EFro at Worlds Part 1: 6-0 with Vampires *5th*

Monday, December 20th – EFro, poker champion and old-school Magic pro, has made it back into the game full force, Top 8ing US Nationals and now Worlds. Read about his 6-0 deck in Standard!

How do you even start these things? Do you quote some song or some cliché saying? Do you dive right into the action or perhaps give some backstory leading up to the event?? I wanted to just open the whole thing off with a “Daddy’s Home,” but that might be far too lame. It’s been a long time since I’ve written, so I probably need to start with some sort of introduction of myself.

Most people know me as EFro — I’m a professional poker player who used to be a professional magician back in “the day.” I had some moderate Magic success with a Pro Tour Top 8 and three Top 16s in 2002, the only year that I played to completion (but back when I was playing, there were six Pro Tours per season, and damage didn’t go on the stack). I did a fair amount of writing for The Sideboard, Mindripper, Brainburst, and other sites that have long since stopped producing content.

It may take me some time to get back into the flow of writing about this game we all love, so all constructive criticism is going to be greatly appreciated. The last time I opened Microsoft Word before today was to type my name for a paper in college that I never actually got started on, so I’m certainly going to be rusty. I guess I should start with how I got back into the game…

Nobody really “quits” Magic, so while I only attended one or two Grand Prix throughout the many years I hadn’t really been playing, I still had my Magic Online account and would do team drafts at home fairly regularly. When I got an e-mail at the beginning of the year from Scott Larabee of WotC saying I had received a sponsor’s invitation to PT San Diego, I was reallllly excited. I know there are many people out there who think that’s lame, that I didn’t deserve my invite, and potentially that it’s just dumb or unfair. Some even suggested I should be embarrassed to receive my invitation in this manner.

Shockingly, I disagree.

I was extremely proud, still am — proud of myself that my former contributions to the game and my success outside of Magic make me a candidate to receive such an honor. I know there are very few of these invites awarded, so simply being considered to receive one was something that made me happy. I’m not really one interested in squandering opportunities, so even though my preparation for San Diego wasn’t much, I did manage to finish in the Top 50 to qualify for the next PT. I knew getting one ‘free’ invitation was no guarantee of a future one to come, so I wanted to make the most of it.

I didn’t prepare much for San Juan either, unfortunately, and even though I was able to make Day 2, I failed to reach the money after losing the last two rounds. The real crossroads seemed to come before US Nationals, a tournament I was now qualified for thanks to acquiring Level 2 status. It was scheduled to begin the same day as a rather large poker tournament out in Los Angeles, so the decision on which to attend was actually really difficult. In the end, I decided that I was having too much fun playing Magic, and that I would go to Nats and reevaluate whether to choose big Magic tournaments over big poker tournaments in the future based on my results there. After Top 8ing, I finished ninth on tiebreakers in the next American GP in Portland, Top 8ed GP Toronto, and again finished in the money at GP Nashville, so I was kinda hooked. My last Worlds was in 2002 in Sydney, a tournament I managed to go an impressive 5-10 when needing only a decent finish to make the Invitational that year, so when the opportunity to actually prepare for the tournament with a team of American superstars arose, I jumped on.

I spent several days in Northern California preparing with Patrick Chapin, Luis Scott-Vargas, Brian Kibler, Conley Woods, Josh Utter-Leyton, David Ochoa, Brad Nelson, Corey Baumeister, Owen Turtenwald, Michael Jacob, Ben Stark, and assorted others. Suffice to say there were many ups and downs, including a day of traveling from Tom Martell place in San Francisco by train to San Jose (which took several hours and ~$150), only to have to borrow Josh’s car to drive back to SF to repack our stuff with Conley, Kibler, and Nicole and then drive back to SJ to get a hotel closer to the action (not to mention to have beds). In the end, while the testing there didn’t necessary produce any amazing decks per se, it did get my mind very focused on Magic, which I personally feel helped me tremendously.

