Hello!

This is kind of a report for GP Paris + GP Denver, though I’m not going to dwell on matches much this time (and I know I always say that and end up writing a lot about them anyway, but THIS TIME… eh, ok, it’ll be the same).

When I first went to Paris, I was unsure whether I liked the Magic Weekend thing or not. Obviously a free GP would be nice no matter what, but I wasn’t sure whether it wouldn’t just be too exhausting to play for two more days than we are used to, and a 2000 people tournament no less. After the Pro Tour was done, though, all I wanted to do was play more – whenever I feel my result isn’t good enough, all I always want is another tournament to redeem myself, and it was very nice to have one right there. I also got to keep the Pro Tour hotel for the days of the GP, since the Pro Tour was not over, which was pretty sweet. I imagine, though, that if the GP was Constructed, I would not have liked it nearly as much.

The GP started without much delay, and also without the gigantic numbers that they expected, not even being the biggest GP in history (tsk, tsk). As I went to my assigned seat for deckbuilding, I realized I was right in front of one of the screens that was showing the Player of the Year match, which made me one of the few lucky individuals who could actually watch it. Wizards’ attitude towards this match kind of puzzles me – sometimes they make it seem like it is the most important thing ever, and they won’t stop talking about the PoY Race in the coverage of events, but sometimes it seems like they just don’t care. It is hard for me to imagine a worse time for that match to take place than at the deck building portion of the GP – they basically had a hall with 2000 people for a weekend, and then decided to have the match be played at the only moment in which every single one of those 2000 people was busy and couldn’t watch. After the match was done, there were no announcements, no nothing – it wouldn’t surprise me if most people in there didn’t even know that the match was taking place, let alone the winner.

The pool I received was pretty decent; here are the relevant cards:

 

 

 

 

 

 

How would you build it?

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Soooooooooo, are you done?

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NO CHEATING

 Building the Deck

Ok! So the first thing that stands out is that red is really good. It’s got two good removal spells (Burn the Impure and Turn to Slag), two bombs (Kuldotha Flamefiend and Hellkite Igniter) and is just very solid – barring some insane infect (which I don’t have), I will play red.

Now that I know I will play red, the green and black both get kind of uninteresting, since they don’t offer much in terms of non infect cards. I probably like Instill Infection more than anyone, and the same with Rager, but that is not enough to justify a color. green has Slice in Twain, Tangle Angler and some dudes, but again we can probably do better with another color.

I’m not really sure which is better between white and blue. Blue has the best card (Sphinx), and another decent flier in Serum Raker, but white has Arrest and Razor Hippogriff. At the time, I felt like the blue was simply better, but that might well be wrong – Hippogriff is really good. I think that Steel Sabotage weighed more than it should have in my decision – at the time, I thought it was almost as good as Shatter, an effect my deck lacked, but I no longer think so (though it’s still a fine card). Another consideration is to splash Arrest off Gold Myr, but I chose not to do that – Arrest is obviously better than Bonds of Quicksilver, but I did not think it was worth all the times where I would a) draw Arrest and not have the white to play it b) draw Plains and not be able to play one of my other colored cards because of that. Besides, if I don’t play Arrest I can play Plague Myr instead, which is a small upgrade to Gold Myr, and I don’t want to play both.

This is what I ended up with:

 

It seemed good to me – it had early defense and big guys, as well as good middle-costed dudes and some removal. I also liked that the deck had the potential to burn people out – there was a Perilous Myr, a Flamefiend, a Burn the Impure, a Vulshok Replica, an Embersmith, and the Hellkite Igniter to give me a lot of reach for those last points, and I had some aggressive fliers too.

Crush is a card that I will always play in Sealed, even if I won’t always do so in Draft (but I like it in draft most of the time anyway). Now with Living Weapon everyone has good targets, and I never regret drawing it during the tournament.

Myr Welder is another card that people sometimes don’t play, but he is pretty good. In my deck I have the two Replicas, the Rusted Slasher and the Plague Myr, but, like Necrotic Ooze, I’d usually play him even without any artifacts, since it also steals your opponent’s cards, as well as helping against Morbid Plunder, Corpse Cur and Hippogriff from time to time. Some helpful artifacts are all replicas, all Spellbombs (though you can’t draw a card), the Trigons, Glint Hawk Idol, etc. You can even do some shenanigans if you happen to get a Trigon and, say, a Necrogen Censer.

