My next article is up at pureMTGO. This time about Meren and her (recurring) company.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Note that I'm not a professional player, I do not have a Vintage Champs title nor anything of that sort. I also wasn't aware of what was going on in the world so the notion of Tier 1 decks or archetypes etc was not known to me till Lorwyn came out (when I was forced to accept the fact that I'm probably the only person not knowing anything about Magic's pro scene).
For some time since someone during the VSL said something about 'Lodestone Golem' and 'restriction' I read very strange posts online. From my first sentence you can probably see that I do not watch Vintage Super League. I tried watching few episodes and I have to say that this would never make me want to play Vintage. What happens in the games and what decks are being played is totally strange to me. And the commentary from some of the players does not really make much sense to me no matter how professional and good those players are. I don't find it entertaining either. But obviously VSL for some players is something awesome and they take seriously what is being said or discussed and it is discussed on twitch, boards and Magic Online. After a chat we had with my opponent from round 7 of the P9C I felt the urge to write something about this matter myself.
I was personally in shock when I found out that people are really seriously considering the restriction and that many people actually hate Shops (Workshop/Golem). I find it rather outrageous especially after what happened at Pro Tour Rise of the Eldrazi eeer Oath of the Gatewatch. Do you guys really want another restriction so soon? Do you understand what restricting one of these cards could possibly mean? Because a different deck will take Shops place (most probably a Gush deck). The metagame will shift. The balance of the format will be lost and this can lead to a very unhealthy format.
Since like forever I always played against some kind of Prison decks. In my vicinity there were always players that liked this kind of deck so I had to face it if I wanted to play a game with Vintage restrictions. I was playing usually blue based control and it did not usually end well unless I incorporated some kind of combo finish in my deck so with time I ended up playing UB. Maybe that is why I always tend to play any kind of deck with a combo finish (yeah, says a player who just placed 10th at Power Nine Challenge with a Delver deck^_^). Since I wasn't really playing other decks at that time (I was happy with my control deck) I could not really see how others react to playing against Prison deck. My control deck deck was hated by most and those that weren't looking at me with hate were usually Prison players. I knew one thing - Prison was a problem for me, a serious one. On the other hand I did not really have such a hard time against other decks that I was encountering at that time.
For me there were Bazaar decks killing with Worldgorger Dragon, Mana Drain decks, Dark Ritual based decks, Prison decks and some aggressive decks that tried to go uphill since turn 1 (playing all kind of gorillas and shamans). During that time a certain balance existed among these decks. Each deck had to be prepared to fight other decks - graveyard abusing decks, Necropotence decks, blue based control decks and Shops. Each deck simply had to find sideboard or main deck slots for graveyard hate or artifact hate and since Disenchant effects could hit t1 Necropotence as well we all had the reason why to main deck such cards. The other match ups could be usually dealt with cards we wanted to have main deck and weren't really a metagame call. The most oppressive card from my point of view was Necropotence at that time but everyone felt that this card should be somehow ... well restricted. What can one do with 4 Necropotences and 4 Bargains? Not much. This was the very first time I really felt that something is wrong with the meta. Being stripped of all cards or watch my opponent draw cards for some loss of life was too much even for me. If I look back and I compare something like this (see screenshot) to Necropotence t1 I don't feel even close to how I felt years ago. The Golem is a fast clock but it can be dealt with rather easily. It does not mean GG as Necropotence used to. It takes 4 turns to deal 20 damage, the creature still allows us to play fast mana which we usually run unless we are on Dredge or something.
The decks I used to encounter form a kind of cycle that is balanced. Each deck has a better matchup with some decks and worse matchup with other. One deck works as 'stop sign' for another deck. It prevents the deck from being too oppressive. That does not mean that we can ignore those decks. We have to be prepared to play against the deck. I have 7 slots against Shops and that is fine. I can still play a deck I want and how I want to play it. I do not feel threatened that much by it and I certainly don't feel the matchup is not winnable. I usually have very nice games against Shops decks. Some games awry fast but can be said against any matchup.
when I started playing Vintage last year I saw the very same balance. There were new elements and decks all these decks are well placed within the cycle. With this cycle we can have a metagame that changes from time to time. If Shops will be prevalent there will be players playing Oath or Landstill. If these decks will start to be prevalent players will most probably shift towards combo decks and/or blue based control decks. When this will happen and more and more of these will show up it is time for Shops to come back and say 'no' once again to these decks and restore some kind of balance. It is a never ending cycle.
This is something that happens in every format with the exception of Modern perhaps that is ravaged by its always changing banlist. The format never had time to settle and something had to be prematurely banned which created an artificial disharmony. This upsets people more and more and the ban of Splinter Twin was something that probably made many people go 'Bah, I had enough of this...'.
Modern is a competitive format though played once a year at Pro Tour. Vintage is not, no matter how competitive we want it to be. The fact is that we don't have a Vintage Pro Tour and thus the cycles will be present throughout the time but are not forced by PT or other major tournaments. So it all depends on how lenient or active the players are. But the cards alone should not be held responsible unless there really is something like 70% of Shops in every single Vintage tournament!
