PV’s Playhouse – Paulo at Worlds, Part 2

SCG 10k St. Louis Offers First Chances to Qualify for the 2010 StarCityGames.com Invitational!
Thursday, December 3rd – Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa continues his epic Worlds tournament report with an in-depth exploration of his four Team rounds, in which he played Legacy. He shares the thoughts behind his Counterbalance deck, and brings us the lowdown of each and every match played!


This is the continuation of my Worlds 2009 report. In this article, I will talk about the four rounds of Legacy, and the thought process behind me playing what I played. Next week I’ll conclude with Draft and Extended.

So, after six rounds of Constructed, we had to get ready to play the first two rounds of Teams. For those who don’t know it, the team score is obtained by adding every point every player gets during the three days of competition, plus the points from the four team rounds. Each win in the team round is worth 9 points, and it’s a best out of three of Legacy, Extended, and Standard.

Pretty much as soon as Nationals ended some months ago, I was informed by my teammates that I had been democratically chosen to play Legacy, with which I was actually fine. This surprised a lot of people, since I am not Legacy’s biggest fan, but I think it was for the best, since, in the end, none of my teammates actually knew anything about the format. They effectively did not want to play it, whereas I would prefer to play something else but was not entirely opposed to the idea. When people in your team really don’t want to play something, it’s not much use forcing them.

I also happened to know quite a bit more about Legacy than they did. Though I don’t claim to be an expert of the format in any way, I’ve actually studied it for some past events, so I did have an idea of what was played, as opposed to my teammates, who didn’t even know what cards were legal. I also have a few more Magic contacts than they do, and probably more time to dedicate to it. For example, one of the communities I go to sometimes is TheManaDrain.com, and people there know a lot about Legacy and are always ready to help. Also, ultimately, I believe it mattered more to me than to either of them, and it was also some kind of “if you want something done properly, then do it yourself.”

From the beginning I knew I wanted to stick with my baseline rules for Legacy. I want a deck to either kill on turn 1, or a deck that is able to prevent my opponent from killing me on turn 1, no exceptions. That pretty much means either combo or Force of Will, and rules out decks like Loam, Goblins, and Zoo. From those two, I was more inclined towards Force of Will, for a couple of reasons:

First, I’m more used to playing Force of Will than combo. Sure enough, the combos in Legacy are mostly mathematical, but even then it seems to me that knowing your deck is more important if you are playing, say, Ad Nauseam over Counterbalance. I did not have the time to dedicate to Legacy, and I knew I would not playtest anything, so I was more comfortable with a kind of deck that I had already played.

Second, just as I did not really have time to “waste” with Legacy playtesting, I knew no one really did. That is not to naysay the format or anything, that’s just being realistic when looking at the tournament structure – of all the four formats a given person has to playtest, Legacy is by far the least rewarding one, as you only play four rounds of it, opposed to 10 and 6 of the others. I also expected the worst player in each team to play Legacy – it seemed to me that last year, most teams’ strategies were to make sure they would get their two wins in the other two formats, and then have Legacy as some kind of surprise bonus round – if a win comes out of it, great, but if not, then they probably wouldn’t need it anyway. As a result, I didn’t want to throw away my theoretical superior playskill and knowledge of the format (though it is not big, It’s probably bigger than that of most National Team Members) by playing a deck that took the decision somewhat out of my hands.

For example, I was tempted to play some sort of Entomb deck, but then I would just lose if my opponents decided they wanted 4 Leylines and 2 Crypts in the board – which was not that unfeasible, given that, when people don’t know the format, they just add generic answers to their sideboards: “those 4 against aggro, those 4 against combo, those 4 against graveyard, those 3 against control,” and graveyard hate is as generic as it gets. So, unless something changed radically, I was in for a Blue Counterbalance deck.

