Day 2: The Super Series Qualifier
I woke up after putting Jay to bed, early, to try to wake him up to attend his first Day 2 ever in the main event. After finding no success in this, I decided to go back to bed for an hour to recharge before having to make it back to the Face to Face Games booth later that morning to work the booth and sell some cards. I arrive to find a message waiting that I did not in fact need to be there, as there was already someone else on site filling my shoes. There I was, with still decidedly one of the best decks in the room, and an afternoon to kill. I considered the opportunity to play a standard win a box tournament or two, and jam some commander decks with the main event drop outs, but then the announcement for the Standard Super Series tournament came on the speaker, and I determined that I had about 40 minutes to get my deck registered if I wanted to play it. I was still feeling great about the deck in the room, considering what I saw in the previous day, and knowing what and who was still playing in the second day of the Grand Prix, I liked my chances. The tournament was going to be 8 rounds of swiss, with a cut to top 4, who then would meet with the top 4 of the Super Series Sealed event for a draft with the winner being given a trip to Seattle to play in a tournament at Wizards of the Coast for many wonderful prizes. Given that the top 8 would be M14 draft, I felt that if I made it up there, I could likely not humiliate myself in the draft, and have an outside chance at some wonderful prizes at least. Here is what I registered, which should be of no surprise to readers from last week.
GP Calgary Naya
As I’m writing down my list, I sit down and have another discussion with eventual Grand Prix Calgary victor, Alexander Hayne to discuss SB cards. He did great work for me in helping me stay with Sigarda, so I wanted his feedback on the other cards. He advocated a switch of the Selesnya Charm in my SB for a Mizzium Mortars, citing that it does more against the aggro matches that you are bringing Charm in for anyway. I had it sleeved when Luis Acosta, who was still live in the Grand Prix with the exact list, observed that Thundermaw Hellkite and Obzedat, Ghost Council are just too big to deal with without Selesnya Charm; Angel of Serenity also is still a card. Alex conceded that those cards are indeed worthwhile reasons to play as is, so with that, I filled out my deck list, and then proceeded to crush Alex’s UWR deck in a quick game between his rounds. My confidence in my list and play at an all time high, I answer the call for the tournament seating, to find myself face to face with Chris, a nice guy who seems a little overwhelmed to be seated against me. He admittedly is a fan of the show, and as such, knew exactly what I was on for the weekend.
Round 1 – Chris, UWR Control
Game one, I win the roll, and have a Voice of Resurgence on turn 2 to my opponent’s tapped Steam Vents. He plays an Augur of Bolas on 2 . He ends up with a Warleader’s Helix revealed off of the Augur of Bolas, but I play around his Pillar of Flame with Selesnya Charm until on turn 4 I play a second voice, then he untaps on 4 with a Supreme Verdict, leaving me with 2 elemental Tokens. I end of turn Knight with the Charm, and untap with land Thundermaw Hellkite for exactly lethal.
SB: -2 Bonfire, -2 Mortars, -1 Selesnya Charm, -1 Scavenging Ooze, +2 Boros Charm, +2 Chandra, Pyromaster, +1 Sigarda, Host of Herons,+1 Ray of Revelation. This is the standard SB for Control and Flash decks, Specifically Esper and UWR
Game 2, Chris gets shorted on white mana, while my turn 2 Domri Rade draw into voice and Boros Reckoner into hellkite (and a Domri Emblem) gets to end of job before he finds a white source for the 2 Warleader’s Helixes or Supreme Verdicts in his hand.
Round 2 – Ken, Jund
My notes on this game are basically non-existent, but game one was a grindy affair in which my opponent finds neither a Bonfire nor a Thragtusk. I am able to take him down with a continued onslaught of creatures.
