November 9, 2014

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Tournament report: FDB Duel for Duals tournament

Duel for Duals @ FDB in Gatineau
The prize pool included one of each revised dual, and it was a pretty fun event to attend. Fortunately, this one went a bit better for me than the last event, and I had a few unfamiliar and interesting matches.

Jeskai Miracles – Ghengis Ron

Creatures: (5)
Snapcaster Mage
Vendilion Clique
Venser, Shaper Savant

Spells: (33)
Brainstorm
Pyroblast
Red Elemental Blast
Sensei’s Divining Top
Spell Pierce
Swords to Plowshares
Counterbalance
Counterspell
Entreat the Angels
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Force of Will
Terminus

Lands: (22)
Arid Mesa
Flooded Strand
Island
Karakas
Mountain
Mystic Gate
Plains
Scalding Tarn
Tundra
Volcanic Island

Sideboard: (15)
Engineered Explosives
Flusterstorm
Grafdigger’s Cage
Pyroblast
Red Elemental Blast
Relic of Progenitus
Wear / Tear
Rest in Peace
Blood Moon
Council’s Judgment
Izzet Staticaster
Supreme Verdict
Keranos, God of Storms

If you read my previous tournament report, you’ll note that I considered playing a main deck Relic of Progenitus over a Swords to Plowshares. I decided I wasn’t yet ready to commit to it, and I was very happy with three Swords to Plowshares mainboard as I played against many different creature decks throughout the day. I’m still considering a Relic mainboard, but I haven’t yet decided which cut to make.

Anyway, on to the matches:

Round 1: Death and Taxes

Depending who you ask, this is either a great matchup for Miracles or a great matchup for Death and Taxes, but I feel pretty comfortable with it. Game 1 my opponent mulligained to 6 and wasn’t able to get any action before I establish the Counterbalance lock.

In game 2, I I lost very quickly to the Wasteland plus Rishadan Port mana denial plan. I couldn’t find a third land in this game and couldn’t cast a spell after turn 3.

The most important note I wrote down about game 3 was “Izzet Staticaster is unreal.” This game was very even until my opponent threw away a Thalia with Sword of Fire and Ice equipped to a small army of angels, which enabled me to use Staticaster to kill any creature he controlled in response to his equipping the Sword. Game over.

Sideboard:

-2 Force of Will, -1 Red Elemental Blast, -1 Pyroblast, -1 Counterspell

+1 Izzet Staticaster, +1 Keranos, God of Storms, +1 Council’s Judgment, +1 Wear / Tear, +1 Engineered Explosives

Record: 1-0

Round 2: Bant Knight of the Reliquary

This match was difficult due to not having any idea what my opponent was playing. In game 1 after playing Tropical Island into Noble Hierarch, I assumed I was playing against Infect. Then Tundra into Knight of the Reliquary had me very confused. After a Terminus dealt with the board of Noble Hierarch, Qasali Pridemage, and Knight of the Reqliuary, he cast a Stoneforge Mystic and I now had a Batterskull to deal with. Fortunately, I forced my opponent to return it to his hand and subsequently countered it, letting me steal the game with Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

In the second game I nearly died to Meddling Mage beats followed up later by Moorland Haunt tokens. Fortunately, after going to 2 life, I cast possibly the second best Brainstorm of my life: Terminus and Sensei’s Divining Top take me from no board to being able to miracle a Terminus to clear the board on his turn. After I dropped a Blood Moon on the next turn, the game was over with less than a minute on the clock.

Sideboard:

-2 Force of Will, -1 Counterbalance

+1 Grafdigger’s Cage, +1 Blood Moon, +1 Keranos, God of Storms

Record: 2-0

Match 3: U/R Delver

This deck is certainly one of the decks to beat right now. Treasure Cruise is very powerful. Despite many people throughout the day telling me I’m playing one of the best decks right now, I was humbled in this match. Altthough I knew what I was playing against before choosing to keep my hand, my deck looked particularly anemic as I was easily killed on turn 4 by Insectile Abberation, Monastery Swiftspear, and a bunch of Lightning Bolts.

