Eternal Weekend – Top8 with Elves

Officially dubbed the European Legacy Championship, this year’s Eternal Weekend in Paris gathered a staggering 450 Legacy players from all over the country — and it would have even been more had the event not been capped at that number, relegating some people late to register on the sidelines. With such an amazing turnout, I’m already looking forward to next year’s event which is already pretty much guaranteed to increase attendance well beyond 500! For this year’s summit attempt we gathered a Danish-German-Vietnamese team: two previous Eternal Weekend Top8’ers, some Elf aficionado…and a guy who can walk on his hands. What could ever go wrong? Not a lot, as it turns out.

Jan Lenger — Elves
Duc “Le Canard” Tran
— Death & Taxes
Anders Thiesen — Miracles
Me — Elves

Duc and I were flying in from Munich on Friday night, while Anders arrived from Copenhagen the same day. Jan on the other hand, accidentally arrived a day early, leaving him stranded at our hotel without a room. Stuck without a place to sleep in the middle of the night in a foreign city, Jan still manged to find some random apartment or something somewhere in Paris, so hooray for city-pathfinder skills!


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 Saturday- European Legacy Championships

This year’s Eternal Weekend took place at the same venue as its previous iteration, the Espace Charenton in the east of Paris. I’ve never been a big fan of that place and I’m looking forward to them hopefully finding a new one for next year. Maybe it’s just because during last year’s Eternal Weekend I felt really sick and couldn’t enjoy things as much as I otherwise would have, but the venue just feels somewhat claustrophobic to me. Not because there wasn’t enough space for people to play, but because it’s one big room with low ceilings and no windows, making for some really bad air inside. Whenever I could, I would walk outside to relieve some of the stress caused by the atmosphere.

Here’s what I registered for the Legacy Championships:

Maindeck

4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Wirewood Symbiote
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Quirion Ranger
3 Heritage Druid
2 Birchlore Rangers
2 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Reclamation Sage

4 Glimpse of Nature
4 Green Sun’s Zenith
3 Natural Order
1 Nissa, Vital Force

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

Sideboard

4 Abrupt Decay
3 Cabal Therapy
3 Thoughtseize
3 Surgical Extraction
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Gaddock Teeg
1 Nissa, Vital Force

The list is much more straightforward than previous lists I had played over the year, returning to a configuration of 4 Nettle Sentinels and 4 Quirion Rangers by cutting Nissa, Vital Force back down 1 in the main deck and moving Scavenging Ooze to the sideboard. I made these changes because I wanted to increase my number of turn2/3 kills through Glimpse of Nature, at the cost of being worse against Miracles. The more streamlined and dedicated your maindeck is the more weight your sideboard cards have to pull against them, but unfortunately a proper Elves SB never really leaves you with much room to provide said help. I still think it’s to correct to go with this kind of approach, especially in larger, unknown/unpredictable metagames. Building your deck to be good against Miracles at the cost of pretty much all other matchups has often felt like -EV to me, considering that you’ll still only face the deck 10% of times (until you hit the playoffs.)

Here’s how my tournament went as well as a couple of interesting situations:

Round 1 — Grixis Death’s Shadow — 2:1 WIN
Round 2 — BUG Big Monsters — 2:1 WIN (vs Alfonso Tarmogoyf)
Round 3 — Czech Pile — 2:0 WIN
Round 4 — Death & Taxes — 2:1 WIN
Round 5 —
Grixis Anti-Elves(?)1:1:1 DRAW
Round 6 — All-in HexDepths — 2:1 WIN
Round 7 — Miracles — 2:0 WIN (vs Anders Thiesen)
Round 8 —
Miracles — ID (vs Johannes Gutbrod)
Round 9 — Merfolk — 2:0 WIN

— 4th after Swiss —

Round of 16 — BUG Delver — 2:1 WIN
Quarterfinals
— Miracles 1:2 LOSS (vs Anders Thiesen)
Final Record: 8-1-2 for 6th out of 450 players

