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By: stsung, Jaroslava Stefankova
Jul 13 2017 11:00am
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It's been a long time since I actually had the time to play in a Vintage Challenge. The past two weeks I didn't have any plans and my body wasn't acting up so I took my tix and used them to enter a Vintage Challenge.

Since the restriction I've been trying to figure out what to play and I spent most of the time meddling with Paradoxical Outcome. The decks I tried playing that were the most successful were Esper Storm and UB Tezzerator. The day of the Challenge I played some tournament practice games and faced Monastery Mentor. The games did not end up in my favor and I was totally crushed by this creature. It got on my nerves so much that I entered the event with Ravager Shops.

I had two versions of Shops - one containing Tangle Wires and one without them. The latter was showing more promise, or at least I felt more safe with it. As I was playing with PO decks I usually faced PO decks as well. When I switched to Shops I faced the same PO decks and every time I played Tangle Wire I felt like I could simply lose the next turn. I've also played many games against Tangle Wire with my PO decks and this is one of the things that usually helped me get ahead. That is the primary reason why I chose to play without Wires. The question was what to play instead of them. At first I wanted to play Fleetwheel Cruisers and Phyrexian Metamorphs but later I decided to try the Precursor Golems that people seemed to like. This card can put a lot of pressure on the opponent and provides more artifacts to sacrifice to Ravager which I found relevant several times too. Turn 1 Precursor Golem is pretty much GG against many decks. I liked the idea!

I also wanted to get rid of Hangarback Walker which was good only in a mirror match so I still had some slots open (I was constantly boarding this card out). I tried Coercive Portal and Wurmcoil Engine in the first Challenge. Wurmcoil Engine was more of a sideboard card and I had the urge to board out Coercive Portal in each game but there was nothing to replace it with. In the second Challenge I put in two Phyrexian Metamorphs that are more versatile.

Round 1 - UB PO
I kept a hand with Mox Emerald, Phyrexian Revoker, Phyrexian Metamorph, Phyrexian Metamorph, Mishra's Workshop, Thorn of Amethyst, Wasteland. My opponent was on the play and started with Mox Sapphire, Sensei's Divining Top, Tolarian Academy. I was thinking hard if I want to use Wasteland on turn 1 and let them play, but then decided to play 2 spells instead expecting the first one to get countered with Mana Drain. I played Phyrexian Revoker that got Mana Drained and Thorn of Amethyst that to my surprise got countered. My opponent was left in a top deck mode (with Top in play). The card that followed was Paradoxical Outcome and I was pretty much dead (Tendrils for 34). Wrong decision?

Next game I would be on the play and also would have Null Rod at my disposal. Null Rod, Foundry Inspector, Ancient Tomb, Mishra's Workshop, Ancient Tomb, Precursor Golem, Lodestone Golem seemed pretty solid. Since I usually need to race these decks I decided to play Foundry Inspector first. Either it would resolve or it would get countered which would be good in both cases for me. Next turn I could play both Null Rod and a Golem. While Null Rod was on the stack my opponent played Ancestral Recall and drew a card with Sensei's Divining Top. Null Rod resolved so I went with Lodestone Golem which should be enough to win the game. My opponent conceded.

In my first seven cards I had no means to play anything on turn 1. Six cards provided me with Strip Mine which was practically the same. Following two hands didn't contain a land or mana sources I could use to cast anything. I didn't like that. I kept Phyrexian Metamorph, Phyrexian Revoker and Precursor Golem though which were fine cards if I could only draw Mishra's Workshop. My opponent went with Paradoxical Outcome on turn 2 and turn 3. On turn 5 I actually managed to play Phyrexian Revoker with which I wanted to use to name Memory Jar. It got countered and it was followed by another 2 Paradoxical Outcomes and Tendrils of Agony with Storm 11. Oops, something went wrong.

Round 2 - Dredge (0-1) aka how not to play Vintage!
I was paired against a Danish player on Dredge who beat me last week (it was the first time I found out how it feels to get hit by Serenity when being on Shops). I was tilted after my first match, I switched decks last minute so this kind of scenario wouldn't be happening too often. The outcome of round 1 wasn't nice and I was certainly salty and needed to find my composure again.

