This weekend was the first of three “Pre-Lorwyn Triple Treats” at Neutral Ground, featuring Saturdays with three tournaments: one each of Standard, Block Constructed and Legacy. I tried preparing a deck for block but I couldn't come up with anything consistent enough. Lazily, I just picked up the Standard Rakdos deck the day before the tourney, tweaked the sideboard for the inevitable TarmoRack decks (-4 Bottle Gnomes +4 Dodecapod). I lacked a 15th sideboard card, so I toss in a random Seize the Soul. (I need to go to the office really early in order to be able to play)
Round one was a guy I never met before (it happens). I can tell from his sleeves and the Akroma life counter that he's no newbie though, so I set aside any assumptions and sit down to play. He wins the roll and leads with a plains. Turns out he's some sort of B/W midrange deck. I remember he had Necrotic Slivers, I forget what else. He has land problems and I burn him out quickly game one, and while sideboarding for game two his comments are all “Grabe, keso deck!” I haven't actually heard anyone refer to burn as “keso” for a while now, and I guess he's not familiar with the current metagame where Rakdos is popular. We start game two and I hit an early Cyroclasm, giving him further land troubles, and I burn him out again.
Round 1: 2-0 win vs B/W midrange
Round two is against one of the local judge/players, so I expect a tough match. He's playing GWb, some sort of beach house variant. The Loxodon Hierarchs are annoying and lost game one to a Troll with a Hammer. I don't have Rain of Gores, so my board is just Cryoclasms and Slaughter Pacts. Game two I keep him on the ropes, but he starts to gain control. Eventually he thinks he's stabilized at 9 and goes for the aggro, dropping a Watchwolf and a Troll on the same turn. End of his turn, I calmly put the fourth charge counter on my Molten Slagheap. Untap. Draw. Play a land. Demonfire for 9. Game three he mulligans to five, but opens with the annoying Llanowar Reborn into 4/4 Watchwolf, all I have is a random 2/2 dork. He takes me down to 8 before laying a Hierarch. End of turn: Hit, he sacrifices the Watchwolf. I play a Solifuge and have it standby to block. He declines to attack with his Hierarch. My turn, I char it and swing for six. He draws and has nothing. I draw a second Solifuge and win the game.
Round 2: 2-1 win vs GWb midrange
Round three was vs Red/Green Greater Goyf. I figured it to be a bad matchup, I was right. I lost 2-0.
Round 3: 2-0 loss vs R/G Greater Goyf
Round four was U/B Teachings. I had playtested with this guy during the Philippine Open, where we both had the exact same decks. I won that time, and I won this time too, despite getting hit by a Haunting Hymn for four. U/B control is a dog to Rakdos.
Round 4: 2-0 win vs UB Teachings Control
I finished my round quickly so I took a look at the top tables. The guy who beat me last round was beating up another Rakdos player. The Rakdos guy lost, and I found myself paired against him in round five. I brought up the Greater Goyf matchup. We agree that it's really bad, as even the common Mogg War Marshall is already a disadvantage for Rakdos. We shuffle up and get going. The Rakdos mirror is mainly luck-based, it depends on whose deck decides to be more consistent. I'm glad I'm lucky, topdecking Solifuges in both games to get the win. His Solifuges never made an appearance.
Round 5: 2-0 win vs BR Rakdos
Round six we sit at the table and pass our decks for the cut when one of the judges stops us. “Table 24? Deck check.” Wow, my first deck check. We get our decks back without incident and get a five minute time extension. Not that we'd need it. Turns out my opponent is playing BG TarmoRack. I get beat up in game one and we proceed to sideboarding. I smile knowing that I'll be able to use those Dodecapods I boarded in at the last minute. I control the second game on the back of the awesome Seize the Soul and a Withered Wretch keeping his Goyf down. He tries to stabilize with a Smallpox when I only have a Rakdos Guildmage, but I show him the Dodecapod. Game three he mulligans down to five but has the Rack + Goyf start. We trade creatures and eventually get into a state where we're both low on life and on topdeck mode. Again, glad I'm lucky as I draw the Demonfire.
Round 6: 2-1 win vs BG TarmoRack
Round seven, I'm 3rd in the rankings. No point playing as the prize is the same for first to fourth place (Lorwyn Prerelease Pass), so I offer the ID. He declines, says he hopes to get his friend into the top four. I shrug and start shuffling up. He starts with Island. I cheer inside.
Round 7: 2-0 win vs UB Pickles
Final record: 6-1, and I finish first. Yeah, feels good to be winning, even if there were only around forty players in the Standard portion hehe.
I get to play in the Prerelease for free 😀