1.11.02 - Grand
Prix Houston Report
those of you that have seen the Subliminal Man skit on
Saturday Night Live, this should make more sense and be
that much more of a treat.
My Deck: Old Skool
4 River Boa
4 Sword to Plowshares
4 Seal of Cleansing
4 Wild Mongrel
4 Mystic Enforcer
4 Call of the Herd
4 Land Grant
I won't bother with the sideboard as it was built
(wrecked) mainly for that one day.
Well, after weeks of testing and anticipation, we were
of to Houston. I was going to be the driving on
this wondrous (boring) three hour excursion (road tip)
to Houston. My crew this weekend consists of myself,
Jason Matthews and Chad Koss.
The drive down highway six is pretty uneventful. We
do hit a ton of traffic once we get into the city, but
that's fine. We just pass some card talk between
looking for exits.
Anyway we get to the hotel after passing it by once and
drop the car off in the parking garage and head on in.
After running into a few other players on the way
up and checking in, we head to the fourth floor where
all the action was going down.
There were already a couple of drafts starting to take
shape, but I was having to keep my evening free for the
Event Horizons eight man closed qualifier.
Well, anyway 8pm rolls around on Friday night and it's
time for our event. As it turns out, it was
Odyssey only booster draft. Fair enough I thought.
The draft proceeds pretty fair at the start as we
see lots of good (insane) green cards all around the
table apparently. I am drafting green/red. I
take some early big green fatties and several (millions)
creature kill spells. Unfortunately, during all of
this, I start to realize how many people might be
potentially taking green. Going into the third
pack, I felt that I could have been taking black, but I
had already taken a few whites cards earlier. Fortunately,
white is insane in the last pack. The down side is
that since it is my third color and green continues to
be unfair, I have to stick with it.
It turns out that taking the white cards was a better
choice for me since Leland Simmons who was drafting to
me right was taking red/green/black. Why does this
matter (it doesn't)? I played him first. We
would have both been screwed as we would have been
drafting all three of each others colors.
Anyway, we are off to play. Leland wins the first game
pretty soundly with the help of two Roar of the Wurm
tokens. I failed to draw more than two creatures.
So I die (get pummeled). On to game two.
We are matching each other creature for creature
pretty well. Unfortunately though he doesn't miss
a land drop the entire game and I am facing a barrage of
Roar tokens and Morbid Hunger damage.
Anyway on to game three. What?! I said game
three. What?! I said GAME THREE. Oh yeah, I
guess I failed (forgot) to mention that this was best
three of five. Anyway in this game I draw a lot of early
creatures and lots of removal and just stay ahead of
Leland in the race. To be fair, he didn't draw
many non-land (good) cards this game.
Game four is pretty ridiculous, with us both have a
creature with Seton's desire out the problem is, he
reached threshold (lucky bastard) before I do. He
has squirrel nest out at this point now as well. We
decides to send with everything, which he has to do to
kill me. He forgets that Moment's Peace only cost
two to cast. So after a couple of moments peace
and threshold (about time), I come over for the win.
Game five it is. Various players have passed by
and enjoyed (marveled at) my comeback. However Leland
put this one away (ended my misery) with a sound
thrashing in game five. I have plenty of land,
none of it green, while holding Ivy Elemental in hand.
I also knew at this point that Leland had no real
answer for it. As well such is life.
We spend the rest of the evening looking over different
deck types throughout the room. And preparing (stealing
tech) for the Grand Prix Saturday morning.
We order up some pizza from room service (best ever) and
enjoy the evening while putting the finishing touches on
the decks. I still don't finish my decklist
because I know I will want to make changes
(procrastinate). These are the absolute most
comfortable beds at any hotel (cloud 9 *seriously the
brand is called cloud nine*).
Even though I have two byes, I still wake p for the
players meeting and shower up. Our shower has dual
shower heads. No lies. Really different, but
AMAZINGLY comfortable. Anyway, we head down to the
event room with about 35 minutes to spare and tech-talk
(run our mouths) until the event starts.
As start time approaches, we get word that we will be
starting late (no surprise), because of rainstorms
(monsoons) in the area.
Well, during this time I start to change my decklist a
bit. There are more Mircale-gro, Super-Gro, and
variants being seen (scouted) around the room. Many
players have opted to go with a tech (forgotten)
card...Sphere of Resistance. The theory is that is
slows the Gro player down enough to keep them from
getting all of their free spells off and give you an
Well, the tournament (marathon) finally gets underway.
