After a grueling seven rounds of swiss, the top 8 has been determined for SCG’s second in the series of “Power Nine” tournaments. A good showing for Team Meandeck, they’ve managed to put four of their players in to the top eight debuting an Oath of Druids build featuring Akroma, Swiss Army Knife of Wrath.
Unfortunately for the readers, an Oath mirror is hideously boring. As such, the first match covered is…
Top Eight: Corey Canfield with 5/3 vs Andrew Probasco with Drain Titan
The two players here have something in common. Both of them have made the trip from the frozen tundra of New England, Corey from southern New Hampshire, and Andrew from northeastern Providence, Rhode Island. They’re a long way from home to be playing each other.
“I don’t really know how I’m supposed to play this match.” Corey said as they shuffled up for game one.
“My advice would be to have Trinisphere.” Andrew quips as he picks up his opponent’s deck for a quick side shuffle before presenting it back.
Andrew takes the die roll and opts to play first.
Corey’s opening hand is strong, containing a Triskelion, two Goblin Welders, a Mox Sapphire, Ancestral Recall, Wasteland, and Strip Mine.
Andrew leads with a Volcanic Island, and has no other gas to follow it up with.
Corey picks a Sol Ring off the top of his library, and goes after Andrew’s Volcanic Island with his Wasteland. A Brainstorm in response yields no other responses, and Corey chooses to play his Sapphire and pass, with upkeep effects.
His Ancestral Recall meets Andy’s Force of Will, removing a Cunning Wish. Andy proceeds to jump in to the tempo game, fetching up a Volcanic Island with a Polluted Delta, and playing Goblin Welder.
Corey sticks to the mana denial plan, and Strip Mines the Volcanic Island with extreme prejudice. He drops his Sol Ring on the table, and passes the turn back.
Andy seems to have lost a little energy, and has no plays other than to drop his City of Brass on the table and declare an attack with his Goblin Welder.
Corey finally peels himself a Red source from the top, and uses it to play his own Goblin Welder, stopping Andy’s “attack for twenty turns” plan. Unfortunately for Corey, Andy proceeds to rip Tinker off the top, and after playing his Island and Mox Emerald, he gets to fetch Pentavus, effectively locking Corey out of the Goblin Welder game plan.
Corey plays his second Goblin Welder, hoping to answer the Pentavus before it gets out of hand. Likewise, he plays a Crucible of Worlds, using it to get another activation from his Strip Mine.
Andrew peels a fetchland, and swings for five past Corey’s Goblin Welders.
Corey topdecks another land, and uses his buried Strip Mine to answer Andy’s Island. Andy chooses to make a Pentavite token in response, and uses his own turn to drop a City of Brass, a Mana Crypt, and to swing for five. Corey attempts to weld out the Pentavus for the Mox Emerald in Andy’s graveyard, and Andy makes a trio of additional Pentavites in response.
Corey continues to peel land for two turns, and can’t find enough juice to win the struggle against a recurring Pentavus. With lethal damage staring him down, he scoops.
Corey sideboards out Mana Crypt, Karn, Silver Golem, Gorilla Shaman, Razormane Masticore, Memory Jar, and two Crucible of Worlds for three Rack and Ruin, 3 Chalice of the Void, and a Lava Dart.
Andy takes a little more time, and decides to go without his two Cunning Wishes, a Thirst for Knowledge, and a Sundering Titan in favor of a Hurkyl’s Recall, two Rack and Ruins, and a Duplicant.
Both players keep their initial hands. Corey begins the game with two Volcanic Islands, a Polluted Delta, Ancestral Recall, two Chalice of the Void, and a Trinisphere. Andy keeps three Accumulated Knowledge, Time Walk, City of Brass, Demonic Tutor, and Polluted Delta.
Corey leads with his fetchland, which gets him a basic Island. He then plops a Chalice down with the word “zero.”
On Andy’s upkeep, Corey also has his Ancestral Recall, which resolves, netting a Mox Emerald, a Juggernaut, and a Wasteland. This is noticeably stronger than Andy’s “Delta, go” plan.
Corey topdecks Lava Dart, and chooses to play a Volcanic Island and pass.
What Corey doesn’t know is that Andy has topdecked both his fourth Accumulated Knowledge, and Yawgmoth’s Will! Andy plays his City of Brass, digs an Island out of his deck with his Polluted Delta, and announces Demonic Tutor. He tears in to his deck, and realizes halfway through that his current plan isn’t going to work. “It’d be pretty bad if I got what I was going for,” he says, choosing to take Ancestral Recall over his plan for Black Lotus.
