Hello! I’m Corey Baumeister, a.k.a. fffreakslittlebro. When it comes to Pro Tours I am no fffreak, but I’ve had some success here and there. When it comes to States though, I have three belts to big bro’s zero, so I would say we’re firing on all cylinders.
Looking back on how I did in this tournament I am truly shocked. I went up to play in States to try to get from 55th place in North America to Top 50, which would earn me an invitation to Worlds. Brad and I tried to figure out how many rounds I would need to be locked in and we decided if I had four or five wins I could drop. If I did happen to lose a round I would have to play out my favorite tournament of the year, so it would be fun either way.
Usually I go up to Fargo a day or two early to hang out with Brad get the deck and start testing. That’s not how it worked out for me this time. I could only come day up one day before because of work, so I got to roll out of my bed at 5 a.m. and take the 3 hour drive to Fargo to play in a tournament where my goal is win 5 rounds and drop. It’s really discouraging to drive that far to try and not Top 8, but I realized this tourney is much more important then another states Top 8. How many times am I going to get to go to Japan to see my brother fight for Player of the Year?
It was 5 a.m. and all I wanted to do was call Brad and get some Magic talk in but I figured he wouldn’t be awake. I tried to sleep, but after two hours my buddy Corey Krukenberg poured water on my feet. Some buddy, right? Needless to say I was wide awake after that unpleasant alarm clock, so I decided to give Brad a call see what deck I would be playing in 2 hours.
I didn’t get any testing in so once again I was fully depending on Brad’s deck building skills, which is like depending on a gun to fire a bullet; I really wasn’t sweating on having a good deck. The decks we were debating were Naya and RUG. I really wasn’t sure how strong Naya really was anymore, especially since we expected a lot of Primeval Titan decks. And the rug deck has really strong Titan and Eldrazi Ramp matchups. Brad listed off this sexy number:
Instantly I was very excited and very nervous. Excited because this deck sounded amazing, nervous because it seems like I would have to think a lot – not something I was looking forward to doing with 3 hours of sleep and 2 hours or so of bad car sleep. I figured I would be alright because it seemed like a very good call for the meta game and I was very familiar with this deck in block.
Around PT San Juan it was absolutely the best deck and I think it might be the deck to beat in this new format. It has so many good interactions. The new Preordain does everything the deck wants it to do: it helps you find Cobra or Explore for the turn 2 accel and it works really well with saclands and Cobra. Casting Preordain and a Jace or Oracle off a sacland is pretty insane on the third turn.
Frost Titan is another card that I have found that I just will not side out because it’s good against everything. It stalls the aggro decks and helps the deck’s sideboard plan against control, which is to morph into land destruction with Ruinblasters.
Copperline Gorge is another card that smooths this deck’s mana base out even more. It feels great to go turn 1 Lightning Bolt, turn 2 Island into Cobra. The deck preformed really well through the day and I recommend it in upcoming events for sure.
Thirty minutes on the phone with Brad and I was feeling pretty good about the deck. I arrived in Fargo, grabbed some grub, and headed over to the card shop. By the time I met up with Brad, he had the deck freshly sleeved up and a decklist written out (he spoils me). Ready to go, I sit down for the first round against my good friend Randall Cumming playing Elves.
Round 1: Randall Cummings – Elves
Game one started off with a Ravine for me and no one-drop for him. I Exploreed into Preordain (way too fun). He played Nissa’s Chosen and passed back. I threw down a Jace and bounced the Nissa, holding 2 Lightning Bolts and a Frost Titan with plenty of land to cast him. The tempo loss from Jace ended the game very quickly.
In game 2 he started off with a blistering fast “Forest, go.” I played a Gorge and passed. He threw down a Nissa’s Chosen, which got Bolted thanks to the new land. I untapped and play a land and Cobra. He played Archdruid and passed. After this turn 3 I was pretty confident I would win the five rounds I needed to make it to Worlds. The deck was just too good.
