Boat? As in sailboat? Yes, that was the name of my team. We finished Day 1 of Pro Tour Atlanta on top of the standings, but one could probably say that the Boat sank on Day 2.
My team for this event was Frederico Bastos and Rui Mariani. We get along well, we have played together in five sanctioned Team events before (one of them being PT: Boston 2003 where we made Day 2), and our personalities don’t clash when discussing Magic strategy. Frederico is also the most successful Magic player in Portugal ever, with Rui Mariani being arguably the second. The problem with them is that neither one plays Magic Online at all. I won’t go as far as claiming that MTGO can replace real playtesting sessions, but nowadays, it is certainly a tool that refines your play skill in Limited. At the very least, it just allows you to play more and have more experience. The fact that I play MTGO made me the player on the team who had the final call in all issues.
For this Pro Tour we did a total of one team Rochester draft, and it was the night before the Pro Tour vs. fellow Day 2 competitors Team Chris Jarmak. In Portugal, we never managed to start a single team Rochester. Everyone thinks that Rochester draft takes too long, and worse, they claim that in team Rochester only one player drafts while the other two watch. Since there weren’t any PTQs for Atlanta in Portugal, there wasn’t anyone interested in Team Rochester except the three of us.
One of my plans for the Rochester was just give the Green to the other team and draft three decks with the other four colors. I had no idea what to do with the Green, and with my strategy, we would draft a R/B, a W/B, and a U/W, or any combination with 2 Black, 2 White, 1 Red and 1 Blue in our palette. With all the Green, the other team could go for a mono-Green deck or two Green decks, but they would probably just stick to whatever plan they had and have their Green deck cut some cards from us. I never had the chance to try this, so I never knew if there was enough depth in the other colors to eschew Green entirely. Anyway, as the Pro Tour approached, Frederico left town due to prior engagements and only joined us in Atlanta, where we agreed on a rudimentary plan of R/B on the left to avoid passing any removal, U/W in the middle, and G/x on the right.
In Atlanta, we were looking for the half-Portuguese, half-Belgian Bernardo da Costa Cabral for some advice regarding the seats. We found out he wasn’t teaming with the usual Belgian guys; instead he was teaming with Kai Budde and Mattias Jorstedt. They had just gathered in Atlanta and, we were told, didn’t have much of a plan either. Apparently, the strategy to counteract ours was to put W/x on the left, R/U or B/U or R/B in the middle, and G/x on the right. Our conclusion was everything’s possible since there is a pack of Champions rotating left and one rotating right. Since we didn’t have enough flexibility to go for a reactive strategy, we would keep it simple. Besides, there was a day of Team Sealed to worry about before the drafts.
Sealed Deck #1
This card pool was average – not spectacular, but playable. We toyed around trying almost every color combination until we realized why the decks weren’t coming together. All colors had a curve concentrated in the 4-mana slot. Eventually we settled on G/R and decided to split up the Blue. Blue was the color with most playables, but the mana curve of a Blue based deck was going to be awful. Ultimately, we divided Blue into a U/B Spirits with Teller of Tales, Sire of the Storm, 2 Shimmering Glasskite, and Devouring Greed, and a U/W control deck with 2 Soratami Mirror-Guard, Soratami Seer and Soratami Savant. This way, the good but expensive Blue fliers were distributed evenly. I got the U/W deck, which also had a Myojin of Cleansing Fire and an Opal-Eye Konda’s Yojimbo; it was probably the best deck. The G/R was also good, but the U/B seemed bad.
Round 1: I Blame Bung
My opponent: Jeremy Elgar (R/G)
His deck has the tools to beat mine, like Frostwielder and double Matsu-Tribe Sniper. I lose the first to a combination of these cards plus other good stuff, but I win the second thanks to Opal-Eye Konda’s Yojimbo, which stays back on defense while I attack with a Kitsune Blademaster.
Our match was the last to end, and we went for the third knowing it would decide the Round. Jeremy chooses to play and takes a mulligan but regains the loss card with two Kodama’s Reach feeding a very troublesome Genju of the Spires. He has Frostwielder and Matsu-Tribe Sniper, and when I finally drew my eighth land, I am able to play Myojin of Cleansing Fire and clear the board. He was holding a second Matsu-Tribe Sniper, and the life totals were heavily in his favor, so I couldn’t win with fliers. We went into extra turns, with either player having the chance to win. It was really close and complicated, and I was lucky to win; the game easily could have been a draw or a loss.
