My deck, for those of you who are unaware, is a burn deck with a black splash for Dark Tutelage and Go for the Throat. You can read up more on my deck here. And now then, on to the actual tournament.
Round 1- Sean Gao, Esper Cawblade
My opponent gets the play, and I get a hand with two Lavaclaw Reaches and a Dragonskull Summit which results in a Mana Leak for my Bloodchief Ascension. He follows up with a hawk, a Go for the Throat for my manland, and a Gideon on turn five. I draw nothing but nonbasics, and a Duress the turn after shows him a Koth, which he promptly takes out before beating me down with Gideon. I drew no threats other than the Koth and sub-par burn, and left my opponent very confused indeed as to what my deck was. He sides out most of his removal and we move on to the second game.
He's a total dude magnet.
In this game, I T1 Guide, T2 Duress and a Guide, T3 Duress and T4 Duress pick apart his hand and a Bolt finishes him off for the game. The removal goes back in and we move on to game three.
On the draw, I mulligan to six while my opponent T1 and 2 preordains with a Condemn for my T2 Goblin Guide. I resolve a T3 Dark Tutelage as my opponent gets his third Preordain and a Hawk. His continual tapping down lets me T4 Koth, and he gets SFM/Lifestaff to try and keep me at bay. I pop Koth's ultimate and drop a second one, then two bolts and a kicked burst finish the job after I untap.
He mad, bro.
Standings - 1-0 (2-1)
Round Two- Dan Phelan, RUG
I had no lands and mulled to six again this game, and I was on the play on top of that. As if the -2 cards was bad enough, my first draw provided me with both copies of Bloodchief Ascension, a card I only run two of for the sole reason that I NEVER want to get multiple copies. A wasted burn spell, drawing a Goblin Guide on T3, and a Lavaclaw coming in gets them both online, however, when my opponent is busy setting up with taplands and preordains. Even with the double quest online, he stabilizes at nine and I'm left with no cards in hand. He drops a Precursor Golem and I draw Lightning Bolt. Funniest win I've ever gotten with this deck.
Free hugs? Gideon wants in.
On the draw, I start off with a T1 Blackleave/Duress, revealing a Flashfreeze, an Explore and a bunch of lands. My hand has next to nothing in the way of win conditions and I'll need my topdecks to resolve, so I take the counterspell. He proceeds to go T2 Explore and Preordain, T3 JtMS (scrying and keeping on top), T4 Obstinate Baloth, T5 Obstinate Baloth, T6 Inferno Titan when I just draw land after land. I sigh, congratulate him for his luck, and he admits that it was a bit of BS as we move on to the third game.
I bet Gideon has a crush on this guy. Especially since they apparently come in +2s.
I'm forced to mulligan to six on the play yet again, but I see a board card that be a potential win if it sticks on the table. My opponent T1 Preordains while I stick my T2 Tunnel Ignus. He does get in for four before getting bolted, but my opponent elected to be a turn behind on mana as opposed to taking any damage. Of course, however, my opponent follows up the bolt with two Obstinate Baloths and two Inferno Titans. I had two Go for the Throats and a Doom Blade, so the second inferno sticks and beats me down to three. I have the burn to kill it, but there's a Raging Ravine sitting on the other side of the table and I just scoop it up.
Gideon thinks this looks pretty hot.
I can accept it when I lose because my deck didn't run well, because I know it was something I could have done differently cost me the victory. When I lose because my opponent just plays exactly what they need off the top of their deck, that's when it gets to be frustrating. When I lose, and there's nothing I could have done differently to change it, that's never fun. Well at this point, I'm on the bubble, and need to win the next four rounds to make top 8, with the possibility of drawing in that last round but not very likely.
Standings - 1-1 (3-3)
Round Three- Matt Rafferty, B/r Vampires
Round one was pretty tight, he starts strong with a T1 Lacerator, T2 Inquisition out a Goblin Guide (I had two) and drops a Viscera Seer, following up with a pair of Bloodghasts and a whole lot of beats. Eventually, it comes down to a play that was so close, I simply had to record the entire gamestate to remember this by.
