So when I left off, I was sitting at sixteenth place, and about to leave the convention site to have some happy dreams in napland. I wish things would have worked out for me in that manner – but I went back to hotel, logged on to the Internet, and was flooded by instant messages from friends in Kentucky. All of them wished me well, and I got to bed by a nice 11 p.m. Something – I don’t remember what – tore me out of sleepworld and I was awake by 3 a.m. I tried in vain to go back to sleep, but my nerves were working on me and daydreams were playing with my mind. I drank a lot of coffee, watched the 4 a.m., 5 a.m., and 6 a.m. Sportscenter in the hotel lobby, and tried to get some sort of breakfast in me.
Breakfast was not going to be possible.
Fat kids love cereal, for the most part. Cocoa Puffs may be the greatest invention since, well… Chocolate milk. With Cocoa Puffs, you get the fun sugar-filled taste that some mothers will approve of. Of course, at the end of the cereal is the chocolate milk – or at least brown, chocolate-flavored milk. For this idea to work, you have to have the Cocoa Puffs, and you have to have milk. After opening my milk and watching what can only be described as a new style of chunky milk fall out, I got up, threw it away, and tried to eat a bagel instead.
That plan would have worked had said bagel been smaller then my mouth.
I got back to the tournament site, helped Nate sell whatever it was for the Onslaught Block PTQ that would be going on, and left to actually find breakfast. This time the organic food shop gave me the hookup with a smaller, more normal-sized baked good, and a Pepsi. I got back to the site after enjoying my new breakfast, looked at the pairings, and saw that I was opening my Day Two in one of the best ways possible.
Round 9: Eugene Harvey, U/W Control
When I went back to my hotel room the night before, I made sure to note all the players who had twenty-one points. There were not many, with Eugene leading a list that seemed more like the ballot for the Invitational. I read as many reports I could about all the players, and tried to figure out what I was going to play against when I woke up.
Eugene was certainly not the matchup that I wanted to start my day off with.
So many cheap bounce spells, Wrath of God, Counters, I figured that this deck would be harder for me to beat than the Wake match. I got very lucky with my Cabal Therapies, and in game two my Last Rites was nothing short of ridiculous. Again, I took a matchup that should have been very hard for me to win, and got lucky with it.
Round Ten: Sean Buckley, Mono Red Goblins
Sean made the Top Eight, so congratulations go out to him! I was not very patient this round; I was getting frustrated with my deck’s lack of answers to Goblins in general and made a huge mistake in game two. This is pretty much all I remember from the round:
A previous Cabal Therapy showed multiple Violent Eruptions in his hand. I’m getting beat down by a Goblin Sledder and some other one-power goblin. I was holding a Doomed Necromancer, and had several large creatures in my graveyard. Aside from the Necromancer, which needed a mountain to have haste, I had no other renimation spells in my grip. So instead of waiting until the last possible minute to cast the Necromancer as a blocker, I cast him as soon as I could, watched him die to one of the Eruptions, and nearly flung my grip as the next card I drew was a Bloodstained Mire.
Oh well; I was in a panic anyway, so that mistake was something I can forgive myself for.
Round Eleven: Bob Stead, Wake
Remember what I said I needed to do to beat Wake? Yeah, when your Therapies stop hitting, they draw land, and you have no threats, it is actually a cakewalk for Wake.
He beat me in game one with a large Decree of Justice making a large amount of soldiers. Game two was more of the same – except this time he cast Upheaval, then cast Mirari’s Wake, then cycled Decree, all on the same turn.
Round Twelve: Jacob Hershberger, Goblin Bidding
Actually I am not sure it was Bidding; I think it was a Mono Red Splash black, more like Zvi’s deck.
I lost game one at breakneck speed after having to take the mulligan to five. Dropping from the Grand Prix became a serious option at this point. I was no longer having fun, my deck was just not cooperating with me, and my nerves had just about taken all of the stress that they could handle. I figured that if I dropped, I could go jump into the PTQ and play some block, since I absolutely think Onslaught Block is the second-greatest Block Constructed format. (I think Invasion Block is the best.)
Game two, he mulligans to five and I have an early Akroma, Angel of Wrath.
Game three, we both kept our opening hands – and while mine was not the best, neither was his. I cleaned his board out with Pyroclasm, and cast Buried Alive. I drew one of my Angers, and discover that I did indeed only register one so that I could maindeck a Petradon. I Put Visara, Akroma, and Phantom Nishoba into my graveyard, and reanimated my Akroma. I cast Last Rites on the next turn to get rid of my Anger and attacked, and things were looking great for me.
