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According to Webster – Italian Standards: A Worlds Report *12th*

The 2009 Magic season was drawing to a close. I had my eyes set on Rome after a strong finish at Grand Prix: Minneapolis. I had set out on the trip needing four Pro Points between the two tournaments to get to level four which meant that I would only need a top 100 finish at Worlds. After making Top 8 at Minneapolis where I got five points, I had my eyes set on a new goal: Level 5 (25 Pro Points). The requirements were basically the same.

Gerry Thompson, Josh Utter-Leyton (Wrapter), LSV and I were all on the same flight from Minneapolis to Rome with a layover in Amsterdam. Unfortunately our layover wasn’t long enough to venture into the city and go prowling. We were meeting up with PV and Riki Hayashi at the airport in Rome when we landed. We flew on an Airbus A330-300 (the French equivalent to a Boeing 747) which is basically “a big plane” that seats 335 people. After checking into the airport, we were able to arrange our seats such that we’d be all together and able to test Standard/Extended on the flight. At least that was the intention. Once we had taken off, Luis and Gerry were sleeping, I was watching movies, and Wrapter was reading. At least we had good intentions!

The flight was about nine hours long so there was plenty of time to use. One of the unknown perks about international flights in that the free beverage selection is expanded and includes various beers. Yes, that’s right; you could crack open a Heineken at 10 AM and it wouldn’t even cost you the five dollars that it normally would. I was unaware of this up until the point of Luis asking for one when the meal service came by. Mise. Eh, when in Rome”¦ Thirteen hours later, we were there.

Luis had arranged for a room for one night before he could move into his free WotC room. For those of you who don’t know what hotels are like in Italy, let me explain a few things. Unlike in the USA where you pay for the physical room, in Italy you pay per person. That is to say, when you go to a hotel they register the passport of each person staying there. This led to a few problems. Being Magic players, and thus misers, we wanted to get maximum value out of the situation. Back in the good old USA, it would be easy to get a hotel room and cram five or six people in without any problems. We wouldn’t get kicked out if we didn’t give the hotel a reason to do so. However, it was much stricter in Italy where the room key was collected from us before being able to leave to go out somewhere.

We had to get to the hotel from the airport which meant taking a taxi. The horror stories your buddies have told you about American taxies pale in comparison to what was going on over there. I never really figured out why lanes are painted on roads because the taxi drivers never really acknowledged them. Italian cars are also not equipped with signaling devices (actually they are, but not used). The taxi driver that found our wayward group led us towards a new shiny Shuttle Service van”¦ and then we walked past the van to his rickety twenty-year-old ice cream truck. Nice ride bro. After we got taken for a sixty euro trip, we arrived at the hotel.

The hotel room had been booked for three people, but we had four. Luis, Gerry, and Paulo went to go get their passports registered while I attempted to read the Italian newspaper in the lobby. As it turned out, I was able to read Italian quite easily; I just couldn’t understand a word of it. For whatever reason, it took forever for the guys at the front desk to register their passports. They were always “in the process of registering them”; by that I mean that the passports were sitting on a pile of stuff on the back counter while the hotel people were jibber-jabbering about a soccer game. After an hour of waiting and several more inquiries, it became apparent that Gerry, Luis, and Paulo weren’t getting their passports back anytime soon. We went to the room to brew while we waited for the hotel to finish.

After being in the room for another hour, we began to get bored. The taxi driver had pointed out a giant mall close by and we decided to go exploring and find some food. Despite being a huge building towering over us, we found no direct way to get to the mall. After trekking around for a bit, I left everyone else to go back to the hotel. As it turns out, we had gone in the right direction the first time and shouldn’t have doubled back. An entrance to the mall had been about two minutes away. Frowntown. The rest of the guys came back eventually after having found a Burger King and the most delicious eight-euro nugget meals they had ever eaten.

Wrapter had gone with Riki to track down FFfreak’s hotel and room with him. It was getting late and we decided to go meet with them to do more testing. It was Tuesday and there wasn’t much time left before the tournament started. We hadn’t really done any work on Extended and Standard was still shaky. The passports were still being processed and Luis went up to them and told them how it was. The hotel staff finally relented. The guy walked back to the pile where the passports were while muttering something, took them to his computer, and punched in some stuff. Two minutes later the passports were processed. If this “service” was any sign of things to come, I knew it’d be a long trip.

We didn’t know how far away FFfreak’s hotel was so we just started walking. The only thing we knew was the address of the hotel: 142 Christoforo Colombo; we had started at 712. After walking for about thirty minutes, we got to 580. Our “plan” wasn’t going to work. We finally were able to get onto a bus after using our tourist interrogation methods on a poor defenseless woman at a bus stop. We soon arrived at our destination which turned out to be about four miles away.

