As I look at my work schedule, my school schedule, and my MTG schedule I notice that I’m not going to be playing very much magic in the coming months, so I might as well get as many FNMs under my belt to hold off the withdrawal. As I walk into the shop for FNM, my friend looks at me like he does every other year around this time and asks if I would like to go to GenCon. With summer classes ending, and little time before the fall classes start, I searched my soul to see if I could take what was about to be in store for me. So I asked some friends on what there was to do magically at this strange event they call GenCon, and they said, “Not sure, maybe qualify for the 20th anniversary thing?” After some careful consideration, and a memory lapse of how much money I was about to spend, I neglectfully said yes.
Now I’ve never been to GenCon, but let me tell you it is something that you have to experience once, there are beautiful ladies in skimpy outfits, klingons on stage playing songs from their foreign land, and lots and lots of weird people that would love nothing more than to cosplay my little pony. But there is literally everything you would ever want to find gamewise at this convention. Board, card, video, hell- even real life D&D games with monsters and all if that’s what you’re in to. If you have a weekend to kill, and $80 to burn, I suggest trekking your way to Indianapolis and see what this thing is all about. So for those of you that don’t know, you can’t just pay cash to enter into tournaments, play games, or go into this sweet 3D robot game that steadily had a line for the entirety of the weekend. You have to exchange cash for tickets, be it generic tickets which come in $2 increments, or specific event tickets to enter into specific tournaments. After we got our tickets my friends and I all broke apart and went our own separate ways. I immediately started looking for the place where you could play Magic, but along the way I met some pretty interesting characters, and saw some pretty amazing games. Trying to find my way to the magical arena, I stumble across a room that is filled with demos, cards, and fantasy attire. Now imagine any Grand Prix that you’ve ever went to, remember how big that hall was? Well take room and double it, that’s how many vendors there were for this event. Any thing your heart desires they have. Foil japanese Jwari Scuttler? Done. Any new game you want to play? Done. Random staves that may or may not contain actual eagle beaks? You guessed it, done. After the vendor hall I walked into the video games room, fully equipped with a Dance Dance Revolution machine. Now I don’t mean to brag or anything , but I’m probably the worst DDR player imaginable. There were little children crushing me, no really like 8 year olds destroying the hardest mode with the littlest taps of their size 5 ½ shoes. I felt defeated, and needed something to make myself feel better, I needed the TCG hall.
The 20th Anniversary Qualifier
Finally after all the walking, all the dodging lightsabers and swords, and glancing at the occasional Poison Ivy costume, you come to what is known as the motherland (aka the TCG hall). First things first, I have to find a schedule and qualify for the 20th anniversary tournament. Modern at 5 p.m.? I think I can swing that. This is the list that I played:
”UWR Twin by Devin Koepke”
The only thing I would change here is the Worships in the sideboard. The matchups that you want it against have other ways to kill you; Mono Red has Bump In The Night and Affinity has Inkmoth Nexus. Other than that the list was pretty flawless, it may look odd because of the one-ofs, but each of them had it’s place.
Round 1: I played against RG Tron, he kept some slow hands and I had the turn 4 kill both games.
Round 2: Adam Jansen playing Jund. This matchup was specifically terrible for the home team, because of Thoughtseize, Liliana of the Veil, and all the spot removal in the world. Game one was a long grind fest of discard, and Tarmogoyfs, but I lucked out and peeled the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker in time. Game two he kept the ole basic swamp triple Deathrite Shaman hand, and never drew another land until it was to late.
Round 3: Was against Melira Pod. Game one was a “Bolt your Bird, Remand your Pod” type of game with me having the combo very early. Game two was pretty much the same thing except I threw Vendillion Clique into the mix.
Round 4: Howard Goldfarb playing Affinity. Game one went with a Pestermite tapping his Vault Skirge, and me suiting up a certain four mana enchantment on my beautiful giant pestering fairy. Game two would prove to be a bit more interesting. He had a pretty fast start with a turn one 7/2 Ornithopter coming at me hot and heavy thanks to a Cranial Plating, then the infamous Torpor Orb coming down on the following turn. Luckily I had a slew of removal, and my two Celestial Colonnades got there.
Round 5: Noodles and Co. (After an intentional draw)
Round 6: Coffee, and giving a dollar to a homeless man, I figured I needed the karma. (After intentional draw #2)
Quarter Finals: GR Tron- different guy, same result.
Semi Finals: Howard Goldfarb again with his shiny toy robots. I stole game one on the back of that wonderful one-of Pyroclasm. Then saw both Wear // Tear game two. Howard sent me off with the best of luck and a you better win.
