PTQ Kyoto Pittsburgh November 10, 2008Posted by Norm in Shards of Alara, Tournament.
Tags: Magic: The Gathering, Pittsburgh, PTQ Kyoto, Sealed, Shards of Alara
This two weekends ago I participated in PTQ Kyoto Pittsburgh. I was joined by Rick and his friend Jeff who drove out from Columbus. I finished the day at 6-2 barely missing making the top 8.
Broodmate Dragon x 1
Carrion Thrash x 1
Court Archers x 1
Dreg Reaver x 1
Dregscape Zombiex 2
Elvish Visionary x 2
Incurable Ogre x 1
Mosstodon x 1
Rib-Clan Crasher x 1
Rhox Charger x 1
Thorn-Thrash Viashino x 1
Thunder-Thrash Elder x 1
Vithian Stinger x 1
Blightning x 1
Branching Bolt x 1
Dragon Fodder x 2
Magma Spray x 1
Necrogenesis x 1
Resounding Thunder x 1
Soul’s Fire x 1
8 other spells
Forest x 5
Grixis Panorama x 1
Mountain x 5
Naya Panorama x 1
Savage Lands x 1
Swamp x 4
At first I thought my deck was only so so. I didn’t think I had the right burn/kill spells, no Bonesnap, no capsule etc. I did have some great cards that when I got them made the difference. I think the key to making this deck work was not splashing a fourth color. I really did have good cards in white and really wanted to play Naya Charm. I felt that playing a fourth color would delude the deck and slow me down around turn three and four when I needed to be turning up the heat. This plan seemed to have worked for me. (If you really want to see the rest of my sealed pool. Let me know and I’ll post it in the comments.)
Round 1 – Game one I was totally mana screwed.I didn’t see or draw any green mana. I had great cards in my hand but no way to play them. I don’t think I even dealt one damage to my opponent. Game two I had access to all my my mana sources but was still feeling out the deck and I think I got my opponent down to 5 before he stabilized and we went back and forth there before he drew into what he needed faster than me. I loose the match 0-2. At this point I was feeling really low. My deck fell flat on its face two games in a row and I was really scared I miss judged my mana allocations. I was thinking about going to find some green to put into my sideboard but after consulting with some people decided to give it another go as is. I also wanted to add that match one I always have the nerves on edge I made a few minor missplays (and those add up) as well as loosing confidence in the decklist. Looking back I’m really glad I lost that match because it gave me a chance to chill out and find my groove in round 2.
Round 2 – I was still feeling a little unsure of myself but I had a good hand game one and went with it. My opponent didn’t seem very experienced and I’m really thankful I didn’t have a tough matchup because this is where I started to get things going. He was playing Red, Green, White and had the good Naya creatures. Fortunately my removal was able to keep his board clean and I smashed through for a 2-0 victory. Like I said before this match gave me a chance to see my deck move and work out that bad mana hiccup.
One other important thing happened after this round. I talked to Jeff who lost both games that round to Lightning Talons. I hadn’t previously considered Lightning Talons but I had two in the sideboard. I’m glad he mentioned this to me, because I started boarding them in and they made a huge difference in my matches to come.
Round 3 -My opponent was playing something similar to what I had, R/B/G. Game one I had the better creatures and was able to play Broodmate Dragon for the first time. Game two he gets out faster and has enough removal to power in for the win. Game three is the first time I get Lightning Talons on a creature we go to time but I’m able to finish him off before the turns run out.
Round 4 – I sit down across from a guys who is the chatty type. I was mentally really focused at this point and I’m glad I realized what he was doing from the start. Trying to take my out of my game play but talking about how I’ll smash him and complimenting everything I did (kind of annoying but whatever). Game one I had a great play unearthing two Dregscape Zombies and after attacking Devouring them with Thunder-Thrash Elder. My removal kept his big guys at bay and I dropped Broodmate Dragon turn six and he couldn’t answer.
Game two was really interesting. I side in Lightning Talons and we go back and forth a bit I’ve got the upper hand with creatures when he drops Sarkhan Vol. I thought it would be over at first but fortunately I drew Broodmate and played it my next turn. I thought for sure he would go for the dragons tokens (its what I would have done) but instead he threatens one of my dragons and I take the damage dropping me to 16. I play Talons on one of the dragons and smash him for 11. He threatens the big guy again, I take it and then he scoops. I thought this was a great matchup and game. While I didn’t like the mental game my opponent was playing I thought he was a good guy and I told him about Casual Magic.