As far as my Blue deck was concerned, I had some theories on the format. I thought, wrongly, that Dredge would be overly represented. I especially thought that Japan was going to play Dredge, given that they all did at Austin, so they would be comfortable with the deck, and I also knew Saito had played Dredge in Chicago. Dredge seemed like a deck that fitted the description of what teams would look for in Legacy if they were unprepared – an easy transition from Extended, and a deck that randomly wins. I expected the most popular deck to be general aggro – Zoo more than Goblins – for also being an easy transition from decks that people had previously played. I did not expect Merfolk to be as popular as it was, given that it loses to those aggro decks, but I was clearly wrong. In the end, Legacy Worlds is just a very singular tournament, in the sense that you have pretty much only 8-10 potential opponents, and you just have to metagame against those. My choice was then to play Blue, and metagame it to beat aggro, even if that meant losing some of my advantage in the mirror/combo matchups.

When I was at Luis’s hotel, we brewed a deck that was based on a Japanese winning list, which he named Team Brazil Secret Legacy Decklist – it was basically UGW with Rhox War Monk splashing Firespouts. As I got to the tournament, I showed them my list and was promptly told to “play a real deck please” by the other Brazilian and Portuguese guys. Someone suggests that I play Belcher, but I explained why I didn’t want to, and then Carlos said he would play it. I asked him if he had ever played the deck before, to which he replied “no, but it’s just math right?” I was somewhat opposed to the idea, but was resigning myself to it, but we turned out to be unable to get cards for the deck (yay). I then spoke to Adam Yurchick, and asked to see his Legacy List, and it’s basically one card from the one I was planning on playing: Rhox War Monk and Firespouts included. That swayed my teammates (thanks for the trust, guys!), and I was “allowed” to play my deck.

Sometime before the tournament, I told Carlos I would play Legacy, but I needed them to bring me cards, since I did not really have access to them and they are much easy to get in Sao Paulo than in Porto Alegre. When I ask him about it, he says “I’ve got 4 Sensei’s Divining Tops for you!” Frown. Thankfully, Gerry has most of the deck to save the day, and I end up borrowing the rest from different people.

This is what I ended up playing:

I think the controversial card in my list is Wall of Blossoms, since I was actually laughed at by people in Brazil for it. The idea came about when I was bothered by the low number of two-drops in the deck, for Counterbalance, but at the same time was not a fan of more Dazes if I was not playing Dark Confidants. I also wanted something more against aggro, preferably that could come down early, block, and survive Firespout. Luis sheepishly suggested Wall of Blossoms, and when he assured me he was serious, it actually seemed tailor-made for what I wanted when I stopped to consider it – it was a two-drop, it came down early, it stopped the beats, it survived Firespout in the best Icy ManipulatorWrath of God way (as in, they have to play two 3/3s to get past it, and then you play Firespout and they need two more 3/3s), and it even cantripped! I thought about Werebear, but was told that it was terrible, and though it was good at attacking later on it really did not fill the role I wanted, which was to block early and survive Firespout. Jotun Grunt was also suggested, but he kind of dies to himself if they just wait, and in a deck with Top and Counterbalance, waiting is part of your plan, so he was out too.

The original list had some 3 Ponders and 3 Daze, but I didn’t like playing with too few lands in Chicago, so I swapped one Ponder for a land, and then cut another Ponder and a Daze for the two Walls. The one Elspeth I stole from Yurchick – I wanted another creature to kill them with, and this one seemed fine enough. His first list had two, but since you have Top and a lot of shuffle effects, I think one is enough. It’s unfortunate that he did not get to play his deck in the Legacy portion, but thanks for showing it to me!

My sideboard is completely random, and I had to throw together in five minutes, so I do not really recommend it. As I said, this event felt very unprofessional from my part.

Round 1: Turkey, playing Belcher.

My match was a feature match, which you can read on the Mothership.

From turn 1 – quite literally – it became clear that saying my opponent was not familiar with Legacy was quite an understatement. He drew his opening hand and then had to get up to ask his friend whether he was going to mullligan or not – since we were a feature match, we did not play in the regular team table, so you had to move to consult with the other players. Then he kept, cycled a Street Wraith, and had to go ask his teammate what to do again.