Round 1 — Grixis Death’s Shadow — 2:1 WIN
We sit down, I win the dice roll and we both keep our 7 but are immediately interrupted by an announcement that table numbers were incorrect and every match would be assigned a new table. Since this is technically a repairing, we move on to the next table and I just proceed to re-roll the dice. We recently had an interesting discussion about a similar situation in Brian Braun-Duin’s Facebook feed where a couple of people insisted on not re-rolling the dice in a situation like this, which i find odd. In BBD’s situation, there was an actual re-pairing where he ended up playing against the same person he had already been assigned before and won the roll against. Those people’s argument came down to that it still was the same match, so the previous roll should stand. My response was to ask them whether they also think the roll should stand had they been paired against somebody else and then later in the tournament against the person they had originally (falsely) been paired against before. How long would those dice rolls carry over? Top Day 2? To the Top8? To the next tournament? Most people would disagree with the roll carrying over even to just the next round since it’s “a new match.” Since re-pairings are also a new match, I think arbitrarily breaking off from that principle can only be a bad thing. After all, it’s not like the rule favors any player, you still have a 50% chance of going first like you should have.

Johannes Gutbrod in extra turns.

Anyway, back to the match. I win the dice roll and keep a decent hand, leading off with Deathrite Shaman. My opponent plays a City of Traitors and sets Chalice of the Void to 1. Unfortunately for him that’s about it. I play some Elvish Visionarys, Green Sun’s Zeniths and fetch for Dryad Arbor, eventually finishing things off with Natural Order. Unfortunately that means I still don’t know what my opponent is actually playing (he had actually told me when the re-pairings were announced, but I didn’t understand him) but I figure the most likely deck would be Eldrazi, so I bring in my Abrupt Decays and Nissa, Vital Force, which is one of our few solutions for Reality Smasher.

Game2 my opponent once again opens with Chalice of the Void for 1, followed by about 6 or 7 turns of just draw-go from both sides. When my opponent discards Blood Moon, I figure he’s probably on Imperial Painter, but the Inferno Titan and Worldspine Wurm he sends at my face soon after say otherwise. Big Red it is.

For Game 3 I bring in my discard, which is something I really don’t like as sideboarding gets really awkward once you have to bring in something like 10 spells. You could make a case for leaving out Decays and just hoping to get there anyway, but turn1 Chalice is just too much of a threat – especially in a combo matchup where it blanks your discard – to leave home without removal for it. Luckily, my opponent only has Chalices and Blood Moons for most of this game. When he casts a Sneak Attack, I think I’m done for, fully expecting him to activate it with Simian Spirit Guide…but he just passes and I kill him. After the game he shows me a hand of several Through the Breach and nothing else.
Record: 1-0

Round 2 — BUG Big Monsters — 2:1 WIN (vs Alfonso Tarmogoyf)
I’m up against the editor of mtgvods.com and proud supporter of Valencia CF, Alfonso Tarmogoyf. In our first game he quickly fills his graveyard with Mental Notes and Thought Scours before making a Gurmag Angler and later also a Banana Lord Tasigur, the Golden Fang. While I don’t resolve Natural Order, I still keep getting in for some chip damage with my guys while negating any Zombie Fish attacks or blocks with Wirewood Symbiote. Eventually I just drain Alfonso out with Deathrite Shaman.

