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Big magic weekend - Phil's Rambling Rants
July 8th, 2012
04:35 pm

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Big magic weekend
The fun got started Thursday evening, when I played some casual magic with tcgtrf.  We actually quit playing magic at a relatively sensible time, but then we got mired in conversation about politics and the state of the world for a couple of hours longer than we should have, and I didn't get to bed until after 3, but I still woke up at a relatively normal time.  Then Friday, I headed to Friday Night Magic, where I did moderately well in Standard -- 3-2, winning two prize packs plus a pretty good door prize -- but didn't get out of the store until nearly midnight.  I still had enough time to get a decent night's sleep, but unfortunately, I woke up at about 6 and gave up on getting any more sleep by about 7, so I was pretty sleep deprived.  I headed to the Gopher for the main pre-release event for the new magic set, where I did well in the tournament, 4th place out of 36.  Then I grabbed some food and came back for a second prerelease event, Two Headed Giant, where my partner Dave Abzug and I ran the table, finishing first in a field of 14.  So I had a lot of fun and got to open a lot of packs of the new set.  I didn't get very many of the chase rare cards, but I got a very cool door prize in the second event and a somewhat cool one in the first.  But again I didn't get out of the store until about midnight, and with the sleep debt I came in with, I was completely non-functional when I woke up this morning to go to EFRC.  Just not in shape to drive over, much less to spend several hours outside (even though the extreme heat seems to have broken today, it's still July in the midwest) and then drive home.

FNM Friday, I was playing my white/black tokens deck.  I'm trying to reconstruct the results from my meager notes, because I remember my record being 3-2.  I allow myself one booster as a consolation prize for each match loss, and I know I had two, because I got lucky on those packs, I got a Garruk Relentless and a Gisela.  But my scoresheet shows me being 4-1.  Match 1, Felix was playing a blue/white/black deck featuring Sun Titan.  I guess it's a variant of Solar Flare, though I didn't think that deck had Lingering Souls and his deck did.  I won the first game handily, drew nothing but land the second game and got squashed, and in game 3, he drew more removal spells than I could get creatures, it was somewhat close but he won.  Match 2, John Kueker had a black and green creatures deck without enough expensive cards and I rolled over him.  Match 3, Sarah Hubble was playing a white humans deck with some red added.  Game 1 I had land trouble and she got a Hellrider out to do most of the damage.  Game 2, I got Hero of Bladehold out and she couldn't kill it.  Game 3, she didn't get the mana she needed, she got some early hits in but I built up an overwhelming force.  Match 4, Chris Wasson had a mono black Heartless Summoning deck. Game 1, I killed him with a Sword of Feast and Famine.  Game 2, he crunched me down with a Falkenrath Noble.  Game 3, I don't actually have a game winner recorded, but I show my life total as 23 and his as 3, with "removal ftw" in the notes.  I think that means that I drew enough O-rings and Celestial Purges to fix his wagon.  Match 5, against Kiefer, I failed to note what deck he was playing, I guess I was getting tired.  Game 1 he beat me with a Grave Titan.  Game 2, I got Lingering Souls and a sword and won.  Game 3, I won with 20 life but failed to record any details.

The main prerelease event was sealed.  My pull was pretty devoid of anything bomb-like but had lots of removal.  I was playing red/green/white, taking advantage of the Rootbound Crag, Sunpetal Grove, and Evolving Wilds in my pull, and I had two O-rings, two Pacifisms, and 3 Searing Spears.  Match 1 against Nathaniel Sibolski, I killed him with an Arbor Elf with a Ring of Kalonia in a fairly long slog.  Game 2 was an even longer slog, I was slowly beating him down, and I chose to use the O-ring I was holding to get rid of one of his blockers because I thought it would get me through.  Unfortunately, he held me off and played Odric, and I didn't have any more removal.  Two swings, once to force my good creature to block unfortunately, second to hit me for lethal.  And we hit time before we could start game 3.  I didn't lose a game for 4 matches, using my equipment to make my moderate sized creatures into serious threats while I used my removal to keep my opponent from having an army.  Just like magic is supposed to work!  In match 6, I was up against Ben Johnson for the overall win.  Game 1, he put a Mark of the Vampire on a Primal Huntbeast, and I couldn't kill it for several turns, so he built up a huge amount of life even though I was hurting him every turn.  Game 2, again I didn't feel completely outclassed but he was able to get there firstest with the mostest.  I still got 6 packs as my prize, my door prize was a comic book with a promo Treasure Hunt -- yee hah -- but enough people left without claiming their door prizes that it wrapped around and I got a Deck Vault metal deck box as a second door prize.

In the third event, I finally got to play Two Headed Giant.  Dave has scheduled Two Headed Giant for FNM a couple of times but it's never gotten enough people to go off, and I've never managed to make it for a prerelease before.  Two Headed Giant twists the rules by nature, and the version of the rules they were using was weirder than the official ones.  Exalted is an important mechanic in the new set, and they ruled that a creature is only attacking alone if none of your partner's creatures, not just your own, attack, but only your own exalted triggers work on it -- rendering it quite a bit less powerful than it is in single player.  They also had this weird rule that if an effect refers to a player's life total (as opposed to just saying they gain or lose life), rather than being the team's life total as it's supposed to be, it's half of the life total.  The latter ruling ended up being crucial in the final match, where our opponents Zack and Lanie had a Serra Avatar, which was OK until they gave it mountainwalk.  But because the avatar's base power was half of their life total, it wasn't big enough to kill us immediately (we'd used lifelink to gain a fair bit of life), and we lived long enough to draw Switcheroo and kill them with their own creature.  We got 8 packs each for winning the event, and I got a Mirror Mastery Commander deck as my door prize.

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