When I used to play against Prison decks the game usually ended when I was locked down and couldn't play a spell or all my resources were destroyed or I stared at Staff of Domination that I couldn't deal with. But there was no pressure from the deck. No Lodestone Golem. At that time I guess the Prison decks did not need Lodestone Golem. But nowadays? Shops have to take the more aggressive route to fight (different) combo decks (that weren't present at that time) and even those blue decks. Lodestone Golem is the ideal card for this deck and without it I can't even imagine Shops deck to be what it is. The deck and this card keeps other decks in check - it dictates tempo of the game. How is the deck supposed to beat combo decks if it cannot put pressure on those decks? 2/1 or 2/2 creatures won't certainly do the job.
Mishra's Workshop is land that produces 3 mana but only mana that can be used to play artifact spells. It cannot be used for other spells or using activated abilities of some cards. A Prison deck always needed access to fast mana and a good start otherwise the deck alone would not be able to exist at all. Those longing for Workshop restriction should join the ranks of all the pro-Eldrazi players. Because those Eldrazi decks are the next gen 'MUD'!
For me starting to play Vintage on Magic Online meant going back to the times I used to play Magic and I felt like playing Magic. This is a format I feel in control of the game unlike in other formats. I also feel that the format now is actually very healthy. All kind of different decks can be build and can fight other decks. I personally do not see any reason for restriction of any card and I would like to keep Vintage the way it is. I want one format where I can feel like I can play anything I like and not be limited (too much).
Actually if I would really have to choose a card to restrict I would be looking at Gush. But that is one of the cards that defines Vintage or Magic in general for me and its restriction would certainly make me cry. I could possibly accept the restriction of the Golem and Mishra's Workshop but I would look at it the same way I look at banning of Splinter Twin. A card that could actually keep Eldrazi decks in check and I would certainly feel cheated.
Just my two cents about this matter. I just felt like typing something and this is my point of view. What happens when the new B&R is announced is not my concern now. What will be decided will be decided and we will have to accept it.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Elder Dragon Highlander or Commander as it is now officially called is available as one of the formats on Magic Online. Since I was fine with playing 'normal' competitive formats I never felt the urge to try EDH Online. But then I was asked to come to an EDH Christmas tournament and that led me to try EDH on modo. Here is the summary of how I actually came to EDH on modo.
EDH is one of the most problematic formats there is because it can be played casually on many different levels and even competitively. The players are not the same, their notions of fun is different, the way they like to play may differ a lot, there are cards each players hates and like and that means that many players simply do not understand each other when they play a game of Magic. I experienced this many times and I have the impression that there is no place for me in which I can play EDH the way I would want to. I like Highlander formats but I also like players to make sense with their plays and I like decks that are solid and have many synergies or many ways how to deal with something.
For this reason playing competitive EDH makes more sense to me since there I can expect a certain skill and power level. So when someone proposed that I should go play in the Christmas EDH tournament that was hosted by a LGS I decided to go.
I haven't played EDH in a long time though and my deck I used played got few cards banned (Mystical Tutor, Entomb, Natural Order). I obviously needed a new deck (or at least I got a reason to play with different deck). The deck is not particularly fun to play and the games are short - that is ideal for big tournaments but not for a tournament in which one wants to have some fun and play some grindy games.
I had two generals in mind - Dragonlord Ojutai or Tasigur. Dragonlord Ojutai would allow me to finally play a pure control deck that could possibly have a combo finish (Helm of Obedience and Rest in Peace) and it would also give me access to a general that is (supposedly) difficult to deal with (not true) and that allows me to Impulse each turn. Tasigur on the other hand is a general I wanted to play right when the card was spoiled. But since I thought the card would be banned very soon I decided to play Dragonlord Ojutai instead which would hardly be banned. Since I would just play this deck at this one particular tournament and I really wanted to play something I would really like I decided to go with Tasigur.
But going to the tournament without knowing what the deck does is not usually a good idea even if you build the deck and you are fairly sure that you know what you are doing. Being quite late and there was not much time for finding players IRL I decided to try my deck against some people online. So I put some 100 cards together that seemed ok and could be found in my collection (because I did not want to spent any tix on that) and went to the play lobby to find someone willing to play a game of EDH. I found out that the lobby is full of EDH games and that they start almost immediately (1-on-1 games, multiplayer games take about 5 minutes to fire). I knew bringing my deck to Just For Fun would probably not end well, but I did not know anything about the power level of EDH decks on Magic Online and 'fun' can mean practically anything. Since modo is considered as a client that allows competitive players to test their decks (and that is what I wanted to do in this case) I kind of expected broken EDH decks. But who would want to play that every day? Certainly, not me.
I wrote in the comments field 'French EDH' and waited for someone to join my game. Someone actually joined. Played a land, Sol Ring and passed the turn. I played a land and passed the turn. My opponent then played another land and Thran Dynamo. I Force Spike'ed the card and my opponent conceded. After this I tried few more games but with the comment 'Competitive'. Some opponents conceded after they joined the game and saw my general, some after I played my second counterspell.
This was my first experience with EDH on Magic Online. I made a mental note that next I should not play with a competitive deck if I want to actually play a game that does not end with my opponent ragequitting.
So I gave up and wrote to some players I know that were currently online if they would be up for a game of EDH in the middle of the night. Hopefully I found such players and could play few games thus. During those games I found out that some cards I put there just because I had them in my collection were actually fine. For example Black Sun's Zenith is one of the cards. It makes Tasigur smaller if he is in play but this card can be tutored with Muddle the Mixture. Languish is enough for most normal or utility creatures and does not kill Tasigur. I also found some cards are horrible like Scatter to the Winds or Dismiss and replaced them with cheaper counterspells (Spell Pierce and not sure what else). What I did not find at that time was that I had 2 Forests in the deck and they were REALLY BAD. Anyway I got the information and experience I needed for the tournament. This helped a lot in winning the tournament (there I found out that the prize pool is way bigger than I thought so I was very grateful to all those that played few games with me the night before and thanked WotC for allowing this via modo).
