This weeks gaming was taken up by a lot of prep for the Magic PTQ in Dundee on Saturday.
Wednesday 22nd January
I managed to get a couple of test games of Magic against a Red/Green deck, something I lacked experience of, before more people arrived. When they did we broke out Red Dragon Inn and had some hilarity. Once that was done we cracked out the UK edition of Cards Against Humanity for the first time. I enjoyed it more than the US edition due to losing a load of references which are meaningless, replacing them with ones about Jimmy Saville etc. I think the favourite answer I put was for super hero duo where I had Pussy Galore and Dick Fingers which was pretty difficult to compete with. We followed it with some more Red Dragon Inn.
Thursday 23th January
Constructed night at Highlander
Round 1 vs Marcus Heder
I’m playing against an Esper control deck by Marcus who has previously beaten me with it. My Nightveil Specters do the work though and let me cast a Jace and a Divination (countered). Game 2 I forget to side in Mortars for Blood Baron but still manage to push it through winning 2-0.
Round 2 vs Tom Clark
Playing a big red deck played by Tom, who has beaten me with it and then loaned to a friend to beat me with it. I prepare to go 1-1.
Game 1 I win whilst on 1 life after a pretty epic match. I have 2 Blood Crypts in play. My Nightveils let me cast a Fanatic of Mogis and a Stormbreath Dragon. I later manage to Chain a Boros Reckoner to a Blood Crypt. Splashing for shocks/scrys to let this happen has paid off in both matches so far.
Game 2 I lose. Game 3 manage to stabilise and then push through with Demons.
Round 3 vs Marc
The last time we played in a competition it went to to top decking in game 3 with us both on 1 life.
This time I win both matches finishing the final one on 35 after Gary shenanigans.
Round 4 – the final – vs Phi Nguyen
A match against red green monsters has me pretty smashed as he gets way more card draw than I through Garruk. Oh well, I finish 2nd in a 16 person tournament which is pretty good prep for Saturday.
Friday 24th January
FNM at Major Arcana is a must having the PTQ the next day.
Round 1 vs Richard Crosby
I sit down with a player I don’t recognise and have his friend tell me he’s only been playing 2 weeks. Ouch this might be rough. I get an amazing hand and win both games quickly. He’s playing a 2 colour deck which has a few guildgates. It looks ok so I point out some minor mistakes he had made. He had a spare deck with him so I suggested he take that and play and I would play with his deck – open handed explaining my plays as I went. Hopefully it helped – I think he won some games later.
Round 2 vs Anand Alagappan
Great, Anand is a good player playing White/Green which if I don’t have enough removal can take over against me. The first game goes on for ages – The scores swing either way due to Armadillo Cloaked Loxodon Smiters vs my Whip. It’s 4-21 then 14-17; 14-13, 2-25 then 14-13, 22-5. I win a few turns later and Lifebane Zombie is the obvious sideboard option.
I win game two after managing to pump up two Nightveils, one with a Boon Satyr the other with Armadillo Cloak. Stealing a Forest and splashing for Black White scry pays off again.
Round 3 vs James Goring
He’s White/Black so it’s a case of me Thoughtseizing his Blood Baron and him Sin Collecting my removal. I manage to win 2-0.
Two nights in a row I go into a final round 3-0. This time we are a round short due to lateness and 30 players so we have 3 of us on 3-0.
Round 4 vs John Mc Cartney
And it’s a repeat of last nights final round – Green Red monsters. First game I keep a solid opening hand – 2 Swamps, 2 Pack Rats, Doom Blade and some other removal.
Turn 4 I see no land so swing and kill Domri. Turn 5, same story to kill Xenagos. Turn 6, no mana and this time it’s Garruk my rats kill.
I have a hand of 3-4 drops, 2 * 2/2 Pack Rats and a board opposite of around 8 mana including some mana dorks. It ends with me on 4 mana able to replace a rat, kill one dude or make a Specter each turn.
Game 2 is a repeat. Oh well, I finish 3rd with another 3-1.
Saturday 25th January
I elected to not go out on Friday night (shock), which proved unnecessary. Firstly due to the Scottish record turn out of 139 delaying the start. Secondly due to the result of the first three matches. I had been concerned about being mana screwed a couple of times but hadn’t had time to trial the deck with a sensibly increased count so went with it as is, rather than risk breaking a different element at this late stage. Probably a mistake.
