After a lot of tweaking and last minute changes here and there supported by a great FNM two days previously I finally was settled with a decklist for the Win-a-Box tournament on the 9th of January at Manaleak.
4 [card]Windbrisk Heights[/card]
4 [card]Reflecting Pool[/card]
4 [card]Fetid Heath[/card]
3 [card]Arcane Sanctum[/card]
4 [card]Marsh Flats[/card]
4 [card]Figure of Destiny[/card]
4 [card]Tidehollow Sculler[/card]
3 [card]kitchen Finks[/card]
4 [card]Spectral Procession[/card]
3 [card]Doom Blade[/card]
3 [card]Path to Exile[/card]
2 [card]Oblivion Ring[/card]
2 [card]Ajani Goldmane[/card]
2 [card]Elspeth Tirel[/card]
3 [card]Leyline of Sanctity[/card]
3 [card]Burrenton Forge-Tender[/card]
2 [card]Zealous Persecution[/card]
3 [card]Celestial Purge[/card]
This deck was designed from the old black/white tokens deck but I thought that though it lost [card]Glorious Anthem[/card] it was still a viable option due to so many must counters. I personally thought from the old standard list that [card]Cloudgoat Ranger[/card] was too slow as people would be casting [card]Baneslayer Angel[/card] etc in the same turn. In place of the ranger I placed 2 [card]Elspeth Tirel[/card] as her ultimate can be game breaking. I also put 2 [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] and replaced one [card]Ajani Goldmane[/card] with the third Finks as they are a efficient creatures and the persist goes well with [card]Ajani Goldmane[/card]. I put in 4 [card]Figure of Destiny[/card] in place of the [card]Glorious Anthem[/card] which was in the old standard list and decided not to run [card]Honor of the Pure[/card] as it wasn’t good with the Bitterblossom tokens and I feel that [card]Figure of Destiny[/card] was a stronger option.
The tournament started and we had 18 players which wasn’t too shabby for the 1st Extended event. I knew what decks a few people were playing and I didn’t think I had a bad match-up of those I knew.
Round 1: Tu Nguyen – U/W Sun Titan Control with Bitterblossoms
This was pretty uneventful Tu resolved a [card]Bitterblossom[/card] to slow my early turn assaults and then resolved [card]Sun Titan[/card] and recurred [card]Tectonic Edge[/card]s to kill off my land and proceeded to beat me down with [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] and [card]Sun Titan[/card].
I sided in [card]Zealous Persecution[/card] to hopefully deal with the [card]Bitterblossom[/card] tokens removing a [card]Doom Blade[/card] and a Path and put in the [card]Demystify[/card] to deal with [card]Bitterblossom[/card] itself.
This game started ok except Tu had [card]Bitterblossom[/card] on turn two again to slow the early turn assault with [card]Spectral Procession[/card] tokens and my own [card]Bitterblossom[/card] which got [card]Oblivion Ring[/card]ed. After a second [card]Spectral Procession[/card] he then Wrathed clearing the way to victory with Fae tokens and a [card]Creeping Tar Pit[/card] with nothing but land in my hand.
I win the dice roll going first I pass the turn after playing an [card]Arcane Sanctum[/card] then he plays a turn one [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] then nothing much happens until I make some tokens via [card]Spectral Procession[/card]. Soon after he makes a [card]Sovereigns of Lost Alara[/card] and swings in attaching an [card]Eldrazi Consctiption[/card] to his guy I pick up my cards and go into game 2.
I side in the [card]Deathmark[/card]s for a Path and a [card]Doom Blade[/card].
This game was quick due to him land stalling then finally playing a Jace to dig for the land, which was too late as I had enough tokens to finish it off as well as Elspeth and Ajani appearing from under the two [card]Windbrisk Heights[/card] played previously.
Truth be told my notes failed me here all i seem to recollect is him playing an [card]Elspeth Knight-Errant[/card] making some guys with a [card]Qasali Pridemage[/card] and a [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] in play. I then proceed to kill off his [card]Elspeth Knight-Errant[/card] with [card]Spectral Procession[/card] tokens making my own [card]Elspeth Tirel[/card] and playing another batch of [card]Spectral Procession[/card] tokens from under a [card]Windbrisk Heights[/card], with more tokens from Elspeth he then picks up his cards.
I win the dice roll, he mulligans then keeps the 6 i play an [card]Arcane Sanctum[/card] and pass the turn he plays [card]Goldmeadow Stalwart[/card] revealing [card]Wizened Cenn[/card] and proceeds to play the [card]Wizened Cenn[/card] next turn and swarmed the board in the coming turns dropping a pair of [card]Honor of the Pure[/card]. With more than I can deal with I swiftly get finished off after chumping for a few turns to find answers but finding none.
I side in Zealous Persecution x2 and the Deathmarks taking out Doom Blades and a Path.