He was at six life when I was sitting on five. He's got two Bloodghasts, a Pulse Tracker, a Viscera Seer, three swamps and a lavaclaw reaches. I have a Lavaclaw, four other lands and a Goblin Guide in play, my hand holding Dark Tutelage and a freshly drawn Kargan Dragonlord. If I drop either Kargan or activate the land to block him, I still go down to two life at the most, so if he sees a red source for his manland or a burn spell off the top, he has the game. And if that happens, all I do is put his two bloodghasts in his yard and wipe my board, with really nothing I could draw to save my life. My only hope is that I attack and he elects to block a creature, thinking I had a burn spell in my hand. With only one mana up after activating my manland, however, it would be impossible in Standard for me to kill him with a single card. It would be possible for me to have a Forked Bolt, however, but that would only stall for a turn if he didn't get a land by killing his bloodghasts, but to be fair he probably wins with a land anyways. Whatever the case, he stupidly takes my bluff and blocks both of my creatures, then draws into an Inquisition and beats me down to 1 life, then I draw my land and swing for game. We easily could have gone to game three on this one, but he screwed up and we didn't. It makes me wonder how long he'd been playing the deck for.
Sorry folks, but I like this guy, so no Gideon jokes here. Instead, please think of a certain attraction in Toy Story's Pizza Planet. The CLAAAAAAWWW. Made that joke a few times this weekend, mostly while one or both of us was eating pizza.
Into the second game, he drops a Pulse Tracker on T1 that lets my Goblin Guide beat through, revealing a Demon of Death's Gate, of all cards. It's official that this guy is pretty bad. He puts me down to 18 and then drops a Viscera Seer and a Pulse Tracker that quickly get Forked Bolted, before dropping my second Goblin Guide and beating in down to 14. He bolts one away and Arc Trails the other, but I drop a T3 Dark Tutelage and a T4 Koth, promptly causing him to scoop it up, revealing a hand of a swamp and two copies of that Demon. Admittedly it was pretty rough, but I could tell he wasn't going far in today's event anyways. As it turns out, he played me because of a R1 bye, and afterwards I almost felt bad for inviting him into that misplay. Whatever the case, a win is a win, and I move on to the next round.
This guy makes Gideon sad because he'd prefer the threesome.
Standings - 2-1 (5-3)
Round Four- James Wright, UB Infect
As far as I can tell, this guy had exact copy of Kibler's list. Only he got lucky as hell. I get things started with a T1 Guide, but his T3 and T4 Phyrexian Crusaders quickly put an end to my aggro plan. I get him down to nine life with the assistance of Dark Tutelage, but I simply couldn't hit any Go for the Throats and lose hard.
Gideon doesn't care much from black dudes, especially since he can't touch this one.
Game two goes pretty much the same way, with his T3,4, AND 5 Phyrexian Crusaders, alongside an Into the Roil for my 8/8 Kargan before he gets to make his trip across the red zone. I got a Go this time, but only one of them, and he sneaks across the table for a whole lot of poison. I draw one of the Brittle Effigies I boarded in, but only had four lands instead of the five I needed to cast and activate in the same turn, but he revealed Skitheryx coming down and I scooped it up. Funny, I seem to be losing a lot to players drawing large quantities of hate for my deck. Last time it was a crapton of Obstinate Baloths, this time it was a crapton of Phyrexian crusaders.
Gideon is into bestiality, but he can't take all those bones up his butt at once, so no love for Skittles.
At this point, I'm 2 for 2 and out of the running, but half of the group I came with is looking good for making top 8, and I like playing through it anyways, so lets move on to round five.
Standings - 2-2 (5-5)
Round Five- Brian Siu, Esper Cawblade
Definitely who I didn't want to see on the other side of the table, Siu is the man in these parts. A regular Top 8 contender in all the States and Regionals events, as well as whatever qualifiers or local events he happens to be a part of. I start getting my hopes up though, because I had assumed that he was playing (and running poorly) with some form of Cawblade, and the deck I'm using has yet to lose a full match to any variant of Squadron Hawk.dec in all the months I've been running it. Perhaps sticking around will give me a boost to my rating and make the $30 entry not a complete waste.
Mulling to six from a 0 land hand yet again, while on the play, makes me lose a bit of my confidence. Then his line of play goes T2 Stoneforge pulling Feast and Famine followed by T3 Hawk and Preordain and a T4 Jace. He got the nuts, and I most definitely did not. I did get my T3 Dark Tutelage resolved, but I never drew a mountain for my Koth and my first Kargan Dragonlord (on T5) got Go for the Throated, the second gets Mana Leaked. I draw a whole lot of lands and not ways to deal with the sword until eventually I lose my Koth, then draw six mountains in a row and lose the game to a Tar Pit on a sword. The one time that I don't want to see Arc Trails in this matchup, I have them.
