PV’s Playhouse – Paulo at Worlds, Part 3

SCG 10k St. Louis Offers First Chances to Qualify for the 2010 StarCityGames.com Invitational!
Thursday, December 10th – Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa concludes his excellent tournament report from Worlds, in an article packed with Draft and Extended match summaries. He also discusses the sideboard options for his Extended deck of choice: Thopter Foundry Combo.


This is the end of my Worlds 2009 report. I’ll be talking about my Drafts and my Extended matches. Enjoy!

In the first draft, my first pack had a Hellkite Charger, which made for an uncharacteristically quick decision for me, at least in this format. I don’t know about other people, but I always feel like there is not enough time for thinking about the picks. I almost wish they would go back to the 60 seconds for pick 1, instead of the 45 they have now.

After that, I kept picking Red cards, but wasn’t sure on my second color. By the end of pack 1, I was evenly split between Blue and Black. It was yet again one of those drafts where you have no real reason to play one color over the other… each pick brings you a slightly better card of the other color. You take it since the cards you have in the other color are not good enough to commit you to it, and in the end you find yourself with a nice nineteen playables. My first pick in pack 2 was a Trusty Machete, and then everything became unexciting very quickly. It seemed like every pack had an Oran-Rief Survivalist and a lot of terrible cards, and sometimes there were good cards but never in any of my three colors. My first pick in pack 3 was Highland Berserker, passing Conqueror’s Pledge to Adam Yurchick, and then I got passed Emeria Angel, which I also passed. After the draft, the guy next to Yurchick muttered “Thank you,” which instantly made me hate him and wish that he posted 0-3… I take it those cards got to him. I saw no removal whatsoever in any color, and after deciding on Black over Blue, I ended up with this:

1 Trusty Machete
1 Explorer’s Scope
1 Goblin War Paint
1 Vampire’s Bite
1 Torch Slinger
1 Heartstabber Mosquito
1 Giant Scorpion
1 Stonework Puma
2 Highland Berserker
1 Tuktuk Grunts
1 Crypt Ripper
1 Zektar Shrine Expedition
1 Hellkite Charger
1 Hagra Crocodile
1 Nimana Sell-Sword
1 Goblin Ruinblaster
1 Goblin Shortcutter
1 Hellfire Mongrel
1 Molten Ravager
1 Hagra Diabolist
1 card that I don’t really remember, but wasn’t very good
18 Lands

Pretty bad. It has some good cards, like Machete and Dragon, and the creatures are actually fine, so it definitely could win games, but the spells are really bad. I’m playing Black and Red, and the five spells I came up with were four Creature Enhancements and one Zektar Shrine Expedition. Give me a Hideous End and an Inferno Trap over two random cards and I’m actually happy with my deck, but as it is I have problems handling Nissa’s Chosen, let alone Vampire Nighthawk.

I think it just took me too long to decide on my second color, but even then, I’m not sure that would have helped much. It seems I would have to be in a different color combination altogether to salvage this draft, such as GW. At this point, I was really hoping for a 2-1 record.

Round 7: Shoota Yasooka

This was a feature match, and probably the fastest match I’ve ever played in a tournament. I think they could have picked another Feature Match after ours and no one would have noticed. You know all those Oran-Rief Survivalists I said I had seen during the draft? It turns out they all made their way into Shoota’s deck.

Game 1 he started with turn 2 Survivalist, turn 3 Umara Raptor, turn 4 another Ally. I also curved guys on turns 2, 3, and 4, so we are racing, but then his turn 5 is Whiplash Trap and I’m just dead.

Game 2 I mulligan to five, and he goes turn 1 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood, turn 2 Survivalist, turn 3 Survivalist, pump with his land so that he has two 3/3s in play. My hand is not bad for a five-carder, and by then I have a Machete and a Giant Scorpion, with the Dragon in hand. When he attacks with his 3/3, I opt not to block – I think my only chance of winning this game is that he does not have another Ally, and so I can equip the Scorpion with the Machete and have it hold the fort by itself until I find enough lands to play my Dragon. My plan doesn’t really work, and he has a Tajuru Archers (that gets pumped by Oran Rief too), so I am forced to trade. I play a Molten Ravager next turn, but that doesn’t block either, since his next play is Adventuring Gear to make both his guys four power. I equip my guy and pass, and he has Oracle of Mul Daya and two lands to grow his guys and kill me.