I led with Top off my Top, Force of Will, Brainstorm, Swords to Plowshares hand, and he started playing a bunch of Rituals, including a Tinder Wall. Throughout the game I kept correcting the placement of his cards – he would just put everything in the graveyard, from Simian Spirit Guides, to pump for Goyfs, to Rite of Flames he had imprinted on Chrome Mox. Then we got to the key point of the game, when he played his last Ritual and had one card left in hand (with Mox, Wall, and LED in play). Now I could wait to counter his Belcher or counter the Ritual. If his card is Empty the Warrens, he will make 8-10 tokens, which my hand cannot really beat, though I can always hope to top into Firespout. I reason that, if his hand was such that he would have mana to play and activate Charbelcher on turn 1, he likely wouldn’t be constantly asking his friend, he would just go for it, and it was more likely that he was asking “so I can play Empty for 8 on turn 1, do I go for it?”, so I counter his Ritual and he passes. On my turn I Top into 3 Blanks and point a Swords at his Wall, which is met with “what is that, Disenchant?” from him. Four turns later he gets enough mana to play the Belcher that turned out to be his last card, and I have nothing to do since I was Topping into blanks the entire time.

+3 Hydroblast
+3 Krosan Grip
+1 Firespout

-2 Swords to Plowshares
-2 Wall of Blossoms
-2 Rhox War Monk
-1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant

I left in two Swords because I was afraid of Xantid Swarm – perhaps I should just have left the War Monks in instead.

Game 2 he drew and again had to stand and leave to consult with his teammate about whether to keep or not. He kept, and didn’t have a play for the first few turns other than Lotus Petal, discarding a Goblin Charbelcher. I played a Tarmogoyf and he drew his one land. At some point in the game he played Land Grant, but his only land was already in play, and I knew he only had one land in his deck from the first game (since he flipped his entire library), so I just let it resolve and he didn’t get anything. I then disrupted everything he did for the rest of the game.

Game 3 I kept a hand that has some defensive value, with a one-mana counter, Daze, double Brainstorm, and a bunch of Fetchlands. I figure this is better than blindly mulliganing for Force of Will, since this hand is fine if he does not kill me turn 1, and even if he has Empty for a lot I have double Brainstorm to see a lot of cards and try to find Spout. He does not kill me turn 1, instead going “pass.” How stupid is it that your opponent’s first turn is always either “kill you” or “pass without any play, not even a land”…?

After that, I had enough to disrupt him even past a Pyroblast, by Dazing one of his Rituals at a key point. I learned that timing your counters in those combo matches is pretty much the key to winning or losing – you always have to try to make them go as far as possible, so that if you do disrupt them they have almost no cards in hand and have to draw everything again, while making sure they don’t go too far, so that then your situational counters (Snare, Hydroblast, Daze) lose the ability to counter what matters. In this particular game, my opponent had a LED in play, but his entire turn fell apart when I Dazed his Desperate Ritual and he had to pass. Soon after I Krosan Gripped both the Mox and the LED, and he succumbed to War Monks and Goyfs.

Aristides lost his match in the Jund Mirror, but Carlos beat his Dredge opponent with the UW Thopter Foundry deck, though it was not really perfected at that point – we would then use Carlos’s experience (or I would) to change the deck for the Extended portion.


Next came Greece. My opponent was playing an UBg deck that featured Counterbalance, Top, Goyf, and also the Hexmage/Dark Depths combo. Game 1 I stuck a Counterbalance, but then could not stop him from playing Counterbalance and Top himself. He never really countered anything with it though, as I played double Rhox War Monk and then had Elspeth to pump one of them and attack for 9. He had a Vampire Hexmage in play at this point, but I figured hitting him for three more at this moment would do more for me than making a token. Then he played a Vendilion Clique at the end of the turn, which I think was a mistake – he should have just double blocked my guy and killed my Elspeth. He did that next turn, but not before I could make a token. I guess he was hoping to draw into a Dark Depths at this point and tried to keep his guy alive for one more turn…?

At this point, I have a War Monk and a 1/1 token, and he is at 1. He then plays Tarmogoyf and flips his Top, with two lands up. I reason that if the top card was not a creature he would just have scooped, so I use the opportunity to Swords his gigantic Goyf, and he starts to pack his cards, which I obviously follow hastily after. He then seems to realize that he is going to gain 7, and puts his cards back into play, which I do too. At this point, if he flips the Top before playing the Goyf, he has a much better chance to win the game. He draws his card and plays a Hexmage. I attack with just my Monk, and then he draws and replays his Top, and I respond to it with another Swords. He has nothing after, and I win.