Gideon likes the Tar Pit because they have so much in common, being creeps and all.
We go to game two, me on the play, and I've pretty much given up at this point. My hand, which I keep, has five lands, a Duress and a Koth. I cast the Duress, and my opponent kept a hand of five lands, a Mana Leak, and a Go for the Throat. He draws and goes T1 Preordain, T2 Squadron Hawk, T3 Stoneforge Mystic for Lifestaff and casts it, T4 flashes in Feast and Famine and starts with the beats. I drew three lands. FML.
The game actually didn't turn out as bad as it could have been, I had resolved the T4 Koth and started beating face, he actually got through three times bringing my opponent down to 7 life. I start drawing threats after a while, but for every threat I draw my opponent draws an answer, and quickly cleans up the game. I put him down to three with a kicked Burst Lightning, but I had too many lands and not enough burn, being unable to beat through with manlands because the Lifestaff would just counter out my damage output. If I ever had to lose a match to Cawblade, I'm just happy it was to him, but I would have loved the win against him too. Eh, it happens.
I think you know where this is going. (Hint: up Gideon's butthole)
One of my pool, Andrew Kiwatkowski is about to draw into Top 8, so I'm going to be here for a while. It's time to sit down for round six.
Standings - 2-3 (5-7)
Round Six- Nicholas Gabriel, White Knights
Yeah, the deck that some scrub shows up with at FNM with Student of Warfare, Leonin Skyhunter, Strata Scythe, Knight Exemplar, Brave the Elements, etc. etc. He has the same record as me, and with no byes either, so I shouldn't make cracks at it, but I still don't feel good for playing this match.
He starts the first game with a T1 Student of Warfare that eats a bolt and wastes his 2nd turn. I drop a T2 Kargan Dragonlord and he has no answer. He drops a Skyhunter to block with. I drop Galvanic Blast, he drops Brave, I drop Burst, Skyhunter dies. I beat for two and use my third land for a Bloodchief Ascension and stick a counter on it. He drops another Skyhunter and Journeys my Dragoonlord, but I quickly just control the board with more kill and beat with a Lavaclaw Reaches for a total of 14 damage over the course of the game. I had control over his plays the whole time and there was really nothing he could do, especially after Bloodchief got online.
This guy is just too hot for Gideon to handle.
He sides out most of his removal, remembering how bad my manland was for him, and drops another Student of Warfare. I T1 Goblin Guide and he decides to beat me for three. I drop a Lavaclaw on T2 with a second Goblin Guide and at this point I know all of his plays. He thinks he can hold me with back with a Mirran Crusader, and don't ask me why he thinks I'll let him keep it. In either case, he actually attacks again and brings me to 14. I draw into Goblin Guide number three and bolt the Crusader, bringing him down to eight. He Journeys one and adds a couple level counters, but I kill the student and bring him down to 4. He drops a Knight Exemplar and a Strata Scythe, but thanks to my manland it's simply not enough to stop me. He laughs and says that he cut Day of Judgments out of his deck while boarding, but I reveal a Koth and a Kargan Dragonlord from my hand and the top of the deck and that quickly informed him that a Day wouldn't have helped him.
This dude is just too fast, Gideon likes to takes it slow.
Standings - 3-3 (7-7)
I'm definitely disappointed with how my games turned out, and the same thing happened with most all my games this weekend, so I don't look forward to what'll happen to my rating either. My constructed rating was just under 1800 coming into this weekend, and now I'm probably going to see a big decrease. Not that much though, since the esper player I beat and the infect player I lost to both made top 8. Andrew Kiwatkowski, the RDW player in my group, managed to T4 and walked away with $200, but there were no other success stories coming out of the weekend. Raymond Cipoletti spotted advantage in huge stacks of unopened packs of pokemon behind the counter, and turned about $25-30 in bulk rares into around $150 in pokemon product, with many of the cards likely to go up in value over the next few months, so a quick shoutout to him for that.
Come back next time, when I pilot the same deck at a TCQ on Saturday at the Game Castle next week, which happens to be my home store. There's tons of space, and we can easily fit upwards of a hundred players, so come one come all! In the meantime, check out Yo Mama on Facebook and Twitter to follow my articles and catch up on the latest Magic news. You can also find some of my articles over on mtgUK, a community site frequented by some of the best of the brits, so check them out too.