Thursday, 25 August 2011

Nationals Disaster - the true story

So, back from Nationals, with the sour taste of multiple defeats still fresh in my mouth. I've submitted a report to mtgUK, but thought I owed my regular readers (do I actually have any?) the real story. This is my blog and I reserve the right to rant and be emo :P

This year, the GB Nationals were held in Sheffield. Four days of gaming, trading and meeting people in the Ponds Forge sports hall. This marks my third visit to the Nationals tournament, and I sucked balls this year. Here are my tournament reports.


The afternoon was our attempt at qualifying. Enough people entered that the top 18 would make it into the Nationals. Most of our group did well, with one of us (Dan Eggle) coming in 19th. My personal performance was poor...

Played mono-White Quest.

Round 1
I've lost my paper notes,so I have no idea who the opponent was. He was playing U/B control. Crushing loss for me.
0-2 (0-1)

Round 2
Ben Flounder. He played Green/White/Black Pod. Crushing loss again.
0-2 (0-2)

I wasn't playing well at all. I was keeping hands I shouldn't have and throwing away games. I haven't been feeling happy with the deck since the Regionals. I'd been considering switching to Vampires but upon testing both decks, suddenly Quest was working. Despite a good performance the previous weekend at FNM and the M12 Game Day, I sat down with next to no confidence in the deck. 0-2 drop. Not the correct attitude for an LCQ. A result of the massive slump I've let myself get into and something I need to rectify.


I spoke to friends and visited the traders, then entered an Generic Grand Prix Trial, with the format being Extended.

Played original Jund.

Round 1
Richard Bryce playing mono-Black. Game one, Sprouting Thrinax and Raging Ravine got there, with help from Garruk Wildspeaker's Overrun. Phyrexian Obliterator got played to stop me, but like all good Jund players, i had Maelstrom Pulse in hand.
Game 2 he mulled to 5, and didn't recover from his early mana screw. Blightning probably didn't help
2-0 (1-0)

Round 2
Rob Wagner playing Caw-Blade. Recognized his name when I saw it on the pairings. He writes for mtgUK, as was confirmed by both his t-shirt and asking him. Game one he crushed me with a Batterskull. Game two, we hard a hard, long fight. I eventually won that one. Ten minutes left for game three, he took it down.
1-2 (1-1)

Round 3
Dan Griffiths playing Dark-Blade. Game one is a cake walk. His life total goes 20-16-13-5-dead. I end the game on 14. Game two I'm hit by a flurry of discard spells and go down fighting. Game three, i crush him again. I think the standard blue-white is better against me.
2-1 (2-1)

Round 4
Craig Barnes playing Caw-Blade. Pretty similar to the match against Rob Wagner, but didn't take as long. Seems this deck is a weakness.
1-2 (2-2)

Round 5
Mark Pinder, playing Jund feat Demigod. I pull out game one with the standard beatdown plan. Game two and three i get him to 10 with him beating me, game 2 off the back off chameleon colossus.
1-2 (2-3)

Probably should have done better. Need more practice/tweaking with the deck but no-one locally cares about the format. Could be a lot happier with the result, but feel OK for a GPT at a high level venue. My biggest mistake, over the lack of testing, was calling an audible. I had a Green/White list built, that had won the Extended LCQ for the Italian Nationals. However, my experience in Standard had me craving a deck that was familiar and comfortable rather than one that had potential. While I love Jund with an unnatural passion, it's probable that the new deck was better positioned for a Caw-Blade metagame. I didn't even try and tweak Jund to take Caw-Blade into account.

