So when I last left you, I had just finished Day 1 and just managed to make Day 2 with a 7-2 finish. I was super happy with this result. I had told my friends and family back home that I would love to make Day 2 but I seriously doubted I would. And considering it was my second ever GP I was trilled.
So remember yesterday when I showed up a little past nine, and everyone was already sitting and ready to open their sealed pools? Well! I wasn’t going to make that mistake again! This time I was there at 9:00 on the dot!
And I was still the last person to sit down! What is the country like!? How are they so organised! So after panicking again, I was sitting down in my draft pod and was ready to kick some ass! This was the first time I had ever done one of those, “you have 50 seconds to take the first card, you may look at it now.” drafts so that was pretty daunting.
So I opened and first picked an Apocalypse Hyrda. I can’t really remember what else was in the pack, but I’m pretty sure this thing is a bomb so I was pretty happy with it. Second pick was a Mulldrifter. It’s neither a Red or Green card but my God I don’t think I can pass a Mulldrifter. I played one in WR double-strike, I think I can squeeze it in to RG converge or whatever deck I ended up playing.
A few more picks, of Tribal Flames and a Burst Lighting and Macca Riotiors and I was looking pretty happy. I picked up an Aethersnipe very late which made me think blue was open. Near the end of pack one I get filler.
Then pack two happened.
After first picking Dismember, (hell yeah!), I get passed an Incandescent Soulstoke. I do a quick mental count and realise that I have a good few elementals. There wasn’t too much in the pack so I take a chance and draft it.
I get passed another one.
Then I get a Water Servant.
Then I get a third Incandescent Soulstoke. I end up getting another Aethersnipe in pack two and I’m super happy I’m Red Blue as a Narcolepsy gets passed to me.
Pack three was mostly filling the non-elemental part of the deck quota. I get passed a Vedillion Clique third pick, ($weet!) and a second Soulbright Flamekin and a Skrewed Hatchling.
Round 1: Michael (WG Tokens)
Kept a slow start. And my opponent led with Scion of the Wilds and Scatter the Seeds. I played a very lacklustre Skrewed Hatchling and was promptly overrun.
This game began much better, with a double Soulbright Flamekin to slow him down. He played Algae Gharial which I was worried about. Shroud makes it impossible to deal with and as long as he has 1/1 tokens he’s going to get bigger.
I pulled a bit of a win when I used Soulbright Flamekins ability to give themselves trample and get up to 8 mana, then 10 with the second one. 10 red mana and one green source later I had an 18/18 Apocalypse Hydra! Ready to pick off one/ones and get some trample damage going!
It was Arrested the next turn.
Result: 0-2, 7-3
Not how I wanted to start day 2, but I thought this deck was definitely a 2-1 deck so I knew I should be able to/have to get two more wins out of it.
Round 2: *Bye*
Yay! I got my Bye! It was only 10 rounds later then I should have but whatever I’ll take it. If I remember correctly my pod only had 7 players because one never showed up, or he opened something really good and didn’t want to pass it and took his packs and left. I can’t remember.
I enjoyed the free win and practices with my deck for the round.
Result: 1-0, 8-3
Round 3: Leonard (GW)
My round 3 opponent was 1-1 too, but oh my GOD I don’t know how. His deck was insane. I think it became pretty clear to the pros that the best decks in Modern Masters 2015 were the Five-Colour Bomb decks if you could support them and the GW decks if you couldn’t. Scatter the Seeds at common does silly things to a format.
So this guy was trying his best to make the most ridiculous GW token deck he could. He had three Spectral Procession!
He had a bunch of pumps spells which went very well with his 3 Skyhunter Skirmisher!
So Game one starts with him playing a Skyhunter Skirmisher, me playing an Incandescence Soulstoke, and him playing a turn 4 Spectral Procession. I flashed in an Aethersnipe with my lord the next turn, taking out a token and forcing a chump block from him.
The next few turns he put me to 11 with his 1/1 flyers. He gained some life with the Conclave Phalanx (I think he had two of those). I played a 3/3 Apocalypse Hydra regrettably, not having the time to make it huge.
Interestingly I almost played it as a 1/1 and used the remaining two mana to pick off his 1/1 doublestriker but I decided to wait. That…proved costly.
My opponent attacked in the air with his double-striker and a spirit and when I couldn’t block, kicked a Vines of Vastwood for exactly 11 damage.
Game two I was on the play and I got an on-time Soulstoke while my opponent was stuck on two lands. I bounched his two drop on turn six and didn’t stop beating him with a 5/5 Aethersnipe until he was dead.
I led with a Soulbring Flamekin, and another the following turn. Both were ambushed when my opponent Raised the Alarms. My opponent played a Darksteel Axe and a Spectral Procession in the next few turns. My turn five was a Water Servant, followed by turn six Aethersnipe pick off a token, turn seven Aethersnipe pick off a token.
In the meantime my opponent played a Skirmisher and equipped up the remaining Spirit. Why he didn’t equip the doublestriker, I’m not sure.
I attacked with all three of my elementals and he chump blocked the two Aethersnips, and used an Apostle’s blessing to save his Doublestrike guy.
Unfortunately for my opponent the attack brought him to 3 life. I aimed my artifact removal spell at his indestructible artifact.
