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Author Topic: 3rd at Eudemonia with boring old Grixis Control  (Read 2531 times)
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« on: August 03, 2013, 05:10:57 pm »

So I typed up a mini-report only to find that the thread for the results, etc. is locked. I almost decided not to post at all, but I guess I'll just dump it here. The thread lock situation is very frustrating (hint: the people claiming "cheater", not the mods because I suppose I don't want to get banned, though in this case I know Jeff personally so I can vouche that he is an upstanding gentleman/scholar, enthusiastic Vintage ambassador, and literally the LAST person I would expect to intentionally cheat. This man has the balls to play GOAT tokens in Vintage. Give him some credit people.)

I almost played Dredge. I wanted to play Dredge. But the itch to play something *weird/different* was strong. Initially, the plan was to do so WITH Bazaars and a Dredge shell. It always seems like it will be so easy, but then an oversized pile of potential jank/tech was just too much to deal with in the short time I had to prep my deck. No testing possible due to a plentora of minor factors: hectic time at work, Blaine hadn't been able to play for a couple weeks, and my physical form was scheduled to be hundreds of miles away from my cards during the days leading up to the tournament. Staring at my pile of dredgish cards in the front seat of Blaine's car, I came to the realization that dredging today was doomed to failure. I have most of the standard Vintage decks around, but the call of playing stuff that is "far out, man" was an alluring siren that could not be resisted (that and I try not to ever play with proxies, a necessary evil to have a proper gauntlet available, in tournaments; swapping cards around sucks). Grixis Control (or Bob/Jace or Jace/Vault or whatever) normally houses my Power and is the deck that I have the most experience with, having been playing Drains more or less since 1995 (at least whenever I was actually actively playing). Easy choice, especially since Jeff/Lotushead had helpfully pointed out that the new sideboard rules would be in effect for this one. Hmmm...I always run 61 in Grixis anyway (disclaimer: 61st card is always Strip Mine; yes, if you play me I might randomly Strip Mine your basic Island), so playing pseudo-presideboarded with a few additional cards appeals to my craving for "different". In a 75 card deck, going more than 63/12 seems like it might make game ones miserable by dilution of power. However, the extra versatility of having more situational tutor targets means the possibility of a deck that can answer anything, at least in theory. Shops require a basic Mountain in the board anyway, so sliding that plus a couple of cards main seems fine. Now what wacky cards to play with...

Knowing that people would be trying out Young Pyromancer for this event, I decided to rain on their parade. This gave me an excuse to play Illness in the Ranks and maindeck Pyroclasm. The deck I played in the last Vacaville event had one each of Engineered Explosives, Deathrite Shaman, Ancient Grudge, and Tropical Island to power them, which stayed. I had a Welder in the board, which I wanted to move main for extra reach against the various flavors of Shop decks since it doesn't suck against Tinker/BSC/Vault either. 2 CMC spells have been everywhere, so I pulled out a couple of Spell Snare for good measure. In order to fit everything in, Ponder and Merchant Scroll got cut. Very few people in the area play Dredge (except for me), so skimping on graveyard hate was obvious. I tried to play cards that have other uses but can still be effective versus the Zombie menace just in case: Strip Mine, Nihil Spellbomb, Engineered Explosives, Pyroclasm, Echoing Truth, and Grafdigger's Cage. I threw in a Jailer just because every Vintage deck should contain one for flavo(u)r. I rarely play with more than three Bobs these days, opting instead for a singleton Snapcaster in place of the fourth, though I would not ever play less than three. Yes, he's good. However, even now he still kills me sometimes. Bad Bob!(see below) Ingot Chewer is standard and effective, but boring. Cutting them all seems wrong, but I always love a good Heretic, while Vandalblast appears to have potential despite the vulnerability to Chalice at one. Unfortunately there was no room left for Red Elemental Blast, though I have to squeeze in a second Flusterstorm as a nod to hopefully not getting blown out by other peoples' Flusterstorms. I was going to run some other card that escapes me at the moment, but at the last minute Danny convinced me to make sure I could answer a Goyf. In comes Nature's Ruin, just to be contrarian even though I generally prefer the art on Perish. A monstrosity emerged. The only option was to throw a Garden Party:

Pyromancers' Garden Party

Maindeck (64):
Black Lotus
Mox Sapphire
Mox Jet
Mox Ruby
Mox Emerald
Mox Pearl
Sol Ring
Mana Crypt

Sensei's Divining Top
Nihil Spellbomb
Engineered Explosives

Voltaic Key
Time Vault
Blightsteel Colossus

Ancestral Recall
Time Walk
Mystical Tutor
Demonic Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Yawgmoth's Will

3x Dark Confidant
Snapcaster Mage
Deathrite Shaman
Goblin Welder

4x Force of Will
3x Mana Drain
2x Spell Snare
2x Mental Misstep

2x Jace, the Mind Sculptor

2x Lightning Bolt
Ancient Grudge
Hurkyl's Recall

Library of Alexandria
Strip Mine
Tolarian Academy
4x Scalding Tarn
2x Misty Rainforest
3x Underground Sea
2x Volcanic Island
Tropical Island

Sideboard (12):
Illness in the Ranks
Viashino Heretic
2x Ingot Chewer
Echoing Truth
Yixlid Jailer
Grafdigger's Cage
Pithing Needle
Nature's Ruin
Sower of Temptation

As for running an inflated maindeck and shrunken sideboard, it worked out fine in this event, as well as generated some WTFs from various opponents, though the verdict is still out on whether it's a good idea overall. My feeling right now is that most decks besides classic Grixis can't really support this sort of thing without diluting themselves too much for game one.

