Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

At last! The much awaited Return to Ravnica Pre-Release has arrived! And me and my girlfriend Liz are both excited to be playing today! I am pretty sure that the other players out there feel the same way as we do. However, that would have to wait because I had to attend my friend’s son’s birthday party which was held on the same day as well, at the SM San Lazaro branch. Luckily, the party was scheduled around 11 in the morning which gives me the opportunity to participate in the prerelease event at least later in the afternoon. Not to mention that the mall was just one jeepney ride away from where I live. I left Liz at home to attend the party first so she could get some more rest and tackle some online tasks before following.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“My friend and his kid with me”

And the thing was that I ended up staying at the party for longer than expected and me and Liz reached Eton around five o’clock in the afternoon. She was already feeling disappointed for me that we arrived there late and was getting the impression that we’d probably be playing the day after which was Sunday. I was not worried though. When we got there, we were relieved that there was still some Izzet guildpacks available for me to pick and that there was one more pod that I can join. The tournament organizer was just waiting for a couple of more players to arrive before starting the last pod.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

Izzet Guildpack

Unfortunately, Neutral Grounds, which was just located within the same building and just a few steps away no longer have any Guild Packs for some of the players which also includes Liz. It means that Liz will no longer have the opportunity to get her own prerelease card, as well as the limited edition die that we initially wanted to get. And because of this, I had her refunded the whole payment. Liz was really disappointed since she really wanted to have her own Guild pack and play that day. And the thing was, Regran no longer have available slots that she can take for her to participate at their prerelease event. I consoled her and told her that she can just play during the launch party which will be held on October 5th. Though we won’t be able to get any guild pack at that time, we at least get a launch party foil card unlike if she joins the prerelease since she’s paying for just a regular prerelease entrance fee but without any freebies. I added that not getting a prerelease card seems not that worth the experience and the payment. Liz was already sulking when the tournament organizer in Regran offered his slot to Liz saying that he was already able to participate in a couple of pods. The news made Liz really happy and got her really excited. I was very thankful to the tournament organizer and within a couple of minutes, the pod where I was part of started. I got my Izzet Guildpack which was what I really wanted, along with the limited edition Izzet guild die.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“Prerelease Card for the Izzet Guild Members”

And I have to say this but I am really impressed with the packaging of the guild packs. Wizards of the Coast really did think this through and put everything in it. No wonder that Neutral Grounds no longer had stocks for the other participants. I’d say that me and Liz really got lucky this time.

Unfortunately, it’s kinda difficult to remember everything that took place in a pre-release match. Well, at least for me, I find it difficult to remember what happened on each turn of each match especially that I don’t have a notebook with me to record or take note of anything at all. However, I do remember scenarios where a certain card in my deck performed and that are what I will be sharing here instead.

To start with, here’s the deck that I constructed:

Return to Ravnica Sealed Deck: 4-0 Izzet Guild

Lands: 18

4 Island

2 Izzet Guildgate

2 Mountains

7 Plains

1 Rogue’s Passage

2 Tranquil Promenade

Creatures: 14

1 Azorius Arrester

1 Azorius Justiciar

1 Archon of the Triumvirate

1 Crosstown Courier

1 Hover Barrier

1 Hussar Patrol

1 Hypesonic Dragon

1 Keening Apparition

1 Lobber Crew

1 Mercurial Chemister

1 Precinct Captain

1 Seller of Songbirds

1 Soulsworn Spirit

1 Sunspire Griffin

Spells: 8

1 Azorius Keyrune

1 Downsize

1 Explosive Impact

1 Inaction Injunction

1 Izzet Keyrune

1 Paralyzing Grasp

1 Pursuit of Flight

1 Swift Justice

Sideboards:

1 Volatile Rig

1 Firemind’s Foresight

1 Grave Betrayal

1 Tavern Swindler

1 Blustersquall

1 Oak Street Innkeeper

1 Racecourse Fury

1 Sphere of Safety

1 Call of the Conclave

2  Teleportal

1 Rix Maadi Guildmage

1 Slitherhead

1 Rakdos Cackler

1 Cremate

1 Daggerdrome Imp

1 Mind Rot

1 Sewer Shambler

1 Ogre Jailbreaker

1 Perilous Shadow

1 Dispel

1 Mizzium Skin*

1 Chronic Flooding

1 Cancel

1 Inspiration

2 Void Wielder*

1 Isperia’s Skywatch

2 Gatecreeper Vine

1 Axebane Guardian

1 Chorus of Might

1 Rubbleback Rhino

2 Horncaller’s Chant

2 Bellows Lizard

1 Electrickery

1 Gorehouse Chanwalker

1 Viashino Raketeer

2 Cobblebrute

1 Battlehorn

1 Survey the Wreckage

2 Swift Justice

1 Trained Caracal

1 Azorius Arrester

1 Concordia Pegasus

1 Eyes in the Sky

1 Courser’s Accord

1 Risen Sanctuary

1 Chemister’s Trick

1 Essence Backlash*

1 Goblin Electromancer

1 Auger Spree

1 Spawn of Rix Maadi

1 Trestle Troll

1 Sluiceway Scorpion

1 Frostburn Weird

Now, let me discuss the creatures which performed in my deck starting with:

