Sunday, September 30, 2012

Return To Ravnica Prerelease

Return To Ravnica prerelease tournaments bring something new. This time a player has to choose a guild he would represent. Today at the game store Mephit there were 14 players. Each of them chose a guild. The reasons why certain player chose this or that guild differed. Golgari was played by majority, Izzet followed. Two players chose Rakdos and other two chose Selesnya. Only one player played Azorious.

Before the tournament I wasn't really sure what guild to play. If I would choose without looking at the cards I'd go for Golgari. I'm registered as Azorious member though at Planeswalker Points. After seeing the complete spoiler I decided to play Junk or Bant. Bant were the colors I prefered. It was to be either Selesnya or Azorious. After seeing the guild promo card though I decided against Azorious and picked Selesnya. Grove of the Guardian seemed to OP to me.

I grabbed all the guild packs and distributed them to the players. While doing that I asked what the battle cry of the guild is. Some guilds cooperated some did not. After greeting all the players and explaining game mechanics we were ready to go. Most players already opened their packs anyway. I opened my first pack and the first card I saw was 2/2 Azorious Flyer. The card that followed (not counting token and land) was Supreme Verdict. In the next booster pack I opened Azor's Elocutors and New Prahv Guildmage. The other rare cards don't need mentioning. They weren't worth playing nor worth money (except one, but I still did not play it). Last I opened the guild booster pack and was quite dissatisfied with it. Except the promo there was no card I'd like to play. I threw the cards back in the box and finally build my deck. Here's the decklist:

2x Azorious Arrester
1x Gatekeeper Vine
1x Doorkeeper
1x New Prahv Guildmage
1x Call of the Conclave
1x Druid's Deliverance
1x Axebane Guardian
1x Hover Barrier
1x Vassal Soul
2x Rootborn Defenses
1x Skymark Roc
2x Hussar Patrol
1x Towering Indrik
2x Eyes in the Skies
1x Azor's Elocutors
2x Coursers' Accord
1x Trostani's Judgement
1x Grove of the Guardian
2x Azorious Guilgate
1x Selesnya Guildgate
1x Transguild Promenade

I was looking forward to the first round. In the first round I played against Rakdos player, playing Jund. My opponent started with small creatures with unleash and that actually dealt quite some damage to me. My Azorious creatures with Flash were destroyed even before they could block. As the number of opponent's removal had to be finite I waited before I would create 8/8 elemental token. If by a chance my opponent would still have a removal I had Rootborn Defenses ready. Now it was time for the Rakdos player to chumblock my 8/8 with Vigilance. I won a turn later. Second game was rather similar but it was army of centaurs that won me the game.

In the second round nothing much changed^_^. I played against another Jund. This time it was played by a Golgari Guild member. My opponent was using Scavenge as much as he could and it actually worked more or less. At least my Defenders weren't really good for blocking 4+ power creatures. Korozda Guildmage a Golgari promo - Corpsejack Menace did not help it either. I hoped that two copies of Azorious Arrester would give me enough time to draw a sixth land. It happened two turns later, so more of my creatures died and I even had to chumpblock with my defender. I managed to draw the land then and exile the annoying Fungus. After 20 minutes of relative stall I managed to finally get centaur token in play and populate. My opponent was attacking with one big creature each time. The creature encountered some Eyes in the Skies or Rootborn Defenses and died. I was waiting for Azor's Elocutors but they did not want to show up. When I finally drew the card I was already milling my opponent with one of my defenders. 5 turns later I won and I could choose if I would win with the use of Elocutors or wait for my opponent to draw a card (as there were no left).

