Chaos Elves at OvinoSpring 2016 — Groundhog Day

“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?”
— Bill Murray, Groundhog Day (1993)

2
On the road at 6am

Milan, one of the epicenters of European Eternal for over a decade now. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve played in the famous Casa dei Gnocchi Giochi but I’m always happy to go back to one of the finest Eternal weekends we have around. This year my team and I once again hit up the Lombari capital just about 5 hours from Munich to play in Ovinogeddon’s recently established OvinoSpring tournament. Unlike in previous years, where we used to drive via Switzerland, this year we drove via Austria, which isn’t neccessarily faster but offers a much more scenic ride. It’s also a bit more expensive, especially if you’re planning on travelling to Milan a couple of times per year as Switzerland offers a more attractive yearly highway toll rate.

Our team for this ride consisted of:

Karl-heinz Codausi — BUG Delver
Christian “Reuschel” Reuschel — Eldrazi
Robert “Wichtelmann” Darnhofer — Dragon Stompy
Me — Eldrazi/Elves

 

Friday- Big Legacy Side Event

I already mentioned in one of my previous reports that Barook’s recent victory in April’s Legacy Challenge on Magic Online really made me want to at least try out Eldrazis in a competitive environment. This would usually involve me developing a feel for the deck through at least a week or two of MTGO practice but unfortunately I never got around to actually put in the reps with Eldrazis. So when I arrived in Milan, I had a deck — but no idea how to actually play it. Since it’s still on the easier (but nevertheless powerful) side of Legacy decks I decided to just give it a try in the trial on Friday, which gathered something like 35 players. Here’s what I played:

Maindeck
4 Endless One
4 Eldrazi Mimic
4 Thought-Knot Seer
4 Reality Smasher
4 Matter Reshaper
3 Eldrazi Displacer

4 Chalice of the Void
3 Lotus Petal
2 Umezawa’s Jitte
2 Warping Wail
2 Dismember

4 Ancient Tomb
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Eldrazi Temple
3 Eye of Ugin
3 Mishra’s Factory
2 City of Traitors
2 Brushland
2 Karakas

Sideboard
4 Leyline of the Void
3 All is Dust
2 Thorn of Amethyst
2 Worldbreaker
1 Eldrazi Displacer
1 Warping Wail
1 Dismember
1 Karakas

The deck is an exact copy of Barook’s winning decklist. The reason he plays Lotus Petal over e.g. Simian Spirit Guide its ability to produce white mana for Eldrazi Displacer. The obvious trade-off is the inability to turn your mana source into an berserker ape ready to jump onto your opponent’s head and tackle him for the last couple of damage. What the white splash does for the deck is to provide a much stronger mid- and lategame which helps you out a lot against any decks looking to slow you down and then win by just having more relevant cards while traditional Eldrazi decks have little ways of producing a lasting advantage. Eldrazi Displacer fixes that issue by providing a great mana sink that allows you to dodge removal, clear blockers, trigger Mimics, turn off Equipment, shut down Marit Lage, filter your opponent’s draws with Thought-Knot Seer..and so much more. Here’s how my tournament went:

15
Legacy Trial Final Standings

Round 1 — BUG Delver 0:2 LOSS
Round 2 — Dragon Stompy  0:2 LOSS (Robert Darnhofer)
Round 3 — White Eldrazi   2:0 WIN
Round 4 — ANT 2:0 WIN
Round 5 — OmniTell  2:1 WIN
Round 6 — Delverless BUG Delver  1:2 LOSS (Johannes Gutbrod)
3-3 for mediocrity.

What a train wreck. In the end I got lucky I was handed those incredibly favored combo matchups; who knows how my tournament could have turned out otherwise. I had heard that Eldrazis had trouble against anything BUG, but I wasn’t aware the matchup was actually that difficult. Both Baleful Strix and even Tarmogoyf are surprisingly hard to get past as the later will often easily be 5/6+. The matchup is certainly winable, but I really wouldn’t feel good leaving the house with a deck that’s definitely behind against one of the most played color combinations – be it BUG Delver, Shardless BUG or the slowly rising Delver-less BUG that Johannes was playing.