After this I did not have the urge to play EDH or even try it since there are other formats I play and like - Vintage mostly. Recently though I watched SaffronOlive play in 100tix Modern challenge and I had the chance to see some of his awesome EDH decks in between rounds. This motivated me to write something about EDH (because I knew this would mean I would have to play EDH and have the reason to play it^_^). Yesterday my article about casual EDH Deck - Phelddagrif Turboland was published on pureMTGO. For me it is not just an article because behind it there was a lot of work and playing. This article required me to build the deck, buy it (that meant many trades), play many games, record them, talk a lot during the matches. It 'forced' me to do many things I don't usually do and I could imagine how it feels to 'play Magic for living in SaffronOlive way' (what SaffronOlive talked about a bit in his stream). Writing the article was the result of all this. I wasn't sure how the article would be accepted but in the end it seems that I did not need to fear it at all.
Anyway I put the deck list at work together out of a deck I already played in our local play group. I updated the list on MTGGoldfish so I could just download it and load it via modo when I would come back home. When I did it I looked at the marked cards that I do not own and looked them up on MTGGoldfish. I found out that Time Warp, Celestial Colonnade and Oblivion Stone are actually expensive. Since I wanted to spend only part of my mtgotraders credit for it (15tix max) I had to cut cards costing more tix than I wanted to pay but I still needed to buy majority of the cards. Something like this came out of it (Oblivion Stone was needed afterall) after ages I spend waiting for a bot to allow me to trade something.
In the end I would conclude that my deck's power level was lacking (even though the tix price can be rather daunting) but I could win the games by playing simply well or doing necessary plays that probably wouldn't be seen as 'fun' by some players. But what can I do since I got Strip Mine'ed, Mind Twist'ed and I faced an army of 1/1 Elves and Skullclamp? Is this something an EDH player online plays against?
As with everything online there are pros and cons. In the case of Magic Online and EDH:
- Good EDH decks can be build for 10-50 tix which is nowhere as much as it would cost in paper.
- Very expensive cards from paper are actually cheap online (Moat, Mishra's Workshop, Mana Crypt)
- You can practically play anytime 1-on-1 or a multiplayer free for all games.
- Magic Online client will solve very strange and difficult situations for you.
- No need to shuffle your deck^_^
Since you will be playing online the social aspect is not really present. Even though politics and many messages sent your way telling you what to do exist on modo. They just feel different since you can't hear the players and you don't usually know the players. But once you discover a group of players or a clan you'd like to be part of this both of this becomes possible (certain group of players create their own rules/limitations to deckbuilding etc which makes the games more balanced).
Also when trying to play Online one needs to understand that the power level, skill level and the notion of fun (play style) is very different (pretty much the same is IRL but here it is more evident). This means that there will be those that ragequit, those that will utterly crush others with 'unfair' cards not even blinking an eye and those that will be nice, friendly and chatty or those that actually understand a game politics. This means that half of the games one might play may not be ideal. But after finding players you had fun with you can just add them and play with them without worrying that you will have to play against someone who will just kill you by turn 3 with his Animar or won't let you resolve a single spell while playing Azami, Lady of Scrolls.
During those days and nights I played EDH though I played more games that I really appreciated than I would have thought. I had fun games, I played games in which I could just watch my opponent do something since I couldn't do anything but was very nicely surprised that those decks were actually pretty cool. I also played very challenging games in which I just tried hard to survive and then later win the game. Yes, there were disconnections and concessions on the other side of the table but one needs to live with that. It's the internet where nothing needs to be personal. During that time though I found players I can play with casually and 'cutthroat players' as they are called that I can play competitive EDH. All is well! Now I just need to put together more decks and have more fun!
I smiled while playing, I laughed and I was taking screenshots quite often. So playing EDH Online is certainly worth it. Even if this would mean that you would build one deck and play with it from time to time. EDH games can get very strange and complicated and that's the beauty of it. Certainly worth playing at least from time to time.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Monday, March 21, 2016
This weekend there was an announcement from Wizards of the Coast that the Myr Superion bug should not be abused during MOCS Monthly Event. This once again raised quite some uproar among Magic Online players. It is not for the first time and probably not for the last time either.
There are two things discussed concerning bugs on Magic Online - ethics and legality (probably a strong word?).
When talking about ethics it usually relates to Magic Online's clock. If we manage to have Melira combo in play, should our opponent concede if we are running out of time and we don't have the time to win? I personally concede when I have no way of winning the game. Some people just press F6 and wait till they die (or don't). With this I don't really have problems much but I often see people just abuse some triggers just to time someone out and that is something I would consider unethical and cheating. Pressing F6 usually helps to prevent from timing out (or setting Always Yield triggers for that) but I guess not all the players actually use those and thus can lose a game just because of it. Did the player abusing the triggers cheated? Was it ethical? There is nothing that states that you cannot do this. Even stalling does not have a explanation anywhere related to Magic Online (it is defined in IPG but that is also not meant for Magic Online. Only the Unsporting Conduct part of the IPG could be effective for Online play since game play errors won't most probably happen and tournament errors neither). Anyway for me abusing some zero cost triggers or any other kind of triggers to time your opponent would for me go under the 'stalling' unsporting conduct infraction (and it obviously does for WotC as well). It would be nice to have some kind 'Stalling' definition though in the Code of Conduct because Magic Online play is different than paper Magic play.