Team: 1 – 0
Me: 1 – 0
Round 2: Metagame’s Tout Court
My opponent: Bastien Perez (R/B)
Bastien starts and plays turn 2 Nezumi Cutthroat and turn 3 Takenuma Bleeder. I play turn 3 Kitsune Blademaster, and it dies to Yamabushi’s Flame. My life was 13, and he had a 2/1 fear and a 3/3. If it wasn’t teams, I would’ve conceded right away. Since I had other people counting on me, I knew I couldn’t just give up. I play a chumpblocker for the Bleeder. Then I play Cage of Hands on the Nezumi, trade or chump with some creatures to stay alive, and get back into the game by drawing cards with Soratami Seer. Bastien runs out of gas because of mana flood, and I win. Mariani stopped watching during the turn where my opponent cast the Yamabushi’s Flame, and he couldn’t believe I pulled this game out.
In the second game he starts slowly for a R/B deck, and I have a good start with first turn Lantern Kami and second turn attack with Ninja of Deep Hours. The Ninja draws some cards before dying to Torrent of Stone, but I already had both the tempo and card advantage.
Me: 2 – 0
Frederico was helpless against Pierre Canali’s U/G snakes deck, with turn 3 Kodama’s Reach and turn 4 Azami, so it was up to Mariani. He lost the first, and won the second thanks to Blood Rites. In the third game, Mariani plays turn 2 Ember-Fist Zubera and turn 3 Cunning Bandit, and he passes holding First Volley and Glacial Ray. His opponent has a Thief of Hope, and everything falls into place when he plays a one-toughness guy. Mariani kills both, but forgets to attack with the Bandit. I was having visions of a game where his opponent would stabilize at two life and go on to win. However, Cunning Bandit, despite not giving haste or untapping the creature, is still insane and enables an attack that reduces the opponent’s life to exactly 0. Lucky, I guess.
Team: 2 – 0
Sealed Deck #2
This card pool was better than the previous one and was, in fact, our best of the day. It had 2 Hideous Laughter, Earthshaker, Nezumi Graverobber, and Ryusei. We tentatively split this into U/W, R/G and mono-Black. The U/W was really good, but the mono-Black lacked creatures, and the R/G seemed awful. It wasn’t good enough, it was very expensive, and it didn’t even have enough playables despite having two colors to itself. We settled into U/W, R/B aggro, and G/B fatties with 2 Hideous Laughter. I was once again given the U/W deck. This time, it had lots of early drops, such as 2 Floating-Dream Zubera, Kami of Ancient Law, Samurai of the Pale Curtain, Soratami Cloudskater, and a Tallowisp that could get Indomitable Will and 2 Mystic Restraints. Sweet.
Round 3: N.F.C.
My opponent: John Fiorillo (R/B)
Once again, I was facing a deck that is supposed to beat the U/W deck. Maybe it was a common strategy for teams to put their anti-Blue cards in the middle. John has Thief of Hope, Kami of the Waning Moon, Kami of Fire’s Roar, Nezumi Cutthroat, and Blind with Anger. Game 1, we trade some guys, and I play an early Honden of Seeing Winds. He still has ways to pass through my blockers, so I never have complete control. A timely Devouring Rage wins it for him.
Game 2 is really close, probably because he never had the fifth land, so there wasn’t the threat of Devouring Rage. However, the combination of Thief of Hope, Blademane Baku, and Kami of the Waning Moon left me low in life. By the time John draws his fifth land, my teammates have already won. Our R/B deck had an easy time with theirs thanks to Nezumi Graverobber, 2 Frostwielder, and Painwracker Oni. Even though it no longer matters, John and I decide to finish our game; it was close, but John won.
