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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas EDH Tournament

note: this is more of a emotional post rather than a tournament report.

After a long while I decided to give an EDH tournament a try. Since cards that I need for my Mimeoplasm deck are being banned (Entomb, Mystical Tutor etc) I decided to finally play with a card I found really cool since day one I saw it - Tasigur. Since it is not banned (yet) there was nothing that could stop me from trying it.

When I played at some tournaments when Tasigur was new many people had this card as their general. To me the card seemed overpowered on its own and with BUG rock shell this deck seemed to be the number one choice. But I did not play that because last time I tried doing something like that (twice actually) the respective generals got banned (Oloro and Derevi). So I sticked with my reanimation combo. This time I really wanted something special, not to win but to have fun and play what I want. This also meant that I would need to play against players I don't usually play against. But since the last tournament was quite big I felt that there is a high chance that I would play against such players.

Few days ago I spent some time figuring out how the deck should look like and I wasn't really sure about some cards. In order to see how it works I created the deck on modo. Deckbuilding on modo is not the same as IRL because I don't really own all the cards I would want. So I just put all those I have there, bought the really necessary ones (Life from the Loam) and the rest I just replaced with cards I have. That is how it ended up looking like this containing cards like Complicate, Glen Elendra Archmage, Scatter to the Winds, Scavenging Ooze or Forbid. Some of the cards actually proved to be good but some turned to be 'cards to be cut'.

When putting the cards in my deck I also found out that Upheaval is obviously banned in multiplayer version. Well, the card is very strong and certainly not fun in multiplayer.

When my deck stopped showing the exclamation mark I tried to join few games or host a Commander game. Usually it went like this...my opponent played about two spells that one of them usually got counterspelled and then my opponent conceded. I wrote 'competitive or french' in the comments field and tried again but the following games were all the same. All I wanted was to try what this deck does, but obviously my opponents knew better.

Then a friend of mine played few games against me. He's playing elves (Ezuri). I finally got the chance to finish a match and I'm very grateful for that. After the match I knew that I should be wary about my green sources and probably cut some of them since the deck is more of a UB control deck rather than BUG. Also I knew that no matter what the starting life total is it is about 6 swings with Tasigur. The sixth one being the most difficult one usually.

On Friday/Saturday night I started looking for the cards in their physical form because the upcoming tournament was a real life one. It took me over 3 hours of searching boxes full of cards and binders (my arms ached the day after ... the cards are HEAVY!). But still some cards were missing, I couldn't find them even though I knew I should have them somewhere. I always forget about some secret stash or some completely obvious source of cards I want (usually a deck I forgot that I keep sleeved up for someone else etc.) This time I had hard time finding lands and some other cards (Venser for example). Only after three hours of looking for the cards a revelation came to me...I have Holiday Cube and Legacy Cube in a paper version. Since I only own two copies of Venser that are mine it was quite logical that those two copies would be in the Cubes. And well obvisouly the lands I was looking for were there as well..actually majority of the cards I needed were there (but it is better to keep the cube whole). That's also were I found Upheaval and was realy glad for it. Because I was pretty tired and already past my 'get to sleep' time. I facepalmed myself because once again I forgot about Legacy Cube and once again I told myself that I should just take it apart because I'm not really willing to draft it after my experience on modo. Holiday Cube is just better.

In the middle of the night I went to sleep hoping to get up in few hours time.

I woke up because my flatmate got up and started building his deck from my cube. I came to the kitchen wanting to eat something but I changed my mind and went back to my bed. I fell asleep and woke up about an hour and half later - past the time I was supposed to get up in order to get to the tournament on time. I was a bit confused because I set up alarm clock on my iphone (two actually). But it did not wake me up. Then I realized why. The sound was turned off. The Android phones I had earlier even with sound turned off just turned the sound on for the alarm clock so I did not expect my iphone to act differently. Well, I panicked a bit because I spent ages with Tasigur that night and really wanted to participate. I told the organizer that we would be late and we both hurried to catch the following subway train. (I guess I could just be glad that I woke up only 25 minutes late and not an hour or more later because after those long three hours I took to put the deck together I really wanted to participate and make the tournament worthwhile. When I found out that the entry fee is 200CZK - a lot - I really wanted to get my money back - thus get a good record and win some credit since I already payed for the tournament^_^)

We arrived more or less on time. The players I really did not want to play against were not present which was pretty cool for me. I ordered some coffee and hoped to really wake up finally so I could play. I hoped to play against something less control and not blue if possible. And I guess for that particular reason I was paired against Azami player.