Overall, I was not really mad to lose this round. He is a good player and his deck was just much better than mine, and I didn‘t think I was going to win many games with this deck anyway. I would also rather mulligan to five and lose to him than keep my first seven, lose anyway because his deck is much better, and then mulligan to five in the next round when my opponent’s deck is as bad as mine.


Round 8 I played against UW. Game 1 he plays a Kor Skyfisher, which pretty much halts my entire deck, and I manage to Goblin Ruinblaster his Seaside Cliffs, which was his only Blue source. The game drags for a while, and he plays a 2/4 Pillarfield Ox, and then another, which means he can start attacking with his Skyfisher. The flaw in my deck becomes evident: I simply cannot break through his two walls, and I cannot do anything to stop his Skyfisher from killing me, even if he is only operating on half his colors. Eventually I find my Dragon before he can find his Blue land, and I ride it to victory.

Game 2 I start somewhat quickly, and he passes his turn 4 with 2UU up, so I just attack with my two guys and don’t play anything. In this format, sometimes it’s tricky because there is both Summoner’s Bane and Into the Roil, but most of the time you’re better not playing anything if you are in an advantageous position, as Summoner’s Bane is just a much bigger blowout. In my case, it was pretty easy because I had two guys, so even if he has the Into the Roil I’m still good, whereas if I run my guy into a Summoner’s Bane I’ll lose all my tempo advantage.

He plays a guy next turn, and at some point passes with 3UU up. I play around both the Bane and the Trap. I have a Needlebite Trap that I sided in, and six lands in play, and if I ever draw a seventh he is dead. It takes me four turns, but in the end I manage to kill him with the spells I drew (since if I was not drawing a land for four turns, at least I got enough dudes to attack through). I think I played this match very well, and if I had taken a different path than the sequence of plays I made, I would probably have lost.


Round 9 I played against a guy with an WUR deck. His deck was also pretty bad; it had an Ally sub-theme, but his Allies were things like double Ondu Cleric and Makindi Shieldmates. Unfortunately, my deck also has a little problem with 2/5 Shieldmates…

In the end, my games 2 and 3 were really unfortunate, with me drawing 150 lands in game 2, and then drawing a hand without any Mountains and all Red cards, then mulliganing into a hand of all Mountains and no Red cards, and then mulliganing to five pretty sub-optimal cards. I still have a good chance to win, as he is not doing anything, but I’m stuck on lands and can’t even play the few spells I drew, so I lost.

I was pretty mad to lose this round, because my opponent’s deck was not good. It was a full three-color deck, with no fixers, and no good cards! I mean, if you are going to play bad cards, you might as well play them in two colors so that you don’t have to stare at them, uncastable, in your hand.


My next draft was not really good either, which makes me doubt my drafting ability in this set. My first pick was a Vampire Hexmage out of a somewhat unexciting pack, and from there on it seemed like just nothing was getting together. I second picked a Plated Geopede and had to abandon Red because nothing was coming, and ended up with a GB deck that was probably worse than the previous one. At some point in pack 2 I passed something like a fifth pick Hagra Diabolist, and then sixth pick Hagra Diabolist. Then a third came, and I took it out of sheer anger at myself for not picking the first two, but then I obviously didn’t get any more allies and it ended in my sideboard. This was my deck:

1 Hideous End
2 Savage Silhouette
2 Nissa’s Chosen
1 Vastwood Gorger
1 Heartstabber Mosquito
2 Glazing Gladehart
1 Needlebite Trap
1 Zendikar Farguide (!)
2 Blood Seeker
1 Stonework Puma
1 Turntimber Basilisk
1 Surrakar Marauder
1 Vampire Hexmage
1 Mold Shambler
1 Oran-Rief Recluse
1 Quest for the Gemblades
1 Vampire’s Bite
1 Crypt Creeper
18 Lands

Pretty bad too. As this deck was shaping up, I picked cards like Savage Silhouette and the Quest slightly higher than I normally would, because I had a lot of two-drops and, well, I had to win the game somehow! My plan was just to play a bunch of two-drops and pump them, and hope my opponents did not have Journey to Nowhere or pump spells. The mana in this deck is not very good, with early BB and GG, and there are some very sub-optimal cards, but I was short on cards and you have to work with what you have.

