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PTQ San Diego @ BSK *Top4*

November 3, 2009

Last weekend I was at the gaming convention in Borås (Sweden) which had a PTQ for San Diego as it’s front-runner event. I ended up Top8ing the event (58 players) but ended up short once again. Nevertheless it was a great weekend, got to play some good magic and hang out with friends.

Other than the PTQ itself, I did pretty poorly. I 0-2 tanked the Legacy Tournament running Canadian Threshold and then 1-2 dropped from the Standard tournament (where slightly more than 80% of the field played either Jund or Vampires). Instead of “bad beatings” those tournaments I will focus on the PTQ.

My pool was pretty good. It had tons of playables (aswell as 2 fetchlands, katching!) and I had no problem with playables. Or rather, my problem was that I had to cut things which is a much nicer problem to have than agonizing about playing Hedron Scrabbler or not. Playing blue was a no brainer with my pool, with 2x Living Tsunami, Sphinx of Lost Truth, Sea Gate Loremaster, a couple of other good fliers and trix. Just what you need to win games in limited. What to play with the blue cards was a more interesting decision.

Black was totally unplayable (Giant Scorpion, Vampire’s Bite and Gruul Draz Vampire was the top3 black cards, no joke) and white was a bit too shallow. Thanks to my lands in the sealed pool it was not hard to splash for the Journey to Nowhere I had however. So I was meddling about either green or red. Red had a couple of solid removal spells and some nice guys, but the curve ended up a little top-heavy. Green had very few trixs, but had 2x Greenweaver Druid for acceleration and a lot of fat, including a Terra Stomper. Anyways, this is what I ended up with:

1x Sea Gate Loremaster
1x Geyser Glider
1x Sphinx of Lost Truth
1x Bladetusk Boar
2x Living Tsunami
1x Windrider Eel
1x Stonework Puma
1x Torch Slinger
1x Molten Ravager
1x Goblin Shortcutter
2x Tempest owl
1x Highland Beserker
1x Welkin Tern
1x Zektar Shrine Expedition
1x Ior Ruin Expedition
1x Adventuring Gear
1x Journey to Nowhere
1x Whiplash Trap
1x Cancel
1x Inferno Trap
1x Burst Lightning
1x Arid Mesa
1x Sejiri Refuge
1x Plains
8x Island
6x Mountain

Notable sideboard cards:
1x Kraken Hatchling
1x Seismic Shudder
1x Tuktuk Grunts
1x Slaughter Cry

Tuktuk Grunts was dropped because of curve issues, as my 5 drop spot is pretty stacked. Kraken Hatchling got cut in favour of a Tempest Owl, which some of you might disagree. Kraken Hatchling is good, it’s just that for my main deck I always try to make things as flexible as possible. Tempest Owl is a little more versatile, it’s a cheap dude in the beginning and it does have a “I win”-effect when it’s kicked in the late game. However, both Kraken Hatchling and Seismic Shudder was sideboarded often during the day. The rule of thumb was that if I felt that my deck was slower than my opponents, Kraken Hatchling and Seismic Shudder would come instead for the expeditions.

I don’t have much notes left from the swiss, so instead of trying to remember all the details from the swiss I will just summarize. I started out 2-0, then I lost against to an eventual Top8:er, then I won my next two matches. When standings came up after round 5, I was number at 11th place with potentially 13 players having a shot at making it in. I was a bit let down that I wouldn’t be able to draw in but it was just to put the game face back on.

For the sixth and last round I was up paired against the 3rd guy at 4-0-1, Elias Melin. He needed just a draw to be safe but I needed 3 points to make it. At the same time, he couldn’t really scoop either since he would then be dangerously close the bar if he lost. So we had to play it out. It was a though match, we splitted the first two games and I won the third when I went on consecutive turns Sphinx of Lost Truth, Sea Gate Loremaster. That win meant 5-1 and another top8. Fortunely, Elias did make it in despite his lost… as number 8th.

Then the Top8 draft came. Oboy… check out this pile I ended up with:

1x Gruul Draz Vampire
1x Gatekeeper of Malakir
1x River Boa
2x Makindi Shieldmate
1x Stonework Puma
1x Giant Scorpion
1x Crypt Ripper
1x Oracle of Mul Daya
1x Nimana Sell-Sword
1x Territorial Behemoth
1x Shepard of the Lost
2x Mold Shambler
1x Cobra Trap
2x Soul Stair Expedition
1x Vines of Vastwood
1x Harrow
2x Hideous End
1x Khalni Gem
1x Eldrazi Monument
1x Graypelt Refuge
1x Plains
8x Swamp
7x Forest

How did this happen you might wonder. Honestly, I don’t really know. I started out with opening a pack with Bloodghast, Gatekeeper of Malakir, Surukkar Maraduar and Shepard of the Lost. I really do not want to fight about being black, so I took the white flier and hoped that this would ensure that the guy/guys on my left was black. Next pack had a Gatekeeper of Malakir as its only card at that power level, so I went into black after all. After the first pack, I was black-white but I had picked up a very late Mold Shambler and a Cobra Trap. For the next pack, there was just no white I got into green instead. And voila, this was the result.

I can’t really pinpoint exactly was went wrong… I would certainly been in a better shape if I just had manned up and taken Bloodghast in that first pack. Another factor was probably the pressure that was on the players at the table. I have seen this before, when players gets into the Top8 and is supposed to draft, they freak out and try to really maximise the picks and stay open etc. which usually ends up with a lot of people playing train wrecks like my deck. People over thinks instead of just drafting as they always do.

Anyhow, I won the quarterfinals against Marcus Olsson playing mono-red. I won the first as I managed to stall the board with River Boa and Shieldmates until I ripped Eldrazi Monument to swing over for around 20 damage. Game 2 he came crashing out of the gates and ran me over before I could get something going. The third game turned out pretty similar to game 1. He didn’t come out so fast so I was able to stabilize and had my Hideous Ends for his Magma Geyser and Bladetusk Boar. From there I started to crack back and got there, surprisingly.

Then I lost in the semifinals against the eventual winner, playing blue-white. His deck was really good, although game 1 was very close but he managed to win the race when he had Celestial Mantle on a turn where I was tapped out. I untapped and killed it with a Hideous End, but the damage was already done. His fliers won the race thanks to the life swing against my ground guys. Then game 2 he just rolled over me. I had a bit weak draw while he had 5 fliers in play at the end of turn 6. Game over bro.

That was my PTQ, yet again close but no cigar. All you can do I just to get back into the saddle and ride again. Until next time…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Marcus permalink
    November 18, 2009 23:29

    well… When you did win game 3 at 4 life my board was 4 mountains and my hand was spire barrage, unstable footing and burst lightning. =P

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