Unlike in other BUG matchups, I decide to bring in my Cabal Therapys. My reasoning is that since his threats are a little bit slower to come to the battlefield, I can either Cabal Therapy them away (which should provide me with enough time to just out-card advantage him) or take one of his permission spells to resolve one of my haymakers, resulting in pretty much a win/win situation. Unfortunately for me, game 2 starts with Alfonso summoning a turn2 Hooting Mandrills, which we both agree is a much better creature in the matchup than any of the non-Tramplers. I think I could be in a bit of trouble if he also manages to follow things up with something impactful, but fortunately for me he misses his 3rd land drop, giving me some breathing room. When I Cabal Therapy him for Force of Will on my turn 3, I see a hand of just Lands and (I think) a Toxic Deluge, which I then flashback away, and kill him on the next turn. Alfonso takes it with a smile as he knows the matchup is probably not very good for him to begin with. He says he built the deck to take advantage of the current metagame to go over the top of the other BUG decks and most importantly to dodge most of the removal in the format since all his creatures are Abrupt Decay– and Lightning Bolt-proof.
Record: 2-0

Round 3 — Czech Pile — 2:0 WIN
This round is mostly straight-forward with me quickly taking down the first game. Unfortunately for me that also means I can’t really be sure what my opponent is playing as all I saw was a BUG manabase, Deathrite Shaman and Brainstorm. For some reason I decide my opponent was on Food Chain, so I side out my long-term grindy value stuff and bring in Abrupt Decay‘s and some discard. I’m still really undecided how to approach that matchup, but at least Decays have to come in anyway because of Leovold, Emissary of Trest.

Jan and Johannes

Game2 it turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong with my guess as my opponent turns out to be on the CZech Pile, a greedy 4c Midrange/Control deck pioneered by Tomáš Már. Bringing in discard against it is not super horrible, but I’d much rather have my planeswalkers. The game starts out with some back-and-forth until my opponent eventually manages to land a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Brainstorms and passes the turn with two untapped lands and 2 cards in hand. I topdeck the Gaea’s Cradle I needed and hardcast Craterhoof Behemoth to attack for the win, while my opponent just keeps shaking his head in disbelief. I initially thought he was just sad about losing the game, but as he quickly shows me, the two cards he had just brainstormed to the top of his deck were 2 Force of Will in order to keep two removal spells in hand. He did so as he was hoping to blow me out during a potential all-in attack on Jace. That however didn’t make much sense since given my board, I had no way to fight my way through his blocker and take down Jace in the process; I guess I could have had an Abrupt Decay but in that case his removal spell wouldn’t really be a blowout anyway, and I could only kill Jace if I topdecked Pendelhaven anyway. People say I got lucky there. People also say a football team is lucky when they score a late goal. That’s not the definition of luck I share.
Record: 3-0

Round 4 — Death & Taxes — 2:1 WIN
When my opponent leads with basic Plains and Aether Vial, I’m feeling great. Even though the matchup got considerably worse over the last years, it’s still really good for us. I still end up losing the first game as I keep struggling on mana after Phyrexian Revoker shuts down a Birchlore Ranger I am pretty much all-in on. The game still lasts for quite a while but I eventually just die to random white beatsticks. By contrast, game2 is over in the blink of an eye as I Natural Order my opponent for 24 damage on turn 3. (Note that when I went for Natural Order, I didn’t play an unnecessary random Elf first, which would be mana-neutral due to Cradle, but went straight for NO as my opponent’s Aether Vial on 2 could have been a trap to steal the turn with Ethersworn Canonist.)

Game3 is yet another constant back-and forth with several lock pieces making it hard for me to maneuver, but also with no clear way for my opponent to attack. We eventually arrive at the following situation:

(The board is not 100% like it was in that game, but I removed minor details I don’t remember because they were irrelevant.)

I once again had a pretty rough start with my opponent quickly shutting down a lot of my business with Phyrexian Revokers. Eventually I draw Elvish Visionary, which in turn draws me into Green Sun’s Zenith. My plan is to GSZ=8 for Craterhoof Behemoth and Abrupt Decay the Containment Priest my opponent had been heavily telegraphing before. My opponent untaps, ticks his Aether Vials to 2 and 3, casts a Mother of Runes, a Stoneforge Mystic, finds Umezawa’s Jitte and taps out to cast it. Things are looking good thus far. The only thing I am scared off would be a mainphase Vial activation for 3…which unfortunately is exactly what he does. Do you know why? Take a moment to look at the game state above if you like, I’ll explain in the next paragraph.

