Last week was the first of three world magic the gathering cup qualifying championship.
This means there was a trip to the Gen Con® in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 17-19 and the entry to the world magic the gathering cup at stake.
This means, winning was a big thing, second place was almost nothing.
With this in mind I started testing some week prior to the tourney, playing a deck my brother had suggested. I didn’t really like it much, didn’t think it was the best deck to play. So I was always trying to get my hands on another deck, and luckily, and thanks to a friend (joaquin fuentes) I got my hands on a different one which I list here:
4 Rampant Growth
4 Sphere of the Suns
2 Green Sun´s Zenith
4 Galvanic Blast
1 Beast within
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
2 Solemn Simulacrum
4 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Acidic Slime
2 Inferno Titan
4 Primeval Titan
The deck revolves around playing big spells fast.
It tries to play some spells to accelerate in the first turns and then drop big spells like the titans (like the one you see in the image) generating insane card advantage. It also uses the kessig wolf run land to make its creatures deadlier on each attack.
The very same deck was played by another player of my group (Diego Prato), who had had some success with it before, so I thought it would be a nice deck to play. We tested together and built the deck together and finished it on Saturday together.
On Sunday morning we started the day of 7 rounds and top8 for the trip.
The tourney started well for me. I played the national champion from 3 years back (Juan Ordiozola) in the first round. He was playing the same deck I was and I managed to beat him. (1-0)
Second round I played one of the guys who tested with me (Layron) and managed to beat him too. (2-0)
The third round I lost to the local store owner (Zeta, playing zombies), against which I has a very slim chance of winning anyway, so I didn’t worry too much. (2-1)
Fourth round was coming along and I was paired with a player piloting a deck that was hard to beat for me too ( Santiago Rivero playing UB control), luckily I managed to outplay him and get out with the win. (3-1)
Next round I played against a somewhat new player, Juan Ignacio Cor a about 14 year old kid who apparently played very well already. To be honest, he seemed to had run out of luck, as he could not master any good defense and I run him over very quickly. (4-1)
Round 6 paired me with Diego, the one playing the same deck I was playing, the one I built and tested with, the one I told we would meet in the finals. I did not want to play him, as this would mean one of us would go away with a defeat and his chances of getting to the top would be reduced drastically. We played, I won. I moved to 5-1 and was almost guaranteed to make the cut to the top8 single elimination rounds, but he had to play with the rope around his neck.
Round 7 and final round of the day I was paired with Carlos Garcia, a well known older player of the game. His position was well worse than mine, but he could still draw into top8 if I accepted. But since I had beat my friend and even if I lost I was almost guaranteed in, I chose to play. I won in a pretty quick fashion, playing two very fine games. I ended up 6-1, second place to enter the elimination rounds for the real prize.
The awesome thing was that of my play-testing group of 6, 3 of us made the cut to top8. One of which was Diego, who won his last round and was able to make the cut.
The standings were as follows:
Christian Alico 6-0-1 (frites)
Me 6-1 (wolf run ramp)
Leandro Cabrera 5-1-1 (ub control)
Diego Prato 5-2 (wolf run ramp)
Felipe Araujo 5-2 (humans)
Fabian Velazquez 5-2 (wolf run ramp)
Adrian García 5-2 (delver)
Federico Bigally 5-2 (white run ramp)
So the top 8 started. Only 3 matches were between me and a trip to Indianapolis. The guy who beat me in the round was already out, I felt good. I felt we could make it. On top of this, the brackets (1st plays 8th, 2nd plays 3rd, etc.) would make me not play Diego until the finals of we both got there.
Quarterfinals I played an incredibly nice, long and grindy two games against Adrian Garcia, a friend and player I respect. I know he thinks he is not such a good player, but he has some very consistent finishes, and is a respectful, calm and focused player. To be honest, it was the game I enjoyed most of the tourney. I beat him and advanced to the semis.
Diego Prato won against our other testing friend and advanced too. The chance of meeting in the finals was still possible.
Semifinals I had to play Federico Bigally, a player who has been playing for some years too now. I actually remember losing to him in a top8 5 years ago due to a BIG misplay on my part. I did not know what he was playing before the match, and was pretty puzzeled of how to play against him. I didn’t know the cards he had in the deck, and he knew perfectly what I had brought. His deck was prepared to beat my deck.
This worked against me in game 1, in which I had two lines of play (killing him with damage, or killing his creatures to let mine damage him), being on the aggressor side I finally chose the one that fit the current board better, but was incorrect in the long run, as he played a card that nullified my attacks (Gideon Jura). If I had damaged him he would have been dead by the time he could stabilize. So he won this game.
Second game was completely different. I rushed him out and he conceded 5 turns into the game with lethal damage from me next turn.
Third game is where I had no chance. He started very well and I was behind. I managed to stabilize, but when he drew his wolf run from the top with no cards in hand and a creature in play, he was able to finish me off.
That was it for me. Sad and disappointed for losing when I could have won I went to watch my friend Diego´s game. He was down a game and was against the ropes. He would lose pretty quickly. Although his opponent managed to make a few bad played and Diego drew a few good cards in a row and he turned the tables, winning his match.
So Diego was in the finals, I wasn’t. I let him down. If I had won it would have been so amazing….a final between the two. Like predicted….He ended up losing to the player who beat me… and finished in second place.
All in all I can say it was an awesome tourney, with my testing group showing they can play, and me proving to myself I can win constructed events, I just have to play it right till the end. I will remember my misplay for a long time, but I will also remember that I won 7 matched and lost only 2, without much testing and on pure skill.
I hope you enjoyed my short report.