Punishment: Ich Bin Ein Berliner (Worlds Report)

I did more playtesting and MODOing during this summer than in the previous two years combined. I really wanted to see if we could take the title, and felt that there was more than money on the line. This practice actually scared me a bit, since I had been mising nice prizes with little work for quite some time now. What would happen when I actually worked at it?

Before I get started with the wonder that was Worlds 2003, I will once again give you some insight into my life. After finishing my thesis, winning Nationals, and receiving the coveted gold medal from the President, I decided to move to Sweden for a while. As some of you might know, I am in this team with a bunch of Swedes and a suspicious Aussie. The purpose of the trip would be to master the Swedish language. We Finns are taught Swedish at school, but I wasn’t very enthusiastic about the subject in my younger days. This meant that I was mostly reduced to communicating in English with my teammates…But no more!

I stayed in the country for one and a half months, traveling around and even visiting Denmark and Norway. My base of operations was in Stockholm, where I stayed at the apartment of Peter Brottman, a Magic-playing cop. My language studies got off to a great start as I had lengthy discussions with his three-year old son. At some point, I understood so much of what people were saying to me that I was actually able to reply to them. To everyone who wants to learn a language and has some extra time in their hands, I warmly suggest taking a trip abroad.

I did more playtesting and MODOing during this summer than in the previous two years combined. The reasons for this increased testing were twofold: First of all, I finally had vacation from school. This helps considerably. Secondly, the Finnish National team was the best we have had so far. I really wanted to see if we could take the title, and felt that there was more than money on the line. This practice actually scared me a bit, since I had been mising nice prizes with little work for quite some time now. What would happen when I actually worked at it?

The formats were mostly boring. Standard consisted of Goblins beating U/G beating Wake beating Goblins. Rochester draft was basically about not having to go green. True homie and National Team Member Arho Toikka went as far as to say that non-U/W, non-B/R decks were almost a waste of time. In Extended, we were quite unable to beat Goblins with a good deck, and it wasn’t until late in testing that we noticed that U/W Desire with Familiars has an edge over it.

By far, the most interesting format was the team Rochester. It seemed to have a small number of set rules, and even those could be broken when you opened certain bombs. Most drafts would come down to one team making a smaller number of small errors instead of some supreme techy draft style.

As an aside, Worlds seems to have the worst formats every year. It seems that the third set of the year either has nothing to offer or has several stupid cards. Mind’s Desire and Siege-Gang Commander both have ridiculously powerful effects. The last time that Worlds had interesting formats was in 1998. Exodus had tournament-quality cards for almost every possible deck: Cataclysm, Carnophage, Recurring Nightmare, Survival of the Fittest, Spike Weaver, the Oaths, Forbid, and so on. I suggest that Wizards takes a really close look in the last set in the future if they do not wish to see six Tog decks in the Top 8.

But enough with this and on with the tournament. I arrive at the hotel on Tuesday and meet up with all the cool dudes. Nicolai is present as well. At the registration, I once again receive that fancy Worlds playmat. Last year, Eivind Nitter found it appropriate to draw a penis on my playmat. Older and wiser now, I just grab the cloth and hide it in my hotel room. Next up is the player dinner. Food is good and plentiful, but we are only given two drinks.

Even though I came to this tournament set on playing Wake, I panic and switch to U/G. This kind of last-minute switches usually work for no one… But whatever. I tune the version with Nico and Bjørn-Petter Jocumsen. I demonstrate great originality by running a version that is actually two cards different from the build that won Euros.

4 Wild Mongrel

4 Aquamoeba

4 Basking Rootwalla (The sole reason people misspell my last name?)

3 Arrogant Wurm

3 Wonder

3 Roar of the Wurm

4 Circular Logic

4 Careful Study

3 Unsummon

2 Deep Analysis

2 Quiet Speculation

1 Ray of Revelation

1 Upheaval

2 City of Brass

10 Island

10 Forest


4 Stupefying Touch

2 Ravenous Baloth

2 Deep Analysis

1 Roar of the Wurm

1 Wonder

1 Krosan Reclamation

1 Upheaval

1 Ray of Revelation

1 Quiet Speculation

1 Unsummon

Round one versus Denniz Rachid, Slide

According to our testing, it will be quite hard to lose best out of three unless something stupid happens… So of course, I count my deck and it has fifty-nine cards. I check what is missing and a judge grants me five minutes to go buy a Mongrel. First game involves him playing a total of one spell. The next game goes long, with Wrath of Gods and whatnot, but Upheaval gets him.

