|GP Atlanta 01/22/2011
||[Jan. 24th, 2011|09:57 am]
So, what a weekend. I really had a blast, saw a LOT of pros, and generally just had a good time. The weekend really started on Thursday when I went over to a friend's house to do some playtesting (I had done a lot more playtesting prior to this, but it had been interrupted by trivial things like going home to sleep). I knew I would be playing Jund this weekend, since I never have any luck with control decks in Extended, and with 9 rounds I a) Didn't want to do too much thinking and b) Wanted to finish matches with enough time to breathe before the next one started. I had a list all ready to go, but my friend gave me a list that someone had posted on TCGplayer.com that looked like it had a lot of potential. The main thing that brought me over was the fact that it played no Savage Lands. Here's what I ended up running. It wasn't exactly the list that my friend gave me, but I did take a lot of ideas from it.|
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Fauna Shaman
4 Demigod of Revenge
4 Putrid Leech
2 Maelstrom Pulse
2 Kitchen Finks
2 Lightning Bolt
2 Cunning Sparkmage
2 Inquisition of Kozilek (they should have been Thoughtseize, but my friend who was going to let me borrow his flaked out at the last minute)
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Chameleon Colossus
4 Raging Ravine
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
3 Twilight Mire
3 Verdant Catacombs
2 Fire-Lit Thicket
2 Copperline Gorge
2 Gilt-Leaf Palace
1 Lavaclaw Reaches
1 Graven Cairns
3 Obstinate Baloth
2 Thought Hemorrhage
2 Volcanic Fallout
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Maelstrom Pulse
I pretty much made this deck to beat Faeries, Tokens, and any strategy that relies on one toughness mana accel, which I thought would make up a large portion of the field. Unfortunately, I didn't face nearly as many of those decks as I wanted, which partially explained my record. But first, I must preface with what I did before this.
I playtested with my friends until about 2 in the morning, and left for St. Marys, GA where I was to meet up with three other friends to make the drive to Atlanta. I slept a good bit on the way there, and we got to our hotel at around 9:30am. We immediately went down to the site and signed up for a Grinder. There were many Grinders going on, and whoever won them would get three byes for the GP on Saturday. They were single elimination, and unfortunately my first matchup was my loss, which meant I was out of contention. I didn't want to spend another twenty on that, so I just signed up for FNM. Of course I ended up playing and losing against mono black and BR Vampires, and I only won against a U/B Control deck with a *heavy* counterspell suite. Unfortunately, he wasn't a very good player, as he bounced my Wall of Omens and Spreading Seas with Into the Roils, which just let me replay them and draw more cards. As a funny side note, neither of our life totals changed at all. The first game I got ultimate with Jace TMS and he scooped, and the second game I got ultimate with Venser and he scooped. With some free time now I decided to get a bunch of my cards signed by one of the artists at the site.
My friend wanted to hit a couple of bars, so I offered to go with him. We went to one bar where we played some shuffleboard, then walked over to another one, where we talked to a cute redhead bartender for the entire night. She apparently loved going to DragonCon so there was no shortage of things to talk about. My friend told me later that most of the drinks we bought she actually gave to us on the house, which was really awesome of her. I made a mental note to friend her and Like Meehan's facebook page. We got back to the hotel and went straight to sleep, having to wake up in less than 5 hours for the GP (which was definitely a bad idea, but amazingly didn't affect my playing on Saturday as much as I thought). But without further ado, here's what happened on Saturday.
Round 1: Jason with RDW
Game 1: Figure of Destiny and Hellspark Elemental get the early beats and Banefires finish me off.
Game 2: He boards in Leylines of Punishment (which he has in his opener). I should have seen this coming and boarded in Deglamer, but I didn't. I ended up playing Finks and 2 Obstinate Baloths this game, which would have won it for me had it not been for that enchantment. I'm able to Pulse it and pitch a Bloodbraid Elf to Fauna Shaman to get an Obstinate Baloth for the next turn. His hand is empty, but unfortunately he topdecks burn to finish me out. He had four maindeck Banefires and I think he saw all of them both games.
Round 2: Tatyana with RDW. I happen to see a Teetering Peaks as she's shuffling up, and I'm already thinking "Really, I face my worst matchup for the very first two games? Nice 0-2 record starting off"
Game 1: Early hasty guys get in quick damage and burn finishes me off. I'm able to get Putrid Leech equipped with a Basilisk Collar, but she has enough burn anyway to negate the two life gain each turn.
