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By: runeliger, Sebastian Park
May 17 2010 1:38am
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It's been forever since I've had the opportunity to write up a tournament report. Too bad this is not said opportunity. I'm against the idea of writing a tournament report after you lose (spoiler alert. I didn't win an invite to Nats).  It is an opportunity for me to write an article. Been a while since I've done one of those (that didn't involve a microphone and a European). 

Having finished a year in college, I found myself in the somewhat strange situation of having a week to kill before National Qualifiers. So after a lot of testing I came to the conclusion that I wanted to play either UW Control or UG Polymorph. Too bad I'm still on the East Coast for work reasons.

No connections = no cards. Oh well. I decided to sleeve up Geopede Jund and head to the National Qualifier. Although it didn't work out and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone... here's a decklist!

Geopede Jund
Played at National Qualifiers - Connecticut by Sebastian Park
Creatures
4 Putrid Leech
2 Borderland Ranger
4 Plated Geopede
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Sprouting Thrinax
4 Siege-Gang Commander
22 cards

Other Spells
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Blightning
4 Maelstrom Pulse
12 cards

Lands
3 Mountain
3 Forest
1 Scalding Tarn
3 Swamp
4 Raging Ravine
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Savage Lands
3 Evolving Wilds
1 Terramorphic Expanse
26 cards

2 Consuming Vapors
15 cards
Plated Geopede

 

Anyway, I scrubbed out, losing to URW Planeswalker twice and Mythic once. The Mythic matchup is horrendous and the Planeswalker matchup requires an extremely aggressive start to get out ahead enough to make up for your lack of an endgame comparatively. But enough of that. I'm not playing Jund and unless you figure out a way to make Vengevine work in your deck, I wouldn't exactly recommend the deck to you either.

Anyway, CT Nat Quals was a fun event on the whole and got me some needed real life testing. That said, a few things did come up. The Connecticut National Qualifiers had 106 players, enough players to make it the largest National Qualifier in the Tri-state area, an area that includes New York City and Boston, if not the entire Eastern seaboard. That said, Connecticut only had 2 invites to Nationals. I feel Wizards should switch up how the invites are distributed to matchup to the number of individuals who attend an event instead of matching up populations. Unlike California where one can't get to any other qualifier within reasonable means (and if you're from Northern California, any qualifier at all), the tri-state area as well as most of the North East is close enough to each other that people choose to go to a National Qualifier of a different state's. Hartford, Boston, and New York are all within 3 hours of each other (with Hartford in the middle and New York and Boston 1 1/2 hours in the opposite direction). And considering Wizards doesn't lose any money by handing out more invites to Nationals, adding a couple more here and there wouldn't hurt. 

Back on topic. Although I didn't do well enough to write a tournament report, do not fret! My loss means a win for everyone else. I managed to cover the top 8 of the National Qualifier and I have it here for you all! 

For those who are interested what the tournament was like. The field was 1/2 Jund (expected) and the top 8 was composed of 2 Jund decks (if you're half the field, you're bound to make an appearance), a Mythic Conscription Deck, Open the Vaults Combo (with Time Sieve and what not), URW Planeswalker, Blightning Deck Wins (Red Deck Wins with black for Blightning and removal), and a Grixis Control list (GerryT's control deck with Cruel Ultimatum). 
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 Top 8 - Noah Walker (URW Planeswalker) Vs. Peter Meyer (Open the Vault Combo)

So after 7 rounds and 106 people, the biggest National Qualifier in the Tri-state area, we have a matchup between two of the most abundant non-Jund decks in the format. 13-year-old Noah Walker made top 8 playing the difficult to play URW planeswalker deck. In his way would be Peter Meyer, piloting an equally difficult Open the Vaults deck.

As these two shuffled, Noah seemed confident that he would lose quickly in this matchup.

His deck seemed to agree as Noah takes a quick mulligan seeing only an Island, a (Tetonic Edge), and 3 Gideon Juras. Ouch. As his second hand doesn’t provide much more than that, Noah is already two cards behind in this matchup.  