Code of Conduct only states (something that could be related to exploiting bugs or timer on modo):
- 9. Do not attempt to artificially alter the outcome of a league, sanctioned event, or organized game. For example:
Bribing or offering compensation in order to change the game outcome; or
Stalling, spamming, harassing, or behaving in any unsportsmanlike manner that affects the game.
12. DO NOT CHEAT, STEAL OR DEFRAUD WIZARDS OR OTHER PLAYERS!
This certainly is not clear and each of us can have a different view on what this means. Even though Bribing, Stalling and Unsporting Conduct is described in Infraction Procedure Guide there is no definition of it in any of the documents concerning Magic Online not even a word about the fact that 'Magic: The Gathering rules (including the IPG)' should be followed. The Magic Online client is actually here to enforce the Magic: The Gathering rules and should do that flawlessly. The problem is that it does not always do it. In this case I think it would be good if Wizards of the Coast would actually prepare some kind of document with what is considered 'legal' and 'illegal' play. They give warnings to players or ban them when the players exploit bugs so WotC should be able clear some things up to some extent that are related to stalling and exploiting bugs. Even though for me what exploiting a bug is clear and I guess for many other players as well. It is not only on Magic Online that this happens and in other games such thing leads to ban. I still would expect WotC to give players a more clear description of what it is rather than just saying 'Do not cheat, steal or defraud Wizards or other players'.
DO NOT CHEAT, STEAL OR DEFRAUD WIZARDS OR OTHER PLAYERS
Because of these reports we have decided to suspend the corresponding user accounts. This behavior is a violation of the Wizards of the Coast Code of Conduct (http://company.wizards.com/conduct) and the Magic Online User Agreement and Software License.
This account has been disabled for:
Sometimes WotC bans a card to prevent users from exploiting it, sometimes they actually produce a hotfix (thanks so much for Containment Priest fix!) and sometimes we just have to live with it and wait till it gets fixed. We all assume that fixing something is easy and should be done immediately. In some cases it certainly should be fixed as soon as possible and we all experienced extended downtimes lasting 11 hours and more because something went seriously wrong. Those of us who played after the colorless mana was introduced experienced a wide range of mana problems (including the Myr) and many of those were not fixed yet. But it is your own decision if you want to play on Magic Online or not. If you can't live with all those bugs and WotC's way dealing with them, don't play. It does not help anyone to complain all the time. If you want to complain there is Wizards of the Coast Customer Support. You will receive a more or less automated message but be assured they actually really read those mails you send them and deal with the problems later.
I have a rather clear vision what I would want others to do or not to do when it comes to bugs on modo (or in paper Magic). But I can see that this is something personal and that is why there is a wide range of opinions on this matter which I personally find very strange. But since there are people who cheat on daily basis I guess I shouldn't be surprised...
The primary problem is that we play a game of Magic that alone ends when one player wins the game (winning the game is what matters in a tournament if one wants to place well). Even in real life many players do all they can within the 'rules and IPG' to win and some of those actions are on a border line of cheating/unsporting conduct. This includes tilting players for example or scouting or other means of finding more information about ones deck/the player or stalling and slow play (there are players that stall intentionally but were never sanctioned for it). Even here we can debate whether such behavior is ethical or not and when it comes to Magic Online things are even more unclear.
So where does exploiting a bug fall? For me it falls under the 'Do not cheat' part since the point 9 has a bit of explanation and does not talk about bugs at all. Exploiting a bug for me equals to cheating in paper Magic.
Wizards of the Coast wrote this on their site, Magic Online and tumblr:
For the MOCS Monthly event this weekend, if you believe your opponent is abusing this or any other card bug, please notify the Digital Event Coordinator who is supporting the event. For other events, please contact Game Support.
What they wrote clearly shows that they consider playing Myr Superior for non-creature generated mana cheating.
If I see a player in Modern MOCS Monthly event play Myr Superion for 2 mana that come from non-creature permanents I would consider it cheating myself. Why? Because when entering this tournament I as a player should be aware what cards I have in my deck and what they do and I should know the most played cards in the format anyway. Myr Superion is one of those cards. Especially when the card is in your deck and you are the one playing it you should know its mana restriction! So playing the card for two (land) mana is obviously cheating to me. You wouldn't normally even try that, would you? Because IRL your opponent would most probably stop you from doing that. Magic Online fails in this unfortunately but that does not mean it should be abused!
The same goes to Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and Hallowed Moonlight example that was given by Matt Sperling on Channel Fireball. If one players loots with Jace flipping it and the other player plays Hallowed Moonlight in response it does not seem right to me. If there would be something else happening except this interaction to justify it (for example CoCo on the stack) I wouldn't have problem with it. If there would be only the Jace trigger and Moonlight I would see my opponent as cheating because he obviously is aware that Hallowed Moonlight effect removes Jace from the game (rather does not let Jace come back as Planeswalker).
When playing against someone who taps their Eldrazi Scion/Spawn for Convoke and sacrifice it to get one more mana does not necessarily need to be aware that this is not possible in paper Magic but there are certainly players that do it intentionally. There is no way figuring out who does that intentionally and who doesn't though. In the Jace example it is easier to figure out.