Round 10 I played against UG, and my opponent kept making a lot of minor mistakes here and there, such as tapping out to play irrelevant cards when he had River Boa that could have blocked, or forgetting to put counters on his Expeditions. At some point during game 2 he passes with 2UU up, and I can either pass with no play, play one good guy, or play a Blood Seeker. I decide to play Blood Seeker, because he might think I’m trying to bait the counter, since I have a decent amount of mana left, or not deem it important enough, or simply not have the Summoner’s Bane. In truth, I don’t want it to get countered, since it’s good against an UG deck and part of my game plan, but I thought playing it there was the good play anyway. In the end it did not work out, and my opponent could not have countered faster. I honestly don’t think he even saw which card I had played. If it had been a 0/3 wall, I’m positive he would have countered it anyway.

I then follow with one of my deck’s hits: Zendikar Farguide. My opponent finds a big guy – a Vastwood Gorger – and seems to be pretty annoyed when I play the Hideous End I’ve been saving for at least three turns. He plays triple Into the Roil in my Farguide, but ultimately finds no answer and dies to it.

I board in my two Summoning Traps. Take that, Summoner’s Bane!

Game 2 is almost the same as game 1, except he has a Hedron Crab, so while we keep trading guys (while he plays bounce spells), he is milling me. I have a Hideous End, but the Crab is not going to kill me for a good six turns, and that’s if he draws lands every time – and if he draws lands every time for six turns he is clearly dying before he has the opportunity to kill me – so I just don’t kill it. If anything goes wrong, I can always kill it later. Then my opponent plays a Vastwood Gorger… that I do kill, and again he seems slightly annoyed. In the end, I play a bunch of guys and kill him, since he can’t play his Cobra Trap because of my Blood Seeker. I also think I played this match very well, since I recognized my role as the aggressor, saved my removal for the important cards, and (almost) never walked into any of his tricks.


Round 11, I play against Makihito Mihara, with a really good Mono Black deck, and I’m not really in either game. Game 1 I had only Forests — something like four – and started discarding because I couldn’t play a spell, and game 2 I needed a fifth land to operate and just never drew it. Truth be told, his deck was much better and I would likely have lost anyway, as he had (for example) multiple Crypt Rippers, and there weren’t many cards in my deck that could trump those. I think it’s worth noting that in game 2 I had a Glazing Gladehart on turn 3, and he simply never killed it, and then by the end of the game played back to back Hideous End on better targets – kind of simple, especially because I was not playing lands, but some cards just have targets drawn on them, and some people just want to kill them as soon as possible because of what they are, and not what they are doing to the game. A lot of people would have wasted one Hideous End on that guy, a guy that was not really making a difference. The game was not a race, especially considering he had two, but he correctly held them both.


In my next match, I played against a WR deck. In game 1, I did not play any spells. I don’t remember exactly why, but I know it was a non-game. I think I was stuck on two lands. Game 2 I start aggressively with early drops, but then I flood absurdly. He is always afraid to attack into my untapped mana, presumably playing around Baloth Cage Trap and Cobra Trap. I think he just could not believe I had drawn that many lands, since I was not playing anything. I think he made a mistake by doing that, though, at least in every turn that was not the fifth and the sixth. I was clearly the aggressor this game, and if I had a Baloth Cage Trap, for example, I would have played it turn 5 to attack with my token turn 6. I would most definitely not wait to try to ambush him with it, especially considering he had not attacked into it the first time, because in this game I clearly just wanted to kill him. I eventually draw a Needlebite Trap, but he is at something like seven life. I knew he had Windborne Charge in his deck from game 1, and it was a real possibility that he had it in hand, so I tried to play around it as much as I could. He had a Hellfire Mongrel in play, and at some point I went down to two cards in hand, so I thought it would be appealing for him to attack me to two, and then I would surprise him with the Trap in my upkeep in response to the trigger, plus an attack. In the end it is not necessary, and I manage to push through with one guy for the Trap to finish him. I don’t think he ever saw it coming.

