May 25, 2004

Fifth Dawn Prerelease, Afternoon Session

Thanks to a quick final round in the first tournament, I had time to go off and find the convenience store (heck you wander around with your eyes closed and you'll bump into a convenience store in no time) for some badly needed refreshments. A bottle of watermelon juice for sugar, a couple of curry puffs for salt, and a big bottle of green tea (which seemed to be popular with the crowd) for the long battle ahead. There was one white guy (almost as many as there were girls) there, and I got to chat with him in English. Turned out he was from the Czech Republic here with his girlfriend while she studied traditional Chinese medicine. He was surprisingly un-bitter considering his circumstances, although he couldn't wait to be outta here by the end of the summer.

Opened up another amazing pack, featuring a Platinum Angel and Mindslaver in Mirrodin, and another Mastermind, Thought Courier, and multiple Advanced Hoverguards in Fifth Dawn. Was hopeful when the judge came by, but it turned out that it was the other pair at the table that got to keep their registered decks. I had to trade off with the guy opposite. Had a bitch of a time building as White was the only color that wasn't viable. Red was the backbone with my removal, Green had the creatures and a Tel-Jilad Justice, and Blue had the fliers, with a couple of Hoverguards and a Cobalt Golem. Wanted to splash Black for Terror and Irradiate, and throw in some of the spiffy new Sunburst cards, but I couldn't trim enough to incorporate the fourth color, the mana fixer cards, and the Sunburst stuff. I was a little light on creatures (although I got out a 3rd-turn, 3/3 Suntouched Myr a couple of times), but I had a ton of removal, with the T-J Justice and a foil Creeping Mold in green, a foil Beacon of Destruction, Pyrite Spellbomb, and Grab+the+Reins in Red. I actually left out a Rain of Rust which might be the first time I've ever left out a playable artifact-kill card in Mirrodin sealed.

The judges announced that there will be a T-shirt awarded for anyone who wins six matches combined from the morning and afternoon flights. That made me feel a little better when I found out I had the first-round bye due to odd numbers. I came all the way out here to play, not to sit around for another hour, but right now I don't mind a cheap "win." Got a chance to test-draw my deck a bit, since I wasn't really sure if I had the right build. Chatted with the local crack... I mean card, dealer, who came back to Taiwan from the US and managed to catch up enough Chinese to test into National Taiwan University, so mad props to him. Finally picked up a set of Skullclamps, a mandatory card in Type 2 right now.

So I finally get to play and I find myself faced with a sealed-deck player's worst nightmare, facing an opponent with a flat-out superior deck. I know that you gotta believe you always have a chance to win and keep a positive attitude, but this was ridiculous. He mulliganed the opening hand in game one, but he recovered quickly thanks to multiple Scrying cards digging through his deck. He also built up his mana using Wayfarer's Bauble and Solemn Simulacrum. I dinked him a little bit early with some weenies and a Viridian Longbow, but once he ramped up he started dropping bombs like Clockwork Vorrac, Quicksilver Elemental (which stole my Longbow ability to ping my own guys), Qumulox (so much for the flying plan), and Looming Hoverguard (the one turn delay was killer).

That was a bit of a bummer, but I figured that maybe I could take him if I get a fast start and he had a bad land draw. Well, I had to mulligan to start the second, so much for starting fast. He went Thought Courier, Scryed with Serum Visions, then did it again when he played an Eternal Witness, a.k.a. Regrowth Girl. He got out a Goblin War Wagon for offense, the Solemn Simulacrum for a land and a card, then a Myr Retriever to bring the Simulacrum back. A Tornado Elemental was just too massive for me to stop. The Thought Courier was just filling his hand with gas, so much so that he actually discarded an Icy Manipulator to the Courier because that was the worst card in his hand. Now that was deflating. The Crystal Shard (with the Simulacrum, or how about the Witness?) was just the icing on the cake, or the dagger in the heart, depending on how you look at it.

Well, that sucked, but that wasn't really a fair test since I was up against a very unfair deck. Third round was more like it, as I used my removal to maintain control of the game. First game, an Entwined Grab the Reins took his Fangren+Hunter to shoot down his Skyhunter+Patrol. That opened up the skies for my Hoverguards and the ground for my Tyrranax. Second game, he got out two 5/5 Skyreach Mantas (i.e. cast it with five different colored mana), thanks to the Wayfarer Bauble and Pentad Prism. Okay, so I guess Sunburst does work. Unfortunately for him, I had the Tel-Jilad Justice for one and the Beacon of Destruction for the other. Had answers for just about everything else, too, as I consciously slow-rolled him by staying in stand-off mode and maintaining parity with my kill cards. Won the war of attrition when I finally got better creatures (Tel-Jilad Archers and Somber Hoverguard) and steamrolled him.

Okay, now this is for all the marbles, or the T-shirt. Was up against red-green that seemed light on artifacts. Found out why when he dropped the Molder Slug. This was after he Shattered my Icy and regrew the Shatter with Eternal Witness. A Tel-Jilad Lifebreather meant that I wasn't going to be able to easily kill the Slug with damage. Had to chump block for a while (wasn't as if I was going to do anything else with my Myr) and ate some damage, but I finally got up to six land so I could play my Duplicant, which was my one trump card vs. the Slug. The Goblin Brawler held back his weenies, even though he had numerical superiority. But once the Slug was gone I had damage superiority through the air and easily outraced him. It wasn't looking too good in the second. I managed to kill the Slug, but he followed up with a Tyrranax and a Fangren Pathcutter. He'd also hurt me by Detonating both my Icy and my Goblin War Wagon. So I was going to start to have to start chump blocking soon unless I found an answer. Got the clutch pull with Grab the Reins off the top with exactly seven land to pay for the Entwine. The GtR combined with a double-blocking combo of Elf Replicant and Tel-Jilad Archer made sure that I took out both of his big guys despite Tyrranax toughness-boosting ability. Sure, it was two cards for two (I lost the Replicant on the block), but seeing his two big guns go down in an instant was killer. I plinked away with the Archers for a while, but he was starting to stabilize with more creatures. I found the Goblin+Cannon, but held off with it when I got the Beacon of Destruction, too. Did the math, blew the cannon to take out a blocker and him down to five life, then finished him off with the Beacon after I untapped.

Fifth Dawn Banner Yay, got my T-shirt, so I didn't have to come back to play in the third flight on Sunday. Not that I could go anyway because we were going out to lunch at 吉園, and it wouldn't do to blow off family, especially when it's also your boss. They even had multiple sizes, not like that fatass-sizes-only policy in America. One final picture in front of the pre-release banner, and I was out the door by 8pm. Hey, it really is like work.

Posted by mikewang on 09:35 PM