Azorius Justiciar: Azorius Justiciar on its own is not really impressive, not to mention that she is only a 2/2 creature for four mana. However, she’s great if you play her on a timely manner. My opponent on the first round lost the second game because of this card. She was part of my first seven hand and I held on to her until my opponent’s life was low enough for me to make a critical swing.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“On second thought, being detained by this lady doesn’t sound bad afterall”

Archon of the Triumvirate: The only time that I was able to play this big fellow was on game 2 of the fourth round. My opponent was sporting an Azorius deck who had just wiped my board of a newly-casted Mercurial Chemister and Hussar Patrol with his Supreme Verdict. Fortunately for me, I had the Archon in my hand and as soon as he passed the turn, I didn’t think twice of playing it with one blue mana up for a Mizzium Skin which I was holding. At the end of my turn, he tried bouncing it back with Dramatic Rescue but I used the Mizzium to grant my Archon hexproof and my opponent tank for a second and eventually decided to use the other Dramatic Rescue to bounce my Archon. He was frustrated that he was forced to use two cards just to bounce my Archon which I just re-cast on my next turn.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to be detained by this one”

Hover Barrier: This is one of the good cards that I have in the deck. This card helped me keep off the initial onslaught especially that it has a toughness of 6 which is not that bad. Unfortunately, it is often killed by my opponents since it’s a hindrance.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“Bumping into one of these things is no illusion”

Hussar Patrol: One of the cards that I am happy to draw. With its flash ability, it has helped me ambush unsuspecting creatures deployed by my opponent to the red zone. Not to mention the fact that it has a big rear *read: 4 toughness* and has vigilance.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“Nor into these people”

Hypersonic Dragon: once I draw this card, it often leads to victory and the thing was that I often drew this card on most of my games which was a big help especially that it has evasion and has haste. There was even this one time wherein I had it in my initial 7 but wasn’t able to play it due to mana restrictions but my patience was rewarded and I was eventually able to play it for the win. But perhaps the most memorable time I played it was against my last opponent Remember the time when I played the Archon? Just a turn after, I drew this one so in no time, my opponent who was at twenty plus life was staring down on an attacking Archon and a Hypersonic Dragon along with a Precinct Captain dealing him a total of 11 damage. Unfortunately for him, he was no longer able to draw any answer on both of the cards and eventually extended his hand. Overall, I love this card in my games and is perhaps the most which has contributed a lot to my victories.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“Liz got two of this in her deck. Scary.”

Seller of Songbirds: Not really that impressive but the 1/1 evasive token it generates is big especially when you are on the defensive. In fact, the token helped me won the first game against my Azorius opponent in the last round. He was at 6 life and I was holding an Explosive Impact and have a Hussar Patrol in play as well as a bird token. On his turn, he was able to draw an answer, though I forgot what that was but he was deciding between removing my Hussar and the bird. He initially chose to remove the bird and in fact I already had put it aside when he suddenly changed his mind and removed my flash patrol. Though I was showing a poker face at that time, inside, I was relieved and told myself that victory was mine. He passed the turn and I drew, didn’t really matter what that was but I attacked my bird token and he took the damage dropping him down to 5 which was enough for me to kill him with my Explosive Impact.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“How much is that birdie in the window…”

Soulsworn Spirit: This was also a neat evasive creature. Not only does it detains a creature an opponent controls which keeps his hands off you, his evasive ability helps you race opponents. Most of the time, I cast him for the purpose of racing with the opponent. Though he often dies to spot removal, he already has dealt enough damage to the opponent.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“You don’t want to get touched by those hands. Trust me.”

Below are the spells which have helped me win my games:

Azorius Keyrune: One of the best cards that you can draw in the early game as well as the late game. Not only is the artifact immune to mass removal as well as sorcery speed removals, but it is also an evasive creature on its own and can help you race with the opponent especially when the ground is in a stalemate. The keyrune also helped me ramp up to be able to cast my more expensive spells such as the Hussar Patrol, Explosive Impact and my bombs.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“A 2/2 flyer for UW? Not bad I’d say.”

