Grand Prix Manila 08 has come and gone and is in the history books. While the Wizards official coverage gives you the play-by-play and the results, I’ll see if I can’t provide any interesting stories about my first constructed Grand Prix event.
Day One Tournament Report
As mentioned in the previous post , I'm playing QnT and I hope to fight aggro decks all day long.
Round 1. I shuffle up with my first round opponent. I keep a two-lander with some good creature control spells. He starts with a Forest and I realize he'splaying some sort of monogreen elves deck. Unfortunately, it was a bad keep for me and my hand never got past the 2 lands. My notes show I never dealt a single point of damage in this game.
I board in Sowers and Austere Commands. For game two, the tides are reversed, as I gain two life off a Kitchen Finks and never change my life total after that. An early Wren's Run Packmaster that got Sower'ed basically won me the game.
For game three, we didn't have much time, with barely 15 minutes left in the clock. However, my opponent had to mulligan to four cards, so we started with twelve minutes left on the clock. Not enough time for the control deck to win normally, I instead went aggro with Finks. I sowered the first creature he played -- a Wren's Run Vanquisher, planning to aggro with it. Unfortunately, the very next turn he managed to play out a second Vanquisher AND a Packmaster, following up later turns with two consecutive Colossus, making it difficult to advance on the ground. I had managed to bring him to 3 life by this point, but then he slowly started climbing up in life via Sapseep Forest. We hit time and it was clear neither of us could win in the five extra turns.
I was a bit frustrated at this point since I was wondering whether he took too long in mulliganning, but I realized three minutes for three mulligans seemed reasonable. On the fifth turn I offered "Would you like to concede?" but neither of us would give way so my first round ended in a draw. I was well in control of the game and would have won easily if we only had ten or fifteen more minutes.
This was one thing I had not planned -- I would be hitting extra time more often than not; I needed to learn to play faster.
Match Record: 0-0-1
Game Record: 1-1-1
Round 2. He led with Silvergill Adept and mostly islands, so I figured I was up against traditional UW merfolk. Unfortunately not! His deck had loads of card advantage: Silvergill Adept, Wistful Selkie, Sage's Dousing, Familiar's Ruse (to reset the Adepts and Selkie!) which made it difficult for me to keep pace with mass removal. He also had the usual Reejerey and Mirror Entity. But the biggest problem for me had to be the Inkfathom Infiltrators, who needed a Firespout to be killed (could not be Shriekmawed!) I eventually lost game three to a pair of Infiltrators that I was unable to answer.
Match record: 0-1-1
Game record: 2-3-1
Obviously not a very good start. However, it could only get better, right? (Famous last words)
Round 3. This one was traditional UW merfolk. I lost game one to an aggro rush, making a mistake of walking a Cryptic Command into a Cursecatcher (curses, haven't fought against those in a while!) In game two I managed to take control and win the game. In game three, I had a nice hand: 3 lands and four relevant spells (Firepout, Cryptic Command x2, Kitchen FInks). However, all 3 lands were filter lands! I figured it was okay... i had two draws to get there, and drawing any other non-filter lands would get me running. Of course, it turned out to be a bad keep, and I never went beyond those 3 lands.
Match record: 0-2-1
Game record: 3-5-1
At this point I was thinking of dropping since I knew an X-2-1 record wouldn't make it in, given the high attendance. My opponent seemed to think otherwise, so I decided to proceed. (She later turned out to be wrong)
Round 4. I was facing a ramp-style Doran deck, with Fertile Grounds to accelerate into fatties such as Chameleon Colossus and Cloudthresher. I won game three off playing three Runed Halos (two of them for Chameleon Colossus), and my opponent complained about how he'd been Runed Halo'ed all day.
Yes, I finally won!
Match record: 1-2-1
Game record: 5-6-1
Round 5. He starts out with a Plains and a Stalwart, and I know the enemy. My chances are good as long as he doesn't have that 1-2-3 punch autopilot draw. Oh wait, yes he did -- almost. I stayed alive but had to use up my Shriekmaw to take out a Wizened Cenn, which meant I was helpless against the Burrenton Forge-Tender and Spectral Procession that followed. He got an even more insane draw on the next game; I could only remember that I was unable to fight back.
