Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Power Nine Challenge #4

Decklist in a text form
URw Delver
By STsung
2 Flooded Strand
2 Island
1 Polluted Delta
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Strip Mine
2 Tundra
3 Volcanic Island
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
3 Path to Exile
4 Gitaxian Probe
3 Mental Misstep
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Brainstorm
4 Delver of Secrets
1 Flusterstorm
1 Ponder
4 Preordain
3 Lightning Bolt
1 Stony Silence
1 Time Walk
4 Young Pyromancer
1 Monastery Mentor
1 Dack Fayden
3 Gush
4 Force of Will
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Dig Through Time

2 Containment Priest
2 Rest in Peace
1 Stony Silence
2 Pyroblast
4 Ignot Chewer
1 Mountain
1 Wear//Tear
2 Grafdifgger's Cage

I almost forgot about this month's Power Nine Challenge. For this challenge I was wondering if I do not want to play with my 4c Delver deck but decided against it due to me having a pretty bad headache (snow storm coming^_^). I opened modo and hosted a game but no one was joining so I asked Odd Seidank if he wasn't up for some test games. He chose his Suicide deck to play with and I was running URw Delver with slight changes. I added one Monastery Mentor cutting Dack Fayden and swapped Sword to Plowshares for Path to Exile. I did not want to 'plow' Marit Lage and then try racing with my 1/1 Elementals (or using STP on Reality Smasher and hoping that my 1/1s could race Thought-Knot Seers and Reality Smashers). Not only I expected a higher number of Shops decks, maybe some Eldrazi but I did not expect players to play too many basic lands if any. And well against whom the additional land would make matters worse? Since I don't play Mentors that can deal huge amounts of damage I decided to go for PTE and wondered why I haven't tried that before. Probably just because I play STP all the time unless I play White Weenie that try to win via combat damage fast thus playing 3x PTE and having some STP in the sideboard). After few experinces against Eldrazi decks and few Dredge decks I realized that the life gain for my opponent can be actually a problem.

I lost all the matches against oddseidank because I managed to seriously misplay. My first huge mistake was to play a land before casting a cantrip because I did not realize that I can still draw Strip Mine that could deal with Marit Lage or force my opponent to create Marit Lage token that I could exile then. Then I managed not to counter Death's Shadow when I really needed a Elemental token to chump two other Death's Shadows and keep Insectile Aberration and Pyromancer so it could with a bit of luck deal lethal damage in one or two swings. I could have actually won this game even though I got Mind Twist'ed for 4 after mulliganing to 5. In the last game I managed to pass when my opponent played Vampire Hexmage and I had two Force of Wills in my hand. Forcing the Hexmage wouldn't necessarily mean a win. My opponenet still had Toxic Deluge in his hand that would deal with my Pyromancer and tokens. He would have Hex Parasite and my only card in hand would be Strip Mine^_^.

After these defeats I really needed to wake up somehow because misplaying like this in the Power Nine Challenge would be pretty bad. I grabbed my orders, went to the post office, ate something, bought something so I would survive the P9C (energy drink) and went back.

Round 1
I joined the event few minutes before it started and when I wanted to wish luck to Thiim my client froze. I froze as well. I tried clicking on my match again. Nothing happened. I tried closing the client in several possible ways, still nothing. I clicked on MODO icon along with SHIFT and it started opening to my surprise. I wondered what would happen after I log in with the previous client still open. I input my password and entered the match but there I couldn't do anything either. I tried killing both clients with success this time, restarted and went back to the game. I checked my hand, clicked on keep and then watched my opponent trying to kill me t1. His Wheel of Fortune t1 did not bring any FoW so I wasn't expecting to win...

Next game I sided against Storm, kept a hand with FoW at least. I played a Probe seeing that my opponent can go off on his t1 if he draws Duress or Therapy. I drew my card, passed the turn. Meanwhile I wrote down what my opponent needs to play and tutor in order to kill me and then I just watched my opponent play those spells dealing lethal damage with Tendrils of Agony t1 (I let him do all that so people watching my stream could see it).

Round 2
The first round took a while (30 minutes) even though I practically spend no time playing... In round two I've seen my opponent use Serum Powder so I knew what I was up against. Did not really look forward to it, but if my opponent wouldn't hit Cabal Therapies or I drew a Lightning Bolt it could have been an interesting game actually (it wasn't auto-scoop t2). After I lost I sided my Cages, RIP and Priests and hoped to draw them early enough not to die to a horde of zombies. I got a perfect hand and easily won. In the third game I played Cage that my opponent tried destroying with Chewer, I countered that. Next turn I played RIP and my opponent scooped. I was glad I did not need to face any Marit Lages.