I played a sac land to have five mana. I cast Oracle, which revealed a Forest on top. That wasn’t good enough, so I played the second sac land from my hand and used it to cast Jace, which bounced the Archdruid. Randell couldn’t do much after a draw like that and a few turns later he extended the hand.
I had pretty good draws so the games weren’t very competitive, but it just seems like a train wreck for Elves in the second and third games. Both Elves and Mono-White have a tough time dealing with a deck that is progressing and can throw a two-mana Wrath of God out there at anytime.
Round 2: Derek Nelson – Valukut Ramp
I sat down to play against Derek and again I knew what I was playing against, and again was very happy I didn’t play Naya, because I would have lost very quickly to his draw.
I won the die roll and started the game off with a Preordain to try and find an Explore or a Cobra, and I hit both on top. Ding!
Derek followed that up with a Treespeaker. I played my freshly-drawn Cobra and passed. Derek leveled up the Treespeaker and cast Explore. I played a Forest and Oracle of Mul Daya, and then a sacland from my hand. Derek drew a card and looked very nervously at my Misty Rainforest.
“Do you have it?” he asked me.
“Look at who my brother is. I couldn’t not have it if I tried.”
He still went for it, so obviously I Mana Leaked his Titan. Next turn was an Avenger and a trigger thanks to Oracle. I thought for sure that was the game, but he followed it up with Pyroclasm and Lightning Bolt for my Avenger to destroy the board, which also left him 2 mana down because he lost his Treespeaker.
I untapped and cast Frost Titan and Derek’s shoulders shrugged so hard I think they may have dislocated. Off to the second game.
This game was entertaining and another game I would have quickly lost if I was playing Naya. Derek led off once again with that pesky tree hugger, into level and Overgrown Battlement, threatening the turn 3 Titan again.
I had no choice but to play a second land and pass. Derek thought for a while and played two more 0/4 walls and passed. It was now safe to say that my Mana Leaks were no longer going to be of any use. Next turn I played Explore, two lands, and shipped the turn back.
He didn’t stop to think on his turn. He thought he had me dead by playing a Valukut with 4 other Mountains out and slapping down big daddy Titan with more then enough mana to pay for 2 Mana Leaks. Unfortunately for him I had the Flashfreeze instead.
I could tell that was devastating for him by his body language, and the one card in hand was a pretty good hint that he was out of steam. And out of steam he was next turn – he played an Expedition and a Mountain, making his hand even smaller.
I played Jace on my next turn, and took a peek at his top card. It was the fourth Overgrown Battlement, which I figured wouldn’t cause me any harm so it went right back on top. A few turns later I dropped an Avenger and fatesealed him one last time to see a Titan fall to the bottom. There was a Forest on top and he extended the hand.
Round 3: John – White Weenie Quest Thingy
I had no idea what to think of this deck while I was playing it, but it’s another matchup where Ratchet Bomb and Pyroclasm dominate. Game one was a little shaky – I mulled to 6 and started off with a Ravine and passed. John went Plains, Quest, which I had to instantly read of course.
My thought process was, “Okay, so he can give a creature +6/+6, big deal, I got a rude awaking to that equipment’s second ability.” My turn 2 was land, go. He played Myrsmith which got Bolted. The rest of this game is pretty blurry, except the fact that he got his 5 counters on Quest and sacrificed it to make M. Night Shyamalan a much bigger producer. I wasn’t sweating it. I would just chump with a Cobra or something and then bounce it with the Jace I had on board… but M. Knight had quite a twist for me by taking out my Jace with the Argentum Armor’s ability.
Luckily I had the Frost Titan to at least slow him down till he drew more lands to equip it to something else. When he finally did find the mana to switch that armor over I had the Bolt to swing the game into a winning situation.
