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By: Kmaster, Kai Ruan
Sep 09 2010 10:34am
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The first four rounds were Standard. I played a version of Mythic similar to the deck I won the grinder with. The field seemed to be pretty full of Noble Hierarch decks and Jund, with swaths of Dredgevine, Valakut, and U/W piloted by different playgroups.

Round 1: D. Pantoja with Jund Sprouting Thrinax

Game 1: I mulligan to 3 on the play. None of the hands I had were remotely playable, and a 3 carder of fetch, Hierarch, Knight would be better than any of them. As it turned out my 3 was Noble Hierarch and 2 Conscription. I play no permanents, mostly because I can't, but also so he doesn't know what I'm playing and has to sideboard in the dark. I conceded in response to Blightning on turn 3.

Sideboard: -4 Sovereigns -2 Conscription -2 Pridemage -2 Jace TMS + 1 Sphinx of Jwar Isle +2 Negate +2 Flashfreeze +2 Mind Spring +1 Deprive +2 Oblivion Ring (Ring is good against Siege Gang and Sarkhan)

Game 2: I mulligan to 5. He Bolts my Birds of Paradise and can't Bolt down my turn 3 4/4 Knight of the Reliquary. The Knight in combination with Sun Titan eventually grind out his Grave Titan and Bloodbraid Elves.

Sideboard: -1 Jace TMS +1 Oust
Jace is weaker on the draw and Oust helps safeguard from the aggro Leech draw.

Game 3: I keep my 7 remarkably enough and my mana creatures get destroyed by double Jund Charm. Something I was not expecting and thus didn't hold up Negate on turn 2. I am one mana short of playing Sun Titan to stabilize the turn I die.

After that ominous start I took a brief walk around and found out most of my friends were 1-0 and that was a nice boost before sitting down for round 2.

Round 2: C. Whittemore with R/G Monument Eldrazi Monument

Game 1: I lost the die roll and get my Hierarch Sparkmaged. The loss of mana makes my Jace and following plays too slow to withstand his haste beaters.

Sideboard: -1 Sovereigns -3 Dauntless Escort +1 Sphinx +2 Flashfreeze +2 Oblivion Ring +1 Deprive

Game 2: I don't Flashfreeze his turn 2 Birds of Paradise as I think the only way I can lose is to a Sparkmage. He only sees three lands total in the game and would've cast nothing  for a long time without the Birds. I draw 5 lands and a Sun Titan and die to Vengevine, Elf, and an Eldrazi Monument that the Hierarch he cascaded into let him cast. My own fault I lost this game.

At 0-2 I need to win my next round to avoid playing Assassins at the next PTQ. It's a bit of a tradition in my local playgroup if you 0-3 at a competitive REL event you play tribal Assassins at the next one.

Round 3: K. Boggemes with U/W Gideon Jura

Paired against a Pro Tour Finalist in the 0-2 bracket. I guess that's Nats for ya.

Game 1: I take this game as his Wall of Omens fails to find his third land and he concedes.

Sideboard : -4 Sovereigns -2 Conscription -4 Lotus Cobra +2 Negate +1 Deprive +2 Mind Spring +2 Oblivion Ring +1 Sphinx +1 Jace Beleren

Game 2: We trade counters and Planeswalkers and Oblivion Rings back and forth for a while. I resolve Mind Spring for 5 instead of 7 to play around Spell Pierce, which was a mistake in hindsight. On the critical turn I play a second Knight into a Mana Leak instead of just leaving a land and 2 Birds of Paradise untapped. This allows him to Path my other Knight and kill me with Colonnade plus (Gideon).

Game 3: I have early mana advantage and I force through an Escort with Deprive and resolve an Elspeth. His Martial Coup is foiled by my Escort, and an Elspeth jump later I win.

Round 4: C. Dubiel with Jund Jund Charm

Game 1: He has a Putrid Leech against my War Monk and those two stare at each other. I eventually land a Sovereigns while he struggles to find sufficient pressure and removal.

Sideboard: Same as before

Game 2: He draws a lot of removal, including a Jund Charm that eats my guys and leaves him with Leech and friends. I succumb in short order.

Game 3: His turn 4 is attack me with Lavaclaw Reaches as my board is just lands since he's killed Knight and Escort and I have just a Bird. On my turn I play Cobra, Cobra, fetch, Time Warp. Then on my free turn play Elspeth and jump a Cobra and attack with both. He casts Jund Charm on his turn to Pyroclasm, and it is here that we both notice he couldn't have attacked with Reaches as he didn't have the proper activation mana. We call a judge and both get warnings and the game continues. The Elspeth eventually dies to a Blightning and attacks, but the second Elspeth I draw survives and teams up with Sun Titan to take it home.