Round 1 (Azami)
I looked at Azami and grinned. My opponent looked at Tasigur and grinned as well. I knew that this round would not be short and that I would really need to wake up in order to win. The first game was taking ages. I did not really have much to do because all I had were lands and I was facing Vedalken Shackles and later my own Tasigur. But I hoped that discarding all the cards my opponent had in his hand would help me win. But I needed to draw something as well (notably something that would get rid me of the Shackles, then I could win with Tasigur or Creeping Tar Pit). So I managed to search for Raven's Crime and Life from the Loam. My opponent was in top deck mode but I still had nothing. And then...two Wizards were on the table and two cards in his hand. I knew that this would be the moment to click 'Concede' on modo but I decided to wait for a while if by a chance my opponent wouldn't screw up. I felt the defeat and it came hard. It seemed that at this tournament I actually wanted to win. After a series of really unlucky drafts I deserved some luck finally. It was time for me to win something. I decided to give my opponent two turns and then concede so we could finish two more games. In the second turn a miracle for me happened, he tapped out. He realized that this was not a good idea and that showed that he probably does not have Foirce of Will in his hand but it was already too late to take all his plays back. One of the cards in my hand was Upheaval waiting exactly for this moment even though I did not expect the moment to happen because I practiacally couldn't win the game. So after this happened I played it, payed for a counterspell and then finally replayed Tasigur for 8. My opponent conceded then.

After this game my brain woke up and tried to win the following games. My draw was good and certainly better than my opponents who got stuck on 2 lands for a while. His only threat being Voidmage Prodigy. But nothing could stop my 4/5 then. Even one missed land drop was what I needed in order to win.

Round 2 (Geist)
We exchanged very anxious looks with my opponent. But after seeing that the Geist player seriously thought that he can't win I started to suspect that this matchup should go well for me. I guess 4/5 can block a 2/2 all day. I kept a really bad hand though. I had Underground Sea and Wasteland as my only lands. The only spell I could play was Dark Confidant and the rest I could very hardly play. I knew that if my Confidant gets counterspelled I'm screwed. I managed to get rid of Geist the first time. I played my Confidant but the card was sent to oblivion. I tried my best to survive Geist enchanted with Steel of the Godhead and I was one turn from turning the tides but unfortunately for me my opponent top decked Acqueous Form and killed me with it. That was the second time I really wished I put Nature's Claim in my deck. After looking back at the game, if I would have won the die roll and the game would go exactly as it went I would have won the game. So my terrible 5 cards opener wasn't that bad after all? Or was it just Tasigur being that good?

Game 2 my draw was ok nothing good, but not bad either. I won this game even though it was rather close. In game 3 my opponent got stuck on three lands and couldn't produce a second white source he needed (I helped wreck his mana base since I had Life from the Loam and Wasteland) but at that time I did not know that a single plains he would have drawn could easily mean a game over for me. After he conceded he showed me his grip. Before he showed me his hand I was glad that I won but after I actually saw his hand I felt lucky that I got that Wasteland and felt a bit bad in the end about it.

Round 3 (Vendilion Clique)
Another blue deck that can even turn its general into Emrakul. That wasn't something I wanted to happen so I also grinned at this general. My opponent is a person who does not really show much emotion nor cares what others play. But this time he looked at the general and said 'this is what I would be playing if I would have money for it' (he actually said that after the match). What I wanted from my hand was a counterspell and instant removal for when Polymoprh would happen (and some lands so I could play it). At that time I did not really realize that Clique would easily get rid of that. Anyway I managed to counter the Clique few times so I was safe for a while and could try to threaten my opponent with something and that is how Jace, Vryn's Prodigy happened equipped with Sword of Feast and Famine.