Game 2: I draw guys that gain me life, and she can't draw enough burn to counteract the life gain.
Game 3: I'm pretty sure she lost hope after that last match, as her first play is Mountain, Bolt you, which is almost never the correct play. As it is, she doesn't even look at my creatures, instead pointing every burn spell at my face. I'm in complete control this game and I do what Jund does.
Round 3: Lissa with Faeries. We chat for a little bit and she tells me she drove down with some friends all the way from Wisconsin. It's a very friendly game, and I can tell she's used to slinging spells by her demeanor and how she flips her cards. Not your average female Magic player.
Game 1: Her first two spells are both Thoughtseize, taking my Inquisition and Blightning. My first play is a Blightning, which obviously gets Mana Leaked. Then comes Cunning Sparkmage which starts pinging away her life. I follow that with Demigod, which takes her to 9. She's able to kill it, but now I have a Raging Ravine to start the beats. She's forced to start chumping with her lands, and she can't find an out.
Game 2: She mulligans to 6, and I throw out a Blightning to test her hand. She takes it, which clears the way for me to freely start playing other spells without worry of a counterspell. I play a Leech next, and on the next turn I animate Raging Ravine. She Doom Blades the Ravine, and I take her to 9 with the Leech. I find my Lavaclaw Reaches, and that plus the Leech take her to 0 in the next couple of turns.
Round 4: Jesse with Naya. We recognize each other as we sit down, because we played each other in Leagcy at a SCG 5k in Atlanta before.
Game 1: I curve out nicely with Putrid Leech into Blightning into Blightning. He plays Fauna Shaman, which I immediately Maelstrom Pulse. I play another Leech and then a Demigod, while he can only play Vengevine and Wooly Thoctar. I fly over for the win.
Game 2: He only plays Birds of Paradise, Elspeth and Knight of the Reliquary this game. I play Leech, Leech, and Pulse Elspeth while short on lands. I find my fourth land a couple turns later while all he is drawing is lands. I play the three Bloodbraids in my hand for the next few turns, which cascade into Fauna Shaman, Basilisk Collar and something else. He tilts toward the end of the game due to his bad draws and my excellent draws, and at the end of the game he mutters to himself "Can't believe I lost to a guy who forgot to Fauna Shaman" (I did forget to use the ability one turn, and he asked me if I had a creature in my hand to pitch, and I had two). While he was clearly very mad, he tried to save some face by saying something to the effect of "I hope you can understand why I'm so mad right now." Apparently he had two byes coming into this and lost the next two rounds, meaning one more loss would put him out of contention for Day two.
Round 5: Jordan with Jund
Game 1: I play Fauna Shaman, which gets bolted. Then I play back to back Blightnings, while he plays Leech. He gets Bloodbraid into Kitchen Finks, while I can't find any more creatures.
Game 2: An early Thoughtseize sees Raging Ravine, Putrid Leech, Lightning Bolt, Wurmcoil Engine(!), Bloodbraid Elf, Demigod of Revenge and Forest. I take the Engine, and notice that he only has two lands, which can't play Putrid Leech. Unfortunately He finds the necessary land to play his leech after I play mine. We trade, then he gets Finks and Bloodbraid Elf into Finks, which is terrible for me. I'm able to find an Obstinate Baloth, but he's able to play way more creatures than me.
Round 6: Jake with Pyromancer's Ascension
Game 1: He's able to get three active Ascensions in play, and the game progresses to where I have a Putrid Leech in play and a Demigod of Revenge in my hand and in the graveyard. I only have four lands in play because on one turn he's able to copy his Cryptic Command to bounce three of my lands and draw three cards. I know he has a Mana Leak from a previous Inquisition that took something else. He's at 6, and all I have to do is either play Demigod (which will get leaked but will bring the one in the graveyard back) and swing this turn and next to win, or play Raging Ravine tapped to swing for exactly lethal next turn. I don't make either of those plays, as I clearly didn't think things through enough, and I play Lavaclaw Reaches, which will be exactly one damage short the next turn. I'm at one, so I have to take him to only 4 with the Putrid Leech and play a creature. He topdecks a Preordain which gets copied three times, and he finds burn to finish me out.