And we speak Swedish during the entire match. Yay!

Matches, 2-0 games

Round two versus Gary Wise, U/G

I suggest that we take a draw. The reasoning is that Slide and Wake are plentiful in the draw bracket, and both are good matchups for me. I dunno how Gary’s version fares against them, though. Also, there is the fact that Goblins is a nightmare matchup, and those players don’t have draws (we knew that Humphreys is with U/G). Gary is not comfortable making these kind of decisions out of the blue, and wants to think about it.

The first game involves a strong involvement by me in the form of an entire Rootwalla, since I did not want to mulligan to five with a hand that needed an Island. Second game sees Gary flooding while I Stupefy his Mongrel and Oppressor. At 1-1, there is still no more talk about the draw. Last game is a close one, but Gary gets the advantage as he has one more Roar. I get him really low, but an Unsummon enables him to go for the kill. Bleah.

1-1, 3-2

Next up is the opening ceremony. This usually includes all kinds of funky dancing that describes the hosting nation somehow… But those Germans, they are awfully serious. How will they host an enjoyable show? Rumors had it that Kai would be performing some polka. However, they decided to solve the problem in a groundbreaking simple way by skipping the entire dance thing; hence, the highlight of the ceremony was Tuomo proudly carrying the beautiful Finnish flag.

Round three versus Alessandro Torresan, Wake

My last-minute decision to replace the third Analysis with third Roar means that my game one is not clearly favorable. I flood a bit, and he gets to untap with Wake. Cunning Wish into Hunting Pack makes something like five beasts with the damn storm crap. The next two games are the easiest ever, as he plays no card drawing or Angels. Aether Bursts alone don’t quite cut it. He tells me afterwards that four Angels were boarded to combo with the Bursts.

2-1, 5-3

Round four versus Ed Ross, R/G

The last time I played Ed, we were 1-3 in Nice. I took the critical match there, so one of Scotland’s finest is hungry for revenge.

I don’t get a Mongrel game one and Aquamoeba dies easily. This slows me down way too much. Roars are nowhere so be seen, so burn kills my other guys as well. Ed does not play a second land in game two. The last game is nice; I Unsummon a Phantom Centaur with an Elephant Guide on it to hit him with three Roars. Hee!

3-1, 7-4

Round five versus Pierre Baussaron, Goblins

Ugh. I should have taken that draw.

The worst card that Goblins has against me is Firebolt. Frenchie draws three of them and no Siege-Gangs, so I manage to pull it out with Speculation for three Roars. It was still really close, though. Game two goes totally to the toilet from the start… But then he plays two lands on turn 4! That is indeed a game loss. I don’t think that he was cheating, since honestly there was no reason to.

4-1, 8-4 (only counting played games. I have no clue why I list the game score, anyway)

Round six versus Tommi Hovi, Wake

I am 0-3 versus Tommi in major tournaments, with all the previous matches being featured ones. This one isn’t. I flood a bit in game one, don’t see Logics, and get my Upheaval countered. Grr.

Game two, I keep an okay six-card hand but start drawing lands. I expect my hard-cast Analysis to pull me out – but Tommi has Syncopate. What on earth? Finns…

When all seems lost, I topdeck a Speculation. It resolves, and I get Roar along with two Analysis. Tommi Wishes for Unsummon, but the card drawing gives me a lot of game. I resolve an Upheaval and take it home from there. Hovi doesn’t draw a blue mana in the entire last game, which lasts about seven turns.

5-1, 10-5

Arho is 5-1 while Tuomo is 6-0. This means that the national team went a ridiculous 16-2 in a seemingly bad format. That has to be a good sign. Tuomo’s insanely good matchups are the topic of the day as we go get some food. I get ready for the Limited portion like I always do; I cry myself to sleep.