SB: -3 Huntmaster, -1 Domri Rade, -2 Bonfire, -1 Scavenging Ooze, +2 Boros Charm, +1 Selesnya Charm, +2 Chandra, Pyromaster, +2 Oblivion Ring, +1 Sigarda
Game 2 sees me end the game at 5 life after my opponent plays 3 Huntmaster of the Fells, and once again no Bonfires and no Thragtusks. An Oblivion Ring for his Olivia Voldaren leaves me feeling like I had all the answers, and a Thundermaw Hellkite closes the game to prove it.
Round 3 – Wayne, Grixis Control
Game one, I see the following card from Wayne: two Mizzium Mortars, Jace, Architect of Thought, Master of Cruelties, and Liliana of the Veil. I know from the way it plays out that I am facing a version of the deck very similar to the version I have played a lot against when dueling Marcel from Brainstorm Brewery online. I at least know that I have a plan for this one. I lose a narrow game one with Wayne left at 1, while I get killed with a snapped Burn after a Master goes unblocked.
SB: -2 Bonfire, -1 Scavenging Ooze, -1 Selesnya Charm, +2 Oblivion Ring, +1 Chandra, Pyromaster, +1 Sigarda, Host of Herons. I want the Mizzium Mortars in this one, and Oblivion Rings also. These Cards answer Master of Cruelties, while Sigarda shuts the deck down and Chandra is a card engine that can help me close a game if needed.
Game 2 I overwhelm Wayne, as my Huntmaster, Voice of Resurgence, Restoration Angel Triad did it’s job, and Game 3 Wayne plays an Olivia Voldaren on his turn 5, after clearing out my early offenses, leaving himself tapped out and I then play Sigarda on my turn, and then an Oblivion Ring on his OIivia after that. Funny that at this exact moment I cast Sigarda, Alex walks by, and I thank him for his advice as I resolve her. Kessig Wolf Run ensures that Sigarda closes out quickly.
Round 4 – Jeffrey, Jund
Game one is uneventful. He draws like a god, and I get nothing. He is at 24 when he kills me, which was after I dealt him 6.
SB: -3 Huntmaster, -1 Domri, -2 Bonfire, -1 Ooze, +2 Boros Charm, +1 Selesnya Charm, +2 Chandra, Pyromaster, +2 Oblivion Ring, +1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
Game 2 is much better for me. Jeffrey finds no Bonfires, but does find a Thragtusk to keep him in the game. I draw 3 Hellkites, and that seems to be enough. Game 3 is another good one. We go back and forth with him landing an early Huntmaster, and inevitably a second one. In this game, I am able to show the work that Chandra is capable of, when my opponent taps out for Garruk, Primal Hunter with a lone Huntmaster remaining on table, and then makes a beast. I then play Chandra, falter the Beast, dealing one to the Garruk, and attack it with a Boros Reckoner, leaving my opponent no choice but to simply suffer the loss of his planeswalker instead of offering an unfavorable trade. I continue to put the pressure on, as Domri and Chandra start doing their best two step.
Round 5 – Colin, GW Archangel
Game one is a very quick affair, as I see a double dork, advent, voice, Thragtusk draw from the opponent. My draw is not so spectacular, and I am ended in short order.
SB: -4 Thundermaw, +2 Oblivion Ring, +1 Selesnya Charm, +1 Bonfire of the Damned. I think I could have boarded much better for this one if I had a chance to play it again, but my logic was that with such a fast start, I wanted to cut down the curve a little, and the volume of little creatures made me want another Bonfire. Oblivion Ring and Selesnya Charm could be good answers to hug creatures I otherwise cannot deal with.