I opted not to play Kuldotha Ringleader and Goblin Wardriver, because I feel like being strictly aggressive is not the way in this format, at least not with ground guys. They will quickly get outclassed by the bigger drops, and having to attack is a really bad ability when the ground stalls so quickly to the point where, at best, it trades for one of two 3/3s when they double block.

My opponent in round 4 started aggressive, but then he flooded out and lost. Game two I thought I had under control, but he played Molten-Tail Masticore, which was one of the few cards my hand couldn’t handle, and I died. After that I boarded in the Gold Myr, the Arrest and two Plains, though I kept the Bonds.

Game three my opponent again had Masticore (obv obv), but I had Bonds to slow it down a bit. I was having some mana problems, and though he wasn’t playing anything (he had one card in hand), Masticore would eventually just kill me. At some point, I was at 8 life and he had one card in hand and no creatures in his graveyard, but a Myr with Heavy Arbalest and a Myr token, as well as 8 mana. I was surely going to kill him if I lived to take two more turns. He tapped four of his lands and proceeded to move the Heavy Arbalest from the Myr to the Myr token, which I killed in response with Burn the Impure. As that happened, he left the Arbalest in play, but not equipped. I then had to tell him that it stayed equipped on the Myr, which ended up killing me, as he shot the Myr with the Arbalest and discarded a creature on his upkeep, hitting me for eight.

This loss was the one that made me the most angry the entire weekend. I think that was particularly irksome because, if he thought it worked like that (with Arbalest not equipped if I killed the guy in response), then why on earth would he move it? If it worked the way he thought, I would have won the game I had no business winning. And the fact that I lost both games to the same card alone. And the fact that I was sooo close – if his last card had not been a creature, I would have won (though, to be honest, he could have drawn a creature the turn before too, but all it did was fool me into thinking I had a shot).

1-2
3-1

For round five, I again found myself losing to rares, this time a Hoard-Smelter Dragon. Since the beginning of this format, everyone always told me they lose to bombs, but that had not happened to me much – generally games would be a lot more decided by whoever ran out of gas and then started drawing lands than by whoever had the best bomb. This time, though, they really got me. Game one I could have won if I had drawn any sort of burn, but didn’t, and game two I’m pretty sure I messed up, though I cannot exactly point out where – it was just one of those games in which you know you should have won. I actually drew very well, topdecking multiple cards that I needed, but it was still not enough. My opponent’s deck was also much better than mine, with the Dragon, Venser and Treasure Mage for Thopter Assembly, all of which he played in game 2.

0-2
3-2

Round 6 I played against a guy who didn’t look very experienced. Game one I killed him easily, and then game two I kept a week hand of Bonds, Gargoyle (which Owen made fun of me for because apparently I “cannot pronounce it to save my life), Crush and 4 lands. He started with turn 1 Memnite, turn 3 Blisterstick Shaman pinging me, and I kept drawing lands and refused to Bonds his 2/1, which was probably a mistake. I took a lot of damage and played my Gargoyle on turn 6, as well as Hexplate Golem turn 7, but he had Into the Core and enough damage in play to kill me. Had I just Bonded his guy on turns four or five, I would have had a lot more time, but I don’t know if it was the correct decision or not – it could definitely happen that I did that and then he played a bigger guy and I died anyway. Also, remember when I said I was never unhappy to draw Crush? I lied, I was unhappy this game.

Game three was also comfortable, though that was partially because he had mana problems.

2-1
4-2

Round 7 was pretty interesting. My opponent was stuck on a lot of Islands for a long time, and it got to a point where I could go for the kill and lose to Disperse, or I could pass the turn tapped out and lose to some sort of burn or Flameborn Hellion. I didn’t know he was red, but he did have Spin Engine in play. I decided to play around the Disperse that he turned out not to have, missing what I’m sure seemed like an on-board kill (at least my opponent asked me why I hadn’t killed him), but he didn’t follow that up with Mountain + Hellion.

For game 2, it turned out he was actually red. The game got to a point where I had 5 lands and he had just stolen my Lumengrid Gargoyle with Corrupted Conscience. He was at four, and I had Burn the Impure in my hand and Pierce Strider in play. He had a lot of blockers. I decided that I was not going to win this match conventionally and I had to get lucky, so at the end of the turn I played Burn the Impure on the Gargoyle, bringing him down to 1 (did you know you could do that even if you didn’t kill the creature?). I then drew Steel Sabotage, and used it to bounce my Pierce Strider, killing him with 5 lands exactly.