The draft table is as follows:

Cristophe Haim

Peer Kröger

Tommi Wallamies

Ricardo Duarte

Eivind Nitter

Carlos Romao

Cristoph Hölzl

Benjamin Caumes

My first two picks are Screeching Buzzards, as I try to force black. It works okay but costs me a Choking Tethers. I later move on to blue which does not make the person on my left happy. The draft goes quite well for me as I get three Twisted Abominations, Quicksilver Dragon, and lots of fliers. I screwed up big time on a pick, though, taking some average card over Crypt Sliver. Anyway, this deck would be at least 2-1 in a perfect world.

Round seven versus Peer Kröger, UW

I keep a decent opening hand, and actually draw a non-land somewhere around turn 6. My four cards manage to reduce Peer to one life point, but then he stabilizes with Rush of Knowledge. It sure would have been goofy fun to draw either one of the Abominations or a Dragon. Game two is more of the same, as I flood versus his Rush and my best cards are nowhere to be seen. But then, suddenly it is time for something completely different.

I draw a Dragon Shadow and figure that if he has absolutely nothing in hand, I might have a slight shot. I play it on some three-power guy and the normally expressionless Peer goes all mobile. He moves around in the chair, shakes his head, and says,”That is bad!” I hit him down to eight and a nervous Peer makes another comment on how unfortunate this looks for him. I pass the turn and suddenly Peer is all filled with determination. He untaps fiercely, draws a card, taps three, and proudly drops a Frozen Solid on the guy. I lose shortly afterwards, and Peer tells me how he already had the Solid but was just trying to bluff.

To say that mister Kröger is my new favorite would be a severe understatement. Whether he chooses poker or acting, I wish him the best of luck in his future career.

5-2, 10-7

Round eight versus Benjamin Caumes, B/R

Benjamin, one of the few French homies, had a bad draft, but he did manage to pick up a Goblin Goon for his fast B/R deck. Ben is also late for the round, so I only need to win one of two games. Not too tough, right? Well, anyway thirty minutes later I have lost two games to turn 4 Goon. He had the -1/-1 Buzzard in the last game with a bunch of one-toughness guys, but I fail to draw one of my two removal spells.

5-3, 10-9

Suddenly something clicks in my head: San Diego 1-4, Nice 2-4, Yokohama 1-5, Limited section of last Euros 2-5. I seem to be unable to win in Limited formats. Previous casualties can be blamed on me spending almost all the playtesting time doing schoolwork – but this time I actually practiced. The fact that I am also playing in the National team, and having just had a promising Day One does not make it any easier. So I just totally lose it and throw my deck at the wall.

Yes, that is just about one of the dumbest things you can do in a tournament.

As the rush of frustration and anger washes over, I run to collect the deck from the ground. Tuomo and Gary help me find the cards, but still two sideboard cards are under a stand. I talk to a judge about this and he says that if I get deckchecked next round or wish to board them, he will make proxies for me.

I cool down by playing some test games against Joseph. During them, I realize that there are probably people doing worse than 5-3 in this tournament, and that not all is lost. Kind of obvious, but what the hell.

Round nine versus Ricardo Duarte, U/W/R

This guy has two Aven Warhawks and two Daru Stingers, but not that many soldiers. He also drafted in a way that forces him to splash a color. I get a ridiculous draw in the first game with Zombie Cutthroat, Embalmed Brawler, Dragon, and Aphetto Exterminator. Feels good to finally win a game. I think about adding in a Hindering Touch, but decide against it. A big Stinger does me in quite fast during the second duel. Going first, I finally take the Touch and beat him with it. His lack of soldiers meant that he needed to sit back and cycle for a while to get a nice amplify, and the loss of tempo was too much.

