by Dan Rae
So, as mentioned in last week’s article, I have been swamped with school work and as Jupiter’s NELC Qualifier event closed in, I wasn’t honestly sure if I was going to be able to make it. Luckily I managed to get enough work to finish up and I hit the road Friday night to go out for my friend’s 21st birthday. My GPS took me all over and through some crazy back roads to make it to my friend Ed’s house in Afton, PA. I walked in, made myself at home and waited for the night to begin. We ended up going out, the party was a blast and my dinner and drink’s were free all night, so that was a positive. I eventually stopped drinking to become to DD so I was able to get back to my car and more importantly, my deck. After getting home way later than I wanted to, I started talking with my friend and eventually went to bed around 3:30 am. My alarm went off at 8:45 and I just did not want to get out of bed. I honestly thought about just sleeping till like 10 and then getting up, hanging out with my friend and his lady friend and just head to Jupiter around 12 and try to get some cube action going. Well, eventually I figured I should get up because what if I did well on that day I could get enough Jupiter points to get myself some free entry for the next event. So I made it there with plenty of time, sold some cards to Ken in order to get enough cash to actually pay for the tournament and registered my deck. My friend Phil was there and ready to plow through the crowds with Belcher, and I tried to get some advice on my sideboard. My deck was all written down and ready to go. Here is what I played:
4 Polluted Delta
2 Verdant Catacombs
2 Misty Rainforest
3 Underground Sea
2 Tropical Island
1 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Delver of Secrets
2 Hidden Gibbons
3 Force of Will
3 Spell Snare
1 Mana Leak
1 Go for the Throat
1 Diabolic Edict
2 Liliana of the Veil
2 Krosan Grip
1 Ghastly Demise
3 Pernicious Deed
2 Coffin Purge
1 Diabolic Edict
1 Faerie Macabre
1 Nature’s Ruin
1 Go for the Throat
So if you do the math on this deck…ok you don’t need to because I will just tell you: its 61 cards. I have been having trouble with making cuts. I don’t want to go to less than 4 removal spells, I’ve already gone down to 3x Force of Will and I don’t want my creature or land count to get too low. I’ll most likely figure it all out and make the cut I need to get down to 60 cards, or just keep telling myself 61 is completely fine, which I honestly think it is. So I have talked about Hidden Gibbons before and I said I would be playing some number of them and I did. Again, the card did not perform like I would have hoped it did, but it also did not hinder anything. I played well all day and want to tell you of my somewhat glory. If possible I don’t want to actually go really deep into each round, but will cover what I feel to be important.
Round 1 – vs. Eli: Elves
Now this isn’t Eli Kassis playing elves, it was another kid named Eli. He mulled to 6 in game 1 and cast Llanowar Elves. I stuck a Delver, Dazed an Elvish Archdruid, and then had Darkblast just control the game while Delver killed him. I sided in 3 Pernicious Deed, 1 Nature’s Ruin, 1 Perish, while taking out 2 Hidden Gibbons and 3 Daze. Game 2, I had Darkblast again, countered Natural Order and then used Pernicious Deed to take out 3 Priests of Titania. Sorry elves, I have some cards to hate on you.
Round 2 – Feature Match vs. Tim Sussino: Sneak and Tell
This is not the best match-up for me and it was on camera. Luckily I made it in time because I first went to the wrong table, and then went to my table and no one was sitting there. I found out it was a feature match and had to kick a guy out from that spot. I stuck some creatures early and countered a Show and Tell, which I was glad to do, because that card doesn’t end well for me. Tim marked something on his note pad, which made me curious. At this point I had two creatures and 4 lands, holding two more in my hand. I could have played my 5th land but chose not to hoping to bluff relevant cards. Tim played another Show and Tell and put in Sneak Attack while I put in Tombstalker. He tapped a red and I prayed it was Progenitus. Nope, the spaghetti man came down and killed all of my permanents leaving Tim at 4. Now if I played a land I could have sacrificed down to just Tombstalker and possibly swing in for the win. Come to find out, Tim had another Emrakul anyway. The thing is though, he would have had to flash in to block and I don’t think he had a 3rd creature, but I may have been wrong. I put in Liliana of the Veil, Krosan Grips, and Diabolic Edict. I don’t recall what I took out. Game 2 Tim crushed me again with Emrakul. I had a bunch of lands in game 2, oh well.
Round 3 – vs. Hayden: Doomsday Combo
I had a Thoughtseize game 1 and saw he was on combo, and it wasn’t TES because he was running a Tundra. I took his Dark Ritual leaving him with Cabal Ritual, 2 Silence, and a land. I stuck some creatures and he never found any action. I held my counters and while he Silence’d me, I just let it resolve to not up his Storm count, and he just passed. I sided in Liliana of the Veil and took out Hidden Gibbons. I had a turn 1 Thoughtseize and saw double Doomsday, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Polluted Delta, and a second Sensei’s Divining Top. I took the LED and figured he would need to find a mana accelerator pretty quickly. I ended up casting Thoughtseize 3 times in that game and each time I just left him with 2 and then finally 3 Doomsdays. He never drew anything relevant and my creatures did their job.