We had put a lot of time into testing for the tournament, particularly Standard. Unfortunately, we had ended up where we started: Jund. Wrapter was sold on the Green/White deck we’d been working on for a while. It had a Baneslayer Angel/Knight of the Reliquary/Lotus Cobra/Noble Hierarch core with other stuff like Vines of Vastwood, Thornling, and Behemoth Sledge. I wasn’t sold on the deck and had a Jund list ready. Luis wasn’t happy about playing Jund for whatever reason. Paulo just wanted to play the best deck and all roads pointed towards the Boogeyman deck of Shards block.

We found a lot of other familiar faces at FFfreak’s hotel: Ben Lundquist, AJ Sacher, Sam Black, and Gerard Fabiano to name a few. Non-guests weren’t allowed above the first floor because the hotel would get into trouble if the police came (obviously?) so we took over the lounge area in the lobby. Despite the mediocre playing area, we got in a decent amount of testing though didn’t come to many conclusions.

We were getting hungry and went to this place that Gerard had gone to earlier. We were turned away despite it being 6:50 PM. Apparently the restaurant business is closed until 7 PM. We finally got in there and ate. The food was pretty basic, but I had no complaints. One of the nice things about Italy is that they don’t tip or have tax.

We decided to game the meal after seeing the check had only one number written on it: “65”. The owner walked up to us at the point where we had six or seven credit cards in a pile. At the sight of them, he threw his hands in the air and wailed, “No no no!” as if he had expected us to want him to split the check. When he found out what we were doing, he immediately wanted a piece of the action and joyfully helped choose the one benevolent soul from our party who would pay. FFfreak was nice enough to pay for everything. Thanks Brad!

The rest of the evening was spent playing Standard. Around 11:00 I managed to convince Paulo and Luis that it was time to get back to the room. We didn’t know how to get back other than taking a bus. In Italy, you can’t hail taxis from the street. They have to be arranged by hotels for their guests. We only got onto one wrong bus before finding one that took us close to our hotel. A short walk later, we were back in the comfort of our personal jail cell hotel room.

I was looking forward to Wednesday for two reasons. We would be able to move into our real room and also that the player’s dinner was going on at the site. We had a more important task at hand that needed to be dealt with first: breakfast. We couldn’t leave without taking full advantage of the complimentary breakfast at the hotel. The problem was that there were four mouths to feed but only three people allowed in. In the end Gerry bit the bullet and sat out, but gave us a mission to bring back “as many croissants as we could”. I wasn’t going to disappoint him. After HAUMPHING more than I should have from the hotel’s exceptional spread (no sarcasm here, the selection was quite good including several pastries, croissants, juices, meats, cereals, fruits, yogurt, and coffees), I came back pockets full of delicate buttery croissants for my ravenous friend.

Luis had the hotel arrange for a taxi service to bring us to the new hotel. I knew where it was after having seen it while riding on the way back from FFfreak’s hotel. The taxi driver wanted to charge us extra for a “baggage fee”; this displeased some of us and Paulo was nice enough to straighten it out. Italy was trying to take us for every penny.

The new hotel was the same as the old one, but without the complimentary breakfast. We couldn’t really complain since it was free and within a few minutes of walking from the site. We got settled in and tested more Standard while waiting for the site to open at 2:00 PM. Eventually we got tired and decided to head over to the site to talk with people and find a draft or eight.

The layout of the site was terrible. Everything was separated. The player’s area was in one giant room, the dealers were down in an adjacent corridor, the side event drafts were down the corridor completely on the other side of the building, the actual side events were two floors up, and bathrooms were two floors down requiring multiple turns to get to while being led by a trail of handwritten signs. The level of segregation at the site was so extreme that it had a negative effect on the overall tournament. Unable to find any drafts, we simply registered for the tournament and talked with people until the player’s dinner started.

One good thing about Italy is the food. I had been looking forward to handmade pastas, fine wines and coffees, rich deserts, and everything else good that the region was known for. The player’s dinner didn’t disappoint. WotC had done quite a good job in regards to the player’s dinner recently. There were all sorts of pastas including baked lasagna and spaghetti-stuffed eggplants, various salads, olives, fresh mozzarella balls, rosemary focaccia, gelato, and tiramisu. The concept of lines in Italy is foreign, so there was a frenzy of hungry Magic players coming back and forth for food. I won’t deny that I wasn’t one of them. Several plates later, I was content to sit and chat with my friends.