-1 Daze
-2 Wall of Blossoms
-3 Firespout

+3 Krosan Grip
+2 Pyroblast
+1 Threads of Disloyalty

I normally would take out a couple of Force of Wills in this matchup, but since he had Hexmages I figured I would like the Forces – I didn’t really know how dedicated his combo was, though it didn’t seem a huge line of attack.

In part 1, I said I had played really badly in three games – game 2 of this match was the second time I punted. The entire match I was somewhat ahead in cards -I had Top and Counterbalance, but that never really countered anything since I took out a lot of 2s – but I was somewhat behind on tempo. He had a Vendilion Clique and a Goyf attacking, and at some point I decide to do something else instead of Krosan Gripping his Top, and then he flips it for a fifth land and passes on what is obviously Force of Will. I have Swords and Threads, and I run my Swords into his Force and Threads the Goyf. Now he can’t replay the Top, so I’m not in a lot of danger, except I’m dying to his Clique. He gets a Hexmage, which I cannot counter, and I get a War Monk to go with my Goyf. I am at 5 life, and I draw a Swords to Plowshares.

At this point, both my teammates have already won their matches, so the only thing hanging on this match is the second tiebreak criteria, which is very unlikely to matter (and did not, even though we missed the Top 4 on tiebreakers). I believe this led me to playing somewhat quicker than I should have – I know it’s not really an excuse, but everyone was really tired and we just wanted to leave, especially since we did not have an Extended deck yet. When I drew the Swords, I immediately thought that I should play it, so that I can start attacking with my Goyf too and end the game soon. I think for a while and decide to Swords his Hexmage, and not the Vendilion Clique – the Vendilion itself is getting countered by the War Monk, and by Plowing the Hexmage instead of the Faerie I make sure I don’t die to Dark Depths from his Top. He also had a couple of cards in hand that he hadn’t played for some turns, so I reasoned the likelihood of him having another Vendilion is not small. So, I Swords his Hexmage and attack. There is only one problem with my train of thought – I do not have to play the Swords there. Why am I in a hurry to end the game (other than wanting to leave)? My War Monk is trading blows with his Vendilion, which means he is taking three a turn to my zero. If someone pointed a gun to my head and said YOU MUST PLAY SWORDS NOW, I think the target I chose was correct, but, as it was, I had just no reason to cast it.

In the end, he drew a Tarmogoyf, which I couldn’t Counterbalance, and I was forced to find a way to deal with his Vendilion – namely another Swords, an Elspeth (which sends my War Monk airborne), or a Pyroblast. I Top for some turns, even Krosan Gripping my own Top in response to the draw trigger so that I would see an extra card (I had another Top in hand), but don’t find anything and die. If I had waited on my Swords, I could have either Sworded his Vendilion or his Goyf, and would very likely have won this game.

Game 3 we are somewhat short on time and I mulligan to 5, but quickly draw a Sensei’s Divining Top to make up for it. He Thoughtseizes one of my spells and runs his Hexmage into my Spell Snare to clear the ground for his Goyf, but I draw another one to deal with it, and then a Goyf myself. Time is called, and he has nothing to my Top and now two Goyfs. He takes his last turn and has nothing, and is at 6 life, facing two 5/6 Goyfs, a Pyroblast and another Counterspell on the top of my deck, but I cannot take the last turn to take him, so we draw. I kind of hope for a concession at this point, since we had already won and he was dead next turn, but he does not offer it and I do not ask for it – in his place, I would not have conceded either, so I cannot complain (though it is arguable that if I was in his place we would not have drawn the game, since he generally took a lot more time to play than I did).


By this point, we were first, not close.

We then played 6 rounds of drafts, and our team posted a stellar 6-12 record. It is a colossal tribute to our Day 1 record that we were still tied for first (losing on tiebreaks, but not because of my draw!) after our showing on Day 2. As I said before, I will detail my Draft rounds next week.