For reference, here is the other list:-


After a relaxed Saturday, it was time for one final day of Nationals. A group of us had decided to enter the Legacy Championships.

played Eva green

Round 1
Ben Coleman wearing a judge badge and playing Hive Mind. My first turn Dark Ritual into Hymn to Tourach discarded a basic land and a Pact of the Titan. Big clue there to what he is playing. Used Sinkhole, Beast Within and Wastelands to keep him mana screwed. He discarded an Emrakul to shuffle his lands back in, but couldn't recover before i beat him to death. Game two i was getting in the beats and land disruption, got him to 4 life before he cast Hive Mind and Pact of the Titan for the win. Leyline of Sanctity left me a hand full of Thoughtseizes and Inquisition of Kozileks. Interesting chat during sideboarding about using Manamorphose as sideboard tech to pay for the pact costs. Game three he again has opening Leyline of Sanctity and combos off really early. The turn he wins i cast Beast Within, which would have killed the leyline. If he'd been a turn slower I'd have been in with a chance.
1-2 (0-1)

Round 2
Alistair Kennady playing NO-RUG. Game 1 we had a creature battle as i kept him off Natural Order. Dark Confidant gave me card advantage and a well timed Dismember allowed me to get in for lethal. Game two we got deck checked. My deck was fine, while he got a warning for writing Scalding instead of Scalding Tarn on his sheet. He won the creature battle that game. Game three he cast Natural Order and i couldn't stop him. Progenitus killed me.
1-2 (0-2)

Round 3
Andrew Jagger playing Zoo. Met Andrew last year at London Nats. He stomped me to death both games. As in standard, Vampire Nighthawk carries a Lightning Bolt magnet on his back. My answers were too slow.
0-2 (0-3)

Round 4
Had the bye. Spent the round playing against Dan Eggle who had built Battle of Wits but was unable to make it to the tournament on time. Went 1-1 against him. Game one he beat me to death with the Thopter Foundry/Sword of the Meek combo. Game two i hit enough disruption and large guys. We still need to have a game three at some point. Luckily he is one of the players that came up with us from Plymouth.
1-1 technically (1-3)

Round 5
Dan Perkins playing Boros Slivers. Shame to meet one of our locals on such a bad record. Game one he beats me to death with fast Slivers and removal spells. Game two i have enough removal and get some Vampire Nighthawks online while he is mana screwed allowing me to run away with the game. Game three is close, but he is flooding and i take control of the game. Dark Confidant is starting to kill me. I pop Pernicious Deed for two to stop Dark Confidant killing me and remove his lone blocker so Tarmogoyf can get in for lethal. Then remember Tarmogoyf costs 2 as well. Savage misplay. Luckily I'm able to recover with a double Beast Within on my own lands while he can never get more than one Sliver in play.
2-1 (2-3)

Round 6
Amar Dattini paying NO-RUG. I'd seem him playing in the Legacy GPT the day before, where i had seen him beat two of my friends with Progenitus. Game one i fought hard to keep the hydra from appearing and died to a swathe of Tarmogoyfs. Game two he found a window to cast Natural Order and i lost to the hydra again.
0-2 (2-4)

My record could have been a lot better, but i enjoyed this legacy tournament a lot more than the other i played in 2 years ago (10-Land Green). Want to tweak the deck a little, especially in the sideboard. Definitely a deck to work on and improve with, while i trade for cards to splash out into a more Rock/Junk build. This was my best tournament of the weekend, despite the bad result. Need more practice against the popular decks of Legacy and also want to change some of the cards in my sideboard. Choke doesn't seem to do much against the field. 

Basic solution to my suckitude: take a break from playing. There are no major constructed events between now and the release of Innistrad. Next month's FNM promo is Teetering Peaks, which I don't need due to the Premium Deck - Fire & Lightning. This will give me some time off without worrying about what I'm going to play each week, or if my deck is still good enough. Then I can re-focus as rotation hits. The overall goal is to do much better at next years Nationals. 

So, that's the challenge. Do better at next years Nationals. Through research, playtesting and hopefully regular writing for mtgUk as well as maintaining this blog more frequently. I want to either qualify next year, or at least walk away from the LCQ feeling like I had a shot. Then, Top 8 a decent side event if there is the chance to play in one.

I will do better....

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