Me: 2 – 1
Team: 3 – 0
Round 4: We Add
My opponent: Andrew Pacifico (R/W)
In the first game I keep a hand with Plains, random White cards, and Honden of Seeing Winds. I keep drawing White stuff, and on my fifth turn I topdeck the Island to play the Honden. I draw lots of cards and ride the card advantage to victory. He didn’t play anything spectacular, so I assume he had either a bad draw or below average deck.
In the second game, I play turn 2 Tallowisp and once again gain card advantage. I search for Mystic Restraints for his Frostwielder and search up the second for his Kabuto Moth. His Genju of the Spires catches me by surprise and hits me for 6. His last card is Yamabushi’s Flame, which he plays targeting me. He needs to topdeck a way to deal the final two damage, but he does not.
Me: 3 – 1
I think Frederico lost to his third opponent with Keiga in his deck, and Mariani won 2-1 since his opponent got a game loss because of a misregistered decklist and was either mana screwed or flooded in the third game. Mariani claims to have lost the second to a topdecked Jugan, but after the match I remind him that he wasted his Eradicate on an irrelevant 3/3 the turn before. Mariani had Ryusei and Gibbering Kami; his opponent had Child of Thorns and random Green 3/3. I would’ve kept the Eradicate. Luckily for us, that didn’t cost us the match because of his opponent’s mana problems.
Team: 4 – 0
Sealed Deck #3
We didn’t get insane sealed decks this time, but at least they were playable, albeit difficult to build. We had a Meloku, a card that wins games by itself. My team wanted to build W/R Samurais just because we had some bad Samurais and Call to Glory. I never really liked that plan unless I have good reasons like Nagao. After much deliberation, we decided to build a U/W typical deck, while Red and Black would combine with Green and the remaining White cards, which were in abundance. We tried almost everything possible before settling into G/R and B/W. One thing that was kind of troublesome was how to separate the White cards. Which ones are defensive, and which ones are aggressive? There are some obvious ones, like Reciprocate and Kami of Old Stone, and others that are clearly better when you are playing first like Hundred-Talon Strike and Indomitable Will, but there were some doubts when splitting White. Our final move was to give the B/W deck the Myojin of Cleansing Fire, because we felt the B/W deck needed more late game power than the U/W that already had Meloku and Sire of Storm.
You can check all of our decks from all of the 3 Sealed Decks here:
Round 5: Sherman’s Marsh
My opponent: Jonathan Sonne (R/G)
He plays big guys like Gnarled Mass and Iwamori of the Open Fist. I have to double block to have any hope of killing them, but he always has some trick to wreck me. At some point, I’m way behind in the game, and literally my only chance is to draw Meloku. I was in Sensei’s Divining Top mode, and eventually I find Meloku three cards down and pull him up. He won me the game all by himself, but a turn later and he wouldn’t have been enough.
For the second game I have Meloku in hand but decide to play some creatures before him to draw out the removal. I figure that’s fine even if Sonne doesn’t have removal, since my “bait” creatures were themselves pretty good. My turn 5 Soratami Seer is killed with Torrent of Stone. My turn 6 Sire of the Storm is killed with Torrent of Stone number two. On turn 7, I play Meloku and enchant him with Phantom Wings, because Sonne has Hana Kami to return a Torrent of Stone. He does that and Torrents Meloku, and I return Meloku to my hand in response. I play him again next turn, and this time he stays and wins me the game. I made a mistake when I was chumping creatures with 1/1 tokens. I think I shouldn’t have blocked Humble Budoka, because it can’t be targeted. I was still at a reasonable life, so only Strength of Cedars or Devouring Rage would kill me.
Me: 4 – 1
Frederico lost, having played Blood Rites but no creatures. Our fate once again rested with Mariani. Kate was really close to winning for several turns, but she never drew a Spirit or Arcane to give fear to Kami of the Waning Moon and allow it to sneak past Mothrider Samurai. I have to admit we were really lucky winning this one.
Team: 5 – 0
Round 6: Paul Jordan LOL
My opponent: Steven Sadin (R/U)
Steven has a combo to which I had no answer: Neko-Te and Frostwielder. I bounce the Frostwielder something like three times, but eventually it becomes active, and I have no way to deal with the equipment or Frostwielder except Reciprocate, which would only work if he pinged me. However, when he starts pinging me, it’s for two each turn, and the game is pretty much over.
