Argothian Treehouse
Andy Van Zandt


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Argothian Treehouse
with Andy Van Zandt

Teams PTQ Tourney Report

1.17.05  Teams limited is one of my favorite formats. You have to make do with limited resources, but not so limited as to make it a dice roll like some sealed deck events are. That's not to say you can't get a bad set of cards, but it is more reasonable to assume you mis-built (or maybe misplayed) than to blame it on the pool. Not that that will stop people from doing that, but still. In any case, my team, consisting of Herman Armstrong, Mitchell Waldbauer and I, showed up at the Team PTQ in Fort Worth a week ago or so, with a little bit of practice under our belts. Herman and I had played Teams with Kamigawa at the pre-release (with a different 3rd person), and we had also gotten some practice in earlier that week with some teams rochester drafting. Add to that the fact that we have had the same team for a couple of years, and are familiar with each other, our play styles, and can usually come to quick agreements. This is extremely beneficial in the teams rochester, because it allows for a smoother draft and less "issues", and allows us to actually communicate non-verbally well enough that it's actually a 3 man process rather than just having one "caller". I feel this is optimal because it's a rare individual who can keep track of all 6 player's picks as thoroughly as 3 people can. So in any case, we were feeling well prepared and I am in general confident of my teammates playskill. Playing with a "weak link" is distinctly less fun, so I'm glad that if anyone is the sub-par player in my team, it's me.

We'd convened at Herman's house the night before, to lessen the driving time in the morning, and so we wouldn't have to worry about someone having car trouble and not showing up. The tournament site being thankfully at the excellent Fort Worth Convention Center, we had only a 10 minute drive to get there. We arrived and did the normal milling about, said hi to the regulars and our friends, and waited for the stuff to get handed out.  Opened and registered what we were given, which was decently solid, and turned it back in. When we got the stuff we were to play with handed to us, there were several things that jumped out at us- black was extremely deep, including the most removal of any color, triple cutthroat, double graverobber, and some other playables. White included triple Kabuto moth and its general assortment of creatures, tricks, and a cage of hands. Blue was extremely weak, with almost half the playable cards being 4 reach through depths. Red had Kumano, some burn, and quintuple Hearth Kami. To make use of the blue at all, we needed to have a good compliment, so the red leaped up immediately and waved its hand, with a glacial ray. So that seemed almost settled right off.

Splitting up the other colors was harder, and it was eventually decided that the moths should go with the cutthroats, and the black removal (including a Hideous Laughter) would go in the green deck along with a couple of Kami of the Waning moon to make the mid-range dudes (order of the
sacred bell, feral deceiver, scuttling death) unblockable. This made the
Green black deck the most apparently weak of the 3 decks, and to shore up the early game one of the graverobbers was shifted into it... and let me tell you, it was amazing every time it came down. I played that deck, with Mitch Piloting the burn/soritami savant/hearth kami deck, and Herman piloting the absurdly well curved black/white deck.

Here's the short and sweet of the day, from my view. With the most controlling of the 3 decks, I chose to draw first whenever possible. I won two games straight out solely because of the snake making flip card (by flipping it, of course), and 4+ games mostly because of graverobber, with
Hideous Laughter filling in where needed. Throw in a few mana stalls on my opponent's part, helped along occasionally by my 2 befouls, and I won all but 2 of my matches on the day, one being a draw when I was unfortunately in a winning position, and the other just ending without finishing the third game. Mitch didn't drop a single match, and Herman only dropped one and drew one. This amounted to an undefeated record going into the top 4 (6-0), and we forced the play in the 6th round because we knew our rating was good enough that if we won that game, and then made it to the finals, we'd in all likelyhood have the ratings points to auto-qualify. So we won our top 4 match, and, anti-climactically split with the other team that made the finals, with judge approval and all that. With our (we felt) almost guaranteed qualification on rating, they got the slot. We're currently sitting at 1779 and feeling quite smug about ourselves.

So yeah, if you want my advice for teams limited (completely unsolicited though it may be), make sure everyone has a decent curve, split up the removal well, and have confidence in your team mates. ... and know the card pool. ... and don't play kami of the waning moon (notice I attribute
none of my wins directly to her). ... and keep in mind that splicing Kodama's Might onto Hideous Laughter is Cheaper than the other way around (heehee!).

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Shoot me an email.

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