Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bryan Haak Owes Me a Night on the Town

This past Saturday, I was at a 1K qualifier at the home store, The Game Castle, in Londonderry, NH.  The list I took was a slight alteration to Super Saiyan Shock I decided to try out, cutting two Bloodchief Ascensions and two Forked Bolts for a playset of Inquisition of Kozilek, the two forks replacing BSZ in my sideboard.  The fact is that while FB is a great way to kill two birds with one card, Inq does manage to kill four. I haven't been running them mostly because Blackleave Cliffs is my only land that comes down untapped on turn one and taps for black, but helps to deal with swords and counterspells that the rest of my maindeck simply can't handle.  It even helps my Valakut matchup by getting rid of GSZ pre-board.  The only real issue with Inquisition is that unless I'm facing down Kor Firewalker or Leatherback Baloth, I'd simply rather have the burn.  It's just more versatile.  A lot of times I'm just sitting there, waiting to draw the last point or two of damage, and Inq doesn't help me get there later on.  There's also some times when I get absolutely no value from it, albeit rare but it does happen. Nevertheless, Inq certainly did its job today and could have netted me a slot in top 8.

I wanna axe you a question.

In any case, it's about time that I get down to the actual report. 82 players showed up, a little under what we had expected but considering how it overlaps GP Dallas, not a bad turnout at all.  Seven rounds of swiss also makes for a good day of testing the new changes and a good day for site content... except when this happens.

Round One- No show

A group of players arrived late to the event, but they had preregistered in advance and whoever set up the pairings entered them in anyways.  When they arrived, they had about five minutes to fill out decklists before being seated. The pairing next to mine showed up within ten seconds of getting a roundloss.  The seating a couple players over from me arrived about twenty seconds too late.  Mine was late enough that he elected to not even show up, a shame but it happens. I'll take the win, but I'm not really happy about it.

1-0-0 (0-0)

Round Two- Anthony Patronik- U/W Control (hawkless style)

This is a matchup I haven't seen in a while, and was wholeheartedly surprised by my opponent's T2 Spreading Seas.  Seriously, I haven't needed to play around that card in FOREVER.  Of course, playing around it would have meant nothing, since my opponent managed to cast three of them by the end of the game, and as if that's not enough he also triggered two Tectonic Edges to keep me off of my black mana.  I get an early Goblin Guide in a couple times, but he stabilizes at 15, and then knocks me off my black mana.  In comes Gideon, and since the three Go for the Throats in my hand can't be casted, I'm out of the game.

Jace can spread yo mama's seas any day.

Game two goes much better in my favor.  I get a T2 Kargan Dragonlord, bait out his Mana Leak with an Inquisition on T3, and resolve my Dark Tutelage on T4.  Kargan becomes an 8/8 on T6 and beats Anthony down to 5 when a Bolt/Burst combo finishes the job.

Game three gives me a T1 Goblin Guide yet again, keeping me informed on all of my opponent's topdecks.  He starts dropping those Spreading Seas, (T2 and T3) but makes one crucial mistake: He has yet to see a Koth.  When I resolve him on T4 and untap the only mountain I had in play OR my hand, he's all out of seas and all out of luck.  He stalls up the game with a pair of Tumble Magnets holding back my Koth and Kargan Dragonlord, but eventually I end up getting there and finish the job with a kicked Burst Lightning on the back of Koth's emblem.

Koth can burst yo mama's li- you know where this is going.

2-0-0 (2-1)

Round Three- Daniel Walsh- Valakut

The week before, this guy had made top 8 with Valakut at the qualifier in Manchester, and so I was not looking forward to playing the matchup.  It was time to prove if my deck can really play with the big boys once and for all.  I was excited, though, knowing that beating him will really let me recover the rating drop I suffered after last week's performance.

We spend the few turns playing cautiously, him on the play so I'm one mana behind.  I tap for the first spell of the game, Dark Tutelage on T3.  My opponent goes to four lands and drops two Lotus Cobras, only to watch me flip a Forked Bolt off the top.  I get a hand full to the brim with not bombs, but I start beating through with a Lavaclaw Reaches for a little damage before being bolted the next turn.  My opponent manages to get up to seven mana with having nothing to do with it all, hitting a bad clump.  At the same time, my DT is doing the job for him, and I manage to take 11 damage from four flips instead of the 4-5 damage I should have received.  He gets Valakut online the hard way while I draw my entire playsets of Dark Tutelage and Go for the Throat/Doom Blade instead of any gamewinners.  Finally I draw a Kargan Dragonlord and put him up to eight counters immediately, going down to two life before attacking for game with my human dragon.

Sometimes, Bob works for you.  Other times, Bob is a spy who was never really on your side.

