About a week before the store championship final took place, Mark Rickell sent me a deck list for standard that he had been brewing up. It was a green/blue tempo based that used Delver of Secrets and Mayor of Avabruck to put pressure on the opponent before they can react.
Here is the original List for reference:
After a week of play testing I had managed to remove the slow and clunky counter magic (Dissipate), card draw (Thick Twice) and randomly expensive bounce spell (Disperse) for Vapor snags, Divinations and Gitaxian Probes. In our testing we had found that most of the time you only needed to counter 2 things at most and the life lose from Vapor snag was far more relevant than being able to bounce different permanents how ever I was still missing out of some cheap removal to stop other quick decks getting ahead of us.
The sideboard was put together to try and help my good match-ups get better post-board rather than try and help the bad ones (rdw/steel) improve. Note: I couldn’t borrow a second Thrun and so just put a randomly traded Garruk in for the mize.
So we got up to make the 2 hour journey to the other side of London, 5 of us in a car all ready to kick ass; however by the time we got there we were ready to fall on the floor and die; our legs being so numb from the journey. We found the venue easily enough after having fun in the McDonald’s nearby, (note: dancing behind 2 old people arguing is fun). We sorted out our deck sheets grabbed the last few cards we needed to borrow off each other and went into round 1.
With 40 people it would be 6 rounds followed by top 8 cut with team points as well as individual points.
RD1 vs W/G Tokens.
My opponent led with Turn 1 Plains, while I went Probe:You seeing 3 Hero of Bladehold, 1 Oblivion Ring, 1 Garruk Relentless and 1 GW land (greedy!). So I played Island then Delver, he drew, played his land said go. I Pondered after flipping my Delver, seeing another Delver which I played then passed back. He missed his land drop and my Delver flipped… by the time he tried to cast real spells he was dead.
I side-boarded in my extra Gut Shots for a couple of Probes as I had seen so little of what he was playing, however I figured that at some point they might be useful.
Game 2 started badly as he went 1 drop into Honor of the Pure then into Mirran Crusader while my Gut Shot stared at me mockingly. His Fiend Hunter then came down stopping any chance of a Sword ruining his day. For game 3 I boarded in 2 of the Naturalizes for the last 2 Probes.
Game 3 started well for me beating down with a flipped Delver + Mayor, however he managed to deal with my insect with an O-ring, then my Mayor with a Beast Within, leaving me with a Sword and an Inkmoth. That combo managed to get him to 7 poison before another Beast Within dealt with the sword, he had a Crusader + Gavony Township and was smashing in for large chunks, however a timely Snapcaster off the top allowed me to block and stay alive long enough to win by poison.
Match 2 vs RDW
My opponent leads with Stromkirk Noble which I follow by playing a Delver… which surprisingly sticks. After his attack he plays a Stormblood Beserker, I drop a Mayor and take the attack after hitting for 4 and then bounce his 3/3 with Snag. He gets stuck on 2 land finally drawing an Arc Trail— but I have the Mana Leak and win with him still having 6 cards in hand :|
I board in the 2 Gut Shots, 4 Flashfreeze’s and Thrun for the Mana leaks, Dismembers and a Probe, however…
Game 2 I deal a total of 2 damage to him as he has a real curve of guy, guy, Arc Trail. I die while he still has gas in hand.
Game 3 on the play I manage to Gut Shot his turn 1 man followed by bouncing his Beserker without blood thirst, he doesn’t draw any removal except a Shrine of Burning Rage which is far too slow to race double Delver + Mayor.
Match 3 vs U/R Thresh
Game 1 we both play Probes on turn 1 seeing each others hands of gas. I start racing with double Mayor but he manages to cast spells on each turn while doing almost no damage with his creatures then finishes me off with a morbid Brimstone Volley when I killed his Chandra’s Phoenix with a Beast Within.
I boarded in my Azure Mages, Negates, Thrun and Garruk (cus mize), for my Divinations, Beast Withins and Gut Shot’s (as I had no idea what was right).
Game 2 again began with us both using our Probes to find out what we needed to beat. It turned out that me choosing to lose life for my probes was key to this match up as he ended up having just enough burn to finish me while again trying to race my guys.
Match 4 vs RDW
I board in the same as round 2.
Game 2 starts much better for me as I am able to counter his first attempt at killing my guys after seeing his hand of mostly random dudes with Probe, and as my random Insects eat away at his life I manage to stay at a healthy life total.
Game 3 starts badly as my Delver chooses that this is the game he doesn’t want to flip, however I am able to keep his Beserker from attacking me early with a combo of Vapor Snags and Snapcasters; in the end it came down to him having to block with his Noble vs my Snapcaster with a Sword… and I Ponder into Flashfreeze + Snapcaster to lock up the game.
