I Got a Broken Face Ė a PTQ Story
This Saturday was my foray into the realm of Mirrodin/Darksteel sealed deck. Knowing that Waco was going to be well-attended by a pretty good spread of solid players, I wasnít absolutely planning on making the top eightÖbut I sure was pretty insistent on doing my damnedest.
Friday turns into a slightly amusing precursor as two of the people planning to make the ride bail out due to various issues, so the drive is made by me and Nick Pavlov. Nickís a good guy and a good player; heíd be a lot better if he put more time into his play, but, like me, he has to put a lot of time into school and other endeavors. Regardless, heís still solid.
On the way, we stop at the Czech Stop in West, TX. If youíre going along I-35 between Dallas-Fort Worth and Waco, you need to stop in West and pick up some of their kolaches or any of the other good pastry-type food they have available. Breakfast of champions, I tell you.
Arriving at The Game Closet in Waco, I see one of my favorite Magic players and people in the world: Rob Lawing. This man doesnít play a lot any more, but he epitomizes the reason why people should play this game. Itís hard to find individuals of this quality; Magic has got a pretty fair number of them.
So, a little love exchanged throughout the room, then we sit down to receive product. My card pool looked like this:
Wail of the Nim
Wall of Blood
Screams from Within
These looked decent enough. Decent creatures, a couple of nice removal spells.
Broodstar! Domineer! Wow, nice! There was some meat missing, thoughÖ
Roar of the Kha
Emissary of Hope
Ritual of Restoration
Nice, but light on the creatures that white really wants/needs. The Emissary is super-tight.
This works for me. Much-needed artifact destruction, a couple of solid creatures and a fantastic piece of removal made this a quick commitment for me.
One Dozen Eyes
Turn to Dust
Now that, my friends, is pretty good. A Fangren Hunter would have been nice, but thereís plenty of good stuff here. Every single card here is at least playable.
Goblin War Wagon
Tooth of Chiss-Goria
Tower of Champions
2 x Darksteel Ingot
Some excellent tools here. The Plate is a bomb, obviously, as is the Shard. I was especially happy to have the two Darksteel Ingot; they made the mana work a lot more smoothly. The Bola was a card I was looking forward to trying out.
I took the full time building this deck, something that I recommend doing any time you have a sealed deck. Iím going to state right now that I became far too conscious of the number of creatures I was going to run. You need to be very aware of this, but you have to be careful that you donít let paranoia get a hold of you.
Here was the deck I built:
One Dozen Eyes
2 x Darksteel Ingot
9 x Forest
5 x Mountain
2 x Plains
There are two notable absences from my list. I cut the Purge and Rebuking Ceremony from the deck in favor of making sure that I had enough creatures; According to David Williams and Neil Reeves (among others), I should have been running the Ceremony and Purge over the Bruiser and one of the mediocre pieces of equipment. It was definitely a mistake I made due to the pressure of deck-construction, but itís something that I would address during sideboarding. On the whole, minus my mistakes, this is a really good deck.
On to the rounds!
Round 1: David Williams
If you pay attention to competitive Magic, you know who Dave is. Whatever else you might think youíve heard aside, heís a good guy and an absolutely fantastic player. His deck, though, is really, really poor; his only piece of removal (artifact or creature) was a single Barter in Blood. I mulligan to four in game one and get rolled, but I take game with a Spikeshot and Scimitar along with a Rebuking Ceremony. Game three, I draw Plate and suit up a Myr which goes to town.
Round 2: Paul Hagan
Paulís a Waco native; Iíve played him once or twice before. Game one, I resolve one Dozen Eyes and Leonin Bola; Iím able to stem the bleeding from his reasonably quick start and tap down his team and kill him. He landstalls in game two, but is still able to put up quite a bit of a game with some cheap drops. Iím forced to Arrest his Grimclaw Bats to keep putting on pressure; he draws an Elf Replica to get rid of the Arrest, but my Spikeshot eventually finishes him off.
Round 3: Jesse Evans
Jesse plays around Dallas; Iíve seen him at the local events I run in Hurst. I see pretty quickly that his deck is pretty nutty; I come to understand that he has double-Spikeshot in his deck. Thanks be to Wizards for *that* choice of premium cards. Anyway, game one is about Plate; he doesnít have any sort of answer to it and doesnít put any pressure on me. Game two, he Unforges my Plate and I die to Megatog and a Hematite Golem with Gauntlets on it.
Game three turns into a pretty long game. He Unforges my Plate for the second game in a row, but Iím able to gang-block his Megatog and kill it without taking too heavy losses. Iím able to stabilize the board with a Tangle Spider, but Iím at four; heís up around 17, but his board is clear and he has no cards in hand. His draws over the next five-six turns include the Unforge (Plate was on the Spider), an Essence Drain to kill a guy, an Awe Strike just to make sure, and, most importantly, a Spikeshot. I die before I can finish him off, having failed to draw any of my potential answers for the Spikeshot. The biggest problem here wasnít the draws, but that I had played conservatively over the earlier parts of the game; I believe I could have been more aggressive and taken this game.
Round 4: Mark Hendrickson
I donít have much of an opinion on this match. Games one involved getting stuck at four mana with all of the five-drops and six-drops in my deck having been drawn. Game three, I draw five Forests with a slew of red and white removal/control spells in my hand. I won game two on the basis of drawing Plate and his drawing nothing; three non-games of Magic. How fun.
At this point, I believe I am out of contention for top 8; however, I play out the rest of the event, wanting to try to recoup DCI points and put some more time in with the deck.
Round 5: Jeremy Swenson
Plate plus Myr makes you think game one should go quickly, but he lasts long enough to be able to resolve a Sundering Titan. Unfortunately for him, I have a Deconstruct in my hand and am able to punch through for the win the next turn. Game two is about land problems and his Spectreís Shroud causing me worlds of hurt, but game three works out in my favor as Iím able to force through damage with a Rustmouth Ogre to get rid of his Isochron Scepter with Battlegrowth on it. His board empty, this game ends quickly.
Round 6: Abel ?
I apologize for not getting a last name here; I just forgot to write it down. Anyway, game one I mulligan down to five, then draw nothing but Forests and lose. Game two, my Wizard Replica wears big armor and flies in to beat down; game three runs slow, but my Spikeshot whittles him down to where I can finish him off.
I spend the next while watching the top eight draft; Neil Reeves drafts an amazingly tight affinity deck, with triple Myr Enforcer as the backbone. He ends up taking the slot, so congrats to Neil for another PT invite.
After the draft concluded, Nick and I headed back up to Dallas. One fine meal at Whataburger, and the day was concluded. A pity I had things to do that night, otherwise I would have stayed for some of the normal festivities that come after the Waco PTQís.
Let me know if you think thereís something I missed about deck construction. Next week, I think weíll look into this draft format a little bit. Ďtil next weekÖ
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