This is my report from GP Sydney, part two. I’d like to apologize (it seems I always begin those with apologies, but oh well) for not posting my entire Sealed in the last article – the reason I didn’t was that I didn’t have it on me at the time, but since I remembered most of my relevant choices, I thought it was fine anyway. It seems people wanted it, though, so for GP Toronto I’ll go a little more in detail about my sealed deckbuilding process (not that I have a lot more to talk about in Toronto anyway, since I didn’t play very many rounds…)
Anyway, by the end of day 1 I was sitting at a 6-2 record, with decent breakers, which I wasn’t very happy about but wasn’t the end of the world. Once we got back to the hotel we checked our pods and the two names I recognized were Kazuya and Justin Cheung. Kazuya also realized this and shouted from the room “Peeee Veeeee, don’t pick my poison!!!”. I tell him that, if he is passing to me, I likely won’t, but if I am passing to him, I’ll pick whatever I want and he better be ready!
At this point, I decide it is a good idea to find out what time exactly my flight to Cairns is on Monday. I had lost the confirmation number, so I checked on the Qantas website for a flight that was roughly the time I imagined mine was supposed to be, but couldn’t find any. No big deal, though, I would just call Qantas. I find their number and call them, and have one of the most unusual phone conversations I’ve ever had. It went something very, very close to this:
“Hello, I have a flight to Cairns on Monday and I don’t know exactly what time it is, could you please give me that information?”
“Surely sir. For that I’m going to need your confirmation number”
“Well, I kind of lost that number, which is why I can’t check the flight time myself”
“Oh, I understand. In that case, I’m going to need the flight details”
“Such as what?”
“The flight number and the flight time”
“Well, I don’t really have the flight time”
“But I need to know the flight time!”
“Well, I can’t give you unless you can give me the flight details”
“So you’re saying that, to have access to the flight time, I need to give you the flight time?”
“This makes no sense”
“So you’re saying I’m just going to miss my flight on Monday and you’re not going to tell me what time it is?”
“Alright, can you please just pass me on to someone else?”
“You need to give me that information or no one is going to help you”
“Well, just pass me on to someone else and I’ll see what they can do”
“Well, No, but no one is going to help you”
“OK, can you just let me speak to your supervisor please”
“No, I can’t do that”
“What do you mean you can’t?!”
“OK, then just pass me on to your supervisor just so I can make a complaint”
“No, I can’t really do that”
Then I redialed and pressed a different number and talked to a woman who found my ticket information in 5 minutes.
Anyway, we got to the event and apparently some players had dropped, so they had to repair. I ended up in Kazuya’s table anyway, but we only had 7 people this time. He was seated 3 seats to my left, so I knew if I wanted to go Poison it wouldn’t be a very big deal.
I opened a Skinrender over nothing very important, and then was passed a Putrefax and was pretty much sold – I kind of wanted to draft poison anyway, and I got passed the rare over a common. Since it is better than any common for the archetype (at least in my opinion), it was likely the guy feeding me was not looking to go poison. I simply picked poison cards in the first pack, and there were about a billion of them.
I continued the draft picking the black and green poison cards, without any very hard decisions, though I noticed that the poison cards dried a lot in the last two packs, which probably meant that either not many poison cards were opened or (more likely) the very late poison cards in pack one made people think poison was open and they should move to it.
In the end, my deck turned out like this:
Plus 2 cards I don’t remember, one of which was an artifact.
I liked the deck a lot, though there were a couple cards that weren’t very good, such as Painsmith with only four artifacts, two of which were creatures that I was looking to pump with Painsmith.
Round 9: Kazuya (Chief)
Kazuya was also playing Poison (obv obv). Game one I started very well, with Necropede into Blight Mamba into Cystbearer, with Skinrender and Tel-Jilad Fallen in hand (but only one Forest). His first play of the game was a turn four Masticore.
On my turn I have the choice between attacking and then killing his Masticore when he blocks, or playing the Skinrender before combat. I figure if I attack he will just block the Cystbearer, since he is too far behind to play around anything, so I just Skinrender the Masticore before blocks, and he ends up blocking the Mamba anyway, going to 7 Poison counters. On his turn he plays another random guy and I draw another Swamp. I attack, he blocks the Necropede and goes to nine poison counters. After that, I draw a bunch of Swamps, which is just terrible – if I draw a second Forest, I get to play the Fallen in my hand, and if I draw any spell I get to play it, but I keep drawing Swamps over and over and at some point I just die.
Game two was something very close to that – I started well but then just hit a clump of lands and died.
Round 10: Justin Cheung playing WR
Game one I had a good draw and just killed him.
