November 06, 2003

Magical Mystery Tour


Hit the Wizard of the Coast store in Mission Valley for Friday Night Magic and some more Mirrodin sealed action. Even with lighter post-fire traffic, I barely made it to Mission Valley in time. My red cards were real good, with Spikeshot and Megatog leading the way. Green had a bunch of Tel-Jilad dudes, but I had to go with the blue for a Hoverguard, a Neurok Spy, and the Annul. Didn't help that green didn't have any artifact destruction. 10 people playing, four rounds of Swiss, top-three get prizes.

I had both Shatter and Annul in my opening hand first game first round. My opponent kept counting his mana the whole game, so I kept holding back the Annul and a blue mana just in case. I was controlling the board with my Spikeshot Goblin and removal spells like Electrostatic Bolt and Pyrite Spellbomb as I ramped up the mana to cast Ogres and Clockworks. His Flayed Nim held the ground and a Shrapnel Blast to the dome hurt me. Finally he made his big move: Bosh, Iron Golem. Um... no. The Annul wrecked him and the Hoverguard finished him off in the air. Second game timed out as he had a slight, slight board advantage but wasn't going to come close to killing me in the extra five turns. Second round opponent busted out the Plated Slagwurm the first game. I busted right back with the Megatog with plenty of artifacts in play. I alpha-striked with the team and sacked the artifacts to the Megatog for just enough damage even with the 8/8 Slagwurm blocking the trampling Megatog. We timed out again in the second game, just as he played the Slagwurm. I could've stalled him out at the five-minute warning if I tried, but hey it's FNM (a K-8 tournament) for fuck's sake. I'd been playing mono-red the whole game, but almost was okay. He had three extra turns to kill me. I had one blocker on the board and needed to draw two more chumps for the Slagwurm, or an Island to play the blue chump in my hand. At least 12 outs left in a 25-card deck and I drew dead. Oh well, I stole the first game anyway as I just happened to have the Annul for his Pentavus, which would've won him game one.

Rolled my third opponent, even though he did manage to Soul Nova my Neurok Spy with Vulshok Gauntlets. Deciding move was the clutch Aether Spellbomb to bounce his blocker and swarm him under the weenie rush. Got whipped last round by a superior deck. As an 8/8, flying Skyhunter Cub wielding the Sword of Khaldra finished me off quickly first game. In the second game he got his Spikeshot, Megatog, and Leonine Sun-Standard while I got three land. Three bomb rares, plus good doubles like Spikeshot and Bolt. Whatever. At least I didn't play the guy who had three Terrors and three Arrests. No prizes for 2-1-1, but did buy a Chrome Mox that my last opponent pulled. Beats paying dealer prices.


Got up early and drove up to Costa Mesa for another Pro Tour Amsterdam Qualifier. Stopped by at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf store right off the 55 on the way to the Women's Club for a vanilla latte and a bear claw. Went with the red-blue plan (i.e. Spikeshot, Shatter, and fliers), with Mirror Golem and Pentavus as bombs, and a splash of black for Terror and Nim Shrieker. Ran into a buzzsaw in the first round. He used Forge Armor to sacrifice his Solemn Simulacrum to give his Spikeshot Goblin +4/+4, and drew a card in the process. A five-point pinger is pretty vicious. He Forged with the Simulacrum again in the second game, but I pulled it out with a Grab the Reins and a clutch Pentavus to stop his incoming Plated Slagwurm and fly in for the win. In the third game, he found a bolt to kill my Hoverguard, just in time to have the mana to cast Plated Slagwurm and an out-of-control Myr Prototype. That was too much beef for me to stop.

Rolled in the first game of second round. Yotian Soldier, Somber Hoverguard, equipped by a Leonine Scimitar punched through for the early damage. Just when he stabilized by killing the Hoverguard with an Archer enhanced by Predator's Strike, I busted the Mirror Golem, who walked in for the last few hits with Protection From Creatures. Had to mulligan to five in the second game, and his 1/1 Shaman smacked me down equipped with a Fireshrieker. Double-strike isn't too bad when it's only two points a turn, but I had to shatter the Shrieker when he played Fist of the Anvil, which would've been 10 upside the head. Built up enough mana to play the Pentavus to dominate the board, but he played a Tower of Eons with just enough mana to activate next turn for 10 life a turn. Ripped the Shatter off the top to end his hopes and dreams right there.