Game 3 I opened a hand of five lands, Mosquito, and Silhouette, which I should have mulliganed. I think in most situations I would just have mulliganed that, but for some reason I stuck into my mind that Silhouette was a very important card against him. I hadn’t seen a single Journey to Nowhere, and his deck seemed somewhat slow from the first two games, so theoretically the Regenerator would have the potential to dominate games. I keep the hand and he starts with land, Steppe Lynx… oops. Then I draw Nissa’s Chosen like a champ, and after that a Gladehart. After that I draw another Silhouette, and when I Enchant both he can’t really do anything. He almost got back in the game because of a World Queller, but I also had a 5/6 Wurm, and he couldn’t handle that as well.


I was really happy with my result in this draft. I mean, I was not happy to have gone 3-3 on the draft day – it’s actually terrible – but considering the situation I was in, I was not that upset with it.

For Extended, I was settled on Thopter Foundry. After the team rounds finished on Saturday, I hurried to talk to Luis and find out what they had concluded on the list. After talking to Carlos as well, as he had played the deck in the Teams portion, this is what I sleeved up:

The basic differences from Carlos’s list were the lands, which became Moxes, and the higher number of Engineered Explosives, which are better than Wrath against the quick Five-Color Zoo deck. I had never played the deck before, except for a few games against Luis in the hotel room with the first version we built, but it didn’t seem like a very complicated deck to play – or at least not complicated in a different way to a lot of decks I had played. I wanted to play one Snow-Covered Island, to fetch with Gifts Ungiven, but I actually could not find any in time, since I was in such a rush because I was also playing Teams. I think this is probably the first time in recent memory that I didn’t play a card in an event because I just couldn’t get it. I’m sure if I had tried hard enough — such as going to the dealers — I would have been able to find it, but the round was almost starting when I realized I didn’t have one, so I just scratched it out and played a Basic Island instead. It wasn’t really going to come up, right?

I think this deck is really good – or something very close to it – and I definitely recommend it for future tournaments. I think the most important thing you have to realize is that this is ultimately a control deck, not a combo deck. I mean, there is only one combo piece in there; if it was a dedicated combo, it would have four. You do not try to combo as fast as possible unless you really have to – your priority is controlling the game. Killing them is not necessary. You could be playing Millstone for that, for all I care (and sometimes you do kill them with Tezzeret). The main reasons we play the combo and not something like Baneslayer Angel:

– The combo is a lot harder to disrupt than Baneslayer Angel
– The combo trumps other combos (Dark Depths *cough cough*)
– If you have to, you can play the combo faster
– The combo trumps Baneslayer Angel. If you are playing versus Zoo and you both have Baneslayer, then you are not winning. If he has Baneslayer and you have the combo, then you are winning.

Round 13: Quentin Martin, with Thopter Combo (except he had Baneslayers main over the combo)

As we are shuffling, we both notice that my sleeves are mostly terrible – not really slightly marked, but with entire rows of bubbles. This is pretty weird since I had just bought them for the Extended rounds (which was also why I did not really notice before). Quentin understandably calls a judge and he rules that there is no pattern whatsoever, but I have to replace them for the next game.

Game 1 I resolve Tezzeret, and once it turns out I have double Foundry (he deals with the first), as well as double Ruins, he scoops to save time.

I board:

-1 Chalice of the Void
-1 Tormod’s Crypt
-1 Aether Spellbomb
-1 Wrath of God
-1 Day of Judgment
-3 Spell Snare
-2 Path to Exile

+3 Meddling Mage
+2 Baneslayer Angel
+2 Negate
+2 Glen Elendra Archmage
+1 Crucible of Worlds

The reason I brought in the Baneslayers was that I wanted an answer for his Baneslayers, and having my own seems just better than having Paths and Wraths, since they also trump the Vendilion Clique / Meddling Mage plan by themselves.