10
Two Apes and a Moon. End soon.

But it’s not like I didn’t make some mistakes. Against Johannes I forgot to sacrifice my Mishra’s Factory instead of Matter Reshaper when he hit mit with a Diabolic Edict. At point I stupidly played my City of Traitors before casting a Lotus Petal, which gave my opponent the information to let him know he actually needed to Force of Will my Petal in order to cut me from Eye of Ugin mana for the turn. Had I played it the other way round, chances are Lotus Petal would have resolved, allowing me to activate my Eye. I don’t know whether it would have changed the outcome of that particular game, but that’s never the point when reflecting on your misplays anyways.

Overall, I just wasn’t really “feeling it” with Eldrazi during the entire event. It’s an incredibly strong deck and I’d still recommend it for anyone without a lot of Legacy experience, but I feel I can get better mileage out of something I’m much more familiar with: Elves!

 

Saturday – Modern Main Event & Duel Commander

But before Elves, there’s duty. Or in this case: Modern. It felt a bit weird that the TO had switched up the usual schedule of having Legacy on Saturday and Modern on Sunday, as I’m used to Saturday being the “big day” and Sunday just being a more relaxed tournament with everything you win there being on top.

Like in all of this year’s previous Modern tournaments, I played Rodrigo Togores’ Ad Nauseam combo deck. Last time I played it in Milan it propelled me to a Top8 finish at the MKM Series and I was quite happy to see it become viable once again, following the ban of Eye of Ugin. Little did I know that today’s tournament wasn’t really meant for me to do well:

Round 1 — Boggles  0:2 LOSS
Round 2 — Living End  1:2 LOSS

I guess you can lose to Boggles every once in a while, even with a combo deck. The only really interesting

Prizes of the Duel Commander Event
Prizes of the Duel Commander Event

interaction from this match was my opponent not being aware of how First Strike interacts with Phyrexian Unlife, granting me one more turn than I should have had. His mistake was to put all of his Enchantments on a single creature instead of spreading them out. Had he done so, he could have first reduced my life total to 0 or less with the First Strike, and then killed me on the same attack with regular damage through the poison counters awarded by the Unlife. Despite his misplay I still couldn’t find an Ad Nauseam in time, having exhausted my entire(!) cantrip suit digging for one :-(. As for Living End, all I can see is that Modern is probably the only format where land destruction is an actually viable plan versus combo decks. That and Slaughter Games.

I could have still tried to hang in there and spend my entire day chasing a 6-2 money finish but as I mentioned earlier, I just wasn’t “feeling it” this weekend and decided to just drop out of Modern and play in my favorite format: Duel Commander! With my Yisan, the Wanderer Bard deck recently losing both its namesake and Gaea’s Cradle, I had made the transition into Titania, Guardian of Argoth. Because of the lack of Cradle and tutoring ability Titania is a more midrangy and blunt but still exceptionally good deck. What makes its manabase so uniquely interesting is the deck’s desire to constantly sacrifice its own lands in order to produce an army of 5/3 Elemental tokens in quick fashion. “Been there, done that” you say? Yeah I know, we’ve all cracked our fair share of Fetchlands. But when’s the last time you’ve used such Eternal staples as Bant Panorama or Crystal Vein? Find out more in my decklist:

COMMANDER
1 Titania, Protector of Argoth

45 LANDS
1 Bant Panorama
1 Cavern of Souls
1 City of Traitors
1 Command Beacon
1 Crystal Vein
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Dust Bowl
1 Encroaching Wastes
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Forest
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Homeward Path
1 Jund Panorama
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Mouth of Ronom
1 Naya Panorama
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Petrified Field
1 Rishadan Port
20 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wasteland
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills

25 CREATURES
1 Acidic Slime
1 Arbor Elf
1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Boreal Druid
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Devoted Druid
1 Elvish Mystic
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fierce Empath
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Joraga Treespeaker
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Lotus Cobra
1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Priest of Titania
1 Primeval Titan
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Sylvan Safekeeper
1 Voyaging Satyr
1 Wood Elves
1 Woodland Bellower