6-3, 12-10

Tuomo won his draft, but Arho bombed an 0-3. Will Limited be the demise of our noble team? My next table looks like this:

Matt Linde

Gabriel Caligaris


Milutin Kesojevic

Yoni Iny

Alexander Witt

Svend Geertsen

Chris Allen

Linde opens with a white card, and I start fighting with him on seat three. I force U/W by taking Tethers over Sparksmith when it’s my turn to open. But then suddenly Yoni takes Exalted Angel over a third Smith for his U/R deck, totally screwing up Alexander on his left. During pack six, I take a sixth-pick Lavamancer’s Skill and move out of being the fourth white player. After the first booster I have some good stuff, including two Goblin Sledders. Those are key in U/R, as the colors are not very fast. I get a pretty good deck in the end with my favorite combos of Goblin WarchiefGoblin Dynamo and Skill-Pemmin’s Aura.

Round ten versus Matt Linde, U/W

Matt’s deck is quite good. I could have defensively drafted his only enchantment removal, Wipe Clean, but instead took something unimportant. Life isn’t fair, though, as I win the first game with an unanswered Skill-Aura. Fast fliers take me down in the second one, and it seems that Matt’s cards are simply of a higher average power level. The deciding game is weird; I get in some Goblin Warchief beats and drop a turn 6 Dynamo that immediately kills his guy, but don’t have too many other plays. Matt Pacifies the Dynamo, but keeps taking one a turn. Warped Researcher keeps some of his guys at bay, but I am having problems with Grassland Crusader. After hitting me to three, Matt taps out for two morphs. I draw my only out: Spark Spray. The cheap cycler helps me to fly in with the Researcher and use my remaining mana to deal exactly enough with the Dynamo.

Matt is not too pleased with the result, and I can see why, as my topdeck was quite the filthy type.

7-3, 14-11

Round eleven versus Chris Allen, B/G

Chris’s deck is simply way too slow to beat mine. He has big guys and Clutch of Undeath, but an Echo Tracer stops his assault. A Biologist holds off a 9/9 Kurgadon while Researcher with an Aura on it hits for six every turn. I start with Mistform Dreamer, Mistform Seaswift, and a Covert Operative in the next game. Chris draws some cards with Savage but dies fast. I even had the Tethers.

8-3, 16-11

Round twelve versus Svend Geertsen, B/R

At Euros 2001, Svend needed 5-1-1 in Limited to make top eight. He starts the day by losing against me, and then goes 5-0 just to lose to me again. I even beat him at Venice, so Svend is out to get me. Everything works according to his plan, as he goes first and starts the beats with a Wretched Anurid. I don’t draw my Riptide Biologist or Wall of Deceit, so the tempo loss is too big. Svend burns some of my guys and beats me down.

I win the next one with the good old Researcher-Aura. Severed Legion and Dragon Shadow almost take me down, but it sure was a good idea to go first. Svend takes a double-mulligan in the last game and I beat him with a hasted Dynamo. Danish champion Stefan Petersen expresses his opinions about the match by showing me the finger, but then we all have a good laugh and go out for a beer.

9-3, 18-12

So I won four in a row after the unnecessary emotional outburst. Arho swept his draft, while Tuomo scrubbed out by losing a match. The three of us and Jussi Salovaara all decide to play Goblins in Extended, but we are missing something like eighty cards. I then spend something like two hours (no joke) walking around the side event area getting the needed cards. I would like to thank the about ten Polish people who loaned us most of the stuff.

Only three more days of playing left!

4 Goblin Lackey

4 Mogg Fanatic

4 Jackal Pup

4 Goblin Piledriver

4 Mogg Flunkies

4 Goblin Warchief

4 Goblin Incinerator

4 Siege-Gang Commander

4 Seal of Fire

2 Tangle Wire

16 Mountain

4 Wasteland

2 Rishadan Port


4 Pyrostatic Pillar

4 Mogg Salvage

4 Cursed Scroll

2 Fledgling Dragon

1 Tangle Wire

Regarding my choices…I strongly suggest drawing a Lackey.

Round thirteen versus Sasha Zorc, monoblue Desire

Sasha goes first and kills me on turn 4. I don’t even have a Lackey to try to race with. He is no stranger to the bluff, telling me at the beginning of his turn 4 how tough it would be to go off now – and after the game, mentioning how it is actually quite easy. I am pleased to see the mental aspect of modern Pro Tours reach such heights.