He’s on the play again with the early turn threats but with only two land he is slowed down considerably and I [card]Thoughtseize[/card]d one of the threats out of his hand and make some Spectral Procession tokens to protect the next turn Elspeth Tirel to gain life, hopefully wrathing the board the following turn. After misreading Elspeths wrath ability loyalty requirement he declares all attacks at me which I chump some of the larger creatures because I wasn’t at a majorly healthy life total. The following turn I use Elspeths ultimate clearing his guys and those pesky Honor of the Pure’s. I then played a [card]Figure of Destiny[/card] which I drew that turn, he struggles to recover due to the lack of land and I swiftly finish the game with the Figure and the Spectral Procession fliers.
This game came very close as in early turns he swarmed the board after i tidehollow sculler away an honour of the pure because i knew i had a zealous persecution in hand which could swing the game in my favour. a turn later that sculler decision paid off and i block his 2/2 figure with the sculler and before damage used the zealous persecution he reinforces the Figure using a [card]Rustic Clachan[/card] in response after reading the zealous persecution incorrectly i get more than my 2 mana’s worth. A few turns later i play a figure and an ajani soon followed by top decking the second zealous persecution which proved game changing as he swings in with all his guys sensing the inevitable i block so not to take lethal damage and just pump my figure to the 8/8 and finish the game.
Round 4: Simon Bainbridge – B/G Assassin deck using [card]Scarblade Elite[/card]
This round was quite quick and straight forward and again my notes fail me all that I seem to recollect is turn 5 playing an Elspeth with some Spectral Procession tokens in play. Simon had a [card]Guul Draz Assassin[/card] and a [card]Fauna Shaman[/card] in play with a [card]Scarblade Elite[/card] the next turn I use Elspeths ultimate he quickly realises he can’t recover and we go into game 2.
I must admit I made a very silly error here and put in the [card]Deathmark[/card]s. I also put in [card]Celestial Purge[/card]s I soon realised my silly error after drawing one in my opening seven and kicking myself.
This game he dominated at every turn [card]Maelstrom Pulse[/card]ing my tokens and late game beat me down with a [card]Chameleon Colossus[/card] and other assassins.
After siding out the Deathmarks I take the play and again he dominates the board and played a [card]Stillmoon Cavalier[/card] which I have no answer to so I quickly die as he pumps him whenever possible and couldn’t gain enough board presence to race it.
After this i knew I had to win to have a chance to get into top 8 the draw comes out and I was up against a deck I knew could be a challenge and I hadn’t previously tested against.
Unfortunately this wasn’t an interesting game as Mark had to mulligan to 5 and didn’t have a good 5 card hand either and the extent was to play a [card]Putrid Leech[/card] and kill one of my guys, but I beat in with a [card]Mutavault[/card] after Pathing his Leech and playing a Figure to finish it off.
I side in the [card]Burrenton Forge-Tender[/card]s (to deal with Fallouts/Pyroclasms) and [card]Celestial Purge[/card]s and move into game 2.
This again was an unfortunate match for Mark as he mulligans but keeps the wrong filter land/basic land combination by mistake which cost him the game. I played creatures with little fear of them being killed and once his land problem was solved it was too late as I had a hand full of removal and a [card]Burrenton Forge-Tender[/card] in play to soak up any [card]Volcanic Fallout[/card]s etc.
This was unfortunate and felt very much like a hollow victory but I had just managed to gain my spot in the top 8.
Top 8 Round 1: Jim Corwood – R/U/G with [card]Pestermite[/card] and [card]Splinter Twin[/card] combo
Game 1 .
I got a few early turn Tidehollow Sculler’s off removing parts of the combo but a lot of other spells I played seemed to run into counter spells and [card]Cryptic Command[/card]s by the hand full and I quickly ran out of cards. He then beats in with [card]Vendilion Clique[/card], I managed to resolve a few creatures had a Windbrisk Heights with a Spectral Procession underneath to hopefully slow the assault until I found an answer. But seeing yet another Cryptic Command bouncing my Tidehollow Sculler preventing me from activating the heights the next turn he finished me off with the Clique.
I side in [card]Zealous Persecution[/card]s to hopefully get kill off his guys most of which being 1 toughness.
This game unfortunately went a very similar way with me getting drawn into the long game and not seeing any answers while he had answers to all threats. Again [card]Vendillion Clique[/card] came out to play and I had no answer to it bar a Doom Blade which gets countered. After a few turns of digging for answers; I get a few but most run into a counterspell. He then played a [card]Bloodbraid Elf[/card] cascading into a [card]Noble Heirarch[/card] then swinging in with the Clique for the game.
This was an amazing day which I thoroughly enjoyed and I still feel the deck has changes to be made such as playing [card]Smother[/card]s over [card]Doom Blade[/card]s and changing the sideboard slightly, but all in all I was very happy to make top 8.
Thanks for reading and apologies for any mistakes i made due to shabby notes.