18 INSTANTS and SORC.
1 Beast Within
1 Chord of Calling
1 Crop Rotation
1 Edge of Autumn
1 Explore
1 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Into the North
1 Life from the Loam
1 Nature’s Lore
1 Primal Command   
1 Rampant Growth
1 Realms Uncharted
1 Reap and Sow
1 Restore
1 Summoner’s Pact
1 Sylvan Scrying
1 Three Visits
1 Worldly Tutor

11 OTHER SPELLS
1 Birthing Pod
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Expedition Map
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Hall of Gemstone
1 Karn Liberated
1 Sylvan Library
1 Tangle Wire
1 Utopia Sprawl
1 Wild Growth

The loss of Cradle definitely hurt the deck. I replaced it with a Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx which definitely carried its weigh, but lacked the interaction with Titania’s tokens that made the Urza’s Saga legend so incredibly potent in Titania. Still, the deck is an absolute blast to play and I recommend it for everyone looking for a great entry deck into Duel Commander; it also helps that it’s on the cheaper side of things.

Here’s how my tournament went:

Round 1 — Geist of Saint Traft 1:2 LOSS
Round 2 — Surrak Dragonclaw  2:0 WIN
Round 3 — Vendilion Clique 1:2 LOSS
Round 4 — Jenara, Asura of War  2:0 WIN
Round 5 —
Narset, Enlightened Master  1:2 LOSS
2-3 for not-top-8

Even though I didn’t do well, I had a ton of fun and learned a lot. Even though I’ve been playing Duel Commander for over a year now, there’s still so many things to discover that every tournament feels like a brand-new adventure to me.  Here’s a couple of interesting/amazing/noteworthy plays from the event:

22
Robert upon learning that 10% of his deck was banned in the format.

On the final turn of the 3rd game of round 1 my opponent was tapped out with me being 1 point short of lethal damage if he decided to block with his single creature. I had to close the game on this turn as his Geist of Saint Traft would otherwise just do me in on the next turn. My decision was to either cast Karn Liberated to remove his blocker and attack for lethal or cast Craterhoof Behemoth and attack for a million. The former loses to Daze, the later to Submerge. Even though I was well-aware that Submerge is played in Geist maindecks, I still chose the Karn line and lost to exactly Submerge.

Game 2 of the second round was hilarious. My opponent cast Bribery and got a Primeval Titan from my deck. Over the course of the next turns he got three triggers out of it but still couldn’t close out the game despite his Kessig Wolf Run. When he used Regrowth on Bribery only to hit me with it again it seemed like it was lights-out for me, but fortunately he had sequenced his plays incorrectly: the creature he got from my library was Avenger of Zendikar putting 16(!) 0/1 Plant Tokens into play. They ended up not mattering as I just casted Craterhoof Behemoth from my hand and trampled all over them for the win. Had he Bribery’ed pre-combat instead he could have gotten two  Avenger triggers out of the deal as Titan would have put two more lands into play. That would have translated to 14 2/3 tokens for a combined toughness of 42 instead of just 16. Not sure if he saw the line as he was probably just unaware of which creature he would actually get when he casted that second Bribery, so I didn’t mention it after the game.

Round 3 I went up against a very special build of Vendilion Clique. On top of the Tunnel Vision combo you usually see in that deck, the guy also ran a very dedicated Stasis build with lots of ways to set up a lock. In one of the games he won he casted an end-of-turn Fact or Fiction and immediately announced “I take the pile with Stasis” the moment it was revealed, because he knew it woud give him the win. In another game it was clear that he was trying to go for the Tunnel Vision win after Long-Term Plans to put it third from the top. Because of that I actually Crop Rotation‘ed for a Ghost Quarter in order to make him lose a crucial land or meddle with his Long-Term Plans. He decided to get a land and shuffle, which was probably right. Would have been an interesting situation though as Vendilion Clique can’t take lands from your hand and I was sitting on just three Forests at the time. Unless I had drawn something uncastable, there’s a very real chance he might have whiffed anyways.

Narset actually lost on the very next turn.
Narset actually lost on the very next turn.