Explosive Impact: This is the second card which won me a lot of games. During the first game on the first round, my opponent slammed a Hover Barrier to keep my only creature from getting past the red zone. Since I already had it in my opening hand, I made sure to attack with my ground creature every turn even if my opponent would surely block the creature with his wall. I conditioned my opponent in blocking it without giving it much thought so when I already had six mana up, I blew up his damaged wall with an Explosive Impact. And the thing was that this scenario happened in both the first game and the second game. In addition to using it to win the first game against my opponent in the last round, I also used it to snatch victory from my previous opponents.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“Gunflame!!”

Inaction Injunction: Not superbly impressive but it did help a lot in racing against opponents and the added card draw was invaluable.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“I call this inaction inaction”

Izzet Keyrune: Though not that impressive as compared to its Azorius counterpart, it did help me net cards against my last opponent in one of our games. It was also thanks to Rogues Passage which made sure that the 2/1 Keyrune got in to help me filter my hand. Furthermore, it really helps smooth out the mana especially that I was playing a three-colored deck.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“If this was unblockable, it would’ve been better.”

Paralyzing Grasp:  Is one of the best cards that you can have in your deck if you are playing blue. Though the funny thing was I wasn’t able to use much of this cards but whenever I draw it, I make sure to stop a big threat.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“Stop! Don’t touch me there! No! Don’t! It tickles!”

Pursuit of Flight: This card helped me get my creatures past the red zone. In fact, this card won me the first game against my opponent on the third or was it second round? Anyway, he has ground creatures to block my offensive but I only needed one creature to get passed him to win the game and drawing it was timely.

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“Up up and awaaaaayy….*thump*”

Notable Sideboards:

Mizzium Skin: The most memorable performance it showed was the time when I was against the Azorius player in our last game of the final round. As mentioned above, it forced the opponent to use two of his Dramatic Rescue to bounce my Archon, leaving him with no other answer in hand.

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“Sticks and Stones will not break my bones”

Void Wielder: A neat card when you are trying to push through your creatures in the red zone. Though I rarely drew this card, the times that I am able to cast it helped me get more damage to the opponent which forces them to be on the defensive.

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“Ladies and Gentlemen, watch closely as I pull out a rabbit out of this…Hat”

Essence Backlash: The card that I sideboarded in the most. It countered my first opponent’s Chaos Imp on the second game, dealing a massive six damage. An opponent also fell victim to the backlash. It was when he decided to play his Chaos Imp a turn after he cast a Hellhole Flailer. He regret not playing the Imp a turn earlier which was when I was still tapped out. It also countered an opponent’s Carnival Hellsteed, dealing him a painful five damage not. I also used it to counter the Vassal Soul of my Azorius opponent. Even though it only dealt a measly 2 damage due to the low power of the creature, it did keep him from being able to block my aerial assault which helped me win the game. Overall, this is perhaps one of those cards that I am really happy using in my deck. Like the Hypersonic Dragon, this contributed a lot in those games that I won. You just have to be patient when playing this.

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“Ooh, that must’ve hurt…”

In all my games, I only lost once which was against the Rakdos player I suppose when he was able to overwhelm me with his creatures on the second game but then again, I still won that particular round.

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“Yes. That’s me. Yes. The one with the PINK sleeves. And NO. I am not gay.”

Overall, I am proud of my performance as well as the deck that I had constructed but then again, my victory was not only my own, I had help from one my good friends. Thanks Alfred Banaag! He was the one who suggested that I put in the Explosive Impact as well as to make it 18 Lands as opposed to my usual 17 lands at the time I was constructing my deck. If it weren’t for those suggestions, maybe I wouldn’t have won those entire match ups. But then again, I also owe my wins to myself. The battles fought were hard but at the end of the day, my efforts were rewarded.

Return to Ravnica Pre-Release!

“Ore wa, Kachi desu!”

 

imagecredit: magiccardmarket.eu, biwicket.com, http://gatherer.wizards.com

GRIXIS, INFECT, AND WOLF RUN RAMP MATCH UP

Game 1:

My opponent mulliganed down to six while I kept my first seven. A Gitaxian Probe from me revealed a hand consisting of two Desperate Ravings, a Gilded Lotus, a couple of lands and a Slagstorm. Because of the knowledge that he has a Slagstorm in hand, I decided to hold off from playing my Geist which I think was a bad decision since he has a Gilded lotus in hand. This means that the Mana Leak in my hand would eventually become useless if I he played the lotus which he eventually did which I decided to counter with my Mana Leak. It was a bit frustrating since I could have just played the geist earlier and had him waste his turn burning my geist rather than him being able to play a Desperate ravings at the end of my turn. The good thing though is that I was able to pick off a Pillar of Flame and a Black Sun’s Zenith from his hand thanks to him playing Desperate Ravings.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“Probed!”