The problem is Sanctum Prelate. It’s the one big reason to activate your Vial on 3 during your mainphase. Depending on which number my opponent chooses with it, I could either be not affected at all or royally screwed. Here’s how the scenarios break down:

  • He chooses 1 or 4: He tries to shut down either Glimpse of Nature or Natural Order, which I don’t have. Cast GSZ for 8, Decay Containment Priest, trample all over him.
  • He chooses 2: He shuts down Abrupt Decay, and by doing so, also Green Sun’s Zenith because of the Containment Priest I’m pretty much 100% convinced he has because of his strong signaling on previous turns. What that means is that unless I draw a natural Behemoth, I’m in really big trouble as I can’t really do anything on my turn and will have to pass the turn into an active Umezawa’s Jitte on an evasive threat. If he ever connects with it, my chances of winning this match probably evaporate. I just can’t let that happen.Because of the massive problem a Sanctum Prelate on 2 would present, I have to Abrupt Decay his Umezawa’s Jitte in response to the Vial activation. That of course means I won’t be able to remove the Containment Priest and once again will need to draw a natural Craterhoof Behemoth; but unlike in the scenario where I don’t Decay Jitte I get to see many more turns as my board gets to survive.
I Abrupt Decay Umezawa’s Jitte and Sanctum Prelate comes down on 1. On my turn I draw another land and try for GSZ for 8 because I have to. Even if I waited until I drew into another Decay that wouldn’t do anything as my opponent would have Mother of Runes active at that point. As expected, my opponent does in fact have Containment Priest and I just find and exile Dryad Arbor. He’s a bit confused why I would still choose to find a creature, but I really don’t want to draw a completely useless Dryad Arbor at this point int he game; with Containment Priest on the board, I can’t even really play her from my hand.
Two turns later I draw Craterhoof Behemoth and end the game.
Record: 4-0

 

Round 5 – Grixis Anti-Elves(?) – 1:1:1 DRAW
I hardly ever get any unintentional draws with Elves. In fact, I had to check my personal records on the Planeswalker Points website which says I only have 7 of them…in close to 700 sanctioned matches with the deck. (One of them against Johannes Gutbrod, so I’m not even sure if that counts.) Well make that 8 now. My opponent played a deck that initially looked like regular Grixis Delver, but after sideboarding transferred into what I can only describe as Grixis Anti-Elves: Grim Lavamancers, a ton of Forked Bolts, Fire / Ices, several Engineered Explosives and Snapcaster Mages to run it all back. Also Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I didn’t see single Delver of Secrets in our postboard games, so I assume he must have sided them out in favor of a long and grindy strategy.

Anders in extra turns with HJ_Kaiser watching

During the first game I already notice my opponent is taking a lot of time and also barely shuffling at all after Fetchlands, but I don’t call a judge since I assume there to be no malicious intent and just make sure to always give his deck a good shuffle afterwards while he was thinking about what to do. At one point where I have Birchlore Rangers, Dryad Arbor and Wirewood Symbiote in play he tries to aim a Lightning Bolt at my Insect but accidentally drops a Fire / Ice from his hand while doing so. I usually would have just let the Bolt resolve and then lost my entire board to his 2-for-1, but with knowledge of his Fire / Ice I bounce my Birchlore Rangers to downgrade his follow-up play into an Searing Blaze without Landfall on my Dryad Arbor. The game last for quite a long time but eventually my opponent takes me down with Delver.

Game 2 he opens on Grim Lavamancer, which I am soon to Decay, but his tons of 2-for-1 removal spells make it hard for me to establish a threatening board presence. The game drags on for quite a while, but I eventually manage to Craterhoof him when he taps out for Jace, the Mind Sculptor. At this point there’s only something like 10 minutes left for the final game.

