November 25, 2003

Faith In Humanity

JBidwatcher is a nice free program for tracking and sniping EBay auctions. Sure, it's ugly under MacOS X and slow, due to its Java-ness, but it works and it's free. Unfortunately, it doesn't display the detailed descriptions. Yeah, I should've checked it out in the browser window first, but time was running out and I needed to enter a bid. So I didn't find out why the Exalted Angels were (relatively) cheap until I'd won the auction. Turned out the dude was in Mexico. Was wary about sending $$$ to (literally!) a random Mexican for cardboard, but too late to back out now. PayPal'ed the money off and hoped for the best. Didn't hear or get anything for two weeks and I was ready to count the money as a lost cause. Finally get an e-mail saying that he was out of town during the time. Finally got the cards a week and a half later with a note asking for positive feedback. Yeah whatever.

I'd also got some Dawn Elementals via EBay (from the Phillipines, no less), but White Weenie just isn't a viable strategy when white control decks run 7-10 Wrath effects and there's no Armaggedon to slow them down. Decided to build B/G because I had an Oversold Cemetary, which was one more rare than I had for Goblins, plus I get some use out of my signed Phyrexian Plaguelords and black-bordered Birds. Got the rest of the Cemetaries plus another Baloth on Saturday, just in time to finish up the deck for Don's Sunday Type 2 at Balboa Park.

Don's just about the nicest dealer around. He's usually right in line with the EBay prices, with the bonuses of instant gratification and no S/H costs. He's also one of the few dealers who carries commons, which is great for someone like me who didn't buy into the last few sets. Unfortunately, his low prices also means that he often sells out of the good stuff. Could've used one more Baloth, but they were already spoken for. Luckily nobody was running Goblins, and it gave me another slot for random jank like Elf Replica. Had to trade away my Glimmervoid for a (albeitly foil) Caller Of The Claw, but I wasn't close to building an Affinity deck anyway. Really could've used another Caller, too. Thought about going U/W instead, now that I had all the necessary rares, but Don was all out of Rewinds, and you can hardly play U/W without the counters. It might be harder to find the common than the rares!

First round was against a regular playing a sub-optimal black Cleric deck. It was actually not a great matchup for me since my black creature-kill do nothing against his black critters, and Rotlung Reanimators turned them all into two for the price of one deals. The ground got stalled in the first game, my beasty Baloths and Vine Trellises against his Clerics and Zombies. I got the combo rolling though, as Plaguelords + cannon fodder eliminated his creatures, Cemetary brought more fodder back, and Fallen Angel flew over to win. He got his combo in the second, as he converted three Clerics into a Scion of Darkness which stomped me. I rolled him in the third with an early Persecute followed by Trolls and Baloths.

Went up against R/G land destruction, which is the flavor-of-the-month around here (hence the run on Baloths). He mulliganed, but I kept a five-land hand without much gas, so the LD didn't bother me much, but his Baloths and Molder Slugs sure did. I kept chump-blocking, but I never did get a Cemetary to start recycling (he had Creeping Molds anyway). Had a chance in the second game as I played first and had a Trellis to accelerate into a third-turn Persecute. Made a monumental mistake and called Green instead of Red. I was worried about big creatures and Plow Unders, but I had Terrors and Nekrataals in the deck for creature kill and enough game in my hand to survive the Plow. Sure enough, he only had one green card, but a clutch of red LD spells plus Starstorm. So he wrecks all my black mana, Starstorms my green critters away, and whips me while my black beef rots in my hand. That's what happens when you go to a tournament to play a deck for the very first time.

Third round was a counter-heavy version of Affinity (Asserts and Overrides, no Frogmites). Both of us start slow first game, as I had to beat him down with a Wirewood Herald. But he was building up thc artifact count, and soon he was dropping 8/8 Broodstars with plenty of mana left over to counter my Neks and Cemetaries. I brought in my full package of Disench... errr... Naturalizes and another Viridian Shaman to stop that nonsense. Had two Naturalizes and a Shaman in hand to open the second game, so I went LD with a second-turn Naturalize on his artifact Land. That wrecked him as he was stuck on a Vault of Whispers which didn't help him much, and definitely was no help after I dropped Glissa who ate it, too. His draw was just ass for the third game, as I dropped Baloths and Trolls for the beatings and he had no game at all.

Alright, that was a little lucky, but I'll take luck over skill anytime. Four rounds cut to top-four, so this was for the marbles. It was against one of the good teenagers who usually play solid decks. I may be a little biased in this case, since he was playing the same deck I was. Not quite identical, though. He had signed Cemetaries, I had signed Plaguelords. He had all-foil lands, I had black-bordered Birds. He was running Molder Slugs, I had Nekrataals. He presumably had four Baloths, I had to play with three, but I could squeeze in the Elf Replica. Basically, I was perfectly set up for the mirror match. When our Wirewood Heralds mutualed, all he could get was another Herald, while I whipped out the Replica. The Replica ate his Cemetary, the Nekrataal killed his Slug, and I still have my Cemetary in play to recycle both guys as necessary. I figured I'd still have an edge the second game, as I could bring in Naturalizes and a Withered Wretch (could've used another couple of these guys, too, but Don was out). Neither of us did much for a while, but then he busted out Visara. I'd sided out my Oblivion Stones, oops. Black flying 5/5 creature-killing beatstick = scoop for me. Put the Stones back for the third, including the extra sideboarded one. He must've sided out his artifact kill, as I was able to get out an early Stone and save my Cemetary and Plaguelord with Fate counters while blowing up his side of the board after he dropped the Visara. The Fallen Angel could fly over his guys and I had enough chumps to sack for the win.

Us top-four guys were happy to skip the playoffs and split the prize money. The $15 went right back to Don for more cards anyway, so it's all profit to him. Almost have all the cards I need. Yeah, that sounds like a pretty weak excuse.

Posted by mikewang on 02:02 PM