Wisdom Fae Under the Bridge – Dublin and Manchester PTQ Tournament Report
Since I last wrote, I attended the PTQs in Dublin and Manchester. I didn’t win either of them, but I did learn a few things. These events were both pretty frustrating, as I do think the deck I played was good, and I would advocate playing it to other people, but it didn’t quite work out in either event.
Dublin PTQ Tournament Report
Round 1 – Gregorz Gedrzowski – Mono White Angels.
Game one is pretty strange as he makes 3 Solemn simulacrum with Emeria, the Sky Ruin in play, and I’m expecting to get locked out as he gains infinite life pretty rapidly (as I think he is playing Martyr Proc). I cast Vendilion Clique , and I’m surprised to see a plethora of big white fliers. Given his acceleration, though, I would probably have preferred to see something more conventional…the following turn I draw Cryptic command and feel a lot more safe however.
Game two I resolve a Vedalken Shackles and it is incredibly difficult for him to beat it.
Round 2 – James Cole – Affinity
Game one James doesn’t draw much of anything, and I never go under 17 life. Game two I die on turn 3. Game three is closer, with him coming out strong, but ultimately struggling to produce coloured mana, as I Disenchant his coloured sources. At one point I Clique him, and take one of two Galvanic blast – likely as not I was out of that game if he could produce enough red; I was on 8!
Round 3 – Stephan – Eggs
I’ve got a Clique and a Mindcensor in play, and they’ll kill him in two turns. I know hes got a Silence in hand. I untap and draw a Chalice of the void, with 5 land in play. I attack and cast Chalice for zero, thinking that the Spell snare and Negate in my hand will protect me better than Chalice for one because the Chalice turns off my Spell Snare. So he Silences me and kills me the following turn.
I’m pretty sure if I just cast Chalice for one there, I’d have won, although he might have silenced in response, cast Echoing truth , and combed anyway. This isn’t the point, however. Pretty horrific mistake.
Round 4 – Taufin Indrake – Twin
This time I punt game 1, but at least I thought about it for ages before I messed it up. He is on 10 life when I Clique and see Deceiver Exarch x2, Izzet charm and Dispel. He’s left a card on top of his deck after Serum Visions, so I know it’s either Spinter twin or Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. I’ve got a Shackles and a Clique in play, 1 Restoration angel he knows about and one he doesn’t in my hand. I take nothing from his hand, as I think I have what I need to win in play and in my hand, and there isn’t anything he can do about it. I untap and draw a Cryptic command , which doesn’t make much difference given I know he has a Dispel. I have 8 land. I attack with the clique, and pass.
End of turn he casts deceiver, targeting shackles. In response I steal his deceiver. Then he cast the second, which for whatever reason I didn’t think he would do, and I start thinking, for what seems like ages, then let it resolve, he untaps and kills me with Kiki, jiki. After the game im still thinking about it, and my opponent indicates that he didn’t think I made a mistake, but I’m pretty sure I did even then.
I work it out after the round.
Him – Deceiver targeting the Shackles.
Me – Steal it in response.
Him – Second deceiver, targeting an Island.
Me – Restoration Angel, blink the deceiver I just stole, untap my shackles, steal the new one.
Instead, I lost the match after I couldn’t hit land in game two.
Round 5 – Paul O’riley – Junk
Game one I get destroyed as I play a bunch of Seachrome Coast and Celestial Colonnade in a less than opportune order. Game two Shackles does me well killing guys and saving damage all over the shop. Game three is finished on the last turn of time attacking for exactly damage in a really complicated board – I remember thinking I played it reasonably well, but I expect that was just relative to the last two rounds.
Round 6 – Bradley Barclay – U/W
Bradley is playing a slightly different list, with more guys in it. I don’t draw Cryptics and he does. Looking at my life totals for the match, I must have been furious; nice big letters, like any good axe murderer.
Round 7 – Bevan Nolan – B/W tokens
I won this one, but I don’t remember much about it other than both of us were pretty miserable when we played. Spellsnares are good against this deck, too, I remember.
Manchester PTQ Tournament Report
I played this in Manchester.
4 Path To Exile
3 Spell Snare
4 Mana Leak
3 Cryptic Command
2 Detention Sphere
1 Baneslayer Angel
3 Restoration Angel
3 Wall of Omens
3 Seachrome Coast
3 Tectonic Edge
4 Celestial Colonnade
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Misty Rainforest
4 Hallowed Fountain
The sideboard is a lot different from what I played in Dublin, with more dedicated cards to the slightly more wide field I experienced, compared to what I expected – loads of Jund and Pod – the Finks were mostly to address the red green decks that did well in a couple of recent PTQs and now turn up in daily events. Carrie Oliver spoke highly of the deck earlier in the week, so I thought people might be playing it based on all of the above.
Round 1 – Tim James – Jund
This guy cast Molten rain against me in a three colour deck! I was shocked game one, but Mana Leaked it and resolved a Shackles stealing a Tarmagoyf shortly after. This game took a little while, but I won. Game two I stalled on land, and predictably lost, but again it took a while. Game three I was in a strong position when time was called but not in a position to win the game. I don’t feel like Tim played particularly slowly, nor do I feel I did. I think we could both perhaps have coincided the games we lost quicker than we did.