I do not remember game 2 much, but I know I had a Meddling Mage on Vendilion Clique, and he had double Trinket Mage attacking me. At some point he plays a Meddling Mage on Path, which makes me think he has Angel in hand, so when he plays Ajani Vengeant I Negate it rather than Mana Leak. I then play my own Angel, and a Tezzeret that seeks a Shackles, and he cannot beat that.


After this match, I go back to the store and tell them that I cannot use the sleeves they just sold me, because they are all really marked, so they replace them with new ones. Yay!

Round 14: All in Red

Game 1 I win the die roll and lead with Arid Mesa, so I am able to fetch a Plains when my opponent makes Blood Moon turn 1. My hand is Gifts Ungiven, Tezzeret the Seeker, a Blue card, double Chrome Mox, and a land. At this point my game plan is to resolve Tezzeret, so all I have to do is draw a land. I end up drawing another Blue card, and play double Mox keeping Gifts and Tezzeret in hand. Then, at the end of his turn, I want to Gifts for double Island and Plains, but can’t (obviously) because I don’t have a Snow Covered one. I end up getting two non-basics, but that is irrelevant, as any land lets me resolve Tezzeret and get my combo.

-1 Tormod’s Crypt
-1 Vedalken Shackles
-1 Chalice of the Void
-3 Spell Snare
-1 Muddle the Mixture

+3 Baneslayer Angel
+1 Path to Exile
+3 Meddling Mage

On the draw I like Negates, but on the play I think they are much too slow.

Game 2 he starts with a Figure of Destiny that gets pumped to 4/4 before I Path it. He has a Chalice for zero, but I have the Ghost Quarter to play my Explosives on 0, ensuring that I don’t lose to Empty the Warrens and giving me the ability to play Moxen if I want to. In the end, he doesn’t have any follow-ups and I win easily.


Round 15: William Cavaglieri, playing Thopter Combo (of a sort)

We were a Feature Match!

Game 1 he presents me his deck, and I count 61 cards. We call a judge and he is given a game loss. William was really sportsmanlike throughout the entire process, and understood everything.

Game 2 I start with Chrome Mox into Thirst For Knowledge on his upkeep, but he has the Mana Leak for it. There are many dead cards in this match, so Thirst is really a key to it; you should usually counter it whenever you can. He has his own Thirst, which I counter, but then he has another. At some point he taps out (minus one land) for Tezzeret, which is another key card in this match, and the only thing I can do is Gifts in response. I think for a while about my options. I’m definitely getting a Mana Leak. If I attempt to get the combo with it (Muddle/Foundry/Sword), he is going to give me Muddle/Sword, and then I’ll need seven lands to start making tokens. I think this puts me too far behind, since he already has the Sword in his graveyard due to his Thirst that resolved, so I opt for Mana Leak, Tezzeret, Cryptic Command, and Thopter Foundry. He gives me Cryptic and Foundry, and gets his combo in play.

I then untap and attempt an Explosives for two. Originally I had tapped Hallowed Fountain and Island, but then I looked at the Mox I had, and it triggers something in my brain that tells me I should always tap my Mox before my Lands, since the Mox is more killable, so as I’m casting the explosives I untap the Fountain and tap the Mox – you know, the usual procedure. That is, until someone who was watching points out that the Mox is for Blue, and that plus the Island makes my Explosives a Sunburst one. I have to sacrifice the Explosives to destroy nothing at the end of his turn, and then return it with Academy Ruins, but now he has a lot more tokens, and he’s had an extra turn. I think this puts me on tilt, and I end up making a lot of smaller mistakes through the rest of the match. As it was, the tempo loss was too much, and though I had the tools to win if given enough time, I did not have that time, since Tezzeret’s ultimate was threatening to kill me. I am almost positive that if I get to play my Explosives for two I win this game and match, though that would depend on how many Thopter Foundries he actually plays.

