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Worlds day 1 & 3 – Teams

December 29, 2010

Now the time has come for the team portion of Worlds. The initial preparation for this leg of Worlds started already right after Pro Tour Amsterdam when we at least made a preliminary line up for the team. Love who really didn’t want to play Legacy would focus on Standard, I would dive into Extended and Anders had to man up and play Legacy.

This line up meant that I was (probably) the guy on the entire Swedish squad that had the most experience of Extended when we went to Japan. In my testing I quickly became very fond of Elfball. It was a deck I had played with a lot before and it looked really powerful (certainly more powerful than the other combo options that looked viable in Extended) with the Punishing Fire + Grove of the Burnwillows-combo not being in the format anymore.

Also, I thought Jund and Merfolks would be quite popular at Worlds (as they had done well online prior to the event and Extended is the format people practice the least leading up to Worlds, so a lot of people fall backs on netdecks) and Elfball does pretty well against those two decks. And the match up against Faeries was around 50%, so I was content. After that my testing progressed to see if I could find anything that I liked more than Elfball, which I didn’t. This is the list I ended up playing at the team portion of Worlds:

// Lands
4 Razorverge Thicket
4 Sunpetal Grove
1 Wooded Bastion
11 Forest

// Creatures
1 Burrenton Forge-Tender
4 Joraga Treespeaker
4 Ranger of Eos
4 Fauna Shaman
4 Elvish Visionary
3 Regal Force
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Heritage Druid
4 Elvish Archdruid

// Spells
4 Primal Command

// Sideboard
SB: 3 Burrenton Forge-Tender
SB: 4 Vengevine
SB: 3 Path to Exile
SB: 1 Qasali Pridemage
SB: 1 Cloudthresher
SB: 1 Ethersworn Canonist
SB: 1 Ezuri, Renegade Leader
SB: 1 Gaddock Teeg

(I don’t possess the decklist of my teammates decks, sorry.)

Round 1: Brazil

Anders (on the left) faced Necrotic Ooze Survival, me in the middle played against Faeries and Love on the right was queued against Valakut. Anders won his match fairly easily as his opponent wasn’t the tightest of players and/or didn’t have very much experience of playing Legacy. Anders stopped Survival from resolving in both games (including managed to successfully Daze a Survival of the Fittest on turn 4 despite his opponent started the turn with 4 mana sources in play) and just got there on fish beatdown.

Myself got stomped by Faeries in the first game when my deck decided to serve up 9 lands to me, the second I won fairly easily when my opponent stopped at 2 mana for a couple of turns while I got Fauna Shaman going with Vengevines. In the decider I had a hand that had double Path to Exile, which felt really good but this game he drew a bunch more removal than threats like Mistbind Cliques and Sower of Temptations so when my deck didn’t serve up Vengevines or Ranger of Eos I didn’t have anything going and was eventually grinded out.

In the meanwhile Love had won a tight game 1 which I didn’t see much of and then won game 2 easily with a heavy LD draw (Acidic Slimes and Tectonic Edges) and left his opponent without any options.

2-1, 1-0-0

Round 2: Chinese Taipei

This match started out hilariously. When we came to the table, our opponents were already sitting down but we didn’t want to sit like they were positioned with Legacy in the middle. So we rolled about the right of positioning but we lossed the roll. So we ask them again how they have positioned their players. Their captain tells us that they have Standard to our left, Legacy in the middle and Extended to our right. So we sit down and starts to play. After a couple of turn of playing Anders and our opponents captain starts to wave their hands and tells the rest to stop playing. It turns out that me and Love are playing the wrong opponents. Frown. After the crowd watching the match has laughed at us and then the judge has done the same, he tells us to just reposition us and restart.

So with the debacle fixed I’m sitting on the left playing against Faeries, Anders in the middle was facing a weird Show and Tell-deck and Love were up against mono red.

I won game 1 in a quick manner with my opponent was light on counter magic. After I had drawn my deck on turn 5 (on the play) and played 4 copies of Primal Command on one turn my opponent conceded. Then I lost the two sideboarded games in a fashion that happens against Faeries. Triple Mistbind Clique in both game while I had zero Path to Exile or Cloudthresher to answer.