Round 5 I was still live to sneak into Top8 but unfortunately lost two not even close games to Narset, Enlightened Master. I have no idea how consistently the deck can pull of its turn4 attack but was really impressive. My opponent used Hall of the Bandit Lord to haste out a Narset which revealed both Karn Liberated and Walk the Aeons, basically ending the game on the spot. I was able to steal the next game with some quick beats and mana denial but once he was on the play again, the Narset tank just rolled right over me. I can only hope that the deck isn’t as consistent as it was in this match, but it really seems to destroy any fair deck light on disruption. As much as I underestimated the deck before, the more I am impressed with it now.

Sunday – Legacy Main Event

Finally, the main event of the weekend and the whole reason we crossed the Alps! I was super thrilled to hear that we got a total of 187 players this year, following a bit smaller events at MKM Milan and Bazaar of Moxen Madrid earlier this year. And with Eldrazis out of the question, sticking to my trusty Elves was a no-brainer for me. Here’s the list I arrived on for the event:

Maindeck
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Wirewood Symbiote
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Nettle Sentinel
Heritage Druid
3 Quirion Ranger
2 Birchlore Rangers
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Shaman of the Pack
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Wren’s Run Packmaster

4 Glimpse of Nature
4 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Sylvan Library

4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Gaea’s Cradle
2 Bayou
2 Cavern of Souls
2 Forest
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Pendelhaven

Sideboard
4 Abrupt Decay
3 Cabal Therapy
2 Thoughtseize
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Choke
1 Null Rod
1 Garruk Relentless

What's better than a dragon? An armed dragon.
What’s better than a dragon? An armed dragon.

Notice the lack of Crop Rotation and Gaddock Teeg. Crop Rotation has always be so-and-so for me while Teeg really isn’t needed right now as Eldrazis have scared a large number of Storm players out of the meta. When guys like Pascal Wagner, who has done incredibly well with Storm in 2015, would rather spend the Sunday trading than playing, you know the deck is having a hard time right now. I filled those two slots with the 4th copy of Heritage Druid and Nettle Sentinel (as well as the 2nd Forest for the Savannah) and also replaced the 2nd Llanowar Elves with the 2nd Birchlore Rangers. When you don’t have Gaddock anymore there’s much less pressure on you to produce 3 mana on the second turn, so going with the 2nd Birchlore definitely felt right. The fourth copy of Heritage Druid and Nettle Sentinel I wasn’t too sure about but they’ve served me well for now and I’m happy to continue with that configuration until I find something worth promoting to the maindeck. In the sideboard I upgraded to 4 copies of Abrupt Decay in order to have better game against Eldrazi’s Chalice of the Void. Other than that I removed the two copies of Pithing Needle as I wanted something that’s better vs Shardless BUG, which i expected to show up in full force. I would be right. Here’s how my tournament went:

Round 1 — 4c Delver 0:2 LOSS
Round 2 — Elves 2:0 WIN
Round 3 — Shardless BUG 2:0 WIN
Round 4 — Miracles 2:1 WIN
Round 5 — Shardless BUG  2:1 WIN
Round 6 Miracles   1:2 LOSS
Round 7 Manaless Dredge — 2:0 WIN
Round 8 Rw Goblins — 2:1 WIN
6-2 for 14th out of 187 players.

Guess what, x-2 again. I’ve gotta admit it took me over 2,700 words to make that connection to the report title and initial quote, but I just had to do it. If you’ve been following this blog for a while you will notice that this might be close to the 10th big event ever since late 2014 that I ended at 6-2 or 7-2. If it wasn’t for my win at MKM Milan earlier this year I might actually started thinking I built my deck on an ancient Indian burial ground or something…

Slightly awkward..
Slightly awkward..