Game 3 was pretty annoying, as I mulliganed into a land / Mox hand, and just died to Meddling Mages and Vendilion Cliques. On my last turn, I have Explosives for two (actually for two this time) in play and Cryptic Command in hand, and he has double Meddling Mage (one on Command) and a Vendilion Clique. I am at two or three life. I have seven lands, and realize that I have to Explosives and then Command to stay alive, so I pass. Then on his upkeep I attempt to Command first, which is the better technical play, since he could have Mana Leak (and also I had a Thirst I wanted to cast so I could delay the Explosives for a turn), but of course I couldn’t do that because of the Meddling Mage… and his last card in hand is Muddle the Mixture and I die. I would probably have won this game if I had a Baneslayer Angel at any moment, so it made me feel better about my decision to board them in.

This match was somewhat frustrating, not because of my main mistake (the Explosives), but because of what I let that do to me. If I had played in a technically perfect way after making that mistake, it might be that I wouldn’t have won anyway. In the end, everyone makes mistakes, and though this mistake is pretty idiotic to make, as I had even played it correctly the first time around and then “corrected” it to lose the game, I just had to deal with it and move on… and I could not do that. William was a great opponent all the time, and I was glad he made Top 8 in the end, though of course I wish he hadn’t had to beat me to do it.


Round 16: Dredge

Game 1 my opponent is on the play, and he kills me on turn 3. There is nothing I can do.

I board:

-1 Chalice of the Void
-1 Aether Spellbomb
-1 Vedalken Shackles
-1 Path to Exile
-1 Cryptic Command

+1 Relic of Progenitus
+1 Tormod’s Crypt
+3 Meddling Mage

I should have boarded in the Baneslayer Angels, as my friend told me after the match. Post-sideboard, the games are a lot slower, and they cannot really combo you in any way due to graveyard hate, so their plan is Narcomoeba / Imp / Troll / Bloodghast / Tombstalker you, and Baneslayer Angels stops all that. Meddling Mages were somewhat sub-optimal for the same reason (you don’t really care about Dread Return anymore).

Game 2 I mulligan into a hand of two lands, two Paths, and two Wraths. I think about mulliganing to 5, but decide against it – pretty much anything I draw is good. He starts with Thoughtseize and laughs as he takes away a Path, and I refuse to draw a third land for many turns, though I do draw a Tormod’s Crypt that is keeping him in check. At some point I draw a Meddling Mage, and I have the choice between naming Golgari Grave-roll and Dread Return. My hand at this point has answers to Troll, but if he Dread Returns something then I will be forced to use the Crypt, and I don’t want to lose control of the game. I name Dread Return, which was perhaps wrong. He also had a Darkblast in his hand, so in the end the best my Mage is doing is denying him a draw step or a bigger Dredge, but I don’t name Darkblast because I want the time that this gives me, whereas I don’t really care about the Mage itself (and even less if he happens to be naming Darkblast; In fact, I’m not sure why Darkblast was in my opponent’s deck for game 2).

A lot of turns later, I’m still stuck on two lands, and he resolves a Golgari Grave-Troll. I draw the third far too late, and in the last turn he has Thoughtseize to take out my Wrath. I draw my fourth land, but by then I only have a Day of Judgment, and his troll Regenerates. I try it anyway – maybe he doesn’t realize it – but he does, and I’m dead next turn.


Round 17 I play against Rubin Zoo, which is a great matchup. Game 1 he is not fast enough to stop me from comboing (as it is most of the time with this deck).

I side:

-1 Tormod’s Crypt
-1 Tezzeret the Seeker
-1 Aether Spellbomb
-1 Muddle the Mixture

+3 Baneslayer Angel
+1 Path to Exile

Game 2 comes down to a tricky choice from me. I can make the play that most likely wins the game if he doesn’t have Baneslayer in hand, or the play that beats Baneslayer but loses to some other combination of cards (it was basically playing a Path to save some damage before I got my own Baneslayer in play, versus saving my Path for his Baneslayer, which would be Exalted and bigger than mine). In the end he had the cards he needed, namely an Exalted guy and two burn spells, and I lost very narrowly. If you assume he still has Baneslayers in his deck, I think my play was correct, but I think he should take them out versus this deck, so I probably played that wrong too.

Game 3 is very frustrating, as he tries for a turn 2 Tarmogoyf, which I counter, then he makes turn 3 Knight of the Reliquary and turn4 Knight of the Reliquary. He kills me with those after I draw land for six straight turns.