Result: 2-1, 9-3
So my 2-1 Elemental deck managed to get me 2-1. The deck was super sweet and it was exactly the kind of deck I like to play. I was a bit lucky to get the bye (I think someone dropped in the drafting) and my round 3 opponent was very unlucky to go 1-2.
But onto the next draft. I figured out that I just needed one more win to guarantee prize money.
Don’t steer me wrong packs!
My first pick was Midnight Banshee, a card that I knew was pretty slow but unbeatable against certain decks. Next pick was super weak and I think I picked a middle green card. Next pack was a Grim Affliction followed by a Rakdos bounce-land. This is where is kinda went weird, I picked up Vampire Lacerator, not really sure if I’d play it. Then I got passed another one. Green had disappeared and white and blue seemed shallow but I was seeing a lot of red and black, but aggro red and black.
I got a Viashino Slaughtermaster second to last pick and a Goblin War Paint last pick.
I went for it.
Packs 2 and 3 finished my playset of Vampire Lacerator and Goblin War Paints and two more Slaughtermasters.
I had visions of playing Vampire into War Paint and bashing for 4 while my opponent floundered with tap lands.
I played one forest out of my 16 land to make my tribal flames a little better and my Slaughtermasters a lot better.
And here’s confession time. Remember during the Pro Tour, there was GoftGate, when Pascal Maynard picked a foil Tarmagoyf, that he wouldn’t play, over a Burst Lighting that would have made his deck better. And there was outrage over it by certain pros and people debated over what he should have done.
I completely agree with Pascal Maynard. Because I did worse.
Sure, I’m not a Pro, sure I wasn’t on the feature draft table, sure I wasn’t drafting for the Top 8.
But I rare drafted the hell out of this draft. I picked a Rare over a Burst Lighting.
A Burst Lightning that would have been amazing for my deck.
And what did I pick over this common. A foil Goyf? A Karn? Emrakul?
I picked a (at the time) $30 rare.
I picked Wilt-Leaf Liege.
Wilt-Leaf, Foil Goyf you are not.
So this was the final 40 cards that I would use. How did they fare? Well I did not like the deck as much as the first one but I was really confident I could crush anyone who got any kind of slow start.
Let’s find out!
Round 4: Dominic (??)
Game 1: I got crushed.
Game 2: I got crushed.
For a story teller perspective, I am sorry. I can’t remember this game in any real detail. All I really remember was that while I may have gotten some early damage in my creatures were never good enough to battle. Kozilek’s Predator was big enough to block all my guys and provide chump blockers. And anytime I enchanted my guys with Goblin War paint I’d very quickly get two-for oned. Nightmare.
Round 5: Fabien (??)
Game 1: Still got crushed.
Game 2: Not crushed…per say.
My record! My beautiful record! This guy was playing Red and something. I remember because he burst lightninged my guy as I was trying to enchant him and I remember thinking, Hah! What a fool! I bet he took that over an off-colour rare!
At this stage I checked the standings. Prizes went out to 230th place, ($200 not too shabby). After the last two loses I was 238.
Round 5: Jakub (RU)
Game 1: This game was close, Jakub I had him to about nine I think and he managed to stabilise. I never drew Smash to Smithereens which would have been great against his Artefact blocker and I could stop his flyer from bringing me to zero.
Game 2: Finally! This time it actually worked! I attacked with weenies and killed his small guys and won. I remember telling him how the deck hadn’t been working at all yet, he commented that he wished it hadn’t started now.
Game 3: This was it. The final! Win and riches and glory. Lose and a lifetime of shame and name-calling.
I play a Vampire and follow it up with a Slaughter Master. My opponent plays a Sickleslicer which I attack my guys in and Lacerator trades and just drop a Blood-thirsted Blood Ogre.
My opponent plays a 2/2 Ogre and I attack again with it’s older brother. My opponent drops to 13 and now (like the Ogre) I smell blood.
My opponent plays his 6 land and spends 4 mana equipping his 2/2 ogre so it’s now a 4/4 first-striking Ogre. Now my hand is just a land and no plan.
I top deck one of my Grim Afflictions.
So here’s the board. It’s turn six. My opponent is on 13. I’m on around 17 from my own Vampire. Opponent has two cards in hand.
So what do you do?
a) Fire off that Grim Affliction, shrink his guy and boost ours and attack with the now 4/4.
b) Attack with both, if he block Slaughtermaster, pump it with the ability and shrink his guy and boost ours, trading guys and dealing four. If he blocks Ogre, eat his guy and deal four.
c) Just attack with the Blood Ogre and eat his Ogre if he block.
d) Pass the turn.
I’ll give you a few seconds to decide.
Good. So if you picked B) congratulations! That’s what I did.
But the correct answer was the secret answer e) Play the goddamn land first!
You see my opponent had two mana open. And I didn’t think about that.
So when I attacked with both he blocked my Slaughtermaster and when I tried to Grim Affliction he Mana-Leaked me. And I had only two mana to pay for it…with a third land still in my hand.
I lose my Slaughtermaster and his 4/4 keeps my 3/3 back for the rest of the game until he stabilises and kills me.
So that’s how GP Utrecht ended for me, with an avoidable mistake and a deck that folded to removal.
Since finishing this one I’ve played in my third GP and went 5-4, (just like my first) so Utrecht has been my best performance and the one I most enjoyed. Plus, The Netherlands is beautiful.
What did I learn? Play around the common counterspell in the format and don’t rare-draft. Unless they are foil Goyfs.
Thanks for reading.