(on the play I think I would have brought back some Leaks, but I’m not sure if that’s right)
This game looked a little bit more frightening. On the first turn, he played M. Night and Hawk to throw out the beats early. I drew a Preordain which revealed a Pyroclasm, which I figured might be pretty good. John went turn 2 Myrsmith and bashed for 3. Turn 2 Wrath of God put a sad face on John and sent his 3 dudes to the yard. He wasn’t out of steam, though; next turn he dropped a Quest and a Steel Overseer. My turn 3 was a Ratchet Bomb. It felt good to cast that card for the first time, though it was telling that I hadn’t cast it until then. I ended up charging it to 3 and then blowing it up, thinking for some reason it took out all permanents with 3 or less. I may have misplayed that turn… luckily me and Pyroclasm are tight and another one found its way to the top of my deck and the game was over shortly after.
After this round I was asked to sign a playmat for the first time so that was sweet. It made me feel special; even if it doesn’t seem to phase Brad anymore I thought it was pretty funny. John also bought our lunch that day, so I just want to say thanks again!
Round 4: Craig Spitzer – Green Black Eldrazi Ramp
First of all, I would like to thank Craig. Without him I would have been pretty screwed for almost every Pro Tour I have played in. Craig would always lend out his cards to me without asking anything in return and I just wanted to say thanks again, buddy.
That doesn’t mean I was going to take it easy on him. We had a very good match that went to time since it was such a long and grueling match. I don’t really remember every detail, so you can just watch it here.
Round 5: Steven Phiff – Blue black random Trinket Mage, Mana Leak, Fumespitter, Skinrender, Abyssal Persecutor
Here it was – the finals of States for me! Win and I was done. I could walk away with my head held high! I found out what Steven was playing before the match thanks to Brad’s birding skills and I got really giddy when I heard he was playing a random deck with a lot of questionable cards in it. On the other hand, I also know that Steven is a really good player so I wasn’t going to be taking him lightly.
He won the die roll and led with a Swamp. I returned with a Ravine. He play played Island and passed. My hand didn’t have any control cards, but it did have three Cobras, two saclands, and two Frost Titans. With two lands in play I figured all I had to do is resolve one of the Cobras and I could hustle out a Frost Titan to lock down Steven’s pretty slow Blue-Black deck. Unfortunately that was easier said than done; he had the Mana Leak for the turn 2 Cobra and a Grasp of Darkness for the second. I drew 2 Avengers as my next draws and a Lightning Bolt the draw after that. I fell to his Abyssal Persecutor and Consuming Vapors a few turns later.
SB: I’m not proud of how I sideboarded but this was it:
I thought about it for a long time and I could not come up with a card that was just bad in the matchup since I was still pretty confused as to what kind of deck I was playing against. Looking back I think that I would agree with my brother and take out the Cobras for 2 Ratchet Bombs, Flame Slash, and Volition Reins.
I started off game two with a turn 2 Explore into a Jace to bounce the only creature he had on the field. I proceeded to Oracle into a Frost Titan with a Mana Leak backup. He cast Jace the next turn with 5 mana available and went to bounce the Titan which was instantly countered. Due to his mistake I attacked back tapping his only blocker to take out Jace and threw down a Avenger to finish things off.
SB: After this game I realized the Ruinblasters were just straight garbage so I took them out for 2 Spell Pierces and 2 Ratchet Bombs.
We start this crucial game off with me mulling to six cards, keeping:
Cobra is actually almost 100 percent sure going to die, which makes the card pretty bad against a blue-black control deck in a situation like this. It makes me really bummed that I didn’t notice that the card would be pretty terrible cause I am pretty sure having that card in my deck cost me the match.
I drew Explore on turn 2 and had the decision between playing it safe and casting Cobra or being risky and casting Explore, hoping for the second blue source for my Jace. I chose Cobra, which died to a Grasp of Darkness. He followed up the removal spell with a Vampire Hexmage to prevent my Jace from ever getting out of hand.