I caught a pretty bad start into the event with a quick 0-2 sweep in a match that saw me mulligan 5 times altogether. At least I lost to a really nice and happy guy. Sometimes, even when your opponent doesn’t speak your language you can quickly tell they’re playing for the fun of it, which always makes me happy. Not saying that fun wasn’t probably the main reason I’m doing all of this after all, but there’s always this competitive drive urging you to try and go as deep into the tournament as you can. And losing the first round certainly doesn’t help with that. What’s even worse is that I was paired for one of the stupidest matchups in the meta for the second round. Fortunately my opponent made some terrible sideboarding decisions like bringing in Decays and Surgical Extractions. One could make a case for Decay, I guess, since my previous lists used to run Gaddock Teeg, but I doubt he was aware of that since he kept naming Natural Order with Cabal Therapy. One super interesting situation happened in game2: my opponent was sitting on just two lands in play and a single Wirewood Symbiote in hand after I had just Thoughtseized away a Heritage Druid. When he then drew for his turn I noticed a tiny moment of indecisiveness on his part after which he just passed the turn back to me. Can you guess which card he just drew? I did and promptly named Glimpse of Nature on the Cabal Therapy flashback. Hit.

After an uneventful defeat of Shardless BUG in round 3, I sat down opposite of a really threatening build of Miracles. Not only did this guy run the old “Let’s take all the fun and store it safely under the library” + “That’s a nice spell. Wouldn’t it be sad if anything happened to it?” combo, but also had maindeck Moat AND Humility. Talk about being fun at parties. This combination was incredibly scary because if he ever assembled those two cards, there would habe been literally nothing I could do anymore — even postboard. Fortunately for me, clunky deck did what clunky deck does and he was never really able to get to that spot. I mean he got both lock pieces but never at the same time, allowing me to just burn him out with Shaman of the Pack or dominate the humiliated board with Pendelhaven. It still hope this flavor of Miracles won’t ever catch on again.

Hans Jacob Goddik, Top8 with BUG Delver
Hans Jacob Goddik, Top8 with BUG Delver

In round 5, my final game in the match against Shardless BUG was probably one of the most intense games of Magic I have ever played. Things were looking really grim for me for the better part of the the game. My mana didn’t really work out and my opponent had the kind of start where you just quickly spit out three Tarmogoyfs and hope to get there. The moment I finally started mounting my comeback was when i was down to 3 life with 3 lands and no creatures in play, staring down three angry Lhurgoyfs. I played 5 creatures on my turn and passed the turn, three of which where to quickly throw themselves under the incoming Tarmobus. When i untapped, my Sylvan Library unfortunately didn’t show me much so I could just play 2 more Elves and pass the turn. *HAUMPH* Three Tarmogoyf come back in crashing, taking three more Elves with them. My opponent spends the rest of his turn cascading into Ancestral Visions and passing the turn. Ok, I probably got you wondering when this whole “comeback” thing starts coming in by now. When i untapped I finally found a Glimpse of Nature, allowing me to put something like 7 Elves and a Wirewood Symbiote to the table, almost stabilizing, but potentially dead to a Toxic Deluge he might have drawn. Squeezing out every card draw I could get, I finally drew into a Thoughtseize which allowed me to actually take away the Toxic Deluge he was actually holding. After I had passed the turn my opponent once again sent in his team. At this point P.O.D.’s BOOM starts playing in my head as I rain THREE ABRUPT DECAYS ONTO HIS ARMY!

BOOM! At this point we’re already in extra turns. I manage to take away a sizeable amount of his life total but he drops a Deathrite Shaman looking to kill me on his next turn as I didn’t have any control over the graveyard. Fortunately Sylvan Library shows me my 4th Glimpse of Nature of the game which eventually draws me into Garruk Relentless and Abrupt Decay, taking down his 4th Tarmogoyf and Deathrite Shaman, upon which my opponent finally extends his hand. What a game!

Still hyped about the amazing game I played the previous round, I was quickly dragged back to earth again when I faced another Miracles in round 6. Can you tell how excited I am to write about it? Game1 was pretty much as boring and dull as they come: I kept asking question, he kept giving answers. Julian runs out of questions, opponent keeps sitting there for the next 20 turns, doing his thing. It’s like watching paint dry. Which is why we’ll skip right to game3, after I quickly took him down with Choke in the second game. Why was game3 actually interesting? Because unlike the previous two games, it was all about strategy, not tactics. (This aspect by the way is a major part of my critique of Miracles: because what it does is so dominant and hard to answer, you’re hardly ever seeing these amazing shifts in strategy that it requires to master other decks.) So game3 I was off to an ok start, dropping 2 Elves and a Wirewood Symbiote onto the board, hoping to trigger some kind of reaction. When it didn’t come, I held back on a couple more creatures and instead just added an Elvish Visonary which I hoped would prompt him to either counterspell, Swords to Plowshares, Terminus or just about anything. The reason I wanted him to make a move was to make the Choke I was sitting on more likely to resolve; preferrably with him tapped down as much as possible. But he just that there and did nothing. No Sensei’s Diving Top, no interaction, just a mainphase Brainstorm, a Counterbalance and a pass. At this point you should start wondering what his plan was and how you the game might play out from there. Because there’s only two ways this game goes from here:

This is a 8,- € "steak"
This is a 8,- € “steak”

1.) Things didn’t really come together for him and he’s actually sitting on air; since that will always lead to you winning, there’s no point in exploring it any further.

2.) You are incredibly screwed. Since we didn’t make use of out potentially quick start, we gave our opponent a bit more time. This could be ok had we managed to get a couple of 1-for-1 trades or even caught him on the defense with a gamebreaking Choke. Instead he just sat there doing almost nothing, pretty much waving at us to get at him. Why is that bad? Because at this point we’re putting in a worse position than we would have been, had we just forced a quicker game: we’re still probably losing several creatures to Terminus, but now also have to rebuild against a Miracle player sitting on 5+ lands instead of against one sitting on just 2 or 3. This situation is much harder to overcome as it allows them to maneuver much easier and leads to us having to take even bigger risks.

Because the first scenario isn’t relevant, I just assumed he had what it takes to beat me with a Terminus now waiting on top of his library, probably with a Snapcaster Mage+Swords to Plowshares follow-up play. If his plan was to setup this exact sequence of spells all along, it would also explain why he didn’t commit to any StP or SCM plays before that, in order to get max value out of Terminus. So I figured it would be best to drop Choke right away, resolve it, then see him tap another land for Terminus and be put into the awkward spot of not really wanting to ever use Swords to Plowshares + Snapcaster Mage until after he had found a removal spell for the Choke. Upon which my plan would have been for him to not find e.g. Wear/Tear in time, or at least only at an unsurmountable game state. But there was something I was missing. Something I *might* have anticipated on a better day since it was a very legitimate line, but only ever started wondering about when my opponent started thinking for a while when Choke was on the stack…

GTA Milano
GTA Milano!

Remember how I talked about Miracle’s lack of having to adapt to the way a game plays out on a strategical level? This was one of those games where it did. When I casted Choke my opponent made sure he rememberred the top card of his library correctly and flipped Entreat the Angels. Heartbreaking, isn’t it? But also incredibly ironic. He didn’t put it there because he was anticipating a cmc=3 spell out of me. He put it there as the last resort of an otherwise incredibly bad draw. This is the secret third outcome of the scenario I was looking at in the previous paragraphs. There’s matchups where Miracles plan will sometimes switch into value Angels, with all the other spells just meant to buy time. In this game, by holding back on my spells, I handed time to my opponent, free of charge! The reason this is so ironic is because my opponent and I were playing the game with two completly different scenarios in our head, evalutating what was going on in completly different ways, which lead to us making plays that had no real chance of actually interacting with each other sine our draws that game weren’t meant to be compatible. And yet they completly randomly crashed on the turn I casted Choke and had it countered by Entreat the Angels. This is such an amazing coincidence, I’m not even remotely mad about it and am still having a good laugh about it. Not because of the sudo-random reveal of a cmc=3 to my Choke, but of the entire strategic backstory and lead-up: both players thinking they are screwed, committing to one last Haily Mary, only to have their plays randomly interact with each other. Picture two archers tripping while trying to get one final shot off only to have one arrow drill right through the other, before hitting the other archer in the head.

I ended up losing that game because my long-term plan of creating card advantage with Elvish Visionary didn’t match up well with his flock(?) of angry angels. My opponent was actually that all-in and committed to that play that he had actually put a second Entreat the Angels on top, killing me on even earlier. The game might not have looked very interesting from a superficial point of view, but I found it much more entertaining than most other games I have played against Miracles. Only downside: no more Top8 for me. I still hung in there and tried to get that Top16 finish with wins in the last two rounds.