By the time my flight rolled around for Japan (first class for a ten-hour flight is quite sick, courtesy of David Williams and Ms. Shirley), I was fairly sure I was going to play the Michael Flores/Patrick Chapin concoction of U/G Genesis Wave in Standard with my backup being B/R Vampires. I still hadn’t played a single game of Extended at this point, so I was going to trust my friends when that time came. When the plane had finally touched down in Narita, I’d played a few games and taken a bunch of test draws with the Wave deck, and I didn’t like what I was seeing. The deck seemed loose to aggro strategies that could disrupt your mana accelerants, since they were all creatures, and I wasn’t loving the mana, often struggling to hit the colors I needed at the right time.

Ben S was the leading proponent of the Vampires strategy, so I watched him play on Magic Online and played a bunch of test games with the deck myself. After punting game one while testing against Kibler piloting the U/B deck we had built, I managed to win thirteen of the next fourteen… at this point I was pretty much sold. Ben said he was winning every match against every deck online except for Valakut. This would be fine if Valakut weren’t going to easily be the most played deck at Worlds. I had played a bunch of game ones, and it seemed whoever went first won more often than not; although Valakut won more games on the draw than Vampires did. Once Ben added the Demons of Death’s Gate to the sideboard, however, the matches finally started swinging back over to the Vamp side. We figured most Valakut players would know about this sideboard strategy and bring in some Tumble Magnets, but since we were bringing in Duress and already had Vampire Hexmage main, this wasn’t a huge concern.

Ben had also had a maindeck Tectonic Edge with three more in the sideboard for the control matchups. These were strong, but they did very little against Valakut and aggro decks, which I thought would be the most played decks. There were other cards I felt were also good against control while also having more applications against the rest of the field, such as Duress and Sarkhan the Mad, and the Tectonic Edge was really only a fraction of a land in this deck. The only card that can really be cast with colorless mana is Dark Tutelage, as well as a handful of sideboard cards, and having a lot of black mana to cast the BB and BBB cards, as well as activating Highborns, was too important to me. I ended up cutting the Edges from the deck the night before Worlds began. Here’s the deck I sleeved up on Thursday morning:

I don’t feel our deck was so drastically different from other Vampire decks out there, so I won’t go too in depth on any of the individual card choices right here. If the demand is out there for an in-depth look on this deck in the future though, let me know. I don’t have any actual notes for any games, but I’m one of those people with a pretty solid memory (or so I hope…).

Round 1: Antoine Menard (FRA) Eldrazi Green

Game 1, and I get to kick off the tournament with a mulligan, which is pretty frustrating right off the bat. I have a decent draw, and the matchup is definitely a good one, especially after I blow up a Joraga Treespeaker. I have him slightly on the ropes, prepared to win next turn, but his end-phase Summoning Trap reveals Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, and I get to concede before he untaps.

Game 2 is borderline inexcusable. I guess borderline is the wrong word, perhaps ‘completely’ is more appropriate. I don’t know if it was minor tilt from the way game 1 played out or the fact that I had never really tested against Eldrazi Green, but I knew I wanted to sideboard very similarly to the way I do against Valakut, as this deck is fairly similar, albeit much, much worse. Valakut is one of the tougher matchups while I think Eldrazi is rather easy. So after dealing out my opening seven, I look at the first three…

Swamp, Bloodghast, Demon of Death’s Gate

Pretty good start. Perhaps the three perfect cards for me to see. Now the next three…

Demon of Death’s Gate, Dark Tutelage, Dark Tutelage

So not only is there no seventh card I could get to make this a keep, I also realize I’ve managed to board in my nine-drops that deal me six when cast and somehow not removed my Tutelages. Of course I mulligan, extremely frustrated with myself and hoping I can pull out a six-card hand that can get me to a game 3 where I can actually fix my deck. Overall this is just embarrassing, however.

I end up getting a pretty quick Demon after Duressing him and only seeing an Obstinate Baloth for spells, so things seem pretty good. Unfortunately the second Baloth leaves him at ten life, so my 9/9 can’t finish him off in one swing. My previous draw phase had been a land, so I just need a burn spell (to kill him) or a non-Bloodghast creature to chump block for a turn so I can actually attack with my Demon and kill him the next turn. I missed again on my draw phase, and he hits an Eye of Ugin with enough mana to activate it and all his Eldrazi Temples, so I’m potentially facing down Emrakul next turn. I have to draw any red spell or a Highborn, which will also kill him after either chump blocking or annihilate resolving. I see a Lightning Bolt during my draw phase, so I luckily get to fix my deck for game 3.