I watch for a little while and pass a table wher
ea player has to have it explained that Force of Will is
legal for the environment. No lies, true story. Other
than that, I just head out tog et some food that I can
play on a full stomach. I go down to the mall, the
Galleria (maze). It's a really nice place. Since
it has everything we need and the hotel is connected to
it, I rarely have to step outside of the venue.
Round three finally rolls (lumbers) around and I get to
Round 3 Warren Connell Miracle-Gro
Well, this is a match I wanted (hoped for). In
game one, we both get mediocre hands, but I am able to
Wasteland away his tropical island and he gets stumped
for a little while. I cast a Wild Mongrel and
swing putting down to 18. He decides to Force a
werebear to keep my damage factor under control. He
finally gets two mana on the board. He taps it
into his pool, and plays Gush. He uses one blue
mana to Brainstorm and takes a mana burn. Strange
play I thought, but oh well. He eventually gets to
lay a Dryad but I've had a Swords to Plowshares in hand
all game that he doesn't have a counter for. All
the while Wild Mongrel beats him down and then Mystic
Enforcer comes in to help finish (polish) things off.
Game two was not in my favor at I all. I draw very
few (zero) removal spells. All the while Quirion
Dryad is beating me down (smashing my face in). My
life total reads 16 Dryad, 10 Dryad, 3 Games :-( (my
sheet actually has a sad face on it ).
Game three is a good game. We go back and forth and back
and forth. He drops a winter orb. I still
have a few mana untapped, but neither of us have any
creatures on board. I have a Sphere of Resistance
I've just drawn up. I decide to play it. He
lets it through. The game is stalled for the
moment. There are five minutes left in the round.
In a true show of sportsmanship, we both pick up
the pace of play, so at least one of us gets a win out
of this match.. Unfortunately, each time I got for
a threat, he has a daze and an open mana to play it.
He gets a werbear through and two turns later, has
a counter in hand. I had a turn to put the game
away, but drew up a Land Grant instead of a land :(
That's inefficient (horrible) when you have sphere
of resistance out.
That puts me at 2-1, not a good way to start the day.
Round 4 Albert Hatter with money blue control of some
I have to start this segment by saying that I actually
enjoy playing Albert. Guys like him (black guy)
aren't very plentiful (nonexistent) in the game today.
I had played him before the tournament started for
several (ten or so) games. He admittedly to being
unprepared for the format. Anyway I thought this
was a bad matchup for me as he is able to Bribery away
my Mystic Enforcers.
Well, during our first game he gets to play first.
He does everything that blue decks do (nothing) on
the first couple of turns. The whole time I draw
utility (useless) cards against him. He gets to
bribery one of my Mystic Enforcers to work for the devil
(his team). I cast one of my own to work for the
home team. We then trade Enforcers (bump uglies).
He goes to tries to pass some money to another one of my
enforcers. Then he tries again, only to get a
Werebear. I cast my remaining enforcer to slow
down the beats (ass kickin' ). I try to cast a
Werebear of my own and he gets countered. At this
point I'm sad (crying) as I get beat by a a set (gang)
of my own creatures.
On to game two. While sideboarding I take out one
Mystic Enforcer. I also realize that he reaches
threshold really quick (insanely fast) and that could be
bad (scary) if he takes my creatures again. I side
in my two Reprisal to bail be out (prayer) in case of
emergency. He gets a poor draw and never gets
rolling (watches me play) and I reduce his total to zero
in a matter of a few turns (ludicrous speed).
With just a few minutes left we decide not to sideboard
(mind trick) and move to the next game. I'm in
control this whole game, but trying not to show it
(pumping the fist). I have a singular River Boa
doing the deed (dropping elbows) when he decides to
Dominate it. This makes me sad (frown). But
I draw up (turbo peel) another one. He cast
Hibernation (his last hope). But after he cast
Fact or Fiction, revealing nothing, he draws a card and
concedes. I shake his hand a wish him luck (time
for a victory lap).
At this point, I've won a match I shouldn't have won
(got lucky) and lost a match that I should have won
(been screwed). So three one isn't terrible I
Round 5 Kevin Benefield with The Rock
Kevin has played at our store (The Game Closet) back
home (Waco, TX) before. As it turns out though,
he's from Little Rock, Arkansas (middle of nowhere).
Unfortunately this match was very uneventful (no,
it was REALLY uneventful). Pretty much I beat his
deck the way I've always figured I beat it. I just
attack all of his mana sources. I waste all my
wastelands and swords and Incinerates destroying mana
creatures (walls and birds) and easily put the game
away. Admittedly during our first game he draws
mostly lands anyway and not many business cards.
