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Author Topic: Failing At Waterbury (Jan 15/05) and Having Fun Doing It!  (Read 1260 times)
Mindstab_Thrull
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« on: February 04, 2005, 10:07:59 am »

My Horrendous Waterbury Report
Or, How to Fail Miserably at Type 1 (And Somehow Still Enjoy Yourself!)

Alright, let's get one thing straight right here, right now - I have very little experience with Type 1, and in fact with tournament Magic at any level save Pre-Releases, where I am doomed to fail every time due to still not being quite sure how to build a good Limited deck (even though most of the decks I make, my brain keeps telling me, are good decks). It seems I can only do well when I steal someone else's deck ideas, as opposed to building my own creations. And that's a real shame, because I'd rather design my own deck instead of Netdecking. Oh well, I'll get my way through that part at some point. In the meantime.. on with the story.

Six am on Friday morning. I JUST finished my shift, go home and waste much time online trying to get hold of Peter aka dicemanxx to arrange for a ride from Toronto down to Waterbury, and we finally decide he'll pick me up downtown for 7.30 that night. I waste some more time - and keep in mind, I STILL have no clue what deck to play! Lay down at around 11, set my alarm for 3pm, figuring that'll give me enough time to get up, get myself ready and go. Given all the tournament reports I'd read, I figured the drive would be in a decent-sized van (he said he'd rented a van), and I could do deckbuilding and testing on the way down.

Three o'clock. I feel like a corpse. I get up, shower, get to my job site long enough to collect my paycheque, cash it and get some US funds for the weekend, and head up to storage to collect some cards. I call a cab to help me take the stuff down, as I have no license (never bothered getting one) and cycling down with five 500-envelope boxes full of cards ain't easy. Get home, try and figure out as quickly as I can what to take with me.. then find it's later than I expected and blow $60 on a cab ride from my place to downtown Toronto (I missed the train :/). Meet up with the youngest member of our excursion at The World's Largest Bookstore in Toronto, which is basically across the street from where he got off the bus from Ottawa. By this time, it's about 7.45pm, and Peter hasn't shown up yet. We call Rich (who is with him) a couple times, and finally they show up around 9pm or so. We pile in the van, which I find has just enough seats for everyone - a grand total of seven of us are going. The journey finally begins.

We make it down TO the Canada-US border with no incident. AT the border, however, is slightly more interesting. We're at the Queenston-Lewiston border crossing, coming into the States. I, however, did the stupid thing and have no clue where my ID is - it's been MIA* for quite some time now. Fortunately, our young friend from Ottawa supplied us with enough of a distraction, in the form of some legal document he has to present whenever he crosses the border IN ADDITION TO his identification. The officers on the US side don't think to check how much ID was handed in compared to how many people are in the vehicle, so I manage to get through without a problem (everyone else had ID). Thanks, kid, ya just got me in Smile

Travelling along the Interstates wasn't so bad. However, I think it was in Conneticut that we hit Hwy 8, which is one of those highways that travel through towns, and many of the road signs (we're travelling overnight at this point, remember) are covered in snow, making our drive a little more interesting. But we finally make it in to Waterbury and up to the site, at like 6am Saturday morning. Most of the crew passes out in the minivan (not much room to move around in, sigh) and I go into the hotel with my three 500-envelope boxes that I brought to try and build a deck. So what do I put together? A really bad Sui-Tog build:

Bad SuiTog v 0.1

4 Duress
4 Sinkhole
4 Hypnotic Specter
4 Force of Will
3 Rethink
3 Psychatog
2 Animate Dead
1 Cunning Wish
1 Demonic Tutor
2 Intuition
4 Accumulated Knowledge
1 Frantic Search
1 Gush
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Diamond
1 Sol Ring
1 Strip Mine
4 Wasteland
4 Underground River
3 Polluted Delta
4 Swamp
4 Island

Sideboard
1 Pendrel Flux
2 Energy Flux
2 Stroke of Genius
2 Hydroblast
2 Hurkyl's Recall
2 Diabolic Edict
2 Contagion
2 Ashes to Ashes

A few words about card choices:

Rethink: I wanted to minimize the number of proxies I had for my deck, as to build this deck WELL would have required somewhere around 20, so some substitutions had to be made. The original deck list for this called for Mana Drain, but that obviously wasn't going to be possible, so then I considered Counterspell. However, there were a lot of double-black and double-blue costs in the original listing (Hymn, Hypnotics, FoW, Counterspell) and I had no Underground Seas, so they were to become Circular Logics - except THOSE I found on my desk at home when I returned from the tournament :/ With time running chasing me down like a rabid badger, I decided on Rethink. The Logics would have been MUCH better for me in Type 1, given all the cheap artifacts available.