In the third round it was again Golgari. This deck was faster and I was suddenly at 9 life. My opponent even gained some life and played more creatures. The creatures were small though - one centaur should be able to deal with the situation. But my plan was disrupted - Mind Rot was played and I discarded Eyes in the Skies a Coursers' Accord. The only reason that I was still alive was due to Arresters and Azorious Guildmage. The only card left in my hand was Grove of the Guardian. I played it and created the token. Guildmage was still alive so I detained opponent's creatures and went through with the elemental. In the second game it seemed that I would not survive. Detain mechanic nor 2/4 Patrols did not help me. I was down to 2 life and I thought that nothing would help me. Grove of the Guardian came though and solved everything. Azorious obviously needs to be hidden somewhere and command Selesnya units. But without Azorious guild aid I would be dead for sure.

After all those previous rounds where I played against Jund decks I finally had the chance to play against something different - Izzetu (with white). Izzet was too slow for my deck though. I couldn't kill 1/4 creatures but those creatures could not kill my creatures either. I waited till my opponent finally tapped all his lands and then created my first Centaur token. Later I added some birds and centaurs and was attacking each turn. My opponent did not have enough blockers to deal with it but occasional burn spell or counterspell slowed me down. The second game could bedescribed as Centaur swarm - an easy win for me.

I still had about 30 minutes left so I got up and went to scout some decks. The players that could possible play against me were still playing so I could check their Golgari decks. One of them had Vraska and Lotleth Troll on the table.

Guess against whom I played in the last round^^. Golgari with Vraska and Troll. My opponent played few creatures with the troll that can regenerate. But even that could not save him from my centaurs, birds and elementals. In the next game Vraska came early and she decided to ruin my mana base. Hopefully my mana fixation was good and even decided to come. I decided to destroy Vraska first before killing my opponent. I took me about 4 turns to finally kill her. My opponent though returned the card and played it once again. At this point I decided to ignore her completely and rather kill my opponent. I dealt him 16 damage in the first attack. He tried using Vraska on my elemental but I showed him Rootborn Defenses and then killed him in next attack with the help of Azorious Guildmage.

My result today was 5:0 (all 2:0???!!!). Next I distributed prizes to players and gave some extra booster packs to those who managed to get most achievements done.

Some players started to open their boosterpacks and no one seemed happy about it. So I took mine and well... here's a photo of what I opened.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Friday Night Magic

On Friday Night there were supposed to be two (actually three) events at Mephit game store. One player was interested in playing booster draft, 2 were interested in playing EDH tournament. In the end we had a nice 4 player EDH tournament.

There was me with Horde of the Notions, Jan Jestribek with The Mimeoplasm, Adam Holub with Empress Galina and Tomas Gottwald with Azusa, Lost but Seeking.

In the first round I played against Adam. I already played against the deck so I knew that I have two possibilities how to win. Either play a one drop or a man land that would kill my opponent or tutor Thrun, the Last Troll as fast as possible and win with him. I mulled to one drop and a land. I played that but Adam had Mishra's factory that could block all my mana dorks. They are not entirely the best attackers usually. So I played few creatures and then Adam played Merchant Scroll fetching Force of Will and Mystical Tutor fetching Polymorph. In the next turn Mishra's Factory turned into Kozilek. I had two answers to that but I needed to get rid of the FoW. I decided to play Acidic Slime as that could destroy both Compulsion and Kozilek in order to get it countered with that FoW. Kozilek was tapped for an attack and I sacrificed all my creatures in order to keep lands so I could play Jace, the Mind Sculptor on my turn. Anyway one of the creatures was Fauna Shaman so I discarded a creature and fetched for Shriekmaw. I killed Kozilek with it and then I hoped to win somehow. I was at 12 life which wasn't that good (Sylvan Library and Kozilek) as my opponent still had Faerie Conclave in play. I got Path to Exile later and hoped to get rid of the Conclave with it which I managed and everything was fine. I won. The next game was quite similar. This time I could actually attack with my mana dorks and later Thrun came. My opponent though played Acquire and put my own Wurmcoil Engine in play. I played Jace TMS and bounced it back. I was afraid of playing it as I couldn't get rid of it if it would change control once again (Jace died). But I got Batterskull to help me with that dilemma. Batterskull can be returned to my hand so I wasn't afraid of playing - it would either resolve or not. While in play it couldn't harm me. Batterskull resolved and my opponent was incapable of dealing with it nor Thrun.