Endgame vs Manaless
Endgame vs Manaless

For the penultimate round of the tournament, I’m sitting down across a guy who wins the dice roll and makes me go first. I do a double-check and confirm he’s not Guillaume Wafo-Tapa and assume he’s on Manaless Dredge, which turned out right when he reveals Chancellor of the Annex and spends his first turn drawing and discarding a Phantasmagorian. After throwing away a random Elf to his angelic Dazebut quickly establish a strong position with Deathrite Shaman, Quirion Ranger and Wirewood Symbiote to make sure I get to control my opponent’s graveyard. He keeps playing but eventually just scoops up his cards when he realizes that there’s no sequence of cards that could actually save him. For the second game he’s off to a much quicker start and pulls ahead with a couple of Bridge from Below and Nether Shadows. At one point I’m forced to use Surgical Extraction on his Ichorids that would otherwise overrun me. This unfrotunately allows him to make 9 Zombie Tokens on the following turn that would quickly take me out no matter what I do. Foruntatlely for me he opts to sacrifice three of those tokens to Dread Return a Chancellor of the Annex into play.

That's some hungry Ooze
That’s some hungry Ooze

With the reduced number of Zombies, alpha striking me on the ground had no longer become a viable option so he’s left with his hitting me for 5 in the air, giving me much more time to find the answers I was looking for. When he’s gotten me to really low life, I remember thinking that I needed to draw exactly Scavenging Ooze into Gaea’s Cradle in order to make a comeback…which ended up being my next two topdecks! It wasn’t even about the graveyard control as my opponent at this point had already exhausted pretty much all his resources and had switched to just drawing his last few cards, but the quick burst of life that Ooze would provide combined with Cradle. After heavily feasting upon my opponent’s graveyard, I eventually forced him into constant chump-block mode, while his Angel’s attacks in the air were negated by the constant burst of life provided by Ooze. In the end my green monster had grown to 25/25 and forced my opponent to concede — after having exhausted his entire library over the course of the game. If that doesn’t count as completly destroying the match, then I don’t know 🙂

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Legacy Main Event Final Standings

For the last round I sat down across a guy who had lots of increments of 7 on his life pad from the previous round. Being the curious guy I am I just outright ask him whether it was him of his opponent playing Sneak Show. He immediately said it was his last round opponent, but I didn’t believe him. You can guess how relieved I was when he then started the match was Wasteland into Aether Vial! “Are you the Goblin guy?!” I asked, to which my opponent let out a satisfied “Yeeeees!” The match itself was a pretty weird one because my opponent was pretty much playing Goblins & Taxes with Thalias, Ethersworn Canonist and even Chalice of the Void. The later actually ended up stealing the second game of our series after catching me completly blindsided with my Abrupt Decays idling in the sideboard. My friends later told me he actually sided out the Chalices again for our final game, probably thinking they were too slow on the draw. I don’t think they are neccessarily too slow, considering that he was also running Pyrokinesis which has the potential of slowing me down a lot….like it did when it cleared my entire board on the something like the 5th turn. We both had a really slow start with him just summoning two Ethersworn Canonist. He promptly lost one to Pendelhaven and had the other Abrupt Decay’ed before levelling the battlefield with his red, one-sided Wrath of God; which was pretty weird though as my only creatures at the time were Heritage Druid and a Dryad Arbor. Maybe he figured that with Pendelhaven in the mix, this would be the best trade he’d get anyways. With both Canonist gone, I just untapped and slammed something like 5-10 Elves to the table over the next two turns, which me opponent couldn’t keep up with. Heeeey, Top16!

In the end my mediocre tiebreakers got me 14th out 187 players. No Top8, but also not a total failure, I guess. The entire weekend felt a bit “off” and “distant”, when it comes to Magic itself, but I don’t know why. But I had a great time with the people I travelled with! 🙂 Right now I’m really looking forward to this weekend’s Bazaar of Moxen in Annecy, one of the most beautiful cities ever to host an international Legacy tournament. See everyone in France!

So long,
Julian

 

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