Game 2 almost brought us to time. Colin was on a life gain plan with Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice, Thragtusks, Archangel of Thune, Scavenging Oozes and Gavony Township to turn his sea of creatures into a threat. He also played Garruk, Caller of Beasts to help him refuel after depleting his resources. I was able to answer his creatures on pace with my own, and drew Oblivion Ring and Selesnya Charm for his Trample creatures. This left us in a Mexican standoff, where we both were making many creatures and gaining a bunch of life. I inevitably remove all of his flyers and tramplers, and am able to get a Domri Emblem on the table. I miss the lethal swing to bring him from 38 to dead, by forgetting that my two freshly created Huntmaster Wolf tokens would have had haste, and had I swung in with them also, my plan of alpha striking with everything except the Boros Reckoner on the table would have brought him low enough, and left him with a creature large enough that the Domri I had in hand would have allowed my reckoner to fight his 11/8 Thragtusk for lethal. I instead leave the Domri in hand, miss the wolves attack, and take him from 38 to 14, knowing next turn he would die. He then ultimates his Garruk, allowing him to gain back up to 32 by the time his turn is over. Instead of staring at each other until I maybe draw my last bonfire, I realize that I’m still dead if we go to time because he won game one. Had I not missed the attack, we could have drawn, making my trip to the top 4 likely that much better than getting a loss. That said, I still can’t close it, and end up with my first loss of the tournament.
I am pretty much Jack’s raging tilt a whirl at this point. I realized my error the turn after it happened, and basically nearly flipped the table. Literally. I have never actually been that upset over a play in MTG in my entire life. I have to take a few minutes to cool down, before facing my next opponent, so I walk away and try to decompress. I only had a few minutes, until I found myself against my next opponent.
Round 6 – Andrew, Junk Reanimator
I sit down against Andrew, who doesn’t speak too much, which is fine for me, and I end up with a 2 land hand with all tap lands, but it has an Avacyn’s Pilgrim and an ooze, so I keep it on the play. I end up watching Andrew get Voice, followed by Avacyn’s Pilgrim and an Arbor Elf, followed by Garruk Relentless fight my mana dork, flip. I play an ooze, he plays Fiend Hunter for it, I gain a life off my Pilgrim which was fought, and he taps out for Angel of Serenity, shutting the door on me. Nice. Draw.
SB: -4 Voice of Resurgence, -3 Huntmaster of the Fells, -1 Domri Rade, +2 Chandra, Pyromaster, +2 Oblivion Ring, +1 Bonfire of the Damned, +2 Rest in Peace, +1 Selesnya Charm. This is the reanimator plan. Voices and Huntmasters are too low impact here, and Rest In Peace combined with our Huge guy removal package is just what we need. Chandra can help win races or just eat dorks all day.
Game 2 – Andrew gets Thragtusk, plus Shadowborn Demon, plus Restoration Angel and Angel of Serenity. I get basically nothing and lose horribly. I DO get to play Rest In Peace, which seems inconvenient to him, but otherwise has zero impact on the game. His friend who was watching the game 2, asks me after the match, why I brought Rest in Peace in against him in that game. I told him that it was part of my plan for all graveyard decks, even Junk Aristocrats. I felt like asking him if he had ever read the card side by side with Angel of Serenity, but I figured it would be unpatriotic, and in this context, potentially racist, so I determined that I would say nothing and basically resign myself to the fact that I was still tilting terribly from the previous round.
It is at this point that I get a visit from one of the fans of this very stream series, who asks me if “I was Mr Scotty Magic”. I chuckle and smile, and say that I am MrScottyMac, yeah. He tells me he is a huge fan of the stream, and that he never misses it. I shake his hand and ask him his name, to which he freezes like a deer in headlights. What is your name man? I ask again. “Darren, sorry, I didn’t know if I should give you my real name or my twitch name.” He asks me if I had a marker and if I would sign something. I absolutely snap agree, (as I will always do by the way, so don’t be afraid to ask if I meet you.) and he fishes around for something to give me. “Can you sign this Foil Turn // Burn??” Of course. I personalize the signature, which is somewhat rare for me, and thank him very much for the support. It is right after he goes away, that the rest of the folks still sitting at the top ends of the table take notice that this just happened, and proceed to ask me if I am “famous or something”. I tell them about the podcast and the stream and articles, and I can tell that immediately that things were going to be different from then on in the tournament. How that would play out, I wasn’t exactly sure, but I no longer felt unassumed.