Anyway, this meant playing the rest of the tournament in the draw bracket with a deck with Shackles in it.
Round 2 – Ian Robertson – B/U/G
Game one I mulligan down to 4 cards, and concede pretty rapidly, with an eye to not drawing again. Game two features a race with Creeping Tarpits and a Celestial Colonnade and Vendilion Clique, which ends with me having mana to protect against a removal spell. Despite this (e.g. two games that last maybe 8 turns each), we finish game 3 with about 2 minutes on the clock.
Round 3 – Chin Heng – U/W/R Aggro Control
Cheng plays well, and while not fast, not problematically slowly, and he is very clear about what he is doing. He remarks after struggling against Shackles game one that “He can see why I drew, but its nice to see Shackles get played”, which I’m happy to hear as it means that he is also concerned about drawing games, and will likely to do what he can to avoid it.
Game two he struggles against my Leylines and we finish with plenty of time.
Round 4 – Levi Mouch (this spelling is slightly off, I fear) – Junk
Game one I Tectonic Edge a green source, and Levi struggles for the whole game with mana. Game two he resolves Sorin, Lord of Innistrad and Liliana of the veil, it take a bit of time, but I lose. It feels like I could have scooped a bit earlier in this one. Game three goes to time, and I fail to kill him in the extra turns. Someone said to me after the match that they thought I should have attacked one turn with a Restoration Angel I left at home, but at the time I was playing round him continuing to attack. I was pretty perplexed when he gained life from Deathrite Shaman as this line of play meant the best he could expect from the match was a draw. I basically just assumed we would both play to win in this situation, where a draw is basically a loss.
Round 5 – Ashley Lawson – Bant
Game one I lose dispite him mulling to 5. Game two I win largely as a result of some errors with Shackles, but this game like the first is something of a grind. I am in a favourable position in game three when time is called, and my opponent graciously concedes as a draw knocks us both out.
Round 6 – Chris Dale – Jund
This one doesn’t go to time – I draw a dispropritonate number of land in both games, and am quickly dispatched. I expect that I should probably have mulled 5 land, Wall of Omens, Restoration Angel game one, although I had the idea he was playing aggro as he had beaten someone in my car the round before, and I felt their deck had a poor aggro match up. Bit of a reach, should have mulliganed.
I was the last man standing in our car, so I dropped at this point.
In Dublin I learned that if you don’t play well, you can’t expect to win games. I played pretty horrific magic that day. I don’t think I play nearly enough atm to expect to be winning. I used to play a lot more, and I think I used to be a lot better than I am now in terms of technical play, speed and fluidity of play (the distinction I’m making here is that if you play fluidly the good blocks are “obvious” and you can snap-ruin people for their mistakes –to me this is one of the biggest indications I am on form).
I’ve been asking around a bit recently among my more accomplished, prosperous magic playing friends how much they play, and almost universally they play a substantial amount more than I do. I’ve always been a bit reticent to play a lot of magic online. At first this was because I didn’t really have the resources to do so, although now I’ve got a decent amount of cards online, and I do well enough that I’m not just throwing money away (I think magic online is a lot easier these days, but that’s purely based on experience.). Now I think I’ve been reluctant because I can see obvious parallels with playing a lot of WoW, something I said I wouldn’t do again (I used to play WoW 12 hours a day minimum at the worst point, and still 30-40 hours a week for years after – never again).
Still, it wouldn’t be the end of the world to play 3-4 dailies, 1-2 drafts and hook up for some testing on either modo or workstation (seeing as cockatrice seems to be belly up) a week.
I was probably playing less quickly than I normally do in Manchester, as I was really ill (I’ve had this disgusting throat infection for a week). But the reality is that I still wasn’t taking up half the time in most of my games. The point here isn’t to moan; I didn’t moan at the time so I won’t now. However, what I think I learned from Manchester was firstly that you need to call people on playing slowly as early as possible, and work out how you are going to do this. That is, if you just say “play faster please” 50 times, you’re probably flogging a dead horse after the 3rd time or so. You need to be prepared to call a judge, even if they don’t mean to play slowly, because your opponents have a responsibility to you to now force you to play faster to avoid draws.
Frankly, some people take the piss. I don’t mean my opponents in this event, but I’ve played against a lot of opponents and many of them play at a speed which isn’t just unacceptable, it’s rude. In future, I’m just calling a judge pretty rapidly. 1-2 warnings, then a judge, I think is fair. It’s actually against the rules to play as slowly as some people do.
Saying that, in future I think I’d be inclined to play more threats in control when playing PTQs. If I play U/W in Dundee next week it will have an extra threat or two for sure. Cliques are fragile, and often legend ruled. Snapcasters aren’t ideal for winning games. I don’t want to put mana into colonnades loads of times to win a game as this is asking for trouble. Shackles requires them to have a good creature you can steal and attack with. This means the deck currently has 4 solid threats…
Anyway, big article this week, so if you’re still reading, well done! That’s it for this week, maybe see some of you in Dundee (There is actually a second worthwhile event running in Dundee on the Sunday. For those interested it would be worth contacting Gary Campbell at Highlander Games).