Round 18: Scapeshift

Game 1 was pretty weird. I was stuck on lands for a lot of turns, and when I drew them they were all the “colorless” lands — Academy Ruins and Ghost Quarter – so I could never really cast two spells in a turn, or a Cryptic Command. At the same time, my opponent could not find a Scapeshift for the life of him. He played two Peer Through Depths, two Ponders, a Remand, and just couldn’t find it. At some point I draw my lands and manage to kill him with my combo before he can kill me with his.

-2 Engineered Explosives
-1 Vedalken Shackles
-1 Tormod’s Crypt
-1 Aether Spellbomb
-1 Chalice of the Void
-1 Path to Exile

+2 Glen Elendra Archmage
+3 Meddling Mage
+2 Negate

I didn’t know what kind of creature plan he might have in his board, so I kept in the Wraths, a couple of Paths and the Explosives as a catchall answer.

Game 2 I played two Meddling Mages, but he had Explosives to kill them both and then the Scapeshift to kill me, and I couldn’t do anything.

Game 3 I play a Meddling Mage on Scapeshift, and then I proceed to draw what feels like every land in my deck. He is not doing much either, and at some point he plays a Boseiju, Who Shelters All, so I know the only thing between me and certain death is that Meddling Mage. He plays a Hunting Wilds, and he has in play a Valakut, three Stomping Grounds, one Mountain, and an assortment of other lands.

On my turn I draw a second Meddling Mage, and since I have a Thopter Foundry I know I have him dead next turn pretty much no matter what he does, as he is very low on life at this point; the game dragged on for quite a while with that Meddling Mage attacking him. I decide to name Engineered Explosives, which he surely does not have in hand since he would have already played it, because he might draw it, and if he does I’m dead. I know he might have another Hunting Wilds, but that doesn’t kill me since he only has one Stomping Grounds left in his deck, and he needs two.

On his turn, sure enough, he has the Hunting Wilds, but I have enough to block and kill him no matter what he does. After the match he tells me he had a Mountain in hand, so he could have just played it, searched for the last Stomping Grounds, and killed me with Valakut. I guess he was just too set on his plan that he completely forgot Valakut does something even if you don’t play the Scapeshift.


So, I finished 11-7. This was good for a 61st place, which felt about right – I was not prepared as much as I could have been, and I made a lot of mistakes. To be fair with myself, I was also very unlucky in most of my matches on the Extended day – the amount of times I had mana problems or mana flood was just absurd – but I also did not give myself the best chances in most of my matches, so I share the blame with luck. In the end, it was about the finish I expected, and I was not disappointed.

I was, however, disappointed with our Teams result. I know 5th is not bad, but I was really expecting a better result, as I think we had a better team than 5th. It felt especially unfair to lose on tiebreakers, since the person who goes 9-0 on Day 1 has very good breaks every time, and we were pretty much the equivalent of 9-0. It also felt bad because we played against Turkey, who got disqualified. I mean, if someone cheats, they’ve got to be tougher competition, so we should have gotten better tiebreakers for beating them, don’t you think?

I guess if we had done slightly better – any of us – we wouldn’t have needed help from those other people. If I had known it would have came to that, maybe I could have IDed with someone, or got someone to ID with one of my teammates!

As far as deck choices go, I was happy with mine, and I recommend both. Jund is still the best deck in Standard, and I think not playing Putrid Leeches is definitely a mistake. The UW deck, though I did not do particularly well with it, was (I believe) the best performing deck in the tournament – I know Luis, Carlos, and Web went 5-1 with it, William went 6-0 (though with a different version). Marcio went 3-3 with it, but like me he felt the deck was good (though that might be that he was being sarcastic and I missed it). I really cannot tell you what the bad matchups are. It seems like it has a decent game against everything, while being really advantaged against Dredge, AIR, and Rubin Zoo, which are all very popular decks. If you have an Extended tourney, I urge you to give it a try, it’s really good. It doesn‘t have to be my exact build (and add a Snow-covered Island, please), but build something along those lines and you should be fine.

That’s it… the end of my 2009 Worlds report. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and see you next week!