Sigh, Jund

Eventually we went back to the hotel to finalize our Jund list (at least that’s what we thought) and get some sleep. Luis was pushing for Master of the Wild Hunt over Garruk Wildspeaker. Garruk wasn’t proving effective in the mirror and while Master of the Wild Hunt wasn’t much better, it was good at fighting the Green, Green/White/x, and Red/White decks. I had been pushing the idea of Borderland Ranger for the mirror, but no one was buying it. Borderland Ranger appeared to be a too much of a low-impact card, but its benefits were subtle. In a matchup where lots of Blightnings, Mind Rots, and Goblin Ruinblasters were getting thrown around, it would become difficult to cast spells that cost more than three mana and extremely hard to get up to 5-6 mana to cast Bituminous Blast/Broodmate Dragon. Borderland Ranger would allow you to have additional spells that counted as lands. Additionally, the lands would be basic, and thus make you more immune to Goblin Ruinblaster. One of the problems we were having was finding slots to put it in.

Thursday rolled around. It was time to game and I was stoked. I’d been running pretty well lately and was eager to jump into the fray of the last tournament of the season. We woke up early and got to the site so Gerry could register and that we could finish brewing. What many people may not know is the sheer amount of last-minute changes that people make to their decks within ten minutes of a tournament starting. Would anyone believe me if I told them that I (along with multiple other people) had played multiple copies of Lignify and Akroma’s Memorial at Worlds 2007 in my Red/Green ramp deck? Probably not, but it actually happened.

We go to sit down with Zach Efland and Ben Stark. Ben had been playing Jund for a while and blew our minds when he said that he had cut Putrid Leech from his list. I had heard that some of the Japanese players had also come up with a list sans Leech that ran Rampant Growth and Siege-Gang Commander. Ben said that Putrid Leech wasn’t good against the mirror, Red/White, and Eldrazi Green (basically the majority of decks we expected). Gerry and Paulo didn’t like the idea of cutting Putrid Leech. Luis and I were uncertain on the idea. We kept looking at each other as if searching for a reason (any reason) to make the leap of faith. Luis mentioned that there would be slots to fit in Borderland Ranger if we cut them. I was sold.

Here’s the list that I ended up playing;

Jund

Randy Buehler interviewed Luis about the deck which can be found here.

With the deck finalized for real this time, we made our way to the player meeting where Head Judge Sheldon Menery talked us through the schedule and other official announcements. After that, pairings were posted. Finally it was time to play.

Round 1: Christophe Gregoir [BEL], Jund:

Game 1: I won the roll and played Sprouting Thrinax on turn three. I didn’t know what I was playing against initially because Evil led with a Forest. I soon figured out when he pointed a Blightning at me [G: 17] that I was playing the mirror (a common occurrence for the day). My Sprouting Thrinax attacked him [E: 17] and I returned the favor with a Blightning of my own [E: 14]. Evil summoned a Putrid Leech and the game stalled up. I reinforced my board with a second Sprouting Thrinax. I killed Evil’s Putrid Leech with Maelstrom Pulse and charged in with my two Sprouting Thrinaxes. Evil traded his Sprouting Thrinax with one of mine [E: 11] but wasn’t doing anything which led me to suspect he had either a handful of removal or land. I attacked Evil again with my Sprouting Thrinax and three Saproling tokens. He blocked two of my tokens and used Terminate to kill the Sprouting Thrinax [E: 10]. I was sandbagging two Bituminous Blasts in my hand for real creatures so I just shipped the turn. Evil summoned a Bloodbraid Elf and hit a Putrid Leech. I killed the Leech with Bituminous Blast at the end of Evil’s turn and cascaded into a Borderland Ranger. Evil killed the Borderland Ranger with a Lightning Bolt when I attacked him with it and the four Saproling tokens. His Bloodbraid Elf and Saproling token blocked two of mine [E: 8]. Blightning got two lands out of Evil’s hand and he decided to use a Lightning Bolt to kill one of my two remaining Saproling tokens. A Bloodbraid Elf from me prompted his concession on my next turn.

Sideboard: -3 Maelstrom Pulse, -3 Master of the Wild Hunt, -1 Terminate, -1 Broodmate Dragon; +3 Great Sable Stag, +1 Mind Rot, +4 Goblin Ruinblaster.

