Tournament Report – St. Jerome Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier – Part 3
Quarterfinals: Mardu Green
So here we are. I've squeaked into top 8 on tie breakers and I get the rematch against my round five Mardu Green opponent. Unfortunately for him, this match did not go as well. With me being the 8th seed I knew I’d be starting on the draw every match for the rest of the tournament. Game one I kept a strong hand with a three land perfect mana base, a Read the Bones and a nice assortment of threats. He kept a hand with no black source and missed his fourth land drop. I went turn two Sylvan Advocate, turn three Read the Bones, turn four Siege Rhino, Turn five Goblin Dark-Dwellers and he rolled over and died. Side boarding was the same as previous rounds:
Game two was an even more one sided affair. He mulled to six and I kept my seven. I cast a turn two Transgress the Mind and see a hand of Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, Chandra, Flamecaller, Crackling Doom, Fiery Impulse and Forest. He has a Cinder Glade and a Plains in play. I took his Crackling Doom, as it was the only high enough impact card he could play if he drew a Swamp, and passed the turn back. He drew, sighed, played his Forest and passed back to me. The rest of the game went me playing a Sylvan Advocate into a Siege Rhino and then a second Sylvan Advocate on turn six and attacked with my team plus a Shambling Vent. After the game we discussed side boarding again and whether I would have kept that hand. We looked at his sideboard and he left out his third copy of Transgress the Mind but left in his Fiery Impulses. There’s just no realm where Impulse is good in the mirror. In the end, my opponent told me he was hoping I take down the event and I was off to the semi-finals.
Semifinals: Mardu Dragons (Trogdor)
With the way the brackets were set up I had a chance of facing off against my best buddy Andrew Noworaj this round. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be as he got beat up pretty badly by a hyper aggressive Black/White/Red Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury deck. As I sat down across from my opponent I started off by saying “So I hear you crushed my best friend?” He smiled and nodded. I replied with, “I’m the only one who gets to do that!” There’s nothing like a little bit of levity before an important match.
Game one went about as poorly as possible. I mulled to five on the draw. He played Hangarback Walker on turn two, Thopter Engineer on turn three and Butcher of the Horde on turn four and five. I was able to handle the first Butcher of the Horde but didn’t have anything for second and died in fairly short order. Let’s talk side boarding:
Out: 3 Read the Bones, 2 Roast, 2 Silkwrap
In: 1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, 2 Pulse of Murasa, 1 Languish, 1 Chandra, Flamecaller, 1 Radiant Flames
My plan is to be a full on control deck in this match up. I want as many sweepers as possible. I cut Read the Bones because life total comes at such a premium against Dragons and Roast is practically useless. My reasoning for cutting Silkwrap is that the only creature I actually want to kill with it is Hangarback Walker. I need to keep Crackling Doom in for Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury and Butcher of the Horde and Wraths seem like the best way to attack him when he tries to go wide.
Game two was his turn for things to go as poorly as possible. I played a turn two Transgress the Mind. Turn three Pulse of Murasa returning a fetch land. Turn four I played Siege Rhino which was met quickly with a Self-Inflicted Wound. Turn five I cast a Goblin Dark-Dwellers re-casting Pulse of Murasa getting back my Rhino. By Turn six I was still at 25 life and he was at nine with an empty board and one card in hand. He drew his card for turn and decided to move on to game three.
This game was a much more grindy affair. I cast two Radiant Flames and he refueled his board. He cast a timely Transgress the Mind seizing my Goblin Dark-Dwellers and I returned the favor by taking his Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury. The game came down to a board state where he had two Thopter tokens and a Hangarback Walker at two in play with three cards in hand. I knew two of his cards were Bearer of Silence and Self-inflicted Wounds. The other was an unknown. I’m at 13, he’s at five, and I have an empty board. He stops me at the end of my draw step and slams down a Mardu Charm with the mode “Target opponent reveals his or her hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.” I lay down my hand of Chandra, Flamecaller, Radiant Flames, and Crackling Doom. His face goes blank and he says “…You have both? How am I supposed to beat both?” He forces me to discard my Chandra, Flamecaller and lets my play my turn out. I elect not to Crackling Doom his Hangarback Walker as I know I need an answer for Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury or Butcher of the Horde should he draw them. I cast my Radiant Flames and pass the turn. He draws his card, attacks me to nine with his two new Thopter tokens, plays his land and then passes the turn back. I draw my card, lay down the Chandra I just drew on the table and, after a brief moment, he extends the hand. Andrew has been avenged.
Finals: 4 Colour Rally - Alexandre Lussier
My match finishes early enough to let me watch the end of Alex Battistelli playing against 4 Colour Rally. Things don’t go well for our hero who is stuck on three lands and his opponent has a full board with everything he needs to win out. I would have loved the all Team WizardTower.com to make the finals but sadly it wasn’t meant to be. Once again, I have to avenge a fallen comrade. This time against Alexandre Lussier. I have nothing but great things to say about Alexandre. His play with Rally really shows the benefit gained from having a skilled pilot behind that deck.
Game one starts off with me having Silkwrap and Roast for my opponents turn two and three Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. It takes him most of the game to just find a green source and, in the meantime, I wipe his board with a few Radiant Flames and push his life total to the point where he is casting Rally the Ancestors just to recur Sidisi's Faithful and Reflector Mage just to prevent himself from dying. He manages to top deck back to back Collected Companys and hits a Nantuko Husk plus Zulaport Cutthroat and Reflector Mage plus Reflector Mage to give himself a chance to win the game. We come down to a position where if he top decks his third Rally I’m dead, otherwise he dies on my attack. He flips the top card over. It’s a Nantuko Husk. We’re on to game two.
Out: 3 Read the Bones, 1 Transgress the Mind, 1 Goblin Dark-Dwellers, 4 Crackling Doom, 1 Ruinous Path
My opening hand game two is perfect mana across three lands, Infinite Obliteration, Cranial Archive, Roast, Silkwrap. He plays a turn two Jace which is met with my Silkwrap. He plays a turn three Elvish Visionary and I follow that with an Infinite Obliteration naming Nantuko Husk cutting out the combo. The rest of the game is him just trying to get a presence on board followed with me wiping it away. In the end, I had a Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, three Zombie tokens, a Sylvan Advocate, a Siege Rhino and a few man lands. I pushed him to three life with an empty board while I was still at 17.
He draws his card and says “How do I win this game?” A few moments later he says “How do I not lose this game?” to which I smile. He puts his cards down and extends his hand. I win the tournament. I’m off to a Regional Pro tour Qualifier and I’m getting all the congratulations and shoulder shakes from my teammates. Looks like it was my day after all.
Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter @Tanggarth for live tournament updates and sassy remarks.