Battle Royale Round 2: My Battle Royale Tournament Report *1st*

StarCityGames.com - Battle Royale!

By the title of this article, you can assume that Mr Hat was victorious in the battle of the snakes. Of course, the result is never the whole story, and this report has some excellent tips for those wanting to pilot the budget snakes deck. Enjoy!

KT Tunstall — Black Horse and The Cherry Tree

Thank Papa Knut for turning me on to this one—this is the most fun song I’ve heard in a long time. Strongly recommended to everyone who loves music and smoldering hot Chinese/Scottish singers. Now that I think about it, though, I have a ton of songs I want to write about. Maybe I’ll write a real article again after I go to the Coldsnap prerelease this weekend.

For now, though, it is time to talk about the Snake Battle Royale between me and Richard Feldman, a.k.a. lcd_cow, a.k.a. SCG_Feldman, a.k.a. good man of the week*. Why is he good man of the week? Just because. You can’t think of any reasons why he shouldn’t be, right? That’s good enough for me. That and he took his poor mana draws in stride and was a very gracious opponent. It was a good thing.

I am still pleased that I won, though. I need some claim to fame. Look, here’s my resume:

  • Blah blah legacy gp blah blah.
  • Yada yada PT Honolulu yada yada Ghost Dad yada yada forum posts yada yada done.
  • Winner of Star City Games Battle Royale Round 2.

You tell me which one is more important. I’m going with the snake battle.

To begin the real content, I’m going to start with the play-by-play and then the analysis. I’ve sent in the replay file to be included with my article, available for download here, so if any of you want to watch it, just follow the instructions outlined in Pugg Fuggly excellent article on the subject.

Let’s have those decklists again for reference.

Game 1
Ridiculous Hat: good luck, mr. feldman.
SCG_Feldman: and to you, mr. Goodman
Ridiculous Hat: may your death be quick and painless.

Yeah, I’m an ass, I know.

I start with a Sakura-Tribe Scout and he drops nothing. I drop an Island and say go, and when he tries to run out an Orochi Sustainer. I Remand it, firing out a Forest at end of turn. Of course, being the skilled master that I am, I rip a bounceland and use Scout shenanigans to get a Patagia Viper into play. He runs out the Sustainer and an Azorius Chancery, and next turn I get in for two in the air and play out a Sosuke’s Summons with counter mana up. He replays the Island and… another Sustainer. Next turn I play a Scout to regrow my Summons, and he Remands it to dig deeper in his deck. This leaves me with the choice of playing out the Summons or keeping up the Leak in my hand, and I choose the latter. He untaps and plays… another Sustainer and another Chancery. Weird, man. I continue with my plan of Summons and keeping up Leak, and he just plays a land and does nothing. He seems like he either has a ton of lands or a ton of counters. I decide that since Seshiro is lethal, I want to run him out, because even if he gets Remanded I am approximately a million miles ahead. He does in fact get Remanded, and Rich takes advantage of me tapping out by playing a Sesh of his own and getting in with two Sustainers. I block them to reduce his chances of drawing a Remand, untap, and drop the Coat in my hand. It resolves and he dies to a horde of 11/11 snakes. His mana at the end of this game was three Sustainer, Forest, two Chancery, Island, Plains, and apparently his hand was full of lands.

I bring out 1 Compulsive Research and 3 Coats of Arms for 3 Creeping Molds and 1 Mana Leak. The logic here is that Glare of Subdual is bad for me and that his mana is a little shaky – I plan on firing them off at the Chanceries given the chance… ry.

Man, what is a Chancery anyway? Merriam-Webter says…

1 a capitalized : a high court of equity in England and Wales with common-law functions and jurisdiction over causes in equity b : a court of equity in the American judicial system c : the principles and practice of judicial equity
2 : a record office for public archives or those of ecclesiastical, legal, or diplomatic proceedings
3 a : a chancellor’s court or office or the building in which it is located b : the office in which the business of a Roman Catholic diocese is transacted and recorded c : the office of an embassy

You learn something new every day, I guess.

Game 2
I prove my mastery by once again getting turn 1 Scout, and but he hits the turn 2 Chancery and returns his Forest. I, of course, hit a Forest off of my turn 2 Coiling Oracle and lay down another Scout before getting in for one. Attacking is a lost art, you know. Anyways, he busts out a Summons and I lay waste to his Chancery. He runs out a Forest and a Sustainer, and I use my two Scouts to get an end of turn bounceland, and then get the land back that I bounced. Viper comes down next turn, with his rejoinder being Summons, and then I bash with the team. My Scouts have served their purpose and hit the bin while I continue to apply snakes with Summons and Sakura-Tribe Elder. He plays a Viper of his own and is doing fairly well containing my serpent horde, though. I draw a second Summons and start cranking out the tokens, but Sustainer is actually the biggest wall ever. 1/2s are almost as good as 1/3s, you know. He draws a second Summons and then the following turn plays another Patagia Viper. I draw a Leak but it isn’t enough to contain his Congregation at Dawn, which gets Sesh/Sesh/Viper. Eek. I can’t possibly ever win at this point and pack ‘em up.

Mold seemed pretty bad there, considering that I used it in the ideal situation and it didn’t really do anything. I’m putting the Coats back in, as they would’ve won me that game.

Game 3
I mulligan to six on the play, but I get a hand with turn 1 Scout and two bouncelands. He also gets a turn 1 Scout, and I just lay a (topdecked) Island and pass the turn. He casts a precombat Sustainer and I send it straight to the bin, and then when he zones with his Scout I block and fire out a Growth Chamber, leaving me ahead on mana by a lot.

