My Worlds Part 5 – Legacy Matches and Conclusion

My Worlds by Zvi Mowshowitz
For the final article in Zvi’s “My Worlds” Tournament Report, Zvi walks us through each of his Legacy matches in turn, sharing the highs and the lows with his usual charm and skill. With an overall record of 11-5, the Hall of Famer has officially re-caught the Magic bug, and we hope to see many more articles in the future!

[Part 1][Part 2][Part 3][Part 4]

Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
Part 3 can be found here.
Part 4 can be found here.

Round 12: Masaya Kitayama [JPN]

Kitayama is playing Charbelcher, which is obvious the moment he pops out a Tinder Wall. I know the deck well, but didn’t test against it since I figured I would know what to do. He goes for Seething Song, and I decide that’s where I need to draw the line. You Legacy mavens will have to tell me if that’s always the right play or not, but it seemed logical. Having successfully stopped his mana and slowed him down, I played out Counterbalance and then used Enlightened Tutor to get Sensei’s Divining Top. After a few turns of sitting on a single permanent he realized things weren’t going to get any better and moved on to the next game. In game 2 I looked at a hand without disruption and quickly threw it back. He went for it on turn 1 but I used Force of Will on Seething Song. I got to take my first turn, which was to use Wasteland on his Taiga. By the end of turn 4 he was looking down at Counterbalance and Rule of Law. When he tried for Chrome Mox I flipped over Engineered Explosives, which was the double whammy of countering the mana and blowing up the next one too. Out of permanents and locked down in multiple ways, he gave up and we were done in under ten minutes.

Round 13: Gerald Camangon [PHL]

Camangon is playing Goblins, so even though I don’t see much of that running around the room it’s time to fight the old enemy once again. Game 1 is disappointing, as he doesn’t get much of a start on damage but he does have multiple Wastelands and three Rishadan Ports. I survive the first two Wastelands but the Ports are keeping me from getting down the Moat, and without it or the Counterbalance lock I can’t hold out forever. Eventually he gets down Siege-Gang Commander and uses Rishadan Ports to lock me out of my answers. I sideboard the way I confirmed is correct, which is to take out a ton of Blue cards for the anti-Goblin package. Game 2 he doesn’t have a strong open, but when I go for the Moat he has Echoing Calm. That was a surprise, although I was expecting Disenchant so it wasn’t a functional one. I’m just glad he jumped the gun, not that he could have known there was a gun to jump, and the next turn I stick the second Moat. He doesn’t have an answer to this one, and after a bunch of fighting over Commander access I get down a Dragon and finish him off. Game 3 I Wrath away the board and get down Moat in decent shape, but I don’t have a Pulse so my life total isn’t what it could be. Meanwhile time is ticking down. I know that I’ve got an easy win with time, since I’ve got a Circle and a Moat, but that would likely end the match in a draw. Instead I’ve got to go for the Dragon, and that also means using a Wasteland on him to keep him below six lands. Normally if he started using Commanders on Dragons I’d know the game was over, but here that would be good enough to stall me. Instead I cast the first Dragon and then the second Dragon as a judge watches over us, risking tapping enough mana to get me in trouble to make sure the game will end, and it works.

Round 14: Darwin Kastle [USA]

Darwin was at my registration table for the second draft, and was smart enough to bring a book and not hesitate to read it. Being a veteran has its advantages, and how we’re back to party like it’s 1999, or more accurately about 1996 since that was about the age of the cards involved. He opens with a Taiga and a Kird Ape, which I use Swords to Plowshares on, and he puts down a second Kird Ape and a Skyshroud Elite. The second Swords slows down the pressure and the Moat comes down on turn 4 to end all attacks. At that point it’s far from over because he’s playing a ton of burn spells, including such winners as Reckless Abandon and Sonic Burst. I don’t know how good the deck was, but it was a great metagame call with half the field selling out their creature defenses in order to add Dark Confidant to their Threshold decks. His Mishra’s Bauble (a bit of pro-Goyf technology I have in my Elemental deck) causes him to think, and on my upkeep he sacrifices his lands to cast Fireblast. I tap out for Force of Will, then see that he has seen a second one on top of my library. Soon Counterbalance and Top are in play while he has no lands, and I offer to show him some counters if he’ll scoop, which he does after I tell him what the kill card is. Game 2 his deck once again comes out fast as it always does, but my board is packed with answers like Hydroblast and Pulse of the Fields along with both Circles. He puts down a Needle to stop Top and I get down a Moat and Tutor up a Circle of Protection: Red. His second Needle comes down on the Circle but I have a Seal, and on his end step I start the last fight with a Pulse of the Fields. He Bursts, I break the Seal to get my Circle back, he Fireblasts, I Hydroblast, and he decides he has better ways to spend the rest of the hour.

Round 15: Raphael Levy [FRA]