Animate Dead: Yes, I decided to maindeck Animate Dead, which is often a great sideboard card against Dragon if you have a way to make use of it. Again, my decklist had changed by this time, and the sideboard was to be all Instants, so putting Stroke of Genius in the sideboard and the Animate Deads maindeck made more sense. Animate Dead either gave me Tog/Specter recursion, snagged one of my opponent's creatures, or gave me a chance to combo Dragon out with his own Dragon - or, worst case scenario, an extra card to feet Tog.

Mox Diamond: With access to Black Lotus but only one on-colour Mox, I needed another way to get fast mana quickly. My Chrome Mox was again at home, and Lotus Petal is only good for a quick burst. I saw the Mox Diamond and realized that, should I need another colour for whatever reason (Animating a Grim Lavamancer comes to mind), Mox Diamond gave me that option.

Underground River: Yes, Underground Sea would have been better, and fetchable with Polluted Deltas, but again that would increase my proxy count. As is, I was proxying two Intution, the four Force of Will, 3 Deltas, and Ancestral.

Pendrel Flux: I had this in mind vs Oath and decks like 7/10, and specifically against Darksteel Colossus - almost like a blue Devour in Shadow, without the pain, and Workshops wouldn't be able to help with the upkeep.

On with the matchups... ug.. I dreaded facing ANYONE with this pile.

Round 1: Willie running Tendrils (TPS?)

Oh great, what a way to start. A deck like this can win as soon as it draws its hand, as with so much search and draw available it can get its spell count up so bloody fast it hurts my brain. And in Game 1, that's pretty much what happens, except he doesn't have a Tendrils to go off with. He dumps out a lot of draw and mana spells, including I believe Chromatic Sphere, and Spoils for a Dark Ritual. He's still not able to send Tendrils out, and takes mana burn for 4. A couple more turns go by, with him taking damage from a tapped Mana Vault, and finally he gets the idea to sacrifice his LED with a nigh-empty hand on his upkeep. We have about five judges, all of which are playing in the tournament, and one happens to be seated right beside Willie, so I ask him about when you can play spells and when mana burn happens and so forth, just to clarify things - and as a favour to Willie, to be honest. No sense taking burn you don't need to, right? We get things sorted out and on his draw step, he plays.. Night's Whisper? But you can't play sorceries on your draw step, so he concedes that game to me (I'm at 19 from a painland and he's at 7 by this point).

Sideboard: Umm.. I've never faced Tendrils before, what do I put in? He's not running creatures, and his artifacts "only" give him mana, and he doesn't use the gy.. SB zero :/

Game 2 he drops more mana and draw and Spoils into Brainstorm, taking 8, and tosses Tendrils at my face for 22. I have no chance to stop it, as I have no FoW or Duress and he went first anyways.

Game 3 (same SB plan as game 2) is pretty similar to Game 1, in that I actually have a few turns to actually try to accomplish something. Fat chance, though, as neither of our decks seem to want to give us what we need when we need it. The best I've been able to do this game is toss a Hypnotic Specter at him; the remaining ten damage was from his own cards (Mana Vault, Night's Whisper, fetching and mana burn). Finally he tosses a Tendrils at me for some twenty-something I think; it doesn't matter cuz I'm already at 14 from painlands and fetching.

0-1, 1-2

Round 2: Logan with Ravager

Well this is interesting. I've heard of Affinity decks trying to make a dent in Type 1, which makes sense with all the cheap mana artifacts and other useful artifacts available.. but his looks VERY Type 2, including Welding Jars and Ornithopters, all reprints.

Game 1 he drops like, his entire hand, including a couple Welding Jars, a Great Furnace, and because it's all artifacts, he plays a Myr Enforcer for 1. Uggggggggghhhhhh... it's going to be one of THOSE games. And in his next turn, a Ravager hits play that I can't avoid. I might as well get the lube out.. he swings for 1 with a Ravager, then a turn later knocks me down to 10 with it, and I pretty much concede, as I can't stop him - I have one blocker (a Hyppie I think) vs Ravager and Enforcer, and no matter which way I do things, I'll still get eaten alive by the tag-team that round.