Round 3: Austria

I did not know what my opponent was playing, and we were a Feature Match again, except by this point they arranged for a normal table, which was better since we could communicate without having to walk around.

We started our match, and it became apparent that my opponent was playing some sort of combo deck, probably Ad Nauseam. I play a creature and he Thoughtseizes my Force of Will, and then tries to go for it two turns later. He plays two Lotus Petals, a Lion’s Eye Diamond, sacrifices both Lotus Petals, taps his two lands (so he has BBBB), and plays Cabal Ritual without Threshold, leaving himself with one card in hand, obviously Ad Nauseam or Infernal Tutor, though I don’t think most builds play Infernal Tutor (or maybe they do?). I then Daze his Cabal Ritual, and he cannot do anything – if he pays, he cannot Ad Nauseam anymore, and he cannot sacrifice his LED to pay because then he has to discard it. Luckily for him there is no more mana burn, so the fact that he sacrificed his two Lotus Petals instead of just tapping his two lands doesn’t hurt him as much as it would have one year ago.

I draw, play a Counterbalance, and pass. Now if he had kept his two Lotus Petals, he would need to just draw any mana source to kill me, even a land, but the game is sometimes not very fair and the mana source he draws is another Cabal Ritual, which now has Threshold, going up to five mana even without the Petals. Justice is served, though, and my blind Counterbalance reveals a Tarmogoyf to counter it. Two turns later he is dead. Even if I had not revealed a 2 (or a 5), I think I had a good chance of winning, as he was on like 9 and had no mana and no cards left. There is also the fact that if my top card is not 2 or 5, it has high chances of being 0 or 1, and those counter most cards he would like to Ad Nauseam into.

-4 Swords to Plowshares
-3 Firespout

+2 Red Elemental Blast
+2 Relic of Progenitus
+2 Hydroblast
+1 Wall of Blossoms (See! Told you it was good! Even comes in versus Ad Nauseam!)

I sided in the Walls and Relics because they cantrip, and are just better than what I was taking out. The Hydroblasts came in simply because they are Blue cards to discard for Force of Will, and also that they cost one, which is good for Counterbalance. In hindsight, I made a mistake – I forgot he was going to bring in Dark Confidants. I should have let some Swords in – they are better than Hydroblasts. This was the one time where inexperience with the format got me. If I had played that matchup once in my entire life, I would probably have sideboarded correctly.

Game 2 starts with him Thoughtseizing me, but then not doing much else. I soon enough have a Goyf and a War Monk attacking, and protection against anything he can play. I even assembled my Force/Hydroblast combo! In his last turn he tries a Bob, but when that is countered he packs in.

Aristides lost his match versus the UWR deck, apparently very flooded, and we turn to watch Carlos’s match of UW against All-Inn Red (AIR). Carlos lost game 1 to a turn 1 Blood Moon (I think), but his game 2 is looking good. Since he was on the play this game, he was able to fetch his basic Plains (we were only playing one, a mistake we corrected for the Extended portion), but he could not for the life of him draw one of his seven Islands. His opponent had had three creatures Pathed already, and Carlos had the fourth Path in hand, but then the Austrian guy played Empty the Warrens for I believe four tokens (might’ve been six) and now Carlos has to draw either an Explosives or an Island somewhat soon. He finally draws one Island, and plays Trinket Mage for Explosives.

The game then slows glacially, and puts most Draft matches to shame when Carlos equips his Trinket Mage with Sword of the Meek to attack past Simian Spirit Guide, only to equip it back on his Meddling Mage who is on defense keeping the dangerous Simian at bay. Eventually Thirst finds another Island, which transmutes Tolaria West for a third, and then Cryptic Command is up and the game cannot be lost.