Game 2: Evil led off with Borderland Ranger on turn three; I was disappointed to see he had them in his deck also because my hand had two Blightnings in it. I had to crack my Verdant Catacombs [G: 19] to fix my mana and Blightning Evil [E: 17]. Evil decided to take the offensive and kicked a Goblin Ruinblaster that destroyed my Dragonskull Summit and attacked [G: 15]. I drew a Sprouting Thrinax (had it) which stopped his team for a while. Evil didn’t have any good plays to advance the board and decided to Blightning me instead [G: 12]. I returned the favor on my next turn [E: 14] while playing an Oran-Rief, the Vastwood. Evil summoned a Putrid Leech. My turn was much better as I summoned a 4/4 Great Sable Stag with Oran-Rief. My Stag hit Evil once [E: 10]. He didn’t double-block with his Borderland Ranger and Goblin Ruinblaster. Evil played Garruk Wildspeaker and used it to make a 3/3 Beast token. I wasn’t concerned as I tapped out to summon a Broodmate Dragon. Evil could only make another Beast token and pass the turn. My Dragons attacked him [E: 1] and he conceded next turn when he saw that he couldn’t kill meGoblin Ruinblaster.

Win 2-0

1-0

Round 2: Charles Gindy [USA], Jund:

Game 1: I knew what I was playing against since we had been brewing together with Ben Stark. I won the roll and summoned a Sprouting Thrinax on turn three after using Verdant Catacombs [G: 19]. Evil cracked his Verdant Catacombs [E: 19] and made me discard with Blightning [G: 16]. I attacked with my Sprouting Thrinax, punishing Evil for not playing a creature [E: 16]. Afterwards, I summoned a second Sprouting Thrinax. Evil summoned a Sprouting Thrinax of his own that traded for one of mine when both of them attacked [E: 13]. I made Evil discard with Blightning [E: 10]. Evil did nothing on his next turn and blocked all my Saprolings with his when I attacked him along with my Sprouting Thrinax [E: 7]. Bituminous Blast from Evil cascaded into a blank removal spell and killed my Sprouting Thrinax when I went to attack with it. Terminate killed a Saproling token on the following turn [E: 5]. I played another Blightning to clear Evil’s hand [E: 2]. A Lightning Bolt bought another turn for Evil [E: 1] but his draw step yielded nothing.

Sideboard: -3 Maelstrom Pulse, -2 Master of the Wild Hunt, -1 Broodmate Dragon; +3 Great Sable Stag, +1 Mind Rot, +2 Goblin Ruinblaster.

Game 2: I sideboarded differently compared to last round because I knew the seventy-five cards that I was playing against in addition to the sideboard plan. On the play for the mirror, we kept in the Masters and boarded out all the Terminates. Additionally, Borderland Ranger made Goblin Ruinblaster not as effective. My hand was very good. It included no non-basics, a Sprouting Thrinax, and a Borderland Ranger. Evil played a Blightning on turn three [G: 17]. I had to fetch with Verdant Catacombs [G: 16] to summon Sprouting Thrinax. Evil played a second Blightning [G: 13] and I was forced to discard down to two cards. I had kept a Borderland Ranger and Bloodbraid Elf. I attacked with Sprouting Thrinax and summoned the Borderland Ranger, searching out a second Forest. Evil summoned a Sprouting Thrinax of his own. I played a land and passed the turn. Evil attacked with his Sprouting Thrinax [G: 10] and summoned a Master of the Wild Hunt. I summoned Bloodbraid Elf and cascaded into a Terminate, killing his Master. My three creatures crashed into the red zone, taking half of Evil’s life [E: 9]. Evil was forced to hold back with his Sprouting Thrinax to block my Bloodbraid Elf when I attacked [E: 4]. The Saproling tokens would have bought Evil some time if I didn’t already have the win in my hand. When Evil passed his next turn, I showed him the Lightning Bolt and Blightning.

Win 2-0

2-0

Round 3: Daniel Gardner [ENG], Crypt of Agadeem:

Game 1: I had no idea what I was playing against. As a result my hand was terrible for the matchup. Evil played Crypt of Agadeem on turn one. I had a hand with Blightning, Sprouting Thrinax, and Bituminous Blast (AKA drawing dead). Evil cycled an Architects of Will at the end of my second turn. On his third turn, Evil summoned a Hedron Crab, played a Misty Rainforest, and fetched out a land in response to the Crab trigger. I hadn’t drawn a removal spell that I could cast and was forced to summon my Sprouting Thrinax. On Evil’s next turn, he repeated the sequence with a fetch land and was able to make a bunch of mana with Crypt of Agadeem to unearth an Extractor Demon and Corpse Connoisseur [G: 12]. I was dead next turn.

Sideboard: -4 Blightning, -4 Bituminous Blast -3 Maelstrom Pulse, -1 Terminate; +3 Jund Charm, +4 Goblin Ruinblaster, +1 [card]Malakir Bloodwitch[/card], +2 Burst Lightning, +2 Great Sable Stag.