A few turns later, he played some Duress but I was lucky enough to be holding a Mental Misstep to counter it. Funny thing was that the second time he attempted to Duress me, I also had a timely Mental Misstep to counter it. Unfortunately, he was able to play another Gilded Lotus and I no longer had Mana Leak to ditch it to the bin. Another misplay that I had during the first game was that I forgot to attack with the spirit token on my turn which I made at the end of my opponent’s turn. The board became more troublesome when my opponent hard-casted the dreaded planeswalker, Nicol Bolas. Since I don’t have any good creatures on the board, he decided to destroy my Moorland Haunt leaving me with three dual colored lands and two islands. But before it got destroyed, I responded by exiling another creature from my graveyard, I think it was the dead geist or was it another creature? Not sure. And once he was done, I played a Restoration Angel at the end of his turn, targeting my token but choosing not to exile it.

“Duress was Misstepped”

During my turn, I decided to attack the evil planeswalker with my angel and two spirits bringing its loyalty counter to three before passing the turn. And as expected, he used the planeswalker’s second ability to permanently gain control of my angel which put his planeswalker’s loyalty down to one. I wasn’t bothered one bit since I had a vapor snag in my hand which I used to bounce my angel back to my hand while tapping out my remaining four lands to play my angel at the end of his turn as well.

Grixis, Infect, and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“Destroys Moorland Haunt”

“Attacks the all-powerful dragon planeswalker!”

“Finishes off the Job!”

And luckily, I was able to draw a gut shot which I used to take care of Nicol Bolas as my angel and spirits attacked him. Unfortunately for him, he no longer has any action in his board and I was able to draw a pike which I immediately played and equipped my angel with it. With ten spells in my graveyard, and two spirits, he took a whopping fifteen damage in one swing bringing him down to five. I passed the turn and he slowly drew his next card and decided to go for the next game.

Grixis, INfect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“Swings for 15 damage and the rest was history”

Game 2:

I kept my seven consisting of two Ponders, a Mana Leak, A Geist of Saint Traft and three lands. My opponent played a swamp and duressed me. He was dismayed when he saw two Ponders and a Geist and decided to just ditch my leak to the graveyard. The first few turns was uneventful for him and he was stuck to four lands while I spent my turns casting Ponder, after Ponder after Ponder. I even shuffled after the second Ponder and what’s funny was that I drew another Ponder even after shuffling. Thanks to a Gitaxian Probe, I was able to see him having a Griselbrand and a Liliana of the Veil and a Doom Blade and couple of spells I don’t quite remember.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“Liliana poses a problem.”

He eventually landed a Liliana and used her plus one ability to make us discard and I was torn between discarding either one of the two Geist of St. Traft that I have in hand or the land which I need to be able to play a creature on my next turn. I eventually decided to discard the land instead while he discarded his Griselbrand before he passed his turn.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“A Serious Problem”

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“Was it a misplay to pick the land instead of the Geist?”

Luckily, I drew an Island which was enough for me to cast my GST though I know that my opponent would likely edict my Geist on his turn which he did. But other than that, he didn’t do much on his turn and passed again. I drew a delver on my turn and decided to land the second Geist which I had and decided to just keep the delver so I can discard it in case my opponent plusses the deathmage again. And as was expected, he decided to use the first ability again rather than having my GST edicted. I discarded the Delver I drew on my previous turn and I forgot what he discarded in turn. I think it was a land then he passed his turn. On my turn, I attacked Liliana with my Geist while the Angel attacked him which he doombladed.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

The Liliana went to the bin. He then drew a Nihil Spellbomb which he used to exile my graveyard thinking he could mitigate my Pike’s power though I was not worried about it since I already had boarded out my Pike. Sometime in the game, I played a Hero of Bladehold which made short work of him.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“Finishes the opponent off”

Sideboard Plan:

-2 Runechanter’s Pike, -1 Mutagenic Growth, -4 Gut Shot, -1 Vapor Snag, +2 Spectral Flight, +3 Hero of Bladehold, +2 Negate, +1 Divine Offering

My Thoughts:

I think the right play on game one was to play a third turn Geist regardless of him holding a slag storm. It would have slowed him down a turn at the least before he was able to cast a series of Desperate Ravings. I decided to board in my Heroes without boarding out my Angels since I wanted to increase my threat density against his deck that has a lot of mass removal. Though my opponent thought that I should have discarded my second Geist than the land I was holding when he used Liliana’s first ability on the 2nd game, my decision in keeping the two Geists proved his Liliana’s undoing. However, it could have been different if I did not draw a land the turn after discarding from Liliana.