Match 5 vs Mono white (which also made top 8)
Game 1 started and after 20 minutes into the round the judge deck checked us and asked me to change some of my sleeves, then I find that he has mushed my sideboard into my maindeck… fun times… This was then followed a very quick game of flipped Insect into Mayor while his 3 Elite Inquisitors all get eaten up by an army of wolves. The game ended when he tried a last ditching effort to Angelic Destiny, only to see a Vapor Snag from me.
I boarded in all the Naturalizes and Gut Shots for a mixture of Divinations, and Probes.
Game 2 started slowly for me and by the time I was able to put anything meaningful onto the board he already had an Elite Inquisitor with a Silver-Inlaid Dagger in his hand :( After 2 Honor of the Pures, I found myself helpless vs his Mirran Crusader and was promptly killed.
Game 3 was properly the closest game of the entire tournament with him getting ahead early but struggling to keep my Mayor from flipping. It ended up really mattering that the Inquisitor only had pro werewolves and not pro wolf’s as I had to hold off a 10 power Inquisitor for several turns while my Inkmoth with a Sword managed to finish him off.
Match 6 ID (would have been vs U/B)
So I had managed to make the top 8 after my initial aim for the event was coming and dropping for the side event drafts (who doesn’t want to draft ravnica/oddessy blocks!). The rest of my team had done well enough that coming into the top 8 we had a chance of winning the team part as well, with Dave Fry (playing Infect) topping the swiss after being paired down in the last round and having to win to be in.
Quarter Finals vs B/W/G Pod
Game 1 went about as smooth as possible, he went land go (after keeping a hand not knowing what I was playing), I then went Island into Delver, he untapped into Viridian Emissary and passed back. I revealed Probe off the top paid life for it and saw Birthing Pod, Forest, Unburial Rites and Perilous Myr. At this time I didn’t have a Mana Leak but I had 2 Vapor Snags so I wasn’t worried about any of the cards in his hand. After racing for several turns (with me getting the first hit in) he tried an end step Beast Within on his own Myr, which would be exact lethal when combined with the rest of his board. I bounced his myr at which point he had to read Vapor Snag, he followed that up with a Solemn Simulacrum and the Myr again, attacked me and I showed him the second Snag for exactsies.
(Side point Vapor Snag so many times allowed for exact kills that 1 point in this sort of deck really adds up!)
I boarded in the 3 Naturalizes for 1 Snag 1 Divination and 1 Probe.
Game 2 was a bit of a no show as far as his deck was concerned, he kept a very slow draw and I went Delver into Mayor and he didn’t have a play. After that he cast 1 spell and died with Day of Judgment in hand and only 1 white source in play… and so I was off to the semis!
(After the top 4 was decided we split the cash prizes evenly but played out for the team points.)
Semi final Vs U/B (the one I i.d’ed with and borrowed an Inkmoth from, thanks Kyle)
Game 1 went pretty much how I expected, Insect after a probe seeing he had a Black Sun’s Zenith and a Consecreted Sphinx as his main source of pressure. I counter the Zenith drop another Insect, allowed his Sphinx to resolve and bounced it, play and equip Sword, allow his Sphinx to resolve and attack for lethal.
Game 2 once again was a bit of a no show, as he had to mull to 5 and kept a hand that needed to draw land. Sadly, it didn’t really get there and so he scooped at 12 life.
Onto the Final, being told just before we started that if I won our team from Gamecraft would win the team portion as well and each pocket £20 in store credit.
FINAL vs G/W Tokens (have lost my notes so will have to bear with me on this one)
Game 1 started badly for me with him drawing both his Mortarpods (omg that card is good vs me!). So I had to come up with a plan and thankfully that was his only gas for a while, until he drew an Intangible Virtue to start getting in. I was able to Gut Shot 1 token in response then trade the other for a Snapcaster, meanwhile he made a Hero of Bladehold and Blade Splicer while I was tapped out. I bounced the Hero, Snapcaster blocked the token and allowed me to Gut Shot the splicer, then I could counter the Hero on the way back down. At this point all he could do was Township pump his token while I was able to make a Mayor + Sword and start getting in with the beatdowns to win the game.
I boarded in my extra Gut Shots and all 3 Naturalizes, bringing out both Divinations, a Beast within and 2 Vapor Snags.
Game 2 was a nightmare, he had an early Shrine of Loyal Legions which I couldn’t answer along with 3 Beast Withins to stop both my Swords and a Mayor from ever getting active, in the end he resolved a Hero and I couldn’t stop the attack.
Game 3 started badly for him this time; keeping a very slow hand which I saw with a Probe. It consisted of 2 Act of Aggrsssions, 2 Midnight Hauntings and an Elspeth Tirrel. So I went Delver into Mayor, into Mayor + Delver on turn 3. On my turn 4 when I attacked he used an Act and I used a Vapor Snag on my own dude, putting him on 2 life. After he drew a non-wrath card the title was mine along with the Team portion.
Prop’s to all the people I traveled with and borrowed cards off.
Thanks for reading and thakns for sharing.