At 2-2 after the first Standard portion all was not lost. My friends were doing well and I was still very excited to be playing at Nats. After a brief intermission while the tables got rearranged the draft started.

I was in a pod with Tom Martell, Matt Nass, and Luis Scott-Vargas.

Nice 2-2 pod.

I end up drafting a pretty insane U/B deck featuring triple Mana Leak, triple Azure Drake, Water Servant, and 2 Liliana Vess. The finisher was Stormtide Leviathan and the deck had a smattering of removal/tempo to not die.

Round 5: R. Kubis with R/W Canyon Minotaur

Game 1: He plays multiple creatures that don't breach the defense of Azure Drake and a Liliana Vess shows up after I've stabilized the board with blockers. He doesn't have enough pressure to kill the Vess so instead the Vess kills him.

Sideboard +2 Mountain (+1 Combust) -1 Island -1 Swamp -1 Rotting Legion

Game 2: I Mana Leak back to back Canyon Minotaurs as I was stalled on lands. I draw the 4th for Azure Drake on turn 5 and it holds off his Assault Griffin while Liliana gets to work on his hand. Stormtide ends the game shortly after.

Round 6: L. Scott-Vargas with U/B Cloud Elemental

Game 1: He plays multiple Cloud Elementals and I stare them down with Azure Drakes. Liliana forces a suicide attack, and he concedes in response to a Duress. He made the sick play of discarding (Reassembling Skeletons) to Liliana, which I made a mental note of.

Sideboard: same as last round

Game 2: I am very far ahead with active Vess and Crystal Ball and Sorcerer's Strongbox in hand versus a hellbent LSV. I tutor for a Combust and mess up mechanically and put it into my hand instead of on top of my library and get a game loss for drawing extra cards. Lesson learned.

Game 3: He has a fast Cloud Elemental start and has removal for my Drake plus Mana Leak for a Doom Blade I should have mainphased. This causes me to lose too much life too quickly and I can't stabilize.

I was disappointed he didn't make any puns during our match. Though he was very nice and mentioned he liked my name.

Round 7: L. Doty with MonoblackCorrupt

He had Nightwing Shades. I didn't have Mana Leak in either game and had zero outs to the card since it couldn't be Doom Bladed.

At the end of day 1 I was 3-4, which is definitely not where I wanted to be. But I had a lot of fun so I figured might as well keep playing.

We head back to the hotel before embarking on apPizza-finding mission. Back in the room Kurtis had ordered some pizza for pick-up from Little Caesar's. James, Matt and I embarked on a journey, got lost, and called Kurtis to get directions. We end up at a street corner where it was supposed to be, but there was obviously not a Little Caesar's there. A random person asks us if we need help since we looked lost. We asked him if he knew where Little Caesar's was. He told us it didn't exist, but he knew where Dominoes was if we wanted that instead. We explained that we'd made an order for pickup, and he asked us for some money for a sandwich. We gave him a few dollars since he'd provided us with good information. He then offered us weed, which we declined before heading back to the hotel. Turns out he was correct and there wasn't a Little Caesar's within 10 miles and google maps had lied. Sweet city, Minneapolis.

So after getting some food and making fun of Kurtis some more for giving us miserable directions, we went to sleep ready for day 2.

In draft 2 I drafted U/B again as I picked a Necrotic Plague very highly in pack one after Ari Lax raised my opinion of that card. Then I opened Jace Beleren pack 2 so was pretty much set on colors. The deck ended up decent with 3 Black Knight, some counters, and a few removal spells.

Round 8: J. Ellenburg  with R/G Awakener Druid

Game 1: I keep a slow hand and get run over by Awakener Druid and Sacred Wolf.

Sideboard: +1 Stabbing Pain -1 ?

Game 2: I start with Black Knight and Barony Vampire. When he attacks Garruk's Companion and 4/5 Forest into my team I don't double block the Companion, which is an obvious punt. He has the Chandra's Outrage for my Black Knight and Companion makes it through unharmed to get me for 3. I end up in a position with Black Knight in play, at 3 life, facing off against Awakener Druid and Forest. He attacks with both and I eat his Druid with first strike. It is all for naught though as he rips the Lightning Bolt to kill me.

Round 9: O. Turtenwald with G/x Whispersilk Cloak

Game 1: He plays some green fatties which I remove, he floods out terribly and I kill him with assorted random guys

Sideboard: nothing

Game 2: He plays a Spined Wurm on turn 3 off Llanowar Elf into Cultivate. I have Quag Sickness in my hand but decide to play Black Knight instead since I can play the 4th swamp next turn and kill the Wurm, playing around a potential Acidic Slime or Naturalize. Instead I am punished for my play as he plays Whispersilk Cloak and I die to four hits from the wurm.