On to the tournament report. As usual my notes are poor, illegible, and/or non-existent so take it all with a grain of salt.

Round 1 vs Brett (Grixis)
As he already pointed out, we had some complicated grindy games in this match. I win the die roll and open with an early Deathrite Shaman. At one point I kill his Bob with Engineered Explosives as we bolt each other's creatures. Eventually, he finds Vault/Key and I don't have a timely answer, so we're off to game two. I side out Mountain, Pyroclasm, Nihil Spellbomb,and Welder for Flusterstorm. In Game two, I don't have any notes other than that I fetched once then killed him with Tinker->BSC when he had 20 life. Game three, I manage to assemble Vault/Key for the win, though I miss my Drain mana trigger and take an extra turn or two longer than I need to. Vintage is hard, especially when one is a little rusty from lack of relevant practice.

Round 2 vs Rich Shay (Young Americans)
I win the die roll, but he opens with turn one Library of Alexandria. I think I land a Bob to keep up, but he meets a Grapeshot. I can't keep up with LoA (or find my miser's Strip Mine in time). He lands a Jace that I can't stop, so I scoop to his ultimate activation as I have no hand at this point. I side out Mountain, Welder, Nihil Spellbomb, Hurkyl's Recall, and Ancient Grudge for Illness in the Ranks, Echoing Truth, and Flusterstorm. Game two is a grind. I keep his Pyromancers off the table and land Illness, but he (and Bob) pick away at my life until he can go off with Grapeshot.

Round 3 vs. Ibrahim (Grixis)
I've played against Ibrahim once or twice before in Vintage events in the area. We have a nice chat as we play. Game one, I mull to 6 and keep a one-lander because the land produces U and I have Ancestral and Brainstorm. After firing off both there is still no second land in sight. He Thoughtseizes away my Flusterstorm and kills me with Blightsteel Colossus before I can really do anything. I side out Mountain, Grudge, Spellbomb, and Pyroclasm for Flusterstorm. Game two is grindy and long. I manage to keep his Bobs and Jaces off the table while my own Bob hammers away at his life until he's in Bolt range. Game three, I force through an early Tinker --> BSC for the win.

Round 4 vs. Lotushead (5c Shops)
Jeff locks me out game one with something or other (probably Tangle Wires?). I side out Deathrite Shaman, Spellbomb, Pyroclasm, Flusterstorm, and 2x Mental Missep for Heretic, Vandalblast, and 2x Chewer. Game two, he mulls to 6 and opens with City of Brass, Go. Good sign for me. He pings himself with City while I counter/destroy his stuff until I find Vault/Key. Game three, the life totals suggest that I just countered/destroyed his stuff while he pings himself with City/Tomb until my creatures and/or Bolts finish the job.

Round 5 vs. George (Grixis w/ Welders, Strix, Battlesphere)
All the others on 9pts get to draw into top 8, but I get paired down so I have to play it out (surprise surprise, George didn't want to draw). Game one, he wins the die roll, but I assemble Vault/Key early(?). I side out Mountain, Spell Snare, Engineered Explosives, and ? for Flusterstorm. Game two is grindy, but eventually I land Bob staring down a Battlesphere along with a Metamorphed Battlesphere. I Hurkyl's his board to stall, but...I flip Blightsteel Colossus to the confidant trigger while at 11 life. Shits happens, I guess. (Aren't I supposed to get some sort of achievement for this sort of thing?) Game three grinds along (I think there was another Battlesphere), but I manage to hammer him to death with Bob and DRS under Vault/Key. There is much hoopla going on as the "Chalice trigger" situation happens right next to us just as I get Vault/Key online with Bob (and no topdeck manipulation) on the board.

I end up in 2nd after the swiss, so I'm on the play in game one of every match for the rest of the tournament. The Top 8 decides to split the prize of store credit, but play it out anyway for glory.

Quarterfinals vs. Sam (Shop Aggro)
Game one, I land a Bob and eventually Tinker --> BSC. I side just like I did against Lotushead. Game two grinds along as I land an early Welder to hold him back, but I eventually get buried under spheres and can't dig myself out as I die to Lodestone. Game three, my artifact hate keeps me alive until Vault/Key lets me take all the turns.

Semifinals vs Brett (rematch from round one)
Game one is a super grindfest. I end up killing him with DRS. I side just like round one. Game two is another grindfest (I'm sensing a theme here). He drops Mox Monkey and eats some of my mana while beating down Mountain Goat style. When we're both as 8 life, he bolts me to 5. The next turn, he bolts me to two, then attempts to kill me with a final bolt. I respond like a boss by Bolting myself in response, but he one ups me by playing Snapcaster on he previous bolt. Well played, sir. Game three also appears grindy (based on life totals). Mox Monkey eats my Moxes (and Mana Crypt) to dominate the game. Apparently Gorilla Shaman is still really good even after all these years. I should probably dust a couple off and bring them back into the fray.

This event was a blast to play in despite the weirdness surrounding the Round 5 rules shenanigans. All of my opponents were friendly and enjoyable to duel/converse with, as were the rest of the participants. It seems that Vintage is alive and well in Northern California. Hopefully this trend will continue.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2013, 06:59:25 pm by aahz » Logged
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