In the second game, a T2 Duress (over inquisition) reveals an Obstinate Baloth, Primeval Titan, two mountains, a Pyroclasm, and a Harrow, which I elect to take because I needed to buy the extra turn without any Doom Blade effects in hand, nor any creatures to be Pyroclasmed anyways.  He topdecks another Harrow and puts me back to where I started, and I don't see any of my (now seven) black killspells over the next few draws.  He wins at 24 life.

Harro, u wantz moar manaz?  I givez u themz.

Onto game three, I get my T1 Goblin Guide and finally get some early pressure.  T2 Duress tosses a GSZ and reveals a Pyroclasm, which he uses on my lone Goblin Guide.  I then drop a second Guide and a Dragonlord from my tutelage-enhanced hand, a Koth following up after.  The turn he gets up to titan mana he also goes down to 1 life, myself at 14. I drop Tunnel Ignus, knowing that he has nothing but two Primeval Titans in hand.  He draws Inferno Titan and kills off two of my creatures, but without the ignus drop he could have finished me off with a set of Valakut triggers.  Happy with the results of the deck I hate facing the most, we joke about last week a little before I hand in the slip and check in on the fellow Game Castle players before the next round.  To my dismay, pretty much the entire troupe is at the most x/1 already, as if the day wasn't enough of a mixed feeling already.  In any case, it's time to get in the zone now that I'm climbing over the hump into round four.

Climbin in yo' tunnels and snatchin yo' wincons up.

3-0-0 (4-2)

Round Four- Jason Lemay- G/W Midrange

I laughed as I sat down at the table to play against him, having helped him out with his 75 the night before and in the hour leading up into the event.  Of course, this means that I also know his full 75, but I also know just how well of a matchup this is for him.  A Vengevine plan is hard for me to deal with, and although he'll never stick a Cobra to make the jump to midgame on T3, he really doesn't need to.  I have the advantage of knowing that he has a populated top of the curve, and without any of his mana fixers sticking on the board he'll have a rocky time getting to where he needs to be to cast Baneslayers and such on T5.

I start things off with a T1 Guide on the play to his T1 Birds and an Inquisition on T2 reveals a Tectonic Edge, Marsh Flats, Journey to Nowhere, Fauna Shaman, Lotus Cobra, ans Gideon Jura.  I take the Journey, hoping he goes for emptying his hand, which he does.  T2 Cobra into fetchland into Fauna Shaman gives me huge value out of my Arc Trail and keeps the pressure up.  Of course, my opponent manages to draw two Vengevines and a Sword of Body and Mind, a combo he uses to stabilize alongside the Gideon I had told him to move into his maindeck just a few hours before.  The extra burn I had to throw at Gideon ended up being burn I could have used to win, but the stream of blockers from his sword and the top of the deck let him stay safe at four life the turn he swings for game.

Check and mate.  Only, Gideon.

I get a T2 Kargan Dragonlord.  He goes Hawk on T2, Mystic on T3, and scoops on T4 to my 8/8 dragon.  Man I love that card.

The third game goes much longer to my dismay, despite my hand of triple Goblin Guide.  I have a single land to go along with three Guides, two Forked Bolts and a Doom Blade, not too too bad except that I don't hit my second land until T4 and my opponent gets the T2 Mystic T3 sword T4 Vengevine T5 Baneslayer Angel draw.  I manage to get him down to 9 before he cuts me off, but the backswing gets me in three hits.

Strength in numbers.

3-1-0 (5-4)

Round Five- Bryan Haak- Boros

Readers of this site will recognize Bryan Haak as being the player who initially put Dark Tutelage on the map for me leading the way to Super Shock back in October, and those who don't frequent this site will still know him from the title of the article, 'Bryan Haak owes me a night on the town'.  By the end of this article, you'll understand why I say this.

Game one is pretty tight, with me getting T2 Kargan and drawing into a T3 Guide while Bryan gets T2 Hawk T3 play/equip Adventuring Gear and beat for five.  He drops Koth a turn before I do, beating me for four and putting me an extra turn behind, fortunately I had two of them so it didn't force me to waste any burn but with him at 7 life at the end and me going to -1, it would have made the difference between a win and a loss.

There can be only one.

In the second game, he gets a T2 hawk play again ans I end up taking the defensive early on due to lack of bombs yet again.  He goes down to nothing in hand and slaps a collar on a Steppe Lynx followed by an Adventuring Gear, cracks two fetches and brings me down to two life and bringing himself up to 22.  He proceeds to draw lands, and I proceed to beat with a Lavaclaw Reaches for four turns.  He gets a Spikeshot Elder, but has four red sources instead of five and ends up putting me on one life before I finish him off.

There can be only one.