In round two my Horde was pitted against Azusa. I wasn't really sure what to expect but soon I found out. My mana base was completely wrecked. My poor Arbor Elf was not even able to produce mana^^. I tried to survive and deal some damage but it was useless. So I hoped for a bit better mana producing creatures in game 2. It was better - Noble Hierarch and Fyndhorn Elves. In this game I actually got quite a lot of lands but I was unable to draw something that would make difference and my opponent wasn't really playing creatures either (except Azusa). I had a better plan for my Phyrexian Metamorph (than killing Azusa which was rather useless). I needed attackers in order to win so I copied Stirring Wildwood with it and then I hoped that these two lands, Treetop Village, Wasteland and Aven Mindcensor would do (even with Mindcensor Tomas always minus once managed to get a land from fetchlands, hopefully this allowed me to win as he dealt quite a lot of damage to himself this way). Tomas had Gargoyle Castle and Life From the Loam (and hell a lot of mana). So the number of Gargoyles would be growing if I wouldn't be attacking with my Stirring Wildwood. It came down to very similar life total and it was either me or Tomas, both of us tried to do the math and in the end it was me who came out of this victorious - my 5/5 Vigilance, Trample, Haste general helped a lot^^.

Last round - The Mimeoplasm. I'm not entirely sure what went wrong. I remember having too many lands and not being able to draw something better. I started with Noble Hierarch, Arbor Elf. I had Treetop Village that could attack for 4 but that wasn't lethal anyway. My opponent started to play big creatures which in the end kill me anyway. In the second game I was always one land short. I needed to deal with Volrath's Stronghold and Eternal Witness in the graveyard. I was unable to do so. Later it wasn't just Eternal Witness that bothered me in the graveyard. Anyway I managed to play Ajani Vengeant and keep him alive for a while. He kept Volrath's Stronghold tapped. I got Trinket Mage which tutored Nihil Spellbomb but still I was unable to play it all the time. I just needed that one mana. When Ajani died I finally managed to get rid of the land but still creatures in the graveyard waited for Mimeoplasm. I wasn't sure what creature was more deadly - Damia or Primeval Titan. In the end it was me who won even though my opponent drew many more cards and managed to get recursions working.

After this tournament I decided to never play this deck again. I should build a new deck and it should be more fun.

Tomas was heading to a restaurant to play some highlander and invited us as well. He also proposed that we could play with his cube. 2 of us agreed so we joined him and found the restaurant with the help of a taxi driver.

We needed to organize ourselves a bit and after some chaos we played some games. After a bit more chaos we ended up playing 2 headed giant games. Two of us played EDH with The Mimeoplasm as a general and the remaining two played regular highlander decks. My team mate played some mono red. My 'highlander' opponent played BG rock. His favorite creatures were Massacre Wurm and Wurmcoil Engine. Massacre Wurm killed all our creatures (except Wall of Roots) and dealt about 14 damage. But I did not want this card to kill us. So I stole the Wurm and copied it. This dealt less damage to the opponents but two copies of this creature would do much more damage later. I had Phyrexian Tower untapped so I could sacrifice the stolen wurm if something should go wrong. We won turn later.

After some of the players left 5 of us moved to a different place and we decided to cube draft.