OUT: -3 Dark Tutelage, -1 Gatekeeper of Malakir, -2 Burst Lightning

IN: +3 Demon of Death’s Gate, +3 Duress

Game 3 I have my first decent start; my Duress sees one mana accelerator that I take, as well as two Wurmcoil Engines that I may struggle to beat should they come online. With Antoine on five mana, I’m able to attack and Arc Trail him for two, my Pulse Tracker for one, triggering Highborn and letting me drain him out.


Round 2: Xiangxue Song (NZL national team) B/R Vampires

Game 1 is one of those typical Vampire mirror games which, when played well, turns into complete attrition. I come out ahead in the end when we’re both down to no cards, but three lands in a row end up leaving me two points short, and he pulls out a close one.

I’m very confident about winning the next two, as our sideboard for the mirror is fantastic. Skinrender is just a complete beating, and having access to four swings the matchup heavily. Most people don’t take out the Pulse Trackers, and I wasn’t even doing so until we’d played the matchup a lot, and Ben realized how outclassed they were by other creatures.

OUT: 3 Dark Tutelage, 4 Pulse Tracker

IN: 4 Skinrender, 2 Vampire Nighthawk, 1 Sarkhan the Mad

Game 2 is a complete beating, as I’m able to Bolt away his Highborns while I’m able to hold mine for the endgame to finish him off. I didn’t draw a single sideboard card this game, and he cast cards like Sign in Blood, which I just don’t think do enough.

Game 3 is pretty close, as his draw is fantastic with Bloodghast, Highborns, and plenty of removal, including Gatekeepers for my Skinrenders. The card advantage is keeping me in it until we arrive at a point where I’m at three with five lands (one Lavaclaw Reaches), a tapped Bloodghast, and a just-cast Highborn. He’s at ten with five lands, including a Lavaclaw Reaches and a Bloodghast with one card in hand. He activates and attacks with both, my hand containing a Burst Lightning and a Skinrender. I think this play is relatively close, and every option has different merits, including just Bolting my own Bloodghast and draining him. I went with the safest route, trying to keep my life total at five to play around Burst Lightning and blocked his Bloodghast with my Highborn, forcing him to use his last mana to pump his Lavaclaw, then Bolting that. I was able to untap, attack, Skinrender my own Bloodghast, and add a Lacerator, leaving him effectively drawing dead.


Round 3: Marcello Valvetto (ITA) Valakut

Game 1 I lose the die roll, as I do every round, I believe, which makes this matchup pretty tough. He plays a turn 2 Overgrown Battlement to trump my Pulse Tracker, but I’m able to Bolt it when he blocks, and I add another one-drop. This puts him firmly on the back foot, so even though his draw is quite excellent, he can now only manage a turn 5 Avenger of Zendikar. If he hadn’t blocked, I would be drawing dead to the turn 4 Avenger, but as is, I get him to block one of my Vampires with the Avenger, triggering Highborn with him at five, leaving him in Bolt range. He says after the game that blocking with the Battlement cost him the game, which I didn’t really want to acknowledge, since I was hoping he would do the same thing game 2, but I’ll take the W.

OUT: -3 Dark Tutelage, -3 Arc Trail, -1 Burst Lightning

IN: +4 Demon of Death’s Gate, +3 Duress

Game 2 he has to double mulligan, and I Duress, seeing Harrow, Lightning Bolt, and several Pyroclasms, but no third land. I take the mana producer to try to keep him stuck. He has to use his Bolt on one of my attackers, as I’m certainly never going to overextend, and I’m able to activate my Reaches, play a guy, and sac the team to make a Demon, ending the game.


I was actually pretty excited to be 3-0, since my 5-10 at the previous Worlds started off 2-0 before I finished Day 1 at 2-4. David Williams asked everyone in the room the night before if they would take a 4-2 in Standard, and of course we all instantly said yes. The format is fairly wide open, so starting off strong is really nice.

Round 4: Narciso Ferreira (PRT national team) Valakut

Game 1 is frustrating, as his draw is amazing, but I’m able to Gatekeeper his Primeval Titan, leaving him dead next turn, while he’s super mad at himself for forgetting to Titan up a Khalni Garden to protect his big man. Of course, this turns out to just be a slow roll, as he actually has the Avenger of Zendikar in his hand, as well as multiple lands for Valakut triggers, which leaves me dead next turn with no outs.

