Monday, June 29, 2015

Saving Wasteland

Quite some time ago one local player was buying a heavily played Wasteland from someone online. When he got it he found out that the card was actually cut to pieces. There was quite a discussion (rather flame) about this. Some time later the card surfaced somewhere else and later it ended up in my hands. It was up to me to try to save it.

After altering few Wastelands already I decided not to alter another Wasteland in the future because it was hell to alter it. But when I got this Wasteland I decided to try to do something with it. At first I wanted to go for black and white one or a winter theme but in the end I ended up with 'simple' extension.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Grand Prix Utrecht

(I wrote the whole post on my phone so I hope there is not so many typos or mistakes)

On Wednesday I was invited to play Modern Masters draft. So I went and hoped to draft something similar to what I could play at a sealed deck. My first pick was Savage Twister. I ended up playing a domain deck with some ramp and few Eldrazi. It wasn't so bad:-) I had an idea what I could play at the GP.

On Thursday it was time to pack and get some Euros. I also prepared a binder with some of my alters and some Judge promos and some other more expensive cards.

I wanted to participate in one draft but then decided against it and rather went to prepare some food for the trip. (it was past midnight already).

On Friday morning I woke up at six o'clock. I got up an hour later, ate something and waited for Kuba Starka to call me. At 7:47 he called and our journey to Utrecht could start. During the trip we talked about Magic and other stuff and Jakub Fides was glad that he goes to the GP with people going there to have fun and not with some competitive players wanting to win.

We arrived in the evening and I managed to participate in the last Modern Masters sealed trial. I waited for quite some time. Three other trials skipped us and were ahead. In the end we finally managed to get our packs. So I started opening them. From my right side I immediately heard a happy cry followed by a raised hand and the word 'judge'. He opened a foil Tarmogoyf. The player sitting on the left from me opened a Tarmogoyf in his first pack as well but he continued opening other packs and hit few more expensive cards. The guy across me got a Cryptic Command, Noble Hierarch and Dark Confidant. Few minutes later I was alone at that table. I looked at the pool In front of me - Emrakul and Remand. I stayed and waited for the pool I would play with. Well, the most expensive card was a foil Lightning Bolt but otherwise there were good cards in it. I put together a green based domain deck. In the first and last round for me I played against an affinity. The player was not a skilled player and he even did not want to attack me with his Kor Duelist with Cranial Plating equipped (with few artifacts in play). I had Lightning Bolt and 2 Nameless Inversion in my hand but I did not draw a mountain nor a swamp nor Rampant Growth or Sylvan Bounty and lost. It was sad... and I was pretty upset afterwards. My opponent was clearly happy to win:-).

After this - not so good start - we went to the place we would stay for the upcoming few nights. The place was awesome. It provided everything we could possibly need.

Before going to sleep we talked about many things, drank some beers, played some limited and constructed and in overall had some fun. Eventually we fell asleep.

Saturday was the big day. We managed to arrive on time. We checked our seating beforehand so we went directly to our tables. Mine was 553 in the black zone. The very same table I played the sealed trial the day before.

After a very long time we received some papers that we had to sign and some of us at the table row 550 got their checklists. We were the last to get the product and weren't given any time extension for anything. I don't even remember what I opened but it was more or less the same like last time. Some Eldrazi and Remand. I sent that away and received a pool with no money in it and with cards I did not really like much. Black was good but there were to few cards (along with Midnight Banshee) I would have to play at least three colors so I gave up on that. So I took all the artifacts and some white and blue cards and registered that as my deck. I played that because there were Arrests, Narcolepsy, Cloud Elementals and Air Elemental.