Game 2: Evil summoned a Hedron Crab on turn two with his Drowned Catacombs. He then played a Scalding Tarn [E: 19] and milled himself for six. I used Burst Lightning to kill the Hedron Crab and summoned a Borderland Ranger. Evil cycled a Monstrous Carabid. Grim Discovery got back the Hedron Crab and Scalding Tarn. I attacked with my Borderland Ranger [E: 17] and summoned a Master of the Wild Hunt. Evil cycled Architects of Will, played Duress, and saw nothing to take. Afterwards, he summoned the Hedron Crab and replayed the Scalding Tarn to mill himself for another six cards [E: 16]. Master of the Wild Hunt used his Wolf token to duel the Hedron Crab, Borderland Ranger attacked [E: 14], and then I played the Jund Charm that I drew. Evil had to start rebuilding his graveyard and couldn’t do anything else on his turn. My legion of green animals attacked him on my turn [E: 7]. The Jund Charm had been too much for Evil. He looked at his options and conceded.

Sideboard: -2 Broodmate Dragon; +1 Great Sable Stag, +1 Malakir Bloodwitch.

Game 3: Evil mulliganed to six. He used a Scalding Tarn [E: 19] to fetch an Island, summoned a Hedron Crab, and milled himself for six with a Misty Rainforest [E: 18] on turn two. I killed the Hedron Crab with a Terminate. Evil played a Crypt of Agadeem and cycled a few cards. I could only summon a Sprouting Thrinax after using a Verdant Catacombs [G: 19]. Evil unearthed an Extractor Demon along with a Viscera Dragger and attacked [G: 11]. I summoned an unkicked Goblin Ruinblaster (for lack of a second red mana) and attacked with it and my Sprouting Thrinax [E: 13]. Evil unearthed a second Extractor Demon and attacked with it [G: 6]. I attacked back with my two creatures [E: 8] and used Jund Charm to remove Evil’s graveyard. Evil cycled a few cards and summoned an Extractor Demon to halt my offensive. I summoned a Malakir Bloodwitch [G: 7, E: 7]. Evil cycled more cards. I attacked with Sprouting Thrinax into his Extractor Demon because I had Oran-Rief. Evil decided to not block [E: 4]. I tapped out to summon Broodmate Dragon. Evil couldn’t do anything to save himself.

Win 2-1

3-0

Round 4: Michael Eberhard [CHE], Jund:

Game 1: I lost the roll. Evil summoned a Sprouting Thrinax on turn three with Verdant Catacombs [E: 19]. I used Verdant Catacombs [G: 19] to play Blightning on turn three [E: 16]. Evil attacked me with the Sprouting Thrinax [G: 16] but played nothing else. I cast a second Blightning [E: 13] and was attacked again [G: 13]. I had time to summon a Sprouting Thrinax. The two ran into each other and made a bunch of Saproling tokens. The tokens traded with each other on the next turn. Evil used another Verdant Catacombs [E: 12]. I summoned a Bloodbraid Elf and cascaded into Borderland Ranger. My Elf charged in to attack [E: 9]. The Borderland Ranger and Bloodbraid Elf attacked him again, but he had a Terminate for the Bloodbraid Elf [E: 7] Evil played a Bituminous Blast to kill the Borderland Ranger and cascaded into Putrid Leech. During Evil’s draw step, I played Bituminous Blast targeting his Putrid Leech. I cascaded into Bloodbraid Elf which cascaded into Blightning [E: 4] forcing him to discard the Chandra Nalaar that he had drawn. I attacked him with the Bloodbraid Elf [E: 1] and passed the turn. Evil conceded.

Sideboard: -3 Maelstrom Pulse, -3 Master of the Wild Hunt, -1 Terminate, -1 Broodmate Dragon; +3 Great Sable Stag, +1 Mind Rot, +4 Goblin Ruinblaster.

Game 2: Evil played a Blightning on turn three [G: 17] and I did the same [E: 17] while using a Verdant Catacombs in the process [G: 16]. Evil summoned a Goblin Ruinblaster and attacked with it [G: 14], but I had no non-basics to destroy. I passed the turn with no plays. Evil summoned Bloodbraid Elf but cascaded into a useless Terminate. The Elf and Ruinblaster attacked me [G: 9]. I played a Bituminous Blast and cascaded into Lightning Bolt to kill both of Evil’s creatures. Evil could do nothing and passed the turn. I summoned Broodmate Dragon. I attacked Evil with both of my dragons [E: 8]. Evil played a Bituminous Blast killing both my dragons as he cascaded into Maelstrom Pulse. I summoned a Bloodbraid Elf which cascaded into Sprouting Thrinax and attacked him [E: 5]. Evil found nothing on the top of his deck and conceded.

