Monday, September 28, 2009

Zendikar - prerelease

My first (positive) experience with Zendikar was a draft. I managed to draft some interesting Naya aggro. I got Timbermaw Larvas, white ascension and some red insect with first strike (I thought that those would be my killers in the draft). I got then Grazing Gladehearts (as I thought gaining life might be what I will need!). After that I saw that getting some extra lands in play would help me a lot so I got my hands on Harrow and Khalni Heart Expeditions. This would help me get some lives and deal some serious damage. Meanwhile I got Zektar Expedition, some red wall (0/4 that can boost itself), 4 damage preventing spells (tanglesap and shieldmate's blessing). I was hoping to get some creatures but there was nothing useful in my colors so I picked Savage Silhouettes and Adventuring Gear. I have to say that when I played with this I was surprised what it can do and how much damage it can deal o_O even though I knew that 7 creatures was a GREAT risk.

Sealed deck seemed pretty bad after I got the cards from the deck swap. I went through the cards and wasn't really happy about it. No playable rares except Day of Judgement. I put the playable Cs and Us aside and counted them. Later I checked which colors I could drop and what creatures/spells are better. I ended up with an Esper deck. Black was sure. Green and red seemed aspiring but blue and white had tricks and some not so bad creatures.

It was mainly based on intimidation and flying with landfall. I got Windrider Eels and vampires to deal damage. I also got 3/3 Angel and 2/5 flyer but those did not usually come to my hand. Merfolk Seastalker was a must, Aether Figment was dealing quite some damage too. For gaining life I got a white land giving me 2 life, Narrow Escapes and Vampire's Bite (this card was working wonders^^). Got few bouncing spells too which I mainly used on my permanents and Day of Judgement.

My first round was a win. I got 2:0 and was finished quite soon so I went to check out the others. Someone told me that he was killed by the white angel ascension twice fast so I started to be afraid of playing against that person (as he also got 2:0). Others got 2:1 wins.

In the second round I got to play against him. I won the first game because he got a really bad draw. In the second game I was trying to survive till some bird producing angel ended up on the table. Later Ascension showed up too and I managed to survive for a long time. I was waiting for ONE single card. Day of Judgement would help me and my opponent knew that so he was saving up creatures on his hand for that. Anyway he won as I did not draw anything helpful.

The third round was the most random and most chaotic game I ever experienced. I'm capable of having a mess on the table but it never gets to that point where I have lands and creatures together and not knowing what certain cards do. I won the game so it was fine after all...

Fourth round was a complete failure. My opponent was shuffling my deck and actually managed to force me to take mulligans up to 1 plains, 1 swamp and two cards (one of them was playable). Too bad for me as the next 7 cards were blue + 2 plains. He took quite some time to kill me though. In a second match it ended up the same. I had nothing I could play even though my hand was good (mana screw *sniff*). I haven't seen much from his deck and my opponent has seem completely nothing from my deck except plains and a swamp. He did not even know that I play blue^^ (I showed him my hand after the game was over).

In a fifth round I hoped for a win once again. I got to play against RG. My opponent seemed to be pretty distracted and was tapping and retapping his lands which annoyed me the most. I was thinking about calling a judge but tried to survive that. All his cards were scattered all over the table and it was hard to see what card is what (in terms of types). I got distracted pretty badly by this and lost one game because of that. Also I started with 4 cards, this did not help that. Anyway I was ready to win this match as my opponent showed me all his tricks in game 1 and I knew my deck could handle that. Too bad that I started game 2 with few mulligans AGAIN. My vampires and flyers made it in the game though and stayed there for some time. Not sure why my opponent hated a vampire that made him lose life for each creature coming under his control. I think there were other cards making much bigger difference. After a pretty long fight I won both games (game 3 started with 2 mulligans as well...OMG) making silly mistakes on the way as I gave my opponent 5 rounds for free...-_-

