I played at Robinson's Galleria last Saturday. So much for my first constructed outing in 10 years… not a very good outcome for me.
I played 4-color Firemane Control… no permission, but lots of life gain and 4 Wrath of Gods packed maindeck, a specifically anti-aggro build. I was anticipating lots of Gruul beats and Orzhov aggro decks, and I was ready to beat them to the ground. Unfortunately, I faced not a single one of those decks. :(
Round 1 vs Wildfire/Vore
I knew this was a loss as soon as he boomerang'ed a Temple Garden on the second turn. First game went fast, I lost to Niv-Mizzet. Second game, he brought out the early Blood Moon, but I had a Hinder ready. The second Blood Moon made it through, so for the rest of the game I only had a Simic Signet providing me with colored mana. Keiga got killed by another Keiga, and he had two cards left in hand. I had two Angels in the ‘yard, but no white for removal and no permission in hand. I said, what the heck, and played the Zur's Weirding. He shows me Magnivore and Wildfire in hand. Oh crap. The 7/7 Magnivore took 4 swings to kill me.
Round 2 vs The Masterpiece
It was my first time seeing the Masterpiece and action, and to be honest, the first few turns weren't very impressive. We traded Hierarchs, creatures were killed by spot removal, it was an even game. Then he plays an Arena, and I realize “It's over.” I can match him threat for threat, but he's drawing a lot more than I am, and I don't draw into the maindecked Stomphowler. Game 2 goes pretty much the same way, except I get hit by Persecute – White… and the secret of this deck is 80% of my spells are white! I go down to one card in hand. He Cranials the 4 Wrath of Gods and the 4 Firemane Angels… and there's no recovering from that.
Round 3 vs Owling Mine
I would've thought this was a bad matchup, but the first game went surprisingly well. The extra card draws were great for me, and even when he played an owl, two Angels in the ‘yard kept the damage down. Eventually, he ran out of life to give and we started sideboarding. I knew exactly what to board, brought in 3 Grand Arbiters and 3 Hide/Seek. 2nd game went really well for him, Owl on 2nd turn, Boomerang a land, exhaustion, game went fast. Game 3 took a lot longer, he played 3 Owls in one turn, but I had two Hide/Seeks in hand. I kept on tapping out to play threats, hoping he wouldn't draw into an exhaustion. With one turn before I kill him, he amps up the card drawing and gets me to 11 cards in hand, planning to toss two Sudden Impacts at me. But he realizes he's one short – I'm at 23 life. Besides, I have a helix in hand which forces him to scoop. Finally a win!
Round 4 vs The Masterpiece AGAIN
Yeah, same story here. I think my mistake was I keep shooting down Fetters instead of Arenas… but eh, the deck is really far superior.
Round 5 vs Greater Good
Well, my back is starting to ache by now. One of the guys I came here with managed to get a monoblock chair with a back… oh what I would give for that. Oh yeah, the game. I ate a lot of Kokushos and Yoseis, that's what I remember. And he kept using the Top every turn. After a while I stopped caring and didn't even check whether he was cheating me with the Top or not.
Anyway, it was about 5 PM at that time, and there were 3 rounds to go. But I figured I wouldn't make it anyway, and I had to catch up on work, so I said goodbye to the guys and went back to the office.
Most important lesson learned: Next time, just play aggro. With an eight-round tournament, playing a control deck is likely to give you a migraine by round four or five. And the metagame is so wide, it's useless trying to prepare for everything anyway, so just throw caution to the winds and send your creatures in the red zone. Oh yeah, a Gruul deck which I helped prepare (the base of the deck came from me) did a lot better than me… his record was 3-2 by the fifth round.