For game 3, Carlos has a hand of Plains, Aether Spellbomb, random spells, and lands. We strongly think about mulliganing, but this hand has his one Plains of the deck, which is by far the most important card in this match. Carlos deck had no Moxes, which was a mistake we also corrected for Extended. When Gerry built the deck he had four of them, but Luis and I, being the card advantage fanatics that we are, quickly replaced them with lands. Well, it turns out, at least in this particular match, Moxes would have been infinitely better. If only we had replaced them with basic lands… Carlos’s deck had four Hallowed Fountains, and not many fetches. The deck we ended up playing had only two, and a lot more fetches, so it was really much better equipped to deal with Blood Moon to the point where AIR was actually a very easy match, but for Carlos it ended up not being so. We kept the hand, because of the Plains, and if his opponent does not draw a Moon effect, going for the quick guy instead, we have an answer in the form of Spellbomb (and then a Wrath, I believe). If he does draw a Moon effect, then we can still draw one of our seven Islands to buy a lot of time, or to completely turn the game around if his Moon is a Magus, since we can counter it with Cryptic on the way back.

It turned out his opponent had no turn 1 Blood Moon, but a turn 2 Magus. At this point if we draw an Island we are in good shape. Two turns later he lays down a Deus of Calamity, and when the draw step does not produce either an Island or a Path, and the Spellbomb card is not a Path either, the Deus attacks and kills the Plains, sealing the game. I think our decision to keep was right – the reason we lost this game was because we did not prepare enough for Extended, and did not play our deck at least once before running it in the Teams portion – we basically built it all off the top of our heads one hour before we had to play it. I, of course, wish this had not happened, but at least then we could fix our mistakes in deckbuilding for the Extended portion.


Round 4 we get paired against the almighty Japan, and we are, surprisingly enough, not a feature match! I think they didn’t want to feature us twice in a row, but, come on, it’s Brazil versus Japan – in my completely fair and unbiased opinion, the two best teams in the tournament! I’m pretty sure we had a bigger crowd watching us than the feature match did. Playing against Japan was pretty bad at this point, for a couple of reasons:

One, they are obviously very good players.

Two, we had good matchups against them, with the Jund mirror, Zoo versus me (go Wall!), and UW Thopter versus Dredge (this being the best of all). Though we appreciate having good matches now, we actually did not mind playing them in the Top 4.

And three, though Japan was the best team in the competition, they were only 2-1 at this point, so if they lost to us they would be 2-2 in Teams, therefore lowering our tiebreakers. I’d much rather play against a team who had a worse overall record but was 3-0 in Teams, for instance.

Still, you don’t choose who you play against…

Game 1 my opponent mulliganed to 5 and didn’t do anything, but it wouldn’t really have mattered even if he did, since my hand was awesome. I had Top and Counterbalance with a one-drop and a two-drop near the top, and was attacking with my 2/3 Goyf for quite some time. One important piece of information was that he was at 12 and fetched his sixth dual land, which pretty much tells me he has no Price of Progress maindeck, as if he did he would have gotten a basic instead of leaving himself dead to it. He drew some more lands and was probably really frustrated about it, and I resisted the temptation to run the “I still had all these” and show him my hand of seven cards that includes Swords, double Force of Will, Brainstorm, another Counterbalance, Wall of Blossoms, and something else, as well as the Brainstorm and Counterbalance on top of my deck and the two unbroken fetches I have, to show him that no matter what he drew, he was not going to win.

-3 Force of Will
-2 Counterbalance

+1 Wall of Blossoms
+1 Threads of Disloyalty
+1 Firespout
+2 Hydroblast

I wanted to take out all Force of Wills, but I knew he had Elspeth and Knight of the Reliquary from a previous game I watched, so I left one in there for the mise. It was over the third Hydroblast, since I had not seen a Red dude, though I was sure he ran some. I’m sure there is a better way to sideboard, but I didn’t have infinite time and this was what I came up with. If he actually played spells this game then I would see what he had, and come up with a better plan.

He starts game 2 with Grim Lavamancer into Qasili Pridemage, and I have Firespout, Elspeth, Daze, and Spell Snare in hand. I do not Firespout on turn 3, because I want to Spell Snare his follow-up. On his turn 4 he plays his own Elspeth, which I Daze, paying two (but not before I Brainstorm and shuffle). I honestly think he was better off waiting one turn to play around Daze. On my turn 4 I play the Firespout and keep the Spell Snare up. I then draw a War Monk, and play that over the Elspeth, but it gets Pathed. Then next turn I play the Elspeth and Shuhei, who had just won his Jund mirror and was watching, gave a big “ooooooooo, slhlhlh,” Japanese style. (Okay, my onomatopoeic skills are not very good… I‘m sure you understand what I mean, though, right? When you clench your teeth and suck in air and it makes the sound above.)