Meyer opens with a Fieldmist Borderpost returning his Plains and then plays a Howling Mine turn two. A typical start for his deck. Noah cantrips with a Wall of Omens as Meyer accelerates by hardcasting a borderpost. Noah continues to draw more cards by casting Spreading Seas on Meyer’s lone Plains.  

With colored sources a plenty, Meyer casts a Jace, the Mind Sculptor and another borderpost before fatesealing Noah, putting his top card on the bottom of his deck. If anyone doubts Jace’s popularity and impact, look at this top 8. There’s at least a dozen of them if not more. That’s a lot.  

Anyway, Noah, pondering how to effectively deal with the Jace, goes into the tank before cracking an Arid Mesa to cast Ajani Vengeant, who taps down a Mistvein Borderpost.  

Meyer continues to draw off the Howling Mine before fatesealing himself, bringing the Jace to 7 counters. He ponders before keeping the card on top and casting a Time Warp targeting himself.  On his next turn, he fateseals himself again, bringing Jace to 9 and putting a card on the bottom of his deck. He then plays another Howling Mine and again Time Warps. .

On his third consecutive turn, he kicks an Everflowing Chalice twice, fateseals himself to bring Jace to 11 counters and casts his third consecutive Time Warp!

 Noah, unwilling to watch himself get Jace’d, asks to see Time Sieve. Meyer obliges and they head to game 2.

Noah seems clearly unhappy with his sideboard options in dealing with Meyer’s deck. He ends up bringing in his Kor Firewalker in hopes that the 2/2 would get there.  Meyer is a bit happier knowing that he doesn’t need Glassdust Hulk to win. Jace, the Mind Sculptor can clearly get there (that and 3 Time Warps).  

While these two shuffle up, one can’t help but notice the appearance of Calcite Snapper in Grixis Control deck.  A  1/4 with shroud seemed to be stalling the Jund deck out. Oh that and Jace of course.

 Game 2 begins with Noah on the play.  5 seconds in, he’s already off to a better start as both he and Meyer keep their opening seven. Meyer begins with the same Borderpost opener, but his turn 2 Everflowing Chalice finds itself on the wrong end of a Negate.

Furthering his mana denial plan, Noah untaps and Oblivion Rings the Fieldmist Borderpost. Meyer responds by playing another borderpost. However, Noah has a plan. He plays an Ajani Vengeant and taps down the newly played borderpost. Although Meyer manages to tap to play Prophetic Prism, Noah continues to destroy his mana by playing a second Oblivion Ring on the second Borderpost and tapping down the Plains.  

Stuck on two lands, Meyer jokes “End of Turn, I do nothing.” The next turn he finally draws a land and plays a third borderpost. Noah decides to get aggressive and puts a Kor Firewalker into play, joining an Ajani ready to ultimate with seven counters.  Meyer responds with his own Kor Firewalker, which elicits screams of “tech” from Noah. Meyer’s Firewalker decides to go on a Path to Exile, after which Noah’s Ajani blows up all of Meyer’s lands before the Firewalker attacks for 2. He then plays his third Oblivion Ring on the last borderpost, which brings shouts of “FML!” and a game 3.

Meyer is clearly annoyed. He knows he’s made a play mistake and is hitting himself for it

In game 3, Meyer and Noah keep their opening seven. Meyer opens quickly by cycling a hulk, followed by a Wall of Omens and an (Everlasting Chalice). Noah can’t do anything but shake his head and draws a card by spreading Meyer’s land.

Meyer reveals a Tezzeret, but plays another chalice for 1. He then plays another borderpost and passes the turn back. Noah can’t do anything but play Spreading Seas on an island. Meyer bounces a Celestial Colonnade with Resounding Wave at the end of turn, which is met with a Negate, but taps Noah out. Meyer untaps and plays a prism then begins to combo by casting Time Warp on himself.  

On his second turn, Meyer, plays his previously revealed (Tezerret the Seeker), before casting a second Time Warp.