2-0
5-2

Round 8 I played against Josh (Utter-Leyton), whose deck I knew was better than mine. Game 1 I curved out insanely and he had a slow draw, so I beat him.

I knew he would tell me to play in game 2, and I also knew that his deck had a lot more quality than mine but was slower. Because of that, I boarded in the two Battlecriers (the 4/4 and the Wardriver), with the intention of quickly overpowering him before his better cards could come into play. Though I did not draw any of those, I again had a sick curve, with Oculus into Vulshok Replica into Ogre Resister into removal for his first guy into Skinwing to push through the last points of damage.

2-0
6-2

So, after starting 0-2, at least I was back in it. My win-and-in match was pretty exciting, other than the fact that I lost, that is. Game one I made a couple attacks that might have been rushed, but ended pretty much clearing his side of the board and leaving me with a flier (we both had one ground guy each who would just look at each other) and him with 5 lands and one card in hand. Then on his turn he drew, played a land and passed, still with one card. I attacked with my flier, and at the end of the turn he played White Sun’s Zenith for 3. He drew, attacked me, I blocked one guy and then I drew and passed – I could no longer attack with my 4/3 flier profitably. Then at the end of the turn he played white Sun’s Zenith for 3 and killed me. YEAH THAT’S REALISTIC. Thought, to be honest, if I had not attacked and cleared the board, the Zenith would not have mattered nearly as much (three 2/2s are a lot better when no one has anything than when everyone has four 3/3s), so I think my attack just lost me the game.

Game two was a race between his 4/4 and my 4/4 flier, but I ended up drawing a lot of lands and died before I could kill him.

0-2
6-3

I was not overly mortified to not have made day two, because that had been pretty much a given once I started 0-2 and everything else was just a bonus. To be honest, the entire GP felt like a bonus, which probably played a great part in me not caring as much.

We drafted the day away, when we were not busy wondering what sort of contest we could come up with to prove once and for all who was better between Brad and Conley. We did not reach a consensus, but I think the suggestion I liked the most was best out of 3 of Winston Draft, IQ test and cheeseburger-eating competition.

After the tournament, I flew to Miami with the other Brazilians, to spend the week before Denver. Miami was an easy choice for us, because it is cheap, it’s where American Airlines connects, and we kind of know it already, because we’ve been there so many times. I actually wanted to do a lot of shopping this time, which was a bit hard on my travel companions, since I am a very undecided person, even with the smallest things, which meant I took a long time. If you’ve ever seen me ordering dessert, you probably know what I’m talking about. What happens is sort of an internal dilemma:

“Hm, I’ve had the brownie here, it’s pretty good, I’ll just get it again. But oh wait, there is a cheesecake too. I might try that. But what if I don’t like it? At least I already know the brownie is good. But what if the cheesecake ends up being good? What if it’s better than the brownie? I could be missing the chance to order cheesecake every time I come here, because I am afraid to order it now. But I’m pretty sure if I get it I’ll just wish I had had the brownie instead…” and so on.

We also went to Fogo de Chão twice, which was sweet. In case you don’t know, it’s a Brazilian steakhouse that is pretty famous in the US and whose name I’m pretty sure you cannot pronounce correctly no matter how many times you try (take that, Gargoyle!). The only bad part of Miami is that it seems that the official language is not English, but Spanish. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not like Ben Stark who expects everyone to speak English perfectly (kidding, kidding), but when I am in the United States, I think it’s a reasonable expectation to have. I don’t even look Latino, and whenever I walk anywhere in Miami their default language to me is always Spanish. Even in the airport, they see my Brazilian passport and start speaking Spanish to me.

It is not even that I can’t understand – there are a lot of similarities between Spanish and Portuguese and I can definitely have a conversation with someone in Spanish – but my Spanish is definitely worse than my English, and I don’t really like the language. Besides, whenever I try to speak English, those people give me weird looks, as if how dare I intrude in their country and expect them to speak my language instead of theirs, when it is in fact the exact opposite!