Game two was very swingy; I was behind from the beginning, and then we got to the point where, for me to win, I had to draw a good sequence of cards and he had to hit all blanks. I drew Black Trigon, Skinrender, Carrion Call and Grasp of Darkness all in a row, and he drew something like land, land, bad creature, land, and I managed to “stabilize” at one life, but couldn’t kill him fast enough before he drew Vulshok Replica.
Game three was interesting; I had quite a good start and knew that the only way I could likely lose was to the Cerebral Eruption I knew he had in his deck. I had Blight Mamba, Cystbearer and Tangle Angler in play, and he cast it hitting a land. Next turn I attacked and played Untamed Might to kill his board, leaving G up. When he cast the Eruption again I played Withstand Death on the Cystbearer, which didn’t matter because he hit a one drop (another Untamed Might). I then asked him “you’re at 5 poison right?”, which would kill him if I force a block, and he said “no, 3” or something like that, which wouldn’t get him killed. We couldn’t agree on the poison count and called a judge, who said he was going to go talk to the head judge. I asked Justin if we could just agree to play on as if he was right, and when the judge comes, if the ruling is that I am correct, then he just loses (he knows I have the Might from the Eruption so he knows he is dead if he is at 5 poison). He agreed to that, and then just drew a land and I won regardless.
Round 11: WG
My draw in game one was decent – I had an early poison guy and a lot of removal. His was pretty slow, with a Sword of Body and Mind as his first play. I Skinrendered his first creature, and then he played a Molder Beast, and which I Grasped. I Grasped his second Molder Beast too, but his Golem Artisan stuck, and that halted my offense and threatened to kill me very quickly. I played a Black Trigon, and on his turn he attacked with Artisan and I blocked with Skinrender and a Poison guy. He didn’t give it trample, and instead played Glimmerpoint Stag and tried to blink the Artisan, with two mana left. I decided that I was way too far behind at this point, and I only had a chance if he messed up, so I just used the Trigon on his Golem in response, and then he pumped it. To me, that seemed better than just Trigon’ing something big at the end of the turn, even though it was very unlikely that he wouldn’t pump it (given that Trigoning something in response to it blinking is a very weird play and would probably tell him that something was up, even if he hadn’t realized it). In the end my play did not actually harm me, but it could have, so it was probably wrong. One turn later, though, he actually gave me the opportunity to kill his Golem, which he didn’t have to do, and if he didn’t I just lose. In the process I get milled to three cards – Painsmith, Putrefax and Untamed Might. If I drew Putrefax or Untamed Might, I won – if I drew Painsmith, I didn’t. I drew Painsmith. Then he attacked and I blocked in a way that made me win if I drew Putrefax, and lose if I drew Untamed Might – I drew Putrefax and killed him.
Game two I played Skinrender and killed his first guy, and then just went to town with it since he was stuck on lands. In the end, Untamed Might on it killed him.
Draft two had 8 people this time, and I wasn’t sure I could Top 8 with a win, but top 12, which is what I would probably get if I won all my matches, would give me decent money and 4 pro points, which is fine. The only person I knew was Kazuya again.
I opened the pack and took Embersmith (by far the best one) over Chimeric Mass, and then got passed Spikeshot Elder with a common missing. Elder is much better than any common, so normally I would think this means the person to my left was forcing poison, but this early in the format people didn’t understand how good Spikeshot Elder is, so I couldn’t take it for much of a signal – he might have taken Galvanic Blast over it for all I knew. Regardless, it went quite well with my first pick and I took it.
After that I had the choice between a Silver Myr and a Grasp of Darkness. There were two commons missing, and again there is no better common for a poison deck than Grasp, so he was probably not poison, which contradicts what I first thought. I took the Grasp anyway, because it is so much more powerful than the Myr, and BR is a fine archetype.
I kept taking black and red cards, opening a Mimic Vat in pack two, which is generally good but very good in BR, with all the sacrificing cards. The only really tough pick was by the middle of pack three, where I got to choose between Barrage Ogre and a Myr. The Ogre seemed like it would be very good in my deck, but I kind of needed the Myr at that point and I had a lot of five drops already, so I took it. My deck ended up like this:
Plus 16 land.
My sideboard had a Fume Spitter, which was pretty idiotic on my part, and I sided it in for the Hellion. Other than that, I again thought my deck was pretty good (but I am slightly biased, since I was the one who drafted those cards anyway, and if I did it’s not because I dislike them, right?)
Round 12: Kazuya again
Game one was, again, very frustrating. I started with three lands and a Myr, and then draw every single five drop in my deck (there were a ton of them). He was “stalled” on lands himself, with only five, and didn’t play much either – at this point I thought his hand was a bunch of removal, but then why hadn’t he killed my Myr? He very likely had Untamed Might in hand too. Then I drew a second Myr, and it lived for a turn before he drew a land and played Contagion Engine, which poisoned me out before I could play another five drop.