In the third round, my opponent got mana-screwed in the first game. To add insult to injury, I won with a Mirror Golem imprinted with a Looming Hoverguard that he had to discard. Had a great start in the second game with two mana-Myrs, a Scimitar, an artifact land, and a Nim Shrieker to take advantage of all my artifacts on the board. He had the bolt, though. So much for that. He wore me down with removal and a Hoverguard that I couldn't stop. Ran out of time in the third game when I had him down to five life with Spikeshot and Vulshok Gauntlets sitting at the top of my deck. Grrr.

In the fourth round, I ran into a good player with a good deck who's had terrible luck. He took a total of two points of damage in the whole match. Didn't help that I couldn't get more than four land in either game. Wasn't too happy going into the next round, and the first game didn't exactly cheer me up, as a Leonine Den-Guard equipped with three pieces of equipment made for a 7/7 untargetable attacker that didn't tap to attack. Couldn't find anything more than chump-blockers for that monstrosity. Second game went the opposite way as he had to mulligan and I rushed out with Myrs and a heavy-hitting Nim Shrieker. He couldn't draw mana and when he did play a blocker I stole it and threw it at him with Grab the Reins to end the game. Third game didn't go much better for him, as I was fast out of the gate with second-turn Gauntlets, third-turn Yotian Soldier (a tasty combo with the Gauntlets), and fourth-turn Spikeshot Goblin. I had the mana to attack with the equipped Yotian, move the Gauntlets to the Spikeshot for a five-point ping, then switch back to the Yotian so the Spikeshot could untap next turn. Five-point pings and five-point attacks ended the game quickly.

So if I could win the last round, I'd end the day over .500, pretty good for a PTQ. Ran up against a Caltech math grad student playing his first PTQ. First game went well as I rolled him with Pentavus and Mirror Golem. But he got the Den-Guard + Gauntlets combo in games two and three and I just couldn't answer in time. Losing to a grad turkey to end the day. Sucks.

We finished right around 6:15. Was just about to head out the door when I ran into Christa. She'd brought cake. Yep, Andrea's still in Finland. Wow, she has a baby now. Couldn't take the cake, since I was suppose to go down to Irvine to have dinner the uncle. Installed the Google Toolbar as a popup-blocker and set up the scanning options on their HP multi-function machine, while I was at it.


It was a long drive back to San Diego after already sitting on my ass for most of the day, but I got away relatively early so it wasn't hideously late when I got back. Skipped the Sunday morning farmers' market to finish up the deck for my first Type 2 tournament in 3.5 years. My white-weenie deck was pretty much set in the main deck, but I kinda threw together a sideboard since I had no idea what the environment was going to be like. Got off to a good start when my opponent was land short and only managed to kill a land before I rolled him with (beta) Savannah Lion and friends. Thought he was red-LD and sided appropriately. Turned out that he only had the one random LD spell in the deck, and he busted out the Sulfuric Vortex in the second game and he outraced my creatures with Vortex + burn. He surprised me again in the third game by busting out the Ensnaring Bridge, but he was stuck on three land with six cards in hand and I killed him before he recovered. The Bridge would've totally hosed me if he was able to drop his hand. Better lucky than good.

Second round was a more conventional R/G LD-beasts-control. Got around his early Vine Trellises first game with a Suntail Hawk wielding three Bonesplitters. I was land-short in the second game, but I had one and two-drops as I drew just enough land to stay ahead of his LD, while he was mana flooded without much gas. Didn't overextend vs. Starstorms and pecked him down 1-2 points at a time with Hawks and Lions.

My third-round opponent led with a Swamp and Blackmailed me. I had two lands, Glorious Anthem, and White and Silver Knights. Had to show him three cards that he could choose one to discard. With the Swamp on the table, I showed the two lands plus Silver Knight, which he dumped. Of course, it turned out that he was playing B/R discard-burn, and the pro-red knight would've been much more useful against his burn removal. The discard was annoying but not fatal until he dropped the Lavaborn Muse. 3/3 attacker plus three more damage from the low hand-count locked me up. Second and third games played more to form, as my fast protection weenies outraced his early discard and slower spells. He didn't like the Mask of Memory, either.