On my next turn I drew another Jace, played my third and only land, and passed. Steven threw down the unkillable Abyssal Persecutor (except like a Ratchet Bomb for four, though it was unlikely that was going to happen).I drew for my turn, hoping for a land, which I didn’t get. Instead I dropped a Lotus Cobra and passed back. Steven Cranial Extracted all my Jaces and bashed me down to four. My next draw wasn’t a sacland for me to play the Titan, so I extended the hand.
This whole match could have gone differently if I would have sided out the Cobras, but it was a learning experience. So there I am at 4-1, having to win the whole tournament to qualify for Japan. I was pretty bummed after that loss but I knew I had to shake it off and just go for it. Hopefully I could just beat one player and draw into the Top 8 and hope to win it out from there, but I didn’t get the bad player I was hoping for.
Round 6: BRAD NELSON – 75 card mirror
Yeah… looks like I am not having an easy “win and in” into this Top 8.
“I’m making you earn this title, young blood,” Brad said.
“Let’s shuffle them up, then,” I said. I tried to sound cocky, but inside I was pretty worried that I would have to outplay or just get straight luckier then the current Player of the Year to win this match. He built the deck and had been giving me sideboard strategy all day, but for some reason he was reluctant to help me out before the start of this round.
We shuffled up for game one, and I won the dice roll and started off with a turn 2 Explore into Halimar Depths, finding myself a Oracle on top. Brad went Explore into Mountain. I untapped, cast the Oracle, and played a land off the top before passing. He did have the Bolt to take out my Oracle and dropped one of his own. He played a fifth land from his hand.
I dropped my sixth land, cast Jace, bounced the Oracle back to his hand, and passed the turn. He played his sixth land and cast Oracle again. I aimed a [card]Mana Leak[/card] at the Oracle, which got Mana Leaked right back at me. Oracle allowed Brad to play a Mountain and Bolt my Jace before he passed back to me.
I played my seventh land and cast [card]Avenger of Zendikar[/card]. Fffreak runs pretty well though, if you haven’t heard, and cast his own Avenger. He also found a nice [card]Misty Rainforest[/card] on top of his library to make his plants 2/3s compared to my 0/1s.
I started off the turn with a Cobra and 2 Explores in hand. I drew for my turn and found Misty Rainforest. I cast Cobra, played Rainforest, adding a green, and cast Explore, which found me a second copy of Rainforest, which added another green to let me cast my second Explore, which found me none other then the second copy of Avenger. I sacrificed my two Rainforests, getting my plants to 4/5s, and cast the second Avenger for nine more plants. Brad shrugged and said, “I guess you do have the same blood as me.”
Out[draft]2 Frost Titan
1 Oracle of mul daya
1 Jace, the mind sculptor[/draft] [draft]2 Ratchet Bomb
1 Flame Slash
2 Spell Pierce[/draft]
We start off game 2 with both of us mulling to 6. Brad started off the action with a Preordain followed by a Cobra. I started off with Halimar Depths into a Raging Ravine with Lightning Bolt in hand. Brad played and sacrificed a Rainforest to play Jace with an Island open. He Brainstormed and passed the turn. I found another Raging Ravine as my only land and Bolted the Jace, but Brad had the Spell Pierce and we were quickly on to the third game.
SB: On the play I figured I would want more control magic and some Ruinblasters so I made these changes:
We started off the third game with Brad mulling to 6 and me happily keeping. I started with a Preordain to find Explore to hustle out the Jace I had in my hand. Brad simply played a Forest and passed. I cast my Explore and played an Island and passed back. Brad attempted to cast Explore but this time I had the Spell Pierce.
I went to my turn and played my second Island and cast Jace and Brainstorm to find two more Mana Leaks to go with the one I already had in my hand. Brad cast Cobra and played a Misty Rainforest. I went to my turn and Brainstormed to find a Lightning Bolt, which I promptly used on the snake.
I cast a Cobra of my own, leaving myself with 3 Mana Leaks and a Spell Pierce in hand, so I was feeling pretty good about keeping my Jace alive. Next turn Brad went to cast Explore without playing a land. I Spell Pierced it just in case he was digging for a fourth land. He put the Explore in the yard and passed without playing the fourth, and it looked like I was just running good that day.
