Well, it has been a long time since my last article. Once again my life has been insanely busy and I haven’t been motivated by a topic enough to stay up all night writing about it. I had planned on writing a synopsis of my trip to Nationals, but I didn’t think the material would be interesting or pertinent enough to write about. Anyway, this will be a little report on the Milford,
MA qualifier I just attended.
My work schedule says I work every Saturday, but I have friends who want to see me qualify even though they don’t play Magic, so I can get my Saturdays covered now and then. I look at the list and decide the Milford qualifier, while probably the hardest qualifier I will have ever attended, will give me enough time to prepare, while leaving me time to attend other qualifiers.
I call my buddy Jason DePasquale to see if he is up for a trip to Boston, and he is game as always. Two other local players expressed interest in going – Mike Ferrel, and Tony Ramasalmi – so it’s a foursome. Unfortunately I am guessing that I’m the only one of the four who plays golf.
I had been consulting with Dan Bridy online, who has his hand on the pulse of MBC more than anyone I know. He was set on a blue deck but didn’t have the cards, so I mailed them to him in Philly. He wound up not playing in the NY Qualifier and STILL hasn’t mailed them back. I was also talking with Chris Senhouse, Hashim Bello and Greg Buccini.
I was pretty set on Islands for a while, Bridy agreed. In fact, the cards I sent him were for blue beatdown. I tested, and tested some more, and I started to fall in love with Plains. Especially because of this White control deck that splashed blue for counters that Hashim showed me. I know "splashing" for counters seems odd because counters are mostly double blue, but it worked – since in this deck they were late game cards. After a little testing I decided the deck would be much more efficient without the blue. By the time I talked to Hashim again he had come to the same conclusion, and gave me this list:
4x Wave of Reckoning
4x Parallax Wave
4x Blinding Angel
4x Seal of Cleansing
3x Mageta, the Lion
3x Cho-Manno’s Blessing
2x Story Circle
4x Tooth of Ramos
4x Chimeric Idol
2x Bargaining Table
1x Predator, Flagship
As my time was limited I didn’t really test it to make my changes. During the last day of testing, Friday, I decided I didn’t like the way this deck matched up against Islands, and I decided to play my blue beatdown deck, though I wasn’t really comfortable with that either. Jay and Tony come over to my house, and I go online to get directions to the Q. I see Steve O and ask him what I should play. He gives me confidence in Hashim’s deck, and gives me a shakedown sideboard. Being at a total loss, I go with the man who has come in Top 2 twice in Pro Tours. I later realize these were Limited Pro Tours and get pissed, but this was right before round 1.
The sideboard I went with was:
This may be the worst sideboard I ever brought to a PTQ. To tell the truth it wasn’t that bad, but the Armor was next to useless. The only places it was good was against Mercs, and it was okay versus blue beats if they used Airship.
We arrive on the sight. As we descend the stairs to the basement of TJ’s Collectibles, the familiar stench of a New England PTQ permeates my nose, nearly causing me to pass out.
I wait a bit before registering my deck to see if Hashim shows up. I decide I don’t really want to wait anymore, so I go ahead and register. Hashim shows up shortly after telling me of the changes he made. I was a little frustrated but no big deal.
Pairings go up and I get ready for my first match.
Round 1 Jake playing Blue Beats:
Game 1: He gets out some fast beats. Turn 3 he is tapped with only two Islands on the table. I look at him and am fairly convinced he does not have Daze in his hand, and tap out for a Story Circle. It resolves, and he does not do much more damage to me.
Round 2 Will playing Blue White Control:
Oh my dear God is this a bad matchup.
Game 1: I win this one, as I had a pro white Angel that was enough to go all the way.
Game 2: He Briberies my Mageta, I manage to get out a Wave to get it back. He has out two Jewelled Spirits and an Angel that was just cast. I have out an Angel. I bait with Bargaining Table; he counters. I try to Bless my Angel, he counters, I try to Bless again, he Last Breaths in response. I lose.
Game 3: He Briberies again. This time Wave does not resolve.
At this point I am looking at 6 more rounds that I probably have to win out to top 8, and get very frustrated. But I forge on.
Round 3 Chris Senhouse Rebels:
Well now I have to play against a good friend where the loser is out of the tourney after 3 rounds – what fun.
Game 1: This was a game that looked as though I was gonna roll. Wave of Reckoning was savage here, but two Parallax Waves put Chris back in the game. He couldn’t Seal the Coffin, though, and Angels finished him off.
Game 2: I sideboard nothing, as the deck is primarily against Rebels. Chris takes my face and smashes my face this game. He overruns me with creatures, and Topples spoil all my plans.
Game 3: This one I take his face and smash it. Wraths come to me and I love it. 😀 Unfortunately it meant knocking ‘House out of the tourney.
Round 4 Derek playing Green White:
This deck seems to be built to combat other decks packing big creatures. He was running 4 Defiant Vanguard.
Game 2: He has trouble finding a second Plains, and I am serving with Idol. I drop a second Idol when he has out an Idol and a Silt Crawler. I drop Parallax Wave and attack. He blocks with his creatures, forgetting I can phase out my creatures after damage is on the stack.
Round 5 Gucci playing Rebel Control:
Game 1: I have control with Mageta and I have Seal of Cleansing on the table. He phases out my Mageta with his Parallax Wave and attempts to lay his own, forgetting I can Seal his Wave on top of the stack. Early Waves of Reckoning control his Rebels.
Round 6 Joel Frank Mercenaries:
I have no idea who wins this matchup, but once again I have to crush a friend’s dreams to stay in the tourney, and once again it is a Team Diesel member.
Game 1: I didn’t think such savage beatings were possible in MBC, but I was taught a painful lesson. Like I haven’t felt so violated since getting Hatred’d out.
Game 2: Joel mulligans to 4. I Wave of Reckoning early. It’s not a contest.
Game 3: Joel mulligans to 5. He never really gets beyond two land. I lock him down with Story Circle and Armor.
Round 7 Scott playing Blue Beats:
Game 2: Scott decides that he doesn’t need more than one land. This was more than likely a mistake, since I won.
OK, as long as my tie breaks aren’t too bad I can draw in.
There are four people in the draw bracket alone with better tie breaks; if any three of them win, I’ll be in 9th or lower if I draw.
Round 8 Gary playing BlastoRebels:
Gary is very understanding that I can’t draw, and I feel bad because his tiebreaks are great. This is a great matchup for me.
Game 1: Angels and Waves rule.
Game 2: More of the same.
7-1 Number one seed.
I know all the decks but one, and I am favored in every matchup except one I don’t know.
Guess who I play.
Top 8 Ben playing Blue White Cowardice.
Game 2: I miss land drops three and four, and while I am saying go he is casting Accumulated Knowledges two and three. He gets the combo out, but he is not putting any pressure on. He starts beating with Angel. I get Rath’s Edge and lock up his Angel. He eventually is able to outrace his deck with Defenders.
Game 3: He plays perfectly. he doesn’t counter my enchantment removal and just makes sure his Angel has no opposition.
Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Good luck in all your PTQ’s.
And I’ll see some of you at the NYC PTQ in 2 weeks.