I win a very long second game where he has the Neko-Te but no Frostwielder. The first creature he plays is Kira, Great Glass Spinner, so he has to pay twice to equip the Neko-te. Meloku takes this one.
We have less than ten minutes to finish the third game. Steven decides I would be starting. I start with turn 2 Split-Tail Miko, turn 3 Waxmane Baku, and turn 4 Kabuto Moth. He stalls at two Islands and discards. I felt I had the game in the bag since I was already holding Meloku, and I even forgot to put a counter on Waxmane Baku. His third Island allows him to play River Kaijin, but it is the only spell he plays this game.
Me: 5 – 1
Team: 6 – 0
After the Sealed deck portion, we noticed something. I played U/W in all three sealeds and played against six R/x decks. There was the idea that the Red decks win against the Blue, so maybe everyone tried to metagame for that; regardless, I still ended 5-1 against the Red decks. We don’t believe very much in matchup advantages, so we kept with our strategy of R/B, U/W and G/x, that could switch easily into W/B, U/R or U/B, and G/x.
We were happy after going 6-0 on Day 1, but we also knew that we had no experience in Kamigawa Team Rochester drafts. I didn’t want to be the pessimist of the team, but I was aware that Day 2 was going to be hard.
Draft 1: Les Baltringues de Ludipia
We are the first to open, and start well with Keiga for me and Nezumi Cutthroat for Mariani. We settled on our plan of R/B, U/W and G/x, with X being Blue this time. Our decks were going okay, but we were clearly outopened. Not only did they open all the bombs, but they also got many more quality picks. It seemed like I was always hate-drafting first pick, so much so that I wasn’t really sure if I was U/W or U/B. It ended like this:
Frederico – G/U vs. U/W
Me – U/W vs. R/B
Mariani – R/B vs. G/B
After the draft my teammates were sure that we were going to lose. I hate that kind of attitude, and I tried to motivate the team, but they didn’t stop whining, so I just kept quiet. In my head, Mariani had to win against the Green deck, and it seemed possible if the Green deck didn’t draw Hideous Laughter. My matchup wasn’t as bad as it seemed, though I’m sure I was the only one in the room who would think that way. So, Mariani had to win, and though Frederico and I were at a disadvantage in our matches, it was closer than everyone else was thinking. Since I was already counting on Mariani’s win, I figured that if I won, it would be enough.
Round 7: Nicolas Bornarel
This is a feature match, and they choose to cover Frederico and Benjamin, the most successful players on each team. The sideboard wrote this about my match:
“Tiago and Nicolas saw Red and Blue dragons clash. Nicolas and the Red dragon took that game. Nicolas made very short work of Tiago and overran him with his Black/Red deck.”
I don’t know who they asked about our match, but If they had asked me, I would have said something that would describe what happened more accurately like: “I mulliganed to 5, drew only Plains but was still in the game for a while with turn 3 Kitsune Blademaster,” or “The other game, I drew ten lands and five spells,” or “When I played the Keiga, I had already taken two hits from Ryusei.”
Me: 5 – 2
Mariani won, and it was up to Frederico now. The third game was really close, and several times, I thought Frederico had won. Benjamin was on the ropes almost the entire match, but Meloku saved the day for the French team. Since Meloku had saved me at the last minute the previous day, I couldn’t really complain.
Team: 6 – 1
After the round, I admit that we were not supposed to win, but I don’t like that kind of attitude where you feel like you’ve lost before you sit down to play. If my teammates don’t believe we have a chance of winning, then there’s no way we are winning. My plan of counting on Mariani’s win and assuming I would win myself wasn’t arrogance or overconfidence. Our only chance was to assume Mariani would win, and based on that, only either Frederico and myself would have to win in spite of our bad matchups. I used this round to illustrate that you have to believe you can win even when things don’t look good for you. I also want to say that I do respect Les Baltringues de Ludipia very much, both as a team and individuals. I played against them in previous events, and I can only say good things about them, but I had to make my team believe that there was a possibility that we could win.
