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Charity 2K Event - Kirwan's Game Store —April 18, 2015
Tournament Report – April 18th, 2015
Gamers Helping Gamers Charity 2K - Catskill, NY
Final Standing: 2nd place
Working for TCGplayer is a blast. One of the best things about the company is how much it wants to give back to the community. My supervisors have a ton of amazing long-term ideas for getting involved with the community and giving back in a big way. One of the big Magic-related ones is a charity tournament. We decided that the best thing to do in order to prepare for that would be arming ourselves with as much knowledge and information on how charity events are run as possible. We were lucky to find a 2K charity event at Kirwan's Game Store just a few hours down the road.
I went with two friends and co-workers from TCG: "Cool Guy" Jon, and Dan, the guy who's really pushing for all our community outreach. Traveling with friends is a great way to make time pass quickly, and the 3 hour car ride flew by.
I wasn't expecting much going into the event. I'd played only a little bit of magic post-DTK, finishing pretty dismally at SCGSyracuse with Temur Aggro/Midrange. I was excited watching PT coverage, because I saw all the UBx Control decks. As a die-hard Stubborn Denial player, nothing made me happier than that. So I continued playing with Temur, while Jon brought his PPTQ-winning Abzan Aggro deck, and Dan decided to play "Sidisi-Atarka Whip."
A lot of the sideboard is a concession to the pretty abysmal Mono-Red matchup. The UBx Control match is pretty easy, especially post-board. I was somewhat concerned with the Abzan Aggro matchup, but I wasn't terribly worried about it. Most of the deck's matches want to be the ones where you're on the offensive.
Round 1 vs. Scott M (Mono-Red Devotion) 2-1 - WIN Interesting deck, and Scott completely ran me over the first game...though I almost had lethal. Game 2 was much better; I had all the right aggression and removal to keep him clear of anything he was going to do. Game 3 was more of a nail-biter; with both of us drawing things out. I had a Hornet Nest and 4 insect tokens out and just slowly chipped away at him over the course of a few turns. He tried one last time to have some blockers in the way, but I landed a Surrak, the Hunt Caller and that was that.
Round 2 vs. Dan F (Sidisi-Atarka Whip) 1-2 - LOSS I got paired up against my friend Dan this round. And while I ran him over in the first game, he managed to hit Hornet Queen in the second with Whip of Erebos out and I knew I couldn't win. The third game ended with him dropping a Dragonlord Atarka to my 3 lands, and there was no way I was winning that.
Round 3 vs. Mark M (UB Dragon Control) 2-1 - WIN I noticed that Mark was on the Dragon-Control deck while walking around the venue, so I was feeling pretty confident in the matchup, even though he was on the play. Pre-board I have so many good spells against him, and almost everything I play has haste. The only damage I took all the first game was due to my own pain and fetch lands. Game 2 was different; I opened way too slowly and gave him too much chance to respond to what I was doing. I did manage to knock him down to six, but he'd already stolen 2 of my creatures with Ashiok and countered my last-ditch Crater's Claws for lethal. Game 3 was more of the first. I had insurance against Crux of fate by having a mix of dragons and non-dragons out, was able to counter his AEtherspouts with Stubborn Denial, and just held up threats until he was forced to play on his turn. He ended up unable to do that and just died.
Round 4 vs. Jeremy L (Jeskai Aggro) 2-1 - WIN This matchup has always been rough for me and Game 1 showed it. He had an insane amount of aggression with Raise the Alarm, Dragon Fodder, and Goblin Rabblemaster...with just enough removal to keep me from doing anything. Game 2 was the opposite. I had everything I needed: Wild Slash for the Rabblemaster, Fanatic of Xenagos, and a Hornet Nest. He hit Anger of the Gods on my board to give me three insect tokens, and I dropped a Surrak next turn to swing for 8 damage. He killed the Surrak and an insect and was forced to 2. Then to 1. And then died. I did the same in Game 3, except this time I hit the Roast on my Hornet Nest to give myself 5 flying attackers.