Round 5 – I kept telling myself it was only going to get harder at this point and I wasn’t focused on my record as much as playing my best game. My opponent is paying W/G maybe splash red I don’t remember. I don’t think his deck is very good and I’m surprised he is also 3-1. He was basically doing exalted but it wasn’t a match for my red removal and bigger guys. I also played Necrogenisis game one and just flooded the field with too many guys for him.
Game two is a game I’ll always remember because it was the first time the head judge was called to one of my games. My opponent is getting mana screwed and I have good start so I’m hitting him with Elvish Visionary who is getting an exalted bonus from Court Archers and, oh ya, Lightning Talons. The first time I get talons on the elf he takes 5, he has Wild Nacatl and some other creature I forget in play. His next turn he drops Dispeller’s Capsule. I have Necrogenisis in had so to force him to waste the Capsule I swing with the Elvish Visionary for 5 again. He blocks with Nacatl, which is a 2/2 and before damage destroys Lightning Talons. I say OK put my creature in the graveyard and start to think about second main phase. I have a couple of options so I take a second to plan his demise, when I realize his Nacatl should have died during combat and it was still on the board. I tell him his creature should be dead because the elf had the exalted bonus. This is where he calls the judge because he felt we missed it and we moved the game forward. I’ll admit I didn’t announce exalted because one he took it last turn and I thought he was skilled enough to know what my cards do. Anyway the first judge doesn’t really know what to do but agrees that his creature should be dead. My opponent pitches a fit because he says he would have played differently had he known exalted triggered. So he calls the head judge. While I knew that I should have realized his creature was dead at end of combat I still felt the mistake was his. Anyway the head judge ruled that his creature should be dead and play continue in second main phase. No warnings were issues. I finished the match in a turn or two.
Round 6 – I’m starting to believe I could make top 8. I don’t think too much about it because the round started right away. This match was by far the best of the day for me and the most memorable. I’m playing against Mike who sat next to me during registration and deck building. He had driven overnight from somewhere in New York state to play and hadn’t gotten much or any sleep. I was hoping this would work in my favor since it had already been a long day and the best mental toughness was going to win out from here on in. Game one we are back and fourth with burn spells and trading creatures. I eek out the advantage and win game one without too much trouble. Game two was a battle and a half. He drops Sarkhan Vol turn 5 or 6 and I’m hard pressed to kill the Planeswalker. I eventually swing in with creature damage to finish it off when he gets an Algae Gharial in play. I have Necrogenisis and I’m able to block the croc until I can stabilize and we are at a stand still for a few turns. I’m hoping to get Broodmate Drgaon and fly over his defenses, but I never see it. He eventually get a flyer or fear creature and I cannot answer.
We are at 1-1 and he already has a draw and needs to play, so with 10 minutes left in the round we start game three. I get a good hand and start hitting him early with Elvish Visionary and Rip-Clan Crasher. This is the point where Mike’s fatigue hits him as he misplays, casting a Skeletonize on my elf that I kill first so he doesn’t get the token with regeneration. He says then that he misplays and shows me after the game what he would have done. But I’ve got the advantage and I keep dropping creatures and swinging in for the win after time before we are out of turns.
Mike is a really good player and this by far was the best game for me of the day.
Round 7 – Rick informs me that if I win I’ll be 6-1 and probably be able to draw into top eight. Whoops nerves are back and I’m at table 2. My opponent is playing Esper the first match all day that I didn’t see red. I had watched my opponent finish another round but I can’t remember what exactly he was packing so I’m nervous since I don’t know what to expect. Game one he get mana screwed and scoops to me turn four. I breath a sigh of relief and we reshuffle. Game two he gets his mana and cards. I have a decent start but he plays counter spell on my Rhox Charger which sets me back. I don’t draw well and he just drops creature after creature including Sharuum the Hegemon, I loose. Game two we are back and fourth he has double Rhox Charger and I am blocking with smaller creatures swinging with my own Charger. I just get more bigger creatures including Court Archers, Incurable Ogre and Mosstodon. He can’t deal with my hord and I win the race. Boo Ya 6-1! I can auto draw to top eight, right?
Round 8 – Wrong. I’m currently ranked 7th over all and my opponent is 5-1-1 he needs to play to advance. Everyone one else above me draws into the finals, unlucky that I got pared down. My opponent has a very similar deck but has more removal, multiple Blister Beetles, the black Capsule, Branching Bolt and Resounding Thunder. Both games went much the same where we would each get early creatures he would be able to kill my smaller guys with the beetles and just drop better creatures faster. I never had control of either game and he finished me off game two with Broodmate Dragon. That last round sucked so bad after going on a 6-0 run.
All in all this was my best performance at an official event so far and I’m really happy with how it went. My final ranking was 14th place out of 136. I’ve learned a lot about Shards Sealed through this experience so I’m looking for my next sealed event.