In the first round I played I terribly died to Elesh Norn, Wilt-Leaf Liege and bunch of tokens. I was pretty angry and seriously considered dropping (I've seen pools from others in our group and my deck was really crappy). In the next round I faced yet another token deck with Overrun and Apocalypse Hydra. I still wasn't out of the tournament so I tried playing the next round. I played against a very nice deck with strong cards but my opponent was unable to trigger his triggers and let his creatures die. So I managed to beat him even though I should have died terribly. The next round was more or less similar. My deck was far inferior but I managed to win because of my opponents misplays. In the following round I finally played against someone who knew what he was doing (at table 200ish). I wasn't really sure what he had in his deck after the first game. I won quite fast and expected some kind of fast affinity aggro but it wasn't like that. The deck had more disruption than I would like, Karn Liberated and Vendilion Clique. This creature was equipped with Cranial Plating and Karn was there to deal wih anyhing I would actually manage to play. Game three looked similar. But this time I was able to get rid of Karn and my opponent's flyers. Some of my little creatures did the rest. Next round sitting next to Marijn I played against UWR. I expected Niv-Mizzet to be in the deck. I won one game, lost the other but it was very close. In game three I really needed to get rid of Dimir Guildmage because that card would kill me (its ability). Later my opponent played Niv-Mizzet and I couldn't really deal with it much. He also had few Terashi's Grasps that could either deal with my removal or my creatures. I tried being as much aggressive as I could be and almost managed it. All I needed was to get through Niv Mizzet just once. But my following draws were lands and I lost. It was a good game though. I dropped so I could still participate in other events.

After this I wanted to open something good (expensive) pretty badly. My mood was way better after those two rounds but not for so long. I signed up for a rebound event and waited for it to begin. We were told that it is a REL tournament and we will keep the pools we open. So this time I opened nothing... a foil Mana Leak not worth much:-). I got playable rares though. I put together some Jund deck with quite some removal, Savage Twister and really bad creatures. (white was bad unfortunately)

In round one I played against someone who read every single card I played. It seemed to me that the time had stopped. I won easily even though it took ages. In round 2 I was paired against a female player who had hard time with her own cards. But some Mythic Eldrazi and Primeval Titan was quite difficult to deal with. So rather played more creatures and tried to kill her before Primeval Titan would hit the board. She played very slowly and did not know many things. I wasn't really sure it I should be telling her how what works but in the end started doing that so the game could continue in a way it should (and not with Goblin Fireslinger attacking when I had Nest Invader to block it). I felt sorry for her and wasn't really sure where I showed up... the difference was so huge from the main event. In round three won quite easily as well. The final round wasn't starting though. I did not receive the stars I was supposed to get. I was hungry and upset and really tired. The rest of our group waited for me to finish but still even after an hour the round did not start. When it finally did I couldn't count to twenty and died to All Is Dust.

During the night we discussed what we would play the next day. I planned to participate in Super Sunday Series so I would go with Jakub Jandak so we could start playing our events at 9. Jakub made day 2 so he simply had to be there for his draft. I in the end decided not to play in SSS and decided to play Legacy instead. I went to collect my five packs from the day before and decided to open them... there simply HAD to be something. I was wrong.

After this I wrote my decklist and went to look for someone willing to give me Smash to Smithereens because I did not open any. I managed to find such a person and I was very grateful. Later I went to get something to eat and chatted with the girls there who couldn't understand how so many people can come to Utrecht to play for four days in Magic events.

Then at 11:30 something unexpected happened. Legacy players gathered at the place were the tournament would take place without needing to be guided there. They checked the pairings and set down to play. When it was announced that the pairings are up majority of us was already seated and started pregame procedures. In round one I played against infect. When it was clear that I play Delver my opponent was clearly sad. I got hit with Inkmoth Nexus few times but I managed to win. I sided in Izzet Staticaster, Cabal Therapies and all my artifact removal. After seeing my opponent's hand I knew I could resolve Staticaster. My opponent was even more said when he saw the card after he played his own Gitaxian Probe. He lost his nerve and played all his creatures. I killed them and later killed him.

In round two. My opponent started with wastelanding my lands and then on his third turn finally played a fetchland revealing that he played Jund. It seemed that he wasn't happy to see me play Delver. After I won game one he told me that he has no way to win. I wasn't really sure because Punishing Fire is pretty annoying, Golgari Charm and Toxic Deluge as well and I can't beat Tarmogoyf usually. T1 Deathrite Shaman forced me to say Liliana of the Veil when I played my Cabal Therapy. I hit her and saw that there is nothing that could threaten me. I won the game some time later.

we talked a bit after the game. It was nice. In the next round I played against Omni - Tell. We Probe'ed each others hands and we both new the result of the game. I couldn't possibly deal with 3 tutors, Show and Tell and Omniscience. Anyway we had quite some fun and that continued in the next round as well. Turn 2 my opponent played Dark Ritual, followed by another one and then another one and then the fourth one as well. Cabal Therapy followed naming Force of Will. And what came out of the rituals? Griselbrand. Few more cards hit the table and then he showed me Tendrils of Agony. It was fun. We talked a bit after the games which was pretty nice. My next opponent was a nice one as well. He was playing a normal reanimator. It was time to see yet another Griselbrand and Elesh Norn that was ruining my games all weekend. We talked about alters and legacy in general. I decided not to drop and have some fun but the last round wasn't worth it. I played agaist Eternal Garden and my opponent wasn't really talkative.