Game 3 looks really bad for me throughout the entire early game as my opponent takes out all of my business creatures, leaving me with only some mana Elves, but no Pendelhaven to overcome his Snapcaster Mage. The game eventually starts turning around when I get to replenish my hand with Glimpse of Nature and follow things up with a Nissa, Vital Force on the next turn. Unfortunately I can’t convert my overwhelming advantage into a win quickly enough, so the game ends in a draw.
Record: 4-0-1

Round 6 — All-in HexDepths — 2:1 WIN
My opponent is late for this round as he was finishing an important trade and had missed the announcement of pairings. Since he’s still less than 10 minutes late, he only receives a Game Loss, so we immediately start shuffling up for game 2 without any sideboarding. Not that it would have helped me since I had no idea what he was playing; a quick 20/20 Indestructible Flyer is kind enough to remind me that I don’ really have anything in the board against him anyway. Just the previous round I was talking to Jan (Lenger) who had played against a different guy on Dark Depths, that there’s really not much to do except to win the dice roll and be faster twice. I still bring in 2 Abrupt Decays since I don’t really know whether he has Chalice of the Void.

After we both mulligan quite a lot in game 3, we end up in a very interesting scenario:

(The board is not 100% like it was in that game, but I removed minor details I don’t remember because they were irrelevant.)

This is the kind of situation that separates the tournaments you finish at 7-2 from the ones you Top8. It is easily the one situation in the tournament I was thinking about the longest. Not because it was complicated, but because I really had to make up my mind how I wanted to play this tournament: conservative or with risk. I thought about the countless x-2 finishes I have had over the last two years, often missing Top8 only by a single point and I didn’t want to once again look back and wonder what could have been. But it’s not like one gets to just decide whether they Top8 or not by following some pre-established pattern of playing their deck. The same principle that applies to financial investments also applies to playing Magic: the higher the reward you seek, the high the risks you must be willing to take; at least every once in a while.

Signed a Quirion Ranger 🙂

To explain this in context: the conservative play is to GSZ for Reclamation Sage to destroy the opponent’s Sylvan Library. A reason to do so is because it increases his odds of finding either Crop Rotation or Dark Depths next turn, which would kill us if he has another untapped land, Mox or Lotus Petal. By destroying the Library you leave opponent at the mercy of his topdeck until we kill him with regular beats about three to four turns later. However there is a very real cost to that: giving up the guaranteed kill you have next turn with a GSZ for Craterhoof Behemoth. When weighing these two factors you have to consider that it is very likely your opponent will see those top three cards anyway since there is a real chance you won’t be able to kill him with regular attacks in time. You could of course rely on topdecking runner(-runner) as you have a lot of cards that increase your clock by 0.5-2 turns.

Overall, I decided the best course of action was to keep the guaranteed kill. You sometimes get so busy with all the cute, tricky and grindy stuff Elves can do, you tend to forget that in most matchups, you are the one who knocks. You are the danger. A lot of your opponent are sitting their shitting their pants while all you are worrying about is how to draw an additional card from Elvish Visionary on the next turn. There are situations where you have to force yourself to live up to your potential: be the danger your opponent sees in you and keep that damn GSZ in hand, hope his Library fizzles and then just kill him. It’s the strongest line we have available + it doesn’t rely on drawing one of our (admittedly many) outs to shorten our clock.

Another aspect that factored into my decision: even in the absolute worse case scenario of our opponent getting his 20/20 on the next turn, we still win with Craterhoof Behemoth if we topdeck either a Fetchland (for Dryad Arbor) or a 1-mana creature. Or a Natural Order. Or a Gaea’s Cradle. Or Craterhoof Behemoth. Basically most of the stuff we would have wanted to draw anyway had we destroyed Sylvan Library. Putting aside my romanticized words about an aggressive approach to playing Elves, this observation is an even bigger reason to keep GSZ in hand. What I wanted to say is that I might not even have considered the line of keeping GSZ and then topdecking one of many outs, had I not reminded myself about not always playing it safe if I want the big payout.