ROUND 4: VS INFECT 2-1

Game 1:

Was not much of a fight on my opponent’s end. It didn’t even last for five minutes. The most that I remember was that he landed an Inkmoth Nexus, and then cast a Wild Defiance. Doesn’t really matter what I drew on my turn but after I passed my turn he drew a Revenge of the Hunted and paid the miracle cost instead and targeted an activated Inkmoth with it, making it a 7/7 flying creature with infect and since it got targeted by a spell, the Wild Defiance triggered as well giving the Inkmoth Nexus +3/+3 making it a horrendous 10/10 infect creature which went into the red zone unopposed. Ending game one just like that.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“10 infect counter on the third turn. Felt like modern.”

Game 2:

If I remember correctly, I kept a hand with a Delver, and a couple of cantrips and lands. And again, for some reason, this is one of those match ups that I don’t quite remember a lot of. As far as I know, I had a flipped delver whittling his life away while I killed off his infect dorks with a series of gut shots. I eventually landed a Geist of Saint Traft which didn’t take long to finish the second game. In fact, I even remembered his life dropping down to 1 and my opponent asking me if I had a gut shot or anything which can finish him off. Unfortunately I didn’t but he still decided to scoop.

Game 3:

Opponent went first and played a forest and passed the turn. I drew a probe and probed my opponent’s hand seeing a couple of lands, an Apostle’s Blessing, An Ichorclaw Myr, and I think there were two Wild Defiance as well as a Mutagenic Growth. Unfortunately, it didn’t get me an Island so I had to play my Glacial Fortress tapped before passing the turn. He decided to play an Ichorclaw Myr and passed the turn. On my turn, I played a Delver and snagged the Ichorclaw Myr putting him down to 19.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“Oooh, interesting…”

On his turn,he decided to play two Glistener Elves rather than replay his Ichorclaw Myr. Fortunately for me, my Delver became an Insectile Aberration and started whittling his life, putting him down to 16. I played my third land and I think I Snapcasted the Probe I have in my graveyard. He reveals a couple of Inkmoth Nexus and his instants that he hasn’t used yet as well as a Ranger’s Guile which I took note of. I then passed the turn.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“Whittles away the opponent’s life”

He drew and decided to not attack and played his second Wild Defiance instead before passing his turn. I drew a Hero which I decided to play and decided not to attack this time since a counter-attack from him could prove my undoing. I decided to wait and see what he would do on his turn before I did anything.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

However, he also chose not to attack and passed the turn after playing an Inkmoth Nexus. I drew and I already forgot what it was but if I was not mistaken, I had a Vapor Snag in my hand. Anyway, I really can’t remember much of what happened after except that he decided to eventually attack with two of his Glistener Elves and I flashed a Restoration Angel which he did not respond to and declared my blockers. I had my Snapcaster Mage blocked one of the elves in which he decided to Mutagenic Growth it to keep it alive, killing my mage. For some reason, he got frustrated because I already had declared my blockers and my opponent seemed to have forgotten that he has an Apostle’s blessing in hand.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“You shall not pass!”

As far as I remember, his life went down to 1 again after a counterattack from my Hero of Bladehold. And though he decided to attack with an Inkmoth Nexus, pumping it up with his Apostle’s Blessing and the triggered effects of the two Wild Defiance, I decided to take the whole 7 infect damage knowing that the only card he has left in hand was an Ichorclaw Myr which was of no threat to me. It came to the point that I didn’t have any gut shot in hand to finish him off but he eventually extended his hand.

Sideboard Plan:

-2 Runechanter’s Pike, -1 Mutagenic Growth, -3 Mana Leak, +3 Hero of Bladehold, +2 Spectral Flight,+1 Divine Offering

My Thoughts:

I had to admit that I had the urge to go aggressive on my opponent on game two despite the fact that I could end up dead if he counter-attacked. It took discipline and patience just to keep myself from attacking, knowing the possibility of dying from a swing from him. The good thing though is that it proved to be a good decision in the end. When up against an infect deck, you cannot be too careful especially if the opponent has a lot in hand. Make sure that you do your math well or else you may end up dead just because of a slight miscalculation. And there would be times that you shouldn’t wait for your opponent’s turn to get rid of his creatures. Its neat to be able to kill off their creatures during their turn so you get to untap on your turn but then again, doing so can prove fatal.