Win 2-0

4-0

Round 5: David Kearney [IRL], Bant:

Game 1: I was on the draw and kept a slow hand. Evil opened with a turn three Baneslayer Angel off of Noble Hierarch and Birds of Paradise while using two fetchlands [E: 18] in the process. My only option was to play Blightning on turn three [E: 15]. Baneslayer Angel promptly attacked me [G: 14, E: 21]. I had two Bituminous Blasts in my hand but wasn’t up to five mana yet so I had to pass the turn. Evil attacked me with Baneslayer Angel again [G: 8, E: 27] and appeared to be out of gas for the moment. I had to gamble with Bituminous Blast. I aimed it at Evil’s Baneslayer Angel to ensure that a cascaded Lightning Bolt would also be an out. I hit Terminate and Evil immediately summoned the other Baneslayer Angel that he’d drawn that turn. Next turn we repeated the process with the same result. I felt like I was beginning to crawl back into the game as I summoned a Broodmate Dragon on my next turn. Evil summoned Sphinx of Lost Truths. I was ready with Blightning to get rid of the spells that he’d drawn [E: 24]. Additionally, I summoned a Borderland Ranger. Next turn I played a Bloodbraid Elf, cascading into Sprouting Thrinax and attacked Evil with my Bloodbraid Elf, Borderland Ranger, and two Broodmate Dragons. His Sphinx of Lost Truths blocked the token [E: 15]. A second Sphinx of Lost Truths made attacking much more difficult. Evil attacked me with the first Sphinx [G: 3]. I summoned my second Broodmate Dragon. Evil summoned a Ranger of Eos and a Scute Mob that he’d searched out with it. Terminate destroyed one of the Sphinxes and I was able to attack through the remaining one [E: 11]. I used Lightning Bolt to kill the Scute Mob. Evil attacked with his Sphinx and I was forced to double-block with the two dragons that I’d held back. Evil had drawn Path to Exile and immediately my air force was halved. I couldn’t attack profitably with my dragons anymore and had to pass. Evil attacked again and I was forced to trade with one of my dragons. Evil summoned a Sphinx of Jwar Isle afterwards. I was dead.

Sideboard: -3 Sprouting Thrinax; +1 Mind Rot, +2 Malakir Bloodwitch.

Game 2: Unfortunately I kept a borderline hand that ended up not getting there ( Oran-Rief, the Vastwood, Mountain, Lightning Bolt x2, Mind Rot, Bloodbraid Elf, and Bituminous Blast). I missed my third land drop and proceeded to be beaten down by a pair of 1/1 Scute Mobs. Evil had kept a borderline hand as well, but had drawn out of it sooner. Noble Hierarch put two Great Sable Stags into play which made short work of me.

Lose 0-2

4-1

Round 6: Taylor Webb [USA], Red/White:

Game 1: I wasn’t sure what I was playing this round and kept a hand on the draw that wasn’t prepared to beat red/white (Swamp, Mountain, Lightning Bolt, 2 Blightning, Broodmate Dragon, and Bituminous Blast). Evil used an Arid Mesa [E: 19] to summon Plated Geopede on turn two. I immediately used Lightning Bolt to kill it. Evil didn’t have any other creatures until turn four when he summoned Ranger of Eos searching out Elite Vanguard and Goblin Bushwhacker. I used a second Lightning Bolt to kill the Ranger of Eos. I hadn’t drawn a fourth land and could only play a Blightning [E: 16]. Evil summoned two Elite Vanguards along with a kicked Goblin Bushwhacker and attacked me [G: 8]. With no lands in sight, I conceded.

Sideboard: -4 Sprouting Thrinax, -3 Blightning; +2 Burst Lightning, +3 Jund Charm, +2 Malakir Bloodwitch.

Game 2: I played Savage Lands on turn one and was immediately greeted by a Goblin Guide [G: 18] attacking me after Evil used a [card]Scalding Tarn[/card] to cast it [E: 19]. Evil attacked with Goblin Guide again, but I had Burst Lightning ready for it. From then on I destroyed every creature Evil summoned. Bloodbraid Elf cascaded into a Terminate for Kor Skyfisher and attacked Evil [E: 16]. Evil used a Marsh Flats [E: 15] and summoned two Plated Geopedes, but I had Maelstrom Pulse for them as my Bloodbraid Elf attacked [E: 12]. Evil was out of gas. I summoned Master of the Wild Hunt and it was over shortly afterwards.

Sideboard: -1 Blightning, -1 Broodmate Dragon; +2 Great Sable Stag.