Tomas Gottwald's Cube
With some alcohol in our bloodstream we started to draft. We prepared three 15 card packs and drafted them. My first pack was full of red cards - (Magus of the Moon and Stigma Lasher were among them). The card that caught my eye and I liked it the best was Pernicious Deed though. In the next pack I was interested in Sphinx of the Steel Wind. I picked that because it was a good creature and relatively playable. When I was passed Tinker I decided to go for artifacts. I picked all the Signets in more or less Esper colors (and bit of green). The mana producing artifacts were my only mana fixation and I already had cards with UWB in its cost or UUU. In the next packs I decided to be picking some lands. My first pick was Ethersworn Adjudicator. I picked Phyrexian Metamorph, Dungeon Geist, Spellskite and Kira as well to protect my BIG creature. After the second booster I also got Tundra, Scrubland, Flooded Strand and Breeding Pool. The last pack was an overkill. There was Jace TMS, Elspeth from Alara, Sorin from DKA, Underground Sea and some other cards I would consider playing. I picked Jace and passed Elspeth.

When trying to figure out what to play I in the end cut out all my draw spells and replaced them with removal some cheaper creatures because I knew that surviving might be a serious problem for me as I was happily passing cards like hallowed burial or day of judgment.

We played a 5 player game with our drafted decks. Tomas who was starting was heavily in red. Jan J. next to him was playing UWR and had all the mass removal in his deck. Jan V. who followed was the only really aggro deck there, he played Boros and had quite cheap creatures (and some more expensive ones like Gisela or Wurmcoil Engine). I was sitting next to him and that did not put me in a good position. I needed to rely on other players to deal with Jan V. creatures. Next to me was yet another Jan (B.) who played BG and he did not really show us much from his deck except Fauna Shaman.

I had many lands and all signets and tried to survive. Shadowmage Infiltrator tried its best to block some attacks but Elspeth ruined my plan. Sorin, Lord of Innistrad was trying to help me against Elspeth in that. His Vampires with Emblem were trying to gain me life so I wouldn't die as I couldn't block flyers till round 7. Jan J. played Day of Judgment and later Terminus that saved me some cards and I survived thanks to that. Tomas who started to be quite agressive as well solved the situation for me. He had Koth on the table and was attacking Jan J. who later played Gideon and even managed to kill one of Tom's mountains. Tomas played Zealous Conscripts, stole Elspeth. Used her ultimate ability and attacked Jan. J. Later he played Sword of Fire and Ice and with that killed Jan J and Elspeth. At that time I was finally able to get tinker and tutored Ethersworn Adjudicator and copied that with Phyrexian Metamorph. I wasn't afraid of Jan V. anymore. But still I needed to untap and survive one round (as Tomas and Jan V. could possible kill me if they joined forces). I let him deal me 7 damage getting me down to 6 but with time I got up to 12 and I felt save there. Adjudicator could deal with any creature on the battlefield except Zealous Conscripts. I had Jace TMS ont he table though and brainstorms helped me get to Gilded Drake that dealt with the Conscripts. I attacked for 26 and killed Jan B. Now it was Tomas's time to figure out how to survive. He had 6 mountains so he could kill something but still couldn't get rid of more than one creature in a turn. Jan V. who could hardly kill me played Wurmcoil Engine and showed us accidentally Chandra in his hand. My Sorin was at 6 counters so I could use his last ability. I destroyed Wurmcoil Engine, Koth and bounced my Gilded Drake. I attacked once again for lethal. I left my mana open (if by a chance my last opponent would play something that could possibly kill me). He did not but was still at 36 life or something. I was prepared for that already as I was holding Magister Sphinx in my hand for quite some time. (was a back up plan of how to 'gain' life). In the end I used the Sphinx to win as I would attack for less than 30.

Here's my really awkward decklist.