My hand was ok. Wasteland, Strip Mine, Foundry Inspector, Wurmcoil Engine, Trinisphere, Lodestone Golem, Black Lotus. I played Lodestone Golem on turn 1 expecting to destroy Bazaar of Baghdad next turn and swing for 5. That went as planned and that is probably the only thing that actually went as I planned it. I hoped my opponent wouldn't dredge too many Bridges since I had no way of getting rid of them. While I kept this in my mind I ran into Narcomoeba creating a Zombie token for my opponent. Silly of me, were did I leave my brain? I played Chalice of the Void for 1 instead of Trinisphere that would solve all my problems (including Dread Return) and wondered what kind of an idiot I was with the spell already resolving. I made a mental note to play the Sphere next turn. My opponent brought Ichorid into play and attacked me for 5 creating another Zombie token. Well, my mental note was obviously not enough because I passed the turn after I attacked but at least I kept a creature that could block and die to a 2/2 Zombie. I played Walking Ballista for two and passed the turn being aware that I can die to Dread Return. Having Ballista with 2 counters should solve the problem though even not that efficiently and gracefully like Trinisphere. No excuse, I messed up big time. The game continued in the same fashion of me doing everything wrong. My opponent played Undiscovered Paradise (while dredging they found Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, Dread Return was already in the graveyard). I let my opponent put Ichorid into play but didn't make a stop before main phase and thus, well, as you probably already divined this resulted in me facing Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite since I didn't get priority when needed. I drew Tolarian Academy which meant I could cast Wurmcoil Engine though. After all my terrible misplays my only chance to win the game was my opponent running right into my Wurmcoil Engine. How likely was that? I remembered a tweet from earlier that day. Someone posted that they learned that Grave Titan had Deathtouch after blocking it with Emrakul. So while thinking of that and also secretly hoping Undiscovered Paradise wouldn't bounce back (which could probably be lethal for me since 4/3 Bloodghast and 5/3 Ichorid was a lot of damage to take - I was at 9) I just hoped for a miracle because my 'skill' was not obviously going to win me the game. Then a miracle happened. Undiscovered Paradise stayed in play and my opponent attacked with Elesh Norn which was most probably some kind of accident. I carefully blocked not to mess that one thing that could turn the game in my favor (I'd go berserk otherwise). Elesh Norn died and I got two Wurm tokens which won the game later. I knew that if I wouldn't compose myself fast I'd be on a good way to 0-6.

Mox Sapphire, Relic of Progenitus, Mishra's Factory, Wurmcoil Engine, Arcbound Ravager, Walking Ballista seemed to do something. All I couldn't stop was creatures getting out of the graveyard. I played my mana sources and wondered about playing Thorn of Amethyst first or Relic. Of course, my decision was wrong and I was punished for it (last time I did this decision on turn 1 and played my Thorn my opponent killed me that turn). Why did I decide to play Relic if the actual thought of playing Thorn of Amethyst actually passed through my mind? Anyway, my Relic got countered and suddenly I stared at a graveyard featuring Ichorid, Bloodghast and 3 copies of Bridge from Below. Not an outcome I envisioned. I got lucky though because I top decked Mishra's Workshop. This way I could kill a Zombie token while getting rid of the Bridges with Walking Ballista that would die in the process of killing that Zombie token. My life total was bound to be low after a few attacks of Zombies and Ichorid. That Workshop changed everything because I was able to play Wurmcoil Engine. This card doesn't really care about Serenity and was practically my only out out of the situation I got myself into. It still didn't look good though. There was still the possibility of me dying to a reanimated Elesh Norn which was very likely to happen. I survived that turn because Dread Return was in the 8 remaining cards (or exiled) in their library. This meant I could play Thorn of Amethyst to prevent that from happening next turn. I still could die to several Bloodghasts and Ichorids though. I top decked Grafdigger's Cage. I played Thorn of Amethyst since that wouldn't get countered by Mental Misstep and then played the Cage. The game continued on for a while since I was still facing 8 creatures but I won in the end. Not a win I'm proud of.