I attack  for 1 and pass the turn. My opponent uses Sylvan Library, keeps one card and passes. I untap and kill him.
Record: 5-0-1

Round 7 — Miracles — 2:0 WIN (vs Anders Thiesen)
Guess it was only a matter of time. With Jan at 6-0 and Anders & me at 5-0-1, it was likely we’d eventually end up against each other. And I think I’d still rather play vs Miracles than to try my luck with the lottery ticket that is the Elves mirror. Unfortunately there’s not much to valuable insight I can tell you about these two games. Both of them I get the by far best opening hands I have had all tournament long and kill Anders on my third (respectively fourth) turn with a hardcasted Craterhoof Behemoth, one of them even off Cavern of Souls. Pretty anti-climatic I know, but this wouldn’t be the last time we’d face off that day…

In other news, I accidentally crunched one of my teeth during the match. Initially thinking it was just an improper filling that broke out, it would later be revealed as the consequence of a root canal treatment I had received 9 years earlier. Without going into details, this is about to set me back between 1,000-2,000 € which puts my participation at GP Las Vegas into question 🙁
Record: 6-0-1

Round 8 — Miracles — ID (vs Johannes Gutbrod)
I’m paired up against Johannes and we agree to ID, which puts me at 6:0:2. I initially thought 6:0:3 would be good enough for Top16, but as it later turned out only players at 7-1-1 or better would make it in. With that information on mind, it feels wrong to ID here. Even thought the matchup is horrible, by ID’ing here I stand to only win a higher seed in the playoffs, while an ID counts as a loss with regards to getting into Top16 in the first place.
Record: 6-0-2

Standings after Swiss

Round 9 — Merfolk — 2:0 WIN
I will never forget my opponent’s look on his face as he sits down for his execution our match. He didn’t even look desperate or scared. This was the face of a man who knew what was up and who had already come to term with his fate. I mean, the matchup is abysmal for him, but the impression I got from my opponent was that he’d almost rather leave than play it out at all.

Game 1 he has an acceptable opening of turn1 Cursecatcher into turn 2 Chalice of the Void, but unfortunately never hits a second blue source for the rest of the game. He gets in a couple beats with Mutavault, but I eventually just overrun him with random beats and Nissa, Vital Force for the finishing blow. At one point he got a Phantasmal Image into play copying Silvergil Adept (I think), which I destroy with Quirion Ranger‘s ability. I actually thought about not showing him this interaction, which could lead to a huge blowout in the next game should he not be aware of it, but eventually decided on playing it safe. Even though it was a favorable board position for me, things can sometimes spiral out of control versus Merfolk and I needed to activate Quirion Ranger in that position anyway to bounce and replay a land. Something I am only considering now that I am writing this report: even if my opponent was aware of this interaction, he couldn’t know whether I was, too. Even though it’s unlikely I would not be, it’s still at least somewhat valuable information.

Game2 I just do my thing and overrun my opponent with tons of Elves and their big, bad Craterhoof buddy. On to Top16 as the 4th overall seed!
Record: 7-0-2

Round of 16 — BUG Delver — 2:1 WIN
Turns out Jan, Anders and I all made it into the playoffs! Duc unfortunately fell just short with an unintentional draw in the last round, finishing at 6-1-2. Overall, our team got to an impressive 24-1-5 record in the Swiss (excluding the one team-mirror and Jan’s two BYEs).

Our notes show I’m up against BUG Delver. But they show even more: were available we also had kept track of the way certain players would play. For my opponent, Johannes had previously told me that he used his Abrupt Decays in very unconventional ways. I don’t wanna make fun of him as not everyone is experienced in every kind of matchup, but it is safe to say that he made a couple severe tactical errors in his previous match against Johannes, so I have to say I felt a bit of relief to not only get a favorable matchup but also potentially be up against a less experienced players.