In between this round I convinced Phil to play me in Mental Magic and Adam Barnello jumped in. Let’s just say this; Barnello knows a lot more cards than Phil or I. He tried a turn 1 Trinisphere off of a Mishra’s Workshop. I had to Force Spike that and continue to play poor spells. Eventually Adam played a Time Vault and was looking for his Tezzeret or Key. I tried to Crush it, but was informed Crush had already been played, so instead I just tapped out and cast Shattering Spree taking out his Vault, Scroll Rack, and Phil’s Mox. The round started and we had to finish, but I’m sure Adam would have crushed us.
Round 4 – vs. Kevin Jones: Reanimator
Kevin dropped Underground Sea and cantripped. I Wasteland’ed his land and he just never recovered from it, entering discard mode. Delver killed him. I sided in Faerie Macabre, 2 Coffin Purge, and Liliana of the Veil. I took out Dazes and Gibbons. Kevin kept cantripping hoping to find some action, and I double Waste’d him. I eventually resolved a Liliana and just let her sit there at 3. I stuck a creature and it got there. Kevin commented how it was good of me to not make him to discard with Liliana and I honestly didn’t know if he thought I was just a bad player or what? Why would I make the Reanimator players discard?
Round 5 – Paul Lake: The Wiz
I think he called his deck that last time he top 8’d [editor’s note- that’s what I called his deck the last time. I thought it was a funny name. Still do.] It was blue white. I did not take any notes here as it became my second loss and I knew I was out of Top 8 contention. I won game 1 most likely the same way as always, I disrupted some things, killed some things, and attacked. In game 2 I had Paul at 11 life with a Tombstalker in play and Paul had nothing in hand. He fetched and looked at the top card and saw it was Jace and complained. Well luckily for him, he drew Batterskull and cast it. Now he also had a lucky top deck getting Snapcaster Mage earlier to flashback Swords to Plowshares on my other Tombstalker. Well I tried racing Batterskull and just drew nothing while he top decked perfectly, getting Stoneforge to find Jitte and gain more life. I never drew another creature or any removal. Of course I lost game 3 as well, getting him to 1 life.
Round 6 – vs. Unknown with Enchantress
I knew he was playing Enchantress because I sat next to him in Round 2. He drew poorly with land in game 1 and his first play was a turn 3 Stony Silence, which did nothing against my deck because I run zero artifacts. I just had massive creature power and paid to attack through his Elephant Grass. I just kept Enchantress from resolving with my Dazes and Spell Snares. Game 2 he did not really do much, either. His draws again seemed to be poor and I countered a timely Choke. I eventually got him to 3 life with double Delver and he cast his second Elephant Grass. I ultimated Liliana giving him the choice of one worthless enchantment or everything else on his side and he obviously chose the worthless enchantment and shook my hand.
Round 7 – vs. Joe: Mono Red Painter
Joe had a lot of fancy mountains on the battlefield, but I just killed his relevant creatures and countered a Magus of the Moon. Delvers crushed his face. I don’t recall what I sided in against him. Game 2 Joe had to mulligan and was furious because he looked at the top card and it was exactly what he needed. Joe cast a turn 2 Vexing Shusher and was nice enough to answer my question about it. Shusher is all fancy and you can cast a spell and when the opponent tries to counter it, you then ‘shush’ him. Joe then casts turn 3 Blood Moon with no mana open, so I figure I might as well try to Force it. He removes Simian Spirit Guide from his hand for a red mana and ‘shushes’ me. Damn that Vexing Shusher. Luckily I grabbed a basic island early and just stuck Delvers while Joe looked for some action and kept hitting land. Luckily for me he grabbed Jaya Ballard a turn too slow.
5-2 taking 15th place
So I managed to make the Top 16 getting prize, and 2 Jupiter Points. I grabbed some dinner at sat down to figure out what to do with my night. Then Adam Barnello came over and asked me if he could borrow my cube, which my immediate response was, “well can I play?” I ended up going to some dive bar down the street with Adam and Jon Corpora in which we did a 75 card sealed deck while using Planechase cards. I quickly got demolished in our first game because they didn’t like turn one Library of Alexandria with the Plane in which you untap on everyone’s turn. I am pretty sure I managed to win game 2 and then game 3 was pretty epic and a video taken by Jon can be found here.
I didn’t end up winning like Jon suggests, but I could have. I had multiple outs in my hand to deal with my Abyssal Persecutor and kill them both at while they are at negative life so I just used my own Jace to bounce him. Adam did manage to mill me to exactly 1 card on my turn, which I drew and then won (hint: I had a Timetwister in my hand to make sure I didn’t mill if needed)
I just have to say that multiplayer cube with Planechase was a lot of fun and I need to get my hands on the Planechase cards. Overall the tournament itself was a blast and my deck played really well, but my opponents just played better in those two losses. Thanks for reading and follow me on Twitter @rocketrae21 or find me on Facebook if you please.
P.S. I got yelled at for “stealing” Bryant’s sign off phrase in my last article so I guess you’ll have to read his article to get catchy sign offs about playing storm.