I arrived in Denver after connecting in Dallas for some reason, and was somewhat surprised to see that it was very sunny outside – it certainly didn’t match the number of people with skis and snowboards in my flight, all of which I got to see because my luggage was like the last one to come out. If it is possible to run any worse, I really don’t know how.

I went to the event hotel (which was very good for the price), and then was not allowed in my room because Carlos had booked it, despite me having the confirmation number and the confirmation e-mail, which was very annoying to me but I understood. Then they told me that I could have Carlos call them and tell them I was going to be in the room, which was somewhat puzzling, because how could they ever begin to figure out that it was actually Carlos calling them and not, you know, me from the other room? In any case, I could not contact him, because he was supposedly flying, though he would only arrive seven or eight hours after me. It turned out he was not, because his flight had been overbooked, and we (I had another friend in the same situation) got him to call them and let us in.

We did a draft in which I ended up with a GWB infect brew that challenged conventions – in the words of Ben Stark, “Plague Stinger and Dispense Justice have never been in the same deck before” – and easily 3-0ed for like the first time in my life.

I went to the GP the following day and was surprised that there were “only” 800 or so people. It’s funny how one’s point of view changes so quickly; a couple years ago, that would have been a record. Apparently the organizers was also surprised, because they kept pushing the beginning of the tournament so that “more people could register” as if there was an avalanche of players who wanted to do so but could not reach the registration desk in the turmoil. In the meantime we got to play Catchphrase though, so it was alright. It is impressive how hard it is to find a Catchphrase in an event, despite there being 157 people who want to play as soon as you show up with one. I’d bring one myself, but it randomly turns on when it’s in your bag and it really beeps in a way that is not the most recommended for a US airport.

After registering and deck swapping, I was graced with this pool:

 

 

 

 

 

 


Take your time, etc.

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Deck Two

The first thing that stood out was that green had what were likely my two best cards – Asceticism and Fangren Marauder. Well, that’s a lie – the first thing that stood out was that the pool was really, really bad. In fact, it’s one of the worst pools I’ve ever had in a Sealed tournament. The next thing that stood out was that the guy had misregistered an Untamed Might, which took me a long time to find, since it is, you know, the last card of the last column, or something like that. I ended up getting 3 extra mins from a judge. Then, came the fact that my two best cards were green.

Red was extremely bad and ruled out immediately, so that left any combination of the other four colors, with green being either a main color or a splash for Fangren Marauder + Tangle Hulk.

Black had some good cards (by that I mean the Imp, which might be the actual best card in the pool if I had a good deck for it), but it didn’t pair well with any color and a BG deck didn’t look like it would have gotten very far. white had Divine Offering, which I would probably play no matter what, and then the two fliers and Relic Warder, where blue had some counterspells and a Cryptoplasm, which is also pretty good.

After struggling for every second of my three extra minutes, I opted for this:

 

 

Choking Fumes was a very big disappointment, and I would never maindeck it again. I don’t know what possessed me to play Unnatural Predation in this deck – both other pump spells (Seize and Withstand Death) would have been better.

I chose to go with this approach because I thought the two white fliers could win me some games at least. By that point, I was just desperate for a way to win the game, and if that involved ridding my two fliers to victory then so be it.

Phyrexian Revoker was a card that was surprisingly good, much better than most people give it credit for, you should always play it.

I did not play Sphere of the Suns, because I think it’s terrible. I don’t like Myrs already, and it is not because they die, but because they don’t do anything. Sphere does even less. I did board it in when I boarded into a third color, but in two colors I would generally avoid it like the plague.

I kept in mind that both UGw and UWg could be potential builds after board.

During byes we went to a Mexican place (we actually went there like 5 times, because they had discount coupons), and then I asked some people what they would do with my deck, but not before tricking two poor souls into splitting 10% with me (ok, only one poor soul, the other was already splitting before the decks). After they saw my deck both tried to claim a split had never been agreed on, but TOO LATE mwahahahaa.

This is the deck Ben said he would build:

 

I kinda liked that approach, but it would depend on what they were playing. It forsook equipments and Brass Squire for counterspells, and while I’d be glad to be rid of situational cards the four card package was something that could just win games randomly. When your deck is bad, you can’t do with average cards – you need hit or misses, because if you’re average you’ll lose every time. If they were playing a deck with a lot of good artifacts, though, I could see myself siding into this.