3-0 is a pretty good way to get back into the swing of things. Ran into the other 3-0 player, though, who happened to be one of the top-rated players in the World, mostly by beating us scrubs in local tournaments, a point or two at a time. He was playing a similar R/G deck to the guy in round-two, and I beat him the same way in the first game, flying over him with equipped weenies. But whereas the second-round guy sided in Shocks, he sided in Pyroclasms, which was a big problem. Couldn't quite find the Anthems to take my guys out of 'clasm range, and Second Sunrise wasn't a great play vs. his board sweepers when he could sack his Ravenous Baloths for life and have them come right back, too. In the end, it was the Molder Slugs that kicked my ass, eating up the Equipment and a 4/6 body that I couldn't outrace. Really could've used another Dawn Elemental in my deck as she was an MVP all day. The dealer didn't have any, though, so I had to stick a Tundra Wolf in the slot. Yuck.

Well, 3-1 still puts me in the top-4 anyway, and at least it means I won't have to play him again in the semis. Ran up against a kid playing the only control-ish deck in the field. He had a few white weenies, but backed up with Wraths and Angels. Ran into his maindecked Story Circle in the first game and we were in a standoff until he played the Exalted Angel with four Dragon Scales in the graveyard, which all came back onto the Angel to make her 8/15 with built-in Spirit Link. Sided in my Altar's Lights, but he had CoP: White (circle white? who the fuck plays circle white?), Worship, Wraths, and Oblivion Stones. All on the board at the same time. That was a little too much hate.


Went back the next night for their Monday-night draft. 15 people split into two draft pools. I picked up a good R/G deck with Icy, Bolt, Shatter, 2xDeconstruct, and Viridian Shaman. It's a little slow, no Spikeshot, and I had to go to two Clockwork Condors for flying power, but at least I had a Dragon Blood and a Forge Armor to replenish their +1/+1 counters. Lost to the good player's R/U/b deck with lots of artifacts and fliers in three games even though I probably had a better deck. Got steamrolled in the first game of the second round by equipped white weenies, and it wasn't looking good in the second game when he used Wurmskin Forger to give +3/+3 to a Skyhunter Patrol. I had the Clockwork Condor + Dragon Blood combo working, but the Patrol was 5/6 first-strike, plus he had two Soldier Replicas which could do another six damage after I block but before my creature deals damage. I was outnumbered on the ground, too, but I had a little more beef with my green creatures featuring regeneration. He was too cautious and held back with his monstrous Skyhunter even though I had to make my Condor x/12 before it could safely take out the Skyhunter + Replica team. Got the time to pump it up that high, which really locked the game up until I got my Mirror Golem, and the creature-protected golem walked in for the win. I got the speed-draw in the third game and rolled him. Third-round guy was playing mono-white. He'd get me down real fast real early but in the end he didn't quite have the gas to back it up and finish me off before I started dropping bombs. Highlight was the first game when he got me down to two life before I could stabilize with regenerating trolls on the ground and Blood-pumped Condor in the air. All I could do was to pump the Condor each turn until it got to 18/18 and I could throw it at him for the win with Grab the Reins.

Fourth round, I play a guy from the other draft pool. I thought they were suppose to be two separate tournaments. Oh well. Turned out he had the same deck as me, except he had all the good cards like double Fangren Hunters, double Archers, Spikeshot, and a Loxodon Warhammer to round things out. Cards that I never got to see because I was at the other draft table. That sucks. Held out for a long time with my Icy and Sun Droplet, but his deck was just way too much better. Blah.

Four Magic tournaments in four days and I bat barely over .500. So much for bumping my rating. Not sure if the entertainment value was worth the money spent, but now that I've bought the cards I might as well as play with them. This is starting to take time away from my 160GB Tivo, though. I don't think I'll be doing the weekend-binges anymore, considering that the next set of PTQs are Extended, and if the recent Pro Tour: New Orleans was any indication, Extended is a totally sick format right now.

Game 1

Nassif mulliganed his opening hand. On turn two, Schneiders played Damping Matrix, but Nassif countered it with Force Spike. He then untapped, played Talisman of Progress, and cast Mana Severance. Schneiders summoned Metalworker, and Nassif played Tinker. With three mana available, he was able to activate Goblin Charbelcher right away and win.

Nassif 1 - Schneiders 0

Jeff Cunningham, in another feature match- "Did you win?"

Nassif- "I got a decent draw."

Um, fuck that.

Posted by mikewang on 09:57 PM