OUT: -3 Dark Tutelage, -3 Arc Trail, -1 Burst Lightning

IN: +4 Demon of Death’s Gate, +3 Duress

Game 2 is another story where Demon shows up early and ends things just as fast.

Game 3 I apply some early pressure while only keeping one creature on the table. The way he’s tanking each turn it appears pretty certain he has the Pyroclasm, so I just wait till turn 4 to activate my Reaches, play a one-drop, hope he doesn’t have the Bolt or know what’s happening, and get a Demon out, which takes the game down. Afterwards he tells me he had multiple Clasms in hand but didn’t want to use them on only one creature… however, since he had Primeval Titan ready to come down on turn 5, the only way he could lose was to a Demon, so had he just used Clasm to kill my one creature, I would’ve had no outs to win. I think this is a common problem, not wanting to lose value on cards and having it cost them the game. If he had no other action and no Titan, it would be far more reasonable to hold onto removal… since he wins the game if he forces Demon to come out one turn later; this turned out to just be a punt.


Before the round had begun, Matt and I were discussing the merits of taking an intentional draw if paired against one another and determined it likely was —EV. Williams laughed at us for being idiots since there were apparently a lot of 4-0s, and the likelihood of our being paired was so low.

Round 5 Feature Match: Matthew Q Sperling (USA) Valakut

Third straight pairing against Valakut, this time in a feature match. Luckily the pilot here was a monguise. I briefly entertained the thought of demanding that he return all the cards he borrowed from me (i.e. the entire deck minus the Mountain), but since I was using his beautiful, dark-as-the-night Beta Swamps, I figured I could let it slide.

Game 1 my draw is decent enough — I get Highborns out early and then stop playing spells, leaving up plenty of black to drain him out. It turns out his hand is all acceleration and no business, as he never casts anything and just dies to the creatures.

OUT: -3 Dark Tutelage, -3 Arc Trail, -1 Burst Lightning

IN: +4 Demon of Death’s Gate, +3 Duress

Game 2 my draw is solid, and I get a Demon out alongside a Vampire Hexmage, but he has the Inferno Titan to kill my Hexmage and Bolt me. He’s at thirteen, and my hand is just a Lightning Bolt with a single red mana, so I Bolt him end of turn and can kill him with any red spell. I draw a Highborn, which I think might work, as I attack him down to one, but he has the Tumble Magnet to tap my creature and Titan me out.

Game 3 and I have a tough decision as my hand isn’t very good, but I hope play skill is able to pull it out. I cast a turn 1 Tracker, turn 2 Duress, taking his Pyroclasm and leaving him some mana, and cast a second creature. Turn 3 I play a one-drop, a Demon, and a Highborn. The Demon puts him on a two-turn clock; he has a ton of Harrows and still quite a few outs, but he finds little action. He taps out to cast an Obstinate Baloth, putting himself from seven to eleven, but I demonstrate that I’m not going to forget to attack with my Highborn, and he scoops.


Round 6: Stjepan Sucic (HRV national team) U/B Control

We sat next to each other in round 4, so we both knew what the other was playing. He was extremely convinced before we started that he had no chance to win, which bode well for me on multiple levels. His low confidence means he’s more likely to take -EV plays in the game, figuring he has little chance. It also means his sideboard and deck aren’t configured nearly as well for the matchup as many of the other U/B Control decks are.

Game 1 I keep an awful hand that has a Bloodghast, but since he never casts a creature, and his counters are dead, it happens to go all the way with very little assistance.

He’s even more defeated after that, commenting that he was just hoping to avoid this matchup and hadn’t even bothered having anything in the sideboard for me. This means that I don’t need my Skinrenders, which I would have boarded in against someone like Luis Scott-Vargas, who has Sea Gate Oracles and additional Vampire Nighthawks after board.

OUT: -3 Arc Trail, -1 Gatekeeper of Malakir

IN: +3 Duress, +1 Sarkhan the Mad

Game 2 is kind of a joke. I get out an early Bloodghast, which he has to use Consuming Vapors on… not very effective. While he’s tapped out for that, I cast Dark Tutelage and hit a second Tutelage off the first Toots (this was my first time in the entire tournament casting the card, one of the main reasons I played the deck). He gives me an “oh well, only chance to win” before activating his Creeping Tar Pit and attacking me down to fourteen… the Toots provide some Highborns, and the game is quickly over.