Sideboard: I have nothing that can kill a Cloak, so I'm just hoping to mise a Duress for it. As such, no sideboarding occurs.

Game 3: I am pretty far ahead with Bloodthrone Vampire and Reassembling Skeletons (combo!) versus his Llanowar Elves. He rips Platinum Angel off the top and Cloaks it up. I have no outs and die.

Owen ends up undefeated the rest of the tournament and ends up in 20th place. Congrats!

Round 10: T. Ewer with U/W skies Baneslayer Angel

Game 1: He plays multiple Cloud Crusaders and a smattering of counterspells. I have a weak draw and succumb easily. I do note that his only answers to Black Knight appear to be Azure Drake and Ice Cage.

Sideboard : +1 Stabbing Pain -1 ?

Game 2: I get stuck on 2 lands for a long time while he plays two Crusaders. Then he stops playing spells. I destroy his Ice Cage on my Steel Overseer with Stabbing Pain, activating Overseer so it lives. he floods out terribly and his counterspells do nothing since I don't cast anything else and just grind him down with Overseer and Bloodthrone Vampire + the Reassembling Skeletons I discarded due to hand size.

Game 3: This game goes super long as I land an early Jace after missing a land drop. I manage to draw into Necrotic Plague, which eats most of our boards, but importantly kills his fliers and Blinding Mages. I cast a Duress, and after paying for Mana Leak, see Baneslayer Angel and Angelic Arbiter. So that's what an 0-2 deck looks like. I deck him with Jace the turn after he finally draws Aether Adept to get rid of Plague after Scrying with Crystal Ball and being +2'd by Jace the whole game.

After two pretty disappointing drafts, which were the result of my game play rather than pick orders, I kept playing to get back rating points so I can have some byes for GP's later this year.

Round 11: H. Grenfell with I don't remember.

I have zero recollection of this round. All I know is I won 2-1. Sorry!

Round 12: J. Martinez with Monored Ball Lightning

Game 1 and 2 were basically the same. He played a Goblin Guide on 1, burned anything that blocked, played some Hellsparks and Ball Lightnings, then domed my for around 8. The lack of War Monks really hurt in this matchup since I had to leave in Pridemages just to block Goblin Guides and didn't have any better options.

Round 13: R. Hoffman with U/W Jace Beleren

Ryan was a pretty cool guy, and we chatted during the games. Usually I'm very silent while playing competitively, but at x-7 there's really nothing at stake. It was a pretty enjoyable match.

Game 1: I did what my deck does against his deck and played an Elspeth on 3, Pridemage your Oblivion Ring on 4, kill you with Sovereigns on 5.

Sideboard: same as before

Game 2: I was always in control of this game as I had kept an opener with 2 Negates. I resolved the spells I wanted to, which involved Sun Titan getting back Jace Beleren that had been "legend ruled" by his Jace. I eventually played a Time Warp and won the game.

Round 14: J. Miklowcic with Valakut Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

The last round! This match determines whether I finish my first Nationals as a Pelakka Wurm or an (Island Fish Jasconius).

Game 1: I ramped. He ramped. My ramp spells cost less mana and could also attack. He had maindeck Acidic Slime to set me back a turn but I still got him with a Sovereigns after his desperation Summoning Trap whiffed on creatures.

Sideboard: -2 Pridemage -3 Jace TMS -2 Sun Titan +2 Negate +2 Flashfreeze +1 Deprive +1 Oblivion Ring +1 Sphinx

Sun Titan is bad in this matchup since it is all just about landing a Sovereigns before he can Primeval Titan me out of the game. Sphinx is better at grinding if necessary since it can't be targeted by Valakut.

Game 2: He is on the play and has Inferno Titan on 4 that I can't come back from.

Game 3: He doesn't main phase Harrow on turn 3, which costs him dearly since I untap and have Flashfreeze up after playing Knight of the Reliquary. This tempo loss sets him back way too far and I just attack with 6/6 Knights and they get the job done.

After finishing 7-7 I watched from afar my friend Michael Servis finish 10-4 Lord of Tresserhorn to get 18th place. James also finished 7-7 while Jeremy finished 8-6, which we now refer to as Rancor'd Akroma since there are actually no 8/6's in Magic...yet.

While I didn't play the best Magic of my life over the weekend I had a lot of fun at at the tournament, and had a blast hanging out with my friends and seeing some South Dakota friends too. I will certainly be going back next year even if I'm not qualified, as I can always win another grinder. :D And if I don't, the side events and PTQ's going on all the time are well worth the trip.

Thanks for playing.

Kmaster on MTGO

Clan TeamWild