Round 1 vs Jared Stovin
He’s playing Red with a splash of white. He wins first game due to me being totally mana screwed and I win game 2 to come back to 1-1. I totally forget to side against Assemble the Legions and get overwhelmed in game 3.
Round 2 vs Lewis Crombie
I sit down opposite a player with mono blue, a deck I haven’t faced in months. Crap – no idea what to side etc. I lose the first game to a Thassa. Game 2 I keep a dodgy 1 land keep on the play due to Thoughtseize and not wanting to get even more boned going down to 5 or so. I am pretty resigned to losing at this point anyway. He has the total nut draw and I remove a Thassa still leaving me dead in a few turns if I don’t draw land, which I don’t.
Round 3 vs Craig Banach
None of the locals with Commander decks etc have went 0-2 so I stay in for now. Craig is playing Red Green which is what destroyed me in the last two final games. It’s a repeat story, Garruk drawing more dudes than I can remove. 1-2 and me at 0-3/2-6 whichever way you look at it.
Round 4 vs Michael Little
I sit now facing a new player, whos deck I had given some advice to on Friday.
I win 2-0 with the most memorable move being to face a Heliod, bestowed Hoplite and Fabled Hero. A forced sac leaves him with a Fabled Hero and the God now and enchantment. An attack in match two with 2 pack rats turns into me discarding two cards to make them 4/4s and wrath his board. The other part was not seeing him play a creature so Thoughtseizing to remove a pro-black spell etc so he his hand empty. He had been dropping land for the past 3 turns then moving his hand below table so I hadn’t realised. D’oh!
Round 5 vs Connor Stewart
Sitting at 1-3 and it’s mirror time. I lose game 1 but manage to drop Gary in game two for the win. Game 3 I win so sit at 2-3. I can remember nothing of this match, which is the reason I stopped playing Black before, the games all merge into 1 especially in the mirror. Drop stuff, remove stuff, combat trick, Gary for the win.
Round 6 vs Callum Palin
This is a Red White deck, which I always find can overwhelm if I don’t have enough removal. Sure enough he wins Game 1 but I only see mountains so have no idea he will have Assemble the Legions in the board.
Game 2 he drops a Plains and a Favored Hoplite. I Thoughtseize on Turn 2 and see a Daring Skyjet, a burn spell, 2 Madcap Skills and 2 Banisher Priests. Holy crap, he kept a 1 lander that is dodgy but with 2 land would be horrible. I take the Madcap skills and Turn 3 drop a Lifebane Zombie exiling a Banisher Priest (irony etc). I win and then panic. I hadn’t sided in my cards to deal with Assemble the Legions. I go to board saying this and he says with sincerity he doesn’t run it. I believe him and don’t bring them in, shocked. Sure enough he doesn’t as I see after I win the third game.
Post games he says he didn’t know what to side so I point out what he has, I think he took out some cards great against mono-black although it escapes me what now.
Round 7 vs Gary Smith
Another match against a local player. I know his deck, not having played it, but it’s a Red/Green monsters deck. We both say beforehand this is the worst match up for each other. I’m surprised as the creature draw advantage he gets should push him ahead.
I win game 1. For game 2 I bring in Lifebane Zombies but he wins it due to Garruk with one hit giving 4 creatures including a Burning Tree and a Sylvan Caryatid. I manage to win Game 3 which sits me at 4-3. Positive record! Only took 7 matches.
Round 8 vs Alastair Headden
Another Red/White deck, I get mana screwed again and get destroyed in both matches.
That was my second PTQ, the first being Modern, where I borrowed a deck which I had played at one Constructed night and finished 2-4. To come 4-4 at the next is definitely an improvement. I didn’t expect to do much better but had hoped to end with a positive record, especially after the last two constructed tournaments where I ended in top 2/3.
Sunday 26th January
I take it easy chewing the fat at Highlander and grabbing some games of Commander. After tea I get to play Sentinels of the Multiverse but I think either we were lucky or took an awesome selection of characters as we easily beat the boss. Afterwards Higglebottom turned up so I got some pack wars in. My luck continues with him getting value in every pack and me getting trash.
Monday 27th January
A slight household emergency interrupts my plans to get some X-Com in. I settle for some Cockatrice with Ferg where we playtest a deck idea we had. Followed by some Legacy and Modern nonsense.
Tuesday 28th January
Pretty burned out after non-stop Magic all week and then annoyed that my blog post dies at lunchtime I settle for writing this as my gaming thing for the day.