But there are cases which are not that clear at all and most situations for me would not pass as 'exploiting a bug' (and already the Jace example does not need to be so clear under certain circumstances). For example, as someone noted on pureMTGO, what happens if my opponent has Soulflayer that is supposed to have Deathtouch and Flying and I have a 5/5 Flyer that would kill him next turn? Should I attack or not?
I would attack (and that's what I did when I was in the very same spot) because we play to win the game and if the software does not allow us to play the cards correctly or take the correct action there is nothing we can do. If my only chance to deal with Soulflayer is to kill it in combat (the Soulflayer would have to chump my 5/5 Flyer) the game state is already altered for me as well. There is no reason to stay back and wait for my opponent to ran into my 5/5 Flyer. But I guess it does not stop there. When a card is bugged and it is a known bug I would consider the players to acknowledge that. For me it means not picking the card in FRF/DTK draft. And if I pick it I should not expect the card to gain the abilities since I know it is bugged in this way. Yes, sure I might not be aware of this the first time it happens. The second time I might say to myself that it was a coincidence but a third time? That's certainly a bug! Not to mention that this is something we can find out at the Bug Blog on Wizards of the Coast page (if I'm not mistaken it is even linked from the client itself). And if it is not listed I would report this as a bug. I feel strange after filing such a report but without this sometimes WotC won't even find out about some bugs. I don't know how many reports they need to amass till they start to investigate or deal with it.
Some people might find this approach unethical but both players are in a situation they can't really affect and make it 'right'. All they can do is play the game as the client allows them and that is why I wouldn't say this would be considered as 'exploiting a bug'. On the other hand if the player who picked Soulflayer does this several times in a row and asks for reimbursement several times because the card was bugged I would also consider this as 'cheating' or some other kind of infraction (fraud in this case). The bug is there for eternity...
I don't know why there is something like a Bug Blog, it is something I'd rather read when launching a newly downloaded version of Magic Online. Reading that is something that can help avoid strange situations from happening. We are not obliged to read it but if players would read it it would be better because some of the bugs or glitches can be avoided and it would allow us to actually deal with some of those (for example I was locked out of a tournament, but if I would have known about this issue I would probably manage to deal with it in those 10 minutes I have before it would drop me). In one week I managed to be a victim of all of the bugs listed on the blog. It was a very frustrating week^_^. If I would have read the blog though I could have avoided half of the bugs and my tournaments did not need to go awry.
You can blame Wizards of the Coast as you want but sometimes it would be nice if you could try to avoid crashing the client yourself. Many send me angered messages because they got the 'MainNavigation has stopped working' error which can be easily avoided.
Just my two cents about a relatively hot topic now...cheating makes me upset very much. I'd like to play a game I like and not need to deal with people who cheat. I don't like calling a judge, I don't like reporting people. Be nice to each other, play fair and help WotC find out about all the bugs there are.
Here is latest known issue I encountered^_^.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Monday, March 14, 2016
This Sunday I participated in Vintage MKM Series Frankfurt trial. Participating was more of an accident though^_^.
After one hour and 30 minutes being on my way to the site I wasn't too motivated to even participate in the tournament. On the bus stop though I met one of the participants. He talked to me! He was a nice guy telling me a bit about himself and made the rest of the trip worthwhile.
When at the site I wasn't decided yet if I would actually play due to not feeling well (the trip did not help). Since I did not expect a high attendance though I was more inclined to play, even if that would mean that I would be a playing 'bye'.
While waiting for our tournament to start I played a game of Legacy with someone who also needed to kill some time. While sitting down I realized that I left my playmats at home along with my Legacy deck (that I actually discovered after the Vintage tournment^_^). This revelation wasn't a good start of the day. So I took out a deck I let someone play with in a Legacy tournament the day before and asked the TO if I could borrow a playmat (thankfully he provided me with one).
After I crushed my poor opponent (running Death and Taxes) with a Stoneblade deck it was time to prepare a bit for the Vintage tournament. Everyone was writing down their decklists so again I freezed and wondered if I have a decklist (it was like 3 minutes before the tournament was supposed to start). Hopefully I made a copy of my decklist few days ago so I took it out, filled in my name, DCI number and whatnot and went to register fast (because yeah, why should one register when he or she comes 1 hour early, right?). While on my way to register I also realized that I forgot to put Force of Wills in the Oath deck so turned around and ran back. I gave the player those FoWs (he did not realize the cards were missing) and ran once again to the registration desk.
I prepared my URw Delver deck, life pad, pen and dice and waited for the pairings to be posted.
When pairings were posted this time without much delay I reluctantly went to check them out and went to find my opponent at table 1.
I knew that he was playing some kind of control deck with Mentor and Tasigur but at that time I did not realize that (I was too disconcerted). A thought that playing in the tourney was a bad idea passed through my mind since everything I tried doing that morning just went wrong because of me not remembering something...Anyway I tried to collect my wits and at least pretend that I play Vintage. I tried concentrating on simple task - play well.