Corey gets a Mox Sapphire from his topdeck, and aims a Wasteland at Andy’s City of Brass.
Andy, undaunted, casts Ancestral on his turn.
“You know what sucks?”
Andy moves to his discard step, dropping Pentavus and two Accumulated Knowledges in to his graveyard.
Corey plays an Island, and drops Trinisphere.
For four turns, Andy’s turn features liberal use of the discard step, while Corey drops a pair of Juggernauts and a Chalice of the Void for two.
“If this isn’t a land, I scoop,” Andy says, flipping the top card of his library. It’s a Mana Drain, and they go to game three.
Andy is forced to throw away a hand that he reveals, which contains an immense amount of broken goodness, but lacks the Blue source necessary to make it work. His new hand is nothing but five mana sources and a Goblin Welder, so once again he dips in to his library. His third and final hand is solid, containing Mox Pearl, Volcanic Island, Underground Sea, Goblin Welder, and Thirst For Knowledge. Corey keeps his initial hand, which is also a decent grip of two Chalice of the Void, two Goblin Welder, Mox Jet, Lava Dart, and Volcanic Island.
Andy opens the game with his Volcanic Island, a Mox Pearl, and a Goblin Welder.
Corey gets a Shivan Reef from the top of his deck, and plays Mox Jet, Volcanic Island, and Lava Darts the opposing Goblin Welder out of existence. Corey can’t decide if he wants to end the turn, but he decides to play a Chalice of the Void with zero counters before saying go.
Andy plays his Underground Sea, and passes the turn.
Corey rips a Wasteland off the top, which immediately aims at Volcanic Island. Andy casts Thirst For Knowledge in response, discarding his useless Mox Ruby.
Andy plays Polluted Delta, and passes the turn again.
Corey rips another Wasteland, but chooses instead to play Shivan Reef, a Goblin Welder, and lastly, a Chalice of the Void at one.
Andy digs up a Volcanic Island with his Polluted Delta, and casts Intuition on Corey’s end step. It gets nothing but Accumulated Knowledge, and Andy makes a verbal note on how bad that is. He resolves his Accumulated Knowledge for three, and has no plays other than a Volcanic Island.
Corey peels a Juggernaut off the top, and his Wasteland zeroes in on Andy’s Underground Sea.
After a disappointing turn of draw-go for Andy, Corey resolves a Thirst For Knowledge of his own, tossing some lands from the top of his deck in to his hand at the cost of his topdecked Juggernaut. His Mox Jet grows legs and swings, while Andy can’t find non-lands to stop the threats.
Top Four: Justin Walters with Oath of Druids vs. Jay Coffman with 5-C Stax
Justin is an ex-Californian, who recently moved to Philadelphia. He and the rest of his team are all running identical Oath decklists, which feature Akroma, Angel of Wrath, and Spirit of the Night, separating the lists from those commonly tossed around on message boards across the net. Jay Coffman is running a variant of Stax with a fantastic metagame call in maindeck Seal of Cleansing. Jay has squashed plenty of Oath on his way to the top, and doesn’t intend to stop here.
Justin takes the die roll, and chooses to throw his hand of Intuition, Mana Leak, Wasteland, Akroma, Angel of Wrath, Forbidden Orchard, Polluted Delta, and a mystery card, instead favoring a grip of Mana Drain, Misdirection, Forbidden Orchard, Brainstorm, Flooded Strand, Time Walk. Jay has decided to keep his opening hand of Seal of Cleansing, Juggernaut, Tinker, Wasteland, Wasteland, Gemstone Mine, Mox Emerald.
Justin has the first turn play of Orchard, go. Jay matches this by playing his Wasteland with crosshairs on the Orchard, which turns sideways for a Brainstorm. With no other gas, Justin spends his second turn dropping Flooded Strand, and passing the turn again.
Jay plays his Gemstone Mine and his Mox Emerald, and bends them to play Seal of Cleansing. He then turns his 1/1 Spirit beater in to the red zone.
Justin plays yet another fetchland, this time Polluted Delta, and sends them both to the graveyard to cast Time Walk with two basic Islands in play. With nothing but a cantrip coming from of the Time Walk, he drops his single maindeck Tropical Island and passes the turn.
Unimpressed, Jay plays his second Wasteland, and uses it and his other sources for a Trinisphere. In response, Justin casts his Intuition for Accumulated Knowledge, and lets the Trinisphere resolve.