Round 3 - UR Control (1-1)
After that fiasco I couldn't afford losing. I couldn't let my fellow Danish player down.

I kept Mishra's Workshop, Thorn of Amethyst, Mishra's Factory, Precursor Golem, Trinisphere, Wasteland, Phyrexian Revoker. My opponent was on the play and played turn 1 Voltaic Key out of Volcanic Island which was rather fishy. I started with Thorn of Amethyst which would get likely countered so I could play Trinisphere or Phyrexian Revoker on Voltaic Key/Time Vault next turn. My Thorn resolved though. They just played a land and passed. That meant that I could use that one turn to play two cards costing two (Phyrexian Revoker, Arcbound Ravager) and next turn try to resolve Trinisphere. End of turn my opponent played Mystical Tutor for Ancestral Recall. This in a way was good for me since it meant my opponent was desperate for cards and they had to spend 2 mana to play the tutored Ancestral Recall. They played a land and Mox Emerald meaning that they could still Force my Trinisphere. This scenario though would mean that all the Ancestral Recall card advantage would be lost. I played the Mana Crypt I drew for the turn and Trinisphere. My multitabling opponent either stared at the card on the stack or was taking care of their Modern match. Waiting for that card to resolve was painful. After a while of me nervously staring at the screen, it resolved! I destroyed their Volcanic Island so I wouldn't need to face something like Dack Fayden or By Force and let them play. To add more pressure I played Precursor Golem and they conceded.

Game 2, I kept Foundry Inspector, Phyrexian Revoker, Foundry Inspector, Mishra's Factory, Thorn of Amethyst, Wasteland, Ancient Tomb. My opponent didn't do  anything but  just played some mana sources. My Thorn of Amethyst resolved the same way Foundry Inspector and Phyrexian Revoker did. Then my opponent surprised me by playing a basic Mountain. At first I was afraid of By Force but then I realized it would just destroy one card. Ingot Chewer followed and it hit Foundry Inspector. This choice was unexpected to me as I would most likely choose Thorn of Amethyst. Being hit for 7 from me each turn probably did not sound good either. I made sure not to play any land precombat main phase in the case of Hurkyl's Recall, attacked for 4 and played Null Rod. My opponent played another Ingot Chewer this time targeting Thorn of Amethyst. Since my opponent did not have enough mana sources to play Hurkyl's Recall I just played all I could and attacked for 4 (another Thorn of Amethyst and Foundry Inspector). I won.

Round 4 - White Eldrazi (2-1)
Next round I played against another player I saw in the Modern Challenge. I hoped the game would go a bit more smoothly because waiting with triggers/cards on stack was rather unpleasant. I had a very hard time concentrating and this wasn't helping. I kept a hand with Mishra's Factory, Phyrexian Revoker, Mishra's Factory, Phyrexian Revoker, Mishra's Workshop and Sphere of Resistance. I looked at the card on top of my library and had no idea what to do with it. It was Thorn of Amethyst which would be good to have against all the PO decks or Mentor for example. It would be bad against Shops or Eldrazi. I decided that winning game one against a blue deck was more important for me and decided to keep it on top. I played Sphere of Resistance turn 1 and passed the turn. My opponent played Plains and Black Lotus but fortunately for me no Thought-Knot Seer or Thalia came out of it (thanks to my Sphere I hope). I drew another Sphere. I played Phyrexian Revoker (naming Black Lotus!), being actually glad for having that card in my hand, and another Sphere. This way my opponent wouldn't be able to play any bigger Eldrazi and for a possible Thalia I had Walking Ballista. My next draw, was another Sphere of Resistance. I gladly played it and swung with my Horrors.

In the following game I mulled to 5. I wasn't particularly glad about it but my five wasn't bad in theory. With White Eldrazi one never knows though. The deck plays very differently depending on its draw. Sometimes it is explosive, sometimes it is taxing. I hoped for the latter. I had Mishra's Workshop, Foundry Inspector, Wasteland, Wasteland and Mox Sapphire. My opponent started with Wasteland. I played Workshop, Mox Sapphire and Foundry Inspector. If my opponent would decide to destroy my land the only creature I could possibly face was Phyrexian Revoker (I drew Walking Ballista). I played the Ballista on turn 1 because I could need the mana for something else next turn. Walking Ballista for 1 could deal with my opponent's two drops. My opponent didn't play a creature, just Cavern of Souls. I top decked Crucible of Worlds. I decided not to play it and destroy my opponent's land first. Next turn I played Crucible and wondered if my opponent would concede while being at 16 life still. They did.

