GP Bochum was held two weeks ago in Germany, and featured 1800 players and amazing no-money prizes for the second time in a row in this country.
Earning Ipads and Playstations is cool, and I would have attended anyway, but I regret that WOTC announced it 3 days before the tournament, once everyone booked flights and hotels and so had no possibility to cancel such an expensive weekend anymore.
From what people said there (probably true, but I could not check it out by myself) the 15 euro registration fee instead of 30/35 is the maximum allowed in Germany for this kind of event (so it is not a “gift” from WOTC), moreover, the state law there was that Wizards would have to pay 19% of the money prices to be allowed to make those possible. I guess that an extra 4k euros for a tournament that already cost them about 100k isn’t much, especially if you consider that shipping Playstations and stuff all over the world will be very expensive.
Anyway, my goal in this GP became to have fun with friends, enjoy the games and maybe scoop to the ones who really need pro points in order to level up as my HOF status puts me on the gravy train for life.
SOM is the best draft format I have played for a while, but I do not like the sealed deck that much as a lot of games are just about dealing straight with the opponent’s bomb or losing. I usually want to play as many good rares as I can and then, build the deck around.
This was my deck:
No lies, this deck is weak, the worst out of the >15 decks my friends showed me. Still, bad luck with the pool can easily be replaced by good fortune during the matches; I wished that I would kill my opponents before their crazy rares would show up. The best thing in this kind of tournament would be to play against 3-bye players rather than people with none and block constructed decks.
The rares are disappointing as the best one, Venser the Sojourner, only has a few interactions with the rest of the deck. It should still win a few games by itself, and so will Quicksilver Gargantuan.
With Horizon Spellbomb, Iron Myr and Copper Myr, it was easy to add 1 Forest, 1 Mountain, Shatter and Sylvok Replica to the deck, and those were needed as having Rust Tick as the only “artifact removal” is clearly not enough in sealed.
The only choice I had to make during the build was the cut to 23 cards. I had to pick 2 out of Nim Deathmantle, Trigon of Rage and Barbed Battlegear. The rare equipment would have been good with Sylvok, Auriok and Neurok Replicas, but I expected it to be very slow and be only useful when my opponent already took a big lead on the game, case in which I would probably lose anyway. I chose to play the 2 aggressive cards, Trigon of Rage and Barbed Battlegear, which suit better with the cheap creatures I got. If my deck was more controllish, I’d have picked the Deathmantle and played none of the 2 others.
I believe that in SOM sealed deck, drawing first usually is the best, especially as mulliganing on the play is awful with a deck full or Myrs and mealcraft cards. Nevertheless, with a deck that relies on winning the race with cheap fliers such as this one, I will almost always opt for going first when I win the die roll.
In this report, I will focus on the relation between the rares played by my opponents and my wins as I expect to always lose to bombs.
Round 4: Stein De Groof (Bel), 1 bye
Stein got a game loss on the first, following a deckcheck for which he took his sideboard out from a box full of other cards in his bag. I would recommend to everyone to have your full sideboard on the table before the beginning of the match, and no other cards with it.
He got a poor draw on game 2 with no land on turn 2.
2/0, 4/0 and a “nice”way of starting a tournament
Round 5: Sthile Laurent (Fra), 3 byes
The only rare he played was a Coppeline Gorge, when I attacked game 3 on the play with a 6/6 Darksteel Juggernaut on turn 5. The Juggernaut almost cost me game 1 as it kept attacking into Myr tokens from Myrsmith equipped by Sylvok Lifestaff when we were racing.
Round 6: Andre Luff (Deu), 3 byes
Round 7: Jonathan Danz (Aut), 3 byes
Game one, he played 2 non-bomb rares: Mox Opal and Engulfing Slagwurm, which were not enough for him, then I mulliganed to 5 on the second for a 2 minute long game. As he was blue-green with Untamed Might, I boarded in Soul Parry, which usually is a bad card, but as no one runs it, it becomes more efficient as it is totally unexpected.
In the third game, the game was almost lost, but I had an out. I built my game plan around Soul Parry so that John would tap my last untapped creature and attack with his whole team, and I would need to handle 2 creatures with one card in hand (which I did thanks to the instant), then kill him on the following turn with the exact amount of damage and 5 seconds on the clock. Sometimes I love Magic.
Note: I played Venser, the Sojourner twice there, playing Arrest on a Myr both times on turn 3 then blinking it on my opponent’s best creature, but both times he had a Sylvok Replica in hand, and destroyed the enchantment and then the Planeswalker with his big guy. Very disappointing.
2/1, 6/1, one more win to reach day 2!
Round 8: Alexander Löffler (Deu), 3 byes
In the first one, he did not play anything special and I won the race by playing first. In the second one, he got a Golem Artisan, I copied it with Quicksilver Gargantuan, then on the following turn equipped it with the Battlegear and attacked twice for the win. He drew a Hoard-Smelter Dragon one turn too late and died before untapping with it.
2/0, 7/1, and day 2!
Round 9: Patrick Lutz (Deu), 2 Byes
Patrick is a very good German player; his deck featured 2 Galvanic Blast, 3 Arrest, Oxidda Scrapmelter, Precursor Golem, Hoard-Smelter Dragon, 2 Turn to Slag … During the 2 games we played, there is not even a moment in which I believed I could win.
0/2, 7/2, Then, next round to know if I will play my day 2 with a Top 8 spot possible.
