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Gaming in Borås

November 10, 2010

Last weekend I made the trip to BSK, a gaming convention held in Borås to compete for a slot in a PTQ for Paris and get to play some Standard as well. The PTQ was the most interesting event there so this post is mostly going to be about that.

The PTQ had 62 players which meant only 6 rounds of play but since 62 players is a lot of a 6 round swiss tournament that meant that it would be tricky to get in with a score of 4-1-1. That turned to be very relevant for your truly later on but I will come to that later. Also worth of pointing out is that the tournament started at 6 pm (yes, that’s 18:00) which meant the later rounds would go on well after midnight making the tournament a real test of wills. I personally don’t mind that all that much since I seem to cope fairly well under those conditions.

Anyhow, this was the pool I got to game with:

White:
1x Arrest
1x Auriok Edgewright
2x Auriok Sunchaser
1x Fulgent Distraction
1x Glimmerpoint Stag
1x Loxodon Wayfarer
1x Myrsmith
1x Seize the Initiative
2x Sunspear Shikari

Blue:
1x Darkslick Drake
1x Disperse
1x Scrapdiver Serpent
1x Trinket Mage
1x Turn Aside
1x Twisted Image

Red:
1x Assault Strobe
1x Ferrovore
1x Flameborn Hellion
1x Galvanic Blast
1x Goblin Gaveleer
1x Melt Terrain
2x Oxidda Daredevil
1x Oxidda Scrapmelter
1x Turn to Slag
1x Vulshok Heartstoker

Black:
1x Carnifex Demon
1x Corrupted Harvester
1x Fume Spitter
1x Grasp of Darkness
1x Hand of Preators
1x Ichor Rats
1x Necrogen Scudder
1x Tainted Strike
1x Psychic Miasma
1x Relic Putrescence

Green:
1x Acid Web Spider
1x Alpha Tyrranax
1x Blunt the Assault
1x Carapace Forger
2x Carrion Call
2x Cystbearer
1x Ezuri’s Archers
2x Molder Beast
2x Tel-Jilad Fallen
1x Wing Puncture
1x Withstand Death

Artifact:
1x Bladed Pinions
1x Chimeric Mass
1x Contagion Clasp
1x Corpse Cur
1x Copper Myr
1x Grafted Exoskeleton
1x Grindclock
1x Horizon Spellbomb
1x Glint Hawk Idol
2x Golden Urn
3x Golem Foundry
1x Ichorclaw Myr
1x Iron Myr
1x Myr Propogator
2x Necrogen Censer
1x Necropede
1x Ratchet Bomb
1x Saberclaw Golem
1x Silver Myr
1x Sylvok Lifestaff
1x Sylvok Replica
1x Trigon of Corruption
1x Trigon of Infestation
1x Tumble Magnet
1x Vector Asp
1x Vulshok Replica

Lands:
1x Glimmerpost

After the first glance I felt pretty content with this pool. I quickly recognize that blue was unplayable (even though Trinket Mage after Chimeric Mass is quite sweet) and that Carnifex Demon was the single best card in my pool so I wanted to play that guy at any cost. After isolating the bombs in a Sealed pool in this format I like to find out if my pool can any produce “niche”-strategys. What I mean with that is from my experience 9 out of 10 pools in this format is always going to have at least a decent semi-Metalcraft deck in it. And that deck isn’t very hard to compose and you can register those 40 cards without much sweat. The beauty of getting a Infect deck or just a pure “good stuff” deck in Sealed is that the answer people have in general to your threat is very low since few of your (relevant) threats are going to be artifacts.

Back to my PTQ pool, I saw that a Infect strategy was a possibility and that allowed me to play and take advantage of as much of the power in my pool as possible. This was the 40 cards I registered:
7x Swamp
7x Forest
2x Mountain
1x Fume Spitter
1x Copper Myr
1x Iron Myr
1x Necropede
1x Ichorclaw Myr
2x Cystbearer
1x Sylvok Replica
1x Ichor Rats
2x Tel-Jilad Fallen
1x Hands of Preators
1x Oxidda Scrapmelter
1x Corpse Cur
1x Acid Web Spider
1x Carnifex Demon
1x Galvanic Blast
1x Horizon Spellbomb
1x Grasp of Darkness
1x Contagion Clasp
1x Tumble Magnet
1x Grafted Exoskeleton
1x Chimeric Mass

I ended up splashing red for the Galvanic Blast and Flametounge Kavu’s little bro. I was fully aware that I could build a better Infect deck per say since I left out a couple of playables like Carrion Call and Trigon of Infestation but I felt that I got more power overall with the red inclusion. At the end of the day, getting the most out of each cards in your deck is usually what Sealed deck is all about. I did win most of my games on poison thought, baring 2-3 games that Carnifex Demon and Grindclock won me the games (I will come to that shortly).

