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GothCon 2011

April 25, 2011

I just got back from a long weekend in Gothenburg, where I visited good friends as well as attending to GothCon. For you who haven’t followed my blog and/or aren’t from Sweden, GothCon is the biggest (non-electronic) gaming convention in Sweden and Magic is a huge part of the convention. A side from a PTQ to Philadelphia and Nationals qualifiers, there was a ton of different fun events to play in. Today I’m giving you a quick recap of my GothCon 2011 experience.

So, I headed over to Gothenburg by train on Thursday morning. The company that is in charge of most of the railroad connection is Sweden (SJ) has taken a of crap for being the opposite of punctual and not being able to cope under winter conditions that we have in Sweden. But I got to say, I have been traveling with SJ at least a handful number of times during the last few years and I haven’t been let down by them so far. This trip to Gothenburg was no exception. Maybe I’m just lucky, who knows.

Anyhow, after meeting up some friends and saying hello to a bunch of people I was sitting down playing in GPT for Prague. I received a quite nice pool highlighted by Hoard-Smelter Dragon, Geth, Lord of the Vault and a Nim Deathmantle. In addition to those sweet rares I had some nice removal and a Furnace Celebration engine. All in all a very respectable sealed pool which I reckon would take me to Top8 if I played well.

Things doesn’t always go like you plan them to go when you play Magic and this tournament was no difference. After two relatively quick matches I found myself 0-2 and checked the dropbox on a result slip. I took several mulligans in my first match and in the second my opponent had turn 4 and turn 3 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas on the play in games 1 and 3 which crushed my quite singlehandly. I felt a little embarrassed not being able to win a single match with my deck but I quite quickly shrugged it off. Those who have played this game for a while knows that sometimes it’s just not your day.

The day was rounded off with some Standard playtesting before I headed over to my friend David where I was crashing for the weekend.

🙂

The major tournament on the following day was a National qualifier (Standard) but since I’m a total baller in that I’m already qualified to Nationals due to my level 2-mage status. So instead I convinced fellow Stockholmer (is that even a word?) and level 2 judge Patrik Ericsson to join me in the 2HG-tournament instead. It was kind on a lark and I originally joined it most for the fun of it but when I learned there was a trophy for the winner, it was all business again. Just like I like it.

4 rounds of swiss and a Top4 draft later I and Patrik found ourselves on top. Yey! The day was rounded off with some Japanese cousine and some casual “buntas”.

On Saturday it was time for the Philadelphia PTQ, the big highlight for the weekend (at least as tournaments goes). I had settled on playing Valakut. Some people who asked my on site what I was playing and followed it up with asking why I weren’t playing CawBlade, I gave the following answer:

CawBlade is a great deck. I have played a ton of matches with the deck during the last two weeks and I have been winning with it quite the bit. The big problem I have with CawBlade is that just about every single freaking game is such a grind. Even games that are lopsided can take (relatively) extremely long time to play through. I felt a little bad at Worlds for playing UB control since games went long and the risk for non-intentional draws were high even if you played with a brisk pace. I managed to only get 1 draw at Worlds but It could easily been more. So, I don’t want to put myself in that situation again unless I really have to.

So instead I settled on Valakut, which to me was beside CawBlade just head and shoulder over almost anything else in Standard. The deck is powerful and have busted draws. Just what I like. I was a little vary about the CawBlade match up, but I found that the CawBlade superiority in the match up is a bit over exaggerated. CawBlade decks can’t afford to “hate” on Primeval Titan decks that much anymore and you can definitely tune your Valakut list to have more than a fighting chance against the hawks. Here is the list I played for those who wonders:

Valacute

// Lands
    4 [M11] Terramorphic Expanse
    4 [ZEN] Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
    5 [SOM] Forest (3)
    11 [SOM] Mountain (3)
    4 [ZEN] Misty Rainforest

// Creatures
    2 [ZEN] Oracle of Mul Daya
    4 [M11] Primeval Titan
    4 [ROE] Overgrown Battlement
    4 [ZEN] Lotus Cobra
    2 [M11] Inferno Titan
    1 [WWK] Avenger of Zendikar

// Spells
    4 [ZEN] Harrow
    3 [M11] Lightning Bolt
    4 [ZEN] Summoning Trap
    4 [WWK] Explore

// Sideboard
SB: 4 [M11] Pyroclasm
SB: 4 [ROE] Joraga Treespeaker
SB: 1 [WWK] Nature's Claim
SB: 2 [M11] Obstinate Baloth
SB: 3 [SOM] Precursor Golem
SB: 1 [ZEN] Oracle of Mul Daya

Overall I was happy with the list. A change I want to test out is changing the Harrows for 3 Cultivate and a Oracle of Mul Daya. Harrow isn’t terribly against control decks if you realize that you don’t have to play it on turn 3 but nevertheless Cultivate is definetley more “safe” to play. Oracle of Mul Daya was just the nuts and I certainly won’t mind adding another to the deck.

The PTQ itself didn’t go too well, as I dropped at 1-2. Ironically I beat a CawBlade but lost against the mirror and versus a BUG deck. My CawBlade opponent just didn’t have powerful enough draws to beat me. The luck was reversed against the mirror as I just drew poorly in both games we played. In game 1 I lost because I din’t draw enough natural Mountain so despite of landing my Primeval Titan before my opponent, he got his double Valakut active quicker that I did. In the following game I went down to 5 card but had a respectable hand. Unfortunealy I never drew a spell that mattered and flooded out to death. My match against the BUG opponent the experience was similar. I mulliganed once in the first and missed a land drop or two. My hickup was long enough for my opponent to land a Grave Titan and I was just left too far behind. In the second game my hand was good, but was dismantled after two early Inqusition of Kozilek.

I kinda shrugged of those losses, as I didn’t feel like they were lost from poor decisions (except from maybe the decision to play Valakut 😉 ). I still think Valakut is a very powerful deck and at least until New Phyrexia arrives (some spoiler musings will probably follow soon enough) it’s a deck you need to respect. In all of the games I lost, I was a Primeval Titan, Summoning Trap for Primeval Titan or even a Harrow away from winning each game on the spot. That is quite impressive in my mind.

I headed home to Stockholm on the following day since Sunday didn’t have any tournaments I wanted to play, so I figured I should just head east instead.

So, that was my GothCon 2011. Major props for Gothenburg for being a nice city with a lot of cools dudes, David for being so kind with “room rental” time and time again and to former National Champion Tore Hedbäck for taking down the PTQ. I hope I will be able to join you to Philadelphia later this year.

Have a good one.

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