Round 5 vs. Chris S (Abzan Company) 2-0 - WIN I had no idea what he was playing at first, but some early attacks and a timely Boon Satyr bestow helped me clear his board. Game 2 came close, he clogged up the ground with Pharika snakes, Coursers, Warrior Tokens, and a Siege Rhino. So even with my Thunderbreak I was in trouble at 3. All the same, I hit a Stormbreath off the top and killed him at the last possible minute.
Round 6 vs. Max M (Abzan Aggro) 0-0-3 ID - DRAW We were locked for Top 8 and drew in.
Top 8 vs. Randall S (Bant Heroic) 2-0 - WIN The eight of us decided to split the 2K prize evenly since the payout was so top-heavy. In that case we just chose to play for glory. I was feeling no pressure at all against one of my worst matchups in Heroic. Still, I had some early aggression and despite being knocked to 5 I was able to wrap up the win with some Stormbreath and Thunderbreak flying action. Game 2 was even more in my favor. I roasted his 5/5 Hero of Iroas, leaving him with just some 1/2's and 0/4's. He had Encase in Ice for two of my creatures, but Surrak was still on the field giving everyone haste regardless, and I wrapped up the win.
Top 4 vs. Chris P (Esper Dragon Control) 2-0 - WIN As we sat down, my opponent was very cordial and excitedly explained how happy he was to beat his worst matchup in Mono Red while on the draw last round. I suspected he was on UBx since those decks have a tough time with Mono Red...and that was great news for me! The only damage I ever took that game was to my own lands, and I just continued churning out threats he couldn't deal with. Game 2 was all in my favor. Again I had a good mix of dragons and non-dragons to keep him stuck off Crux of Fate. And I had the Disdainful Stroke for his attempt at a Dragonlord Silumgar. After he tapped out for that, I had enough mana to cast a Xenagos, the Reveler and just continue making 2/2 tokens to join the remaining 11 power on my board and attack with. Not even Ojutai and a Foul-Tongue Invocation could help him.
Finals vs. Jon C (Abzan Aggro) 0-2 – LOSS Cool Guy Jon is MUCH better at Wizard Squares than I am. He's been playing competitively for MUCH longer and just has a better sense for the game. He's one of the (if not THE) first people I go to when I'm looking for card choices and deck advice. I've played against his Abzan deck a lot, and it's probably 60-40 in his favor. Unfortunately for me, the games in the Finals were pretty solidly in that 60 percentile, and he ran me over pretty handily. Still, we had a great time. Jon is always a blast to play.
All in all I was quite happy with how the day went. Frost Walker was fine, but I'm not sure how happy I was with it throughout the day. I'm going to test Scaleguard Sentinels instead of it. It doesn't turn on Ferocious, but it can become a 3/4 and compete with a good chunk of the rest of the format.
I feel like this is a GREAT set up, but I would really like to see 1-2 Temur charm, and stubborn denial +1, wild slash +1, and get rid of the elvish mystic.
February 10, 2015 5:17 p.m.
I played Temur Charm for a while, and it was only ever OK. The mana cost is very intensive, it's only ever good when you're ahead, and is godawful when you're behind.
I play 3 Stubborn Denial between main and sideboard, and I feel that's the right number. Plenty of decks are playing creature-heavy lists with only a few targets for denial (removal, Hordeling Outburst, anything UB Control plays), and there 3 are perfectly enough. Similarly Wild Slash is very useful against many decks, but it isn't something you want to see ALL the time in your opening hand.
Elvish Mystic is a non-starter. The deck needs to skip the second turn and go straight into Turn 3. Either with Boon Satyr, Yasova Dragonclaw, Savage Knuckleblade, or Fanatic of Xenagos. It's the best way to get ahead of Goblin Rabblemaster and Seeker of the Way, and to get under Dissolve, Siege Rhino, and Hero's Downfall.