Sideboard: I toss in the Fluxes and Edicts and cross my fingers.. I guess praying to the WotC Gods would have helped, because my game sure didn't.. he had sided in Ancient Tomb vs my Fluxes.

Game 2 I manage to drop an Energy Flux down, but it doesn't seem to matter, as I can't find a blocker. He swings with with a happily full Ravager and I just kinda wither up and die.

0-2, 1-4

LUNCH TIME!! At this point, we all take a break, as the organizers have ordered pizza for us. A total of 30 pizzas, which no matter how you slice it, against 200ish players gets devoured quickly, some of us buying entire pizzas (me being one of the gorgers). Filled with life, I prepare for my next round - who's the next person to advance because of me? Smile

Round 3: Lloyd with 7/10

Game 1 he rummages out a fast Triskelion, smacks me upside the head the next turn, and in that same next turn tosses down its twin. Man.. getting eaten by Triskies kinda hurts..

Sideboard: I bring in like half my SB against him, as I expect Welders and big fat nasties to come out of his deck. Actually, I think it was more like ten cards against him. It still wouldn't be enough because..

Game 2 he Tinkers out a fast Darksteel Colossus. There is NO WAY I can respond to that so quickly the way this deck is set up, so he swings once, and I concede before he gets the final shot in.

0-3, 1-6

Well, there's one good thing about being 0-3.. your matches are easier than if you're 3-0, right? Smile

Round 4: Jimmy with SRB/Sligh/something monored

Game 1 he manages a pair of fetchlands early, and keeps tossing burn at me, backed up by a single Jackal Pup that I can't get rid of. He even throws a Lava Spike at me. Lava Spike? Yeah, that's right.. Lava Spike. The new CoK Lightning Bolt at Sorcery speed that only hits players. Oh.. it's Arcane too. I would have run Volcanic Hammer instead, myself, as it hits creatures OR players, but whatever.

Sideboard: I toss in my Hydroblasts, Edicts and Contagions.. that should be enough, right?

Game 2 we both drop fetchies early. Problem is, he runs 18 land, 7 of which are fetches, and he pulls out four fetchlands PDQ**, and keeps topdecking land. Fortunately for me, that's enough for me to remove his Grim Lavamancer and send a Tog eating his children Smile

Game 3 - wow. First Game 3 since the first round! You mean I might have a chance? Not when he drops a first round Vise on my ass. Ouch. Good thing I can bring my hand under control pretty quickly to minimize the damage, and make use of it, even with all the draw I had. He again gets like, four consecutive fetchies from turn 1, and can't drop much more else at me. But I can't find a Hyppie since I decided to be silly this game and side out my Togs. But the game ends as I scoop, knowing he'll eventually get a nonland to swat me with, I'm at 1, and either burn, the Vise or my Delta in hand will eat me. Sigh.

0-4, 2-8

At this point, I'm hoping to win even ONE round, as every round thus far has been x-2. And with I think it was 202 people registered, it's an eight-round affair, running for top 16, which obviously I have no chance at now. Still, I'm enjoying myself, as the last few opponents haven't only been sociable but fun to play against. The experience is completely different between, say, watching a standard NBA game, and watching the Harlem Globetrotters. The NBA players are there to play ball. That's it. They go in, they do the job, they head off. The Globetrotters, on the other hand, don't just go out and shoot some hoops - they have fun while they're at it, and it gets contagious. Compare:

Turn 1: "Mountain, Jackal Pup, go"
to
Turn 1: "Mountain.. I tap it.. and cast.. THE ALMIGHTY JACKAL PUP OF DOOM!!! FEAR THE HOUND OF DESTRUCTION!!! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWLLLL!!!!!"

Well the games haven't got that crazy yet.. but still, humour back and forth between the players is a good thing, and it's much more evident near the bottom when everyone knows they're out of the running, so the stress of competition is pretty much gone. Anyone that was expecting to do well and hasn't yet, has already considered dropping, if they haven't already.

Round 5: John with Two-Land Belcher

Game 1: Well, I've only heard of a low-land Belcher deck before, and now I get to see one in action. It doesn't take him long to bring one to bear, and I stare as he's already dug out half his land at least. If you've never had obscene amounts of damage dealt to you before that you actually had to count or watch.. it's definitely different. And only the previous weekend, I'd been combo'ed out by Dragon (Peter, the same guy that drove me down), but all you do is choose some random X value and say, "This is how much it's for. Good game." Doesn't have the same effect, I find.