Meanwhile, Anders won his match very quickly against his combo opponent and that despite a mulligan to 4 in game 1… It was funny, his opponent opened game 1 with Island, Mountain, Lotus Petal and then a Tundra. I and Anders just looked at each other and had absolutely no clue what so ever what was going on. But Anders got there anyways.

Finally Love had a uphill climb against mono red. After he lost game 1 in like 2 seconds and got game 2 on the back of Obstinate Baloth but then lost the decider. How isen’t clear to me to this day, since I was busy loosing to triple Mistbind Clique.

1-2, 1-1-0

Round 3: Mexico

Once again there was a dispute of positioning of the players but this time we won the roll and got to sit like we wanted it with me in the middle. This round Anders were up against UGw Survival, I played versus Merfolks and Love Valakut.

Anders won game 1 in a very unfair fashion. Daze on your Noble Hierarch and then Wasteland on Tropical Island. After that intinal LD action his opponent missed land drops for a while and couldn’t get anything going until Anders had assembled a force of Merfolks and was in a clear drivers position. Then he mulliganed at least once, possibly twice in the second game and lost a counter war over Survival of the Fittest and couldn’t answer it after it stucked. Then he lost game 3 in a disheartening fashion, he managed to counter the first Survival and had a couple of Merfolks in play but after the initial lead he just didn’t draw literary anything. His opponent managed to eventually stick a Survival of the Fittest and rode it to victory.

I on the other hand lost game 1 after I had mulliganed down to 5 and kept Razorverge Thicket, Heritage Druid, Nettle Sentinel, Fauna Shaman and Primal Command/Regal Force (don’t remember witch… it was a green card that had infinite cmc). I was stuck on one land for 3-4 turns and was just too much after to catch up with his reasonable draw. But then I won the rest of the games fairly easily, game 2 with just a bunch of elves while he had a draw with few creatures and then I activated Ezuri, Renegade Leaders Overrun-ability twice for the win in game 3.

Love didn’t have the same luck however as he played versus Valakut and got stomped in two short games.

1-2, 1-2-0

Round 4: Denmark

Team Sweden in action versus Team Denmark

Regardless of our place in the standings in the team competition, this was a match with very high prestige as matches against neighboring countries usually are . I mean, we couldn’t afford to lose to Denmark… Huge plus here was that we both could agree on how to sit before the match!

Anders on the left played against Rock (Brian Kowal-style), I was once again up against the Fae and Love on the right played against Valakut. Anders won a true test of will against the Rock player, just trading cards for cards in 3 long games before finally sealing the deal. Love on the right lost a tight game 1 and then had some land issues game 2 and couldn’t really compete against his Valakut opponent.

In the meanwhile I had won game 1 against the Fae in combo-style and he had taking game 2 in double Mistbind Clique-style. Then we had a grueling game 3 where my opponent didn’t have Bitterblossom and was reeling against my Vengevine draw. But due to our games had taking a fair amount of time to play out and the fact that both I and my opponent had supervised our teammates in their matches quite a bit, time was running out. The match ended with me being an attack step away from winning the game and the match. Instead we both had to settle for a draw.

1-1-1, 1-2-1

I can’t say I’m all that happy with how the team competition went. I’m quite certain that had I been able to play through my last game against Denmark I would have won but even a team score of 2-2 isn’t that great either. Big kudos to Anders though as he was the best guy on the team in these rounds, going 3-1 where I went 1-2-1 and Love 1-3.

An interesting thing is how the Legacy part of the team competition was lay outed at Worlds. The number of players that plays Legacy on a regular basis is low at an event like Worlds, so the Legacy pilots in the team competition are for the most part either the guy who “lost the flip” and was assigned with the “burden” of playing Legacy or it was the team captain that manned up a took “responsibility”. So far the most part the players that played Legacy at Worlds wasn’t very experienced, which showed.

Another interesting detail I noticed going into the Extended portion was the high amount of Faeries and 4/5CC decks that floated around in the team competition and how few Merfolks and Jund decks I saw. I thought I had to rethink my strategy going into day 3 of the individual competition… More on that next time!

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