Justin does the draw-go thing, passing back to Jay after his topdeck.
After kamikazi-ing his Wasteland at the Tropical Island, Jay casts Tinker, losing his Gemstone to the great beyond, and the Emerald to match, and gets himself a Smokestack. Justin is unable to recover and scoops to the hard lock after a Crucible joins the party.
Justin chooses to go first again, and sideboards out his two Misdirection, two Impulse, and an Intuition for three Energy Flux and a pair of Back to Basics. Jay is boarding out three Thirst For Knowledge, two Crucible of Worlds, Triskelion, and Karn, Silver Golem, for a Disenchant, two Red Elemental Blast, a Duplicant, and three Chalice of the Voids.
Jay’s hand is a very strong one. A trio of Mishra’s Workshops, a Juggernaut, a Wasteland, a Gemstone Mine, and a Smokestack will be his opener. Justin’s hand is slightly less cut and dry, consisting of Accumulated Knowledge, Time Walk, Force of Will, Back to Basics, Gaea’s Blessing, Island, and Strip Mine.
“Island, go” is met with a startlingly similar “Mishra’s Workshop, go.”
Justin plays his Strip Mine, and Time Walks into “hmmm, go.”
Jay plays a second Workshop, and uses them to play Smokestack, which Justin is forced to Mana Leak. Following that, Justin does a second draw-go, sitting on only his two initial lands.
Jay plays his third Workshop, and turns all three sideways to play a Juggernaut, which resolves, and a Memory Jar, which doesn’t, getting hit by a Force of Will pitching Intuition, after a dismal Accumulated Knowledge for one.
Justin finally finds a third mana source in Mox Jet, and turns his board sideways for Back to Basics. Jay sends in his Juggernaut to bring Justin to 14, and drops a Wasteland.
Justin casts a main phase Brainstorm, and still sees no more lands.
Jay smashes again with the Juggernaut, bringing Justin down to 9.
Justin has a Wasteland he saved, and plays it, tapping down for a desperate Energy Flux. Jay casts Disenchant to remove it at the end of Justin’s turn, and smashes again. Justin’s topdeck can’t save him, and Jay earns himself a slot in the finals.
Finals: Jay Coffman with 5-C Stax vs Jacob Orlove with Oath of Druids
Jay has just beaten yet another Oath deck with his Stax maindecking Seal of Cleansing, and Jacob has just muscled his way past Corey Canfield with a first turn hard cast Pristine Angel off Black Lotus and several moxen. Both players have crowds rallying behind them, but the finals are for the most part very quiet, except for one Andy Probasco, better known to some as the Brass Man, speaking loudly from the other side of the room about Five Color with Kevin Cron.
Jacob has won the die roll and elects to keep his opening hand. It consists of two Islands, Accumulated Knowledge, Intuition, a Wasteland, and a Flooded Strand. Jay also keeps his opening hand of Seal of Cleansing, Crucible of Worlds, Thirst For Knowledge, Gemstone Mine, Strip Mine, Trinisphere, Juggernaut.
Jacob comes out of the gates with a strong Island, go. Jay is forced to aim his Strip Mine at it. Jacob loses no time in playing a Flooded Strand, and passing the turn again. Jay plays a Gemstone Mine, and passes the turn.
Jacob gets his first opportunity, and he fetches up a Tropical Island, which tag teams with his newly played basic Island to put Oath of Druids in to play. Without missing a beat, Jay drops his second Gemstone Mine, and uses them to play Seal of Cleansing, which resolves.
Jacob plays his Wasteland, and opts to keep it in play rather than blow up a Gemstone Mine.
Jay topdecks Mox Sapphire, and plays it, along with a Glimmervoid, and plays Trinisphere. Jacob casts Impulse in response with no juice to speak up, but picks Ancestral up off the top. He plays a Forbidden Orchard, and passes the turn to Jay.
Jay’s turn takes a long time to think out. He Wastelands Orchard almost immediately, to which Jacob responds with Intuition for three Oath of Druids. Jay then casts Thirst for Knowledge, which turns up a second Trinisphere to discard. At this point, a conversation gets going between some of the fans that distracts all parties. With many judges and fans watching, a mistake in the game is made. Jay accidentally plays a second land, forgetting his Wasteland, and it’s a Mishra’s Workshop. Nobody catches the error, including Jacob Orlove, and the Workshop turns sideways for Mox Jet before Jay pops his Seal of Cleansing to remove the Oath in play and passes the turn.