I do think fatties + counterspells is somewhat of a nombo, too, because they can play early guys which you cant counter and then sit still until you have to tap your mana for a big guy to defend yourself, and then they can play whatever and you can’t counter.

Round 4 I got paired against a RW aggro deck. Game one I won, and then game 2 I mulliganed to 5 (you know, to keep things fair since my deck was so good already). At some point he had a Mimic Vat with Vulshok Replica and I was at one life, when I drew… Phyrexian Revoker! See, I told you it was good. I played it and named Mimic Vat, but then he played Myr Welder and then when another creature died he replaced the Replica, removed it and killed me. See, I told you Myr Welder was good too! It really is amazing how I can be so right all the time.

Game three I played Asceticism and at some point made a choice that was somewhat risky – I played Tangle Mantis over my second Kemba’s Skyguard. That meant I could be dead to a combination of cards that turn, but hid the fact that I had the Skyguard from him. On his turn he attacked with everything, and every one of his guys died except for Vulshok Replica. I was at 4, and he had 1R up when all was done. On my turn I attacked to lethal next turn and played the Skyguard, going to 6, and he showed me Blisterstick Shaman in disgust. He didn’t topdeck a burn spell and I won.

Perhaps it was right to play the Skyguard instead, but in the end my play really worked out, because he thought I was at a life total when in reality I was at another, so to speak, so he threw all his guys away in the hopes of killing me the following turn, which he would not have done if he knew I had life gain.

2-1
4-0

Round 5

This time I won round 1 on the back of my fliers, and then I decided I’d board into a UWg deck (splashing Marauder and Hulk) because he was playing GR Dinosaurs, and he didn’t seem like he had many ways to deal with fliers (and blue would add Skimmer, Cryptoplasm and Neurok Invisimancer, as well as 2 counters and Bonds for his fatties. I lost game two, and then game three I kept a very bad hand of Origin Spellbomb, Bonds of Quicksilver and 5 land, though it did have all my 3 colors in it. The hand doesn’t do anything, and it especially doesn’t do anything that I want to do against him (fliers).

My bad keep punished me as I drew lands the first 3 draws, and then Steel Sabotage, which I used to bounce his Inkmoth Nexus when he attacked – not that I cared about the one poison, but I felt like my chance was to draw an attacker before he could get to the 6 mana he would likely need to start playing big guys. I drew Cryptoplasm, which kinda sucked because my Myr token was the only creature in play, and then he played Viridian Corrupter on my Trigon of Thought, then another on Asceticism. I could have played Bonds of Quicksilver in response, but I didn’t feel like that accomplished anything, because he was not going to kill me with poison, and if I do that he just doesn’t attack and the guy stays there – it seemed better to try to draw Leonin Relic-Warder for the Asceticism and target someone else. We played draw-go for a while, with my Cryptoplasm not doing anything, and then at some point he finally played Fangren Marauder, which I couldn’t even copy because Cryptoplasm turns out to be the only Clone variant in existence that targets the creature. In the end, I died about four turns later, with 15 lands in play and a 2/2 Cryptoplasm; I think if I ever draw a guy with evasion I get to copy it and just win, because he didn’t have anything for a very long time either.

1-2
4-1

Round 6 was not very interesting – game one he had fliers and equipments and, despite drawing my Divine Offering for his Sword of Body and Mind I still died to the flier, and game two he had Bloodshot Trainee and the +2/+2 can’t block equipment and I could not beat that.

Round 7 was equally uninteresting, my opponent kept a very slow hand g1 and got mana problems game 2.

Round 8, on the other hand, was very interesting, though I don’t think I can really convey how interesting it was from my point of view. Game one I won, and I decided to side in Seize the Initiative for the Unnatural Predation – it was coming out every game, but most of the time I brought in Withstand Death for it. Then, game two he played Carnifex Demon, and we got to a point where if I had Unnatural Selection I’d have won, but with Seize the Initiative I had to pass the turn instead. In the end I made a play that was somewhat risky – I had a 6/6 first strike flier (with equipments) and he had a Carnifex Demon and a Rusted Relic. I could sit back and wait, or I could attack and threaten to kill him next turn, but then if he drew an artifact I would die to Rusted Relic. He didn’t, and after some a complex sequence that involved Seize the Initiative I was able to win. I don’t know if I should take the risk or not – the thing is, if I pass, what am I hoping to draw here? He will just sit back until he draws something, and I don’t really have anything to draw, so it seemed like I just had to go for it.