Next turn I drew the land I put on top, attacked for 2 with the Cobra, and fatesealed Brad with Jace. I found an Island that I sent to the bottom. Brad drew his non-land card for the turn and passed. Next turn I drew a land again and fatesealed, finding another Island and after putting it on the bottom again, I attacked for 2 and passed the turn.
Brad drew his card and put Avenger of zendikar into the graveyard. I fatesealed him one more time to find a Frost Titan on top that I left there; once Brad drew it he conceded.
“Well, you better take it down now or I wont love you anymore.”
Brad always does knows how to light the fire.
Next round I drew into the Top 8, which may have not been smart because I should have went for it for the rating, but I figured I still couldn’t lose a match and make it to Worlds, but I could probably draw and if I won out the tourney I would be qualified.
Top 8 – Mono Red
I was really worried when I found out I had to play Mono Red. I didn’t really have any hate in the sideboard and Brad also lost to this guy in the swiss. He didn’t think it was a very good match up. I don’t really remember much about the first game except that I dealt with his early creatures with Lightning Bolts and he needed one more burn spell at the end of the game before he got finished off by a fifth turn Frost Titan.
Game 2 was really interesting. I had a slow start in the form of Raging Ravine and Copperline Gorge into Explore, Forest, while the Mono Red player cast a first turn Goblin Guide, second turn Goblin Guide, third turn Goblin Guide. By the time the goblins dug up a Pyroclasm for me, I was already at 8, though I wasn’t feeling too good about this game to begin with.
Next turn he just drew and aimed a Forked Bolt at my head to put me to 6. I untapped and played my fifth land and passed. He went to Bolt me, which I Flashfreezed. He untapped and said go with 2 cards in his hand. I cast Explore and got out my seventh land and and passed. At the end of turn, he aimed a Staggershock at my face with 2 mana left open so I quickly Mana Leaked it and hoped he couldn’t come up with 6 damage to do to me because I was out of countermagic. All I had was an Island and a Frost Titan in hand. He drew and sent a Lightning Bolt at my dome and passed back, so I felt confident that he couldn’t kill me with the one card in his hand. I drew my card which was just the best draw I could have drawn – Flashfreeze. I cast the Titan, iced down a land, and passed back. He simply drew his card and passed back. I animated my Raging Ravine and got in there for 10 and hoped he couldn’t deal 3 damage to me with his 2 cards through my Flashfreeze.
He aimed a lethal Lightning Bolt at my head at the end of turn. I Flashfreezed and pray to the Magic gods. He drew and played an Arc Trail to put me to 1, but it wasn’t enough and he extended the hand.
Top 4: Jordan Stensgard – Mono Green Eldrazi Ramp
This matchup is the matchup that I expected to play a lot and it was the matchup that I felt was really heavily in my favor. We start off game one both keeping, but something was odd about Jordan’s keep. He had a grimace on his face.
We both started laughing as I untapped and cast Explore and passed…
Yeah, I passed the turn without playing a third land with 4 lands and an Oracle in hand.
Brad just laughed and went out for a smoke – he wasn’t happy with me making play mistakes when I had a lot more then a States title riding on this tournament.
Jordan untapped and played a Forest (KARMA) to cast Overgrown Battlement. I cast Preordain and shipped back with a Mana Leak backup. I Mana Leaked his Cultivate to stop an early Titan, which allowed me to play the turn 4 Oracle which should have been on turn 3. Jordan played an Eldrazi Temple and said go. I played two more lands, up to seven, and and shipped back. Jordan thought for a bit and cast Primeval Titan, which I Mana Leaked.
He threw down 2 copies of Summoning Trap. I had one more Mana Leak, but I figured I might as well see what the first one brought and then Leak the second. He looked at the first seven cards with a frown and all I could think is “God, I am running so good”. I think it was because I was in the same city as Brad. He put an Overgrown Battlement in. I Mana Leaked the other trap, then cast Avenger of Zendikar and played a sacland. Time for game two!