When it was Tasigur's time the cards in my graveyard were quite epic. The worst card among those was Force of Will. We both knew that and I could count with FoW being returned to me each time. 'Still had all DEEZ'

In the following game I managed to get my opponent in top deck mode but then I was unable to find an answer to his Ancestral Vision. Even though mine resolved a turn earlier the cards I drew were 3 lands and Mana Leak. Mana Leak did not seem to do much but I hoped that this card would still be relevant. After my opponent drew 3 additional cards, he played Dig Through Time, Serum Vision and Ponder. After this I wasn't sure if I could win even though I had all I needed - removal spell and one conditional counterspell. But my opponent had to kill me on that turn because he was down to 2 life and I had Tasigur and Creeping Tar Pit in play. He played Proteus Staff then, animated his Faerie Conclave. I played Go for the Throat that I was saving for this moment (while almost letting Vendilion Clique kill me). He played a counterspell on my Go for the Throat but that cost him all the remaining mana sources. So I lay down Mana Leak. He checked the situation and with 'That means I'm dead' scooped.

I couldn't believe what happened (my opponent also couldn't because he thought he could not lose this game). So I was anxiously awaiting the next round expecting my first loss and that is probably why it actually came...I was pretty nervous because during the last game I made a colossal mistake. I was also incapable of concentrating on the actual game and hoped that my opponent would not play my own Clique on me since that would mean almost certain game over for me (he didn't). After I won the game I was even more nervous because I did not really deserve to win that game but it happened. I tried to pu myself together but I did not manage it till the next round started.

Round 4 Keranos
This time my opponent showed a lot of hate towards Tasigur right away but he ended up with saying that he's glad he did not play against all the Tasigurs that were present there at the tourney. I mulled to five and wondered if I can do something with a deck full of counterspells and a general I can't actually deal with. So I tried to be aggressive and kill my opponent before Keranos happens. Unfortunately the lands I had in my opener were pretty bad. Rather ...they could fetch for a dual land just fine but against a deck running Blood Moon effects and Ruination this wasn't good. Both of the fetches could only fetch for a forest. Blood Moon did not happen but I lost the game anyway (why everyone just steals my general? Yeha, because it is the best way to deal with a general...). In the second game my opponent was quite screwed but at least he had an Island in play. I on the other hand started with a mulligan into those two damn green fetchlands once again. I managed to play Tasigur before Blood Moon happened. But well I knew that 6 turns is a lot and all my opponent needed was an Island to deal with my Tasigur. He drew it unlike me (to be honest it was pretty likely he would draw it unlike in my case). I managed to draw a Swamp and tried to kill Venser that was slowly killing me but all my attemps ended in vain and I lost the second game as well.

After this I tried to finally calm down and focus on the following round I needed to win. I really hoped for something not playing blue and my wish came true - I played against Ezuri player.

Round 5 Ezuri
During the whole tournament I was the one playing second and in this case I wasn't really glad about it. My opponent though started with a Forest and passed. That was good for me. He then played Titania that I counterspelled. He tried to play few more elves but I played Tasigur and tutored Toxic Deluge in the meantime. After my opponent had finally enough mana via his elves he played all he could. Then faced the harsh reality - elves die to global removal - and conceded the game.

I'm not sure if he was tired or what but he managed to mess up a lot in both games but still even if he did what he could I would have won the match since my draws were actually pretty good and always contained a global removal (I run three which is not much, but there is so much disruption that I have time to look for it). The second game was similar to the first one. He couldn't do much. I had to do some pretty strange plays in order to save my planeswalkers and have enough resources to deal with possible Behemoth or Overrun but it was pretty easy to win.

