Friday, December 11, 2009

FNM Report #2 4-0

I hate writing about when I lose, as petty as that sounds. Mostly because even as I'm writing it, I get bored. Good thing I didn't lose today. Although I really lucked out by playing against one Jund mirror only. There were tons of Jundies in the room.

I'm sort of surprised I won twice in a row. I tend not to win FNMs. I've been playing in FNMs since Conflux. I have won a total of 3 including this one. One of them barely counts. I split. But I did win when we played it out. What I'm saying is: I don't think I'm actually a good player. Good players probably have nothing much to gain from reading this stuff. But you never know.

I try to make good observations during my matches. We've all heard stories of Boros swinging for 17 damage, bad topdecks, good topdecks, Crazy-Good cascades, bad beats, etc. I don't pay attention to that stuff. I just want to know how to win. :P And play better.

I didn't take extensive notes; oops. Let's hope things are fresh on my memory.

Match One vs Boros, Anthony
I'd never played Anthony before, but his reputation preceded him. He made Top 8 at the Edison, NJ, tournament and nearly made Top 8 at States. Game one wasn't very interesting. I won handily through tons of one-for-one removal.

Because I knew he was a good player, I presumed he had a good sideboard plan. That meant: not as many Purges. Adding removal to deal with my blockers is a bad plan because against Boros I do not rely on my blockers to save me damage. I rely solely on my removal. (Therefore, Mark of Asylum and Harm's Way. I recommend. Elspeth is also a bitch because it comes out of nowhere and can't be Blightning'd.)

So I removed my Blightnings, a Broodmate or two, and my Rampant Growths. (I'm playing a slightly weird version of Jund. It has Ramp but no Siege-Gangs. What??? Don't ask.)
I added a couple Malakirs, 1 Terminate, 1 Pulse, 3 Jund Charms.

I took out Broodmates because they are useless in hand. They're great to topdeck, but useless in hand. And I wanted to lower my curve as much as possible. (I think it may be correct to leave in just two.)

Game two, at 15 life, I played Malakir, which took me to 16. I was hoping so much it would ride me to victory. What happened then was: he Burst it without kicker. He played a Skyfisher, bouncing his only Mountain. Played it again, and Bolted it. After that I drew a lot of land and not enough answers. I definitely did something wrong in this game. I am not sure what. (I just feel it in my gut.) I altered my sideboard slightly for game 3.

Game three he didn't have much. Well, I did go down to 1 life. So maybe he DID have stuff, but his start was slow. He didn't topdeck a burn spell, and I won with the Broodmate I had dropped a turn before.

I am STILL confused as to his sideboard. I saw a Purge. I think that's it.

2-1/ 1-0

Match Two vs White Weenie, Sal
Sal knew his deck very well. It was the 16-lander from Worlds with some modifications. He knew how to get enough lands; he knew what creatures worked and what didn't. His innovation of Trusty Machete and Kor Duelist even made sense to me. I never saw either of them in these games however.

Honestly, I enjoyed playing against his deck. Because I could take AS MUCH damage as he could throw at me, and I didn't care. I ignored his board, Blightning'd instead, took 6 the following turn. (I could NEVER do that against Boros.) Although there was a point when I should've been more careful. Since Brave the Elements would blow me out. I don't even know how to play around that card, though. It is just so powerful. Game one, I stabilized at 6 life; game two, at 4.

My sideboard plan was awesome.
-4 Thrinax -4 Leech +3 Charm +3 Malakir +1 Pulse +1 Terminate

(See? I can do this if I run Rampants. Play 6 5-drops post SB. My curve doesn't cry out in pain.) "Aha" to his Lightcasters and Purges.

2-0 / 2-0

Match Three vs Magical Christmas Land, Evan
Evan was playing in his VERY first tournament with the deck touted by Conley Woods. And he was 2-0. Not bad. He was also 15. (I feel so old.) I liked him. He had a very good competitive spirit. And was good-natured all around.