I don’t remember all exact details about our games, but all three of them were quite long and grindy with me coming out ahead in the first and third one. Something that greatly helped me in the first one was how loose my opponent used his Abrupt Decays, which he seemingly “randomly” used to trade with three of my Elvish Visionary without any immediate need to. I would play my Elvish Griselbrands on turn 2, 3 and 5 without a Wirewood Symbiote in play, only to see my opponent use most of his mana to get rid off them without a Delver of Secrets on the table. Even with Delver on the table this would be questionable, but without a source of pressure, I think your game plan has to be to use Decays to trade with Wirewood Symbiote and Deathrite Shaman.

My opponent still seemed super happy about having made it to the Top16 in the first place, so I figured it would be ok to explain what I just told you to him. It’s always a bit of a weird spot when you see your opponent commit some big strategic error and wonder whether you should later tell him. Some people take advice like that as “rubbing it in their face” and it’s certainly true that some people actually do exactly that on purpose. So I usually just keep my mouth shut if I think my opponent might be too proud to have this kind of conversation. My opponent in this match seemed like a really nice guy, and I think he was happy for the advice.

Before the Quarters vs Anders

Round of 8 — Miracles — 1:2 LOSS (vs Anders Thiesen)
Jan and Anders had won their Ro16 matches vs Big Eldrazi and Infect respectively, which means than Anders and I get to play a rematch. Game 1 I keep a mediocre hand I still can’t mulligan. No turn 3 kills this time. Instead I scrub by with a couple of Elves beats while Anders does his Miracles thing and eventually kills me with Angels.

Game 2 looks like a repeat of the first game for most of the early turns, until a Reclamation Sage Ander’s Sensei’s Diving Top, prompting him to try to put it onto his library, but I respond with Abrupt Decay. It’s a play that’s still card disadvantage, but I strongly disagree with the sentiment that you should try to beat Miracles with card advantage; not because it was impossible to pull ahead in that aspect, but because it usually doesn’t matter – especially in decks that are cold to Entreat the Angels. Instead I went for this line as the way Anders played his early turns gave me the impression that everything he did was heavily dependant on the help provided by his Sensei’s Diving Top. With Top gone, not only did he need to draw through the top two bad cards of his library over the next two turns, he also was less likely to draw into something that matters. It wasn’t like I would be very likely to come back should he ever find Terminus or Entreat the Angels. With STD SDT gone, I just attack for ~4 damage a couple of times to take it.

Game 3 I once again keep an ok, but unfortunately slow hand. I think it’s really important to get a strong start against Miracles as the early couple of turns is where they are the weakest. In the best case scenario you set up  a scenario where you can safely kill them (see our swiss match), or at least force them into a very unfavorable Terminus, preferably set up with a low-value Brainstorm of theirs. However, it’s not like you get to just decide to keep such a hand; even mulliganning for something capable of such a start feels like negative EV if your opening 7 is at least “decent”. Elves has some of the most terrible mulligans in Legacy after all. We proceed to do our thing where I get in for a couple of damage every turn while Anders make sure that none of my big haymakers like Nissa, Vital Force resolves. In-between all of this, Anders misses a land drop and I once again notice he keeps rearranging the same two (presumably bad) cards on top of his library. You could of course assume that one of them was Terminus, but given the amount of damage he had already taken from my random beats it seemed quite unlikely; and I probably couldn’t beat it anyway. Unfortunately Anders eventually finds a fetchland right before I can kill him to shuffle away his crap and get a fresh 3 cards on the top of his deck. I try to attack for the win, but Terminus ends me. The game continues for many more turns, but with me out of steam and Ander’s superior card selection, there’s nothing in it for me anymore.

Final Result: 6th out of 450 players and ~600€ in BoM Points.