Zurgo Bellstriker
Ever wondered if Zurgo could be vialbe for competitive play? Well maybe yes but most probably not in a field full of Tasigurs. 30 life is most probably a lot for a deck that tries to win via direct damage. If there is not enough cards an opponent cannot deal with it just can't win I guess. But those games were really fun. My opponent played Mana Barbs but the damage I could take was actually quite big and my general usually costs 1 black mana + cards in my graveyard. That's 1 damage compared to way more damage my opponent had to take to deal with Tasigur or with my life total (middle column). In this game I dealt about 8 damage to my opponent the rest damage he took was from his own Mana Barbs^_^. A turn 3 Tasigur was way too much for this deck to handle since it can hardly kill Tasigur with a single card and Deathrite Shaman seemed to be a serious problem as well (third column). Even though the games ended with the lowest life total for me that day Zurgo had hard time dealing the last 10 damage in all those games. A pity for those really liking aggressive decks and burn^_^.

After these games the tournament was over and players were slowly leaving for their homes. I was afraid to look at the standings but when I did I was surprised. There was no one winning all the rounds so I ended up with two more people having one loss. We received 1100CZK of store credit which is nice.

I decided to stay in the LGS so I could play Holiday Cube but then something else happened. Another Magic player came to the store (and saved me thus those 10 tix^^). He brought type 2 cards to sell to the LGS. He had some free time so he started to chat with us. About Magic in general, about the aspect of fun, tier 1 decks and playing Magic competitively (and the cost of it). He then wanted to go home but the earliest bus was leaving at 11 pm. We went to eat to one of the Chinese restaurants at Florenc and continued in our chat. Even though this time we talked about life and society it was very nice and my mood did not change to the pretty sour one when I start to talk about these matters with some other people. My mood usually changes fast because those people don't usually understand me and can't imagine my point of view. This person on the other hand went through quite a lot and he knows how to accept the reality and try to stay sane in it. This is something I lack but it was inspiring to hear (actually both inspiring and depressing). What he described is exactly what I need in my life but I never managed to grasp it or accept it. But he is the very first person to actually describe it with words and reason and he is right. He also looks positively on this era and seems what good it brings without being the slave of it. And if he is he accepts that but won't let that change him to be a mindless automaton.

It also seems that his fiancé is also one of the people with sense that eludes many in this society. I'd love to meet her one day.

During the evening I also got the chance to hear a story about me. A story from his point of view when we played against each other in a tournament for the first time. I was one of the unfortunate people not being able to play white at the Theros prerelease and that is the reason my record was bad. I ended up playing against someone (him) with similar record (not a good one). I won easily but I knew that this person is no silly player. I rebuild his deck and told him to play with that because I knew he could do way better than he did up till now. Then I just continued in the tournament with my crappy deck and an absense of the white prerelease promo. This tournament is one of the ones I'd rather erase from my memory but after hearing his story from his point of view I have something else to remember. How a guy feels when someone looking like a 15 year old girl beats him, rebuilds his deck and tells him to play cards one would not consider good? I can hardly imagine that but it reminds me of the differences and prejudices there are between male and female players and well all the problems I encounter in general not just in Magic. Most problems stems from the way I look but there are many that stem from the fact that I do not really behave like a girl and do not consider myself to be one. Stories like this remind me though that people still see a girl in me and treat me that way. Some may forget about that later but the vast majority does not. I'm different and it is up to you to see that. I digress now (the whole post is one big diggression) but this day was very important to me and will always be till I die. I experienced too many emotional shocks that day. From feeling lucky, feeling utterly defeated, hearing someone say that I actually play good (if I feel alright) to this kind of a story. It all leads to one thing. People see me differently. Many just don't see me who I am or the reasons behind my actions. I should see this myself and try to help others see who I really am or at least not make it more difficult for them since majority won't ever see who I am. This might be sad but that is how the society and many people are.

If you managed to read this far I thank you for reading this. It was important for me to write since there is not so many people I can talk to and I really want this day to be written in my own imaginary 'history book'.