Round 5 - UR Control (3-1)
Arcbound Ravager, Thorn of Amethyst, Lodestone Golem, Mox Emerald, Wasteland, Phyrexian Metamorph, Phyrexian Revoker is what I kept. I wasn't on the play so I didn't know what I would be facing. Eriksensei often plays very strange decks anyway. They started with Island and Sol Ring. On my turn, I played Phyrexian Revoker naming Sol Ring. My opponent played Brainstorm main phase which seemed relatively desperate and followed with Island. All seemed good for me. I played the Wasteland I top decked and stuck to original plan of playing Thorn of Amethyst turn 2. So far, so good. Next turn I messed up. I attacked with my Phyrexian Revoker right into Snapcaster Mage. This resulted in my poor creature dying but also my opponent having mana to counter my follow up. I shrugged and played Lodestone Golem knowing that if it would get countered I could just blame myself for it. Fortunately for me it resolved. The following turn I played Phyrexian Metamorph to copy my Sphere on legs. It didn't resolve. Thanks to Ancient Tombs I could play another one and it resolved. My opponent played a rather expensive Merchant Scroll and looked for Ancestral Recall. Since they didn't have mana to cast it, they played Mox Sapphire and passed the turn. I swung and wondered if I should expect Hurkyl's Recall since the tutored card wasn't Hurkyl's Recall. My opponent conceded though.

I kept Arcbound Ravager, Trinisphere, Mana Crypt, Ancient Tomb, Mishra's Factory, Foundry Inspector and Tolarian Academy. That was more mana than I certainly needed but it also meant I could possibly play Foundry Inspector and Trinisphere on turn 1. This was a risky keep. My opponent started with Island and passed. I top decked Thorn of Amethyst. I was very glad about that because I could play the Thorn first. I played Mishra's Workshop, Mana Crypt, Foundry Inspector and Arcbound Ravager. Ravager was there floating on the stack for quite a while so my opponent was certainly thinking about countering it with something that wasn't a Spell Pierce that I suspected at first. Ravager resolved. I played Thorn of Amethyst expecting it to get countered by Steel Sabotage, it got countered. My opponent played Ancestral Recall on their turn but obviously didn't find a land nor a mana source. They passed, discarding Null Rod. I played Trinisphere and Walking Ballista for 4 next turn and won the match. I couldn't believe it I was 4-1. I had the worst tiebreakers ever but it also meant that winning the last round I'd end up in the top8. I also noticed that I didn't even realize that my opponent missed a land drop and discarded Null Rod.

Round 6 - UWR Mentor (4-1)
My keep was a mix of creatures and Spheres which was good. I already knew I was up against Mentor. The only problem with my hand was that it featured 2 Ancient Tombs as the only mana sources. On turn 1 I played Sphere of Resistance that got quickly countered. Next turn I played Trinisphere that again got countered by Force of Will. My opponent was down on cards. They played Jace, Vryn's Prodigy off their two dual lands. I played 2 Foundry Inspectors and Phyrexian Revoker, not expecting another Force of Will. When the Force did not get cast, I named Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and planned to play Walking Ballista for 3 (had to save some life since I was down to 8 already) next turn and in the worst case scenario (Swords to Plowshares) I would have to kill JVP. I swung for 8. My opponent blocked with JVP and played Swords to Plowshares on my Revoker so I had to kill the creature (I wanted to save the counters for Monastery Mentor). I drew Arcbound Ravager next turn and played it. I didn't want to sacrifice it to put counters on Walking Ballista though and risked that my opponent wouldn't have any card triggering Prowess on their Monk (1 card in hand). I put a counter on Walking Ballista and shoot Monastery Mentor. It died. Then I attacked for 8 leaving me prone to Balance or Supreme Verdict (still had Mishra's Factory). My opponent played Snapcaster Mage to recast Ancestral Recall but obviously didn't find anything relevant and died.

