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GPT Taipei I *Top8*

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I haven’t had a top eight result in a while. Thank goodness for limited season!

I registered a deck that I would have loved to play, with highlights such as Caldera Hellion, 2 Oblivion Rings and 2 Resounding Thunders, plus a lot of good blue/black stuff. Of course, we pass the card pools and here’s the one I ended up playing:

The exalted theme is pretty good and I was glad for a chance to try it out. I’m basically splashing red and black for Resounding Thunder, Broodmate Dragon and Infest. The dragon is rightly a bomb and won me every game where he resolved. The Infest was probably a mistake – it’s not good against everybody and most of the time it sits in my hand bewailing the lack of swamps. I often side it out for the second Guardians of Akrasa.

I intentionally played a lower curve this time. Before I would have been using stuff like the Yoked Plowbeast, but I decided I wanted to be attacking on turns three and four instead of cycling, then finishing with fliers. A lot of players will build sealed decks like 5-color Naya decks with lots of fat monsters typically leaving them open during the early turns. Not that Naya is a bad strategy mind you, it’s just that I seem to face Mosstodons, Cavern Thoctars and Ridge Rannets all the time.

Tournament report follows, highlights only.

**

Round 1:

**

2-1 win

I lost game two to a resolved

[Realm Razer][1]

, a card which I grossly underestimated before, not playing it in my prerelease pool. It’s basically Armageddon + body; as soon as you have any sort of creature advantage you just play it out. I actually boarded in the 3rd obelisk for game 3 to make it easier to recover from his bomb. I also played aggressively with both creatures and removal so that he neved had a creature advantage. At the end of the game, he did have the Realm Razer in hand but couldn’t play it because he was behind by around 4 creatures to one.

**

Round 2:

**

2-0 win

**

Round 3:

**

2-0 win

**

Round 4 vs JT Porter.

**

I don’t normally name-drop here, mostly because I’m never sure if any of the guys I name would mind. Porter is a former National champ, GP winner and a well-known Magic player in the community so he

_

probably

_

won’t mind

Anyway, yeah it was Porter, so I figured I had to hit my A-game. And not make any bad plays

_

(what was the subtitle of this blog again?)

_

Let’s skip game one where I was stuck with my only 3 blue cards and Infest in hand while having only Plains, a Forest and a Swamp.  Skip game two as well, I just came out fast and aggro’ed early.

It was late in game three and I had stabilized at eight life. Porter had a Cavern Thoctar and the blue exalted archer out. I was swinging back with Stoic Angel backed by Guardians of Akrasa. I played Sigiled Paladin and swung, then passed the turn, leaving him at 15 life (he had previously gained a buttload due to

[Rhox War Monk][2]

).

On his turn, he swings with the Cavern Thoctar, which is a printed 5/5. I look at the Resounding Thunder in my hand and figure first strike damage off the Sigiled Paladin + 3 from the burn spell was good. It wasn’t, since I forgot about the exalted guy making the Thoctar a 6/6. I facepalmed myself and Porter gave me a casual “Ok lang yan Roy!” I figured I had lost the game right there, but we don’t give up ‘til the fighting’s done, so I kept going. Who knows, even a former National Champ can make a mistake!

I ripped the topdeck and saw a Grixis obelisk. I swung with the Angel for four, bringing him to 11. Then I play the Obelisk, and now having a black source I manage to play the last card in my hand – Broodmate Dragon! I take a

Pestermite

that someone had left on the table and flipped it over to pretend it was a 4/4 flier and I saw Porter got a bit more serious. I passed the turn. Porter swung with his Thoctar, and this time the Guardians of Akrasa sacrificed themselves for the cause.

Porter passed back the turn with around eleven mana up and a fistful of cards. Now that I think about it, it was an obvious tell, but at that time I just saw that I had eleven power worth of fliers and he was at eleven life, so I willfully sent my Stoic Angel and the 2 Dragons in the red zone and Porter obliged by cycling the Resounding Silence. The angel and the parent dragon left the game, leaving the token to bring Porter down to seven. I play a Court Archers, ready to chump-block the Thoctar to keep me alive.