I mulligan to four in the second game and play turn 1 Lackey, turn 2 Piledriver and Pillar, and turn 3 Piledriver. That was quite ridiculous, I admit.

I play too aggressively in the last game, dropping a second Pillar while I only have a single creature out. I didn’t draw one-drops, while mister Zorc Snapped my Warchief twice. Sasha sideboarded Masticores and drops two of them in a row. I only have the required life points to kill the first one with a Mogg Salvage and lose to the next one.

Might as well lose to a judgment call while needing 4-1-1 for top 8.

9-4, 19-14

Round fourteen versus Eivind Nitter, Goblins

Eivind still hasn’t found my playmat and is visibly upset.

I think that this matchup is favorable for me, as I have Incinerators while Eivind runs Pillars and Reckless Charges main. He strongly disagrees, though, as I lose game one to Pillar and Charge. Siege-Gang was kind of a problem, too. Well such is life. Game two is way easier as Eivind kept in Flunkies and I kill his other guys. He is lacking removal and even misses with a Scroll, so Piledrivers beat him up. Game three is a mana race, as he has multiple Scrolls to my Scroll and two Siege-Gangs. My three lands don’t stand a chance to his six, so it is over.

9-5, 20-16

There goes the top 8. Maybe I deserved this loss due to risky playing during the round before, or maybe karma doesn’t exist.

Round fifteen versus Rob Dougherty, Contamination-Animator

This matchup is probably not the best for me, but that basically only means that I need to draw a Lackey to balance the scales. Rob goes first in game one with a turn 2 lock (Entomb for Nether Spirit, City of Traitors) but I have the Lackey. Rob Cabal Therapies my Fanatics and keeps the Spirit back for defense. His plan is to reanimate a Fanatic next turn to kill the Lackey and drop the combo. Unaware of all this, I just draw a Seal, hit with Fanatic, and drop Siege-Gang. Rob is forced to play the lock, but I keep hitting him. A couple of turns later, it is over. Game two is slightly dumb, as Rob mulligans to three and has trouble finding the first land.

10-5, 22-16

Round sixteen versus Benjamin Caumes, Goblins

My man Ben again! It’s time to wipe the floor with him. The first game is really close, but then I hit a land clump. I lose after drawing four lands in a row and check the next four cards – all lands as well. Time to shuffle better. His Goblin Cadets actually hit me for something like twelve damage.

I keep a triple-Incinerator hand with only one land in game two, once again afraid to mulligan to five. Ben let me go first all three games so I could use Gempalm to kill his Lackey… But I don’t mise the land. A Siege-Gang enters play and it is starting to look impossible for me to win. I draw the second land and somehow pull it out with triple-Incinerator, Fanatic, and Fledgling Dragon. I am still not entirely sure what happened. In the end, Ben only needed to draw a land to kill me with Firebolt – but no. The last game is one of those stupid mana races where my three lands look pretty stupid compared to his seven.

10-6, 21-18

At this point, Tuomo is 2-2 and hence will be in the top 8. I am happy for him, but still very disappointed with my own demise. I don’t know if it shines through in the writing, but I take my losses very seriously. When I was younger, I used to complain to my opponents – but then I realized that they don’t really care… So these days I just quietly suck it up, fill the result slip, and complain to my friends, who don’t really care.

That is actually one of the reasons I have been trying to quit this game: I only like it when I am winning. That pretty much takes the sense out of casual Magic. But then again, when I just keep winning it gets boring. So I am either bored or pissed-off most of the time. The most fun nowadays that I get out of the game is the adrenaline rush that comes with playing for all the big money or national pride. Also not to be disregarded is the social aspect; though it’s a hobby, it is easy to meet people who are in some ways similar to you, and I really like hanging out with these bozos.

Maybe I will be able to discover the fun again someday. But now it’s time to get on with the complaints.