Out of 6 rounds, Patrick was my first opponent with both a good deck and a good draw.
Round 10: Chris Von Kalkstein (Deu), 1 bye
I did not see anything spectacular in the match; my Venser did an awesome job and won the first game by itself and Chris was mana screwed on game 3.
My deck shouldn’t have gone that well, but I got extremely lucky during the games.
I would now reach day 2 with an unexpected Top 8 possibility on the line. I love this draft format and feel pretty well with it, let’s see how well or bad I can go.
After 2 packs, my deck was red based, with a possibility of splashing either Blue, White or Green. I opened Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon, which I immediately took, followed by Hoard-Smelter Dragon, Shatter and Galvanic Blast. Man it is good to have a Poison player on your right!
The deck featured 18 lands and 4 mana Myrs! I was happy to have that much mana in the deck, to make sure that I would cast my numerous bombs as quick as possible. Anyway, changing my second color on the last pack, I had to play a few crap cards such as Memnite or Ferrovore, but anything that helps me survive until I reach my key cards was worth it.
Round 11: Calvetto Marcello (Ita)
Marcello was a bit mana screwed game one. I put him on 2 life before he stabilized, then eventually topdecked a Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon and poisoned him. Game 2, [card]Contagion Engine[/card] destroyed his board. It felt good to be the one winning with rares even though it does not need much skill.
Round 12: Robert Willbrand (Deu)
One more match that makes me love this game. I actually boarded in Exsanguinate the way I did the day before with Soul Parry, and it ended up winning the match.
Round 13: Julien Parez (Fra)
This guy beat me in the semi finals of the French nats, so I wanted revenge! It would also put me 2 wins away from the Top 8.
In the first game, Julien was a bit color screwed with his red-black aggro deck and Contagion Engine killed him. In the second game, I kept a one lander on the draw after he mulliganed:
plus two expensive cards.
I gave his turn 2 Silver Myr -1-1, to slow him down after his mulligan (he played 2 Chrome Steeds game one), then played Copper Myr after I drew my second Swamp. I expected Julien to kill any Myr as he saw that I had some expensive bombs and figured that the second one (the one producing the Red mana I was missing) would get higher odds of survival. He untapped and cast Embersmith, which destroyed me. As it took me ages to draw my Mountain, I could not get rid of his 2/1 which won the game. If I had played my Iron Myr turn 2 or not killed his Copper Myr with my Fume Spitter, I would have won the game and the match easily.
That decision ended up costing me my whole day 2, but on the other hand, he needed to have Embersmith + a cheap artifact on the following turn after a mulligan + I do not draw a Mountain out of 9 in about 3-4 turns for it to be a bad decision. I honestly still do not know whether the play was the right one or not, but anyway, it ended up painful when I lost game 3 on a mana screw.
Retrospectively, 1 round of bad luck + my play costing me the game for the first time out of 13 rounds of luck had to happen. Julien lost in the semi finals of the GP and Matignon and myself ended up very happy about having a very good player on the French team with us, as we did not know the dude before our Nats. Still, so far he got 2 really impressive results in the 2 high level tournaments of the year with no cash prizes. I guess it would have been funny to see Lino Burgold win his second Gp there, the 2 only GPs with no money to earn out of hundreds.
The deck clearly misses artifacts to be the total nuts, still, it is brutal, featuring 14 rares and uncommons. I figured I would have a great chance to win the pod and finish about 18th. Until round 14 pairings were posted.
Round 14 LSV (US)
Anyone crazy enough to come to a GP from another continent (especially with no money prizes, but how would he know before booking his flight?) has to need pro points. The guy is not only a friend, but my new boss as well (!), and he shipped so much good stuff that I would have hatedrafted to a stranger on my left to me during the draft that I already decided to scoop to him if we met.
Round 15 Wysoczanski, Krzysztof (Pol)
After I won a tough first game with a 16/16 [card]Gold Myr[/card] thanks to [card]Stratha Scythe[/card], I kept a hand with:
and lost in 3 minutes with 2 lands on the table on turn 6.
The third game was tough; I had to steal a Snapsail Glider with Volition Reins early and was clearly losing the game until my opponent cast Steel Hellkite. I played Glimmerpoint Stag, blinked the Control Magic, stole the Dragon and won the game in 2 turns.
One more win to reach the top 64 and win a headset, a box and a T-shirt!
Round 16 Maxime Claudel (Fra)
The most awkward concession ever. Maxime is a friend and we drove to Bochum in the same car. He asked me to scoop once more for school reasons! He had the opportunity to pick up Magic as a subject and his goal this year was to reach 5 Pro points. He played in a Pro Tour, got 2 of those, and a third would ensure his graduation. How frustrating it is to scoop twice out of 6 rounds especially on my birthday! But on the other hand, even though we showed decks after the draft and I had a very good matchup, how would I put his graduation at risk for a Pro point I do not need?
10/6, and an awkward feeling of having been on a rush the whole week end to end up out of the “prizes”.
Wizards did something great in the Sunday PTQ. As there was an insane field of 517 players, they decided to make a top 32 cut after 8 rounds and launch 4 drafts with one slot for the winner of each for Pro Tour Paris (the original 1 slot ended up in 4 slots!).
The PT/GP week end in Paris should be sick, I expect about 3k players to play the GP, it will be huge.
Next stop: Worlds in Chiba with the double opportunity of being crowned world champion!
Thanks for reading,