Noah’s had enough and concedes.

The match answered a couple of questions.

The matchup between Planeswalkers and Open the Vault? Nearly impossible for Planeswalker to win.

The playmistake Meyer made in game 2? He had Resounding Wave in his hand when Ajani had 7 counters. Ouch.  

Meyer moves on to the semi-finals while Noah walks away with a box of Rise of the Eldrazi.

--

 

Top 4 - Eric Mason (Blightning Deck Wins)  vs. Marc Blesso (Mythic Conscription)

Eric Mason, playing a RB blightning deck, opens quickly, fetching a mountain to play Plated Geopede. He then hits Marc with 3 after playing an Arid Mesa. Marc fetches an Island with his Misty Rainforest before playing a third land to cast a Knight of the Reliquary, currently a 3/3.  Eric plays another fetch land, sacrificing it for a Mountain (Geopede count 5/5). He then removes the (Knight with a Searing Blaze dealing 3 to Marc. Finally, he fetches yet another mountain, brining plated geopede to a 7/7, bringing Marc down to a mere 6 life.

Marc untaps and plays a Dauntless Escort and a Plains before passing the turn. Unfazed, Eric untaps and passes the turn? Marc breathes a sigh of relief playing a Baneslayer Angel with the hopes of stabilizing. Marc crushes those hopes by playing an end of turn Staggershock and a Burst Lightning to win the game.  

What makes this game so ridiculous? Eric had effectively mulliganed to 4, having had 3 Blightnings stuck in his hand. Not good news for Marc. Marc boards out his Conscriptions, a couple of (Dauntless Escorts), and Jace, and brings in his entire sideboard minus Mind Controls.

Marc keeps his opening seven as Eric mulligans to 6. Marc starts with a Birds of Paradise. His lucky bird survives the first turn allowing him to cast a turn 2 Dauntless Escort. Eric plays a Dragonskull Summit and plays Vendetta in hopes of killing the bird. However, Dauntless Escort sacrifices itself protecting the mana producer.  A (Quasali Pridemage) comes down for Marc after which he Negates Eric’s Blightning. The Pridgemage deals 3 before Marc plays a Lotus Cobra. Although the Cobra dies from a Burst Lightning, Marc manages to Negate another Blightning. A Noble Hierarch allows the Pridemage to take Eric to 10. Eric tries to stabilize by casting a mainphase Staggershock to kill the Pridemage, but a Gideon Jura comes down and the following turn, takes Eric to 3.

However, Eric casts a Searing Blaze to kill the second Lotus Cobra and follows with a Goblin Guide to join a Goblin Ruinblaster to kill the white planeswalker. The following turn, Eric plays another Goblin Ruinblaster dispatches a land and attack Marc.  At this point, the gracious Judge stops the match to issue game warnings for failing the non-optional Goblin Guide trigger. Don’t we all miss Magic Online at this point?

Drawing more mana producers, all Marc can do is sit and watch as a game that seemed out of reach for the red deck seems to have taken a turn for the worst. Eric plays his third Goblin Ruinblaster to destroy another land and bring Marc to 14. Marc continues to draw dead, playing a Birds of Paradise off the top of his deck, which is met with a Deathmark. Two attacks and a Blightning off the top later, Blightning Deck gets there.  

In news from the other table, Jund manages to beat Open the Vaults to get the other invite to Nationals.

Through a field of Jace, two red-black based decks won.

--

I hope you guys liked the coverage reports. Please let me know how I can improve so I can continue to improve my skills in this craft!

Oh and as a treat, here are the decklists of the two decks that got players to Nationals. Excuse the deck names. They named their own decks so those names are intact. 

 

 

Bloodsport Deck Wins
by Eric Manson - 1st Place Connecticut National Qualifiers

Creatures
4 Goblin Guide
4 Plated Geopede
3 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 (Kagan Dragonlord)
11 cards

Other Spells
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Burst Lightning
3 Staggershock
3 Searing Blaze
3 Devastating Summons
4 Blightning
15 cards

Lands
4 Dragonskull Summit
4 Lavaclaw Reaches
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Arid Mesa
8 Mountain
24 cards

Lightning Bolt

 

Anyway, time for a quick Props and Slops!