With little else to do, Jacob plays an Island, casts his Oath, and burns his Wasteland to remove Jay’s Workshop.
Jay retaliates by Wastelanding Jacob’s Tropical Island, and swinging with a spirit token. With little else to stop Jacob, an Oathed up Akroma, Angel of Wrath goes lethal in short order.
Jay’s sideboarding strategy doesn’t change from the previous match. In come three Chalice of the Void, two Red Elemental Blast, a Disenchant, and a Duplicant for three Thirst For Knowledge, two Crucible of Worlds, a Karn, Silver Golem, and a Triskelion. Jacob’s sideboarding strategy differs by Justin Walters’ slightly. Out come two Misdirection, two Intuition, an Impulse, and Spirit of the Night. They make room for three Energy Flux, two Back to Basics, and Pristine Angel.
Jay’s hand is very strong for this game. He keeps Mox Sapphire, Sol Ring, Goblin Welder, Smokestack, Disenchant, Wasteland, and Trinisphere. Jacob also keeps a strong hand of Mana Leak, two Mana Drain, an Accumulated Knowledge, Mox Jet, Island, and Flooded Strand.
Jay begins the game with a Wasteland, followed up by Mox Sapphire, Sol Ring, and Trinisphere, which resolves. Jacob, with little else to do, drops his Flooded Strand and passes.
Jay has no second land drop, but he has a Chalice of the Void with two charge counters, which also (quite predictably) resolves. Jacob plays his Island side by side with his Flooded Strand.
Jay plays a Smokestack, and passes the turn again. Jacob can’t find his third land, and discards a Mana Drain.
Putting a counter on Smokestack, Jay topdecks Ancestral Recall and casts it, drawing three cards. Jacob sacrifices a land and discards Accumulated Knowledge.
Jay sacrifices his Chalice of the Void, seeing that Jacob will never ramp up to three mana to cast anything, and then drops a Juggernaut, which prompts Jacob to scoop up his cards.
With such a quick second game, the spectators begin to discuss being able to go home. It’s pretty clear both players are interested in doing so as well, as they’re now deep in to their tenth round of tournament play of the day.
Jacob throws back his opening seven, and pulls up a Mox Ruby, Intuition, Force of Will, Flooded Strand, Mox Jet, and Forbidden Orchard to play with. Jay, on the other hand keeps his seven, which consists of two Seal of Cleansing, City of Brass, two Juggernaut, Glimmervoid, and Chalice of the Void.
Jacob opens the game with Mox Jet, Mox Ruby, and Flooded Strand, passing the turn. Jay plays a simple “City of Brass, go” gameplan, which prompts the fetching of a basic island from Jacob, and an end step Intuition for three Oath of Druids. Jacob takes his turn to play Oath of Druids off his Forbidden Orchard and passes back to Jay.
Jay plays his second City of Brass, and plays Seal of Cleansing, which meets Force of Will, removing a Back to Basics.
Jacob Oaths up Akroma, Swiss Army Knife of Wrath, and sends her to the red zone for six. Jay peels his Mox Jet off the top, and plays that, Glimmervoid, Goblin Welder, and Seal of Cleansing. He sends his Spirit token in, and then Seals the Oath out of existence.
Jacob simply draws and sends Akroma in again, bringing Jay to five.
Jay’s hopes rest in the topdeck, but his top card isn’t Tinker. It’s Chalice of the Void, and he scoops with a hand of two Chalice of the Void and two Juggernaut.
I’d like to congratulate all the players in the tournament, not just the winners, and not just the top eight, but everyone who came out and played for their chance at a piece of power. There was representation from all over the Eastern half of the U.S., and meeting all of you was a great pleasure.
Since so many of you guys asked to see the power picking order last time, Pete suggested I write it down and publish it with my coverage. Here it is, just for you guys.
First Place: Jacob Orlove (Black Lotus)
Second Place: Jay Coffman (Ancestral Recall)
Third Place: Justin Walters (Mox Sapphire)
Fourth Place: Corey Canfield (Mox Jet)
Fifth Place: Andrew Probasco (Time Walk)
Sixth Place: Jason Stinnet (Mox Ruby, many apologies if I got your name wrong)
Seventh Place: Stephen Menendian (Mox Emerald)
Eighth Place: Eric Miller (Mox Pearl)
Back to First: Jacob Orlove (Timetwister)
Best of luck to all of you, and I hope to see you at Chicago next month for the third installment of the StarCityGames.com Power Nine Tournaments!
Kowal on TheManaDrain.com
bkowal at gmail dot com