Game 3: Evil used Marsh Flats [E: 19] to summon a Steppe Lynx. I didn’t have a one mana removal spell for it and was forced to take an attack from it after Evil played Teetering Peeks [G: 16] and another Steppe Lynx. I used Terminate to kill one Steppe Lynx, but was attacked by the other [G: 14]. A second Teetering Peeks allowed the Steppe Lynx to bring me down four more life [G: 10] and Evil summoned a Ranger of Eos fetching out a Goblin Guide and Goblin Bushwhacker. I summoned a Bloodbraid Elf after cracking a Verdant Catacombs [G: 9] and cascaded into a Great Sable Stag. Evil summoned the Goblin Guide along with the kicked Goblin Bushwhacker and attacked with them along with [card]Ranger of Eos[/card] and Steppe Lynx (1/1). My Great Sable Stag blocked his Goblin Bushwhacker and my Bloodbraid Elf blocked his Ranger of Eos [G: 5]. I summoned Master of the Wild Hunt and held on for dear life. Evil didn’t follow up with anything on his turn and my Master of the Wild Hunt was free to roam and poach Evil’s creatures. Steppe Lynx was the first to be slain followed by Goblin Guide. I was able to attack with Great Sable Stag [E: 16] and Master of the Wild Hunt plus his wolf minions soon afterwards. Evil had nothing else and was dead two turns later.

Win 2-1

5-1

The Standard portion of the Swiss rounds was over and I had emerged 5-1, a record that I was quite happy with considering the number of mirrors that I had played. I felt that I had played well on the day and had noticed several instances where my Jund opponents had played too aggressively with their cascade spells. I felt that a certain restraint was crucial in the mirror and that had paid off during the day. Tomorrow would be much easier because it was draft day which was typically very soft at Worlds. After we had rounded up everyone, we went to get some food, find a draft or two, and then get to sleep.

Concluded next week.

25 thoughts on “According to Webster – Italian Standards: A Worlds Report *12th*”

  1. Sweet report. I actually really enjoy hearing stories from road warriors… They ignite jealousy, since I can’t actually be there, but they’re good times nonetheless. Congratulations on an excellent run.

  2. Hurry up and win PT. From reading your articles and seeing your play I am convinced that there isn’t a better player who hasn’t won a PT.

  3. Another great article this week.
    I do wonder why every travel report I read from an American to Worlds is such a bad beats story. Aren’t you guys supposed to be experienced travellers?

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  5. High praise indeed Greg! Winning a PT is a pretty lofty goal these days. Here are some other contenders for the ‘Best player never to have won a Pro Tour’ (in no particular order)

    Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa
    Olivier Ruel
    Raphael Levy
    Tomoharu Saito
    Shuhei Nakamura
    Yuuya Watanabe
    Kenji Tsumura
    Masashi Oiso
    Martin Juza
    Manuel Bucher
    Shouta Yasooka

    The list goes on and on. The last 5 winners of Player of the Year haven’t won a Pro Tour. I’m certainly not one to bash what has been a pretty sweet run to close out the 2009 season, but I think that this compliment is perhaps a little much.

  6. Unfortunately you do pay taxes on food etc. in Europe – it’s just already counted in the total. I guess I prefer to know exactly how much I’ve to pay, rather than being reminded how much goes to the state every time.

    >>Game 2: Evil summoned a Hedron Crab on turn two with his Drowned Catacombs. He then played a Scalding Tarn [E: 19] and milled himself for six. I used Burst Lightning to kill the Hedron Crab and summoned a Borderland Ranger. <<

    Reading this line of plays it sounds like you could have killed the Crab in response to the fetch activation, since you played first. Maybe I missed something?

    Anyway good read, thanks.

  7. Between games 2 and 3 playing taylor webb, you had -2 Blightning, but you already boarded out 3 after game 1. Did you add one back, remove one, or what?

  8. @ Comment by Wes – December 1, 2009 @ 7:19 am :

    The sideboarding in round 6 between games 2 and 3 should have been:
    -1 Blightning, -1 Broodmate Dragon; +2 Great Sable Stag.

    I’ll get it fixed.

  9. I’m extremely confused by your round 5 sideboarding.

    After game 1 you did:
    -4 Sprouting Thrinax, -3 Blightning; +2 Burst Lightning, +3 Jund Charm, +2 Malakir Bloodwitch.

    First off I’d imagine the broodmates would come out before the Thrinax. It seems to me that a Thrinax is a really, really good blocker for you, and gives you far more value than hoping to get to 6 mana to Broodmate.
    My logic is that Thrinax will either block 4 attacks, allowing you to survive to 5/6 mana for Bloodwitch or Broodmate to lock the game down, or it eats a path, slowing down the rate at which they play creatures and ramping you closer to the potentially game ending big drops.

