Thursday, September 18, 2008

Belgian Nationals, Part 3

Check out part 1 and part 2.

6. Veni, Vidi, Vici

One might think that I must have been feeling quite confident sitting at 5-1. Well, one would be very wrong. Unfortunately, my experience has thought me the difference between ‘almost there’ and ‘there’ is quite big in magic. Add to that the fact that, like I have already mentioned, I had hardly any experience with Eventide and you can understand that I was very cautious with getting my hopes up.

I start off the draft with Kulrath Knight and proceed to stay flexible with a Trip Noose. Subsequently I pick up a Gloomlance, Faerie Macabre and a couple of white cards in Inquisitor’s Snare and Niveous Wisps. The idea of monoblack forms when I take three Loch Korrigans over not much else. When I crack Incremental Blight in the second pack I’m only barely able to withhold myself from doing a lap dance. Bram Meulders (‘brother of’, lover of minerals and Marijn’s nemesis) then proceeds to ship me Kulrath Knight & Puppeteer Clique. I take the latter, figuring I already have a Knight and not much counter action (probably wrong? No clue). Afterwards I don’t get much else (Tatterkite, Good Old Ghastbark, another Macabre) but I’m really happy when I scoop up 2 Oona’s Gatewardens, as my curve until then appeared exponential. I had given up on monoblack at this point since I had nowhere near enough playables even when counting the white cards. Nevertheless, I should be awarded for drafting Zebra in Eventide, right? Yes sir.

Check out this beautiful odd-toed ungulate:

Oona’s Gatewarden
Nightsky Mimic
Sulture Spirit
Hag Hedge-Mage
Gwyllion Hedge-Mage
2 Faerie Macabre
2 Smoldering Butcher
Voracious Hatchling
Puppeteer Clique
Kulrath Knight
Old Ghastbark

Last Breath
Trip Noose
Inquisitor’s Snare
2 Recumbent Bliss
Incremental Blight

10 Swamps
8 Plains

Zebra! Yes, you're still reading a Magic: the Gathering article.

Bombs? Check.

Removal? Check .

Fliers? Check.

3-0? Check.

Round 7, Jean Philippe Skocek with Red-Green aggro
I lose the first to mana flood and, if I remember correctly, a particularly painful Gift of Deity. After I take control of game two fairly easily I crush his hopes in the last one with a well-timed (I crack myself up) Incremental Blight.

Round 8, Wim Depickere with Red
Wim lost the preceding round and is unfortunate enough to be paired against me. I win game one swiftly with a turn four ‘Supersize me’ Voracious Hatchling. The next game is even more ugly as I topdeck a land to be able to Gloomlance his Deus of Calamity … which joins my side the next turn to kick him in the nuts, thanks to Puppeteer Clique.

Round 9, Pavlos Akritas with Green-White
I draw all my good cards at the right time: Spectral Procession? Incremental Blight. Archon of Justice? Unmake. A frustrated Pavlos has no chance. Nevertheless, let me be so generous to share embarrassing moment #2:

Pavlos attacked with all his creatures on his turn so I can safely strike back with Suture Spirit and a Hedge Mage. That is, if he didn’t have a Safehold Sentry. Oops. Pavlos obviously calls my bullshit, untaps the Sentry and prepares to block. Trip Noose saves my creature but it’s too late to save my dignity.


Finally reunited with my precious red deck, nothing can go wrong now, can it?

Reunited at last.

Round 10, Gilles Grandjean with a red deck
I told Gilles I built my deck to win the mirror so he’s curious to see what’s up my sleeve. Unfortunately I don’t have any Mogg War Marshals in game one, but two Skreds are enough to seal the deal in a tight race. In the second game he has to mulligan twice and doesn’t really stand a chance.


Round 11, Sacha Bonroy with Elves
We take an intentional draw.

Round 12, Jurgen Cleuren with 5cBlink
All the blood drains from his face when I tell him I might want to play. After one minute of pondering my inner pussy rears its ugly head and I draw.


In retrospect, I didn’t consider all my options at the time: I could have conceded. I knew there was a big chance I would have to play Luis or Pascal in the quarters. Both are friends, first-class players and are packing relatively good decks against me. If I had conceded I would have ended up 3rd and this would pit me against Bernardo/Pavlos or Bram/X , which might have been preferable by a small margin.

In the end the top 8 looks like this:
1 Doise, Jan 29 RDW
2 Bonroy, Sacha 29 Elves
3 Grandjean, Gilles 28 RDW
4 Siron, Geoffrey 28 RDW
5 Cleuren, Jurgen 28 5cBlink
6 Da Costa Cabral, Bernardo 27 Reveillark
7 Meulders, Bram 27 Elves
8 Vieren, Pascal 27 Reveillark

7. Veni, vidi, edi
Saturday evening we have our yearly date with ‘t Fonduehuisje. I try to impress Pascal with my chocolate fondue skills in an eating contest, which has some effect as apparently he didn’t sleep from eating too much. Try to think out-of-the-box when looking for a way to win, folks!

8. Requiem for a Dream
I agreed with Pascal to exchange decklists since Christophe already told me some of his sideboard. I know, I have to work on that inner pussy. For reference, this is his list:

4 Adarkar Wastes
2 Mouth of Ronom
4 Mystic Gate
5 Snow-Covered Island
7 Snow-Covered Plains
1 Tolaria West
2 Aven Riftwatcher
2 Body Double
2 Kitchen Finks
2 Mirror Entity
4 Mulldrifter
4 Reveillark
2 Riftwing Cloudskate
2 Venser, Shaper Savant
2 Careful Consideration
3 Mind Stone
2 Momentary Blink
2 Pact of Negation
3 Prismatic Lens
2 Runed Halo
3 Wrath of God

3 Condemn
3 Faerie Macabre
2 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Pact of Negation
2 Sacred Mesa
2 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
2 Teferi's Moat

I must confess I wasn’t too happy to see Kitchen Finks *and* Aven Riftwatcher, Mouth of Ronom, main deck Runed Halo, and Teferi’s Moat. But despite all that I still estimated my chances around 40%.

In the first game we both have good hands and at some point he’s at 7 when I draw a second burn spell. He has two mana open and a Riftwatcher + Cloudskate in play so I play around Blink by attacking with my Demigod to get rid of the Riftwatcher. With the life-gain effect on the stack I throw the burn at him and the first one is in the bag. Pact of Negation. Probably wouldn’t have been so excruciating if I had thought of it.

For the remainder of the match I sideboard as usual against Reveillark (Macabres, Sulfurous Blasts) and add 1 to 2 Unwilling Recruits to have an extra winning condition against Teferi’s Moat. In between games I always shuffle my sideboard into my deck to annoy him. The smallest mental edge can do it, folks!

Too bad the remaining games weren’t that interesting as each time one player drew much better than the other, the end result being a 3-1 victory for Pascal. Perhaps I should have mulliganed a questionable hand in the last game (No action before turn three) but hindsight is 20/20 hence I have no regrets.

9. Aftermath
The good:
I’ve won four points and five boxes. I'm extremely motivated to do well at Berlin. I'm happy to have Pascal on our squad for Berlin and Memphis.
The bad: I’m still far away from those precious 30 points (13 to go) and I missed an excellent opportunity to earn a ticket to the US and play in the National team.
The ugly: 5 out of the other 7 decks in the top eight were >50% matchups.
Tired now,


Jan said...

all 3 parts were an excellent read
thx for the report

Pascal said...

very good read, thanks !

Geronimo said...

good read, thanx for Scarlett pick.... soooooooo hot