Round seventeen versus Mariusz Kucharski, Rock

I start again with a mulligan and fail to find a Lackey. (As an aside, it is a reasonable strategy with this deck to mulligan when you don’t have a Lackey. I did not get to do that too much, though, as I mulliganed for other reasons and you don’t want to go down to five.) I put out reasonable beats, but Mariusz uses Pernicious Deed twice and plays a Haunting Echoes. I start drawing Siege-Gangs, but Mariusz Deeds twice more. Recurring Ravenous Baloths do me in.

Game two, I mulligan and keep an okay hand, but it takes too long for me to draw more land. Mariusz asks me why I didn’t play Pattern. Having so far acquired a 1-4 record with this deck, I find it hard to find a good answer.

10-7, 21-20

Round eighteen versus Gergely Gardos, Tinker

I finish this stupid day in the perfect way by playing three mindless games. I lose game one to turn 2 Masticore with four mana untapped, and win the next games with double-Salvage in both. He never gets the mana to do anything. Neither of us had absolutely any kind of decisions to make during the twelve minutes that this lasted, since he can’t really mulligan the hands with only one fast artifact mana.

11-7, 23-21, 49th, 675 US dollars (approximately 230 euros)

What is up with this format? Do people actually have interesting games when playing modern Extended? Almost every one of my games was blatantly lopsided. It seems that one of the players has some kind of tremendous edge after turn 2. Only the mirror matches have time to develop into something resembling a game.

It seems that our Extended testing was not too effective. We thought that Goblins was very dominant in almost every matchup, but none of us did better than 4-2. That is not very good. Either our other decks were not good enough, or the field decided to hate out Goblins.

I ask Kai and Marco for advice for the team Rochester. They give me a few helpful hints, and then Dirk challenges me to a one-on-one practice draft. Kai keeps commenting Dirk’s picks in German with the sole statement of”Vas?!?” All this help was much appreciated, and makes me think that we might just rule the tables tomorrow. Dirk gives me a crash-course on the German style of drafting:”People have these strategies, and they are all very fascinating. But we just draft.”

I wore the”Warn a Brotha” shirt today, and it caused some interesting conversations. Here is a sample:

William Jensen:”Where is the land station, brotha?”

Me:”I ain’t your bro, bro.”

Ben Rubin:”In Finland, do you usually warn a brotha?”

Round nineteen versus United States of America, The

I was the guy who ran the drafts. I did ask the guys’ opinions about picks and so on, but we decided it is best if one person has the main plan in mind. Also, I had done way more sanctioned team drafts than Tuomo and Arho combined. The problem here is that I make a number of mistakes, mostly due to not remembering who has which cards. I feel like I did an okay job during the five drafts, but there is still definitely room for improvement.

The draft against the Americanos went quite well, and I felt like we had an edge. But in team Rochester, any given team will think at least 86% of the time that the draft went better for them. I took a risk in my match by passing Joshua an early Mythic Proportions. I didn’t get any Tracers or Willbenders, so the Hindering Touch in the last pack made me happy.

Tuomo beats Gabe fast with Sunstrike Legionaire-Skill combo and Gabe’s manascrew. Arho wins the first, but then loses the second one to Skirk Alarmist-Strategist combo from a B/R deck. Me and Joshua split the first two games, and then we get a draw in a situation that favors him, and Arho loses the last game.

0-0-1, 1-1-1

Round twenty of this insanely long tournament versus Japan

I go G/R in the middle, while Tuomo is W/R. My U/W opponent has a lot of 1/4 and 2/4 guys and I can’t find enough fatties. Another problem is that we pass them two Abominations and they open one more, so Tuomo thinks that his matchup is unwinnable. Arho’s fear-oriented B/R looks pretty good against his opponent’s slow green deck.

I lose the first game to manaflood, and my opponent plays two lands in the same turn in the next game. Game loss it is! While I am busy losing the last game, Arho and Tuomo have already won.

1-0-1, 3-2-1

Round twenty-one, no less, versus France

I pick up two Misery Charms early and my opponent starts to take clerics aggressively. What is going on? My U/B deck is ridiculously high in card quality, while also having a great matchup versus his U/W. Tuomo has the W/R mirror match, with the exception that Tuomo’s teammate did not draft white next to him. Arho has a disadvantage in the green mirror since we opened fewer Timberwatches. I win my match pretty fast with stuff like Scion of Darkness, while Arho loses 2-1 to Timberwatch. Everyone, including the French team, thinks that Tuomo has a huge advantage. Still, he somehow loses the second game. I am too nervous to watch the third game, since a win would secure a finals slot for us. Farid gets viciously manascrewed and we make it in.

