The StarCityGames Open in Baltimore was yesterday. Trevor and I went with a friend from our LGS along with meeting up with some others. We got there around 8:30 am and stayed for all 10 rounds, although I feel bad for making Trevor and our friend stick around for all 10 rounds despite me not having a chance of making Top 64 after round 7. At the same time, I really needed to see how well I could do and figure out if it was my ability as a player holding me back or certain decks vs. my deck.
At the end, I was pretty sure that it was those decks vs. mine. I was able to adapt and play against those decks a bit better, last longer, win one game, ect., but the deck I had just still did not quite have the sideboard to really have a solution.
My final deck list was:
-4 Young Wolf
– 3 Slitherhead
-4 Strangleroot Geist
-4 Dreg Manglers
-4 Liliana of the Veil
-3 Garruk Relentless
-4 Ultimate Price
-3 Golgari Charms
-3 Grisly Salvage
-4 Woodland Cemetery
-4 Overgrown Tomb
My sideboard consisted of:
-2 Vraska, The Unseen
-4 Tragic Slips
-3 Victim of Night
-3 Jarad’s Orders
This deck ultimately was great Anti-Aggro. I could place monsters out in a faster manner and would get them back all at the same time without have to use up more mana. Ultimate Price took care of most things and Golgari Charm wiped out a lot of other threats. I was great against Control type decks for the first few round and then I would peter out.
However, it was not that would be over. I would avoid the sweepers, I would be able to regenerate creatures, remove enchantments like Rest In Peace and so on and so forth. However, I just couldn’t get over the crappy curve once I ran out of those things to knock them back after Thragtusk.
Round 1: My first match of the day was against one of those Bant control decks. The guy was late, but he pre-registered, which made him already fusterated. The fact that I had him down to 1 made it even worse. He went to Supreme Verdict my creatures at that point and I Golgari Charm’d for the regen, which only made him more upset. He got out a few Thragtusks and Restoration Angels all in a row though and it didn’t even matter. He took me from 28 health due to my own Thragtusk and knocked me out, despite using all the blocks, Ultimate Prices, and everything else I had.
I side boarded in a Naturalize for the extra enchantment removal since I could tell he was getting upset with me surviving due to Scavenge and also Victim of the Night. I took out a Grisly Salvage and two Liliana’s to put them in.
This second game went much more poorly. He started the health gain a lot faster at one point being at 32 health. At the same time, it was at this point where he kept glancing at the clock and the judge’s began circling since our first game went all the way to the 25 minutes remaining mark. He began to play sloppy and played his only Rest in Peace while there was nothing in my Graveyard and a Syncopate without counting my mana properly. Trevor came over and watched for a bit and afterwards made the comment of the guy seemingly was about ready to rage quit. I held out all the way to 30 seconds left in the match before he finally killed me. If I could have gotten another Thragtusk out and started making him sacrifice creatures, it may have been a draw. Either way, I walked away realizing how much of a challenge I presented to that type of deck.
Round 2: I was paired up against a B/R Aggro deck which just became a slaughter. I’m not sure how long my opponent had been playing, but despite me announcing that Young Wolf had undying(because you can’t be to sure with these triggers anymore), he still wasted a searing spear on it. Then he did the same with a Strangleroot Geist as soon as I played it, with nothing able to block, so on turn two I was able to swing for five damage. Although he was able to get rid of a great of mine there was always another hasty creature with a come back. I swept both games with ease and wished my opponent good luck in the rest of the tournament, although he left rather quickly.
Round 3: This match up was bound to be interesting. It was my deck vs. a R/W humans deck. I had done this before when facing Trevor and his Dega Humans and it never ended well, but I was determined. First game went to me as I drew a perfect hand. I was able to just take care of all of the possible issues early on. Once I ran out of Ultimate Price in my hand, I had the Two Strangleroot Geist and a Young Wolf out with a Dreg Mangler waiting. He put out a couple of small Fencing Ace’s and I had a Golgari Charm. When he went to swing, rather than block I used the Charm to apply -1/-1 to all creatures, killing his aces and bringing back all of my guys with +1/+1 due to their undying. Next turn I was able to throw out the Dreg Mangler and swing in. Next turn game was done as he had nothing left to play.
The following to games did not go so much in my favor. I mulled to 4 in one and in the other I keps a hand that had creatures, but no land that could come in untapped. They were probably mistakes on my part, but I learned some valuable lessons from this match.