Round 3
I played against Diophan. I expected a URx Delver or some Mentor/Mancer deck because those are the decks I saw him play in the tournament practice. In our first game he played Black Lotus, fetchland, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. I tried countering that but he played Ancestral Recall that I also tried to counter so he wouldn't draw a Blast (because I did not expect him to have it in his hand). No matter what one of the 3 cards in his hand was Mental Misstep so the Blast would resolve anyway. After that I knew I was screwed. I couldn't deal with another Ancestral Recall next turn, I managed to accidentally fetch as well-_- (and not play anything, just to lose the land next turn). He followed with Dack Fayden, Delver and Treasure Cruise and I was done for. In game two we both started with Delver of Secrets which would be fine but after seeing Diophan's hand containing 2 Bolts and Pyroblast I knew I was doomed. His top deck was Dack Fayden that brought him Young Pyromancer and that was pretty much it.

Round 4
During the tournament I talked to Oddseidank about our progress in the tournament. Since we had the same record we did not really want to play against each other and well you know how it goes...Murphy's Law. We were paired against each other. Oddseidank had the same 'Replay screen' problem as me so it took him a while to join the game. In game 2 my opponent played Necropotence and Dark Depths on turn 2. I had no counterspell for that nor Path to Exile for Marit Lage. Next turn my hand got Mind Twisted and Marit Lage attacked me. Game three I kept Delver of Secrets, Force of Will, Strip Mine, Black Lotus, Wear//Tear, Gush that seemed fine to me. My opponent played bunch of rocks and Illness in the Ranks + Hex Parasite. I decided to let that resolve since I had Wear//Tear and could fuse it to destroy both. I just hoped nothing would go wrong. Delver did not flip (Mox Sapphire) and I played my Strip Mine to get rid of my opponent's Dark Depths. He played Dark Depths, Dark Ritual and removed 5 counters from Depths. I played the fused Wear//Tear. I drew another Delver of Secrets and really hoped that both would flip next turn because I had nothing to deal with another Dark Depths. Even though my opponent was in top deck mode after seeing Ravager and Diophan top deck what they needed I expected my opponent to top deck the same way. He top decked Vampire Hexmage stopping attack of my two 1/1 Delvers. Since I had a fetchland in play I had a bigger chance of flipping at least one Delver. The first card on top of my library was Young Pyromancer so I shuffled my library top decking Brainstorm. I played the Brainstorm wanting to find Path to Exile and Misstep. This time it was my turn to top deck like a god^_^. I think that I don't need to mention that my opponent did indeed top deck Dark Depths^_^. What are the odds? Anyway since my Brainstorm was so cool I managed to win the game.

Round 5
I had no idea what I faced game 1. I suspected a combo deck but the idea of my opponent playing Belcher did not come to my mind. My opponent started with a mulligan to four so I expected to win the game, but I did not expect my opponent not playing a single card.

In game two when my opponent played Mox Jet, Mox Opal and Sol Ring I was certain that my opponent is on Belcher. I played Gitaxian Probe seeing, Tolarian Academy, Grim Monolith and two Chrome Moxes so I hoped that have some time to draw either Stony Silence or Force of Will. You know what my opponent top decked on his turn? Goblin Charbelcher. After staring at my life total for a while I did not realize why the game did not end. After I finally realized that my opponent needs to put all the cards on the bottom of his library in any order for modo to show I lost I conceded. In game three I looked at my opponent's hand seeing Chrome Mox, Mox Opal, Force of Will, Preordain, Preordain and Ponder'ed in which I saw Time Walk and Wwear//Tear. So I decided to keep my opponent of colored mana and three artifacts. This plan worked so my Delver that I drew from my 'Blue Explore' managed to win the game.

Round 6
In the following round I kept Volcanic Island, Delver of Secrets, Gitaxian Probe, Mental Misstep, Force of Will, Stony Silence, Gitaxian Probe. My opponent started with Gitaxian Probe, followed by Thoughtseize that I tried to Misstep. He played his own Misstep though and discarded my poor Delver that I was putting so much hope in. Next it was my time to see what my opponent plays but I suspected Doomsday that I played few hours ago. His hand with Doomsday, Gush, Preordain and Vampiric Tutor showed me that I was right (even though it could possibly be something else). Since my opponent did not have any other land I decided to counter all his tutors instead waiting for the Doomsday while creating Elemental tokens and swinging with them (and Pyromancer). I used Flusterstorm to counter Vampiric Tutor and Force of Will to counter Demonic Tutor. The only play my opponent could do was Gush into Black Lotus or naturally draw it. He did not so I won. But I'm not at all sure if my plan was a good could have gone wrong...but I won.