    After game two you did:
    Sideboard: -2 Blightning, -1 Broodmate Dragon; +3 Great Sable Stag.

    Is this boarding from your previously boarded state, or from the original decklist. Cause if its modification to your previous board, you’re siding out 5 blightnings. . . that by itself confuses me.
    If its sideboard from the deck you had in game 2 I’m doubly confused as to why Stag comes in over the Thrinax against RW.
    If its a board from the original main deck, why the move away from Bloodwitch?

  10. @ Comment by Mahamoti – December 1, 2009 @ 7:40 am :
    @ Comment by B19 – December 1, 2009 @ 9:18 am :

    I’m assuming you’re talking about round 6 (B19).

    The ideas behind boarding out Thrinax are:
    1. Red/white typically brings in Celestial Purge. Great Sable Stag is much better than Sprouting Thrinax against Celestial Purge.
    2. The gameplan against red/white is to overload on removal, kill everything they play, and then drop a creature. If you reach the point in the game where you can summon a Broodmate Dragon, then you’re going to win.

    The sideboarding is done from the last configuration meaning that when I sideboarded before game three, my deck was in the configuration that it was for game two.

  11. @ Comment by Will – December 1, 2009 @ 2:55 am :
    @ Comment by Someguy – December 1, 2009 @ 10:50 am :

    My lands came into play tapped for a lot of turns. While I was able to reconstruct the majority of games, I didn’t keep track of what lands got played which is why I was unable to play spells at certain times.

  12. First of all, congratulations on your stellar finish. I appreciate the detailed records you kept, they are a great insight on how to play jund.

    Secondly, about the previous comments with the sideboarding, since the sideboarding for match six, game three was done with the deck configuration of game two, how exactly did you side out 5 blightnings in total. I’m assuming that there was a small error, which is understandable considering that you can not really keep detailed records for each game for all eighteen rounds. I appreciate what details you did keep, and I am amazed that your records are so thorough, but I would like clarification, is this an error (well I guess it has to be…) and if so, can you guess as to what the actual sideboarding was.

    Thirdly, another question, why not just side out all four blightnings after the second game? They seem like a fairly bad card in this match up, so why keep just one in? Why not just side in a stag for the last blightning? It seems like it would be more effective 90% of the time.

  13. @ Comment by chris – December 1, 2009 @ 3:27 pm :
    On the play, I’d rather have the Blightning because I should be able to keep up with their creatures. On the draw, a Stag is going to be more useful because i’ll be on the defensive more of the time.

  14. How do you feel about your deck choice after the tournament? Are you still confident that you made the correct choice in playing Jund or in hindsight would you have rather played something else? Also, with the shifts in the metagame post-Worlds, how do you feel about the deck currently?

  15. If you have the luxury of an expanded beverage selection including various beer brands and then proceed to order a Heineken… then I pity you! American beer must really blow that you consider a brew from the Netherlands an improvement.

  16. @ Comment by jntx – December 1, 2009 @ 8:00 pm :
    After the tournament [or at least the Standard portion] was over, I was quite satisfied with the deck. I would have run it back for sure, but with one more Jund Charm in the sideboard.

    The metagame shift is hard to characterize. It’s usually broken down into “people who copy/paste from [insert major event/decks of the week]”, people who brew their list from an existing shell, people with homebrew bad decks, and people who play decks geared at beating whatever is best [re: turbo-fog with a 15-card anti creature sideboard]. I suspect that the percentages of the first group will increase and be limited to the decks that went 6-0 at worlds and the decks that made top 8. The remaining groups will definately shrink but will still be modestly represtented.

    You have to remember that States is a big tournament like Regionals that draws many people who wouldn’t normally play at other tournaments. It’s hard to explain the mindset of why these people only play in the two events, but that’s the way it is. Basically, there will be a lot of randomness. I would still play Jund and only worry about the decks that did well at Worlds. Everything else will sort itself out.

    @ Comment by Rob Anybody – December 1, 2009 @ 11:27 pm :
    Well Rob, when their selection was limited to [insert microbrew from Milwaukee’s Hefeweizen], Heineken, Budweiser, and some box wine, I Immediately went with the microbrew. It was quite tasty. Unfortunately they ran out of it on the way back, and thus I was left with the next best alternative; Heineken.

    Given the choice I would have picked something like Old Speckled Hen or Allagash White. Alas, I wasn’t at Father’s Office and had to cowboy up.

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