Knocked Out in Nagoya

Yeah, I scrubbed out in Nagoya after starting 3-1 and needing one more win to make Day 2. Here come the details…

I haven’t really written a tournament report that I haven’t made money at before and let me tell you, it doesn’t feel good. At 3-1… with a good deck… something just told me that I was going to Day 2. All I needed was 1 more win. At a table filled with Kabuto Moths and decks that were built to control, my B/G deck filled with powerful creatures and 2 Devouring Greeds had good odds. Anyway… I’ll go back in time to before the actual tournament, to the journey to Japan itself.

I arrive at the airport around 10am to hit up a flight to Detroit to meet up with Gadiel, Tim Aten, and the human highlight reel himself, Dan Roddeman. There we meet up get something to eat and prepare for the 13-hour flight ahead of us. The flight was very long, but nothing compared to the 40-hour train ride I had to make for Pro Tour: Seattle. The food they served was terrible, but its not like I expected them to serve anything better than ham and ice sandwiches. The best part about that flight was probably watching “The Little Black Book”, which is a Rodman favorite. After being strip-searched upon exiting the plane, we finally get into the main terminal at the Nagoya Airport. No one there speaks English and it takes us a while to find the airport shuttles. The shuttle takes us to Nagoya Station, where I assume we take the train to the site. The city looks like something out of a cartoon or a superhero comic.

We all let Rodman take the lead for some ungodly reason, but he actually knew what he was doing, unlike the rest of us. We walk around for a long time trying to find our hotel. He asked about every police officer that we saw and we finally managed to find our hotel, which was in the middle of a strip mall-type building with the smallest sign I’ve ever seen. We wait there for a while until Ryan D*ckhead shows up. Gadiel proceeds to order an octopus sandwich, which was octopus in a bowl apparently, and turned out to be the worst thing ever.

We had one day to do stuff before going to the site on Thursday, so we decided to go to the Nagoya castle. There we ran into the Wizards guys and a bunch of pros including the French and the Japanese, then headed back to the hotel to pick up some packs to draft and head to the site. Once there we find out that there is going to be a player’s lounge with free food – they obviously couldn’t have done this at an American PT because we fat Americans would devour all of the food before the PT actually started. The food there wasn’t that spectacular either, but it was certainly better than nothing. Hopefully they will have one at PT: Atlanta that is stocked with real food instead of just fruit and cookies. Anyway, onto the tournament…

My first pod contains Wessel Oomens, Daniel Krutil, Me, Arnost Zidek, Osyp Lebedowicz, Gabe Walls, Hirotaka Oota and Kenta Nishino. I was between Gabe and Daniel during the draft in the 6th or 7th position. My plan for the draft was to force White or Black because those are by far the best two colors, but my first pick is a Green card over nothing followed by a Soratami Rainshaper over nothing. Gabe took a Reach Through Mists, which isn’t a very strong signal while the Rainshaper actually is. Either way, Gabe or I should have probably moved into Red. I really hate Rochester draft. My deck turned out to be very good for a Blue/Green deck. Here’s the deck.

3 Kami of the Hunt

2 Teller of Tales

1 Sakura Tribe-elder

1 Orochi SuSTAINer

1 Order of the Sacred Bell

1 Rootrunner

2 Soratami Mirror-guard

1 Matsu Tribe-decoy

1 Floating Dream Zubera

1 Soratami Cloudskater

1 Moss Kami

1 Matsu Tribe-Reaver

1 Uyo, Silent Prophet

2 Kodama’s Might

1 Reach Through Mists

1 Consuming Vortex

1 Mystic Restraints

1 Strength of Cedars

9 Forest

8 Island

The thing was I couldn’t possibly beat a Nezumi Cutthroat, Frostwielder, or Hanabi Blast and there were about four of each at our table if I remember correctly. There were also many Glacial Rays opened at the table, which could have been trouble for me, but I didn’t have to play against them.

Round 1: Daniel Krutil

This is the deck I didn’t want to play against. He had multiple Frostwielders, Moths, and Cage of Hands. He also had a Hanabi Blast that he drew every game and never discarded. Game 1 he starts off with an amazing curve and 2 early Frostwielders and I have a very slow draw. Towards the end of the game I made a slight mistake, which I think cost me the game. He tried to kill my Teller at the end of turn, which I bounced with Consuming Vortex, but I didn’t tap my Sustainer so I couldn’t untap it with the Teller and have 2 mana to regenerate my Tribe-Reaver. He then Blasts my Reaver that I use might to save. Next turn I drop Teller and draw Cedars. If I didn’t have to use the Might to save Reaver, I could have spliced might onto Cedars and killed him next turn. Instead he Cages my guy and Blasts me for the win. Game 2 I get a turn 4 Teller, turn 5 Reaver, but he races me with guys and Blast. He eventually has to Blast me and not discard the Blast or a Mountain, which he obviously manages and I lose the turn before I kill him again. Awesome.

Round 2: Hirotaka Oota

I don’t really remember what was in his deck before we start playing – I know he has a Cutthroat, but that’s all I remember. Game 1 he starts off with a turn 2 Nezumi Shortfang and turn 3 Nezumi Cuttroat, neither of which I can actually deal with outside of Mystic Restraints. He misses his fourth land drop though and I have a choice of Restrainting the Shortfang or Cutthroat. I figure his only way to win the game is racing me and he can’t use the Shortfang and play a spell every turn, so I Restraints the Cutthroat. This turned out to be the right call and I eventually swarm him with my creatures. Game 2 I get an early Teller of Tales backed up by a Moss Kami. He had an early Cutthroat again but not much to back it up. I eventually win by splicing Vortex and Might.