Ethersworn Adjudicator
Magister Sphinx
Sphinx of Steel Wind
Gilded Drake
Tidehollow Sculler
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Dungeon Geist
Phyrexian Metamorph
Golgari Signet
Orzhova Signet
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
Dimir Signet
Kira, Great Glass Spinner
Flooded Strand
Shadow Infiltrator
Unburial Rites
Chimeric Mass
Enclave Cryptologist
Blightsteel Colossus
Breeding Pool
Creeping Tar-pit
Vedalken Shackles
Path to Exile
Sphinx of Uthuun
Glacial Fortress
Pernicious Deed

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Jace 3.0 Fan Art by Sherry Sharon

Sherry Sharon drew this for her boyfriend and I added a bit of color. I don't know why but I find Jace's expression quite mesmerizing. In general I don't like the original painting but after seeing this...there's so much emotion in that. I've never managed to do something like that. Sherry clearly can do that.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Highlander Series

Each Highlander series tournament takes place at game store Outpost. I went there once again to see if I can end up in the finals once again. This time I did not lose in the last round and managed to win the tournament and take home Watery Grave.

I played with the same deck as last time - Naya Zoo. I made few changes though from last time. I put in Ajani, Caller of the Pride and Bonfire. I'm not entirely sure what I took out (I actually played with 33 lands which means that I took out one land). The other card was Grim Lavancer. It was a tough choice and I'm not sure if it was the right one anyway. Bonfire though showed up to be a really good card today.

Round 1
In the first round I played against some WB deck. I lost the die roll. First card my opponent played was Duress. He wasn't happy after seeing my hand that consisted of creatures and lands.

Hymn to Tourach followed. One of the discarded cards was Temple Garden which I needed quite a lot. I was stuck at 3 lands and was unable to draw fourth one. My opponent killed one of my creatures, brought back a creature I killed a turn before and things did not seem good as he started to have quite a lot of mana and my life total was near zero already. The double black was not what I wanted there, so when I finally got my fourth land I destroyed via Ruinblaster one of the black sources. My opponent was unable to draw a black source for the reminder of the game which saved my creatures from Damnation. One of my last chances to turn the game was Batterskull (I was at 1 life at that time). I played it and hoped that my opponent can't deal with the card right away. Batterskull stayed there and gained me 5 life while killing my own creature on the other side of the table. My little germ died (my only creature) and I hoped for another creature. I top decked Kitchen Finks and I knew that I could possibly win that game. I won few turns later.

In game two my hand was slower. I had one 1-drop (Figure of Destiny), two cmc3 creatures, Elspeth and lands. Thoughtseize discarded Figure of Destiny so I had to wait quite a while to drop my first creature. I dealt some damage but had to deal with Lingering Souls and Timely Reinforcements later. Both cards slowed me down pretty well but I was able to deal with it as I drew Bonfire of the Damned a bit later.

Round 2
In the second round there were 3 players with 2:0 and one with 2:1. I was paired against Tomas Gottwald, the winner of the previous Highlander Series and a player who beat me always in the final round. This time I encountered him in the second round. He played something like 5c zoo/goodstuff deck. Most of the cards in our decks were similar though anyway.

In the first game he was unable to draw a source of green and had just 2 lands. He conceded hoping for a better draw in the second game. This time it was me who was completely screwed up. We had 30 minutes for the last game which was sufficient time to finish it. My thinking was slow but I was sure that we could finish the game. Both of us played some creatures. The game ended up in a stall when I managed to play (tutored) Fauna Shaman and equip Sword of War and Peace. The two creatures that were a threat to me were Rhox War Monk (not really a threat but the lifelink and toughness 4 were a problem) and Aven Mimeomancer. I had to kill Mimeomancer first otherwise I would die. I tutored Flametongue Kavu and killed it. To deal with the other creature I needed a creature card. The card I drew was Scavenging Ooze though so I switched to a better plan. I played the Ooze removed some creatures and then it was me in the position of an attacker.

Next card I drew was Tarmogoyf which was 5/6. Good attacker as well. ^_^. Magma Jet followed. Scry showed me Garruk Relentless that killed the only green creature (the rest was either white or red) and allowed me to win finally.

Round 3
Black/Green (something). I had a pretty nice draw but with one land. I did not win this die roll either so I was on the draw. I played a land and Green Sun's Zenith fetching Dryad Arbor. My lovely forest though died turn later. After this I played creature after creature and won quite fast (I drew the second land^_^).