Game 2 I was able to establish the Counterbalance lock with Sensei’s Divining Top and my opponent conceded after several consecutive land draws.

In game 3, I encountered a sticky situation on my opponent’s third turn. I have a Sensei’s Divining Top in play, a tapped Island, and a Scalding Tarn, holding both a Spell Pierce and a Red Elemental Blast. My opponent casts Null Rod. Here I made what I think was a sloppy mistake. Since the only way my deck can really fight against U/R Delver is the combination of Sensei’s Divining Top + Counterbalance, I suspected my opponent wouldn’t cast Null Rod without being able to fight over it. He also likely plays 4 Force of Will and 4 Daze for countermagic. Daze is particularly problematic, since if I want to Spell Pierce the Null Rod I get completely blown out–which is exactly what happened. Instead, I think I should crack the Scalding Tarn for a Tundra and activate Top to try and dig (TEDitors note: but apparently not through time) myself out of the hole I’m in. After this mistake I quickly take my first loss of the tournament.

Sideboard:

-3x Jace, The Mind SculptorVenser, Shaper Savant -1 Pyroblast

+1 Izzet Staticaster, +1 Flusterstorm, +1 Supreme Verdict, +1 Wear / Tear, +1 Engineered Explosives

Record: 2-1

Match 4: U/R Delver

This was an uneventful match. In both games I established the Counterbalance + Sensei’s Divining Top lock by turn 4 and my opponent didn’t get to play Magic.

Record: 3-1

Sideboard: Same as above

Match 5: Dredge

I feel like Miracles is favoured in this match. It’s one of the few decks with a possibility to win the first game, and my sideboard contains a reasonable amount of graveyard hate. In game 1 I nearly managed to deck my opponent, but wasn’t able to find the third Terminus or second Swords to Plowshares to stop a Dread Returned Ichorid from killing me with 4 cards left in my opponent’s library.

In game 2 I mulliganed to 4 and didn’t find any graveyard hate. Just to beat me in the most embarrassing fashion, my opponent Dread Returned an Iona, Shield of Emeria on turn 3.

Sideboard:

-2 Jace, The Mind Sculptor -3 Counterbalance, -1 Entreat the Angels, -1 Counterspell

+2 Rest in Peace, +1 Engineered Explosives, +1 Grafdigger’s Cage, +1 Relic of Progenitus, +1 Izzet Staticaster, +1 Supreme Verdict

Record: 3-2

Match 6: Mono-red Moggcatcher/Goblin Prison

Wow, was this match ever stressful. I had no idea what I was sitting down against when the match started, but when my opponent cast Goblin Rabblemaster on turn 2 off of an Ancient Tomb, I knew I was in for something special. I have seen this deck played occasionally online, but never in paper. To summarize for those who might be unfamiliar, this deck plays fun cards like Chalice of the Void, Trinisphere, Blood Moon, Magus of the Moon, and Cavern of Souls. It also makes delightful plays like: Activate Moggcatcher to get Kiki-Jiki, copy Goblin Settler, destroy whatever basic land you’ve been using to play Magic under Blood Moon + Trinisphere. It’s a real joy.

I think this deck has a good matchup against Miracles, but fortunately I was fairly lucky. In game one I was able to answer each Rabblemaster before it could attack me, and kill each Moggcatcher before he was able to search with it. I drew most of my basics naturally with his Blood Moon on the board, and I had enough land to play through a Trinisphere. A resolved Siege-Gang Commander managed to get me down to 3 before I found the Terminus to answer it. At this point I started to take control of the game with Top, Counterbalance, and Jace. After two turns of fatesealing him, I saw a real surprise: Sudden Shock. UGH. I think the combination of Sudden Shock and my disgusted look was enough to set the room to laughter. I had to bottom the card, and managed to win a few turns later.