Draft 2: One Spin
We once again open first this draft. This time there were two good cards for us: Nezumi Cutthroat and Cage of Hands. My team assumes that I’m picking the Cage and having Mariani pick the Nezumi, but I surprise them and pick the Nezumi myself and give the Cage to Mariani. It turns out that One Spin drafted the strategy of R/B on the left, U/W in the middle, and G/x on the right. At this point we had the W/B vs R/B, so that looked good, and I was mono-Black vs. their U/W. I had fear guys and plenty of discard, so my matchup seemed good also, and Frederico was G/R vs G/B. I switched Frederico to G/U when he had the opportunity to grab Mystic Restraints because it seemed to me that G/U could be good vs. G/B. I should’ve gone B/R myself, but Red wasn’t coming, and I ended up almost mono-Black with a little Blue. The problem? In Betrayers we opened many copies of Torrent of Stone that ended up in Saitou’s deck, the only Red deck at the table. I tried to explain to Mariani that in Betrayers there were more possibilities of opening good Black and White cards than Red, and that we were unfortunate to open no good cards in our colors and always open Torrent of Stone. Frederico was skeptical about switching to Blue, and since I was the one responsible for all the decisions, I was feeling kind of guilty.
Frederico – G/U vs. G/B
Me – B/u vs. U/W
Mariani – W/B vs. R/B
Once again, we were playing a match that my teammates didn’t believe we could win. I was pretty sure I was the favourite in my match, since I had Nezumi Cutthroat, Kami of the Waning Moon, Thief of Hope, Honden of Night’s Reach, Three Tragedies, and Seizan, to which he has no answer. Mariani had a very solid W/B deck with 3 Cage of Hands, Hideous Laughter, and a solid creature base. Frederico was Green vs Green, with the Blue making no difference at all.
Round 8: Kenji Tsumura
I don’t remember what happened game 1, but I lost. We both played lands and spells, and he came out on top. That’s just how it is sometimes.
I lose game 2 because I’m stupid. I have Thief of Hope, another random 2/2, and Seizan. Kenji has Kitsune Blademaster and Kami of Palace Fields. I am at 11 and Kenji’s at 3. All I have to do is to pass, and eventually he will die. He will lose 2 life from Seizan, than I would draw 3 cards, and if one of them is spirit or arcane, I win. Even if I don’t draw a spirit or arcane, I can just pass again and let him die to Seizan. I look on his side and see that he only has one Plains untapped. I think Mending Hands only prevents to creatures so I attack. He blocks everyone on Seizan, it dies, and he prevents 4 to himself.
This is one of the worst plays I’ve seen. My teammates have both lost, so I don’t feel that bad, only stupid. However, our 0-3 gives credence to their complaints about our draft. We regroup after the round to discuss what we’re going to do. We agree to stick to our original plan no matter what since we don’t have the know-how to try other plans.
Me: 5 – 3
Team: 6 – 2
Draft 3: Team to Beat
For this draft, we stick to our original plan as we agreed. That meant R/B on the left, U/W in the middle and G/x (black) on the right. The Spanish players realized this, and switched the Red with the White between Seat B and C to gain some matchup advantage. For awhile, it looked like they were getting all the bombs, but we eventually got some ourselves, so it was even. The matchups were:
Frederico: G/B vs. G/B – mirror; they both had Devouring Greeds
Me: U/W vs. U/R
Mariani: R/B vs. W/B
My teammates were much more confident this round than the previous. This time, I was the one who was having doubts. The matchups looked good for them. My opponent had 2 Hanabi Blast, Keiga, Uyo, and Frostwielder. I had Higure and Yosei.
Round 9: Sergio Herrero
I win game 1 thanks to two Indomitable Wills. He tries to kill two of my fliers, I have the Will for each, and then I ride the fliers to victory.
In game 2, my opponent stalls on 6 or 7 lands and plays Keiga. My life was already low due to his fast start of Blademane Baku and Ronin Houndmaster, so I can’t afford to take an attack from Keiga. On my turn, I return a land with Soratami Mirror-Guard to make Mistblade Shinobi unblockable, return Keiga, and play some random small guy. He replays Keiga, and I repeat my sequence of plays until I have enough guys for a lethal attack.
Me: 6 – 3
Mariani won, and we finally got our first win of the day.