Finals: Kiki Pod. Game one went with me Remanding his Birthing Pod, he casts Chord of Calling for a Spellskite and me having the natural Kiki + Resto combo. Game 2 went with some Spellskite cloning thanks to Phantasmal Image, and some misleading advice from the judge involving an Exarch trigger on the stack targeting the image, and a Wear // Tear targeting the actual factual Spellskite. My opponent let both of his Spellskites disappear, and I suited up my Exarch with a Splinter Twin.
After winning, I was super pumped and even though it was at 3am, I was ready to go out. Alas, the bars were all closed and my coffee was starting to wear off- so my car just ended up going back to our sleeping arrangements for some well deserved R&R. My soul mission for Saturday was to bird as many great and creative magical minds as I possibly could. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any of those so I had to settle with Adam Prosak and Caleb Durward. Joking aside- these two gave me the strategy that won the whole tournament (spoilers).
The Main Event
This was unlike any other limited tournament I’ve ever played in before, for starters the decks had to be 60 cards out of the nine packs you chose for your sealed deck. So we wanted all playables all the time. We started throwing around ideas of the Mirrodin because the cards were easy to cast, then the Shards block because of all the fixing, and the not to shabby creatures. We actually made a list of every magic set ever and gave it a 1-10 rating scale, but we came to find that there was no better strategy than core set magic. So we settled on the mono core set strategy of 9thedition and up, however this is only our theory, and sometimes theories don’t pan out. After we settled on the way I was going to try and draft the packs I got some sushi with some friends and hurried back to the house to get ready for the big day.
As we entered the Thunderdome for the last time of the weekend, I really took it all in, the sights, the sounds, and the smells, alright- there are some things that I didn’t really want to take in but under the circumstances I was fine with it. As I start to walk over to the drafting area I see that the event isn’t going to be a walk in the park, have to dodge team Panik’s own David Gleicher, and Mana Deprived’s Josh Mcclain. Maybe I’ll get super lucky and just skip past both of them, I mean I did give a dollar to that homeless man for some nachos. As our names were called we walk to the feature match area and all we see is a table covered in packs from Beta to M14.
Now the way that this draft/sealed worked, was each of the 8 people got to pick a pack out of the 8 that were selected to draft from, open it up, and draft the cards out of the 8 specific packs. The packs we got to draft were Beta, Unlimited, Revised, Antiquities, Arabian Nights, P3k, Legends, and last but not least Zendikar. Then after the drafting of the cards out of these packs we got to rotisserie draft the packs. I was the 8th seed (which they determined randomly) which meant I was the first to choose my pack for the sealed portion. I chose Modern Masters, because all the cards in the set are super powerful, and the basic landcycling cards are the stones for fixing. Then came back to the strategy of all core all the time with my picks of M11 and M10. Now these sets were specifically good because of their inclusion of mind control, which is why we snatched them up first. The rest of the picks went pretty smooth with no one other than the person who drafted all the packs with slivers in them taking my M14 pack. So we ended up with 9th, 10th, M10, M11, M12, M13, Modern Masters, Scourge, and Ice Age, stuck to the plan now we were going to find out if it was going to work. After opening all the packs, and building my deck this is what I came up with.
20th Anniversary 60 Card deck by Devin Koepke *1st*
Quarterfinals: Josh Mcclain with Naya sweet deck. I lose game one in an adorable fashion of me drawing every land in my deck. Game two I landed a Staff of Nin, and it took over the game. Game three I drew both of my sleeps and attacked him with a group of 2/2 flyers.
Semifinals: David Gleicher with sweet 5cc deck. Also my plan of dodging these two failed miserably. Game one went almost identical to me and Josh’s game one. Game two involved me Wrathing his board, and jamming a Gaea’s Revenge, and game three I drew four cards off of Rusk of Knowledge and an Aven Fisher, those four cards were a thing of beauty aswell, with such hits as Careful Consideration, Gaea’s Revenge, Pacifism, and an excommunicate. David however drew all of the lands and I revenged my way into the finals.
Finals: Opponent with sweet Double Hymn to Tourach deck. Game one my opponent hymned me on turn two hitting two lands, and I didn’t play another land for the remainder of the game. Game two I had a Staff and some Sleeps. Game three I Wrathed my opponents board, and played a Welkin Tern, he draws and passes, I play an Air elemental and pass, he plays a 4/4 flyer and passes, I excommunicate it and attack, he draws replays said flyer and passes, end of turn I tap his creature down with a Pestermite, I draw and attack then play a deadly recluse. He untaps, tanks for a minute and extends the hand.
As I’m walking to my car with all the packs I just won I think two things; I hope I don’t get jumped, and maybe I’ll come back to GenCon next year. Safely back in the car, we head off into the sunset to the closest place that serves Guiness and hot food. Turns out that wasn’t happening so we just went to the closest B-Dubbs and called it a weekend.
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