In retrospect I’m happy with the approach. Compared with a white based Metalcraft deck that was my other option the Infect deck certainly gets to play with more individually powerful cards. If I were to build the deck again I would probably cut a Mountain for another Swamp. 3 red sources is enough to support the red splash and my deck needs both GG and BB to play all of its other spells.

I won the first 3 rounds without too much trouble. Mostly on poison, either straight up beats or grinding them out with Contagion Clasp. Carnifex Demon also showed up and did his thing once or twice.

I then lost round 4 to a quick RW Metalcraft deck. My draws weren’t very exciting in either games and I was quite flooded but I don’t think it would matter since in the end I lost both games to his Hoardsmelter Dragon.

Round 5 I won a nail biter. My opponents deck was a quite slow RB deck and he planned to win an attrition fight. Game 1 was weird, as we both had a Trigon of Corruption and he also had a Contagion Clasp which meant  any creature I played wasn’t going to hang around for long. His deck on the other hand wasn’t directly packed with creature and we for many, many turn just went draw-go. Then after we both more or less threw away a Carnifex Demon (I played mine to early, I should have waited for more Swamps so I could play around Galvanic Blast and Grasp of Darkness and he tapped down all his Swamps to add a counter to his Trigon of Corruption which gave me a window to use Grasp of Darkness) I drew my Chimeric Mass which equipped with the Grafted Exoskeleton I have slow rolled finished him off.

Because of the slow nature of the matchup and the high amount of removal my opponent seemed to be sporting I decided to bring in Grindclock. Game 2 I lost to Koth of the Hammer’s ultimate and then game 3 I had my Grindclock on turn 2 which many turns later gave me the win. We both drew quite the few lands that game and that gave me time to get him with milling.

So, after 5 rounds of play I was at 4-1 and I had the best tiebreakers in the room for 12 pointers. After working the standings and then the pairings I realized the at the very least 1 on 13 points would make it to Top8 and if I got the draw, the person would most likely be me. So sitting down for the round I was happy to draw but I knew my opponent (the #2 on tiebreakers on 12 points, roughly 1,5% after me) mostly likely would not like to draw. Theoretically, one of the people on 12 points were paired down and that meant that if he lost, both of us would make it in with a draw. I’m not sure how my opponent reasoned, but he wanted to draw so we drew.

At that point I was quite content since I was quite sure I had made it to Top8. Even if the paired down 12 pointer won, some extreme stuff had to happen to tiebreakers to knock me down from my spot as highest tiebreakers in the room. But extreme things did happen.

The paired down 12 pointer won along with the fact that several of the people my opponent had beat earlier on the day was still playing and winning made us shift places on the standings, leaving me at 9th place when the dust settled. It was a bit frustrating yes, but I knew there was a risk for that scenario. And I would draw at the position again any day. The math is of course rough, but I evaluate my chances of getting in is still higher with a draw there compared to playing it out.

So instead of playing for the slot in the Top8 I got to sleep. The following morning I learned that my dear friend Samuel Korsell had taken it down in the wee hours. Congratulations!

Before I headed home to Stockholm I played in a Standard event the day after the PTQ. I choose to game with Pyromancer Ascension, which is one of the most interesting decks in Standard right now in my opinion. And when I say “interesting” I don’t mean it’s the best deck or anything like that but it’s certainly has a unique game plan compared to how Standard looks right now. And it happens to be quiet good to. I piloted the following list to 3rd place at said tournament:

// Lands
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Halimar Depths
7 Mountain
11 Island

// Spells
2 Call to Mind
4 See Beyond
2 Into the Roil
4 Mana Leak
2 Deprive
4 Pyromancer Ascension
4 Foresee
4 Preordain
4 Burst Lightning
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Jace Beleren

// Sideboard
SB: 1 Into the Roil
SB: 4 Flashfreeze
SB: 2 Spell Pierce
SB: 4 Kiln Fiend
SB: 4 Pyroclasm

Almost your ordinary netdeck, the biggest difference is have been playing with 24 lands instead of 23 since I found myself digging for lands with my cheap draw spells more than I liked to when I only had 23 in the deck. I’m not going in-depth on the deck right now but I can say I was content with how it performed. Losing Time Warp in the rotation last month wasn’t as big of a deal as losing Ponder. Another cheap draw spell (with cheap I mean cmc 3 or less) is what this archetype really needs to really hit the next gear in the meta game.

That was my weekend in Borås. While I didn’t get there in the PTQ I had a good time slinging some cardboard and meeting friends. I have another PTQ coming up next week and after that nothing less than Worlds is on the agenda. Can’t wait!

Post scriptum: I also want to mentioned that I and my traveling buddy Tim Käll probably made the best investment I have done this year. Instead of being cheap and sleep in the convention hall we decided to just shell out for a stay at a hotel. Getting some real sleep as well as the outstanding hotel-style breakfast was so worth it!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 13, 2010 01:49

    Best Western ftw!

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