I didn't like my hand containing mana sources and two Arcbound Ravagers so I took a mulligan. I kept a hand with two Spheres and lot of mana. My top deck was Walking Ballista which was a relief. My two Spheres on turn 1 got countered and my opponent played Merchant Scroll to look for Ancestral Recall. Since my hand was full of land and Walking Ballista all I could do was simply play the Ballista and a land. I cast the Ballista for 2 so I could destroy my opponent's land. They played Ancestral Recall and passed. My Mana Crypt started to be a problem. I was down to 13 and 2/2 Ballista wasn't particularly good at racing my Crypt (opponent had more life than me). Then Stony Silence happened and I knew I was not in a great place. I was still in theory wining the damage race with a bit of luck. But unfortunately it was not to be. My opponent was without mana sources, but had that Stony Silence and I couldn't draw or play anything to help my clock. I lost to my Mana Crypt on turn 10. It hurt. And I feared losing game 3.

I was sad. This game looked so good! Was I too greedy playing two Spheres turn 1? If the chances for my Sphere number 1 to resolve was more or less 61 percent, how likely Sphere number two was to resolve?

My game 3 hand was strange. Game 1 I'd just click on mulligan. Game 3 and on play I kept it - Strip Mine, Sol Ring, Phyrexian Revoker, Arcbound Ravager, Foundry Inspector, Walking Ballista, Sphere of Resistance. I played the Sphere and it resolved which was a good start. My opponent played a land and two moxen. I followed up with Phyrexian Revoker naming Mox Sapphire since they had that in play. I top decked Strip Mine and wondered for a while what to do with it. A Mentor deck without 3 or more sources against a Sphere is not in a good position so I decided to destroy their Island meaning that in worse case scenario I'd have to play Arcbound Ravager or Walking Ballista next turn. That didn't sound that bad. I started to insanely top deck though. I drew Mishra's Workshop, then I drew Wasteland destroying my opponent's Tundra leaving him with only Mox Jet (in the meantime my Sphere got Fragmentized). That meant I could play Walking Ballista for 2 and attack with Mishra's Factory. I, ehm, failed at using the correct mana though so this plan didn't work out. But at least I had that Ballista in play. Next turn I needed to top deck any non-Workshop mana source and I top decked Tolarian Academy - the best one in my deck! I felt bad for this top deck. I shoot my opponent's JVP, swung and started sacrificing my artifacts so I could finish my opponent off with Walking Ballista. They conceded.

I made top 8! Somehow, after a totally messed up match 1 and making a total fool out of myself in round 2.

Round 7 - Ravager Shops (5-1)
This game was too painful for me to play. It was past midnight and I had a hard time concentrating. My opponent was on Ravager Shops and started with Thorn of Amethyst and Arcbound Ravager on turn 1. That meant that I couldn't play the same spells myself which was the original plan not knowing what my opponent was on. I stared at my hand for a long time trying to figure out if destroying their Mishra's Workshop could be a better play in this case. Usually it is not. I decided not to do so and played just Arcbound Ravager. My nightmare scenario of Walking Ballista that wouldn't even die happened. That dealt with my Ravager and all I could do was sadly stare at my opponent's board. My only chance was to play all kind of artifacts, Tolarian Academy and Wurmcoil Engine. My artifacts were rather useless though - Chalice of the Void and Thorn of Amethyst. This plan would also work only if I wouldn't get hit by Wasteland or Strip Mine or Phyrexian Revoker. My opponent played Wasteland and Phyrexian Revoker next turn naming Mox Sapphire. At this point I turned my brain off obviously. I played Lodestone Golem which I knew wouldn't really impact the board and passed which was a mistake because it cost me a land I really needed to keep in play to play Wurmcoil Engine next turn. This way I lost the first game. Kind of.