After the legacy event that was awesome we went to play Modern Masters draft. There were six players from our group, my opponent from the last round of legacy and one more player. I opened nothing worth mentioning and started as mono blue. Unfortunately the player on my right was blue as well. Jakub Fides on my left was more or less mono green but I was passed Savage Twister and One of the overruns. I slowly switched to green/red/black with many artifacts. When Cranial Plating showed in my hand I picked it. It seemed as a card that could help a lot:-) In round one I played agaisnt Milan with GW tokens with Karn and Elesh. He did not manage to get to the seventh land though so I managed to kill him with my Hatchling with Cranial Plating equipped. Next I played against BR aggro and managed to win thanks to Savage Twister and my opponent going to five game 1. We split the finals and went to get our prizes. In my last pack I opened a foil Hurkyl's Recall... a more expensive card then foil Lightning Bolt.

Then I played few games with one of the nice legacy players. He played Grixis Delver wth Deathrite Shaman. Something I considered trying myself, because I could play Wastelands that I miss from time to time and Deathrite Shaman seems a better creature than Monastery Swiftspear. DRS can do more and does not need to attack in order to 'deal' damage. We talked about it a bit (also about Stifle in the deck, I'm not convinced about that card being any good, but certainly is annoying when your lands are hit by wasteland and stifle) and then I had to go. Everyone was waiting for me already.

During the night all of the players were talking about their events, cards they opened and funny moments involving judges. I had hard time saying anything so I left. I was sad and lonely. The same happened to me during Worldcon and I'm not sure why. But I felt horrible. I came back some time later when I could possibly talk but it wasn't any better. I launched modo. I decided to play type 2 because I couldn't see any more cards from Modern Masters nor play any deck running 4x Delver.

In the first match I mulled to six. I kept four lands and two Sidisi, Brood Tyrants. When I finally managed to play the first Sidisi on turn 5 she immediately died and I milled three lands. The following turn I milled another three lands and Sidisi died once again. My next five draws were lands. I died some time later.

The last match I played that night was better though and it was actually fun. I played against Esper Dragons. I knew that I would need all the time and thus set all auto-yields were I could. In game three I was staring at Ojutai and full hand of cards. So I was playing some creatures and kept some Counterspells to counter Crux of Fate or something. When there were four minutes on my timer I really had to do something. But attacking was still pretty bad for me. Fortunately my opponent decided to attack with Ojutai. I played Dragonlord Silumgar stealing Dragonlord Ojutai. Now the game seemed winnable:-). Timer down to two minutes and my first alpha strike. It took me a while to go through that attack but it worked out. My opponent played another Dragonlord Ojutai, blocked with it but it wasn't enough. I killed him next turn.

Anyway the game was pretty tense and all those things triggering were quite overwhelming for me but I managed to win in time (Ojutai's trigger caught me unawares..because I was staring at three Thoughtseizes and had no idea where they come from^_^).

Some time later I was told to turn it off and go to sleep. So I went. At 6:50 I woke up though and had nothing to do other than packing my stuff and going through my Modern Masters crap. Few hours later I went upstairs to get some coffee and talk to the other players. It was fun seeing them trying to get up and trying to do something:-). They seemed quite drunk:-)

I was also interested in how many kilometers or steps I managed to do during the GP so I uploaded the data to the Garmin server. The number was certainly lower than I expected. At least I managed to fulfill my goal each day.

Some time later...way later than I expected we managed to leave (around 11). We stopped in Amsterdam for a seven kilometer walk (7.51). We took some photos, talked a bit and tried some Dutch cheese (was good but expensive).

After that it was time to leave the Netherlands.

When I got home I decided to open some packs. So I grabbed a box of Modern Masters and picked one pack. In it there was a green rare card, it was a mythic, it's power started with an asterix.... and it continued with 1+asterix. So finally I opened a Tarmogoyf...

I'd like to thank all those people who made my trip to GP Utrecht possible. Thank you very much.