With 21 pro points and being on the national team worlds was a massive tournament for me, firstly because I was in easy reach of level 5 and if I did well enough I could potentially get level 6 and secondly our national team was actually half decent this year with Joe and DB (not saying last years team was bad but Mottram’s 6-12 record wasn’t the best).
As usual I didn’t test constructed because I’m lazy and usually do well without doing so, so why bother?
— But —
I did draft a lot because I’m usually decent at draft if I’ve played the format long enough whereas I’m terrible if I’ve never drafted it before, like my 1-5 in San Juan. After doing like 5-6 drafts a week on modo for a couple of weeks and sharing print screens of funny/sick plays with Teo I decided that was enough preparation and played more poker up until the point I left because its more profitable than Modoing. 2 days before my flight I asked Tu if he was giving Randle enough cards for the U/W deck he’d be testing and he said not really and that I’d left it a little late. My laid back last minute approach combined with me assuming people will do stuff for me without asking made me kind of worried I wouldn’t get a deck together but usually at any magic event I know enough people to get all the cards and just asked him to do the best he could.
My flight was on Tuesday midday before the Pro Tour, I don’t really get jet lagged much because I’m used to staying up ridiculous times pokering anyway. The other Brits were supposed to arrive on the Tuesday and went from Birmingham whereas I decided to go from London because its easier and I wanted to fly with Virgin Atlantic cause I heard it was a sick airline. At the airport I had 2 hours to kill before my flight and thought I should get used to Japanese food and decided to go to YO! Sushi. They also have a sick conveyer belt with loadsa different shiz that attracted me to go there too.
A Katsu curry later and a quick read of The Sun, (yeh I admit I read The Sun cause I like banter and boobs) I was off to Narita Airport with just an annoying 12 hour flight in the way. I can safely say Virgin I just like any other airline pretty much at least for economy anyway. I only got about 4 hours sleep and ended up watching toy story 3 and Growing Up with Adam Sandler. Toy Story was awesome I’d deffo recommend it. The guy I sat next to on the flight was a kiwi but actually grew up in Surbiton which is a small town where I live in near my uni. Small world. True story.
12 hours later I was in Japan and received texts from Joe (you can read Joes Day 1 report here) that their flight was delayed by a day because of snow and that they were arriving an hour after me. They got so lol pwned. Waiting in the airport arrivals I saw the Italians arrive from Rome and they hadn’t even booked a hotel which was funny and I would have gone with them if I didn’t know the Brits hadn’t arrived yet. At one point me and Calvetto got our passports checked and our names written down by Japanese security for no reason, unless they heard us shouting ‘solo bombs’ numerous times. Another half an hour had gone and the Brits arrived and me and JJJJJRRRR (Jonathan Randle) talked a bit about U/W and I asked him about matchups etc, I really liked arbiter in the sideboard for ramp. We caught a coach to Chiba which had the Italians on it which lasted about 50 minutes of which 30 of it I was touching Calvetto’s hair because he has an OCD about people touching his hair, it amused me. We got a cab to the hotel which ended up being like £35 or something which wasn’t too bad… till we realized there was a free shuttle bus…
We went to our rooms which were me and JR in one room and Joe and DB in the other. Me and JR sorted out cards for the U/W deck and what I needed which luckily Joe and DB said they had most of. We showered changed and I discovered the remote control toilet that can spray you arse after a turd, then left to go to discover the venue and test some games. We went to the convention hall and saw a few what looked like magic goobers and I watched JR and Joe play some games while DB kept trying to tell Joe what to do every turn as if he couldn’t function without him.
As more magic goobers walked in groups I made a joke that each group was a certain national team. i.e. ‘omg there’s team Israel’ and ‘look there’s the Ukrainian national team’. Whilst the Brits were testing I went to discovered what would be an essential to this weekend which was the drink Aquarius. Yoshi, my Japanese friend the guy who gave Randle the 6-0 faerie deck, said that Aquarius is a Japanese sports drink so I guess it’s similar to Lucozade or Gatorade. As soon as I had one can I was sold and after talking up hype about how nice it was JR tried some and he was on board too. The magic hall was open and after laughing at DB about how he should scoop in a test game because he was just dead and him arguing about how he wasn’t,(no sequence of draws could of made him win that particular game) we decided to head down and register, find cards and generally socialise with people we haven’t seen in a while. I got all the cards for U/W and me and JR settled on the same 75.
3 Baneslayer Angel
4 Jace tms
2 Jace bell bell
4 Mana leak
4 Spreading seas
1 Stoic rebuttal
2 Day of judgement
4 Celestial colonade
4 Seachrome Coast
4 Glacial fortress
2 Misty rainforest
4 Tectonic edge
4 Leonin arbiter
1 Mindbreak trap
3 Ratchet bomb
1 Banelsayer Angel
I don’t really feel the need to explain the deck as it’s what I always play. JR convinced me oust or oooost was good and I could see pros and cons for it just like condemn or journey, and it seemed to fit the game plan better of just getting to 5 mana and winning. A goods night sleep and hearing JR talking in his sleep and the day one of the pt had arrived. I’m not going to do an in depth round by round because I don’t like writing them and most people don’t like reading them. I’ll just do a short summary and any highlights.
Round 1: Russian barn who finished 4th on his national team.
He was playing the RUG deck that has a good matchup vs. U/W because they make more mana and have annoying dudes backed with permission. I really dislike this deck I don’t think its good vs. anything other than U/W or U/B. I won Game 1 because I resolved Gideon and he just drew all the bad cards vs me that his deck plays like Bolt.