2-0
6-2

At this point I checked the standings and was very glad to find out that I could draw into day 2. My opponent had much lower breakers, though, and I told him I was not sure he would make it, though he likely would, but he decided to take the draw anyway.

The reason I decided to draw was that my deck was really really bad, and I didn’t feel like I could expect to win a big amount of the time – I had definitely felt lucky to win 3 matches. There was a small chance I day 2ed with x-3, since my breakers were good, but I didn’t really want to risk it, and, most importantly, x-2-1 was “live” for top 8, but x-3 likely wasn’t. I thought it was easier to win 6 matches in draft than to win this one, the next 5 and then be able to draw. After the match I asked my opponent if he had a good deck, and he replied with, “Kinda, I had Wurmcoil Engine and 2 White Sun’s Zenith.” Good thing I drew, uh?

In the end, it turned out that, if my tiebreakers remained the same (they would likely go up with a loss instead of a draw), I would have finished exactly 128th. That is pushing it a little bit for me, and I do not regret my decision.

I did not know anyone on my draft table, and my first pick had Phyrexian Hydra and Go for the Throat. I decided to pick the Go for the Throat for two reasons – first, it is more versatile and will go in more decks, and can even be splashed. Second, I didn’t really know how good the Hydra was – one problem with not doing a lot of drafts is that you don’t get to interact with a lot of the rares. Later on, after asking friends, I found out that most people thought Hydra was better than Go for the Throat in an infect deck.

After that I had the option of Inkmoth Nexus, Fangren Marauder or Viridian Corrupter. Nexus is really good, much better than I thought it was at first, but Corrupter is better, so I took it, knowing full well that I might be setting one or more people into infect on my left, but not caring much. Then the Marauder from my second pick tabled! I didn’t have many very hard picks after that, simply picking the best infect card or so, and ended up with this:

 

I thought my deck was pretty good, though apparently other people did not exactly agree with that. One mistake I made was playing Peace Strider over Alpha Tyrranax – I thought I needed the defense, but I was wrong. As Web pointed out, I’m going to win the game with one card (since it doesn’t really interact with the rest of my deck), it’s going to be the 6/5 not the 3/3.

My games were all not very interesting, the way infect matches usually are, so I won’t dwell on them.

Round 10 I lost game 1 to Masticore, and then won the other two.
Round 11 I beat a UW fliers deck when I had very good draws.
Round 12 my opponent had a pretty good deck with Myrs and Koth and Hero of Oxid Ridge, but he never played a turn 3 Koth and in the end I won a match that took a lot of time. During this match, I got a warning for slow play, and then the judge left. I admit I was taking a lot of time for that turn, but that was how long we were both taking for every turn since the board state had gotten that complicated. When I passed the turn and the opponent took exactly as long as I did, and exactly as long as we both had taken in the previous 6 turns, I called the judge back, not because I thought he was being overly slow or because we were running out of time, but because he was playing at the exact same speed I was and it didn’t seem far that I had gotten the warning just because the judge happened to be passing by during my turn and not his. The judge understood my point and asked another judge to watch the rest of our match, but I won shortly after because he bricked twice in a row, despite me not playing very optimally.

Slow play warnings are really annoying, because you know you took a long time, so you kind of deserve them, but at the same time you know that half the tournament takes this long at least a turn every game, so it looks like you just lost the “judge happened to be watching the critical turn” lottery. It is especially annoying because then you star rushing (another slow play infraction is a game loss, unless they’ve changed that by now), so you make worse plays because you’re afraid of being too slow. Of course, that is entirely different when you are consistently slow, but that’s not really my case – I’m generally pretty fast until it comes to a time where I have to stop and think everything through.

9-2-1

Draft #2

For my second draft I knew a couple more people, though they were not near me. I started with a Hero of Oxid Ridge, not because I think it’s really good, but just because it was the best card in the pack. Then I had the choice between Fangren Marauder, Rot Wolf, or Divine Offering, and I took Divine Offering despite not liking white, because I thought it went better with red. Then pack three had another Marauder and another Rot Wolf, and I took Marauder. Then pack four had yet another Marauder and a Vedalken Anatomist. At that point I was completely lost, and just took the Anatomist because it is just much better (in fact better than any common). Perhaps that was wrong. I then got an Ichor Wellspring, and then had the choice between a second Wellspring and Serum Raker. I took the Wellspring, and regret it, but at the time I did not even know what colors I’d end up being, and Spring would probably be better if I played white (say, UW splash Marauder). Also, I thought I’d wheel a Rusted Slasher, but I didn’t. I did get a last pick Tangle Mantis, though.