Go, Finland!!! (Sorry, Farid!)

2-0-1, 5-3-1

Finland has never been in the finals before. This is how we have done in the years before:

2002: 12th

2001: 3rd

2000: 3rd

1999: 25th

1998: 6th

Not too impressive but not horrible either. Well anyway, I just walk around the room happily, calling the people home and telling them the good news. The US of A have also secured a finals slot, so we negotiate a thousand dollar split each with them.

Round twenty-two versus Brazil

Carlos asks for a concession to secure an Invitational slot for him over Jose Barbero. Jose, a huge favorite among Eric Froehlich and pals, currently has the same number of Pro Tour points as the big C. We decide against it, as our friends in the English and Norwegian teams will finish higher with a win if Brazil loses. Norwegian players have always been close to my heart, while the English National Champion just so happens to be a Finn.

The draft seems to go well for us once again. My U/B deck seems suited to deal with my opponent’s B/G if he doesn’t draw Forgotten Ancient, and Tuomo’s deck is just absurdly insane. Arho has to play against a good U/W deck with his fattie load. It seems that the easiest way to get a 2-1 win is to have your green deck lose… Or we might just be doing something terribly wrong.

I lose game one to Ancient, but the next two games demonstrate horrible manaflood on the opposing side of the table. Tuomo loses the first, but then wins game two with Crown of Awe. On the third game, Carlos is forced to play Marauder face-up so that he doesn’t have to discard…English and Norwegian teams win, so there is no reason to concede.

And Carlos ended up getting the invite anyway.

3-0-1, 7-4-1

One more day to go. Tuomo is considering testing for his matchup tomorrow, but decides on getting some extra sleep instead. I party maybe a bit more than I should have – but hey, we only live once. I play poker with the Norwegians and, to my great surprise, actually lose money.

The next day is long as hell. Rune told us to be at the site by ten o’clock. I get there in time just to wait for a few hours until the draft starts. Overall, the draft goes well but we have some problems. The booster where they pick three and then we take six is the hardest for a single person to organize, in my opinion, and so we pass them a Wave of Indifference too late. We also give them a Gempalm Polluter, which means that Joshua has three to my zero. I was too focused on drafting against his Infest. The Americans’ biggest blunder is giving Tuomo a late Daru Sanctifier when Gabe had quite the nice enchantments, including Future Sight.

Next up is the player meal, and then we wait for quite some hours due to the semis. Tuomo loses a bad matchup 3-1 and then we get to play. Joshua is on the ropes the entire time in our matches, so the Polluters would not have been too good. Not that he drew any of them, either. First game he is flooded, and in the second one he takes mulligan, after which I Haunted Cadaver him. Not fair. Tuomo loses after drawing some bizarre amount of lands (winning game one, as Gabe is manascrewed), so it is up to Arho to pull us out. Justin has an advantage due to having more big guys, but Arho has a Rush so it isn’t too bad. They start 1-1 and then Justin gets a ridiculous draw and it’s all over.

3-1-1, 8-6-1, 2nd

I had prepared this rant about how I never manage to win an international event – but frankly, it would just sound like a spoiled kid complaining about the neighbor having bigger stereos. I have had my fair share of luck when playing for the big bets.

I am now writing this thing now in the library of the University of Texas in Austin. Having spent a few weeks in the United States, I am starting to get used to the country. Some things, like Fox News, have been a bit shocking. My classes are starting tomorrow, on Wednesday, and I hope that the professors give me the time off to go to Pro Tours. I am also looking forward to representing Austin in the State Championships.

That’s about it. See you guys in Pro Tour: Boston! I have a pretty good feeling about the tournament. I even emailed Jeff just a while ago suggesting a testing method, and he replied with an email mainly focused on team names.

Keep it real, kids,