Match record: 1-3-1
Game record: 5-8-1
At this point I was tired of losing and decided to drop. I remember ticking drop on my result slip, but based on the play history at the DCI webapp, I actually got a match loss for the next round. Huh. Oh well, I don't feel like contesting it -- I'm sure the guy appreciated the free DCI rating points (I lost about 20-30 in that one)
So, my Grand Prix was over -- I spent the rest of the day watching my teammates play and watching feature matches. It was great seeing Levy, Saito, Shuhei, etc. in action. The Japanese especially, they make their moves quickly, never hesitating, it's amazing. We also got some Chameleon Colossuses and Makeshift Mannequins signed by the artist Darrel Riche.
Bonus Tournament Report: Switch playing 5-color ElementalsThe following section is unedited from a Yahoo Messenger conversation!
(20:45:21) switch_nftzu: round 1: RDW (with deuses of calamity instead of demigods) 1-2. apparently, this guy went 3-0
(20:45:31) switch_nftzu: round 2: QnT 1-2
(20:45:40) switch_nftzu: round 3: faeries 2-0
(20:45:59) switch_nftzu: round 4: mana acc/landie: 2-1
(20:46:40) switch_nftzu: round 5: doran (though i didn't know until the last turn, where he played a treefolk harbinger, and i noticed one too many draws) 2-0
(20:47:27) switch_nftzu: round 6: doran 2-0
(20:48:28) switch_nftzu: round 7: RDW 2-1
(20:48:40) switch_nftzu: round 8: cairn wanderer 0-2
(20:56:21) switch_nftzu: round 1: lost in extra turns to a topdecked redcap when i was down to 2: was playing for the draw
(20:56:32) switch_nftzu: round 2: death by oona
(20:49:35) switch_nftzu: wins: rd 3: guy didn't know how to play the deck (e.g. snakeform on colossus before declaring attacks)
(20:50:19) switch_nftzu: rd 4: win game one, beat down by oversoul & colossus, mull to 5, kill turn 2 and turn 3 devoted druids, he gets stuck on 3 lands long enough for me to bash
(20:51:11) switch_nftzu: rd 5: he had no plays game 1 except for austere command, he mulls to 6 on game two, has 2 lands and 6 cards in hand by turn 2: game loss
(20:52:55) switch_nftzu: rd 6: round after riche signs colossi, they immediately pay dividends by stomping in game 1. game 2 he gets down runed halo on gouger and horde, i get him down to 2 white vivids and 1 black vivid, all with no counters with fulminator mages for a few turns, eventually bash with 8/8 colossus
switch_nftzu: i think he faerie macabres the two fulminator mages in the grave
(20:55:42) switch_nftzu: rd 7: i suppose colossus wins me game 1, last life standings were 11-12 against me. i flag a bit (2 land, smokebraider hand against a deck with spout) and get chomped by demigod. round three: harbinger for smokebraider, smokebraider. he thoughtseizes and chooses colossus over fulminator. i kill his vivid, harbinger for fulminator, kill his next vivid, leaving him with a filterland for maybe 6 turns where i case another smokebraider, mulldrifter and eventually lark to fetch the fulminators to kill his only land and have a fulminator in play
(20:55:49) switch_nftzu: you saw my death in round 8
Indeed, I did see him die in the final round -- to a 4/4 Protection from Black, red and white, protection from converted mana cost 3 or greater, first strike, lifelink, vigilance monster. Of course, it was some guy from HK playing with a deck that had Mistmeadow Skulk and Cairn Wanderer! It was quite awesome to behold, and the HK guy was quite ecstatic to win.
Switch finished with a 5-3 record.
Alex unfortunately, dropped out at the same round I did, finishing with a 1-4 record.
Paul was still playing with a long shot of making the top 64. We found him battling a Caucasian guy in a Kithkin mirror match. He was well ahead -- having something like eight creatures to his opponents two, and didn't even bother taking down the opposing Ajani Goldmane instead going straight for the head. After he won the match, his opponent commented that he should have spared two Spirit tokens to take out Ajani, given how comfortably ahead he was -- an untimely Spectral Procession might have turned the game around.
Paul just shrugged, enjoying his 6-2 finish. (What a lucksack! :p) Unfortunately, this was only good enough for a 90+ finish, not enough for him to make day two.
Overall Team Snafubar match record: 13-12-1. Alex and I brought the average down, but I think we still had fun playing. This was easily my worst constructed weekend so far, and I would definitely lose somewhere around a hundred points of Constructed rating, but it wasn't so bad.
We left the mall and decided to crash at a friend's place. Sometime around 1 AM, I decided to come back the next day to PTQ with Kithkin. I wouldn't have much sleep, but what the hell -- I planned on a 3-day Magic weekend, so I might as well go on with it!