The game continued. I knew I screw up big time and had hard time focusing on trying to win the game still (it could still happen). I managed to get rid of my opponent's board. We both had a mana source and Mishra's Factory. I was though down to 6 life though and my mana source was Ancient Tomb. All I needed to win was to top deck any non-Ancient Tomb source. My top decks were Coercive Portal, Sphere of Resistance and Thorn of Amethyst. In the meantime my opponent produced Mishra's Workshop and Wurmcoil Engine.

While trying to take out Spheres out of my deck my client bugged. I got the very same sideboard bug I encountered in my last round against Rich Shay of the last week's Vintage Challenge. I wanted to cry. I stared at the grayed out Submit Deck button for a while and wondered what to do. That day when I tried to launch the client I spent 20 minutes trying to load it. A third attempt of that and yet another 15 minutes actually managed to get the job done. I couldn't risk that happening again because it would drop me from the event. I closed the correct window that wouldn't drop me from the event (took me a while to figure out which one to close last time) and tried my luck. I managed to sideboard and get a chance to win game 2. I was on tilt though quite seriously.

I kept a hand featuring Foundry Inspector, Foundry Inspector, Relic of Progenitus, Mishra's Factory, Phyrexian Revoker, Mishra's Workshop and kept Lodestone Golem on top for no particular reason (facepalm). I opened with Foundry Inspector and Relic of Progenitus. Next turn I played Foundry Inspector and Lodestone Golem. My first Foundry Inspector traded with Phyrexian Revoker. My opponent's turn 2 featured Precursor Golem and I wasn't really glad about that. I drew Wurmcoil Engine which resulted in me being even more tilted. I couldn't cast the card due to my Foundry Inspector being dead. I cracked the Relic and drew Precursor Golem - same problem. I didn't expect the game to go even worse. Next turn I drew Dismember which seemed as a really awesome card taking into account a board with 8 Golems. Also meaning that thanks to the two Golems that Dismember would cost me 4 life and 3 mana which I didn't have at my disposal. My opponent played Walking Ballista for 3 and destroyed my Mishra's Workshop meaning I was seriously doomed. I started trading Golems for Golems hoping to draw another Workshop. I ran into a problem with resetting blockers so I spent some time figuring that out - a sign of me obviously not being in a good shape. Next turn I drew Walking Ballista. I played a poor 1/1 and passed. I didn't really take the game seriously anymore and awaited my death. My opponent played Sundering Titan (using their two top decked Workshops). I was like 'WHAT!'. I hoped that my Dismember would still do something in the future that envisioned me actually drawing a land! Well, I didn't draw it. I drew a Wurmcoil Engine. I still could have possibly drawn Tolarian Academy which would allow me to play Wurmcoil Engine that could trade with Sundering Titan. I was far too behind though already. That scenario did not happen either and maegwiny won the match. My first drawn land was on turn 7 and it was Strip Mine. Too late. I chumped the overgrown Golem one more time, wished my opponent luck and finally conceded.

In the finals of the event we could see, yet again, a Mentor deck vs Shops. There were 12 Shops decks and 10 Mentor decks in the top 32. In the previous Challenge there were 15 Shops decks and 14 Mentor decks just for your information. Did the restriction help?

I received my PP and Treasure Chests then. I was feeling lucky and I was glad I amassed some PP for another event or two. I decided to open the Chests hoping to get at least even (so far it never happened, even though I did open some pricy cards already but I never got even in terms of Chests opened and the tix I'd get from what I opened). Anyway since last time my prize was Mox Jet costing more than 15 tix would make me happy. Right after I opened the items I didn't see anything worth any money but scrolling down I discovered Unmask and later a few pricy commons. This event in the end earned me 96.5 tix. That's the most I ever won in a big Vintage event placing 5th-8th because usually the prizes in Vintage events for these places are rather low (hardly pay the entrance fee).