Sideboard: I toss in my artifact food (Energy Flux etc) and hope that's enough.

Game 2: This game feels different. Of course it does, because I actually manage to WIN this one. He swings for a couple turns with a Grim Lavamancer, but I drop a Tog, followed by a Hyppie a couple turns later. I think I also managed to drop all four Duress this game, or at least three of them. Tog finally has enough food available to go for the throat, and he munches happily on John's jugular.

Game 3: Ooooh.. coming from a 1-1.. can I pull this out? I fetch a land and Contagion away his Grim Lavamancer, dropping down a Hypnotic Specter.. but time gets called. Five turn rule comes into effect, and John gets Turn 1. Neither of us are able to do anything more, although I get John to 10 with a second Specter on the board. Well, thus far this has been my best round, with a 1-1-1 showing. Maybe, just maybe..

0-4-1, 3-9-1

Round 6: Kevin with.. umm.. what was it?

Game 1 I have to wait for him to show up, and at the ten minute mark (having talked to the organizer) we find that since the table numbers had been moved, and not all have been marked well enough for everyone to grasp, we had both been waiting at different tables for each other. We decide to play it anyways, giving only 40 minutes to play the round. He drops some fast mana and mana burns a couple times, and with Mana Crypt in play it takes him a good four turns before he starts taking damage for it. Finally my Tog decides to come out and play, and by that time he's already at 14. I swing once for 1 with it, then on his next turn he takes Crpyt damage and I follow it up with another swing, ending the game.

Sideboard: Meh.. who knows, who cares? Going in 1-0 on the round helps my confidence, for sure, and sometimes that's better than sideboard choices, as long as it's confidence and not overconfidence.

Game 2 I find myself swinging for a turn with a Hypnotic Specter before he tosses it into my grave.. NOOOOOOOOO!!! But that's ok, because I Animate it and back it up with a Tog, which come by him for frequent visits. The only damage I take all game is from a pair of painlands, a fetch, and an early FoW. Whoa.. my first round that I win.. and it was a 2-0!!

1-4-1, 5-9-1

Round 7: ..

Round 7?

Hello??

Where's my Round 7 opponent?

Seems possible that this person dropped and didn't tell anyone that should have known, as my opponent didn't show up. I get a free 2-0 as a result. Still, I would have preferred an opponent. I do some trading instead and toss a Bayou, a Donate, and some other random rare I don't care about for a pair of Chalices and a pair of Trinispheres. I'm toying with Trini+Nether Void in the same deck, making any spell you want to go through and keep cost 6+. Let's see how it goes.

2-4-1, 7-9-1

Round 8.. I'm a corpse. I go up to the table and tell the guy that was organizing the matches to give my opponent a free round on me, as I'm too tired at this point to even think straight. I pack up my stuff, go to a table outside the hall, and sit back on a chair, closing my eyes, giving my body a little rest until we're ready to go.

2-5-1, 7-11-1

All in all, I had a good time. Sure my score sucked, but I didn't expect to do well, especially with a deck I built on-site. I'm beginning to wonder if I would have a better chance with the deck I borrowed for the previous weekend - a black/red Nether Void LD deck. I think I would have had a better chance against most of the decks I faced, with the possible exception of the Tendrils deck (getting Trinisphere or Nether Void on the board early would be key against it). It's a real shame we had to head back the same night.. I even took an extra day off because I thought we were going to stay over and head back Sunday.

Props:
Peter and the rest of the crew for putting up with me during the entire trip. I have a really bad sense of humour and they were really good about it.
My opponents for being great and fun to play against.
The organizers for putting on such a great tournament.
The Marriott, for a quality site, and Teddy especially for letting me pester him before the tournament.

Slops:
Dana, for not showing like you were supposed to.. you be dead, man!***
My un-1337 skillz for deckbuilding - indecisiveness and procrastination makes for a really bad combination.
Whoever looks after the roads off the Interstate for not keeping street signs clear and readable at night :/

* MIA = missing in action. Haven't found my ID for about a year and a half by now. I really should do something about that.

** PDQ = pretty darned/damned quick

*** Dana: You know who you are.. sheesh.. the next time someone crosses an international border and you say you're gonna be there, even the day before, show up woulja? Smile

Last note: Someone traded one of the Animate Deads I used to me, and I was supposed to give you a better card later. If you can email me ( eleibrock@sympatico.ca ) , and tell me what the card was, and send a picture of yourself, I'll arrange to send what you were supposed to get for it back to you.
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