…But of course he drew a Patriarch’s Bidding off the top, bringing back two Goblin Sharpshooters, a Goblin Warchief, a Goblin Piledriver, and a Goblin Sledder, while I bring back Visara. He attacked, I blocked the Piledriver with Akroma, and Visara blocked the Warchief. Of course, I made the mistake of not killing the Warchief before attackers, as his Sharpshooters would have not been able to kill me in response anyway. He looked at my life total, says he can only do fourteen points, and I looked at my life total.
He had no other burn spells, and my next attack phase ended the match.
Round Thirteen: Robert Maher, Wake
Sigh. I don’t want to type what happened this match, as it is a repeat of my match with Bob Stead. In fact, if I had to type it again, I would just cut and paste what happened this round.
Final Round: Adam Prosak, B/W Control
Well, of course! Every tournament report has that one round where the writer gets paired with a friend. This report would be no different, as I got paired against as local as a player as I could have been paired against – Adam Prosak.
At the time I wrote this, he was going to college at Xavier University in Cincinnati. He just moved to Phoenix, Arizona, so good luck out there in the Southwest, Adam! Anyway, Adam was playing a disruption-filled B/W deck that packed Ravenous Rats, Cabal Therapy, and Withered Wretch, so it looked like my last round was going to be an uphill battle. We came to terms on a prize split, since the winner was in the top thirty-two – and the loser was not going to get anything.
Well, at least I had my amateur status to fall back on.
We finally got around to playing the match out, and I could only hope that he did not get any of the cards that say,”When this is cast from your hand, you beat Josh.” (For the record, that’s Wretch; I was still unsure if he had Haunting Echoes or any other graveyard disruption. We never really talked about that.) He kicked off the game with a Ravenous Rats; I smirked and tossed a Petradon into my yard. Doomed Necromancer came into play, and I hoped that he didn’t have the Smother.
The Smother never came, and he traded with the Petradon to take away all of Adam’s black sources. I figured that was the correct play, as I was unsure of the Chainer’s Edict count in his deck – and if he had the Edict, all he had to do was drop a swamp and cast it anyway. I was hoping that he did not, and then I was forced to hope that he could not get up to Wrath of God mana. He never got that many lands in play again, and I rode my Nightmare to a game one win.
Game two was not much better for me, he had the early Wretch, and I had sideboarded out my own Smothers for some inexplicable reason. Don’t ask me why I took out my only answer for the guy who wrecks me; I guess I thought Recoup would be a much better card to have in its place. I was sorely mistaken, as not only the Wretch came down for him, but my hand was sub-par at best. If I recall correctly, it was six lands and a Last Rites. I drew nothing of any importance, and we were on to game three.
Game three was very anticlimactic. I got a quick Buried Alive, revealing Petradon, Anger, and Symbiotic Wurm. Zombify got the Petradon out – who once again ate all of the black sources Adam had in play. He could not find Wrath of God or the blockers he needed to stop the giant land-eating beast.
So I ended day two at 10-4 and I went 3-3 on the day, finishing in the top thirty-two and gaining my first pro point. I have absolutely no regrets about what I played at the Grand Prix. I performed much better then I expected and lived out a scrub’s dream on my way to day two. This deck is so fun that it should be illegal by copyright infringement. If I were going to play it again, in the same tournament and had the same matchups, I’m almost sure that there is nothing I would do to change the build.
In my opinion, having a second Phantom Nishoba would be clutch against Goblins; having a giant lifegainer attacking and one sitting back on defense is almost too good to pass up. A second Petradon might be good against the mana-heavy control decks in the format. Of course, a second Arcanis the Omnipotent could keep with the amount of card advantage that Wake puts up as well. Hmm; too bad that in a month, the deck becomes an antique. I may be wrong, but without Petradon, Guiltfeeder, Phantom Nishoba, Anger, Stitch Together, and most importantly Burning Wish, the deck would instantly become a tier three deck at best. Hopefully I am wrong, and Reanimator can stay on top of people’s minds for States.
See ya in Kansas City, and thanks again for reading!
- All of my opponents: For being nice guys in general, and for letting me enjoy the Grand Prix.
- Brad Taylor: For using the byes that he won in Louisville, making money and still keeping his amateur status.
- Me: For finally realizing that Magic is much more fun when it is treated as a game.
- And of course, my team Extinction Level Event, all the Kentucky players who showed up to the Grand Prix, Matt Oldaker (sorry if I misspelled your name again boss.) and StarCityGames, who yet again provided excellent coverage of the event. Ted Knutson is a very talented writer and a great person, as well as Ben, and Ferrett.