After that most of the decisions were between a color or another, and it was tough because white wasn’t flowing much, but at the same time I really wanted to be white to abuse my Ichor Wellsprings (with Glint Hawks). Not seeing any white, though, I just had to resign myself I’d splash the Divine Offering and the Arrest. At some point in pack three I had the choice between Revoke Existence and Acid Web Spider, and then I took the Spider, because I’d be able to cast it more consistently and because I thought I had a problem with Fliers.

My deck ended up just… awkward. It was one of those drafts where you leave to deckbuilding and you don’t really know if you’re going to end up in BG infect or RG Dinosaurs yet, and you just hope you’ll be able to figure it out and find 23 playables when you lay your down on the table. You know what I mean, right? No? Just me?

Anyway, this is what I had:

 

I KNOW RIGHT, it looks like one of my decks from those draft videos!

Anyway, the biggest issue I had with this was the mana – I did not have a lot of green cards, but they were pretty much all double green, and all my cards were also double blue, and cards that I wanted to play early at that.

The first round showcased my worries, as I lost with a hand of three double blue cards and an Engulfing Slagwurm and a board of Plains, Plains, Island, Forest, Forest, Copper Myr. I honestly don’t know how Conley Woods manages to splash two colors in all his decks saying “it’s free, I have a Myr” without ever having mana problems – it seems that every other match, I cannot cast spells of one color when I’m playing more than two.

Game two I messed up very badly – my opponents pauses made me think he had some sort of trick, likely a Tainted Strike, and I played too afraid of it. In the end he didn’t have it, and I died to both poison and damage in the same turn. I should have just recognized that I would not be able to beat a Tainted Strike anyway, and stopped trying to play around it. It was not just that, though, I also managed to throw my Vedalken Anatomist away. In any case my opponent’s deck was much better than mine, and though I was somewhat devastated that the loss had eliminated me from the top 8, I couldn’t really say it had been unfair.

For round 14, my opponent got a game loss for misregistering, wrecked me with fliers game 2, and then thought he was going to win but effectively died the moment I played Fangren Marauder. This card is really, really good against some decks.

Round 15 my opponent was playing RW aggro, and I had pretty good draws in all three games, though I lost game 2 to Concussive Bolt. As it turns out, RW is also soft to Fangren Marauder!

So I finished the tournament at 11-3-1, which was good for 20th place, and much better than I ever hoped for when I saw my Sealed pool. After the tournament, we again went to Fogo de Chão (nope, you still can’t say it right), though it was twice as expensive because it was dinner instead of lunch. After that we went back to the site, waited for Martin to finish finals (some people really have no consideration, making everyone wait. Congrats to him, though!) and then went to a karaoke bar.

As we were in the cab, we got a call and found out that the place we were going was actually a gay bar, though that was not supposed to be a big deal – if anything, I’d like the songs better.

As we were entering the bar, a guy was walking out in clothes that can only be described as fit for a Village People clip. It was black leather with a lot of chains in it, and a lot of skin showing despite the glacial cold (which was not really that glacial but caught me unprepared, as it had not been nearly as cold the previous days). We stayed a little bit there but it soon became apparent that it was not a place we’d like to be in – it was extremely crowded, we couldn’t even hear the person on Karaoke let alone sing ourselves, and the girls in our group were even complaining they were being grabbed. We decided, then, to move to a nearby bar.

The next bar was a lot better – a more “family” bar if you get what I mean, and we completely dominated it. At that point, “we” was me, Martin Juza, Lissa, Kali and Todd Anderson, Kibler, James Dykes, Zaiem, Conley, AJ Sacher, AJ’s sister Sam, Brad Nelson, Sam Black, Nicole, Efro, Chapin and a bunch of other people, some of whom I did not even know. We had a great time there, even if we could only sing one song each, and I’d like to thank everyone who was part of it.

Well, this is basically that. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and see you next week!

PV