Round 7 – Meghan, Bant
I had been keeping an eye on the games around me all afternoon, trying to determine what everyone was on, and that way, trying to gain some advantage in game ones, by knowing what a keepable hand might be in the context of the matches I would face. Meghan was a very nice girl, with a very outgoing personality. I had been hearing her cast various Bant colored Charms and Silverblade Paladins all afternoon, so I instantly sunk a little when our pairing was announced. Thankfully, she seemed the most affected by my new “status”, but I knew that this was going to be the end of the road for me, especially since we basically have to luck out vs Hexproof. I get somewhat lucky when she mulligans to 6 on the play, and then leads with a Hallowed Fountain tapped into a Call of the Conclave on her turn 2. I stop and look at her funny when she casts it, and she asks, “is that ok?” to which I reply, “It is absolutely super.” Knowing that we are now dealing with Bant populate, I am able to play around the bad block/bad attack blowouts from the populate fog and indestructible spell, to take game one.
SB: -3 Huntmaster of the Fells, -1 Domri Rade, -1 Scavenging Ooze, +2 Oblivion Ring, +2 Unflinching Courage, +1 Selesnya Charm. I knew her removal was bad and situational, but also that she would likely be needing it to pump her own creatures. Charm would be fine to mess with combat, and Oblivion Ring is super against Tokens.
Game 2 ends up a very close one, but Unflinching Courage comes through on a Scavenging Ooze to help me shut the door.
Standings get posted on the wall after this round, and I see myself firmly in 7th place at the top of my point bracket. I know that I still have an outside shot at the top 4, especially since some of the pairings above me are paired down and have to play. I ask my opponent if he would like to concede, and he politely declines, even though he is at the bottom of our breakers chain, and also fails to show interest in a prize split of any kind. Ok. No problem. You win, a box and no shot at top 4. You lose, half of one. I win, outside shot, I lose, half a box also. No guts, no glory right?
Round 8 – Adric, BUG Aggro
Game one he opens on the play with Young Wolf into Lotleth Troll into Geralf’s Messenger while also having Abrupt Decay, Tragic Slip and all the lands to make it happen. It is definitely enough to handle my turn 3 Scavenging Ooze, turn 4 Boros Reckoner.
SB: +1 Bonfire, +2 Oblivion Ring, +2 Rest in Peace, -4 Thundermaw Hellkite, -1 Domri Rade. I realize this is weird to have both Rest in Peace and Voice in the deck at the same time, but he has such speed and resilience at his disposal that I had to do anything I could.
Game 2. These notes are really good. I mulligan to 5 on the play, keeping a two lander and never get anything at all. Pretty exciting huh? I feel like Reid Duke in the Championship final game at this point.
I end up in 13th place after my crushing defeat, still good for half a box of M14, and an excellent story and experience. I was very happy with the deck. I learned a lot about tilt, and a little about variance on this journey, and ultimately, being able to be candid about my plays was the best reward. There are so many people that come out of these tournament weekends with losing records and are not able to identify why they lost, or what actually went wrong in each matchup. I at least feel that I have reconciled that in myself very well this time, and for that I am proud. I rocked the list in one more daily stream, this time with newly crowned MTGO Community Cup Member; Kenji Egashira, also known as @numotthenummy and regular streamer himself twitch.tv/numotthenummy. Kenji is a super amazing guy I met in Calgary for the first time, and I was overjoyed that he decided to join me for this one. Here is the stream for your enjoyment.
Tune in this Monday night for a new deck, and a new set of matches. Can’t wait, it’s going to be sweet. Some people just like to watch the world burn. This week, I’m going to be one of them.
Huge thanks to Luis Acosta for his comment on last week’s article. Make sure that you create an account on Legitmtg.com and email firstname.lastname@example.org to collect.
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