Interesting play was against my last opponent. A win would mean top 8 for sure. He got a really nice bant deck^_^. With drawing cards, fair attack (those big trample beasts, angel producing birds, tapping merfolk and such) and tricks. I was already in a really bad state and couldn't concentrate at all. I lost the first game, not really being able to do much with it. I won the second even though I made like 5 really bad plays.
The third game was a failure. It even went to me playing a wrong land. (I got a swamp and island on my hand and I knew that I need 3 islands in play. There were two in play and one my hand). I have no idea what I thought but I played the swamp card. Why not...this way I could tap only 2 creatures, just cool. Not to mention silly attacks I made and some really bad plays. The game was in more or less stall. But I just couldn't go on and gave up, after such a bad play I did not deserve a win. Anyway I could have won the game. All I needed was kill the tapping merfolk and attack twice. The first two cards I would draw were black removal.^_^.
No matter what I enjoyed the game and played against my opponent once more. A really interesting game too. It was funny looking at my opponent when I started bouncing back my creatures^^. It was just then when he realized that my comment about Day of Judgement saving me was actually a valid threat for him. There were three turns in the game and the last one killed me (one round before I would kill my opponent). It was fun game.

Chandra Ablaze?

After I returned home from drafts/sealed deck of Zendikar I decided to paint on some card. I wasn't really sure what that card should be. I was thinking about Sorin Markov but after looking at the picture more closely I realized that I don't feel like mixing shades of grayish brown.

Then I remembered Squop say "Why don't you use Chandra as your bookmark?" (I'm reading now Purifying Fire by Laura Resnick. That's a book from the Planeswalker series and is centered on Chandra Nalaar.)

I decided to take the challenge as my last Chandra ended up more or less green. I wanted this one to look more fiery (yellow/white and orange).

And well here's the result. I actually like the way she turned out!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Unexpected Adventure

Today I decided to take part in Extended tournament (I knew about 15-20 people would come). For that I needed to get up and catch the bus at 11:16.

During the night my cats decided that they need attention. Damian started meowing and couldn't stop. Amanda jumped on me and wanted to be caressed for like half an hour. I finally fell asleep and hoped for at least 6 hours of sleep. Somewhere in the middle of a dream I heard a loud 'thud' and then hundreds of not so audible thuds. This slowly woke me up as I later realized that those sounds are caused by falling cards. I did not hear any tearing or scratching sounds so I decided to continue sleeping. I fell asleep soon after but was once again woken by the very same sound. I started to wonder from where the cards fell as well...the loud 'thud' meant that it was a box full of cards falling off somewhere. Anyway I ignored it and fell asleep once again hoping to finally sleep till morning. 4 hours later Damian decided to start meowing so loud that it would wake up even a treefolk.

I got up and gave up on sleeping. I came to the mess which was previously 'cards sorted by format legality and color' and put it back in the boxes. Then I started wondering about what should my sideboard for the upcoming tournament contain.

For sure I wanted Ancient Grudge, Everlasting torment or Sulfuric Vortex (I don't have this one so I took the Torment as replacement) and Volcanic Fallouts. Then it started...I came across Choke so I started wondering how many blue controls I would encounter. I discarded the idea later though. I was also thinking about safe passages/fogs but I should do well without them. Path to Exile came to mind too (as I played only two up to that point). Later I decided to put Oblivion Rings in my sideboard (it didn't save me later though).

At 11am "I set off on my journey". Normally I catch the bus without problem. My speed was steady and fast and I was sure to make it there 3 minutes before the bus would leave. 4 minutes before the buses departure time I saw it in the distance standing at the bus stop. So I sprinted to the bus station. At the crossroad though a police car was standing and waiting for who-knows-what. So I stopped and waited for green light to light up. When it did I sprinted across the street not caring about the policemen looking at me in shock. I managed to get to the bus and the door. But the bus driver just drove away. I got really p*ssed off and wondered how to get to Prague (when the next more or less direct bus would already mean failure to get there on time). I called Squop hoping to tell him this "news" but he couldn't answer my phone call as his speaker went dead.

After that even more angry I went to the main bus station to check the Prague's ("Integrated") transport. I checked the line 380 and found out that on Sunday's the bus leaves at 12:43 which is too late for me. Then with a bit of hope I checked line 384 (last time I wanted to get to Beroun with this bus the driver told me that's too far and left me in Prague). I found out that it should be on its way in 4 minutes. I waited for 4 minutes. Bus nowhere to be seen.

I started reading Shadowmoor book and finished a story about a really annoying white kithkin hero. Few minutes later the bus showed up! I did not believe my eyes I sprinted once AGAIN to it and this time I got on it. I psychically prepared for a LOOOONG sightseeing ride to Prague.

Now imagine a narrow sinuous road going uphill and downhill and a large bus. Hopefully the bus has a priority on the road, otherwise I can't imagine how long it would take us to get to Prague.

