GP London, 134th
A short recap of my performance at the biggest UK Grand Prix ever, featuring sealed deck, double draft and hilarious side notes.
Domri Rade Rubblehulk Prime Speaker Zegana
Day 1: Sealed deck
I had a very strong sealed pool with 6 good rares (Domri Rade, Rubblehulk, Prime Speaker Zegana, Foundry Champion, Ogre Slumlord, High Priest of Penance). Additionally I had 2 x Mugging, 1 x Arrows of Justice and 3 x Zhur-Taa Swine, so I was pretty sure of starting with Gruul as my base colors.
However I was also a few playables short and I had to consider splashing for a third color. I could either splash Boros (Foundry Champion, Sunhome Guildmage and Truefire Paladin) or Simic (2 x Drakewing Krasis, Prime Speaker Zegana).
I had double Prophetic Prism, a Simic Guildgate and a Boros Keyrune for mana fixing. I felt that Sunhome Guildmage and Truefire Paladin were much worse on the splash than in a true Boros deck and that I might need some more defense in the air (thus the Drakewing Krasis). While Prime Speaker Zegana is certainly very powerful, it would be very hard to cast on the splash and the Foundry Champion is almost on the same power level.
In the end I had one minute left on the deck building clock and mentally flipped a coin for Simic, which was most definitely the wrong choice as it added an element of variance to my deck which it didn't need. During the tournament Zegana would either rot uncastable in my hand or draw me 6 extra cards. I sided into Boros (Foundry Champion, Sunhome Guildmage, Boros Keyrune) almost every match.
I lost my first round (round 3) against Dimir, when I had a turn 4 Zhur-Taa Swine followed by Domri Rade. When I let my Swine fight my opponent's 2/3 Cloudfin Raptor he cast Rapid Hybridization in response, countered the arena effect and killed my planeswalker in the air.
In won one game when my opponent was at 18 life and chose not to block my Ruination Wurm. Scorchwalker and Rubblehulk (7 lands) added to a total attack of 19 damage.
Once I had Domri Rade on the table and had a hit rate of 75% with the +1 ability. When he was at 7 loyalty my opponent conceded.
In round 7 I took a mulligan to 4 and flooded out in game 2 while my opponent was screwed. I probably could have won if I used my double Zhur-Taa Swine on Boros Keyrune instead of playing them as creatures.
At round 8 and a record of 5-2 I lost game 1 and was almost out of the tournament when my opponent had a Deathcult Rogue enchanted with Madcap Skills. However, my opponent was at 15 and I had Bomber Corps, Firefist Striker and a Boros Keyrune. I attacked and bloodrushed the Keyrune with Zhur-Taa Swine dealing 16 damage total. Turns out bloodrush and double strike is a nifty combination.
During Round 9 at 6-2 I cast Prime Speaker Zegana and drew 6 lands. I still won that game.
Round 10 I lost against Undercity Plague while being flooded game 1 and screwed game 2. The neighbor of my opponent said to him something like: "Dude, how many pro points do you have this season?" He responded: "something like 26". Neighbor: "Jeez, I only have 20". I wanted to say something like: "Guys, calm down, I only have 4", but refrained.
One guy of our travel group lost his deck after registration (he had the same deck box as his neighbor). As he went to search for his deck he additionally lost his backpack (including a lot of money and important medicines). He found his backpack at the judge station, but not his deck. Therefore he went 0-2-drop at the main event. He then entered a 22 men treasure chest sealed event and took it down 5-0. As prices he could choose two envelops containing different treasures. His first one contained a number of decent judge and GP foils while his second had a mint, italian The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. Justice served.
Another guy from our travel group got the most hilarious game loss. During round 9 (at a record of 4-4) he had cast Borborygmos Enraged while his opponent was at 3 life. He then threw a land card from his hand at him (hitting his chest) and said something like lethal to the face! His opponent wasn't amused, called a judge and the verdict was a game loss for unsporting conduct.
We were at the site on Friday at 16.00. Our registration took almost 1 hour as the queue was this long. I'd would love to see online registration at the next Grand Prix's in order to prevent this mess.
Each time when parings were posted I had to run through the whole hall in order to get to my place. I barely made it in time. Also the acoustics (in combination with the high-pitched voice of the head judge) were very bad.
Simic Manipulator Gyre Sage Clan Defiance
Day 2: Draft 1
I started the draft with opening Simic Manipulator. I could have had an insane Dimir deck, but when 2 Nimbus Swimmer wheeled I was confident enough that Simic was open as well. The deck looked good on paper, but I wasn't sure of its power as I had not drafted a good Simic deck until then.
round11against a three-color bwr aggro deck. Clan Defiance shortened my clock for exactly the one turn I needed to be faster in game 3.
round12in a close match against a naya ramp deck, where I played around double bloodrush on a Boros Keyrune in game 3. Also Gridlock during the upkeep of my opponent saved me exactly the damage I needed in game 2 and 3.
round13against a very good Ozhov deck, where I had two good draws and Simic Manipulator + Simic Fluxmage took it home. I took his Deathpact Angel with Simic Manipulator and one game I cast Aetherize on myself in order to save my Leyline Phantom from dying to his Executioner's Swing.
With sweeping my first draft I had a shot at making Top 32 or Top 64 despite my bad record from day 1. I just had to finish 2-1 or 3-0 in my second draft. Should be doable, right?
Consuming Aberration Diluvian Primordial Nightveil Specter
Day 2: Draft 2
I first-picked Consuming Aberration, but unfortunately there were at least 3 other good Dimir cards also in the pack: Deathcult Rogue, Duskmantle Guildmage, Death's Approach. In pack 2 I first-picked Neightveil Specter and at
P2P2 I made the error of picking Prime Speaker Zegana over Death's Approach. In the end I had a strange UB control/mill deck with a lot of rares (Consuming Aberration, Diluvian Primordial, Sepulchral Primordial and Neightveil Specter), but way too may three-drops (including 3 x Sage's Row Denizen and 2 x Bane Alley Broker) and not enough removal (2 x Death's Approach).
round14against an insane Gruul deck. In game 2 I punted badly when I didn't cast a Gruul Ragebeast which I had exiled with my Neightveil Specter, however I still won that one with milling him. In game 1 and 3 he had Rubblebelt Raiders on turn 4 and I didn't have removal our counter spells.
Round15against a decent Boros deck (turns out he was screwed both games in round 14). However I did a nice play by playing to my outs: I have a 3/3 Consuming Aberration in play while being at one life. He has a lethal Skyknight Legionnaire in play. I activate Bane Alley Broker and find Death's Approach. He has no creatures in his graveyard. Nevertheless I cast Death's Approach on his Skyknight Legionnaire. With the triggered ability of the Aberration I mill exactly 2 creatures in order to get rid of his flyer.
Round16against a Simic deck with Ooze Flux. Being out of contention for prices we both play it kind of easy and make a lot of mistakes. My opponent makes even more than me, so I mill him to death with Consuming Aberration in game 2 and game 3.
Another Grand Prix, another blast! I feel like I could have probably ended up with one or two losses less. Recently I have a tendency of losing my first round of high-stake tournaments (GP Lisboa, PTQ Cologne, GP London). A factor that needs further investigation. Apart from that I had a very nice stay and tons of fun in London.
Gatecrash in general seems like a very fast format to me, even in sealed. Apart from the main event we did quite a few drafts and I have a pretty good feeling of the environment now. Enough to say, that each guild is playable. Yes, even Dimir and Simic.
PS: Visit the The Breakfast Club when you are in London. Best. Breakfast. Ever.
13.02.2013 • #Limited, #Sealed, #Draft, #Grand Prix