 FINAL ROUND: VS WOLF RUN RAMP 2-1

Game 1:

I got to play first and had a probe in hand which I used to check what’s happening on my opponent’s side. He revealed a hand consisting of a Green Sun Zenith, a Slag Storm, A Solemn Simulacrum and some lands. I played my first land and cast Delver of Secrets before passing the turn. The following turns were just about me playing my Geist of St.Traft which he responded to with a Slagstorm on his turn. He then played Solemn and eventually ramped enough for him to play a Green Sun Zenith to call a Primeval Titan to the board followed by two lonely robots on the next few turns. It didn’t take long before I decided to concede knowing that it is an unwinnable match up.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

Game 2:

The first few turns involved me having a flipped Delver eating away at his life for like two consecutive turns bringing him down to 14. He played a Glimmerpost which got him up to fifteen followed by a Thragtusk getting him back to a healthy 19 life. Good thing I had a Phantasmal Image to mitigate his threat, and net myself 5 life. He attacked with the beast which I decided to block with my Image, killing both beasts and leaving each one of us a beast token. However, I snagged his token putting him down to 18.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“Images Thragtusk”

Before I attacked with my beast token, I was deciding between putting a Spectral Flight on my token or play a Hero of Bladehold. I eventually decided to go for a Hero because I wanted to finish the game right away while there’s not much going on in his end. I attacked with my beast token before passing the turn dropping his life to 15. Besides, I didn’t want him to see that I had a Spectral Flight instead of the Pike which he was expecting since he had an Ancient Grudge in hand as well as two lands, thanks to a timely Gitaxian Probe.

Unfortunately, he seems to have lost some momentum and eventually passed the turn. I then attacked with my Hero of Bladehold along with the soldier and beast tokens for a whopping 11 damage which brought him down to 4 life before I passed the turn. After taking a peek on his next card, we’re on the next game.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“You wouldn’t want this to happen to you”

Game 3:

I kept a one lander with a leak in hand as well as a Delver and some cantrips. He played his first land and added a Birds of Paradise on the battlefield. I played a first turn Delver then passed the turn. He didn’t do anything on his second turn other than a land drop.

Fortunately for me, I had a natural second turn flipped Delver which started to race away. Since I knew he had a Solemn Simulacrum in his hand, I left some open mana. He went down to 17 on that turn after I attacked him with my Delver and then passed. And as expected, he played the lonely robot on his third turn after playing a Glimmerpost, which got him back to 18, thanks to the acceleration provided by his Birds of Paradise. However, I had a leak in hand which ditched the robot to his graveyard.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“The Robot got leaked”

I attacked again on my third turn putting him down to 15 before playing a Geist of St.Traft then passed the turn. My opponent drew and played his fourth land, tapping his four lands to drop a Huntmaster of the Fells, netting him 2 life, which brought him back to 17. He passed the turn afterwards.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

I played my fourth land and decided to attack with my Geist of St.Traft as well as my Delver. He blocked my Geist with his wolf token while the angel and the Insectile Aberration went unopposed, getting him down to 10 life. I didn’t know if it’s a misplay or not but I allowed my GST to be killed even though I had a Restoration Angel in hand which I can use to save my Geist. Never the less, I shrugged and just replaced it with a Hero of Bladehold instead before passing the turn.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

My opponent played a tapped Copperline Gorge before casting another lonely robot before he passed the turn. I drew and played my fifth land before deciding to attack with my Hero and Delver. He chump blocked my Hero with both his Solemn Simulacrum and his Hunmaster and this time, I flashed my Restoration Angel and saved it, leaving my Insectile Aberration and the two white soldier tokens running through the red zone. He went down to 2 after the attack before I decided to pass my turn, hoping that he has no miracle bonfire.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“The Angel Saves the Hero”

Unfortunately for him, he didn’t draw an answer. He thought for a while before deciding to attack with his robot and the werewolf. I looked at my life and saw that I was still at 20 so I decided to just take it dropping me down to 16. He eventually decided to gamble and cast a Slagstorm, killing my Insect, and the two soldiers, leaving my Hero and Angel with a couple of bruises. His robot died and nets him a card but unfortunately, that was it for him. He extended his hand afterwards and the game was settled.

My opponent asked me what the last four cards I was holding and I revealed a Hero of Bladehold, two Snapcaster Mage and one Mana Leak. His friend just stood there shaking his head saying that I was fully loaded with threats.

Grixis, Infect and Wolf Run Ramp Match Up

“Fully Loaded”

Sideboard Plan:

-2 Runechanter’s Pike, -1 Mutagenic Growth, -4 Gut Shot, -2 Mental Misstep, +2 Spectral Flight, +3 Hero of Bladehold, +1 Divine Offering, +2 Phantasmal Image, +1 Sleep

My Thoughts:

I’d say that this was probably one of my most memorable match ups and honestly, I was not really expecting to be up against a Wolf Run Ramp deck. Furthermore, I think that if my opponent miracle a bonfire, it could have been different. I’d say that I was lucky that he didn’t land any titans because I didn’t have any answer to it. The only thing I was reflecting on in particular was the part where I allowed my GST to die. I had open mana which I could’ve used to flash my Angel. Apparently, the decision to let the GST die and playing the Hero on that same turn was correct since I was able to put more pressure on him.

