Round 1, I played Ray Phillips who had a good Goblin deck. Piledriver and Rabblemaster in standard at the same time, has to be good, right? I'm surprised there aren't more goblin decks. I lost game 1 to mana screw -- after mulling to 6, I kept 1 land (a Temple) with a Caryatid, then missed my second land drop, then drew a land that came in tapped, and thus was dead before I could start casting spells. Won game 2 with some control and some lifegain. Then lost game 3 when I kept a not-good-enough hand and he had a good one. I tilted a little bit after that one, but then told myself that rather than bemoaning my lousy luck, I should make better sideboard choices. (Against red aggro, Elspeth has to come out, that's why there's a second Whip in the board.) Round 2, Sam Kearns was playing a blue/white deck that seemed to be mostly about control and thopters. Artificier's Epiphany looks really good, but even though he saw a lot more cards, I got better ones and won 2-0. Round 3, I played Joe Izaguirre's budget red deck. He mulled game 1 and I won, though I was a tad low on life before my Rhinos hit the field. Game 2 was a good game. He got me down to 1 life. I wiped his board, played a Courser, and played a land doubling my life total to 2. He didn't draw a burn spell. I played a second Courser and played another land doubling my life again to 4. he didn't draw a burn spell. I played a land (up to 6) and swung with Anafenza. I played a land (up to 8), remembered Anafenza's ability, and swung her and a Courser. And he conceded. Round 4, I played Justin Kessel. He was playing a Jeskai aggro deck built on the theory that Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and Mantis Rider are both good cards, so why not run them? He won game 1 while I was trying to figure out what he was doing. He didn't draw much of anything and I won game 2. And we went to time because game 1 took too long. I was losing but not definitively dead. After the match we chatted about whether the mana will support an Abzan deck after rotation. I'm sure people will still play it -- Siege Rhino is so good. But with my luck, I find the mana awkward even with Courser, Caryatid, Urborg, and a few Temples. It doesn't seem like it'll fly for me.
I know I said last week that this week would be my last chance to play this deck in Standard, but actually, I get to play it next week. I always forget that prerelease is after FNM, not instead of it.