My name is Fabrizio Anteri, I am 21 years old and I play Magic since I was 12. I lived almost all my life in Venezuela, two years on Italy and now I am just moving in to London.
I found the UK PTQs with the Magic Locator of Wizards. Sadly for me, I couldn’t play the PTQ on London because I was on Milan for the GP. So I decided to go to Milton Keynes and try my luck.
After all the things we know that happens in Sealed Deck events, I get my pool. My strongest colour: white (what a surprise) with Elite Inquisitor, Fiend Hunter, x2 Bonds of Faith, Gallows Warden, Avacynian Priest, Chapel Geist, Abbey Griffin…
Then I saw the White/Black Dual Land and a Bomb in this second colour: Reaper from the Abyss. But there were not enough black card to complete the deck, the mana curve was bad and I just did not like the deck I was building. So I started looking again between my other colors. This time I found green an interesting option. It has some good creatures like Avancyn’s Pilgrim, x2 Festerhide Boar, x2 Orchard Spirit, Gatstaf Shepherd and even a little bomb: Kessig Cagebreakers (“little bomb“). Green had another last surprise in form of sorcery: Spider Spawning. So to complete the deck I decided to add my Dual Land, one Swamp, the green (but almost green/black) sorcery and a cute black card I was able to splash into my deck: Tribute to Tunger.
At the end of the build deck, I felt very comfortable with my deck. It had really good creatures on an appropriate mana curve, enough removal spells, a solid splash and a couple of late game bombs.
122 players, 7 rounds and almost 8, so I knew the appropriate record for top8 was 6-1.
I sit for my first round and the first thing my opponent did was asking me if I play a lot of Magic. I thought for a second before answer because I play magic for 9 years, but in the last 18 months I have been only playing big events. Finally I just said “yes“, then he told me this was his first tournament. So I thought he just started to play Magic, he is still very bad and it was going to be really easy for me. But actually he was quite good playing his cards. He had a B/R full of removal and two bombs: Falkenrath Marauders and Kruin Outlaw. Despite being a quite good player and having a good deck, I drew very well both games, so I won the match without getting in any serious troubles.
When I sit to play on round two, someone else on the table said to my opponent “Wow, you are a lucky git, you always have pools full of bombs, how do you do that?” Or something like that and two seconds after he dropped while shuffling a card of his deck: Evil Twin… So I was like “Sigh, gonna need some luck to win this one“…
Game one we both started playing creatures but mine were just better, so I was just attacking while he was drawing with his Civilized Scholar looking for something better, he did not find any, so scooped up his cards. Important to say that he just played plains and islands, so black was a splash.
In Game two I kept a hand of 3 plains, Chapel Geist, Bonds of Faith, Blazing Torch and a green card. 5-6 turns later I had 5 green cards and the bonds in hand and 4 plains on play, I was really comfortable anyway because I had my flier in game and had no pressure, I knew I was going to draw my forest sooner or later and start playing a lot of good spells. But an unexpected bomb arrived from his hand: Angelic Overseer. Of course he had two human in play to ensure his card was untouchable enough. I drew my card of turn before picking everything up and start to shuffle. For game 3 I had to mull to 5 cards before being able to keep a hand with lands and spells. I started quite aggressive with 2-3 creatures on the first 5 turns, but once again the angel entered the battlefield and there was nothing a GW deck can do about it.
At this point a knew that a 5-0 was needed to stay alive, I really enjoy being on this kind of pressure, I have done this 5-0 stuff a lot of times… The last time was actually a week early on Milan, when after round 4 I was 2-2 and I had to win 5 in a row to being drafting on Sunday.
So I sit to play on round 3 and I was really surprised that my opponent was… hmmm, how I do put this without being disrespectful… he was really old! I mean, I haven’t seem a man of this age playing Magic before, he was maybe… 50? 60? maybe more? and it was such a great thing to see in Magic. Anyway, we did play and after a weird first game with both of us on mana screw (maybe the weirdest part was when he played Mulch on turn 6, still on two lands, and found 4 spells on his top), a second game where I could not do anything about this transformed Daybreak Ranger and a third game full of creatures from my side and none from his, I won the match and was 2-1 in the tournament.
On this round my opponent had a UW deck full of fliers, spirits and: Angel of Flight Alabaster. This was a fun game with attacks, tricks and a race to get the opponent down. His Angel took one game, but having two Urgent Exorcism on my sideboard helped me a lot to getting this 3 points of the round.
Game 1 of Round 5 was really short. My deck continued to do what it had been doing all day and my opponent did not play anything relevant. Actually he was playing some bad cards in a 3 colors deck. That can only mean one thing: He just put all his bombs together and they should show in the next game. Said and done, I started very happy the second game with a good hand and with a creature in play on turn 2. All my happiness was gone when he cast on turn 3: Liliana of the Veil and used her -2 ability. After some errors of my opponent and my graveyard full of cards, I killed the Planeswalker.
Some turns later I played my lovely spiders sorcery, for 4 creatures. But then he played his second bomb: Geist-Honored Monk. At this point attacking was not good for any of us, so the game went very long, we just played lands and useless creatures for turns (I already had to use the flashback of my spell), I even had my wolf lord in play with 7 creatures on the yard, but even with him, an attack was still not a good idea. Then he drew two annoying equips: Sharpened Pitchfork and Butcher’s Cleaver.
So he started to attack with a 13/10 Lifelink, First Strike, Vigilance Monk and gained A LOT of life. 3 of my spiders were gone on blocking and I thought I had no way to win that game… But, for some reason, the next turn he attacked with ALL of his creatures. I spend a couple of minutes making a good block and at the end of that turn his monk was just 6/3 and I still had good creatures in play, including my 3/4 friend. I untapped my lands, drew my card… and it was the last good card remaining in my deck: Fiend Hunter. So I removed his Monk, attacked with my rare, made 7 attacking wolves and sent him to 35 (I know right!). On the next attack he killed my best creature but the 14 wolf finished the work his master started.
On round 6 I won the first game by playing creatures while my opponent did nothing. On game 2 he started on turn 1 with zombie 2/2, turn 2 enchanting it with +2/+2 and flying and on turn 3 equiped him with +2/+0 (not bad eh?), anyway I was playing good creatures and attacking the same. At some point I calculated my possibilities of winning that race and it didn’t look good, my only out was to position myself in the game and wait for an opening, a mistake that I can take advantage of… And finally he made one! he did not see his chance to win the game on his turn, blocked (incorrectly) as I’d hoped and I took the game on my next turn.
As expected there were 14 players “live” in the Standing before last round, so I had to play the round. My opponent was a good player playing WR, both games started quite good for us both, but we went to middle/late game were my deck was superior.
So this is how I ended 6-1 after the swiss rounds and was going to draft on the top8 to take home the flight ticket and the invitation to Pro Tour Honolulu.
I think this is a REALLY LONG article already. So depending on the feedback I would write another one with the experience of the top8. Thank you to all of those who read all the article, I hope all of you have enjoyed it.