TO SUM IT ALL UP:

Though I was not able to get the top spot, I was happy that I am able to get the top 4 slot. And I was also extremely lucky that my tie-breaks were good enough to get me a prerelease pass for the upcoming Return to Ravnica. Overall, it was great and the experience gave me more confidence in the way I play the game. I am looking forward in playing more and winning more!

image credit to: http://gatherer.wizards.com, collectorscache.com

ROUND 2: VS DELVER 0-2

 Game 1:

I don’t really remember much of game one except for the fact that I had to mulligan down to six since my seven did not have any lands with it. The hand of six I had consists of an island, moorland, a hero, and two GST and I think there was a delver and a probe. Or was it just one geist or just the probe without the delver? I think it was the latter. I kept the hand because I only needed one white source so I could put up my offense and I was hoping that the probe in my hand could help me dig a bit deeper. Unfortunately, though the probe got me some ponders, it did not get me any lands and my opponent eventually put a pike in play followed by a Snapcaster Mage. He was able to ponder enough to establish his board position.

“T’would be nice if I had a land to play this…”

The funny thing was that it took me like two probes or was it three? But it did not get me any lands and I was stuck in two lands for the remainder of the early game and even though I got  a land later on, it was an island which I didn’t need since I won’t be able to cast Geist with that kind of mana. Needless to say, the game quickly moved to the next.

ROUND 2:  VS DELVER 0-2

“Gitaxian Probe + Ponder = No lands”

Game 2:

And again, my apologies since I am unable to remember much of game two except that my opponent played an Augur which was beating me for quite a couple of turns. And since I didn’t have much to ponder even though I shuffled, I was forced to image his Augur which revealed two lands and a divine offering to my dismay. When he landed a Restoration Angel, I copied it with my second image. I was able to eventually kill the attacking Restoration Angel with mine thanks to the help of a gut shot. Sadly, I was not able to stop my opponent from playing a Tamiyo which I knew he had from the beginning thanks to a Gitaxian Probe.

“Tried to Swing…”

ROUND 2:  VS DELVER 0-2

“Blocked by an Angel and Gut Shot”

With Tamiyo online, he was able to kill off my restoration copy. Though I was able to kill it eventually with the help of some spirit tokens, I was already way behind. He eventually played two pikes and equipped a snapcaster and eventually killed me with it.

“Killed my Restoration Image…”

For some reason, I was not able to able to put up a decent fight against another mirror but I shrugged the frustration anyway while waiting for the pairings for the third round. And frankly, me and Liz haven’t had lunch yet so it may also be the reason why we’re not able to put up a decent performance during the second round.

Sideboard Plan: Same as round 1

A Tournament Report on 09/15/12

I woke up at around 9:30am and honestly, I had a hard time getting up since I slept at around 2-3am last night. Regardless, I pushed myself up so I could prep up for today’s tournament which was scheduled at around 12:30pm at Regran located in Ortigas, Eton Cyberpod. Liz really wanted to play today especially that Return To Ravnica Pre-release passes are at stake. Since I promised to accompany her to participate in today’s tourney, I moved my ass as fast as I could.

And as expected whenever a person is rushing, life makes sure that you are punished for not moving your ass fast. The jeep that I took from my place took a lot of detours to avoid the flooded areas, which I refer to as “Terramorphic Exploration”, thanks to the continuous raining. I could have sworn that the jeep I rode even found its way back to where we started and I don’t know why or how the hell we ended up like that. And that consumed precious 45 minutes of my travel which was enough for me to arrive late.

Now, imagine that there’s a jeepney somewhere in that expanse.

I got to Robinsons Galleria at around 1 in the afternoon feeling a bit frustrated and saddened that I was late since I have Liz’s deck with me. I was pretty sure she’d be disappointed again since the last time we tried to join a tourney, we arrived late. As I was heading towards Eton, I was surprised to see Liz calling me on my mobile. She told me that we can still make it and the tournament organizer was willing to wait since I was almost there. And that she was unable to text me since her phone’s fucked up again. Although for some reason, I had mixed feelings about joining the tournament since my mind was already conditioned to just have lunch with Liz and go home. And admittedly, I was already feeling lazy at that time, not to mention that we haven’t eaten anything since we got there. :p

“This would’ve been good at that time.”