4:04 SCG_Feldman: dsfkgaopsjdfla;o
4:04 SCG_Feldman: I HATE YOU

I get that a lot.

I play the second bounceland and then we both start drawing nothing. He’s stuck on Forest/Island/Island/Plains, and I have bounceland/bounceland/Forest with Forest Forest Island Coat in my hand. I draw Forest/Forest/Leak/Remand while he draws something/something/Chancery and pitches a Tidings. I draw Island, he drops a Glare and I Leak it, and I draw a Sesh and fire it in. He Remands and I Remand right back. He drops a Patagia Viper, I drop one of my own (which is significantly bigger), he Remands it, and I pay for it again. He finally draws a forest and drops a Sesh of his own, killing mine.

4:13 SCG_Feldman: YES
4:13 SCG_Feldman: that was off the top
4:13 Ridiculous Hat: O RLY
4:13 SCG_Feldman: im just going to announce that
4:13 Ridiculous Hat: I DIDN’T FIGURE IT OUT
4:13 SCG_Feldman: in case it wasnt clear
4:13 Ridiculous Hat: 🙁

What a bastard. But wait! What lurks in the murky depths that is the top of my library? What could possibly save me from this situation of mild (possibly moderate) peril?

4:15 Ridiculous Hat plays Seshiro the Anointed.

I am so good at Magic.

I attack with my huge Viper and his tiny friends, and Feldman correctly decides that there’s no possible relevant trades he could make and come out ahead, so he lets me Ancestral myself. My draws? Remand, Leak, Elder. I have six mana up, two of it Blue. He packs it up.

Game 4
We both start with turn 1 Forest, and we both have turn 2 Elder. He uses it to get his third color of mana, drops a Sustainer, and misses his next land drop. I get an Island, fire in a Summons, and drop a bounceland. Again. I’m so lucky. He gets a Viper and misses his land drop again, so I zone with my two Summons tokens to trade with his and then play out a Sustainer of my own and Summons again.

This is where he drops Glare of Subdual and a bounceland. Ruh-roh Raggy.

But this is where I drop Seshiro the Anointed and get in, with one Snake making it through the wall of Glare. Perhaps Glare is not as menacing as I had once thought! He continues to crank Glare and I get in again with one snake, drawing another card. I have five mana up, so I decide just to drop a scout and keep up mana for the two Leaks and two Remands in my hand, figuring that if I just counter everything he does over the next few turns I can’t lose. He drops an Island and plays Meloku with three mana up. I Remand. He Remands my Remand. I Mana Leak the Meloku and get my Remand back.

What. A. Blowout.

It is at this point that he decides that resistance is futile and concedes, giving me the match in a very gracious fashion.

4:22 SCG_Feldman: yeah that’s game
4:22 SCG_Feldman: ggs ben 🙂
4:22 Ridiculous Hat: ggs feldman 🙂

Like I said, he was a great opponent and the games were fun. As such, this next section is for everyone except Feldman to read.

No-Feldman Zone begins here.
No-Feldman Zone ends here.

I can’t tarnish my image as a nice guy, of course. Let’s just pretend that never happened and move on.

So what happened? Why did I win?

Mana Advantage

That’s the main point. Look at how the games went. Game 1 I was up by a ton of mana early on, which let me cast everything with counter backup. Later in the game, I was no longer up by a ton of mana, and he was in the potential to do something nasty if he didn’t have a ton of lands in hand and if I didn’t have the early game advantage present to let me overtake him. Game 3 his mana insufficiencies led to Glare being Leaked and his Seshiro to languish in his hand for a while, while my mana advantage led to his Remands being little more than cantrip Early Frosts. Game 4 his missed land drops made sure that I could maintain an early advantage again, which let me press the attack and keep up mana to counter anything he did. Also note that I had a bounceland every game that I won. Well, every game period, but that doesn’t matter. Shh.


I was surprised at the strength of two-mana counters in this matchup, but really, they favor the person who has the mana advantage, which I usually did. Note the potency of my Mana Leaks and Remands in all of the games I won – I just had to maintain an advantage and then stop his powerful spells.

Patagia Viper

This card is ridiculous! It makes a bunch of tokens and it flies. That’s like the best possible way to maintain parity or gain an advantage in the mirror.

Congregation at Dawn

I didn’t use this one, but it seems like if Rich ever resolves it I can’t win. Thankfully this only came up once.

That’s all I got for now, but I do want to say again how much fun this was and how much of a good man Mr. Feldman is. Go read his article; it’s probably better than this one. As for me, I hunger for my next challenge. Who dares to fight me in a clash of the titans? Who deigns to fill the shoes of Richard Feldman, giant among men? I throw down the gauntlet. Pick it up, o noble opponent.

Or not. Whatever’s good for you.

Ben Goodman
RidiculousHat just about everywhere

For those of you who like non-Magical content, here’s a feature that I plan on making a regular part of my articles – “A Moment With Psamms!”™

psamms: work definitely wanted me to work today
psamms: and i definitely told them no.
psamms: they called me at like 8:30 and was like
psamms: “is there any way you can work today? we need someone pretty soon”
psamms: “uhh, i have things i have to do this afternoon.”
psamms: “can you cover from now until then?”
psamms: “i would, but i have to be there for 11.”
psamms: “oh, well in that case, have a good day.”
psamms: i even ran the full-blown lie
psamms: in my still asleep state
psamms: it was so masterful.

psamms: what am i getting namedropped for this time
psamms: {e}
Me: i’m basically just quoting how you lied to get out of work
Me: because i think it is hilarious
psamms: {e} indeed.
psamms: i sure hope no one i work with reads StarCity 🙁

*Sorry KK, but if you aren’t going to do it, I feel responsible that someone should be a good man.