I continued reading the Shadowmoor stories. The second story was about 5 kithkin brothers. One called Wander wandered in the forest and was lured to a swamp by a clique of faeries. He died by eating a poisonous mushroom then. His brother Might tried to find him and died after a fight with boggarts. 3rd brother Kind died because he was too kind healing a merrow. The merrow not healed fully died too on its way home. Clever died when he wanted to outwit a treefolk. The last one called Hero died by accident (a sleepwalking giant stomped on him). The moral of the story is "That kithkins should never leave on their own alone".
I have to say that after reading all the books and stories about "white" creatures winning all the battles and being heroes and whatever I enjoyed reading this story (already trying to survive Rafiq and Elspeth was too much for me...these Kithkins were even worse...o_O Even Jodah was quite ok heh). When I finished reading the story I realized that we are in Prague.

We (me and Squop)went to Andel by subway and on one of the stations three "suspiciously" looking boys entered the train as well. One of them was clutching a deck list in his hand. This was quite suspicious. At that time I got Birds of Paradise from Squop (going to alter that one^^) and I wondered what the boys' reaction would be.

At Andel we parted out ways as the boys went directly to the game store and I went to buy something first. We caught a tram though so we caught up with the boys.

It was pretty crowded in the game store. 19 players registered for Extended and I have no idea how many registered for All Common Series tournament. Both me and Squop entered the tournament.

I have no idea how DCI Reporter does the pairings but you know what? Me and Squop ended up playing against each other in the first round. The first game was sad and the second one even more as I sided Ancient Grudges and Oblivion Rings to deal with Squop's Esper deck (artefacts).

I went to see what other decks I might encounter. There was one Esper Deck with Time Seive, two affinity decks, two elf decks, RG, GW, lifelink deck, faeries, burn, slivers etc. The player playing the burn deck did not really want to play against me.

In the second round I played against the above mentioned player. I won^_~. In a third round I got to play against elves. I wasn't happy about it much. First game was a serious mana screw. Even though I had two duals on my side I couldn't play much except Path to Exile, Lightning Helix and Lightning bolt. I killed few elves and then quickly died. In the other two games I was keeping up with the elves until too many lords showed up on the table.

Fourth round was funny^^. I played against poisonous slivers. It was W/U/G deck with Virulents, Sinews, Sidewinders, Shifting slivers etc. I won the first game fast. In the second my opponent sided quite a lot of cards. I got my creatures on the table and started to attack and was quite happy about it and was ready to tap all nasty creatures who would want to poison me. My opponent showed me Isochron Scepter with some white fog imprinted on it. I was like WTF???? o_O. I did not side any grudges or oblivion rings but I realized then that Ajani Vengeant can take of that Isochron Scepter quite fine^^.

Last round was a tough one. Elves once again...those pointed ears and horned creatures that even fallout can't kill usually. I don't have any Wrath of Gods so I just hoped my burn spells would deal with them. In the first game I was trying my best to keep up and not to get killed by a swarm of elves. I managed to win after a really long fight. The second game started in a similar way. Soon both of us were in top deck mode. Not funny. My opponent had Treetop Village, Mutavault, Llanowar Elves, Pendelhaven and Sentinel in play. I had Treetop Village^^. Got Pridemage and Whooly Thoctar in play. That one was sent to Oblivion though. I was trying my best to get rid of the lands though. Pridemage blocked mutavault but I realized (too late) that damages don't go on stack anymore. After some time swearing I sacrificed Pridemage and got rid of the Ring. Then I got rid of mutavault and treetop village.
End of round was announced. I top decked Oblivion Ring to get rid of the last standing elf, got Wild Nacatl in play and Ajani followed. In turn 5 I won the game.

Final results 4:1 and second place. And you know what I got? In ONE Alara Reborn booster I got Maelstrom's Pulse! Buhehe.

After the tournament we played some games for fun. We played a two headed giant. My naya deck + B/U discard against Time Seive deck + Quillspike Combo. In the second game we played our opponent was at 3 life. We were trying to found out if we can win in that round. We let our opponents play (I could have killed them in that round). Few rounds later when I our opponent when to life 2 we again started to think about a way to kill them (our opponent thinking they had 3 life). Duress was what we thought that would solve the problem (as Megrim was in play). Well, our opponent thinking having 3 life continued. The player playing next to me realized that he actually has a second megrim in his hand. Both of us would merit a strong FACEPALM.