Nevertheless, we both registered, oh, let me correct myself; I registered, since Liz already registered while waiting for me and then I handed the Naya Pod Deck to her. As soon as I arrived there, pairings for the first round were up. And I was up against the expected Delver Mirror. Anyway, here’s the list I used:

UW Delver

Lands: 19                                                                        Sideboard: 15

4 Glacial Fortress                                                           3 Celestial Purge

8 Island                                                                            1 Divine Offering

2 Moorland Haunt                                                          3 Hero of Bladehold

1 Plains                                                                             1 Mutagenic Growth

4 Seachrome Coast                                                         2 Negate

                                                                                           2 Phantasmal Image

Creatures: 15                                                                    1 Sleep

4 Delver of Secrets                                                           2 Spectral Flight

4 Geist of Saint Traft

3 Restoration Angel

4 Snapcaster Mage

Spells: 26

1 Dismember

3 Gitaxian Probe

3 Gut Shot

3 Mana Leak

2 Mental Misstep

1 Mutagenic Growth

4 Ponder

2 Runechanter’s Pike

3 Thought Scour

4 Vapor Snag

Author’s note: There are some parts of the games which I don’t clearly remember anymore so please do bear with my tournament report.  And the whole tournament report will be divided into subsequent blog posts to save space. Thank you!

image credits: gatherer.wizards.com, redorbit.com

ROUND 1: VS DELVER 2-1

Game 1:

The first few turns started with me and my opponent exchanging ponders. I landed a Geist of St. Traft but he legend-ruled my spirit cleric. My opponent eventually played two Runechanter’s Pike as well as a succession of Snapcaster Mages which eventually got equipped with the Pikes. Since I don’t have any answers to them, we moved to the next game.

Equipped with a Runechanter’s Pike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game 2:

Still, no turn one delver shenanigans from either one of us except for the usual ponders. The thing though with this match up was I was able to get my Geist of St.Traft online. What’s more is that even though he got a phantasmal image online, he decided to just copy my Snapcaster Mage than my Geist. Seeing as this was the case, I decided to put my Spectral Flight on my spirit cleric. It did not take long before my opponent scooped even though he was able to snag the first angel token that attacked him. My opponent was wondering if I have kept my delvers in my 60 since there were no delver’s popping up throughout the first two games.

This, plus the one on the right = GG

Game 3:

I kept a three lander hand with three delvers and one phantasmal image. My opponent casts a first turn ponder while I on the other hand, drew something, not sure if it was a probe but anyway, I played my first turn delver but it got misstepped. On his second turn, he chose to just drop a land and pass the turn (or did he play a Pike???). On my turn, I played another delver which gut shot dead then threw in my last delver in hand before passing the turn. And luckily, the delver survived. My opponent decided to play his spirit cleric which I legend-ruled on my turn with a Phantasmal Image of my own. And as far as I remembered, he was able to get a Snapcaster Mage online which I sent to the bin with a gut shot. He eventually got another mage online, while filtering his deck using a couple of Thought Scours since he does not have any ponders in his graveyards.

“Three of this is dangerous to your (opponent’s)health”

It actually spelled troubled to me since its fueling his pike. Good thing though that my Delver-turned- Insectile Aberration was already eating his life away for three consecutive turns which dropped him below 9 or so, not to mention the life loss he took from the misstep and gut shot in the earlier turns.  Furthermore, I had dead bodies to feed my Moorland haunt which greatly helped in keeping a pike-equipped mage at bay for like two turns which was enough for me to establish an offense with a Restoration Angel.

  

 

Though he attempted to snag my angel, I misstepped it and he responded with a leak. Fortunately for me, I was holding another Mental Misstep which I used to ditch his snag, paying two more life in the process, keeping my Angel in the battlefield. I brought his life down to a critical 4 when I attacked with my Spectral Flight-enchanted Angel.

This sealed the deal.

“countered…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately for him, he only had 8 spells in his graveyard which was not enough to kill me on his turn and even the card he drew did not help him in any way. And even though his mage got through, it was only for a total of 10 damage which brought my life down to 1 and I’ll be swinging for 5 on my turn which was enough to make him extend his hand.

Sideboard Plan:

-2 Runechanter’s Pike, -1 Thought Scour, -1 Mutagenic Growth, +2 Spectral Flight, – +2 Phantasmal Image

My Thoughts:

The 2nd game would’ve last longer if my opponent copied my Geist instead of my Snapcaster Mage. I do understand that he is looking for ways to get ahead but then again, if you do not have anything on the board and the opposing board has a serious threat, a Geist of Saint Traft, you should answer it whenever possible. I also prefer boarding out my pikes on the following games since I am assuming that they have boarded in artifact removal. That would make it a dead card which is already an advantage. Besides, most Delver decks out there often do not have any answers on cards like Spectral Flight and having Spectral Flight post board and putting it on an online GST is really a powerful move.

image credits: gatherer.wizards.com