Game two I drew infinite lands blah blah mimimi etc etc and lost to Tangle Angler with Darksteel Axe. It sucked that we had pretty much four non games (at least from my point of view), but at the same time it was better that this happened against Kazuya, who is good and had a good deck – it would have been even worse to lose to him in a game where I drew well and then drew 10 lands in the next one.
This round my opponent got a game loss for misregistering, and had an excellent start with Carapace Forger and three artifacts, one of which was a Horizon Spellbomb. Then, on turn four, he sacrificed his Spellbomb, and then attacked and played another one, which basically meant he missed two damage for no reason. I got Furnace Celebration online and slowly removed all his creatures, and he Arc Trailed me to leave me on three life. I decided to take the game slowly, because I knew he hade a second Arc Trail in his deck, so I never attacked unless I could leave more than one blocker (or one that didn’t die to Arc Trail). Eventually I took him to 13 life, and then sacrificed three artifacts to Forgemaster, one of which was a Perilous Myr, dealing eight damage to him with Furnace Celebration and getting Vulshok Replica. I sacrificed that and dealt five more, sealing the deal.
Round 14 vs Lifegain (??)
My opponent was playing a very unusual life-gain deck. He played Kemba’s Skyguard, Golden Urn, Bleak Coven Vampires, Trigon of Mending and Exsanguinate, as well as multiple Glimmerpoint Stags and Glint Hawks to reset his life gaining cards. Then he lost.
Game two I had Fume Spitter and Mimic Vat, and he was pretty much dead for all I knew. I got stuck on three land and a Myr, and then played Skinrender on his Skyguard, imprinting it on the Vat instead. He played another, and on the following turn attacked into my three open mana, so I just made a token, gained two life and blocked. Then he played Glimmerpoint Stag and blinked my Vat. Next turn he attacked and I happily traded, getting Skinrender imprinted. He couldn’t play a single creature, but I got stuck on the same four mana and kept discarding, while he kept gaining life with his multiple artifacts (he also played a Glint Hawk Idol). At some point I got annoyed at discarding a card every turn and decided to play Vulshok Replica – the way I saw it, I would take a hit from his Glint Hawk Idol, but I would deal three damage a turn for the rest of the game.
In hindsight, it was somewhat greedy from me – I should probably have waited until I drew more lands, since I was bound to draw some soon; what happened was that my opponent attacked me with Glint Hawk Idol, then played Bleak Coven Vampires and Exsanguinated me to death.
Game three I played a bunch of guys, including Spikeshot Elder, and he kept gaining life. He aimed removal spells at my Ferrovore and Forgemaster, and left my Elder alive for some reason. It took a long time to get past all those Trigons, but in the end the Elder just killed everything he played and then him.
10-4 was good for a 24th place, which was not awesome but decent, and two pro points, which locked me level 8 for next year unless I decide to play Master of the Wild Hunt and then go around telling my opponents what they could have done with it. I felt pretty much a lock at that point anyway, but it is nice to be an actual lock and know that I can lose every match for the rest of the year and still make it.
As far as player of the year goes, well, I was feeling pretty good, but then Brad got second in the GP and it is oh so far away. Now not only do I need an awesome result at Worlds (and by awesome I mean like second place, unless I also do awesome in Nashville), I also need Brad to do mediocre. I am not going to Germany, as I think it is very unlikely that going to a 2000 person GP is going to improve my chances much (I probably have to Top 8 it to have to win one less round at Worlds or something), and it is definitely not worth failing all my subjects in the university for – if I lose by one point, then I lose by one point.
I am actually glad I decided not to go, since this announcement makes it even more not worth it. I mean, are you even serious? I forgave Wizards for what happened at GP Hanover (still haven’t gotten my money in any way, by the way), but now there is no way they didn’t at least see it coming this time, and one would think they would at least make sure it was not going to happen again before running another GP in Germany. Don’t get me wrong, if I actually win the event then I get way more money than I ordinarily would, since plane tickets for two people from Brazil to Europe are worth pretty much the 3.5K by themselves (in fact, if you want to punish Wizards for this, I see no better way to do that than inviting me to be your companion in the GP and making them spend infinite in plane tickets), but, from second place on, things get pretty uninteresting. Sure, a gigantic LED TV is nice, but how am I going to get it to Brazil? Even if they ship it, I’d have to pay 50% on top of it just for importing taxes. And, most important of all, I already have a TV. And a video-game system. The prize is basically a bunch of things that I either already have or don’t really want, so, shrug. I appreciate that they lower the entry fee, though.
Well, this is it for today. Since Scars is now online and I am back home, you can probably expect videos from me again starting next week (yay, I know right?). I will think about doing some Constructed videos, but I can’t promise anything!
I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and see you next week!