G2 and G3 were really really frustrating because he had insane draws and I had mana issues both times. He also kept brainstorming with Jace when I was on like 3 lands and he had acidic slime in play and the game could have ended like 20 minutes before it did. I felt pretty tilted after that match and went outside and swore and shouted a bit then had an Aquarius and felt alright again.
Round 2: Fredirico Costa from Portugal
This guy was Vampires which is a decent matchup and he was a pretty nice guy with big guns.
G1 I made a Baneslayer and he just died.
G2 he kept a 1 lander and didn’t get there and I made a Baneslayer and he just died.
I won in like 5 minutes which gave me time to scout and feel better about my first round loss. There were a lot of valakut decks U/W and U/B which is about what I expected.
Round 3: Adam Yurchick R/G valakut
G1 was weird as we both just played draw go for ages till I felt it was safe to resolve a threat with counter backup. He then showed why he played draw go by playing 3 pyroclasms in one turn to kill 1 Baneslayer. When I made another the 2nd turn he just scooped.
G2 I had an early Arbiter and counterspells and it was a pretty easy win from there.
Round 4: Tine Rus U/W
This guy was from Slovenia and was pretty slow. I started to get irritated and he told me he was allowed time to think, which is a fair point if you’re retarded and you need that much time to think. I won game 1 after I stalled on lands for a bit and found a window to resolve Elspeth and protect it. Now at this point I’m fine with him taking 10 minutes a turn because I’m 1-0 up so he was only doing himself harm by being slow. In G2 he missed Luminarch triggers and Planeswalkers and I was way ahead. I ended up snap Negating a Spell Pierce just for banter and he scooped the turn after even though he could have still been in it. I guess my play tilted him ;)
After the match he seemed to actually be an ok guy pointing out how bad he played, I guess my frustration at him playing slowly gave me the impression he was a massive donk at magic and life when it was just 1 out of 2.
Round 5: Gerry T Valakut
I knew Gerry was Valakut before the match and I also knew he’s been on a heater recently winning a GP and the big SCG event.
G1 I countered his early ramp spells and made turn 5 Baneslayer because with this U/W you can’t also sit around being reactive vs. ramp because they can just kill you. I won that game even though it was pretty close thanks to the 5/5.
G2 he mulliganed to 5 on the play which was sweet for me but his 5 turned out to be pretty decent. I landed an early Arbiter and drew a lot of lands but thought I’d be alright because he mulled to 5. I made Baneslayer and put him to lethal next turn after I bounced his Avenger with Jace. He then untapped made Avenger and a Fetch Land and had enough damage to deal exactly lethal… Until I realized I had Arbiter out and he couldn’t pay for the fetch so I won.
Round 6: Polish Kopec U/W
If it wasn’t for me punting vs. this guy in the last round of day 2 at GP Vienna, the GP he went on to win then he wouldn’t be on the gravy train. So he owes me.
G1 I struggled with mana and he had better cards for the mirror like Spell Pierce main and won.
G2 he resolved mini Jace turn 3 and it was easy for him from there, I wasn’t ever in this match really he always had it every time I thought I had an answer he had the better one. Happens.
So I finished Standard on 4-2 which was a decent start but I would have liked x-1 at least. JR was 3-3 and DB and Joe were both 2-4. Brilliant. Still we had 2 rounds of team left and we can gain a lot of ground from these rounds. In the first round we played France and I was standard, Joe was Legacy and DB was extended.
I played Antoine this round he was U/B and I can safely say this was the funniest match I had all weekend. Our game 1 lasted for like 40 minutes and at one point I had Gideon on 19 and Elspeth and couldn’t attack with Gideon because he’d already dropped Doom Blade on the table so I knew he had it. By the time we finished game 1 which I lost Joe and DB had won already so I didn’t really wanna finish the match and scooped. I Negated a Mana Leak when i had like 10 mana up in this match which was funny but I already knew we’d won so I was just having fun.
In the second round of teams we played vs. Russia. The guy I played vs. was also U/B and was a nice guy even though he was chubby and had a tight t-shirt on which led me to believe he might be batting for the other team. Randle also pretended he was coverage and sat to watch all my games of the teams which was funny because he was just writing down random stuff on a notepad when a judge walked past.
Game 1 was long but I eventually won somehow, probably outplayed and lol pwned him. I also saw that he was splashing red for Lightning Bolt which didn’t seem to great, probably some Russian tech.
G2 was long and fun, I managed to untap with Venser after going to like 2 life and then stabilized while he tried to punch through with Tar Pits. After a few turns of me drawing loadsa cards off Venser + Seas and fighting off whatever he had to try and kill me I got Venser to the emblem bit and then the party started. Long story short I won the game with Jace on like 12 Gideon, Elspeth and Venser, and he had no permanents. One turn I played DOJ and Mana Leaked it twice to kill his remaining 3 lands, and he just wasn’t conceding which was the fun part.
At the end of the game he showed me Bolt in hand but didn’t draw his red mana. Luckily I gained 3 off Elspeth the turn before I Vindicated all his lands because if I hadn’t and he drew his red source and killed me I would have looked like a right donkey. DB lost and Joe was trying to combo off against his dredge opponent in the final match. He fizzled one turn then managed to win the next thankfully with the help of DB, and we were 2-0 in teams which was pretty sweet. We ended the day 10th in teams on the same points as the US to Hagon‘s delight and after listen to him try to give us his Mr. Motivator talks for the next day we went to dinner. We found a place with loads of restaurants and fast food near the shuttle stop and ended up having curry. It was really nice and Randle almost bought another but you could tell he didn’t want to look like a fatty. We headed back to the hotel and had an early night to get ready for the next day which was draftoooooooooo!
Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for my Day 2 article.