Round 4: Round four was a well put together B/G Zombie deck. Game one went to him rather quickly thanks to Geralf’s Messenger and me operating on crappy mana. It happens. Game 2 went much more in my favor, with me hitting all of my mana drops and what pretty much equates to God Hand. Young Wolf into Strangle Root Geist into Dreg Mangler and then Liliana of the Veil to discard a Slitherhead and scavenge it. He was not able to pull any early creatures to answer and I stayed that whole game at 20.
Game 3 wound up as much more of the expected race. I got in early hits, but then he was able to swing at me for five four turns in. However, I was able to then swing in for six. Next turn he was unable to increase his damage. I was able to play a shockland and get a Thragtusk out. Next swing in I was able to end the match.
Round 5: Round 5 was tough for me personally as it was against a friend from from my LGS. It was the first time I had gotten paired against someone from my LGS in a large event. It was my Undying vs. his Zombies. Game 1 I was able to win after a rough start due to not pulling enough creatures. However, I got a Thragtusk and was able to scavenge some things and put a rancor on to win the game.
Game 2 I started out great with plenty of small critters out, but I wasn’t able to keep it up and eventually stalled out. He kept up his tempo and was able to keep swinging without worrying to much about blocking. Game 3 was much more tragic. Although I did great, it was awful to see my friend not pull what he needed. I was able to block and undie my creatures and then swing. On turn 4 I hit for seven damage between equipping various creatures with multiple Rancors and scavenging whatever I had. That pretty much ended the game.
I could tell my friend was bummed, and in a way so was I. Yet, there were still more rounds to come and I needed to continue on, right?
Round 6: OMG Grixis I hate! Game 1 I was able to do well in due to him not drawing any mana after placing the two down from opening hand. It was really just straight beatdown and nothing more. After that, though it went down hill.
Not sure what he sideboarded in, but it utterly destroyed me. Game two he was at one point able to swing for 16 damage. Two Olivia Voldaren’s stealing creatures will do that. Game three was a lot slower and was looking in my favor. I played a Thragtusk and was at 25 to his 12. I was in good shape. Then that damn Olivia again! He stole my Thragtusk and just started swinging. I was completely un able to do anything after that. End of round.
Round 7: My opponent was a no show. So I went and got food.
Round 8: It was another Bant Control match up, and went almost exactly like the first one. I was able to delay and frustrate and make him do some silly things, but I was never able to push it over the edge. This is one of the things that I really want to look at side boarding more aggressively against. Both games were pretty much a wash, but I did push him to nearly time, again hoping to stall out for the draw. It didn’t happen.
Round 9: This was yet again another B/R Zombies deck. This was once again another deck that I utterly decimated. First game ended with me at 23 health and doing 8 damage a turn. I was just taking his creatures apart, and even if he could bring them back, they still wouldn’t be able to attack for another turn. It was just awesome to see. Game 2 was much of the same, only he actually did some damage. I would cycle out creatures to block with so that they could get the undying counters through blocking. Turn 5 I swung for 6 damage and it was only going to get worse as I was sending Slitherheads and Dreg Mangler’s to the graveyard.
However, my opponent was awesome and afterwards we talked decks and stuff for a bit afterwards. I think this is my favorite thing about these events is getting to speak with people with all kinds of views.
Round 10: This was a very different deck for me to go against. It was just green/white. However, I had the same issue I did with the Bant Decks when it came to Restoration Angle and Thragtusk. Oh, he also stole my Thragtusk. I didn’t like that. There was not a lot of back and forth, just me swinging and him waiting for Thragtusk. I took the approach of trying to get him to discard cards as well as Ultimate pricing his mana dorks, but that still didn’t quite seem to work.
So I ended the tournament on a loss.
I think my favorite part of this tournament was not being hit on once by any of my opponents. In fact, being around so many friends, a lot of it was just joking around in between matches and having fun. I got to know some other people as well which was super neat. It was fantastic to see so many different people playing. I feel it was perhaps one of the most diverse competitions I have been too, even if it felt like all the decks were the same.
Also I got to hang out with Cynthia Sheppard again! She is always awesome and her art is great! Trevor got a signed play set of Cremates and we picked up a print. I wanted some other ones, but I’m pacing myself. Also got to see Noah Bradley’s ridiculously amazing pieces of work and talk some more with rk post as well as pick up his awesome art book. The moment I saw that there was Star Wars in there…it was all over.
Also, I got Eventide and Shadowmoor packs. I love those. Particularly when I crack $20 cards.