We start game three with seven minutes left on the clock, and Bryan mulligans all the way down to four, not that it matters thanks to T2 hawk all three games followed by two Stoneforge Mystics to recover all of his hand disadvantage instantly and then some.  I put him down to two life, but like him the game before, just can't draw the end damage.  He gets Collar on a creature and goes up to six the turn I draw a Burst Lightning, and we proceed to go to turns.  I apologize, I hadn't taken a lot of notes this game due to the time crunch, but I believe it was a Koth that he had manage to stick with the collar and puts me down to three by the end of the fourth turn.  I end my T5 and we end up going to time, me on 3 life and with a bolt sitting on the top of his deck.  Bryan and the horde of spectators all gaze upon me at once with their best puppydog eyes.  *sigh*

I'm already x and 1.  He's already x and 1.  We both lost our R4s, he has better breakers than I do.  If we draw, pretty much the only way that I make the cut into top 8 is if not only I win my next two games, but if all but one of my previous opponents win their next two rounds as well, very unlikely since one or two were bound to drop for side events before everything was over.  I had a one in a million chance of making it, but Bryan had a pretty good shot if I let him take the 2-1 win.  I did. *sigh*.  I wish I didn't.

-For the sake of this article, I'm going to list the deck's results as the actual results for the deck.-

3-1-1 (6-5)

Round Six- Eric Ferron- B/R Vampires

In Game one, he drops a T2 Bloodghast alongside T2 and T3 Vampire Hexmage, both of which killed to make way for my T4 Koth to which he had no answer.  Koth gets in there four times to put him at zero while I burn away any creatures he drops.

Wishes he was Hex Parasite *spoilers*

Game two gives him T1 Lacerator T2 Bloodghast T3 Bloodghast, not something I want to face, especially after a mulligan.  I end up emptying my hand to keep him at bay before dropping Kargan, but as soon as I get the 8th counter my opponent topdecks a Gatekeeper of Malakir and beats for lethal with Bloodghasts two turns of me drawing more lands later.

He'll stick his key in yo mama's gate any day.  You see what I did there?

I get the god drop of T1 Guide T2 Guide/kill and then just empty a hand full of burn onto him.  The guides bring him down to 14 before dying, but a bolt and three kicked burst lightnings do their job before he does me in.

I check in with Bryan only to watch him lose to Chase Genge, a local valakut player who makes it to the semis at the end of the day.  What makes things worse, my only actual loss of the day to G/W is about to draw his way into the top 8, going undefeated in the swiss.  My breakers have gone up, nobody dropped, and I actually have that shot at top 8 that I shouldn't have had in a million years.  Bryan Haak totally owes me now.

4-1-1 (8-5)

Round Seven- Josh Herr (Green Eldrazi Ramp)

We recognize each other but can't entirely place it, good for me that I can just check old tournament reports.  He was playing B/u Vamps a couple months back, I was playing -surprise- SSS.  He won, I remember as much as my only losses that day was to B/u and big red.  With that out of the way, we start into the first game.

I get my T1 Guide T2 Kargan dream plan, but he gets T2 Overgrown Battlements T3 double Wall of Tanglecord to hold me off.  He drops a Primeval Titan on the board and pulls some Eldrazi Temples, using his walls to give him one extra turn.  I beat him down to 5 life with a fully leveled Dragonlord and then he resolves the one card in his deck that he needs- Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre.  I have a bolt in my hand but draw a land off the top and that means I can't deal lethal.  I scoop it up and we move onto the second game.

Funny caption.

We get deckchecked at the start of the second game, and I laugh about how a completely irrelevant game gets a 15 minute time extension.  We use the chance for me to pull up my old tournament report and go more in-depth about that qualifier.  After getting our decks back and Josh ends up going to five cards, we proceed into the second of three.

I get my T1 Guide T2 Kargan play again.  He doesn't get three walls on T3, and his T4 Obstinate Baloth can't stop my 8/8 flying monstrosity.  Kargan wins so many games for me, it's not even funny.

He puts the 'super' is 'Super Saiyan Shock'.  Actually, that's a lie, he puts the 'saiyan' in 'Super Saiyan Shock', but you get the idea.

Game three, T2 Kargan.  Mmm.  I beat him down to 10 instead of putting him to 8 counters and cast Bolt/Bolt/Blast/Blast and end the game.  Then I sang TROLOLOLOLOOOOOO until he signed the results slip.  True story.

5-1-1 (10-6)

Even after playing the x/2s, my tiebreakers would have barely given me 8th place.  Assuming of course I had beaten the X-1-1s, but still.  A 10-6 ratio isn't the best, but gives me good hopes for SCG Boston on the 24th.  Still, I could have at least made the cut last Saturday and possibly qualify for the 75K for  Too bad for me, Bryan Haak happened.  And this is why I say that Bryan Haak owes yo mama a night on the town.  At least my rating went up 30 points after this weekend and literally just recovered what I lost last weekend.  Eh, figures. Everything just kinda balances itself out.

-Follow Yo Mama on Facebook and Twitter for news and updates.  Spoiler season is here, and I'll be covering every step of the way.  A wealth of tournament reports are coming as well with SCG Boston on the horizon.  Those with a vast sense of either imagination or cruelty should check out the HDC as well.  Last thing, a quick shout out to the Game Castle for being awesome.-

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