As for me playing Shops and placing in the top8, honestly, it is difficult to say if this was deserved or not. I got a lot of support from fellow players that know me and many of those that previously saw me play Shops also tried to convince me that I play well. I know though that there are certain skills I haven't really developed over the years. I reach my limits when playing this deck which means that if I really want a good result in an event I still need to learn a lot or be lucky. Processing information when playing this deck is very straining for me. I admire my flatmate for this. He's a Shops player unlike me and has no problem playing with this deck and evaluating situations almost immediately. He uses intuition when playing and it serves him well. I do not trust my intuition (use it only to process a board state) and I need to see what can possibly happen in the following turns since this deck can't really smooth its draws. The number of scenarios though sometimes seems to be endless and it is something that ,makes me feels like my brain could explode. What for some players is totally straightforward, for me it isn't because I see too many possibilities and can't decide what's correct since I lack experience. Also this deck requires quite some heavy counting (primarily when facing creatures) and that's been my bane since forever. At school, I was always able to come up with a result for an equation or anything someone threw at me because my brain somehow processed it. When I tried to actually write it down and solve it I messed it up somewhere on the way. This doesn't mean I can't count damage I can possibly deal in the following turns and what I need to do to deal 20 damage but when the board reaches certain number of permanents and too many variables I can't process it. I know what can happen but can't get the right values for that. This is the primary reason why I'm not really the best player when it comes to creature decks. This deck needs to keep track of mana it can produce on a certain turn, and keep track of the same on the other side of the table (to keep it in check). This is something a blue mage doesn't really need to deal with. It all is linked to each other and if this balance is broken it can mean a really fast downfall for the Shops player. Many decks have some kind of a crucial turn. In Vintage it's rather a crucial amount of resources available and that is the only thing a player needs to keep track of. The constant checking of resources of Shops and a blue opposing deck is new for me and thus also uses up my energy reserves.

When playing a blue deck and watching the replays I know what went wrong and why. I also watching the replays later, when I'm not exhausted from actually playing, many things become clear. Watching replays of me playing Shops is different though. While I can observe outright silly plays (which this report is full of) there are subtleties I'm probably not even aware of. Sometimes my decisions can be silly from your point of view but may not be from mine because I actually followed some kind of logic. It may have been flawed but I followed something that in theory and under certain conditions could work out. Anyway, this report served its purpose very well because it helped me review my event and allowed me to ponder more about all the information I received during the event. I certainly learned a lot and for that I'm grateful.

In general I don't have enough experience with the deck in 6+ events to be able to say if my draws were rather lucky or not. I'm also a blue mage by heart and don't have enough experience with what can possibly happen in a game when being on Shops. I certainly didn't play optimally and luck was in my favor. It is difficult to say how the event would go for a better or worse pilot than me. How much different the games could have gotten? One day I might find that out.

My Vintage adventure was at its end that day but not my Magic adventure. This weekend there were prerelease events all over the world and I decided to participate in one of them (sleep deprived and exhausted). It was one of the best prereleases I participated in. Playing at table 1 and 2 for the whole event probably had something to do with it. I'd like to make one remark here. Since I haven't slept between the two events I was still in the same mind-set from the Vintage Challenge and believe it or not it was of a great help (compared to AER prerelease to which I arrived after I played UWR Mentor all night and was totally lost in limited since my Vintage mind-set was totally off). What I actually wanted to say or show was this though -> here's a photo from one epic game against Jan Ksanr (a name you might have heard already if you watch the Pro Tour scene). I knew that the game would go awry when Jan played Threads of Disloyalty on one of my mana dorks. This is how the game ended.

Thank you for reading!
S'Tsung (stsung on MODO and stsungjp on Twitter)

Decklist

2 Comments

"After that fiasco I couldn't by Paul Leicht at Thu, 07/13/2017 - 15:54
Paul Leicht's picture
5

"After that fiasco I couldn't afford losing. I couldn't let my fellow Danish player down." this line confused me a bit.

On to the rest, first of all grats. Second, stop saying you're not a good player. You're a great player. Better than most I know. You tilt like everyone. OK. No News there. You probably shouldn't play tired but you do and still win. You win whilst in pain. I'd say that's proof enough.

Shops is an interesting deck. Particular Ravager Shops and the new additions of Precursor and Balista make it more interesting. You made good decisions based on being cold to the deck, imho. Thanks for sharing the blow by blows.

Thank you. I tried to come up by stsung at Thu, 08/03/2017 - 07:39
stsung's picture

Thank you. I tried to come up with something meaningful to say but I failed...so thank you again for you kind words.