In the end, the Elspeth wins the game pretty much by herself, ending it at 10 counters, though I eventually find another War Monk and double Swords to deal with anything he plays (a Wild Nacatl and, on his last turn, a Grim Lavamancer).

So, since I had won and Aristides had lost, it was all up to Carlos, who was just one game up versus Yuya, with Dredge. He opens a hand of Spell Snare, double Tezzeret, and four lands, and decides to mulligan – Snare and Tezzeret are good against Dredge, but there are too many hands that are better than this to justify keeping. He mulligans into the much better Spell Snare/Trinket Mage hand, and the game draws out for a long time, with him never having to use his Crypt, which is basically doing all it needs to do by just being there. He eventually finds a Ruin and assembles his Foundry/Sword combo, with Spell Snare in hand to stop any of Yuya’s attempts to stop it (as well as the Ruins and the Crypt), and when I’m pretty sure the game cannot be lost, I leave to find the final cards for my Extended deck. As soon as I leave they call time, and I get somewhat worried that he would not be able to kill in time, but then I remember he was up a game, so no worries. I get the cards I need, and return to find out that we did indeed win the game and the match.


So, it was all up to our remaining personal performances. We were (I believe) third after this round, but the Top 8 or so (minus the Czech Republic, who were miles ahead of everyone else, practically the new Brazil) was really stacked up, with people being one or two points apart, and some people being tied. If you think of the amount of points you can get, it’s actually pretty ridiculous that you find three people with, say, exactly 112 points each, but that’s how it was.

As far as my Legacy deck goes, I liked it. I received a lot of criticism from people who regularly play Legacy, ranging from “4 colors wtf?” to “21 lands? That’s too many!” to “Wall of Blossoms, are you kidding?” to the “Play a Real Deck” from earlier on, but honestly, I liked it. Wall of Blossoms was not stellar, but that was because it did not have to be. The time where I drew them against the aggro deck they were completely unnecessary, but any card would have been. If I had drawn them against Zoo in game 2, they would have been really good. I am open to suggestions on other two-mana cards, though… maybe I can sneak in some Counterspells somewhere?

I would not change anything in my maindeck right now, though I admittedly did not play a big enough game sample. Some people told me I worried too much about aggro, but, as I said, in Team Worlds you metagame against very specific people. I do believe, though, that the improvement you gain against aggro by playing cards such as Firespout (aggro here being Merfolk, Zoo, Goblins, Slivers… hey, don’t laugh, I played against Slivers in Chicago) is bigger than how much worse your deck becomes against Control and Combo because you are playing those cards. To put it simply, without Firespouts your deck is 8 against Combo and Control and 5 against Aggro, and by playing Firespouts it becomes 7 against both (and of course, I made those numbers up to illustrate the point).

As for the sideboard, I don’t know much what to do. Dredge is probably your hardest match, though you do have Firespout, which is better than a control card would be against them, so I think at least 4 slots are needed. More is probably excessive, since you also have Force of Will, which is really good against them. They cannot help but keep a Dredge, land, one enabler hand, and if you Force their enabler it might win you the game right there.

The Wall of Blossoms in the sideboard might be unnecessary, since you probably want a more specific card if that is what you are running, like Threads of Disloyalty. I would be more comfortable with something that dealt with Knight of the Reliquary consistently, though, and possibly Elspeth. It’s possible that Path to Exile is not a bad sideboard card.

I cannot think of anything better than Krosan Grip and Pyroblast in the mirror. If you take into account that you’ll also board in Pyroblast against a lot of decks, including the combos, it’s probably better than something like Vedalken Shackles. Shackles was great for us in Chicago, but now the format has became faster and it’s probably not as good, and if it were good, it would be much better game 1 than game 2.

That’s about it. I hope you’ve enjoyed this, and I’ll see you next week, when I’ll conclude my tournament report!