His deck did not like him today, however. He never played Violent Ultimatum against me, even once. Also my turn-two Rampant Growth made a HUGE difference. He killed the lands he could, but when it mattered, I had five for Bit Blast, finding the Terminate to kill the Ob Nixilis that was shooting me. I went to 2 life. But oh wait, I made the HUGEST MISPLAY ever. I pumped my Leech. I would have won if I hadn't.

What can you do? It can happen. Now I will probably never make that mistake again... I hope. Steve, our TO, was surprised I didn't complain/try to take it back. But it was my fault, utterly. And not something I can afford to do in a more competitive arena. Therefore, it's better to take the fall at FNM than forget about it and do it at a Top 8 table. Where it would be infinitely more embarrassing.

So what I had to do was beat him the next two games. Since he never got off something crazy like turn three Ultimatum, it wasn't hard to play the attrition war. And I sided in an extra Pulse and Harrows, taking out Terminate and Broodmates. In case I never got mana to get there.

I forgot that his sideboard plan was supposed to be to Cruel Ultimatum me. But he, for some reason, chose not to use that plan. And went with his original 60. Game three he mulled to 5 and got mana screwed.

2-1 / 3-0

Match four vs SGC Jund, Isabel
Hey, the other female in the room, and she was 3-0. There were three undefeateds in the room, but the other guy, Matt, running RWU, was paired down. So it was a Jund showdown.

Always fun. I think she played double Siege-Gang. I swung with my guys anyway. She didn't block with her initial set of tokens, even though I offered her to trade with Bloodbraid Elf. I probably would've taken the trade. It would've been a closer game, but I topdecked another Bolt, dealing her 6 damage, ending the game abruptly.

I sided out all my Bolts and Pulses, a Terminate and two Leeches. Added Harrows, Stags, and Jund Charms (because of Siege Gang).

It was one of those crazy Sprouting Thrinax games. Saprolings, saprolings. I think this is the game where she dropped a Garruk and didn't leave a Thrinax to block. I assumed she had one Bolt in hand.

I played Bloodbraid Elf. I had a Leech on the board. I swung out at Garruk, who had 4 counters. She couldn't save the Garruk because if she Bolted Elf, I would pump Leech and kill Garruk. Someone pointed out to her later that she would have won had she left Thrinax back. (I noted to her afterward she could have also Bolted her own Thrinax to create blockers.)

I always do find it somewhat hard to play Garruk, though. It's even harder to tell exactly how much advantage he brings you in a game. I have found him underwhelming and thus have cut him, but that may be the wrong choice. No one else plays without him. But in most matchups I side him out anyway.

This game was quite close though. I Jund Charmed away her Saprolings, but she had a Thrinax left. Then she Blightning'd me. Ouch. It's possible I should've played my Dragon that turn instead of Jund Charming, but it seemed like the play at the time. (Anyway, that just loses to Bit Blast into removal.) I discarded Dragon after responding to use the second Charm to pump my Thrinax to a 5/5. She played Broodmate Dragon. I swung in with everything, and she blocked my 3/3 Thrinax, exploding it, and my GSS, which died. My 5/5 went through, and she went down to 1. She could have top decked any burn spell or an Elf to kill me (plus swing with Dragons). Really, anything. But she didn't. And died because she had one less blocker, and a token would get through.

If she had blocked the 5/5 Thrinax instead, she would have had one less Dragon, so I think she made the right decision there. Besides, that set her up to topdeck anything to just kill me on the spot.

2-0 / 4-0

I apologize that was really long... So much happens in a match, though.

I feel like I did get quite lucky today. That's an okay way to win a tournament, though. On an underlying level, however, I feel tight play and preparation were key. A couple times, my opponents threw away games based on simple mistakes. I DEFINITELY threw away a game that way :P So bad. If I do that again I permit all of you to punch me.