Jordan started the game off with a Treespeaker and passed. I Preordain and passed. Jordan leveled up, played Explore, and laid an Eldrazi Temple. I had to pass without playing because of the Titan threat – I needed mana for my Mana Leak. He did cast Titan, which I leaked, and fortunately he didn’t have Summoning Trap.
I Explored into two more land to bluff countermagic. Jordan thought a lot before casting three more Battlements. I was told after the match the last card in his hand was a Titan. Had he simply cast it, I would have been cold to it.
Next turn I drew Preordain, which found me a Flashfreeze. I cast a Lotus Cobra and passed the turn. He cast Titan far out of range of Mana Leak, but Flashfreeze still did the trick. Jordan didn’t draw any action and passed after that. I cast a Jace and looked at the top card of Jordan’s library to find the last Overgrown, which was fine by me. I cast an Oracle to set up Avenger and make the plants huge next turn. Jordan drew, shrugged, played the Overgrown, and passed. I fateseal one more time to find a blank and threw down the Avenger and moved onto the finals.
ONE MORE MATCHHHHHH is all I was thinking. If I lost here this whole day still meant nothing to me. I don’t care about a box for second. It’s all about the points for Worlds.
My next matchup was Boros in the hands of Corey Krukenberg. Corey is the man I beat in the finals of 2008 States when he was playing Elves and I was playing Faeries. Corey is a super nice guy, except the fact that he is the buddy that poured water on my feet on the way up to this event, but it’s all in good fun.
Without Corey I don’t know if there would have ever been fffreak or fffreakslittlebro. Brad and I started out playing FNMs and Sunday tournaments at Corey’s shop, Collector’s Universe, in Bismarck. Brad and I did a lot of talking about the matchup and sideboarding beforehand and I feel that we had a really good plan for the deck, which was just minimize any creature damage above anything else, and our sideboard plan was really good against little red white dudes.
FINALS: Corey Krukenberg – Boros Bushwacker Combo
Link here if you would like to watch it.
Corey attacked, giving me a Forest and trading with my Lightning Bolt. He played a Plated Geopede second main and shipped back to me. Luckily my hand had two more Lightning Bolts to deal with pesky creatures. I cast Explore and Lightning Bolt and passed. Corey cast another Geopede and played an Arid Mesa.
Next turn I cast Jace and sent the Geopede back to Corey’s hand. Corey recast it and aimed a Lightning Bolt at my Jace. Next turn I threw another Lightning Bolt at the Geopede and cast a second Jace and started drawing some cards. Corey’s next turn was just a simple “land, go.” With one card in hand looked like he was out of gas. Next turn I played a Frost Titan and iced down a Mountain to prevent him from getting all Bushwacker crazy on me. Corey couldn’t find a way to deal me 14 damage and scooped.
Corey started this game in a familiar pattern with a Guide putting me to 18. I played a Ravine and passed. Corey played another Goblin Guide and bashed me to 14, but they dug up a Forest and a Ratchet Bomb for me. Ratchet Bomb hit the table and got charged up as I passed. Corey casts a Tunnel Ignus and played a land, bashing me for 4. I untapped, Lightning Bolted the Ignus, and cast Explore to get to 4 mana and passed.
The Goblin Guides not only died to Ratchet Bomb, they gave me two more land first. Corey’s draw again looked kind of miserable as he drew and passed the turn. I played a Frost Titan once I got myself up to 6 mana and passed back to Corey. He played a Steppe Lynx and passed back, letting me cast Avenger of Zendikar to finish things off and become the 2010 State champion!
After celebrating with Brad for a bit, we all headed home to do some more celebrating and let the testing begin for Worlds. I cant wait to see my buddies again. Thanks for reading everyone – I hope you liked my first tournament report. I didn’t design the deck, I only played it, so I hope you can get some value out of my games.