Jan unfortunately also lost his Ro8 match to Thomas on Miracles. Anders goes on to beat another Elves player, but then proceeds to lose in two quick games to Thomas in the finals, which they decided to play out the next day as Thomas was feeling really exhausted from his semifinal against 4c Loam. He had actually won by “sudden death” as the TO had imposed a time limit for all matches in the Top16 because players’ didn’t agree to voluntarily play the second half of the playoffs the next morning. From what I hear the opponent even already had a Chandra, Torch of Defiance emblem, but Thomas used Swords to Plowshares on his own Monastery Mentor to raise his life total just high enough to win..

If you’re looking for game2 of the finals between Thomas and Anders, here’s a recording:

With Anders still busy playing and Jan having joined his Hamburg/Kiel crew for dinner, Johannes Gutbrod, Alex Beiersdorfer, Duc and I head out to find some restaurant on our own. We randomly wander for a while until we find some place, where the most important question seems to be which English football team we supported. I’m well aware that me liking both Liverpool and ManU is completely unacceptable for fans of either team, so I just decide to put all my eggs in one basket and name ManU. To me delight, the restaurant staff/local drunk guy appears to be pleased with my answer. While we wait for our food to arrive, Duc does his thing where he hangs himself in a 90° angle on a lamp post to impress some French girls, but all he can get out of them are some random giggles. #GoodEnough, I guess?

Sunday – Legacy Trial Eternal Weekend 2018

It’s quite a shame Vintage got as expensive as it is these days. I’ve never owned any power for more than like 1-2 hours (before selling it), but I always liked playing the format with borrowed cards. But even though I could have likely gotten the cards from a friend, it’s just way too much money for me to still feel comfortable carrying it around. So instead I just played in the 5-round Trial for Eternal Weekend 2018, where only a perfect 5-0 would win BYEs for next year. Here’s how my tournament went, playing the exact same list as yesterday:

Round 1 — Canadian Threshold — 2:1 WIN
Round 2 — HexDepths — 2:1 WIN
Round 3 — Aluren — 2:1 WIN
Round 4 — ANT — 2:0 WIN
Round 5 — Junk Abyssal Persecutor — 2:1 WIN
Final Record: 5-0 for ~100€ in BoM Points and 2 Byes for the next Eternal Weekend

Waiting for our plane

Sweet! It’s kinda of a really cool feeling not even having to worry about BYEs that early. I gotta admit, not being able to even compete in the trials for this year felt a bit shitty, even though things fortunately worked out really well for me after all. In the final round I was paired down against a guy on 3-1, so I offered “the split” to him, but he declined. I think he didn’t really understand what I meant and of course I can’t tell him, but had he just scooped to me I would have given him all my prizes for 5-0, while I would only get whatever he would win with 3-2. By insisting on playing, the best you would get is the 4-1 prize, which didn’t even award a BYE. Not blaming him though. I think one thing that MtG might eventually need to get fixed is the amount of collusion going on at the top tables towards the end of a tournament. Most of us probably aren’t even aware of what we are doing is hurting the game from a competitive/viewership point of view; most likely because players are definitely not the ones to blame. Unfortunately I can’t suggest a better system than the current one right now. People sometimes mention that IDs should be illegal in the first place, which even though it sounds hard to implement, is something I would really like to see explored. Anyway. We play it out and I win even though my opponent manages to steal a game with Abyssal Persecutor. His deck turned out to be pretty sweet, but he ran into a couple mana issues that allowed me to brutally capitalize. Remember, we are the danger.

Overall, a GREAT weekend! I’m really looking forward to next year, but for now I’m preparing for MKM Frankfurt by the end of the month. The info I got from the TO is that this year’s event will be even larger than in 2016 where we gathered over 400 for Legacy and over 600 for Modern. Let’s do this! Another think I can’t wait to get underway is the LEGACY PREMIER LEAGUE which will air on my Twitch channel on Thursday next week, April 20th. Definitely check that one out!

So long,
Julian


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