My first ever attempt at 2HG in 2010 ended up in a bit of a domestic so I was a bit reluctant to join in the event this year. My attempt at the last chance qualifiers didn’t go all that well due to lots of silly play mistakes, so I nagged and nagged at Mark until he gave in to my womanly charms. So far in Nationals I had played a Standard 8 player tournament and the Super Friday Night Magic, both of which went relatively well with me gaining 7 points in Super FNM to get me 2 boosters and a card of my choice.
We got together on Saturday morning, waiting to get called for the event! With nearly 130 players the judges called it a 7 round event, something we called with wonder judge Stelios but his reasons were good, giving players value for money, which was fair enough. The format was Sealed Deck with 8 packs of M12 and we decided that should we win the dice roll we would be drawing to give us a card advantage, a tactic that worked well for us. We worked really well as a team, decisions were made together, we were able to talk about tactics covertly never disagreeing with anything really, ultimately I think this worked in our favour to grabbing 2nd place.
Making the decks a bit of discussion took place as to which colours were to be paired together, I ended up with a green/red deck, Mark with a white/black. Both complemented each other well, with an equal mix of removal and decent creatures. Mark ended up with quite a few fliers which worked well during games, some of these included Devouring Swarm, 2 Drifting Shades, Duskhunter Bat, Sengir Vampire, Archon of Justice and Serra Angel to name a few as well as one drops including Elite Vanguard and Tormented Soul. His removal included Death Mark, Doom Blade, Sorins Thirst, Arbablast Elite, Celestial Purge, Day of Judgement, Pacifism, as well a boost for white creatures from Honour of the Pure. My deck contained Blood Ogre, Bonebreaker Giant, Goblin Arsonist, Goblin Fireslinger, Grim Lavamancer, Manic Vandal, Brindle Boar, Garruk’s Companion, Gladecover Scout, Giant Spider, Greater Basilisk, Jade Mage, Llanowar Elves, Runeclaw Bear, Skinshifter, Stampeding Rhino, 2 Stingerfling Spiders, good for removing pesky fliers. For removal I had Fireball, Shock, Incinerate and Combust along with Overrun to give my creatures a bit of a punch and Rampant Growth to boost my mana pool. I almost forgot to mention my favourite card Druidic Satchel.
The first game ran quite quickly, we got through with a good mix of creatures and removal to get in quickly for the kill, upon killing our opponents we were still on 25 life which was good from 30. The second game followed pretty much like the first, half way through the game Mark pulled Day of Judgement so we decided to go all in with our creatures to see how much damage they would allow through before we cast Day of Judgement killing everything. Mark had Manalith and I had Manic Vandal in hand, with the opponents not having any artifacts we decided to play the Manalith and hold the Manic Vandal in case they pulled an artifact for us to remove. This later proved to be a good move, as upon killing them we were on 21 life, which proves we were able to block against their creatures and get in enough attacks to kill them in 9 turns.
A funny moment during this game came when our opponents played a Jace’s Archivist which Mark remarked wasn’t all that nice, so without really engaging my brain I Combusted it off the board which shocked Mark a bit as it was the one play throughout all the 7 matches where I did something on impulse rather than consulting him.
Game three ran a bit slower than the first two, this was mostly due to us getting out enough mana to get Marks fliers on the board and for me to get my Skinshifter on the board, a few turns later they also had Skinshifter on the board which proved to be a bit of a stale mate as they were able to turn their creature into a 0/8 plant able to block our bigger creatures.
This was the first game I got my Druidic Satchel on the board which allow me to get my mana out free of charge, gain life for any other spells and gain 1/1 tokens for any creatures that were revealed. This really helped us in a way, but allowed our opponents to see what removal and creatures we had coming up. We didn’t let it put us off, it may have led our opponents to play more defensively. They nibbled away with 1 to 2 points of damage here and there which soon was gained back again when spells were revealed. At the end of this game we were on 17 life when we managed to slay them with an onslaught of creatures.
None of the games we had played so far had been particularly difficult, its true to say at this point I was quite pumped full of adrenaline. Our next opponents were slightly odd, they insisted on whispering after every card draw, before every card play and everything else. If anything it was slightly annoying. I was hoping to slay them quickly to get away from them, but they were quite a match. We both got quite a few creatures on board before I played the Druidic Satchel again, whenever they attacked I activated it either gaining life or getting a smaller 1/1 token on the board. It should be noted they were worthy opponents, apparently they’re a couple who love playing 2HG so they were experienced too, they must have gauged the whispering totally pissed off their opponents so kept that tactic for further games.
We had got quite a large collection of creatures, as previously mentioned, I top decked an Overrun where Mark top decked a Day of Judgement. We decided at that point to play the Overrun and go all in, after dealing 19 damage we cleared the board allowing Mark to turn his Roc Egg into a 3/3 bird. We were slightly concerned being on 12 life, we really didn’t know which way it was going to go, but we were confident with our top decks that we were in control. Mark top decked removal, which he used to target their flier, which allowed for us to go in for the kill with a 3/3 bird, Bonebreaker Giant and a 1/1 token. We did wonder if they had any tricks, but on defeat they revealed that despite all the whispering towards the end they were both holding land.
Between game 4 and 5 we got moved and eventually settled down. All of a sudden Mark hopped up and said, “Its all about luck, we need to be as we were before with me on the right you on the left.” So we changed places. It’s quite funny how superstitious you can get when on a winning role.
Game 5 was pretty dull, one of the team was mana screwed stuck on two land and when we annihilated them we were still on 32 life. It was quite lucky the guy was mana screwed as he revealed a hand full of red removal whilst stuck on 2 plains, so it could have gone a lot differently.
Game 6 was our turn to have the curse of the mana screw, not on my part but on Marks, he mulliganned down to 5 cards still seeing no land. All the other games were pretty good, apart from the whispering couple our opponents were relatively nice people and the Magic was enjoyable, but I knew with this pair they’d already crowned themselves the winners in their heads. With Mark mana screwed I tried as hard as I could to save the day, but a turn 4 Primordial Hydra appeared for 3, I tried to Incinerate the blighter but they had a Mana Leak in hand which left me 1 mana short to respond appropriately.
As it grew turn by turn I prayed for Mark to get more mana to deal with it with his removal in hand but it wasn’t to be, when the 24/24 critter came our way there was nothing we could do to prevent all of the trample damage. They went on to win the tournament, convincing their next opponents to ID, something I don’t personally agree with as I don’t see what their opponents gained from it.
Game 7 went pretty quick with our opponents being mana screwed, Mark played his fliers and I played my lower end creatures before reaching the mana to play my Stampeding Rhino, we remained on 27 life when we beat them with our onslaught of creatures.
All in all it was really enjoyable, we sat around waiting to see if we’d come second, which we had winning us 27 boosters between us and 2 play mats which made Mark a very happy man indeed. We worked well as a team and the decks were built so well they had a good mix of creatures and removal to deal with whatever our opponents threw at us. In the early stages we looked at blue which had a good deal of counter spells available to us, but I really think cutting it out it made two really good decks which we were more than capable to play, individually and as a team.
Next year I really hope I’ll qualify for Nationals but in the event of that not happening and Mark not qualifying I’d be more than happy to team up with him again to see if we can achieve the same results.
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