Team: 7 – 2
Because of this round, when I was asked which cards are shifting in value because of my experiences at the PT, I said Indomitable Will. As I look back, though, the card that shifted the most in my appreciation was Moonlit Strider. During the weekend, I was picking this above Split-Tail Miko. The healer shines in slow matchups such as the U/W mirror or U/W vs. G/W; he almost wins those games by himself. Since I was always paired against R/B, I would always rather have Moonlit Strider. His stats are much better against Red, and he has two useful abilities. Additionally, since he can sacrifice himself, you can return any Spirit with cost three or less any time you need it. In Team Rochester I’m picking this guy right after the amazing Waxmane Baku. We’ll see if this trend carries over to individual booster draft.
Draft 4: Nova
We start the draft once again, and our pack has Kiku, Nezumi Cutthroat, and plenty of Green cards. I know that we are taking both Black cards; I’m just unsure which one goes to who. Mariani is for sure the Black deck, so perhaps Kiku should go to him. However, Mariani is supposed to be aggressive R/B, so Nezumi Cutthroat is better in his deck, even if the opponent is also black. I picked the Kiku knowing I could go U/B, but as expected, I end up U/W according to our initial plan. Once again we’re R/B and U/W, with G/R in place of G/B.
Frederico – G/R vs. G/U splash Flame
Me – U/W vs. W/R
Mariani – R/B vs. mono-Black
This was one very interesting draft, and the matches could have gone either way. I felt I had a disadvantage against David Rood’s W/R aggressive deck, but Frederico felt he had the advantage vs. Tsang’s U/G. Frederico had Kiki-Jiki to which Tsang had only a Flame as an answer, but Rood also had Kiki-Jiki versus me.
Round 10: David Rood
We trade some creatures early on. My plan was to survive his initial assault, but even if I survived, I needed to win before he drew Kiki-Jiki. At some point, David has only Brutal Deceiver and a Kami of Tattered Shoji. I am at 8 life, and I have plenty of ground blockers. I am peeking every turn with Callous Deceiver, and it’s always land. I figure that I should kill him as fast as possible, so I start attacking with Callous Deceiver and Soratami Rainshaper. His life is at 7 when he plays Devouring Rage, sacrificing Brutal Deceiver, to give +6+0 and flying to his Kami. Exactly eight damage. Maybe I could’ve left the Callous Deceiver on defense; I don’t know if David would’ve gone all-in given the possibility that Callous Deceiver could fly, but we’ll never know.
In game 2 I play turn 2 Tallowisp, and fetch two Heart of Light for his ground creatures. I then play Yosei and attacked four times with it.
As we’re shuffling for the third, my teammates have already lost. Nassif had infinite blockers with Marrow-Gnawer plus another Rat, and Frederico didn’t find a way to deal with Soratami Mirror-Guard.
Me: 6 – 3 – 1
Team: 7 – 3
Draft 5: Big Tyming with Antonino de Rosa
I was willing to draw here, since a draw would mean I would have 18 Pro Tour Points total with an invite to Pro Tour Philadelphia, which puts me on the gravy train. However, my teammates want to play because they need to finish Top 10 in order to qualify for Philly. Antonino’s team also had the same problem; the two wing guys weren’t qualified for Philly. We sat down for the draft with everyone at seats A and C playing to qualify.
By now, we knew our plan and stuck with it – R/B on the left, U/W in the middle, and G/B on the right. Our R/B ended up amazing with lots of quality removal, but it was paired against a W/B deck with at least one each of Blessed Breath, Candle’s Glow, Indomitable Will, and Mending Hands. He also had Kabuto Moth; if played on turn 4 and protected, it’s obviously really annoying. Our G/B deck ended awfully bad; it had almost no chance of winning against their U/R. Its best chance was a turn 3 Honden of Night’s Reach. I was U/W versus G/B. He had Nezumi Cutthroat and Matsu-Tribe Sniper, making his deck solid against U/W even without Red. We had to hate the second Matsu-Tribe Sniper for me to have a chance.