In the first game we both kept creatureless hands with some cantrips and some counterspells. So we started with trying to play our Preordains, Ponders and Ancestral Recalls. An exchange of counters over some cards meant that we were soon out of cards and I lost the last battle since I obviously play less Flusterstorms than anyone else running a blue deck^_^. Then my opponent played Dack Fayden that I couldn't deal with at all and looted as much as he could. When he found Jace, Vryn's Prodigy I scooped since I wouldn't be able to deal with another Ancestral Recall and more looting and I expected that we would need the time to play remaining one or hopefully two games. He was surprised I scooped but we proceded to our second game.
This game was epic and took ages. After a while of playing cantrips and staring at each other my opponent removed some cards from his graveyard, tapped his Underground Sea and played Tasigur. My heart just stopped. I completely forgot that he runs the card. Not only I did not have any Path to Exile in my hand but I did not even have a white source. My opponent's worst card in the graveyard was Force of Will! So it was time for me to top deck two Bolts or PTE with a white source. And I also needed some counterspells to deal with my opponent's Force of Will and possibly another counterspell. Hopefully in three turns I managed to have everything I needed in my hand (counting with the FoW I returned + one counterspell). It would just cost me 5 cards to deal with one single card. Fortunately for me both Bolts resolved and my opponent was left with FoW and Sudden Shock in his hand (I put both cards in his hand so I knew about them). After this battle it was a staring contest once again. My opponent was ahead but I managed to draw Delver of Secrets getting rid of Sudden Shock so that when I would draw Young Pyromancer I could play it and create some tokens. He played Mystic Remora hoping I would let him draw few cards but he was mistaken^_^. Since both of us had quite some resources in play I could afford paying additional 4 mana.
10 turns later or so I finally found someting - Dig Through Time. I needed the card to resolve and I was afraid of Flusterstorm so I let my opponent draw a card and played it for 2 mana (he told me that he had the counterspell in his hand after the game). I also had Pyroblast if he would want to Force it and he did. So I Blast'ed the FoW and found a creature and hoped that my opponent would not draw anything to deal with it. He didn't.
After this long exhausting game in which my opponent was more unlucky than me we started a third game. I kept a good hand with two lands. But during the whole game I did not draw any other land and lost the game due to that. I really needed to Bolt a Mentor token but I couldn't since I needed more resources and then my lands were destroyed. The token killed me in the additional turns.
After this defeat I wasn't really motivated for another match.
I came to one of the last tables and was glad to see a familiar face from Belgium. I had no idea what he played and when he fetched for a Tropical Island turn 1 he confused me even more. He was running Mana Crypt and Sol Ring which suggested either Oath or some kind of combo deck. My hand containing Young Pyromancer, Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile started to look pretty bad. My Pyromancer though resolved and was soon followed by another so I started bashing my opponent with them. There wasn't much else I could play and hoped I wouldn't need to face Griselbrand or die to Tendrils of Agony. Later after a turn that started with Black Lotus, followed by a Tutor into Yawgmoth's Will I expected to be dead. My opponent was very surprised when his Will resolved. After ten or so spells I was almost willing to give up but then something unexpected happened - my opponent played Show and Tell. I looked at my hand containing Lightning Bolt, PTE and Delver of Secrets and put the Delver in play thinking that I can actually win this game due to my opponent's life total (not being able to use Griselbrand's activity, if the Show and Tell'ed creature would indeed be Griselbrand). My opponent put Griselbrand in play which relieved me. I tried playing one of my spells but it was countered (*facepalm* I forgot about the Will played few minutes earlier) anyway it resulted in a good thing because my opponent had to fetch and go down to 7 life. Next turn I swung for lethal not really caring about Griselbrand.
After this game I was glad that I decided to keep my sideboard the same way it was in the previous tournament where no Oath decks nor Dredge decks were present.
After the first game I wondered what I should sideboard. In the end I decided to put in Cages, Containment Priests and Wear//Tear (it could at least destroy some rocks if it wouldn't have Oath as a target). My opening hand contained Mox Ruby, Tundra, Containment Priest, Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile. My opponent played a land and passed. Next turn he played, Forbidden Orchard and Oath of Druid. I played the Priest EOT and after his reaction I was sure he did not have Abrupt Decay in his hand which was good for me. Next turn I drew Young Pyromancer and played it. I hoped to deal enough damage to get my opponent in Bolt range with the help of my three creatures now before my Priest would get Decay'ed. Few turns later my opponent hardcasted Griselbrand being down to 9 life already. I smiled because my hand contained PTE and Bolt and I was fairly sure that this combination would win me the game. I played PTE on Griselbrand, my opponent activated Griselbrand's ability and I bolted him in response. My opponent scooped telling me that I probably suspected he was on Oath even though I seemed not to know.
In game one I played Gitaxian Probe to see what I'm up against. My opponent's hand comprised of Timetwister, Brainstorm, Mana Crypt, Seat of the Synod, Force of Will and Mox Opal. Seeing that I play against Grixis Control did not really cheer me up. Against this deck the matches I won were due to my opponents' misplays. So I wasn't particularly looking forward to the match since I had no idea if my opponent is a good player or not. I already mulled and my hand had no disrupion and not even enough land. So I hoped that Timetwister would bring me better seven cards. My opponent played all he could + Time Twister. I was glad that I could shuffle my hand and drew new seven cards. Those contained 2 Dacks, 2 Fows, a land, Dig Through Time and a Mox. On my turn I played Dack Fayden that was countered by FoW, I tried playing my own and it ot Flusterstorm'ed. That seemed good to me because my opponent just lost 3 cards and was left with 2 card in hand and Sensei's Divining Top in play. Next turn my opponent played Tinker that I tried to counter once again and it was countered. Leaving my opponent with one card. He searched for Colossus and I looked forward stealing it while hoping that Dack would resolve. I played Dack and waited if my opponent would draw a card with his Top showing me FoW + blue card. But he did not do that and let my 'walker resolve. I gained control of Colossus and passed the turn. I expected my opponent to have something like Hurkyl's Recall in his deck but after he played his Demonic Tutor and did not really look pleased I realized that maybe he can't deal with this situation. He scooped, probably due to figuring out that he could have avoided this situation.