I sided in Pyroblast while trying to figure out what my opponent would side in. On turn one I got my answer because my opponent played Xantid Swarm (I was wondering why my opponent plays Tropical Island and Forest, even the fact that I play Xantid Swarm in ANT sideboard did not help me figuring that out). Since my deck runs too many removal spells I still had a relative high chance to answer that but I needed it to top deck it. I did not draw it so my opponent played Black Lotus -> Doomsday -> Gush -> A. Recall -> Laboratory Maniac -> Gitaxian Probe -> GG. Game three looked way better for me. My opener consisted of Force of Will, Force of Will, Delver of Secrets, Preordain, Flusterstorm, Preordain, Volcanic Island. I tried playing Delver but it was countered, I decided to keep my FoWs for something that would kill me. My opponent started with Xantid Swarm so I Forced it. Later I tried playing Young Pyromancer but my opponent had FoW for that. I played my Flusterstorm and hoped my opponent wouldn't top deck Gush followed by Doomsday (he had FoW and Underground Sea in his hand). The only remaining card in my hand was Lightning Bolt. Next turn I attacked and my opponent played Preordain finding Gush and Doomsday but the only remaining card in his hand was Force of Will. He played the Doomsday and stacked his cards. When he played Gush I just bolted him because he went down to 2 life due to Doomsday and he conceded.

Round 7
I was pretty nervous after this game. I knew I needed to win if I wanted to be in top 16. What where my chances? Who knows. I did not like my opener with one fetchland, no counterspell and only Preordain to play. I mulled thus getting a strange hand with Delver, PTE, PTE (wasn't really had happy about those), Flooded Strand, Gush, Lightning Bolt. My opponent started with Thorn of Amethyst so I couldn't play my Ponder. It was time to play Delver - a card I would play anyway against Shops deck. My opponent played Lodestone Golem then and I was screwed if I wouldn't flip Delver. I drew Volcanic Island which I wasn't really glad about since it was a target for Wasteland. So I let my opponent deal some damage to me and play few Revokers. Delver flipped this time but my opponent had 2 Mishra's Factory, 2 Revokers and Lodestone Golem...too much for me to handle with my two lands. Anyway I blocked Golem and bolted Mishra's Factory. The only thing that could save me was Tundra or Black Lotus but the card I drew was Ponder and even though there was a third land (fetchland) I was down to 7 life and my opponent would swing for 6 next turn so the game was over. I sided all my hate but my opener did not contain any of those cards. I kept Strip Mine all fast mana in the deck, Force of Will, Preordain and Probe. I was thinking about mulliganing this because it did not lead anywhere. But the Preordain and Probe made me keep the hand. I hoped to be lucky right from the beginning so I guess it wasn't the best hand I could keep. Anyway I decided to deal with my opponents resources in order to slow him down because I really HAD nothing (and couldn't stop 2 Golems that would follow). I destroyed his Lodestone Golem, Sol Ring and Ancient Tomb. He was left with Wasteland and Mox and cards costing 4 mana in his hand. I played Delver and wished for a miracle to happen (that my opponent wouldn't draw mox/land) which was pretty naive. His following draws were Mox Sapphire and Mox Ruby so that's how my hopes for top 16 dissipated but I could only blame myself for that.

After the swiss part of the tournament I watched S4mmich's stream for a while of the top8 but I was too tired to pay attention so I went to sleep trying to figure out what the odds were of my opponents' drawing the exact cards they needed exactly when they needed them. I also wondered what my six cards could look like against the Shops deck. I used to mulligan a lot against that deck and even with four cards I could win but for some reason I kept that hand. FoW, all the mana there could be in my deck + 2 cantrips seemed fine...

I placed 22nd (because that sounds better than my record) and got my entry back which was nice. Last time I used my entry that I won back for a OGW/BFZ Sealed Deck that I won and opened cards worth 12 tix. Then I participated in one draft, opened Gideon and won few packs so I still have some draftsets that I can use for anything I like so maybe next time I will join the Legacy Challenge and I will try not to get overrun by Eldrazi^_^. Sounds good to me^_^.

Thanks for reading and see you next time (even though I streamed the whole thing I don't feel like keeping those videos public).

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