I think this is the point where people would say how happy they are to be 6-0, what a feeling, blah blah blah.

Act like you’ve been there before!

Yeah, I’m full of it; obviously I was quite excited, happy, etc.

I’m a pretty solid Limited player and have done quite well at all the Limited GPs this year, and I think I’m generally regarded as one of the better drafters around… now it was on me to not mess it up.

I tend to force poison and other infect/proliferate strategies just because it’s what I’m the most comfortable with, and I feel like I can find ways to win even with the worst infect decks. Having Brian Kibler at my first draft pod, who knew this about me, could certainly play into my favor. However, things don’t always go as planned.

My draft is covered on the
draft viewer,

and I did a
draft tech video

with BDM, so I won’t go into too much detail here. After first-picking a Grasp of Darkness, I got two Darksteel Axes by pick 4 but wasn’t really seeing any good infect cards. I picked up a Bloodshot Trainee fifth and passed some mediocre poison cards late in the pack, figuring the dream was dead. I opened as bad a pack as you can imagine (as usual, I don’t think I’ve played a first-pick rare in any of my decks in any GPs or PTs since Nationals), taking Sunspear Shikari but getting some Spellbombs, Skyguards, Turn to Slags, and an eighth-pick Arrest. When Skithiryx got passed to me pack 3, a little piece of me died, and I selected the Iron Myr. I thought my deck was okay and hoped to pull out a 2-1 finish…

1 Auriok Replica
1 Blade-Tribe Berserkers
2 Bloodshot Trainee
1 Flameborn Hellion
1 Glint Hawk Idol
1 Iron Myr
3 Kemba’s Skyguard
1 Oxidda Scrapmelter
2 Sunspear Shikari

1 Arrest
2 Darksteel Axe
2 Origin Spellbomb
2 Strider Harness
3 Turn to Slag

10 Plains
7 Mountains

Round 7: Lukas Jaklovsky (CZE) B/G Poison

Lukas was sitting to my left with Kibler to his left, so I knew he had the Blight Dragon, and I knew he got a second-pick Putrefax in pack 2. Other than that, he got very few poison cards, and I knew his deck would be extremely weak outside of the two rares.

Game 1 he has his turn 3 Cystbearer, but I have the Arrest. When he misses his fourth land drop twice, I go for it with my Hellion and am dead to his ripping a land and having an Untamed Might in hand (which he could’ve cast for a ton of value the previous turn). Unfortunately, that’s what happens, and I lose a tight game 1.

Game 2 I have him on the ropes early with a Skyguard taking him down to around four life before he draws and plays his Skinrender. At this point I draw seven lands in a row, and he begins to take over. Luckily I have a big enough buffer in this game that when the spells start coming again, a Trainee is able to clean up the board and preserve the victory.

Game 3 starts much like game 2 except he’s also mana screwed. A Carapace Forger gets a bunch of equipment on it, including a Grafted Exoskeleton and a Bladed Pinions. There’s no Turn to Slag to be found, and I just build up a bigger ground force while he starts to draw out of his mana screw at an extremely low life total. Again I hit seven lands in a row and eventually the Pinions + Endoskeleton is enough to finish me off.


I was extremely frustrated to lose this round for a number of reasons. I think I had a huge advantage and just should’ve won, for starters. In addition, the way that the top draft pod works, since there aren’t enough undefeated players to fill a pod, there’s a very high likelihood of playing against a deck that’s 1-0 after you’re 0-1 because you can get paired against a winning 5-1 or 5-0-1 player (or just paired up against a 6-0). It’s also tough to take your first loss in a tournament and, since odds favor I’ll go 1-1 from here on out with my deck, the prospect of 1-2ing the first pod impacted me a little. Eventually I had to realize I just needed to suck it up and fight the good fight since nobody’s going to feel sorry for someone sitting on 6-1.

Round 8: Guillaume Wafo-Tapa (FRA) B/G Poison

Mini slap in the face to not get featured against Wafo, but I assume it’s because he’s not big time enough, and it was no fault of my own.