In game two while there was quite many people watching our game I kept a hand with two lands and Stone Silence. The rest was fairly irrelevant. All I needed was this one spell to resolve and I was fairly sure it would unless my opponent had 2 FoW and 2 blue cards. He started with Seat of the Synod (which made me smile a little bit) followed by Sensei's Divining Top which I did not approve much but I did not have Misstep to deal with it and I wanted to keep FoW for his FoW. Next turn played yet another Seat of the Synod and passed. I played the Stony Silence. He looked at the card puzzled, then asked me what it does so I said "Activated abilities of artifacts can't be activated". After some muttering about Seat of the Synod being an artifact, he used his Sensei's Divining Top and scooped with the words that he does not have nerves for this. Out of the crowd someone noted that Stony Silence wins games in all formats (Modern affinity player said that). My opponent then told me that he realized that he messed up and wished me good luck in the tournament. I told him that it was my first time that I managed to steal Colossus with Dack. I already managed to steal many artifacts including Voltaic Key + Time Vault in the same game (opponent did not even let me untap the stolem Time Vault *sniff*) but I never managed to steal Colossus till now^_^.
I became feverish while waiting for the next round to begin and even though I took some meds they did not kick in yet when the round started. I came to my table finding Niels Thiim there. This time I suspected him to run Shops deck since in the previous tournament it was full of Shops. He did not start with Mishra's Workshop into Lodestone Golem or Trinisphere or something so I was relieved. He had Phyrexian Revoker(s) though, Mutavault and Mishra's Factory. I had few Bolts in my hand already so I knew that I could deal with half of the creatures but I also needed to deal with the other two. I managed to play Delver of Secrets and flip it and later I managed to draw Young Pyromancer. I had to take a lot of damage before I could create enough tokens in play to deal with 3/3 Mutavault. I was down to 5 when I finally managed to deal with all the creatures but one Revoker and hoped that my opponent wouldn't draw anything that would change the outcome of the game in his favor. That did not happen so I won and it was time to sideboard all the artifact hate I had. The game was rather similar but in this case I did not have any Bolts. But I had one lone Ingot Chewer that I wanted to safe for a real threat. Soon I was facing two Revokers naming Dack Fayden and Jace, Telepath Unbound. I was taking damage from them because I knew worse cards could possibly follow. Tangle Wire and Smokestack would kill me at that moment so I kept a Volcanic Island and Ingot Chewer in my hand for that occasion. It came down to my opponent playing Tangle Wire, so I tapped my three permanents, played my Volcanic Island and destroyed his Wire. Then I just tried to keep my Delver of Secrets alive and countered all Dismembers that tried to take it down. My two cards and one life was a very low price compared to my opponent's 4-6 life loss and unresolved spell. I won later.
In round 5 I found out that I would have to play because there was top 4 and not top 8 that I expected (my thinking was a bit slow that day...). After seeing the standings it was clear that if Niels Thiim loses than one of as at table 1 and 2 won't make it. Niels conceded to Zuzy though so we all had to play.
I was pitted against Aggro Shops player this time. In game one I tried hard not to mess up but then I did not remove Triskelion from play while Ravager was on stack and that caused me to lose the game few turns later because I couldn't deal with 5/4 Revoker (drawing a land would make up for my mistake but I messed up anyway).
In game two my opponent had a lot of lock pieces but was unable to find a bigger hreat. I was staring at Revokers once again that 'needled' my Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. I had JVP in play along with Delver and hoped the card would flip so I could deal as much damage as possible. I had two Force of Wills in hand and few blue cards so I managed to get rid of the initial threats but soon I stared at 2 Spheres of Resistance and 2 Thorns of Amethyst. Playing a spell through that did not seem likely (I was actually glad the Thorns were there, it meant I probably wouldn't need to face something like Wurmcoil Engine or Duplicant...but who knows). But unless my opponent would have drawn Tolarian Academy he was stuck as well because his six drops were rather expensive as well. So it was a race of Phyrexian Revoker vs Delver of Secrets till my opponent played the Academy and produced 9 mana. With that though he played Hanagarback Walker - one of the least relevant creatures there is (unless Ravager would be in play). My Jace, Vryn's Prodigy role was clear now - block Hangerback Walker so I wouldn't die to it so that Delver of Secrets could deal the remaining 1 damage.
Maybe I should note here that I was not supposed to win his game. I could be stripped of all my red mana sources and in that case I wouldn't be able to win the game most probably. My opponent probably did not think about that so I was left with all my mana that I could use to play Treasure Cruise/Dig Through Time and Gush (as those were the only cards I managed to play through all those Spheres/Thorns). On the other hand I was supposed to win the first game relatively easily because I had few options how to deal with all the creatures. But I was under pressure and counted the artifacts wrong and lost because of that.