In game 2 my opponent accidentally drew eight cards and immediately called a judge on himself. After resolving the problem, he ended up on a five card hand while I kept my seven. He plays turn 1 Cavern (Goblin), turn 2 City of Traitors and Goblin Rabblemaster which nearly killed me. At some point I was able to play a Snapcaster Mage which held Rabblemaster itself at bay while the tokens quickly ticked away at me. Eventually I found a Terminus at 1 life, playing against the opponent with Sudden Shock in his deck. I silently pray that he boarded them out and start attacking with Vendilion Clique. On one turn I even briefly consider exiling my own Clique with Swords to Plowshares when he cast a Chalice of the Void on 1.

After several turns, my opponent puts on a confident look and starts to tap. I assume the Shock is coming to end the game, but instead he puts himself to 5 off an Ancient Tomb and taps out to cast Siege-Gang Commander using the Cavern of Souls, thinking he has me dead. Fortunately I have Venser, Shaper Savant in hand and bounce the goblin off the stack to win the game on the next turn.

Sideboard:

-2 Counterbalance, -1 Red Elemental Blast, -1 Pyroblast

+1 Engineered Explosives, +1 Wear / Tear, +1 Council’s Judgment, +1 Supreme Verdict

I should have brought in Staticaster to help deal with Rabblemaster and Siege-Gang Commander, but I was getting pretty tired at this point in the tournament and missed it completely.

Record: 4-2

I squeezed into top 8 in 7th place.

Quarterfinals: Hooting RUG Delver

Earlier in the day I had been chatting with this opponent, and he started telling me about all the hate cards he was packing for my deck. I was very happy to have this information – knowing he always plays 3 Stifles and some Krosan Grip was very valuable, and I was careful to always fetch in a way to play around a Stifle.

Game 1 my opponent is on 6 cards and opens with multiple Volcanic Islands, at which point I wonder if he’s actually playing U/R and only splashing green for some reason, but luckily he was mana screwed and concedes after casting a few Lightning Bolts.

In game 2 I am greeted by the deck’s namesake card: Hooting Mandrills. After trading with a couple Delver of Secrets, my opponent casts a Hooting Mandrills for 1 and a Tarmogoyf in the same turn, and quickly takes me to 3. I crack a fetch on his turn while he’s tapped out, going to 2, so that I’ll be able to cast the Supreme Verdict in my hand, but I reveal a Terminus blindly on my draw step to clear the board for 1 mana. The next turn he casts another Delver of Secrets, and I crack another fetch, going to 1, so that I can Pyroblast it. On the last turn I slam a Blood Moon into play and my opponent concedes–luckily he boarded out all his burn spells.

Sideboard:

-2 Entreat the Angels, -1 Venser, Shaper Savant -2 Force of Will

+1 Relic of Progenitus, +1 Blood Moon, +1 Supreme Verdict, +1 Keranos, God of Storms, +1 Red Elemental Blast

Semi-finals: Dredge (Rematch from Match 5)

This match goes terribly. I die very quickly in game 1. In game 2 I keep a questionable 6 card hand with a Sensei’s Divining Top, Brainstorm, Island and three fetchlands, and die to another turn 3 Dread Return + Iona. I should have mulliganed the hand, but I think fatigue led me into keeping a hand with no hate.

Sideboard:

Same as Round 5

Impressions:

I was generally happy with how I played in this event. I finished in 4th place, and took home a Tropical Island for my efforts. I had a few sloppy turns and some questionable keeps, but for the most part I was able to play while thinking three to four turns ahead—and having a plan is the most important part to playing Legacy.

I am considering a few changes to the decklist which I’ll be testing, including one Blue Elemental Blast over one of the Red Elemental Blasts in the sideboard as another tool against U/R Delver and Burn. I’m still playing with the idea of a maindeck Relic of Progenitus, and if the recent SCG win prompts an increase in the amount of Dredge being played, I’ll consider adding another Grafdigger’s Cage to the board in its place.

Thanks for reading!

Ghengis Ron