Game 1 is a no-contest; his mulligan gives him a draw that isn’t very aggressive (plus there just weren’t many poison cards opened at the table), and I’m even able to Scrapmelter his Trigon of Thought.

Game 2 seems completely not close again, and I’m even holding a Scrapmelter and Turn to Slag in hand while having one or two poison counters. Then he casts Liege of the Tangle… I’m able to Auriok Replica once, but there’s nothing I can do to keep that thing from killing me, and we’re quickly on to game 3.

Game 3 I wish I had notes for. I tried to play around everything and think I did a pretty good job of it. It was pretty embarrassing to look at my team of misfits, as on the last turn, my attack force was a Shikari, Iron Myr, Silver Myr, Loxodon Wayfarer, Myr token, and Auriok Replica. Five guys attacking for seven total damage is impressive, but it was enough because my removal kept him down. He had Tainted Strike targeting one of my creatures to survive an extra turn, but as I hoped, I had put him on no outs, even with an active Trigon of Thought.


Round 9: Pierre Canali (FRA) U/R Non-Metalcraft

Game 1 isn’t close. I’m flooded on lands, and he casts a Barrage Ogre into a Clone Shell which reveals Sky-Eel School into a second School.

Game 2 I don’t remember much of; an equipped Skyguard puts it away when his draw consists of too many Oxidda Daredevils.

Game 3 I trade my turn 2 Myr for his Daredevil, since I have plenty of lands. An Axe on a Skyguard goes to work, eventually picking up a Strider Harness, but he has his Turn to Slag. Pierre starts to come back into the game as I draw five lands in a row, but eventually I hit a Kemba’s Skyguard to slow him down, then a Sunspear Shikari to really get me back into the game before a Bloodshot Trainee comes down and picks up the Darksteel Axe. He uses a Neurok Replica to bounce it for a turn and attacks with everything to get me fairly low, but I’m not sure he realizes I can then equip my Shikari with the Axe, pick up four more life, and replay the Trainee unequipped. The Trainee starts going to work and quickly mops the game up from there with me finally at a healthy life total thanks to the Shikari. This was the first game out of nine in the draft where the life gain was finally relevant.


I let one opportunity slip through my fingers to draft poison, so I certainly wasn’t going to let it happen again. This time the order of
drafters was reversed, with Lukas on my right and Kibler on his right. (This draft was once again
featured on the Draft Viewer.

) I figured Kibler would more than likely not go infect again, but after Lukas took it last time, I thought there was a decent enough chance he would force it. Therefore, when I opened my first pack and saw Elspeth staring back at me (keep in mind I’ve never gotten to play a first-pick rare before), I took this as a good sign. The only other really relevant card was Embersmith. Second pick, I went into the tank… there was a Shatter, which certainly felt like the pick, but there was also a Plague Stinger (the rare was missing). I had BDM covering my draft again, and he probably thought I was crazy for even considering this. In the end, I did take the Shatter and wound up regretting it considerably.

I took Glint Hawk third, a card I love and really wanted in my first draft deck, but fourth pick, the only red or white cards were an Auriok Sunchaser and an Oxidda Daredevil, neither of which I ever really want to play. The best cards were Moriok Replica and a Tel-Jilad Fallen—I took the Replica after a lot of consideration, keeping my options open. Fifth pick was another bad pack with Flesh Allergy (which I took) and a bunch of bad red cards. I took a Bleak Coven Vampires over a Vulshok Replica sixth

and Grafted Exoskeleton over Bleak Coven Vampires and Blackcleave Goblin seventh. I had no real direction, and my deck was a complete mess at this point. Eighth pick had an Ichor Rats, another Fallen, and an Untamed Might, and I again chose the black card, unsure where I’d wind up. Tenth-pick Contagious Nim and eleventh-pick Flesh Allergy told me black was definitely open, at least from the right, and hopefully I hadn’t put too many people behind me into an infect strategy from the cards I had passed.

When I opened another bad pack, things looked like they were going to be rough. I ended up selecting Contagious Nim over Embersmith, Galvanic Blast, and both black and green Replicas… definitely a tough choice, but I wanted a higher density of infect creatures and was just hoping I’d have any deck at this point with some flow. Getting passed Contagion Clasp second pick was a dream, as that card is absurdly powerful, and there’s really very little I could ask for beyond that. I picked up multiple Carrion Calls, an Ichorclaw Myr, and a late Infiltration Lens, so pack 2 ended up quite good for me.