In game 2 I had Knight of the Reliquary, Figure of Destiny and not much else. My opponent discarded Figure of Destiny with Thoughtseize so my first creature in play was KotR two turns later. I fetched for Taiga (being my only forest) that turn but it was destroyed by Wasteland. Knight of the Reliquary was attacking each turn and my opponent was forced to chump block each time. Later though Acidic Slime showed up followed by Eternal Witness, that destroyed my new land. I managed to play Tarmogoyf though that turn. I decided to let my opponent play as all I could do is deal either 5 damage with goyf or 5 damage with Knight of the Reliquary. My opponent did not do much and passed me the turn. I drew Burst Lightning, tapped my only land that hopefully was producing red mana and killed the slime. Then all I needed to do was attack for ten which won me the game.

Round 4
In round 4 my opponent played Bitterblossom on turn 2. Then he played Sword of Feast and Famine and I knew that this will be really difficult to deal with. I had 2 burn spells right from the beginning of the game. I killed the first faerie and wondered what I'll be doing with the two remaining next turn. The spell was Magma Jet though and that card managed to get me to another burn spell. So next turn I had to play two removal spells and hope I tapped all my 3 lands which was not good as Winterorb landed on the table. I tried to survive as long as I could. Eventually my opponent was down to one and I hoped to draw a burn spell that I could play. I knew that he would eventually destroy the blossom but I still had nothing to kill him with. My hand consisted of Mirran Crusader and Ajani, Caller of the Pride. None of these cards would help as Crusader would be blocked by a white creature and the flying creature with double strike would be simply chumped block by the newly created faerie.

Game two was pretty tense as well. It was creature heavy and our life totals were relatively similar. When I finally got to 5 lands (I was at 8 life) I played Green Sun's Zenith fetching Huntmaster of the Fells. I hoped that this would help me get rid of some opponent's creatures and I really needed the life gain. There was Kird Ape, Loam Lion, two mana dorks and some bigger creature on the other side. On mine, there was Huntmaster and Kird Ape that eventually died. In my next turn I drew Staggershock. Not that it would help me with those toughess 3 and more creatures but it killed the annoying Noble Hierarch I really needed to get rid of. Flipped Huntmaster killed the other mana dork. My opponent then managed to play Scavenging Ooze that was serious problem. I hoped that double blocking it with my manland and kird ape would kill it. Hopefully the ooze died.

I managed to play two spells and flip huntmaster once again. The round ended at this point. I had two turns to win (so it would be 1:1). I had Serra Avenger and Reveillark in play and these creatures could deal the remaining 11 damage. In my opponent's turn Reveillark was sent to exile. My plan was to attack with everything dealing 3 damage and killing a creature in the process and then win in the last turn.

I drew a card and looked at it with disbelief. It was Bonfire of the Damned. I counted the number of lands + llanowar elves twice before playing it even though I did not need. Bonfire hitting for 6 and creatures dealing 7 damage was enough to kill an opponent with 11 lives.

EDIT: Today one of my employers came to the game store and congratulated me. I was like WTF? He told me that he found out about my win from cmus - local Magic: The Gathering information portal.

So I went there to see the actual post and here I can share what decks were in the tournament (not counting mine) and their standing.

2. 5c aggro
3. BG rock
4. 4c control
5. MonoG ramp
6. WG midrange
7. 5c Oath
8. 5c aggro
9. WB control
10. MonoR aggro
11. UB control
12. MonoB aggro
13. WBG rock
14. MonoR aggro
15. Bw stax
16. Ub High Tide
17. MonoB aggro (in the last turn the pilot of this deck played against Ub High Tide player. That player had all he needed except a black source of mana. The MB aggro player had all the noncreature cards he probably had in the deck and no creature was showing up^_^. What a match...