In game three my opponent started with Strip Mine and some fast mana, Revoker naming Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and Crucible that I countered immediately because I had no artifact hate in my hand. Then I tried finding some 'threats' so I could start beating the Shops player. He relied on the Crucible resolving though so the rest of his cards in hand were most probably thrash. In the mean time I managed to find Pyromancer and some tokens so I won soon after that.
I couldn't believe it but with 4:1 record I was in top 4. I came up second so I would face Zuzy (Mentor) in the semifinals.
We were moved to the feature matched area and could start whenever we were ready. I knew that this matchup would be unfavorable for me but I placed higher in the swiss part so I could start and that helped even the match up. What I did not expect is that my opponent would get mana flooded in a really extreme way. He saw ten lands and some Moxen during the whole game and couldn't in the end thus deal with my Pyromancer. He did not really keep much for his Mentor when he had it so I could remove it from the game and then just wonder what to do with one monk token (even though being aware that one top decked Ancestral Recall could be my doom).
In game two my opponent played about 6 cantrips including Ancestral Recall and found two Mentors. When he created a fifth monk token I conceded because there was no way for me to solve this situation. In game 3 I was on play once again and hoped to have Pyromancer in my hand already. I did not have that but this time it was my time to play few Preordains, Ancestral Recall and Ponder in which I found Young Pyromancer, Young Pyromancer, Path to Exile, Lightning Bolt and Force of Will. I put all lands on the bottom of my library (4) except 1 because I needed white source for the PTE. So I played my Pyromancer and hoped it would stick. It did. Since I already had some removal spells and counterspells in my hand I could possibly deal even Mentor and few tokens but not a full grip of rocks and Mentor. The Mentor came and I could even go through the Mentor and his tokens with my own tokens so I just attacked and attacked and later won (due to removing another Mentor from the game).
After this game a judge came to me and the other finalist and asked what we wanted to do. We both decided not to play and split our prizes. I got the bye since I already planned on going there to play (birthday gift). This means I officially won the tournament but we did not play for the win. If we would play though I would at least expect Tasigur this time because the finalist was my opponent from round 1.
My final record 6:1 looks way better than from the previous tournament which was lousy 4:3. This record though placed me in top 4 and I had to play all the games in order to end up in Top 8 so I kinda earned it^_^. I write more complex/official report for pureMTGO so when this gets published you can read it there. Both tournaments were really nice. The games were challenging and interesting and I even managed to do some crazy plays (my deck is not really good at that).
After the tournament I went to the local restaurant that serves very delicious meals and treated myself with some chicken soté. Then it was time to head home. Jan Macas offered that I can go with him by car to some place not so far from the flat I live in which greatly helped and I was very grateful for that.
So I'd like to thank all the organizators and judges and all the players that made this event possible. Also I'd like to thank to those who supported me and had more faith in me than I had in me.
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Monday, March 7, 2016
When I started playing Vintage on Magic Online I sometimes encountered a player with the username 'sodoyouwearacape'. He was a nice guy and was a witness to my deck having some nut draws in some games (which made him talk). When playing the Power Nine Challenge my flatmate made a remark about that username and it made me wonder why would anyone pick that as his username. But then I remembered that I've actually seen that somewhere in relation to Magic already. But I wasn't really sure where but I was too lazy to find out at that time. I was rather stressed during the event.
Some time later when looking up something about what defines modern Legacy format I stumbled on Titus Chalk tumblr blog at the address http://sodoyouwearacape.tumblr.com/. There was an excerpt from the book talking about BoM (Bazaar of Moxen, a series of Eternal tournaments that primarily Vintage players used to go to each year, unfortunately no more Vintage nowadays). I was fascinated by the writing and actually became interested in what the book is about because that is something I did not know at that time.
The tagline on Amazon or any other site offering the book though told me what it is about - it was about Magic (the game) after all. It is an unofficial Magic story and not only that. You probably know the story about how Magic came to be but most probably you never tried to imagine how difficult it was actually to make Magic work. I knew that it had to be a lot of work but I had no idea what that involved and I was curious how Garfield (and others) actually tested the game. This book cleared those things up for me.
And it does not end with the first commercial printing of Magic cards. The struggle continued for quite some time. It goes further through new sets, World Championships, Pro Tour, Magic Online and Magic economy.
What is unique about this book is that we see all this from the perspectives of the players and people behind Magic. We can see the whole picture and we read about personal stories of people involved and what drove them. Even this small peek is something that makes me go WOW. Not only many of us can possibly resonate with Titus's story (I'm not a person who'd be casting Kird Apes...though) but we can see how some Pros actually ended up on the Pro Tour and what it meant to them. We can see how the future-to-be designers tried to come up with a balance between luck and skill in Magic among many other problems Magic faced in its history.
The book also covers all the problems we face as players and topics discussed for years. From format changes, bannings, proxy cards and such and it gives some players the answers why Magic is what it is and why it is more about creatures than powerful spells.
I'm not entirely sure what to write more. Just read the book!. The book is written in a way that the reader does not need to know what Magic actually is, which is a feat in itself. Titus Chalk is a great person and I really appreciate that he took all the time, gathered the information and wrote this book. I believe it was one long but very interesting journey and I'm very glad that through the book I could be part of it. It is nice to know more about how the game we love came to be.
EDIT: There is an updated version of the book. It is named Generation Decks and is available at stores (Amazon in my case) since April 2017.
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 idea...it 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.
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).