Later we played one on one. David had 2 quillspikes and 2 nantuko husks in play. I had loads of saprolings and other creatures. In his hand David had 3 Rites of Consumptions and he was like 'after we finish the game I will tell you something about one card I would not play in the deck'. I realized that he most probably has Rites of Consumption so I got rid of the nantuko husks. BTW my opponent could have killed me long time ago. He then realized what the card is for and killed me with quilspike^^.

Also what happened to me today and was quite unlucky...
I played Slivers against a mill deck. My opponent played Tome Scour. First card - sliver. The following four cards were lands. After that he played Mind Funeral. I had to mill over half of my library till I revealed 4 lands o_O (anyway I won as I top decked second Virulent sliver, hehe but it was close).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Grand Prix Prague

This weekend many Magic: The Gathering players came to Prague to take part in a Grand Prix tournament in this game. This tournament is open to everyone. So anyone can come and play (if that person has a valid DCI number).

I decided to enter the main tournament myself mainly because I'm fed up with Alara block and it would be nice to play m10 once again. I also hoped that I would get some good cards but as usual it didn't work out THAT well.

On Friday I went to register for the tournament. When I arrived there weren't so many people. Few minutes later though many people came to stand in the line. After some time waiting someone announced that those who can pay in crowns can go there and pay. I payed and continued to the registration desk. There I forgot my DCI number so I spent about a minute trying to figure out what my number looks like. After figuring out that it starts with 1204 I entered the rest without a problem.

I entered the right wing of the Prumyslovy palac and took few photos. I noticed 3 shops (one of them being Cerny Rytir), demo stand, Duel of Planeswalkers stand, RYZWear showcased products and the artists corner. I met some fellow players and my schoolmate from FJFI.
On Saturday the main event started so I prepared myself for the upcoming 9 rounds. It started as usual I opened a really good cards (for monowhite deck) and received something that was 3x times worse. It wasn't bad as I had lots flyers and removal but I wasn't lucky at drawing what I needed. It came down to this situation...

I had lots of creatures on the table, my opponent as well. I couldn't attack with Serra angel as Deadly recluse would block her. All I needed was one of six cards that would decide the game (I had 3x doom blade, 1x prized unicorn, 1x excommunication, 1x pacifism). I did not have that many cards left in my library and I already took out most of the basics out. It looked like I had 10 cards left in the library. Last chance to draw and do something (the chances of drawing a doom blade were HIGH) => the drawn card was a swamp. You know my cards weren't that bad, it was a silly aggro but it should have been able to win at least half of the games played. I wasn't so unlucky like the guy who got 4x Mirror of Fate. Or the poor guy who's mulligans looked like: 1st mulligan - no lands, 2nd - all plains, 3rd all forests...

I've seen some funny stuff around. There was a player I met in third round (or somewhere around that)that had gorgon's flail, pyromancer and Siege-Gang Commander. I have to say that the "targeted deathtouch" wasn't funny at all. There was also one little kid who got a nice lifelink deck. He got soul wardens, dread warlocks, lifelink and other lifelink creatures. He was gaining a lot of life and got some tricks (oh that Death Mark hurt! Poor angel!). When I had three (for me) unblockable creatures on the table I was quite afraid of losing. Fortunately prized unicorn did its job this time and killed all those creatures and survived (giant growths helped).

Anyway at the event we could get our cards signed by John Avon (who had to sign thousands of cards...and I still wonder how come his hand is still capable of writing) and by Anthony S. Waters. I got Legacy Weapon, Obelisk of Alara and Jungle Basin signed in the first "round". His unhinged and DCI lands followed.

I've got some photos from the event but it's not much and won't probably tell you much about the atmosphere at the event.

Photos from GP Prague

Clovece, hraje se!

Metropole Zlicin a shopping mall in Prague hosted a game festival for kids this weekend (4-6/9).
The event was moderated by V. Krejci and was targeted at young children. There were mainly games from MindOK. Few from Jira's Games (Metropoly, Blabol) and Blackfire got there their TCG stand too (Magic The Gathering and Pokemon).

Special guest was Katerina Nemcova, European champion in chess who told us something about chess
in general and what it takes to be good at this game/sport. You could also play against her (and win some prizes^_~).

And now some photos...
Clovece, hraje se!