Multiple Grasps of Darkness, a Slice in Twain, several two-drop infect creatures, and an Untamed Might in pack 3 gave me a mediocre deck I could work with, despite leaving my first three picks in the board:

1 Blackcleave Goblin
2 Carrion Call
2 Contagious Nim
1 Ichor Rats
3 Ichorclaw Myr
1 Molder Beast
1 Moriok Replica
1 Plague Stinger
1 Tel-Jilad Fallen

1 Contagion Clasp
2 Flesh Allergy
1 Grafted Endoskeleton
2 Grasp of Darkness
1 Infiltration Lens
1 Slice in Twain
1 Tel-Jilad Defiance
1 Untamed Might

9 Swamp
8 Forest

Round 10: Ivan Floch (SVK national team) U/R Artifacts

Game 1 was pretty tilting mostly just because of how bad his deck was. He had multiple Trinket Mages, but his only targets were two maindeck Vector Asps and an Accorder’s Shield. He also had multiple Golem Foundries, which I’ve found to be bad even in an all artifact/proliferate deck. Unfortunately, in this game, all his little creatures were too much to handle with the Shield, and he won a close one.

Game 2 he shows Galvanic Blast and Volition Reins, so now I know he has a couple good cards to play around and a way to deal with Tel-Jilad Fallen. Infiltration Lens was too much for him, though.

Game 3 I have my sideboarded Viridian Revels, which are absolutely amazing here as trading his Vector Asps for my creatures is no longer very good, and all my removal is super strong (not to mention my Slice in Twain). I shut down pretty well with a Moriok Replica playing defense, and he’s unable to attack with his 1/1s or use his Neurok Replica for fear of being blown out, so he has to Volition Reins my enchantment. This leaves me unable to sacrifice my Replica for good value and puts me under some pressure, so I’m forced use the Slice in Twain I had been sandbagging on his Reins, take back my Revel, and try to figure out a new game plan. The second Reins takes the Revel again, and now he’s completely out of gas and used up his bombs. I sacrifice the Replica in response and take a few damage, but I’m up so many cards that I’m easily able to come back from this position and win the game when he can only knock me down to one.


Round 11: Lukas Jaklovsky (CZE) U/W Non-Metalcraft

I know from Kibler, who played him the round before, that his deck is pretty poor with a True Conviction and Sunblast Angel thrown in.

None of this matters in the match, though, as he draws his maindeck Loxodon Wayfarer game 1 (niiice), and in both games I draw seven lands in a row while he plays Sunblast Angel as a 4/5 flier, which doesn’t even kill anything, and steamrolls me. Both matches were lost to the same person, and in every game lost, I drew seven lands in a row… frustrating!!


Round 12 Feature Match: Paulo “Doritos” VDDR (BRA) B/R

I get paired up, as Paulo is 10-1 (lucky SOB), and I think we both wanted us to finish 10-2 here (okay, maybe it was just me).

Game 1 he’s really short on lands after playing a turn 1 Spikeshot Elder and activating it turn 3. I basically play this game like a control mirror, sitting on a Moriok Replica facing down his Painsmith and Elder while he says ‘go,’ and I hit land drops. Eventually he casts his own Replica without the mana to activate it, and I make my move, casting Slice in Twain and Carrion Call, cashing in my Replica, and removing the Elder with Flesh Allergy. Unfortunately I run out of gas when he starts hitting lands, and a Prototype Portal with a Nihil Spellbomb allows him to draw an extra card per turn for 1B, so he’s slowly pulling away. Luckily he’s at eight poison, and I’m able to sneak in the ninth and finish him with a topdecked Contagion Clasp.

Game 2 my draw is really sick with both of my Grasps, a Moriok Replica to reload, and some infect creatures. When he goes to take the damage from my Tel-Jilad Fallen, I show him the Untamed Might.


At 10-2, I was in a good position, needing just a 3-2-1 (in theory) to Top 8… or at least it would’ve been a good position if I’d played a game of Extended since Amsterdam…