Game 2: I Pulse his first two Ascensions and beat with creatures.
Game 3: He boards into his Pestermite/Splinter Twin combo. I mulligan to 6 and keep a two land hand. I don't see a third land, and at the end of my turn he plays Pestermite, tapping down my only red source. On his turn he plays land and Splinter Twin and wins with the combo. I mentally berate myself for making the only play that could have lost me Game 1 and subsequently the match, and I move on.
I can't make Day two even winning out, so I just keep playing for points
Round 7: Austin with B/G
Game 1: This was such a long game that I don't remember what happened through most of it. I know he played Memoricide getting rid of my Demigods. At one point he has Mimic Vat with my Kitchen Finks under it. I get a Basilisk Collar on Putrid Leech, and keep swinging while he keeps putting copies of the Finks in play to block, so we're both gaining two life a turn. I finally get Pulse for the Mimic Vat, and he never draws anything but lands. Oh yes, he did play a Wurmcoil Engine this game too.
Game 2: I quickly Thought Hemorrhage away Wurmcoil Engine this game, which definitely saves me later on. The game comes down to me finding Chameleon Colossus and Basilisk Collar, and him not running any way to kill it. With no Wurmcoil Engines in his deck, the Colossus goes all the way.
Round 8: Kenneth with U/W Control
Game 1: I get two early Putrid Leeches to get him down to 4 very quickly. He gets Kitchen Finks to bring himself to 6, then 8, but I find Cunning Sparkmage to start pinging away his life. I play conservatively with a Lightning Bolt in hand to finish him off in tandem with a final ping from the Sparkmage. On his last turn he activates Colonnade to take me to 4, which is just what I was waiting for, as he didn't have enough mana for Cryptic Command. I bolt him for the last three damage with plenty up for Mana Leak.
Games 2 and 3 are a bit of a blur, but he saw Kitchen Finks and Sun Titan both games, which just shut me out.
There was one more round to go, but I decided to call it there, and get something to eat. My friend and I ended up walking about a mile in the freezing cold to a place called the Vortex, which he has been wanting to go to since he decided to go to Atlanta. It's about an hour wait, and we have to ignore a few homeless panhandlers on the way there, but it was definitely worth it. I downed my half pound Steakhouse Burger in less than five minutes, but it takes me a while longer to finish off the thirty or so tater tots that came with it.
That night I got to bed early, but unfortunately the guy I shared a bed with was an obnoxiously loud snorer, and coupled with the headache that I had from all the noise and smoke in the Vortex, I could not get any sleep. I ended up going to the bathroom to get a drink of water and realized that when I shut the door, I couldn't hear his snoring anymore! I knew if I was to get any sleep, I would have to sleep in the bathroom. I tried a couple positions, one of them sitting on the toilet backwards and trying to put my pillow on the back of the toilet, and the other sitting on the toilet sideways and trying to put my pillow on the counter, neither of them being comfortable at all. I finally just spread a towel on the floor and slept there. Thankfully I had some experience sleeping on hard surfaces and I got a surprisingly restful sleep.
On Sunday I knew there wouldn't be nearly as many people at the site as on Saturday, so I figured I'd be able to get the other artist to sign the cards I brought for him. Unfortunately, when I got in line there was a group at the front that had been at the artist for an hour before I got there, and after I waited an hour and they were still with him I decided to just come back later. While I'm on this subject, there should really be some enforced rule that restricts the amount of time one person can hold an artist up for. Because of their selfishness the line only got longer for the rest of the day and I was never able to get that artist's cards signed for myself and my friends.
Aside from that, a couple of my friends were doing some trading with Tomoharu Saito, who came down to the GP despite being banned from all constructed events for the next 18 months. Nonetheless, I was able to get him to sign my GP playmat, which was very very awesome. We all left around 3 to go eat at a place that my friend and I had passed on Saturday called Gladys and Rons Chicken and Waffles (owned by Gladys Knight). They had very good soul food, and we all agreed that it was money well spent. From there we headed back to St. Marys, where I got dropped off at my friend's house and drove back here.
I definitely am glad that I was able to go to GP Atlanta. I learned a lot of things that would make me a better player, and got to see at least 85% of the top names in Magic there too.