Round 3: Kenta Nishino

This is the other guy at the draft with Cutthroats, except this guy also had a Kokusho, which he opened on the last pack like a champion. Game 1 He mulligans to five on the play, but he still manages to curve out with Warren Moon and Feral Deceiver. Thankfully I have Restraints and Vortex in hand and my creatures run him over. Game 2 he curves out again, but this time he didn’t mulligan and I lose to his very fast draw. Game three he starts out with a Jukai Messenger – not one, but two of them! Thankfully he doesn’t draw much else and I play a turn 5 Uyo followed by Moss Kami with Strength of Cedars and Vortex in my hand.

I finished the first pod at 2-1, which I kind of expected. I wasn’t really happy losing round 1 though. My second pod had about the same player quality in it, though maybe a bit better now that I think about it. Mitchell Tamblyn, Katsuhiro Mori, Nicolas Olivieri, Tsuyoshi Fujita, Javier Dominguez, Emilio Campos, Simon Carlsson, and Myself. Yeah okay, it was a lot better. The draft went pretty well for me again, but I was forced into Green for a second time. I was pretty sure that I could go 2-1 with the deck I ended up with. Here it is:

1 Kodama of the South Tree

1 Ashen Skin Zubera

1 Rootrunner

1 Hana Kami

2 Villainous Ogre

1 Sosuke, Son of Seshiro

3 Order of the Sacred Bell

1 Orochi Ranger

1 Humble Budoka

1 Kami of the Hunt

1 Cutthroat

1 Warren Moon

1 Matsu-Tribe Decoy

1 Wicked Akuba

1 Rend Flesh

1 Swallowing Plague

1 Serpent Skin

2 Devouring Greed

1 Lure

1 Shizo, Death’s Storehouse

9 Forest

7 Swamp

As you might notice, the deck has lots of four-drops with no mana accelerators. By the time I had two Orders from Taco Bell in the draft, I had the choice between Sosuke and Orochi Sustainer. I needed the Sustainer, but I already had Lure and Sosuke is so good, especially with Lure. I figured with 7 packs left I could easily get mana accelerators with only two Green drafters at the table. This was obviously not the case. In spite of this, I still thought my deck had good matchups against the rest of the decks at the table. The one deck that I didn’t want to play against was Katsuhiro Mori’s deck – it contained three or more Hondens, 3 Hideous Laughter and about 7 Zuberas. He also had multiple Kodama’s Reach and Tribe Elders, so his mana base was fine.

Round 4: Javier Dominguez

I think this was the weakest deck at the table. He ended up Green splashing both Red and Blue for Keiga, Ray and some chaff. Game 1 I get a fast draw to his slow start and Greed finishes him off before he can really do anything. Game 2 he gets a turn 4 Keiga or something like that and my deck doesn’t really have any outs to that so I lose in short order. Game 3 was very close. He drew 3 Tribe-Decoys and multiple Serpent Skins, so I knew I had to win the long game. He was tapping down two of my guys per turn. We both drew tons of land until I eventually drew South Tree. He taps it down for a turn, but when I untap I give it fear with Shizo and put him on a clock. I draw Lure off the top, but it wasn’t needed as he concedes that turn.

That puts me at 3-1 on the day and I only have to win 1 out of my next 2 to make Day 2. Tamblyn said Mori’s deck destroyed him and I pray I don’t have to play against it.

Round 5: Katsuhiro Mori

Obv. The first game is actually kind of close with me drawing 2 Orders and Serpent Skin. He eventually draws two, makes me discard two and clears the board and I concede. Game 2 is also close, with me being able to get him down to 2 with Greed. I wait because there is a spirit on top of my deck, so I can kill him next turn. He then Greeds me for eight sacking three Zuberas; making me discard my hand, making three guys, and drawing three cards. I concede on the spot. I need to win my next round to make Day 2.

Round 6: Nicolas Olivieri

I don’t really remember what was in his deck. The only thing that I remember was that he had an absurd amount of Kabuto Moths and Mothrider Samurais. Game 1 he starts out with one-, two-, and three- drops the three-drop being Moth. I stall on lands and can’t really ever get anything going. Game 2 the exact same thing happens – I stall on four land and he curves out perfectly, but I have an early Cutthroat. The very last turn of the game I know I have to Greed him out to win, so I have to chump with a non spirit, cast Wicked Akuba and hope to draw Swamp so that I can play the Ashen-skin in my hand and cast Greed for exactly enough after attacking. This turns out to be what happens and he looks surprised that he lost that game.

Game 3 is looking good for me until he plays 2 Kitsune Riftwalkers to my horde of spirits. He beats me down with flyers and the Walkers hold down the fort. I can only hope to draw Devouring Greed or Gale Force to win the game. I get him low with Sosuke and Shizo, but I only have one turn left to win. I draw and it’s another out I forgot about…Lure. I lure up my one-toughness guy and attack with exactly enough damage to win. He shrugs, blocks, and casts Ethereal Haze. Ooof. Next time, please… just show me the Haze so I can concede – don’t get my hopes up.

So I finish a disappointing 3-3 and manage to lose 55 ratings points in the process. Nothing else happened on the trip really except for a ridiculous time at the Karaoke bar with Gadiel, Jelger, Rich Hoean, Gabe Walls, Jeroen Remie, Paul Rietzl, Nassif and Rodman. No one does Britney Spears Oops I did it Again better than Nassif. Hopefully my next report will be one worth writing about from Pro Tour: Atlanta. I’ll write one whether or not we do well, so until then keep screwing me out of 8-4’s so I can disconnect and make fun of you for your infinite misplays. Wow, just mulled to four on the play with an amazing deck. AWESOME.

What, me bitter?

Ashkar on modo

TheCaaaaak aim

Ken Bearl irl