Porter draws his card and counts his mana. He shows me Resounding Wave, bouncing the Court Archers, then swings with the Cavern Thoctar, pumping it twice to make it lethal eight damage. I grinned, of course even the best players can make mistakes! My Druid of the Anima sneaks out from the lands she had been hiding from and willingly sacrificed herself to the Thoctar. I would have been dead if Porter had noticed her and cycled the Resounding Wave instead.

On my turn I swing with the Dragon again and bring Porter down to 3. Then I re-play the Court Archer (yeah, slight misplay now that I see it) and pass the turn. Porter draws his card and tells me that “naawa yung deck ko sakin”. He plays Bull Cerodon and swings with two 5/5s. The Archers chump the Thoctar and I drop to 3 life. Then he plays what he topdecked – Court Archers to block the Broodmate Dragon!

I had no cards in hand and was dead on the board. I had already used the Resounding Thunder and the Oblivion Ring so my only possible out had to be on top of deck in order for me to win. I flipped the top card unto the table – and showed him the Bant Charm! “Archers to bottom of library,” I said and the dragon token took the win!

2-1 win. Remember, even if you’re playing against very good players, never give up ‘til the fighting’s done!

**

Round 5:

**

2-0 win.

My opponent had to mulligan to five both games, so it never really became dangerous on my end. Winning this round meant I could draw into the top eight! Huzzah!

**

Round 6: ID

**

**

Round 7: ID

**

The top eight was booster draft of course. Unfortunately, this was my first time drafting the format and had not yet read up on it before, so I had no idea what to do. I took the rare from my first pack (

[Cruel Ultimatum][4]

) and just settled into Grixis.

Here’s my top 8 draft deck:

I didn’t get too much removal – I was cut off from red on the left side and from black on the right, so I think I got a pretty mediocre draft. Cruel Ultimatum was pretty much my only bomb.

**

Quarterfinals vs Naya

**

:

Game one he managed to bring in an early Realm Razer, but I actually had a slight creature advantage so we stalled and rebuilt lands. Finally, with one card in hand he swung with the Realm Razer giving me a chance to kill it and bring back our lands. Obviously he wanted those lands back for a reason, and he was ahead in number of creatures so I figured he must have a Titanic Ultimatum in hand. Unluckily for him, I already had the Cruel Ultimatum in hand and he just gave me back the lands to cast it! There’s practically no way to recover from my Ultimatum resolving so we went into game two.

Unfortunately, I lost both games two and three and in both cases it came down to me not having the third swamp to cast Cruel Ultimatum. I lost game two when he Realm Razer’ed with a creature advantage. In game three I was racing him with an Onyx Goblet of all things, and I had the cancel for the Realm Razer, but he managed to hit his Titanic Ultimatum mana the turn before I would’ve taken it out of his hand with Cruel Ultimatum (the last swamp was on top of my library!)

**

Final Record: 5-1-2 (matches)

**

,

**

11-4 (games)

**

, finishing in the top eight and winning six packs. The rares from the prize packs were:

[Feral Hydra][5]

,

[Quietus Spike][6]

,

[Goblin Assault][7]

,

[Titanic Ultimatum][8]

,

[Caldera Hellion][9]

and

[Hell’s Thunder][10]

.

Overall, a pretty good day for me… I think the last time I ever went undefeated in Swiss was somewhere around Time Spiral block constructed. If I had managed to win the trial and get the 3 byes I would have seriously considered splurging the cash to go Taipei, but after reading in the forums that the visa requirements are a bit of a hassle (and I wouldn’t be able to get a promo price for the ticket anymore), I’m not so sure anymore. Let’s see how I do in succeeding trials…

[1]: http://magiccards.info/autocard.php?card=Realm Razer [2]: http://magiccards.info/autocard.php?card=Rhox War Monk

[4]: http://magiccards.info/autocard.php?card=Cruel Ultimatum [5]: http://magiccards.info/autocard.php?card=Feral Hydra [6]: http://magiccards.info/autocard.php?card=Quietus Spike [7]: http://magiccards.info/autocard.php?card=Goblin Assault [8]: http://magiccards.info/autocard.php?card=Titanic Ultimatum [9]: http://magiccards.info/autocard.php?card=Caldera Hellion [10]: http://magiccards.info/autocard.php?card=Hell's Thunder

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