I guess that during the draft we looked like klutzes since our communication wasn’t perfect. I read somewhere that Antonino thinks that he tricked me into taking bad cards over better ones. The only pick I regret was not taking the second Candles’ Glow. I picked some creature I wanted, but I didn’t realize in time that Candle’s Glow would go straight to Mariani’s W/B opponent. This was an awful mistake. Concerning my choice of Hundred-Talon Strike over Shimmering Glasskite, I think the Strike is a good trick in a W/U aggressive deck, and I already had some arcanes to splice it onto. I like the Glasskite (albeit not as much as my friends), but in my deck I would rather have the Strike. With so many tricks, not being able to target him could be a disadvantage. It is however unlikely that I would need to protect him, since he flies and he’s not supposed to be blocked. Antonino is entitled to his opinion, that may or may not be correct, while I honestly don’t know which pick was better. [the Glasskite –not Knut]
Frederico – G/B vs. U/R
Me – U/W vs. G/B
Mariani – R/B vs. W/B
Round 11: Antonino de Rosa
Antonino is really as nice a guy as everyone says he is. This was the first time I played him, and he was always good times during the draft and the match.
I lose the second game, where he went first. He has two problematic creatures against me, Nezumi Cutthroat and Kashi-Tribe Reaver, and I only have Mystic Restraints for the rat. I am a little mana flooded but have a Blue Genju to block. The problem is, the Kashi-Tribe Reaver regenerates, so instead of trading, the Genju was turning Islands into fogs.
I won the first and the third games, where I went first. My deck was faster than a normal U/W deck, and I also had the right tricks at the right times to ruin Antonino’s blocks. All in all, it was a close match.
Me: 7 – 3 – 1
Both Frederico and Mariani are 1-1 in games. Frederico’s opponent mulligans to five on the play but manages to win the game. Mariani had lost one game as I predicted. His opponent played a turn 4 Kabuto Moth, Mariani tried to Hanabi Blast it, and the opponent prevented 4. He lost the other game because he doesn’t play very often and didn’t remember that Villainous Ogre could regenerate. Mariani has the Ogre and plays Painwracker Oni and a random 2/1, tapping him out. His opponent has Rend Flesh but also fails to realize that the Ogre regenerates, so he passes. He waits and plays Rend Flesh on Mariani’s upkeep, and Mariani doesn’t regenerate. Their team claims that had the W/B player cast Rend Flesh on his turn, there was no way Mariani could regenerate it, since he’s tapped. I say that, if Mariani knew the Ogre could regenerate, he would play only the Painwracker Oni, and keep the 2/1 in his hand to ensure the Ogre’s safety.
Team: 7 – 4
In the end, we finished 14th and got $1,000 each. This is team spirit, I guess. No one was upset about the others’ mistakes. We are sure that every single one of us tried his best to win our games. The one most upset about his mistakes was Mariani himself. We didn’t even keep track of our own personal records, because they don’t matter; only the team’s record does. I reported my results in here for your convenience while reading it, but in a quick flashback in my head, I’m going to say that my teammates’ records were about the same as mine. We intend to play together as Boat on the next Team Pro Tour if we are still qualified by rating. If not, it’s simple – we’ll play in a PTQ.
Finally, I would like to express my opinion regarding these formats. I agree when the Pros say that Team Rochester is the most skill intensive format of all. If the PT was 11 rounds of team Rochester, the teams in Day 2 would be completely different. Just take our team as an example. We went 6-0 in sealed deck and 1-4 in draft. I can understand that there are some quality teams that top all others in Team Rochester, and it’s frustrating that they don’t get a chance at showing their draft skills. That is a problem that comes from the same tournament having one format in Day 1 and another on Day 2, like individual Limited Grand Prix. In each case, the least skill intensive format comes first, and it determines the cut to Day 2. I’m not going suggest anything; I’ll just clarify two things: We’re not geniuses in Sealed, and we weren’t unlucky in the draft portion. The truth is, we were unprepared for this Pro Tour, but some combination of factors such as luck and the format being Sealed Deck allowed us to make Day 2. Once there, our lack of preparation became evident. Our team considered that, for the next Team Pro Tour, we could go to America a few days earlier to practice Team Rochester with our friends’ teams. What happens if we do that but fail to make Day 2? Wouldn’t that be frustrating?
Tiago_ on MTGO