Levy is playing for Level 6, which requires him to win one of his last two matches, while I’m in a less valuable cash tournament and trying to 5-0 Legacy. He asks for the concession, but I’m not about to make it that easy. I wasn’t unsympathetic, but I’d made the decision before the tournament that no one would get a level-based concession before a match. I had no intention of letting the match draw, but if he lost then it was on him to win his last round. I was there to win. It was a feature match, and the write-up is accurate. Game 1 was the traditional anti-Threshold game. Game 2 was a little frustrating, because I had goods but not quite enough time to deploy them. Levy did the right thing by taking out Daze knowing I would play around it, and I did just enough playing around it that his double Force of Will at the end killed me, as I didn’t have the third white mana so I couldn’t untap and Tutor for Moat and Circle of Protection: Green had been Thoughtsiezed on turn 1. The look on his face when he saw that card was pretty neat; it was an annoying card to acquire because the dealers didn’t bother bringing it. It’s actually amazing against Threshold, many builds of which can’t win without removing it. Game 3 he got the second turn Counterbalance engine down and I didn’t have any Explosives or the Aura of Silence, so I had a choice of whether to search up an answer or Brainstorm in response. I chose to Brainstorm and shuffle with a Top in play, knowing that I would see a lot of cards and had plenty of time thanks to multiple Mishra’s Factories. They might even go all the way, and I even attacked on one turn only to lose one to Swords. I assumed Swords would be out, but didn’t realize that without Wasteland in his version Levy had to stop me from blocking Mongoose and Confidant, which would have made it extremely difficult to attack. The problem was that I couldn’t find a way out, and as I furiously shuffled and spun my Top. I think I made the mathematically correct play, but it didn’t work out. He used Force to stop a Wrath and a Thoughtsieze to stop Moat. I even brought back a Dragon to shuffle one more time, but still got nothing. Levy killed me in the fourth turn of extra time. I could have stalled the game out by leaving my mana open instead of bringing back Dragon, but that way was sure to lose eventually and I was planning to scoop from that spot if it happened. Congrats to Levy on a hard-won Level 6!

Round 16: Panaiotis Zacharias [GRC]

Before the round begins it is announced that teams who aren’t playing tomorrow need to inform Wizards tonight, and that Greece has made that notification already. I of course boo this decision not to draft the booster, only to find I’ve been paired against a member of their team, which leads to some awkward laughs, but he explains that they want to see New York before they go back and flattery to my city makes up for my game. This is the last round, and I’m up against High Tide. Due to a failure of either scouting or memory of said scouting, I keep a hand with a bunch of White cards and say go a lot in game 1 while he assembles his hand. Mishra’s Factory finally forces him to go for it sometime around turn 9, but I only have one counter so his Turnabout is enough to clear the way. He then casts Reset, which I misremembered as being during upkeep, which oddly he did too at first. I wonder why that mistake keeps getting made. He’s not playing with Twincast so it’s not inevitable that he will win, but chances are quite high and even though he does things like Remand his own spell (which indicates that it’s closer than you might think) he does have it, and I concede to the Brain Freeze. I always wonder if players should do a non-lethal Freeze first, to see if the opponent will show his deck. I sideboard out my hand of three Swords to Plowshares and two Wrath of God to bring in every Blue card in my sideboard, and then have to decide what the casting cost should be on my blank White cards since he has no artifacts, no enchantments, no creatures, and no damage sources. I eventually decide on three to diversify, but I have no idea if that’s right or not. Game 2 I get to stick Counterbalance and start him on the clock. He goes for it, and it’s closer than it should be since I decide to let things play out for longer than I should have, but he can’t get there through the Enlightened Tutor and Top when I decide to put up a fight. Game 3 I play Counterbalance on turn 2, which he Remands; turn 3 which he Forces; turn 4, which he Forces; and turn 5, which sticks. With the engine in play, I then go for Rule of Law, and when he tries to Cunning Wish for what is presumably a way to bounce something I tutor for Threads of Disloyalty. Realizing that Cunning Wish will never resolve and that he can’t get out, he scoops and the tournament is over.

I finish up 11-5, which is good for 27th. That’s certainly not a bad result for someone coming back from a long break, but it’s also not what I was going for. I wanted to win! To me, not making Top 8 is a failure. Top 32 might be a successful failure but in terms of results, it was a failure nonetheless. In terms of finding out if I could enjoy the game again, it was a big success. Clearly this is something I enjoy, and Kuala Lampur has gone from something I would never do to something I’m seriously considering. The timing is excellent, so even if I don’t particularly want to go off to Asia I could easily end up there.

On Saturday I was off doing non-Magic things that required my attention, but I was back on Sunday for the Top 8. I watched Uri’s match while keeping an eye on Chapin’s. Chapin’s opponent realized that he should keep in all of his removal to kill Dragons, which made it a tough match, but his deck simply didn’t have the tools and ended up going down 3-2. Uri meanwhile was playing against an opponent with a better manabase and more consistent draws but less power. Mori tried everything, but Uri’s deck kept serving up powerful effect after powerful effect and Mori couldn’t keep up. After that came the semi-finals, which was the most ridiculous match I’ve seen in some time. You had to be there to get the full effect, but it was still pretty awesome. In the other semi-final, Uri went with a wildly creative sideboard plan to go over to the control role. He came up with it, and my response when he suggested it was that I wouldn’t do it if he hadn’t tested it first. I didn’t actually do anything important to help him.

The finals came down to Chapin against Peleg. Chapin had the better deck, but Peleg’s sideboard was well suited to the matchup. I’m almost positive that I would have played in a way that wins one of the games, which would have tied things up at 2-2, but we will never know for sure. The games were definitely close, and we’re left with a most unlikely World Champion who as I understand it is legally barred from Kuala Lampur for the crime of being Israeli. Makes you wonder why we’d hold an event there.

The weekend finishes with dinner at Plata Forma with Randy Buehler, Aaron Forsythe, Patrick Chapin, and Eric Lauer. We talk about old times and new happenings in the game, as almost always happens at such dinners. It’s a great experience, and I’d never actually been to Forma before. Chapin had been there the two nights previous, and was still beating himself up over the finals. I’d have been doing the same thing whether I’d messed up or not. Randy notes that I’m back in whether I’ve noticed it or not, and I don’t doubt that he is right. Lorwyn is my favorite set in years. I’m qualified for life. There are even gambling odds on the game at Pinnacle Sports, even if we’re not yet back on television (and why not, say, on G4?).

I’m back. This is too much fun not to do.

Until next time,