So I move on at 4-1. Not a bas start one more and
things are all good (groovy).
Round 6 Eric Taylor with Raisin Bran
The first game, I get a solid (insane) hand and get
rolling. I deal with everything he has. He
gets a few search cards and looks like he ends up a mana
short of going off after using a Gush to search and
picking up a few (all of) his lands..
We do very little sideboarding and advance quickly to
the next game. I am slowly taking care of business
(serving beats). The whole time he is casting
spells (searching) like a madman. Unfortunately, I
don't draw a lot of creatures (one) and he is at 14 and
goes off for the win.
Time is light going into game three so we just shuffle
quickly cut and play. I get a second turn River
Boa that he can't deal with. Eric's life total
goes 18,16,14,12,10. He tried to go off once, but a
Wax/Wane and a Pyroblast later I'm still in control.
Granted he tried going off at fourteen life.
Well, with him at ten life and myself at 20 I
decide to slip through an Armageddon. Fortunately
(thankfully) if goes off. I'm fun to watch play,
so I've drawn a small crowd at this point. To be
fair, I'm sure part of the crowd was do to Eric Taylor's
popularity (infamy). Anyway, after the Armageddon
resolves, the crowd (peanut gallery) gets a little more
interested. I reveal my hand to cast a Land Grant.
I reveal Incinerate, Incinerate, Seal of
Cleansing. The crowd is excited (in awe) at my hand.
So at this point I have a Savannah and a River Boa
and ten life to go. At this point the crowd gets
to witness what might possible be the best pla
Well, now I am 4-2 with one match to go. Not good.
I've also proceeded to get screwed out of playing
the Metagame decks (nothing new), while my friends are
playing them all over the room. Ah well, such is
Round 7 David Bass with Tradewind Geddon variant.
I'll save (spare) all of you guys the match report
(boring details) here. Your champion of justice
(lame excuse for a superhero) did not come through with
a victory this round. I failed to drew two Swords
to Plowshares, one Incinerate and one Pyroblast the
whole match. Just simply not a good day for me
card wise. David and I got a great bit of laughs
joking with (making fun of) each other. We enjoyed
it and the crowd enjoyed it. It's all good (could
have been better).
In hindsight, all of the matches did go to a full
(exhausting) three games. Excluding my round five
match (heartbreaker) with Eric Taylor, I managed to
finish all my matches with 10 minutes or more left in
the round (miraculously).
Well, I'm done for the day as Jason. We run into
CJ Wostal while walking through the Galleria
(labyrinth). He tells of this great (stellar)
Italian place a couple blocks away. We go to our
hotel room and debate leaving the comfort of the hotel,
but decide to do so. I do have to say that was the
best tip that CJ has EVER, and I do mean EVER given me.
This place is called Piatto. It is the single best
Italian food you will EVER eat. The desert
portions were huge (gargantuan), the waitstaff was
helpful, and the food was great (magnificent). If this
place were in a pack with Call of the Herd, Shadowmage
Infiltrator, and Overrun, you first pick Piatto, period.
Hands down. You can't beat this place at
Anyway, after we get back to the hotel, the great Jose
Cintra has shown up, so we talk with him a little bit.
We go up to his room (swank hotel suite) later.
We join the party (guys just chillin'). We
partake in the viewing of some quality video footage
(S&M segment of Real Sex on HBO).
After all of our nightly events (shenanigans) are over,
we get good nights sleep and head home.
Since it has been so long (a millennium) since I have
written a report (rambled endlessly), I should include
some props and slops.
All of my opponents. I was able to joke and B.S.
with all of you. Also, don't take offense to
anything written here, it is all in jest.
The judging staff. From what I could tell, the judges
responded fairly quickly to every call and were all of
The Westin Galleria hotel. It is possibly the best hotel
ever. It's conveniently located, and is connected
to the Galleria. If the have a PT Houston next
season (word on the street) they should definitely have
it there again.
You, the readers, for reading this far and (hopefully)
I thought the whole event was great, except for one
random incident. A judge came over while I was playing
Kevin Benefield and was looking on and asking us
questions trying to figure out who was playing slow.
We were both pleased with each other pace (that
sounds sexual) and were just playing our game with
plenty time left in the round.
Overall I though the event was a success and hope that I
am qualified for PT Houston when it comes around.
Until next time,
The Game Closet
P.S. Don't forget to attend our JSS even this weekend
(the 12th) and our PTQ Osaka tourney next weekend (the
19th). It'll be good times here in Waco. We
will also have the all rare draft the evening of the PTQ.