP Bobs to a dealer for $130.
So yeah... Magic's still a pretty fun game. I might PTQ again at the end of the month in Sacramento, but I may be busy that day. I'd gladly pilot this Delver list again, though... the deck is pretty sweet and affords a lot of play. Even when my deck did nothing and died I felt like I could have made different decisions, and the mirror seems really rewarding to play. The deck is just powerful enough as aggro control to be fun but not too strong, and it seems to reward solid decisionmaking, which seems like a great thing for standard to have.