Props:

TJ Collectibles' Tom and Judy Shea for running an awesome tournament and allowing me to do coverage. If you're in the Tri-State area, check them out at www.tjcollect.com. Also thanks to Greg, Greg, Craig, and Jason for being awesome people and amazing judges. These people put a lot of work into this tournament and it showed in how smoothly it ran. 

Calcano and Chris DeRoche for actually winning their National Qualifiers. Sorry I'm terrible at Magic.

Red decks, for actually finishing your matches before Open the Vaults can finish a game.

Slops: 

Open the Vaults mirrors. Enough said. 

Me for forgetting that Eric Hadam's Brilliant Ultimatum actually casted Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Oops.

Thanks everyone for reading and hit me up at Grand Prix DC if you're there!

-Sebastian Park
runeliger AT pureMTGO DOT com
runeliger on Magic Online

5 Comments

One critique I have is that by Paul Leicht at Mon, 05/17/2010 - 04:09
Paul Leicht's picture

One critique I have is that you assume we know the decks of the competitors. Marc Besso's for instance with this line "Marc boards out his Conscriptions, a couple of (Dauntless Escorts), and Jace, and brings in his entire sideboard minus Mind Controls." This only works if you include the sideboard in the discussion so we know what it is minus Mind Controls he brought in. Not that it was relevant in the games but it is interesting info anyway. In fact being an antifan of standard in general I don't know the archetypes at all and would have liked to see all the deck lists mentioned. But alas I know that might be difficult unless they were published already somewhere else.

My condolences on missing the top spots. I was also a bit confused on where you thought the extra invites should go. NYC? Conn? Boston? Don't we (the east coast) get a lot of invites already? Or did you mean places in Cali where you normally are?

Thanks for the match reports. I know it is a pain to cover matches when they are fast paced and furious.

Haha fast paced and by runeliger at Mon, 05/17/2010 - 11:35
runeliger's picture

Haha fast paced and furious...

My apologies about that. I had to leave in a hurry so I only had time to jot down the decklists of the two qualified for Nationals.

In terms of the extra invites, the way the Californian Regionals worked the past couple of years is that they would have 4 invites and then have that number upgraded to 8 if a certain attendance number was met.

I feel such a system should be in place for the future.

Nice coverage. I would by one million words at Mon, 05/17/2010 - 12:30
one million words's picture

Nice coverage. I would agree that more decklists would help, but readers will never be satisfied until you type up every decklists played, along with full data on how evert list performed - and even then readers woudl be asking for the alternative lists players considered and rejected.

I did have issues with one comment: "Unlike California where one can't get to any other qualifier within reasonable means (and if you're from Northern California, any qualifier at all),..."

Ask Hamtastic how far he would have had to travel to get to a Regionals under the old system. Bemidgi to Chicago - the closest Regionals under the old system - is a 11+ hour drive. Sacremento to LA is 6 hours or so. CA had it great, now they have what the rest of us have had for a decade.

Just saying.

CA gets the shaft by edgibbs at Mon, 05/17/2010 - 20:28
edgibbs's picture

Under the new system I missed my first regional in years. I have a family and can't justify a trip to LA for a single day tourney. CA has 36 million people which is more than 10% of the US population and taking away our multiple regionals to replace it with a single 8 slot tournament in LA is a major shaft. Even the regionals in Sacramento regularly topped 200+. I'm fine with the at least one per state, but I think it makes a lot more sense to base it on population and have more than one in the large states.

i agree here. Even in NC by ShardFenix at Mon, 05/17/2010 - 22:47
ShardFenix's picture

i agree here. Even in NC there is normally only one to my knowledge, though it is not convenient to everyone. If everything was perfect there would be one in charlotte for the west half and one either in raleigh or heath's store(wink wink) for the east half.